Recruiting Math: Michigan Coaches Head to Head

Submitted by The Mathlete on March 7th, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Last month on signing day I posted on the top classes looking at how they stacked up down the line, top to bottom. Several people requested a picture of Michigan’s classes and how each of the classes stacked up.

Lloyd Carr


Carr’s classes definitely held their own throughout his final six years at the helm. From 2003-2006 Michigan’s classes were virtually identical through the top 12. 2004 was probably the lightest at the top but showed a tremendous level of depth through the top 20. 2003 was the opposite. Top of the line talent through the top 12 or so and then a fast drop off. 2005 is the most representative class of this range, with 2006 looking very similar to 2003.

Based on the narrative of Carr’s waning interest in recruiting at the end of his career, it looks better than I expected but there is solid evidence that a drop off was real. 2006 was solid at the top but had a poorly rated back half. In 2007 the dropoff occurred much sooner. Ryan Mallett and Donovan Warren were worthy headliners but from there the class was significantly lower rated than the previous Carr classes.

Rich Rodriguez


Of all the debatable aspects of the Rich Rodriguez era, his effectiveness as a recruiter was one of the most clear cut cases against him. 2008 and 2009 were very similar classes, but both were significantly below the Carr standard. Of the top 20 rated Michigan recruits from 2002-2010, only two RichRod recruits made the list. Darryl Stonum in 2008 and Will Campbell in 2009 came in at #18 and #19, respectively.

By the time the 2010 class signed, the pressure on the program was immense and the uncertainty produced a class significantly below anything in the internet era.

Brady Hoke


For all the ugliness of the 2010 class, the transition class was even worse. Justice Hayes was the most highly regarded in that class, and he didn’t even crack the top 50 of the prior 9 years. The transition class quickly became ancient history. Six players from 2012 would have been the highest rated for the 2011 class. From there things only got better. Last month Brady Hoke signed the highest rated player to the program since Ryan Mallett in 2007 and the class was across the board a step up from the already outstanding 2012 class.

The latest class is still in its infancy Michigan has received commitments from three players who are currently rated at levels consistent with the back half of the Top 10 of last year’s class.

Head to Head

Like any good recruiting battle, you have to be able to win the head to head matchups to take home the top spot.


Average recruit by Nth position

Hoke’s three year average is strikingly similar to Rodriguez’s low standard. However, when you remove the transition year things jump up considerably. Carr still holds the edge at the top range. Whether that is a reflection of Hoke versus Carr or just the emergence of the SEC that Carr came before, the top end is owned by Carr. The theme that seems to come through with Hoke’s classes so far, is their depth. Michigan’s 2013 class was one of the deepest in the country. When compared with very strong classes from Lloyd Carr, there is a clear separation from Hoke’s last two classes at from the tenth spot forward.


The Wagon

March 7th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

Does 90 points in 2002 mean the same thing as 90 points in 2012?

Also, what happened in 2002 that Carr's class was so much weaker than all of the other years?


March 8th, 2013 at 12:33 AM ^

It started with Grbac (and you could probably say Harbaugh even though Taylor and Brown were between Grbac and Harbaugh), but Moeller and Carr had really developed the QB position at UM.  At least on this graph Henne, Guttierez and Mallet were all highly ranked QB recruits.  I think both Kelvin Grady and Kelly Baraka were both pretty highly rated as running back recruits.  I'm sure there were others (Manningham) but those are the ones that I remember.


March 7th, 2013 at 6:49 PM ^

I'm an accountant, but I can only comprehend the graphs you ' put up on this about 50% of the time. This made more and more sense to my simple brain as I saw the subsequent examples. Hoke's depth in the middle can clearly be seen and felt I think by us observers. I'm sure we all feel and hope that Hoke (and Mattison) have dime Beilein magic with average players and are now getting more elite talent that will make Michigan national contenders soon.


March 7th, 2013 at 7:37 PM ^

My question is how do you accout for the fact that there are more recruiting services as the years have gone on?  I ask because ESPN didn't start ranking until 2006 according to their database I can find, and 247 is relatively new as well.  So back in 2002 and the early years, you've only got 2 services ranking recruits, but in 2012 you now have 4 data points to take into account. 

I'm currently thinking of Derrick Green who was top 10 to both Rivals and Scout who would have, I'm guessing?, put him up in the 90 area with Prescott Burgess.  But instead 247 ranks him in the 60's or something and ESPN in the 30's, and now he's just 80 in your scoring.  On the same token, could the more evaluations and data points cause the general higher average around the middle recruits?  Kind of a 'regression to the mean' thing were one bad evaluation can't devalue a player in the point system so much.

Decatur Jack

March 7th, 2013 at 8:00 PM ^

In 2011 Hoke had just been hired and was scrambling to salvage the recruiting class and fill what needs he could. In hindsight I don't think it's fair to call that one the worst recruiting class in nine years given the circumstances.

By comparison, 2010 is much worse because Rodriguez was multiple years into his career as Michigan's head coach. It's one thing to have some recruiting fall-off when you've literally been hired six weeks prior to signing day, and it's another when you've had all offseason to get the recruits you've been targeting.

Section 1

March 8th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

I think the 2010 and 2011 classes (two different coaches) were alike in one important aspect; those kids' recruiting periods and decision-making was ongoing at the very time that Michigan's football program was being hammered in the press and being investigated by the NCAA.  Those kids were impressionable high school sophomres and juniors at the time.

That is the central feature, and the common thread between two different coaching staffs.

And it is supported by the personal narrative, at least in the form of John U. Bacon's chronicling of the period.  In which Rodriguez (and others) quietly conceded to insiders that the Stretchgate controversy cost Michigan significant numbers of high-level recruits.

This is yet another reason to excoriate one Michael Rosenberg and his former employer, a certain newspaper in the city of Detroit.  Rosenberg hurt the program.  It is enough that any sentient Michigan fan ought to hate Rosenberg's guts, irrespective of how comfortable we've become with Brady Hoke.  (And I'd count myself as one who is "comfortable" with Brady Hoke.)


March 7th, 2013 at 8:58 PM ^

have much of a choice with the RR regime based on 2010 and 2011.

I know there were a lot of factors that hurt our recruiting (rumors of firing, internal turmoil, etc), so the "blame" gets spread widely.

However, we were clearly headed to talent purgatory and it will likely limit our ceiling for another year or two. Hats off to Hoke for recruiting a lot of depth to rebuild the roster as quickly as possible.


March 7th, 2013 at 9:48 PM ^

(or thinking I remember) making one of my first posts here about how Lloyd's average 8.5-9 wins a year were going to look mighty good when the roll was called up yonder.

Does 'losing interest in recruiting' really cover all that was going on there during his last year? You might give the average annual rank of all recruits as another way to compare. 


March 8th, 2013 at 12:28 AM ^

This has been debated to death, but I think the issue wasn't so much that Carr simply stopped recruiting, but that his classes (and his teams) were hitting a bit of a ceiling while other teams were passing them.  RR was a bad hire, but the attempt to shake things up wasn't a bad decision. 

I also tend to think that certain programs like UM get a recruit "bump" so that their classes look better on paper than they may actually be.  Nothing major, but the difference between the 20th-ranked class and the 10th-ranked class is probably a couple of stars distributed over an entire class.


March 7th, 2013 at 11:11 PM ^

Math is meaningless.  Hoke laughs at math.  Mattison barks at math and it blitzes for a 10 yard loss.  Meechigan.  I'm geeked for spring football.

G Money

March 7th, 2013 at 11:52 PM ^

...The most important thing is that the low end of the graph is BY FAR, the least meaningful part of the graph.

If you are interested in winning Championships (Michigan pre-2008, post-2010), you have to have quality 4 and 5 star players.

EVERY great team will "fill out" (not insult intended) with 3 star players for half the team.

It's the upper half of the recruits that should be focused on. Dramatically.

Indiana Blue

March 8th, 2013 at 9:02 AM ^

is that FACT that this coaching staff is FAR SUPERIOR in developing the fundamentals of football in these players.   Anybody want to compare Greg to GERG ?   Hoke is building a foundation (read O-line and D-front 7) that will provide the basis for a these new recruits to be FAR more successful than previous coaching regimes (including Carr in the later years).  IMO Carr's offensive coordinators in the latter years were the limiting the talent ... I pray I am not saying this 5 years from now (though Al ... does leave me with a lot of head scratching, ugh).

Go Blue!


March 8th, 2013 at 10:39 AM ^

Much of the difference at the top could have to do with Carr taking over a long time successful program as an assistant with all the recruiting infrastructure, system and recruits in place.  i.e the recruits were familiar with the coaches and what scheme would be used.  Hoke  took over for a program that was obviously in decline and great turmoil, with a different staff and new system. All things that my be hard for a top recruit to ignore.


March 9th, 2013 at 1:21 AM ^

I am much more interested in the attrition that Rodriguez experienced compared to the others because in my view that was his downfall more than anything else. Quickly off the top of my head Sam McGuffie, Demar Dorsey, Boubakar Cissoko are three of the surprisingly large amount that Rodriguez seemed to have when I was scannin the recruiting rankings on Rivals one day.

I think most people know (yet like to forget) how well Lloyd Carr recruited but think that what he did with the talent through his game plan cost us wins more than we would have liked. Explosive players yet conservative calls on both offense and defense. Dislike.


March 9th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

This is not (repeat not) an attempt to revive the RichRod wars -- that said, I wonder what the 2010 class would be have been like if RichRod had stayed.  As I recall, we lost Dee Hart and Jake Fisher (not sure if we definitely had him) after RichRod was fired, and it seems like there were a couple of others in that.  Wasn't Hart the highest ranked player RichRod recruited?  In any case, I know that there's no way of knowing what would have happened, but that said I think it's a bit unfair to both Hoke and RichRod to include 2010 without an asterix.