Any chance RR and Co. get in the good graces of Detroit PSL schools?

Submitted by marlon on February 5th, 2010 at 11:50 PM

Just looking at the prospects coming out of Detroit PSL schools, it's hard to believe how many elite players in Michigan's own back yard have spurned the maize and blue for "greener" pastures. What's more disheartening, though, is that most of those prospects play at positions of need. This year alone, William Gholston (5-star DE, Southeastern HS) and Mylan Hicks (4-star CB, Renaissance HS) committed to MSU; last year, it was Chris Norman (4-star SLB, Renaissance HS); and two years ago, it was Fred Smith (4-star WR, Southeastern HS).

In 2011, Lawrence Thomas (4 to 5-star MLB, Renaissance HS) projects to be one of the top players in the state, not to mention in the country. But Thomas goes to a school that hasn't sent a player to Michigan since Carson Butler and Andre Criswell committed way back in 2005, and neither of those two were highly sought-after recruits like Gholston, Hicks, Norman, and Smith. There is obviously some rift between the coaches at Southeastern and Renaissance and the football program at Michigan; I've seen rumblings about it on this board in the past. The situation has been likened to the relationship Michigan has with Glenville HS in Ohio, though I've seen fewer details about the history of the bad blood between Michigan and the in-state schools.

The point here is that Michigan's fate is closely tied to its ability to get Detroit's best players on board. Michigan simply can't afford to be losing the state's best recruits to MSU and expect to be a perennial BCS contender, and it's a hell of a lot easier to convince a big-time prospect like Gholston or Norman to come to your school when he lives an hour away, than it is to snake oil a top recruit from Texas, Florida, or California. With RR just beginning to recruit his fourth (third-and-a-half) class at Michigan the obvious questions are what is being done to repair the damaged relationship between Michigan and Southeastern/Renaissance, and does Michigan have any chance at landing Thomas next year or any top recruit from those schools in the near future?



February 6th, 2010 at 12:11 AM ^

Once we start beating MSU on a regular basis(2010), it will be a lot easier to pull these players. I also mentioned the Larry Foote connection that we will have in a couple years.


February 6th, 2010 at 4:19 AM ^

I'm not sure a State Championship at King would be considered irrelevant. Not to mention the talent that is coming out of the city. I admit the best football isn't played in the PSL, but irrelevant is not the word I would use when referring to the talent that is coming out of Detroit!


February 6th, 2010 at 12:56 AM ^

RR has shown himself to be capable of pulling top talent out of Cal, Texas, and Florida. If he can continue to get the same level of talent without having to go against a severe recruiting deficit the lies of Southeastern and Renaissance, then why should he?


February 6th, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

...State is only one game out of 12 or 13 every year, and Michigan State being successful at recruiting doesn't mean Michigan is failing. We need to beat MSU every year, but we don't need to change our recruiting policy just to spite them. After all, Coach Rodriguez was brough in to make us more competitive on the National level, not within the boundaries of the only state shaped like a mitten.


February 6th, 2010 at 1:40 AM ^

Because Detroit PSL has produced several cream-of-the-crop players on defense right in Michigan's back yard. We're not talking about the 34th best cornerback, or the 29th best safety: Gholston was the 4th best DE in the nation; Hicks was the 10th best CB; Norman was the 8th best SLB (according to Scout, at least). Every single one of those kids could have gone to top Division-1 schools out of state, but none of them did; they all went to Michigan State. Of course, it's entirely possible that they all had no interest in going to Michigan; but given what I've read about the relationship between PSL coaches and the Michigan football program, that was not likely the case. Instead, the likely reason they chose Michigan State (again, given what I've read) is that their coaches steered them to East Lansing and away from Ann Arbor.

If you accept the proposition that in-state schools have an inherent advantage when recruiting in-state talent, then it only makes sense to have good relations with the in-state schools producing the best players, because the chances of landing those top players are better than landing a similarly talented player from out of state. If Michigan could re-establish relations with the likes of Southeastern and Renaissance, then RR would at least have a realistic shot at some of the state's best talent.

Blue Palasky_68

February 6th, 2010 at 10:47 AM ^

And how long has it been since msu had a better class than U of M? I've said this numerous times, I would rather be a national recruiting power than just rely on instate talent. What has the PSL done for msu? Plus I think Cass Tech is pretty pretty much a Michigan feeder, other than the kids we have have cooled on this last year.


February 6th, 2010 at 1:37 AM ^

If Thomas is smart, he'll consider all of the schools that are offering him and not make a choice purely off of what his coach is saying.

In terms of Rodriguez's ability to recruit Southeastern and Renaissance, well, that requires mature and respectable high school head coaching. We'll see if that comes out of either of those two schools in the near future.


February 6th, 2010 at 1:58 AM ^

Kids are ultimately going to go where they want to go and where they feel the most comfort. I'm sure the high school coach plays a role in helping shape their direction, but I truly believe that the student-athletes and their immediate families make the ultimate decision.

In the year 2010, it is almost as easy to get a kid from 2,000 miles away as it is to get one right down the street. It has nothing to do with effort on the part of the coaches. Not every soul in the state of Michigan is going to be a UM fan. I am sure that the coaches try to as many good players as possible to wear the winged helmet. I also am quite certain that RR does everything possible to maintain a good relationship with several HS coaches. You can't please everyone all of the time.

I would just relax and enjoy the ones who want to play for the Leaders and Best


February 6th, 2010 at 2:29 AM ^

I count about 5 over last 3 classes. Not that many. While recruiting MI is important, I'm pleased with RR's focus and recent successes on Ohio, PA and FL too. I don't think Detroit is being ignored by RR, but the negativity in the local media and the lack of wins thus far perhaps makes negative recruiting more effective in Detroit?


February 6th, 2010 at 2:59 AM ^

Another school I would like to see UM recruit better is Saginaw High. We got Lamarr Woodley of course and Shonte Peoples back in the '90s, but we've missed a lot of studs from there on both FB and hoops (Charles Rogers and Jason Richardson most prominently). DeAnthony Arnett looks like he will be the next big-time recruit out of Saginaw High; hopefully UM can land him in 2011 and get the pipeline flowing in our direction again.


February 6th, 2010 at 8:19 AM ^

Nobody gets everybody they want. That's why coaches float over a hundred offers ever year to get a class of twenty to twenty-five. Michigan has their "feeder schools" and MSU has their "feeder schools." Southeastern and Renaissance won't make or break any UM class.

RR said it best: if they can play, it doesn't matter where they come from.


February 6th, 2010 at 8:52 AM ^

There is a lot of untapped talent in Michigan that could very well rival Ohio if developed correctly. Pontiac, the Detroit PSL's, and other areas don't seem to have good coaching or the facilities to help them reach their full potential. Maybe one day.


February 6th, 2010 at 10:32 AM ^

I think the PSL is in the 10th year of some sort of youth development football thingy, and just now we are seeing more players who have been developed coming of age. The PSL will only get better (more knowlegable posters an chime in on this subject). And it's not just a lack of money and coaching in the PSL (or Michigan, FTM), it's that the MHSAA is horribly user NOT friendly. In other states spring practices are allowed (and obviously weather plays into it a bit), and football is more of a way of life.

I agree with the OP that Michigan would be much better off snagging most, if not all, of the top stars in Michigan. No one is saying you HAVE to rely on Michigan, but getting big names in your own back yard and also stocking your roster with depth guys who will tick around for 4-5 years ALONG with the national presence is what I'd like to see.

And, uh, before we crown Rodriguez the next best thing since the padded toilet seat, let's see how his "successes" in Ohio and eltswhere pan out, please.


February 6th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

Impossible to say what the exact effect will be until it plays out but Enos was State's ace Detroit recruiter. The Detroit PSL produces a number of elite athletes, they just tend to be incredibly raw and often don't really produce results concurrent with their talent until their junior and senior years. This isn't necessarily the coaching at fault either, like a previous poster mentioned, the MHSAA seems to do their best to stunt football player's development.


February 6th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

I'd rather see the coaches continue building their relationships in Ohio. The program is doing fine in state. No worries here. But, keep bring more kids from o-h-i-o on up.


February 6th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

If Michigan goes 8-4 and beats MSU they will get him (add Depriest in at 9-3 and a win over OSU). Michigan has to show that they are legitimately improving and on the rise for them to be able to get guys like Thomas, Depriest, etc.


February 6th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

Look at the 2011 class.. Michigan is already off to a fast start and has been hitting in-state products hard. I think you're going to see more PSL products as the years go on..


February 6th, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

It would be nice to get players who've wanted to play for Michigan their whole lives and intimately know the OSU rivalry. What I mean is that I want those kids who have a lifelong hatred for the Bucks. Tressel does a good job cranking up that hatred with his players, and hopefully, that will happen with RR and Co.


February 6th, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

The pipelines have always been Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, etc...Support players coming from Michigan and the surrounding midwest.

Now were going after Florida and some of the southeast. I'm sure the coaches want local kids but they want the best from everywhere.

Only one thing trumps all and that is winning football games. Michigan wins 80% of its games over the next 5 years and over the next 15 years every Michigan kid will want to live in AA.


February 7th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

California isn't exactly a pipeline to Michigan.

We got zero players from California this year. We've only gotten a few in the past couple recruiting classes, and a couple of those guys have already transferred (Babb, Horn).

Don't get me wrong - we've had some solid contributors from California (Brady, Forcier, Warren), but it's not exactly a pipeline.