247: Michigan has #2 Linebacker Class

Submitted by BiSB on June 28th, 2011 at 4:57 PM

24/7 did a write-up of the top ten current linebacker classes for 2012. Michigan came in 2nd behind Alabama and ahead of Texas, USC, and Florida.  There were no other Big Ten teams in the top 10:

2. Michigan
When putting together a good group of linebackers, it doesn’t hurt to have two of the best in the nation in your back yard. That is the case with Michigan and its instate commits of James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone, both in-state prospects and both members of the Top247. As an added bonus, Michigan’s other two elite linebacker commits are out of rival Ohio State’s backyard. COMMITMENTS: James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Joe Bolden, Kaleb Ringer


Hoke/Mattison Uber Alles.

(H/T to new user Sean Connery)





June 28th, 2011 at 8:35 PM ^

Demens - 4 star

Fitzgerald - 4 star

Hill - 4 star

Witherspoon - 4 star

Bell - 3 star

Jones - 3 star

Hawthorne - 3 star

Kinard - 3 star

Robinson - 4 star

Rodgers - 3 star

Ryan - 3 star

Unless you are suggesting we know anything about the guys who have just set foot on campus. Also, since the last 3 years of LB recruits are the only ones on the team right now, I am sure they love hearing how bad they are. Also, fuck you. Seriously, I sometimes wonder if people realize that when they tell the board how shitty the recruiting has been the last 3 years, they are basically calling the team shit as those guys make up 99% of our team right now.


June 28th, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

Hill, Kinard and Witherspoon are no longer on the team, and Bell has not developed.  I believe Rodgers is not on the team either.  I say this because without being on the team they are unable to contribute in helping the team win anymore.  I believe he meant that the last 3 year's LB class is shitty compared to what Carr was bringing in.  Yes, Carr brought in some 3 star LBs, but they were high ranked at their positions.  I personally judge a kids talent (before he sets on the field) the stars, then because the 3 stars are the most abundant I look at where they are ranked at their position.  Ryan, Rodgers, Kinard, Hawthorne and Jones were ranked (I believe) in the top 30 at their positions by some recruiting experts, but not by most.  It is basically how they develop themselves and how much the coaches are helping in their development.  This is just my opinion.


June 28th, 2011 at 10:33 PM ^

RR recruited 1 four star and 8 three star LBers

Hoke has recruited 3 four star and 2 three star LBers

I wasn't even counting Cam Gordon, who wasn't recruited as a LBer but I can see him, as he is only a redshirt sophomore, becoming one of the better LBers in the B10 and getting drafted. So, minus Cam, out of all the LBers both RR and Hoke have recruited, a third of them haven't become seniors in high school and a third of them have just arrived on campus, never having set foot on the field as a member of the Michigan Football team. For the OP to say that this LBer class is "way better than the horseshit that has been our LBer classes the last 3 years" is not only ignorant but....well, its just plain ignorant.


June 29th, 2011 at 9:16 AM ^

Like I said "try" WR. I don't disagree that RR seemed to not know where most of his defenders potential truly was and would frequently (and several times poorly) move guys around to fill holes or talent deficiencies. This was the astounding part about RR. But I also remember lots of chatter on the recruiting of Gordon indicated he was being recruited as a LB and the coaching staff held off on him for a while since his position was WR and he wanted to play there. He seems like a less heralded Kris Frost.


June 29th, 2011 at 9:23 AM ^

Check Brian's hello post for him; it highlights the positional ambiguiety:

"That positional uncertainty was an early theme of Gordon's recruitment: reports from Michigan's summer camp were that the staff really liked him… as a linebacker. Gordon has made it clear he wants to play wide receiver. Thus a significant delay in Michigan's offer."

Allan Trieu would have prefered him at LB. And later down the post Gordon says the staff will try him for both sides of the ball, but then says that if it is best for his team then he will move to defense.


June 29th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

Oh, I'm well aware of the ambiguity.  All I'm saying is that if they actually recruited him as a linebacker, then it doesn't make sense that the first place they would move him after WR is FS.  Which completely effed up our defense, since he was horribly out of his element back there.


June 29th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

Gordon even says in the Hello post something along the lines that the coaches see him as a LB/FS type. Clearly the coaches thought he had a higher ceiling on defense, but once again the coaches didn't seem to know exactly how to play or position some of their recruits. You are right that it was quite disheartening to see RR and Gerg flailing about shuffling kids around the LB and safety spots. I always understood the desire to have quicker more coverage oriented linbackers, but the coaches never seemed to fully grasp which kids should play where and how the positions (Spur/Bandit whatever) would work.


June 29th, 2011 at 7:11 AM ^

Recruiting encompasses many things, not least of which is identifying players who can be successfully developed.

Demens (who could be a star) and Fitzgerald (who's a decent backup) both committed to Lloyd Carr, so Rodriguez shouldn't be credited for recruiting either.  Witherspoon committed to Carr, too, and obviously didn't make it at Michigan or Rutgers, so Rodriguez shouldn't be dinged for him.

Taylor Hill never made it to campus and isn't even playing at Youngstown State anymore, I don't think.  Davion Rogers didn't qualify and is at YSU now.  Kinard didn't qualify.  Those were not recruiting successes.

Bell, Hawthorne, and Jones have been buried on the bench, injured, or both.  The jury's still out on them, but it's not looking particularly good for the first two...and I'm not that high on Jones going forward, but at least he has a chance.

(Marvin) Robinson is a safety, so he shouldn't be included in LB recruiting.

That leaves Jake Ryan as Rodriguez' only potential success at the linebacker position.  Hell, let's throw Cam Gordon in there, too, even though Rodriguez had no f-ing clue what to do with him.  Assuming both those guys do good things, that's 2/8 Rodriguez linebacker recruits who turn out to be good players, with a possible #3 in Mike Jones.  That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for Rodriguez' skills at identifying talent.

I'm guessing a lot of guys on this here message board could randomly pick a couple 4-stars and several 3-stars and get a success rate on par with what Rodriguez did.


June 29th, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

Yes, but external factors can also explain the lower than usual Michigan hauls. Missing out on targets like Thomas and others definitely made the recruiting classes weaker. How much of that was general negativity around the program/RR always on hotseat, RRs lack of focus in Michigan and Ohio, or other random/dirty recruiting issues will never really be known. Nonetheless, there was a certain lacking to RRs recruiting on defense, that even when he brought highly touted players in, they didn't/haven't panned out. Sidenote, I remember Cam Gordon being recuited to play LB or defense, but he wanted to be a WR, so the staff told him he could "try" WR.

ND Sux

June 29th, 2011 at 10:19 AM ^

it is astounding how quickly the Hoke/RR & Carr/RR comparisons start, and they sometimes go up in flames.  Seems the discussions are at least a bit more civil lately though. 



June 28th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

I know I'm new to following recruiting the way I do but you look at our defensive recruits this year and it looks very solid basically they recruited an entire defence with some added depth and all seem very solid recruits, if even 2/3s pan out and are quality starters by there junior year thats quite the hall.  hell 2015 could be an insane year for us.  DG in his Sensior year behind a vetrean OL.  A defence that shouldn't in theory have to start a single underclassman unless they deserve to be there which seems to be a new concept as of late lol.


June 28th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

I'm surprised theres no mention of Mario. Lots of sources seem to indicate he could be a very good OLB, even though he was recruited as a DE.


June 28th, 2011 at 6:49 PM ^

247sports considers him a WDE.  To be honest with you I have no idea where he is going to play once he gets here.  He still has lots of time to beef up, but at the moment he is listed a 215lbs.  He might become the SLB is our 3-4 under scheme, but I'm not sure if he has the athleticism to be able to run with tight ends. 


June 28th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

We've got 7 guys in their top 247.  We also have a chance with a ton more.  I'm surprised that Wayne Morgan is so high up in their rankings.  He's a top 50 player on their site.  


June 28th, 2011 at 5:41 PM ^

I really think Wayne Morgan will be a player, I was sad that it didnt work out with him.

As a side note, 247 seems to be a decent site but why do they show DGB having "warm" interest in Michigan and don't have Michigan among the 20-something schools that Andrus Peat has listed interest in. I'm obviously a recruiting outsider but hasnt Peat shown a lot more interest than DGB ever has?


June 28th, 2011 at 6:45 PM ^

I was also sad.  I think Michigan just wanted a bigger db to compliment Richardson.  Someone over 6ft.  Nothing against Wayne Morgan.  I'm sure he will do well wherever he ends up.

As far as 247 goes, they are the smallest of the recruiting services.  I'm not sure if they have someone just focused on the midwest or what.  They seem to be a little slow with certain things.  Things like Peat.


June 28th, 2011 at 5:51 PM ^

247 may want to keep in mind that our 2011 LB class was excellent as well. I don't know what needs and players that Alabama had going into this recruiting season, but we were recruiting LBs based on last year's outstanding LB haul. I doubt that anyone has a better two year LB crop than Michigan . . . 

M2 in A2

June 28th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

Willingham's decision to commit to UCF I believe had a lot to do with the depth we already had at LB in the class and he wasn't that highly ranked regardless. 

Kris Frost most likely wasn't happy with the coaching situation and the fact that Auburn was a top team definitely had a lot to do with him choosing them over us.


June 28th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

The folks at Scout call them two four stars and a three star. Maybe you think two fours and a three is only decent, I'll stick with my assessment that it's well above that. Combine it with this year's haul, and I am going to say that is a pretty amazing two year LB class.

Too bad about Frost, but we could also dwell on Dee Hart or whatever. Still a nice salvage job by Hoke of last year's class when things were starting to look pretty grim.


June 28th, 2011 at 8:09 PM ^

It's only decent compared to top-tier programs. For teams like USC, Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida, two fours and a three are only decent. I guess I should note that their offer sheets weren't tremendous too, but I'm going to say that it's probably not as good as you think it is. As for this year's 2012 LB class, I'd be a little surprised if we fell out of the top five nationally. It's a great class.


June 28th, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

I see your point about top tier programs, but I'll go out on a limb and say not too many programs that have 15 wins in the last three years combined got that kind of a LB corps, either year. I don't want to fawn too much, but Hoke's recruiting both years has been pretty amazing. Ok, I just started fawning . . . .

We'll be back to that top tier soon enough though at this rate . . . .