2013 v 2017 Recruiting Classes

Submitted by alum96 on February 2nd, 2017 at 9:38 AM

There is no great analysis here; I just was looking at this stuff on my own and since I did the work I decided to post it here for the odd 4 people who might find it interesting.

Many have said this is the best UM class ever, often thinking by large margins.  I also was guilty of this recency bias.  Many have short memories.  I look into the mirror as one of them.  2016's vintage was quite good with a 28 player catch with a 89.9 player average; that includes 9 players in the top 126.

Going further back our "best" class on paper up til this year was the "sterling" 2013 class; a class that will live in infamy.   The one that would have us rocking and rolling our '12 and '13 OL classes MANGBALLING together to mow down Bama's DL in the CFP championship game circa '16 '17 with "bowling ball" Derrick Green, and the left armed darts of Shane Morris.  Those were the days....

This class was 4th in the nation with a 27 player crew which averaged 91.0.  That includes Scott Sypniewski's 76; remove that and it's a 26 player class averaging 91.6.

This is almost a perfect mirror to the 30 player class we just signed which finished 5th in the nation with a player average of 90.9.  This includes Brad Robbins73; remove that and it's a 29 player class averaging 91.5.

Beging a machoist and enjoying data I decided to line up the classes side by side, player for player.  And looking at it with the original 2013 rank vs a personal rerank, and looking at both vs the 2017 class.

Image result for socrates rumsfeld

A famous philosopher once said:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

So before we begin let us talk about the known knows:

  • Brady Hoke couldn't carry Jim Harbaugh's jock as a HC or program developer.
  • Jim Harbaugh finds and hires people that go on to actually do things at other schools; that are coveted.  Brady Hoke didn't.
  • "You" were telling us Derrick Green was overrated from day 1.
  • We knew Shane Morris was a high ceiling low floor guy coming off an injury year and getting hyped up based off camps.
  • Hoke could generally 'croot defensive guys; his offensive picks generally ranged from WTF to LOL to YOUR KILLIN ME SMALLS.

Image result for you're killin me smalls

Now that we got that out of the way, to the known unknowns:

  • This class, like every class in the history of classes, will have high profile busts - Harbaugh or not.  It's just a matter of who(m).
  • Someone(s) from the bottom third of this class will surpass many of the guys at the top.  "I told you Stueber is the next great 77!"
  • Some of these guys will get hit by an injury bug.
  • Some won't get their 5th year.
  • 2017 HAS to be better than 2013, amiright? I mean it would take serious effort by all parties involved including various lobotomy exercises to coaching staff for it not to be true.  Hold me Brown Bear.


Now onto the data

Image result for data gif

Chart 1, straight up player for player side by side-ish....per original rank.  Rather than just line them up single file I put them in a general groupings of similar ranks; don't ask for the science behind it - it's just one dude's clustering.

Chart 2, I did a rerank of the 2013 class on how it "really worked out in terms of player effectiveness" - I used the same 2013 rankings our players garnered, but changed the names from best to worst i.e. #27 overall went from Green to Lewis.  It wildly overstates the ranking a lot of guys as the class was just so bad once you got past the first 10 guys.  (guys who don't even play get top 300 rankings!) Obviously a lot of skunks at the bottom so (a) trying to rank them i.e. who busted more than the other is impossible and (b) comparing them to our 2017s is almost unfair.  But they had to go somewhere.

Chart 1

Rank Name Rank Name
27 D. Green 12 D. Peoples-Jones
    25 A. Solomon
68 P. Kugler 44 C. Ruiz
71 D. Thomas 56 L. Vilain
72 S. Morris 80 D. Singleton
87 K. Bosch 94 A. Thomas
95 D. Dawson 107 J. Anthony
110 C. Fox 113 C. Filiaga
115 J. Lewis 122 T. Black
121 H. Poggi 123 D. McCaffrey
130 M. McCray 136 N. Collins
132 T. Charlton    
168 L. Tuley-Tillman 170 O. Martin
172 J. Butt    
209 D. Smith 214 J. Ross
215 B. Gedeon 220 J. Hudson
258 M. Hurst Jr 261 D. Irving-Bey
299 W. Shallman 266 J. Kelly-Powell
300 D. Hill 278 O. Samuels
    290 D. Jeter
    292 C. Malone-Hatcher
    318 J. Hall
338 J. Dukes 334 B. St-Juste
374 R. Douglas 368 A. Stueber
    386 J. Woods
416 D. Samuleson 420 B. Hawkins
    448 J. Honingford
    457 P. Paea
564 C. York 485 K. Paye
582 C. Stribling    
668 K. Hill    
776 D. Jones 813 B. Mason
810 R. Dawson 916 K. Taylor


Chart 2

Rank Name Rank Name
27 J. Lewis 12 D. Peoples-Jones
    25 A. Solomon
68 J. Butt 44 C. Ruiz
71 T. Charlton 56 L. Vilain
72 C. Stribling 80 D. Singleton
87 D. Smith 94 A. Thomas
95 M. Hurst Jr 107 J. Anthony
110 D. Thomas 113 C. Filiaga
115 B. Gedeon 122 T. Black
121 D. Hill 123 D. McCaffrey
130 K. Bosch 136 N. Collins
132 M. McCray    
168 D. Green 170 O. Martin
172 K. Hill    
209 H. Poggi 214 J. Ross
215 L. Tuley-Tillman 220 J. Hudson
258 S. Morris 261 D. Irving-Bey
299 D. Jones 266 J. Kelly-Powell
300 P. Kugler 278 O. Samuels
    290 D. Jeter
    292 C. Malone-Hatcher
    318 J. Hall
338 W. Shallman 334 B. St-Juste
374 R. Douglas 368 A. Stueber
    386 J. Woods
416 D. Samuleson 420 B. Hawkins
    448 J. Honingford
    457 P. Paea
564 D. Dawson 485 K. Paye
582 J. Dukes    
668 R. Dawson    
776 C. York 813 B. Mason
810 C. Fox 916 K. Taylor

* I excluded both the 13 long snapper and the 17 punter from this exercise.



February 2nd, 2017 at 9:56 AM ^

Interesting work as always Alum. The question with these types of comparisons is always how granular you want to get with the data. For example, players getting dinged for not qualifying and taking a grad year.


February 2nd, 2017 at 10:04 AM ^

Derrick Green wasn't the superstar back we all hoped for but he did end up contributing (albeit on what might be the worst U-M year ever). Morris... you know what happened. He "helped" us get rid of Brandon and eventually Hackett stepped in and brought Harbs in.

2013 might have been the best case of what should have been (obviously). If Thomas, Green, Morris, and others developed like Lewis, Butt, Stribling, Taco, McCray, Hill, and Smith did...


February 2nd, 2017 at 10:37 AM ^

Looking at the names from that '13 class, again, just reminds me of the massive misses on the OL. Add in the questionable burning of redshirts and it makes for a depressing conclusion.

On the other hand I'm really looking at this years class as depth builder. We did get a number of top players at their respective positons, but I'm pretty excited about guys like St.-Juste, Paea, and CMH being solid contributors in two or so years.


February 2nd, 2017 at 10:31 AM ^

Way to harsh my Signing Day 2017 buzz, man.

Seriously, that 2013 class...woof! Only 3 big impact players and 8 moderate contributors (at Michigan). Bleah.


February 2nd, 2017 at 10:46 AM ^

2013 can be analyzed as two different recruiting classes: Offense and defense.

The defensive class was everything we hoped it would be, with guys like Charlton and Lewis anchoring an epic group to which low-ranked guys like Stribling made terrific contributions. Everything you could want from a defensive recruiting class.

The offensive class is fireable offense. Which is exactly what happened.

Honestly I think we'll look back at this past season in a few years, look at the players we were working with, and wonder how in the world Harbaugh managed to pull out enough duct tape to make it a functional offense. 


February 2nd, 2017 at 11:26 AM ^

Hadn't looked at the offense/defense dichotomy as closely in the 2013 class specifically until now. It's pretty staggering. Out of 26 signees (not counting the LS), a majority were offensive players -- just 9 settled on D after Poggi/RTD/Shallman all ended up on offense. Of that group on defense, only Reon Dawson (the lowest ranked and a lightly recruited 3-star) didn't become a starter. 

On the other side of the ball, you have to go down to our 8th(!) highest-rated offensive signee to get to a productive UM starter (Butt) and only two others really hit that bar (Smith, K Hill). Wild stuff. 


February 2nd, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

I went back and viewed the recruiting profiles for the OLmen who committed to UM during that period. It does lend credence to OP who stated "It was believed Hoke recruited the offense based on rankings." These young men, except for one that all colleges other than UM and CO, not the 2016 CO, were so highly regarded, all the major players believed they could undo the bad habits - of no concern at UM - and develop them into NFL ready linemen. I do feel bad for those young men, that by rule of percentages should etther be in the NFL or preparing to play there. 

It also proves, that after what is considered a long period -2008 through 2014 - that Michigan could hire no one other than Jim Harbaugh. They had to have a man that recruits would have no doubts whatsoever, would put a staff together that would make them believe Michigan offered as close to a guarantee as would any othe school they would be prepared for the NFL if their and the gurus beliefs were true. I am so happy Michigan will always have leaders in place that when its desperation time, will step forward and do what is necessary to put this Michigan of ours back on track. As many have said, this year's draft will help immeasurably and so too will all drafts going forward. Since '08, 2016 was the first year M had at least three players,Glasgow, Henry and Rudock drafted. The number this year will make high school recruits take notice. 


February 2nd, 2017 at 11:41 AM ^

Yep! Been saying this for a while now - people who say "but but but Hoke could recruit" are missing half the forest.  One 1 side of the ball - on the other it was a disaster.  OL and WR hauls were mostly awful; RB mostly mediocre.  QB mostly sads.  TE were 2 top players; 1 turned into a WR.  That's his ERA not 1 class.

I don't know if someone has a source, or I read it on here, or it was just a dream (nightmare) but I swear I thought I read someone say (with some sort of valid source) Hoke went of recruiting rankings for offense.  Who knows.

I think even with that, you have enough HS talent you cant just miss on all these guys year after year.  The fact no one in the P5 wanted our coaches (except 1 who remains and I think 1 went to Oregon State) tells you what his PEERS thought of his staff.  At least some of RR guys like Frey and Gibson are gainfully employed.


February 2nd, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^

Since I was critical of WR recruiting even at the time, I really want to be able to point to that one position group and say "this is where Hoke epically failed." But it's simply impossible to separate WRs from any other offensive position group, because his recruiting was awful at all of those positions. 

The only thing you can grant him is that the OL recruiting was at least solid-looking at the time. In my opinion no skill position was recruited well even before hindsight revealed how bad things were. Hoke basically got one well-ranked QB, one well-ranked RB, and one well-ranked WR (Harris) during his entire tenure and banked on all three of them being great. And none of them were. Frankly, it wouldn't have been enough even if they were hits.

What a disaster.


February 2nd, 2017 at 1:02 PM ^

On the other hand: 

Funchess became an NFL second round pick. 

Darboh and Chesson both outplayed their recruiting rank. 

Magnuson, Bosch and maybe LTT could have qualified as above average offensive linemen. Unfortunately two of them were gone before they had the chance to play. Who knows about Chris Fox. Mason Cole is an above average lineman. Kugler was as sure a thing to play as there ever was according to just about everyone. 

Smith seems to be creating a lot of buzz as someone who could be an NFL player. 

Not to mention he had guys like Harris and Campbell committed before things imploded...

So maybe Hoke wasn't such a terrible recruiter, its just that he had no idea what he was doing on that side of the ball when it came to coaching and hired someone who had only an average idea of what he was doing to run that side of the ball and assistants that had little idea what they were doing on that side of the ball. 

I dunno. I'm torn. 


February 2nd, 2017 at 4:22 PM ^

You've named about 4-5 potential NFL draft picks in 4 recruiting classes which is about 40-45 potential HS players on offense (about half of say 4 classes of 23 players) at the friggin University of Michigan who gets top 10 classes constantly.  And when I say potential I'm including Smith and Chesson which are borderline.

His haul includes Butt Funchess Magnuson Darboh and maybe Bosch.  Throw Chesson in there as a sure 5th guy instead of Bosch because he made 1st team all Big 10 which is fine. LSU with a lifewise supposedly doofus coach probably put 4-5 NFL guys into every draft on offense.  And that never includes a QB!

And I dont care about NFL players, I care about guys who had an impactful NCAA career.  So I'm including Smith in that group.

Jack Miller, Tony Posada, Bellomy, Rawls (!!), Chris Bryant, Justice Hayes

Kalis, Magnuson, Norfleet, Darboh, Funchess, AJ Williams, Chesson, Drake J, Braden, Bars.  (How did those 3 OL look under Funk again? When did Darboh finally break out? When did Chesson break out - under whose coaching? Not the old staff's)

Drake Harris, Mason Cole (ding ding a winner), Canteen, Bunting (some hope here but has yet to have much impact in a TE heavy offense), Ways, JBB (opened in emergency this year and immediately benched), Speight.  

How would Speight have done under Al Borges?  Ask Shane and Bellomy.  Considering Funchess was a TE coming in we had 2 productive WRs in 4 years of recruiting.  2 plus OL in Cole and Magnuson.  1 NFL sure thing RB ...who had to leave UM and get MACaction to do get there.



February 2nd, 2017 at 6:10 PM ^

did they outplay their recruiting rank?

Chesson - heck of a blocker in the running game but other than the second half of the 2015 season, he didn't exactly strike fear into opponents with his receiving.  I'm not trying to rip the guy but outside of the oline Chesson was possibly the most disappointing player on the 2016 team, at least based upon the pre-season hype/expectations.  He didn't even average 3 catches a game in 2016.  He was a 3 star and contributor for 4 years so that probably goes a long way but as I mentioned above, other than the second half of the 2015 season he was an average wr (a lot of factors play into that - Ruddock missing a lot of deep balls, knee injury, Speight seemed to rely on Darboh more, etc).  He played 4 years and ended up with 114 catches and 1600 yds.  

Darboh - he only has stats for 3 years so his 151 catches for 2062 yds is definitely better than Chesson's stats.  At the same time, he was a 4 star and Top 250 recruit on 247.  Whether that exceeds his recruiting rank probably depends on your point of view.

Obviously there are varying degrees of exceeding recruiting rank, but the poster child for a UM wr exceeding their recruiting rank in the last decade or so is Jeremy Gallon.  He was a 3 star and 326th ranked recruit on 247.  He ended up with 173 catches and 2700 yds and his 2013 season you can compare stat wise to almost any other UM wr.


February 2nd, 2017 at 7:04 PM ^

Chesson was so low that his contributions definitely exceeded his ranking; nonetheless he came back to the pack quite a bit this year. I think Darboh outplayed his ranking a bit, and he was very good this season, but he wasn't dominant either and more fits the profile of a second or third guy in a receiving crew than the clear #1 that he was forced to be by our personnel.

I'm generally not optimistic about relying upon young receivers to move the football, but in this case I think the combination of excellent young talent and the limitations of the guys going out with either a better Speight or a better-than-betterSpeight-Peters will equal or exceed the passing game production from last season.

Neither Darboh nor Chesson were guys that Speight could just chuck the ball toward and see them beat defenders to get it. That ability would have been awfully handy when the offense bogged down, and in fact one or two key catches against Iowa (think of that interception where Chesson was falling backwards instead of closing toward the ball, opening the space for the defender to step in) could have won the game.

Wolverine 73

February 2nd, 2017 at 3:21 PM ^

The question unresolved is: was Hoke incompetent in evaluating offensive players, or was the coaching so bad on that side of the ball that these guys never developed as they should have? I suspect bad coaching contributed to some of the failures, although we did not see as much improvement in the offensive players as the defensive guys (Thomas, Strivling, McCray, Gedeon) under the new staff.


February 2nd, 2017 at 4:22 PM ^

I don't believe every recruiting service and plenty of other schools who offered these guys got 80% of them wrong over 4 years.  You are going to get your Tom Strobels here and there on the defensive side.  You are not going to get half your class turning into Tom Strobel.


February 2nd, 2017 at 11:06 AM ^

I'd go even further: why put Green ahead of Poggi and Morris (both of whom saw meaningful game action)?

I understand the caveat that everyone has to go somewhere.  I just think Hill has proven more valuable than he's ranked there.  Certainly more than Green.

But I enjoyed the analysis, all the same.


February 2nd, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

I didn't want the post to get into that debate.  It's in the eye of the beholder.  Green over Morris is a no brainer. I thought Shane Morris has done nothing as a QB - his career is 0 TDs 5 INTs on 92 throws.  His yards per attempt of 4.7 is lower than many mediocre running back's career average rushes.  It's positively Andre Ware in the NFL level... horrific.

Green has 1000 yards to his career at least.

Panda is a tough one - recency bias.  Hard to measure FBs etc.  I could argue Green's 2nd year with UM w/ 500 yds was better than Panda's career - I know he has all the TDs but that is the work of others and he went in at the 1 yard line.  Until this last yr Panda was a TE who barely played - 8 catches in his career.  This year he ran 25x for 39 yards... err 1.6 average.  Again many of those runs began at the 1 yard line so I get the love.  He did catch the ball a bit but Green still seems more productive as a whole. It's a toss up.  Just like putting a guy who got kicked out of school in a bar fight vs a guy who medicaled.

Green was like a low 3*,  Panda to me is like a low 3* who could improve to high 3* with another good year  - he is a specialist who has become a cult hero this past year; before that I don't remember him doing too much either.


Ron Utah

February 6th, 2017 at 11:30 PM ^

Love the content, but this argument is absurd. There is no way Green is more valuable than Panda. Greens stats are totally useless--Hill has helped win games and made more plays than Green. The stats lie on this one, though Pandas TDs should count for more in your eyes.

There is no debate: Panda is a premier FB who has helped Michigan win. Green is a below average RB who did not help Michigan win--he just got some easy yards in some joke games.


February 2nd, 2017 at 12:20 PM ^

And some eerie coincidences.
Filiaga, look out! Linked to Chris Fox! Kugler and Ruiz side-by-side also.

I blame alum96 if those guys are now jinxed.
However, props if DIB actually ends up as Mo Hurst 2.0

Cranky Dave

February 2nd, 2017 at 1:56 PM ^

put all of the blame on Hokefor the offensive recruiting, Borges and Funk should be mentioned in this post too.


Looking at this information in black and white is sad, but not infuriating as it was in 2015-16.  Time and optimism for the future with this staff has taken the edge off. 


February 2nd, 2017 at 4:34 PM ^

Very much included the staff in the known knowns.  No one wanted these coaches when the staff was let go.  Mattison only and that was a favor to UM coming back from the NFL - not a Hoke protege.

Hoke needed to be like Franklin - a rah rah leader surrounded by  very competent X&O men.  Franklin brought a savvy DC from Vandy (they won with defense, not offense there) then flailed on offense and probably was looking to be fired if he had 1 more year like the prior few.  But got a high octane OC this off season and they identified some high end players like Barkley. (I dont know if they inherited Godwin or recruited him) Their OL was as LOL as ours for a few years.


February 2nd, 2017 at 6:38 PM ^

in terms of the offensive players identified and recruited the position coaches probably shoulder more of the blame.  Obviously, Hoke was the head coach so the buck stops with him, but for a defensive minded coach I'm guessing when it comes to offensive recruiting they put a lot of stock and trust in their offensive positions coaches as to which offensive players they offer and target.

Ali G Bomaye

February 2nd, 2017 at 3:03 PM ^

It's amazing that the 2013 class included four offensive linemen in the top 110 overall players and we've gotten almost literally zero contribution from any of them. What are the odds of THAT happening?

If that isn't true, then the 2016 season may have been very different.


February 2nd, 2017 at 6:38 PM ^

Just noticed your 20M point total...gotta say I'm gob-smacked, that 20M total is incredible; I'm newer with very few points, and not sure I follow how the point thing works, but you should be 'crootin' for MGoBlig and JH...clearly you know what's happening in Blue space!


February 2nd, 2017 at 6:45 PM ^

While Hoke and crew did nothing with the Offense, look at that Defense.  Your DB's are Lewis, Stribling, Hill, and Thomas.  Gedeon and McCray were your linebackers and Charlton and Hurst were the DL's.  Dang, that is a lot of production. 

You have at least 2 first rounders in there, 3-5 mid round guys, and 1 or 2 would be fringe guys.  That is impressive. 

AA Forever

February 2nd, 2017 at 8:44 PM ^

for everyone who said with absolute certainty "The Future is Bright!!!!" in the first two years of the Hoke era, I'd be very well off right now.  I don't believe it any more now.


February 3rd, 2017 at 10:02 AM ^

That sounded something like what Donald Rumsfeld said when he was bullshitting his way through the 2nd round of the destruction of Iraq better known as, Shock and Awe.

I hope this isn't too political if it is you may donate some of your points to make a point with me.

Because we only know what we think we know but we can't know if we do know what anyone else knows. I will stand by that even though neither of us know that what i know is something nobody wants to know.... IMHO


February 3rd, 2017 at 3:09 PM ^

That 2013 class looked like it would make up the backbone of a 10-win team.

That 2013 class ended up being the backbone of a 10-win team.

Pretty good recruiting.