BBrown: Predicting Commitments

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 5th, 2013 at 10:21 AM

With the recent visit cancellation by JuJu Smith, I started thinking about how his decision didn't surprise me much. It's no secret that Cali kids are tough to even get to Ann Arbor, and near impossible to sign, but a lot of people had hopes for JuJu. Yeah his name had always been thrown around as a potential target but I never really got that vibe and I'll attempt to explain why.

In actively covering recruiting for 2 years now, I have noticed a pretty accurate way of determining whether Michigan will land a kid or not.

Usually if a kid is really receptive to me and responds back in a timely fashion all the time, and even reaches out to me, that has been a very good sign that he will choose Michigan or at least be legitimately interested throughout the process. (i.e. Chase Winovich, Drake Harris, Michael Ferns, Derrick Green, Moe Ways, etc.) All of those guys talked to me very openly and regularly and obviously we know their decisions.

On the flip side, kids that I've had a very hard time getting responses from, or kids that don't seem to have much to say, usually don't have much interest in Michigan and ultimately end up committing elsewhere, or keep Michigan hanging on, but never really have intentions of going there. (i.e. Leon McQuay, Ty Isaac, JuJu Smith, Marshon Lattimore, Laquon Treadwell.)

I do realize that McQuay, Isaac, and Treadwell all seemed to have very legitmate interest in Michigan, but I was never able to get much from them, IF I was even able to get in touch with them at all, which always gave me the vibe that they would commit elsewhere.

This is not a bulletproof theory by any means, but it has been pretty true to date. If you are curious about a recruit I'd be happy to try and respond with my "vibe" at this point in time. Just a thought I had while reading the JuJu thread.


King Douche Ornery

November 5th, 2013 at 12:11 PM ^

You don't really know about the last two interesting prospects with whom Michigan has a legitimate chance to land.

After reading this thread, I get the idea you don't really "cover" recruiting so much as you try to scan the nets and then guess.


November 5th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

Brandon: Thanks for your work here on the blog and posting something like this (which is very cool and I dont remember ever seeing before) where you take a Q & A on individual recruits and make actual predictions.  

FWIW it seems to me like you've taken more crap than anybody not on the coaching staff on this site and for the life of me I dont know why.

Much appreciated-keep up the good work!


November 5th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

That is me (taken at the Tiki bar at Put-in-Bay on my birthday this year).  And the other pic is of us and the kids taken a couple of years ago around Christmas.

Thanks for the nice words on the site.  She works very hard at it (completely non-commercialized) and does it simply to try and help people get and stay healthy.


November 5th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

The contact with recruits these days is a change from even a decade ago. It parallels the rise of social media, which is here to stay, even as it changes. So there's no reason to freak out if there is a learning curve -- you and Tom and the like are shaping things to come. You seem like you have a unique angle of approach, so keep on going. 

General observations like this are interesting, even with your small two-year data set. Three years from now I hope you will step back and give us a more nuanced impression of this phenomenom over a full five-year Michigan recruiting cycle.

Mr. Yost

November 5th, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

What about a guy like Parker Westphall?

We don't consider him as an option anymore, but what happened?

Also, what are your thoughts on other guys it seems Michigan is recruiting (Ballage, Glenville kids, etc.) at least somewhat heavily.


November 5th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

Would be if you could do follow up interviews with players once they have commited.  Assuming that players are ok (i.e. you ask permission) I'd love to hear about why they specifically chose Michigan over other schools, or the opposite.  I get the normal "good academics" and I get that sometimes it's something that can really be described, but... I'm sure sometimes it can be one thing.

For example: "After talking with Michigan Offeree X, I feel that he chose School X because it was too important for the players family to watch him play every Saturday in person".


"Player X said flat out that he thought Coach X at the other school spent more time with his players and prepares them better for the NFL".

Afterthoughts are something that I think people on this board would really enjoy.

Brandon Brown

November 5th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

I don't think talking to = commitment, but it makes me feel like there is a more realistic chance. So far in the 2015 class I have gotten a good vibe from the following:

Jacques Patrick, Brian Cole, Iman Marshall, Terry Beckner Jr., Jashon Cornell, Hjalte Froholdt, Jerome Baker Jr., Justin Hilliard, Sterling Jenkins, Tanner Muse, Devonaire Clarington, TJ Wheatley Jr.

I want to go on the record and say that there are already some names on that list I'd call long shots at best, but of the offered 2015 prospects those guys have all been very receptive to me thus far. It's still quite early for 2015's and they know the drill, don't burn bridges early, but those guys have given me a bit of a vibe so far.


November 5th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned too much before. It seems like almost every time Tom was wrong the last 4 years or so it also coincided with the recruit not talking to Tom leading up to the announcement. I think once a recruit has legitimately decided he is not interested in a team anymore or knows where he is going there really is no reason to continue the dialogue with gurus for said team.



November 6th, 2013 at 7:55 AM ^

for the punishment you get and will continue to get in the furure from people who not only look a gift horse in the mouth they put their whole head in. Here's to wishing horses were carnivores, and hoping they get confused on which head I was talking about.


November 6th, 2013 at 8:42 AM ^

Brandon - can you go into any more detail on Cornell?  He's obviously one of the top D-lineman in the class and from my home state of MN.  Really love to see him go blue but Crystal Ball has him leaning ND, followed by Umich and then FL