Getting Back Down to 85 Scholarships

Submitted by alum96 on January 28th, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Per informal policy we won't discuss specific names....

Please review handy MGoTable for scholarships by year:

With what is looking like 30 scholarships (and 31 players) in the 2016 class, UM will have a very young roster with 36% of players true freshman - up from 16% a year ago at this time.  Harbaugh is basically trying to cram a 5 year time frame into 3 years with aggressive roster management. 

With the departures of a few 5th year seniors, plus Green & Henry, UM has 62 non freshman scholarships devoted.*  Adding 30 scholarships to that takes you to 92 scholarships. 

# Players Eligibility
20* 1 yr
15 2 yr
17 3 yr
40 4 yr

*This does not include Ryan Glasgow who under most circumstances at most schools would certainly be given a scholarship his senior year, and Kenny Allen who at most places also would.  Glasgow I guess you can make a case based on financial situation of family (well off parents, brother about to get NFL money) but based on merit certainly it's unusual to not get a scholarship as one of the top 8-10 best players on the team.  In a world you give these 2 scholarships UM will be at 94 scholarships with only 85 allowed.


The path to 85:

1) No scholarships for 5th year seniors Glasgow/Allen as discussed above.

Keeps you at 92

2) Exit Brian Cole for off field troubles - I am only mentioning the specific name because Brian basically confirmed this in yesterday's Mgoboard post. 

Drops you to 91.

3) Exit a QB from any class.  Even if Gentry goes to TE down the road you have 5 scholarship QBs with none being a senior.  I assume one is going to depart to look for playing time even if if means sitting out a year. 

Drops you to 90.

4) Little used 5th year senior departures pre or post spring game.  Call these Allen Gant types. These are the "easiest" to deal with as UM fulfilled its responsibility in giving a 4 year scholarship and player can easily move on to another FBS school without sitting out.   There are 2 obvious candidates here who have played little to no meaningful time in their 4 years at UM.  I am going to assume both "don't make the team" post spring game.

Drops you to 88.


That's the easy part - the last 3 spots are not as easy to triangulate:

5) Contributing 5th year seniors.  Call these Keith Heitzman types.  You have 1 or 2 guys here who have played meaningful time, including 1 guy who did well in the Citrus Bowl who the dark edges of the internet say was a candidate to leave if he didn't show well.  There is also one OL many have whispered would leave if he was not a starter but with Raulerson not coming here it would seem strange to see that exit for depth purposes but who knows.

So in theory if these 3 fifth year seniors do depart you are 85 and you haven't done anything SEC-y.  All these guys could find a landing spot immediately elsewhere although you lose some experienced depth on the roster.

6) Non 5th year seniors depart.  This is the group where it gets squishy. You have multiple WRs and DBs (up to 4) who have played little to none in their career and are now upperclasmen.  But not guys who could play immediately if they depart  - unless like a Raulerson type they finished their degree in 3 years.  If that is the case for any of the 4 it becomes less squishy.  But you could also say they saw the writing on the wall, UM just didn't work out, etc etc.

7) A "surprise" out of the blue guy.  This would be a Blake Countess type.


So that's the path to 85 from 92.  Obviously if you want to give Glasgow and Allen a scholarship you need to find another 2 guys.

Sean Bean Game Of Thrones - Brace yourself Winter is coming


Ali G Bomaye

January 28th, 2016 at 8:52 AM ^

It's amazing that we could have 40 of our 85 players with four years of eligibility remaining, per your numbers.  I'm guessing that we'll do some aggressive redshirting of our incoming class to help balance the numbers out and avoid the impact of such a "bubble" class over the next four years.  

Obviously guys like Kareem Walker and Devin Bush are going to play, but we should be able to redshirt every OL (4 guys), all but one or two WRs (3-4 guys), Peters (1), undersized guys like McKeon/Uche/Gil/R.Johnson (4), and maybe a couple others. Waiting to start the eligibility clock on 15 or so of our 30-man class would help to smooth out the class sizes a little, and would allow us to effectively have 35-40 freshmen next year as well (recruits to replace the 20 departing seniors and natural attrition, plus the 15 redshirted freshmen). Then we could redshirt a good portion of that class, too, to lessen the impact of the two small graduating classes that are currently sophomores and juniors by eligibility.


January 28th, 2016 at 9:21 AM ^

Yes amazing turnover isn't it?  We have a barbell roster now - heavy on seniors and RS FR/FR and light on all the classes in the middle.  I assume 6-7 of these incoming guys wont redshirt next year (of the 30) as we have to prepare for a very young roster in 2017 and these guys need experience but still it will be very young. 

But on par with OSU, they only return 6 starters since so many people left early.  We'll be in a somewhat similar spot in 2017.

I also noticed almost all these recent commits say "I will be at UM for the next 3-4 years" as if Jim is telling them 3 years is an expectation.  I dont know if that is due to selling NFL early entry or I saw some rumors on here that we are trying to get a lot of people thru school in 3 years... I presume so they could transfer without sitting out if they don't make the "cut" after their 3rd year.  I cannot fathom going through UM, playing football full time, and somehow graduating in 3 years but I guess if you stay on campus every spring semester it would help.

But I think the larger story is Jim is going to play a lot of guys earlier, redshirts will be less frequent, and guys careers will be shorter as we turnover the roster quicker.  When you have Bama and OSU talent you can pull that - it's basically the opposite of what a lot of programs do though.


January 28th, 2016 at 9:28 AM ^

With 2017 graduations heavy at WR, DB, and lack of experience at LB those seem to be the 3 places you will see freshmen along with RB. 

You probably see someone challenge Perry for the slot spot but you still need to prepare someone for the outside in 2017 unless Ways or Harris step up which until now we havent seen.  Then you have a scary situation at safety in 2017 so you just need to get someone other than Ty Kinnel prepared as some guy from this 2016 class is going to be a starting safety in 2017; throwing him out there with no experience in 2017 makes no sense to me.  I think Hudson plays right away in 16 as he looks like he would be a special teams demon and then you prepare him for Peppers role or starting safety role in 2017.  Then you still have your hole at LB and then you still want some new blood at RB.  DL of course Gary if he comes would be a non redshirt.

So I'd think something like

  • Gary
  • A safety
  • 1-2 LBs
  • 1-2 RBs
  • 1-2 WRs

will be the guys on the field in 2016 to lose redshirts, and then whomever outside of that shows up like a Mason Cole and earns the right to be on the field immediately.


January 28th, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

I feel that would be a bit of waste unless someone like Godin leaves the program or Marshall is in year 3 of the doghouse.

  • Charlton, Glasgow, Mone, Wormley
  • Marshall, Hurst, Gary, Shelton Johnson/Godin

That's an 8-9 deep with only Gary as a FR involved.  Not sure if Pallante will still be a DT.

Now if injuries hit all bets off the table but putting in true freshman DTs esp not highly ranked ones who need to reshape body and redshirt doesn't seem ideal.  Pipkins wasn't all that effective - Mone was.  We don't have that sort of guy committed right now - Dwumfour is a fire hydrant who needs time.


Ali G Bomaye

January 28th, 2016 at 9:38 AM ^

I interpret "I will be at U-M for the next 3-4 years" as a reflection that every 18-year-old hotshot recruit thinks he might have a shot at the NFL, not as Harbaugh promising only three years. I think it would be a tough sell to tell recruits that they only get three years to graduate or else, if they're not a contributor, they'll be shown the door.


January 28th, 2016 at 10:49 AM ^

If a player early enrolls and takes classes over the summer, they could have 10 semesters of classes (the equivalent of 5 standard class years) by the end of their junior year.  Even if they don't early enroll, they could have 8 semesters of classes (the equivalent of 4 standard class years) by the end of their junior year by taking classes over the summer.  

Ali G Bomaye

January 28th, 2016 at 11:19 AM ^

Not necessarily.  If a player is seeing playing time at Michigan, then he most likely won't see a need to transfer, so graduating in four years isn't a big deal.  If a player isn't seeing playing time at Michigan, then he'll probably redshirt for a year at some point, giving him one year of eligibility remaining if he graduates in four years (like Rudock).

The only real downside of graduating in four years, from a grad transfer perspective, is that you can't do what Raulerson did and transfer with two years of eligibility remaining.


January 28th, 2016 at 11:08 AM ^

Outside of QB (and maybe oline) I don't think redshirts factor in to Harbaugh's thinking.  Harbaugh is about competition and playing the best players.  It doesn't matter whether you're an 18 yr true freshman or a 23 yr 5th yr senior, if you're performing the best at your position you're going to play.

Harbaugh has stated a couple of times that he believes the best way to get better at football is by playing football, ie - being on the field on Saturdays.  When you're pulling in the kind of classes that Harbaugh is lining up (as well as Saban and Meyer) these kids are coming in to compete and play.  

Will there be some redshirts - sure, but outside of a few positions I'm not expecting much redshirting this year or in future years.


January 28th, 2016 at 12:44 PM ^

Enroll Early.

Fall and Winter take 12 credits.  Spring and Summer take 6 credits.

That would put you at 120 credits by the end of your Junior Winter Semester.  Most LSA degrees require 120 credits.

Now remember that would be taking the minimum required load to be considered a full time student.  If you took more than the minimum required course load in the Winter, Spring, and Summer you could easily graduate in 3 years.

If you didn't enroll early you would have to distribute 24 credits over 3 years.  Or 8 credits a year.  That would make your schedule look like this:

Fall - 12 credits or ~ 3 classes (while in season)

Winter - 16 credits or ~ 4 classes

Spring - 8 credits or ~ 2 classes

Summer - 8 credits ~ 2 classes


That seems pretty manageable for athletes, especially given access to the tutoring and other academic support.




January 28th, 2016 at 7:13 PM ^

Yeah gotta be at 12.

This is a great tactic for the team, but you have to question the effect it has on the players. Most of us weren't the greatest students, and such a heavy load could be a tough ask.

Used to be they encouraged most of us to take a lighter workload, erring on the side of caution. Or on the side of the player over the team.


January 29th, 2016 at 8:19 AM ^

I guess you can couch it as in the players interest with the idea that if it doesnt work out at UM in 3 years they have a degree and don't need to sit out and can transfer.  But yes it is strenous and asking someone not to take 1 single semester off in 3 years WITH college football on top of that seems exhausting. 


Just as a normal student it was nice to get away from campus and take a mental break - I don't care what type of resources are available to a student, going 3 years straight with no break with football sucking up 5 months of your life each year is asking a lot mentally.


January 29th, 2016 at 12:42 PM ^

Right. We all took spring classes but very few took summer classes.

But if this is the standard operating procedure, I have no problem so long as 1) it is explained to recruits, and 2) they recruit guys who are likely to succeed under such circumstances. It really is a tough ask for a lot of guy who are athletes before scholars.

I've always loved that football can provide an education for a guy who otherwise wouldn't be able to. I think part of the success is that it gave a borderline guy 5 years to get 120 credits. Small class loads coupled with the academic support staff to make it more digestible.

I'd hate to see some non-contributing players fail to qualify because they couldn't handle a classload that is obviously too strenuous for them. NOT THAT I THINK THAT IS HAPPENING OR WILL HAPPEN.


January 28th, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

Would it be better to have "bubble" classes and a more sinusoidal shape to our class roster than a straight line?

I would rather have one class year that is loaded with seniors and/or talent (say, at a 95% talent level) and be able to compete for the NC more easily that year than have a consistent 80% level with talent more spread out.

Sure, you're sacrificing some years due to the talent trough, but a NC opporunity every few years with some 7-5 seasons intermixed seems better to me than consistent 9-3 seasons.

I suppose when you get to Alabama level you can just reload every year, but that seems the exception rather than the rule.

Not sure if I buy my own argument here, but have often wondered.  It would be interesting to see the past 20 or 30 years worth of National Champions and see if they won them due to "bubble" classes or not.


January 28th, 2016 at 8:58 AM ^

Don't you have to be down to 88 by NLOID to comply with B10 limits on oversigning (3 over the 85)? So not only is more attrition coming, it's coming SOON. 

Leaders And Best

January 28th, 2016 at 12:21 PM ^

Michigan only needs to be at 88 on Signing Day as long as you have a plan to get to 85. Ohio State did this last year:

Ohio State was actually at 91 at Signing Day, but Meyer then medicaled 3 players to get to 88. I am guessing Harbaugh gets to 88 and sorts the rest out after Spring Practice. There may be some players who decide to transfer after given a chance to compete and see where they are on the depth chart. Decisions on some 5th years may be made at that time as well.

beef supreme

January 28th, 2016 at 9:03 AM ^

No matter which way you do it, one thing is apparent. Having two straight coaches not make it to the point of stabilization has screwed up our class structure pretty bad.

Wolverine 73

January 28th, 2016 at 10:00 AM ^

Better to improve the roster, even if it increases imbalance, than to strive for balance by doing all you can to keep people around who are not contributing or have issues that they won't clean up.  This will be a three year process, I would think, before Harbaugh has the talent level where he needs it and the turnover slows and class sizes become more consistent.


January 28th, 2016 at 1:26 PM ^

  1. superficially plausible, but actually wrong.
    "a specious argument"
    • misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.
      "the music trade gives Golden Oldies a specious appearance of novelty"





      "specious reasoning"


beef supreme

January 28th, 2016 at 11:10 AM ^

I think once the team and players get to the point where many of them are declaring early, it will stabilize it. As it has been said about hoke, there was almost zero roster attrition. That is how harbaugh will stabilize it. For now it's guys that can't crack the lineup not getting a fifth year. In a year or two it will be guys leaving after 3.


January 28th, 2016 at 9:54 AM ^

I think what you're going to see is a lot of pruning from guys who are going into their redshirt junior years but who managed to graduate in 3 years. My bet is that Jim accelerated the academic paths of just about everyone on the team in order to give himself more roster flexibility vis-a-vis 3 year graduation timelines.


January 28th, 2016 at 11:09 AM ^

You shouldn't even consider Glasgow not getting a 5th year... our best defensive player?  Cmon man....    just mentioning his name in this is silly. 



January 28th, 2016 at 11:35 AM ^

"Getting a fifth year"  normally means having your scholarship renewed.  It's not usually a question of being on the team or not; coaches would gladly allow almost all of these guys to be on the team as walk-ons, but most can't afford to pay tuition.  

The Reeve

January 28th, 2016 at 11:51 AM ^

You forgot two, which will make this transition slide down as easy as an oyster. Bo did it in '69, albeit without an eye on roster size.

8) A Spring Practice that is so freaking competitive and hard, so oppressive, so draining, so grueling that you'll be able to offer the whole Glasgow family including Grandma a scholarship.

Followed by:

9) A Fall Camp that is so freaking competitive and hard, so oppressive, so draining, so grueling that you'll be able to offer all kids with the first or last name Allen (or Alan or Allan) currently attending the University of Michigan a scholarship.


January 28th, 2016 at 12:20 PM ^

I see Harbaugh bringing in big classes each year and more players getting pushed out as upperclassmen. Harbaugh won't let someone stay on the team if they aren't worth the scholarship. Grad transfers will be used more and more. I don't have a problem with it if they know from the start and have an opportunity to earn a Michigan degree. 


January 28th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

It's highly likely that one or two scholarships will open up during the summer or fall, which could then be handed-out again to Glasgow and Allen.


January 28th, 2016 at 5:29 PM ^

While I have seen many claim that Allen/Glasgow will have to wait for a scholarship to open up (if one ever does), I have not seen anyone attribute this piece of information to any of our usual insiders.  What is the best source for this claim?  I can't imagine a starting player (much less a defensive star) being put in the position of hoping that a scholarship opens up on the basis of having rich parents.  Earning a football scholarship is not a need-based award.  Why should we offer Dylan McCaffrey a scholarship next year?  His parents are uber rich.  The claim seems prosterous to me.


January 29th, 2016 at 10:24 PM ^

I believe that the reason why people assume that walk-ons have to wait to find out if they get scholarships is because walk-ons are by definition in a year-to-year status and have to wait to see if they get a scholarship.  That's been true for Glasgow every year so far.


January 30th, 2016 at 12:09 PM ^

That's not true at all. Any coach can tell a walk on that he'll have a guaranteed scholarship next year because the coach will save one for him instead of telling him that he'll have to wait to see if one opens up. I cannot believe and have seen zero credible evidence that Harbaugh sat Glasgow (or Allen) down and did the latter. That's why counting the Allen and Glasgow spots as "open" for this recruiting cycle makes zero sense. They'll have scholarships until someone posts a credible link showing otherwise.


January 28th, 2016 at 7:59 PM ^

The depth chart after spring ball will be very telling. Assuming O'Korn is #1, the battle for 2nd string will probably determine some fates. If Malzone comes out as the top backup I'm sure others will seek opportunities to play elsewhere.

If this is the case, I agree with the poster who believes two QBs are gone.