Blake Countess Picked Michigan for Michigan

Submitted by MGoShoe on December 18th, 2010 at 11:31 PM

Does the coaching uncertainty have a negative impact on some recruits? Sure it does. But when Blake Countess committed to Michigan earlier this week, he joined Desmond Morgan as two recruits who clearly were looking beyond the coaching staff.  And now we have this article from the Baltimore Sun's recruiting reporter, Matt Bracken in which Countess confirms that his choice was all about Michigan, as in the University of Michigan. 

The main criterion for the four-star prospect and Reisterstown resident was simple.  “I was looking for a school with a degree that meant something,” Countess said Saturday. “Michigan was always on my list. [Wolverines wide receivers] coach [Tony] Dews told me he was going to keep pushing for me to get an offer from the coaching staff. It finally came midseason. They wanted to see some senior tape. But it finally came around midseason, and that's all she wrote.”

"Nobody really knows if [Rodriguez is] going to be there next year or not, but going into this process, [I knew] college football coaches come and go. That's just how it works. My dad told me whenever I got a new offer that I should pick a school based on where I'd want to be if I wasn't playing football. [He said], ‘That's where you're going to be happiest.' With Michigan, I'm hoping Coach Rod is going to be there. If not, I picked a school that I like no matter what.”

The article contains the same video that appears in Tim's "Hello" post, but here you are just the same.



December 18th, 2010 at 11:34 PM ^

It is tough to make mature decisions as a 17/18 year old. This kid did so with the spotlight beaming directly on him, well done. I hope this headiness is a sign of things to come.


December 18th, 2010 at 11:50 PM ^

I hope that he recruits for us too. We are so thin at this position and to here quotes from a 17-18 year old young man really makes you happy to see him in the Maize And Blue!! He reminds me of Ricardo Miller and knowing that he always wanted to come to MICHIGAN and accomplish his dream.


These two young guys will be two of my favorite Wolverines no matter how they perform on the fied because they are class acts on and off the field.



December 19th, 2010 at 1:08 AM ^

Care to explain yourself? The Michigan man "social myth" you denigrate is based on contributions of Michigan Men and Women to society going back to 1817. This includes a President, Men on the moon, (i.e. Space, Bitches, Space), the Google dude, and on and on. When a Michigan Man or Woman is employed at my company, I know they are better prepared than their peers to succeed and flourish. Granted, there is a lot more that goes into the decision making process, but seeing "University of Michigan" on a resume is a great place to start.

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 12:40 AM ^

Also, it has been proven time and time again that most degrees - including a Michigan degree - mean very little in terms of financial achievement when compared to degrees earned from other institutions. Earning a degree is what matters.

A Michigan law degree means something. A doctoral degree from Michigan means something. Frankly, an undergraduate degree from Michigan doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot.

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 12:56 AM ^

That may be true, but it's a truth that is increasingly less apparent. The undergraduate experience is becoming ever-more homogonized as we develop tools which allow the free exchange of ideas.

And, let's be honest with ourselves, very few of these student athletes will get business or engineering degrees. Perhaps some (or many) are smart enough, but college athletics is a full time, year-round job. You can't balance both. Hell, I teach undergraduate comm classes and my student-athletes struggle to find the time to complete their work. It's not that they aren't smart or disciplined enough, but that there aren't enough hours in the day.

I'm not trying to shit on anyone's Michigan degree. But, as a D-1 college athlete, the same doors are going to be opened by the same type of people no matter where you go or what degree you get. In practical utility, a Michigan degree really doesn't mean a whole lot to these kids and we'd all be better off by realizing that THEY realize that.


December 19th, 2010 at 1:37 AM ^

It's all relative. 

I know plenty of people having success with LS&A degrees, but it's really tough for me to say those same people wouldn't have achieved equal levels of success had they attended other schools. An LS&A degree might give you a slight leg up, but it likely isn't as much as people would like to believe(unless the prospective employer is an alum).

However, every person I know with a Michigan undergrad business degree had the opportunity to work on Wall Street if they wanted to. That is simply not available to business grads from every school. M Engineering affords similar opportunities. 


December 19th, 2010 at 2:06 AM ^

I double majored in Poli Sci and History and I work on Wall Street.  And I get compliments on my Michigan degree all the time.   I just noticed, that when I have interviewed, I always get a compliment about my Michigan education.  And I have interviewed in NY and in the SEC country.  Sure, maybe it was not a factor, but I know when I interview people, I don't compliment their education unless they went to an IVY or Cal. 

I also tend to look more favorably at Michigan alums. 

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 2:22 AM ^

I just find the whole idea of shaking someone's dick over the college they atended as sort of bizarre. We all know that dumb people go to good college and smart people go to shitty colleges. Forming a chracter judgement of someone's intelligence based upon this single, less-than-reliable, psuedo-quantifer just seems, idk, misguided.


December 19th, 2010 at 2:44 AM ^

I think you are absolutely right.  I know plenty of smart people who went to lesser schools and dumb people who went to IVY's.  Trust me, I see alot of messed up stuff on Wall Street.  Some of the people who make the most money went to lesser schools and work hard. 

And who says I form a character judgement over their school.  It gives me one basis for my judgement and if I give a compliment about it, it's always at the beginning of the interview.  The school is something that is hard for someone to lie about.  Most of the resume is embellished and I can figure it out after the interview is started.  If they went to a lesser school, then I won't mention a thing.  You want to know why.  It's better to not say anything then to insult them. 

Btw, I hope you noticed the compliment further down in the thread that I gave you before you called me a dick.  I guess I am a dick because I just want people to understand the importance of a Michigan education. 

Not being snarky at all, I thank you for explaining to me and btw, I didn't neg you because you spoke what was on your mind.  Can't fault anyone over that.


Edit : This was my experience and maybe different for others.  I wasn't trying to post my resume.  I just wanted to share my experience. 

Abe Froman

December 19th, 2010 at 1:59 AM ^

You clearly have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about if you remotely consider the University of Florida to offer a comparable undergraduate education as the University of Michigan.

My brother is a UMich alum and has taught at both instituitions, and while he appreciated Florida's talented faculty in some of their graduate programs, he was regularly astonished at the low quality of undergrads in the courses he taught. 

The State of Florida has a absolutely terrible public school system (on average) and it shows each fall when their best and brightest arrive in Gainesville. 


December 19th, 2010 at 1:57 AM ^

i don't know.  You want to know what the first thing the interviewer said to me.  Oh great, you went to Michigan, great school.  I said yes, a bit suprised since he went to Harvard.  Sure, he may have loved my resume.  But, he constantly brought up the quality of education across the board not just B school or engineering.   Guess what, my buddy who went to Texas interviewed a day later, and said the same interviewer never mention anything about schooling.  And guess who got the job.  Our resumes were fairly similar after college.  this was for a large financial firm in NY and was 10 years ago.  Maybe things have changed.  When I went for another interview this year, same thing.  Michigan great school, I want to send my children there.  What school did he go to, Georgetown. 

Sure, there may be other factors.  Sometimes the real world is a little different than academia. 

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 1:37 AM ^……

there's more. and, of course, some contradictory data. however, i should point out, most data that indicates otherwise is specific to countries which aren't as neoliberal in chracter as the US and/or more invested in historical class systems. and, of course, college "quality" in the us is hard to precisly define and measure. yet, it seems that field of study and pyschological chracteristics play a larger role than the metaphysicial symbolism placed upon a school by its brand managers.

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 2:12 AM ^

Michigan is a smart choice. Many other places are also smart choices. The point I'm trying to make is that the "Michigan difference"  - to these kids - isn't that Gerald Ford went to UM or the school's hiostory  or the standing of its law program or how a school's brand is perpetuated in the media. It's the people that oversee their development, the people who challenge them, allocate resources to them, etc. That, to me, is the coaching staff.


December 19th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

Although made abrasively, I agree with most of your arguments.

There's just one issue: you're the one who introduced "michigan man" and "the michigan difference" to Blake's decision. He just said he wants to go to michigan because he thinks he'll be happiest here and satisfied with a michigan degree, not because he wants to be a "michigan man" or part of "the michigan difference."

The "michigan difference" campaign is brilliant marketing though, no?

big gay heart

December 19th, 2010 at 2:09 AM ^

"Comparator" doesn't imply a vis-a-vis comparision between subjective undergraduate aspects of individual universities. It is, instead, a benchmark used to drive faculty payroll, benefits, and facilities planning.  As a large, state University that is (1) the state flagship school and (2) an AAU member, it isn't a stretch to consider UF and UM comparators. In fact, many places do. I can't find whom UM considers comparator insitutions (I go to school/work at the University of Oregon and are pay/benefits planners utilize UM as a comparator). Here are some lists which may give you insight re: how schools define comparators:

The point, I think, is that UF and UT are both good schools with great faculty. Michigan's true strength is its professional programs and hard science doctoral programs. The undergraduate experience has been flattened by commercial aspects which drive the American university system.


December 19th, 2010 at 2:16 AM ^

I agree with you about UF and Texas.  I thought about transferring there for many reasons, one was because they are great schools.   You are definitely more educated than I am, and by that I mean graduate degrees and such.  I just don't think you can sell short a Michigan degree.  I certainly was pleasantly surprised. 

Swayze Howell Sheen

December 19th, 2010 at 9:11 AM ^


i've enjoyed reading your thoughts on this thread, mostly because they at least try to turn convention on its head a bit (the convention being that "going to Michigan" is somehow better than "going to Florida" or something like that).

However, you are wrong. Let me explain.

One big difference, however, in what school you went to as an undergrad, arises when you apply to graduate schools. Having served on a number of different graduate admissions committees, it makes a BIG difference what undergraduate institution you went to. A 4.0 at Michigan, for example, is simply worth a lot more than a 4.0 at Florida. 

Why? Well, simple: the competition. The "better" the perception of the school, the better the student population. And when you do well amongst a good student population, that is a better indicator of how good you are. 

So, is Michigan a "better" place to go than Florida? (I am just using Florida as an example here, not to pick on UF in particular). Well, let's compare the student bodies (this is different, btw, than comparing the "students' bodies", which we'll leave to another post). Average SAT scores of incoming classes for both Michigan and Florida, reported as 25th and 75th percentiles:

25th percentile: 590/640
75th percentile: 690/740

25th percentile: 560/580
75th percentile: 670/690

As you can see, there is a noticeable difference: Michigan students are "better" (at least according to the SAT). Without getting into quibbles about the meaning of standardized tests and all that, I think it is fair to agree that Michigan students, on the whole, are likely to be "smarter" on average; therefore, when you graduate from Michigan, and have done well, it "means more" to those evaluating you. It certainly does during the graduate admissions process (which I've seen first-hand). And I'm sure it does when you're getting hired at a job, too. 

It is important to note that this doesn't mean Person A from Michigan is better than Person B from Florida; of course there are smart people everywhere, that much is obvious. But to say that it doesn't matter at all where you got your degree, well, that is just plain wrong.


December 19th, 2010 at 6:04 AM ^

If you look at the list of schools on the lists you link to, you'll also find Michigan State. Saying that UM and MSU are comparators because they're major state institutions and AAU members doesn't mean, by a long shot, that degrees from both institutions are equally well-regarded. A big reason for this is the makeup of the student body, which is MSU's case is significantly less high-powered than Michigan's.

My source? My brother, who has been a full professor at MSU for almost three decades. He has taught courses in his department at both the undergrad and grad level during that time, and from his first semester on, he has been consistently unimpressed, if not appalled, by the quality of students he's had in general, especially at the undergrad level. He's in routine contact with colleagues at other institutions, including Michigan, so his impressions are also "comparative" with what they tell him about their students. That doesn't mean that a kid can't get a damn good education at MSU, and there are plenty of grads from there who go on to do great things. However, dismissing the notion that a degree from UM is more highly regarded across the world than degrees from places like MSU or UF doesn't change the reality that in fact, it is.


December 19th, 2010 at 9:20 AM ^

Come on gay, Michigan is number one, always has been, always will be. Is the bitterness from there not being enough of, how you say " your people" here. I'm sure there must be a bar down Mich. Ave. somewhere.


December 19th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

aren't we supposed to be celebrating that a recruit came to Michigan because he wanted a Michigan education, rather than bashing Michigan's academics, saying they are indistinguishable between other undergraduate programs? Please save it for another thread, such as one that The Only Colors will almost certainly create. Personally, I'm just happy that Michigan received a high-profile recruit during the Month of CC Threads and Speculation.


December 19th, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

I think the Countess family thought process says a lot about Blake's future off the field.  I've done a lot of volunteer work with high school students.  I almost always walk away impressed in many ways. 

Thinking strategically and realistically about the future is often a tough one to grasp in high school.  It's great to see the way Blake and his family approach the future.  Glad it led them to Michigan!


December 19th, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^

All I know re: the whole degree pissing contest

I just got my undergraduate degree in M Engineering. I'm applying for jobs. If I had gotten it at MSU or UF, I'd be terrified in this economy. Instead, I feel relatively calm.


December 19th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

Maturity!  That is the attitude we need.  His decision is smart.  It should be reinforced with lessons from Florida.  Urban is a perfect example of "coaches come and go".  Even a top level program is susceptible to coaching changes.  You just never know.  Dantonio could have left in an instant.  Urban Meyer left on his own account.  A lot can happen in 4 years.  I wonder what the average tenure is for a coach of a top level program...