CB recruiting - Touch the Banner

Submitted by Braylon1 on August 17th, 2010 at 11:40 PM

"Overall, that's nine potential cornerbacks who are either playing other positions (Michael Williams, Denard Robinson) or no longer on the team. I can't blame Lloyd Carr or Rodriguez for most of those position changes and such. However, the handling of the cases of Adrian Witty, Demar Dorsey, and Conelius Jones should come into question now. Why were those three allowed to sign Letters of Intent if they weren't qualified? At such an important position - and one in such dire need - Rodriguez couldn't afford to hand out scholarships to kids who would never play a down for Michigan. He did anyway. I hope I'm wrong, but this could be a major failure of the Rodriguez regime at Michigan."

-Magnus

I couldn't agree more.

Comments

Suavdaddy

August 17th, 2010 at 11:47 PM ^

Sorry, but you are not in touch with reality.  There is a long line of players who were not qualified before the season started and made it in over the summer during the Lloyd Carr era.  Marques Slocum is just one who did not get in.  There are many who did.  There was a change in standards at the admissions level.

Not to mention that you are overlooking the little small detail that Witty (played at Cincinnati or Louisville last year) and, from what I understand, Dorsey both actually qualified academically.  But those are just details.  Don't bother with those. 

ironman4579

August 17th, 2010 at 11:54 PM ^

Dorsey didn't qualify as far as I know.  As for the Lloyd days, Lloyd was winning games and almost always had at least a decent amount of upperclass talent and depth, so he could afford to take chances on guys that were right on the borderline.  Rod really doesn't have that luxery, especially at a position that was know to be dreadfully thin.

Maize and Blue…

August 18th, 2010 at 7:22 AM ^

Towards the end he had very little in the way of upper class depth and little to none in the secondary.  The switch in O philosophy also led to a one gap in needed D recruiting as RR didn't have players that fit the system.

Reality is Witty was recruited with Denard as part of a package.  Maybe Denard doesn't come to Michigan without the recruitment.  Dorsey is a supreme athlete who everyone was recruiting and also related to Denard and I'm sure Boyd's (DD's HS) advisors were telling RR that evrything was good with DD's transcripts based on his alternative education grades.  Finally, how could RR know JT wasn't going to put in work this summer and then leave?

If any of three things happened this wouldn't be a huge deal- DW stays, JT lives up to his HS rankings, or DD gets accepted.  Unfortunately, none of them did and it's time for someone to step up.

Magnus

August 18th, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

Yes, but if you continue to recruit those players who reside on the edge when you're already in dire need at the position, then that's a problem.  If we recruited a wide receiver or running back or safety who failed to qualify, it wouldn't be as big of a deal.  When it's a cornerback position that has no depth, you need to be assured that the player will qualify.

Also, in my blog post I mentioned that Witty did qualify (and now attends Cincinnati) but was not admitted by Michigan.  That's a failure of communication on Michigan's/Rodriguez's part.

nedved963

August 18th, 2010 at 1:05 AM ^

I'm not sure its such a big deal that he kept the hard-to-qualify ones. He was recruiting others and none of the draft classes have been completely full. If more Cornerbacks had been available, more qualified ones like knight or whoever, he would have taken them. It seems more that he recruited a bunch and for whatever reason some iffy ones came, and some iffy ones toasted the iffy side. He wasn't exclusive on ones who were rough around the edges though, so it's probably more a creature of circumstance, like dislocated ankles.

Magnus

August 18th, 2010 at 1:09 AM ^

I'm not saying he's exclusively recruiting these questionable corners.  I'm saying he can't afford to strike out.  Much like baseball, you need to put the ball in play.  Travis Williams (the cornerback who tried to commit to Michigan but was told to wait) would have been a better addition to the Class of 2010 than Demar Dorsey, in retrospect.  At least Williams would be on campus and practicing at the position, unlike Dorsey.

Magnus

August 18th, 2010 at 1:06 AM ^

It's not a new thing.  But let's say Tate Forcier didn't qualify in 2009.  Wouldn't we have been bemoaning the fact that we had no depth at QB?  Wouldn't it have been better to take, say, a 3-star QB who would almost certainly qualify than a 4-star non-qualifier who would leave us with Nick Sheridan as the starter?

There are times where you can gamble.  There are times where you can't.  Cornerback recruiting at this point can NOT be a gamble.  Our cornerbacks MUST qualify.

BiSB

August 18th, 2010 at 9:16 AM ^

where they needed corner depth and put all of their eggs in a risky basket.  Coming into the summer, they had eight corners on the projected fall roster, including four incoming freshmen and a redshirt freshman.  It wasn't a scenario where they chose Dorsey over some lower rated guys.  They took Dorsey AND the lower rated guys.

Who could have forseen that Dorsey (who passed the clearinghouse, IIRC) +would be given the boot, Turner would spend the summer eating snackycakes and playing World of Warcraft, and Troy Woolfolk would asplode? 

Besides, you're counting other people who were, at one time, slated as possible corners if their original positions didn't pan out. But are you really gonna hold Denard against RichRod?  Was Mike Williams EVER going to play corner?  Was Conelius Jones anything but a flyer at QB?

willywill9

August 17th, 2010 at 11:50 PM ^

I just can't believe how much misfortune Michigan has had in the secondary.  In HTTV mag, Brian said we were paper thin in the secondary (and this was before Turner, and now Woolfolk.)  I'm in shock, hoping this is all one big nightmare.

Monocle Smile

August 17th, 2010 at 11:54 PM ^

to the admissions office, where all letters of intent are passed through. They're the ones who decide who's qualified or not, why did THEY not throw the red flag? Rodriguez's job as far as recruiting goes is to scout kids he thinks will play well at Michigan. It's up to admissions to vet them.

bkewman

August 18th, 2010 at 12:28 AM ^

from what I know from talking to a big ten admissions director who is a good family friend and worked in the admissions office at michigan for many years. The admissions office have no info/say/screening until they are sent the applications. This is bacause they do not have transcripts and scores. She often laughs when I talk to her about great players who have committed to play at schools and says "Hmm havent seen that kids app yet" as far as I know there is no "screening" or "letters of intent" passed through the admissions office at UofM.

Dallas Wolverine

August 17th, 2010 at 11:58 PM ^

Magnus is always right! I have been reading for about the last year and I am now speaking up! There are a handful of people on here that I really listen to and one is Magnus!

BlueCE

August 17th, 2010 at 11:58 PM ^

I don't want our remaining CBs to jump and touch anything, even the banner... please, just stay healthy, I will carry you to class (would that be considered an NCAA violation?)

Braylon1

August 18th, 2010 at 12:08 AM ^

im not going to get in the politics of it all. im not sure 100% sure how things are run within UofM, so im not necessarily placing blame on a particular person over another.

all i know is UM is down 3 DB's in 2 seasons because none of them qualified to get into Michigan.

freshmen or RS freshmen, it doesnt matter. losing young players in 2004 and 2005 is what quietly gutted the Michigan roster going into the 2008 season. now its happening to the CB's. we'll never know whether another 3 scholarship DB's wouldve made an impact at Michigan this early in their careers, but their presence as far as depth would be welcomed.

you better believe another 3 DB's on the roster would help going into the ND game. our CB depth was thin even with Woofolk healthy.

dosleches

August 18th, 2010 at 12:40 AM ^

Eh, I agree.  This one is on RR.  He took gambles on kids with bad grades when we could have had at least run-of-the-mill 3 stars in the vacant spots on our D.

If it paid off we would be awesome right now, but it didn't so now we have a secondary held together with old bubble gum and a ball of lint.

El Jeffe

August 18th, 2010 at 1:35 AM ^

I guess I'm generally in agreement with Magnus on this, except that

  • Two years ago when he was recruiting the class that had JT Turner in it, he also had a 5-star Warren and a high 4-star (is that right?) Cissoko in the fold. 20/20 hindsight and such.
  • Last year he did pick up precisely the kind of 3-star CBs Magnus is advocating; namely, Avery, Johnson, and Talbott, to say nothing of Christian.

I think you have to take a shot at an athlete like Dorsey, even if it means turning off Knight or Grimes. As for Witty, wasn't there some thought he was largely to sweeten the deal for Denard? And then there's Jones.

So fuck. Again, I kind of agree with Magnus, but this was one stone perfect storm (Warren, Cissoko, Dorsey, Woolfolk). I'm not sure blaming RR for putting a few of his eggs in the sketchy basket of Dorsey, Witty, and Jones (who, like, really? He would have been our savior over the guys we actually have?) is totally fair.

Magnus

August 18th, 2010 at 1:41 AM ^

  • But even when Turner came in, the cornerback depth wasn't exceptional.  If Witty or an equivalent had been recruited, we'd have a redshirt freshman CB on the roster right now.  As it is, we have one senior (Rogers), one redshirt sophomore (Floyd), and three freshmen.
  • Carvin Johnson isn't a cornerback.

I agree that it was a perfect storm.  I mean, you don't expect 2 out of your top 3 cornerbacks to disappear within a week.  But it can happen, which is why you need to be prepared ahead of time.

I don't think Jones would have been our savior, but at least he's a body.  He's a guy who could run fast and move somewhat suddenly.  At this point, a body is better than Demar Dorsey.

BigBlue02

August 18th, 2010 at 1:56 AM ^

It is very easy to coach when you can see into the future. Also, if we are saying Jones would have been only a warm body, then why don't we just take some quick offensive guys and put them in the secondary? They can move quickly and I am guessing some of them played a little corner in high school. They would work just as well as true freshman Jones. Hindsight is amazing and all, but we were paper thin in quite a few areas, not just corner back.

BiSB

August 18th, 2010 at 8:19 AM ^

We all seem to agree that this is about as much of a zombie apocalypse as could be expected (please, let this be as bad as it gets).  And yet they still have J.T. Floyd, James Rogers (um... yipee?), and three freshmen, one of whom is very highly touted (Christian) and one of whom has received a lot of praise from the recently hobbled T-Wolf (Avery).

There is obviously a drop-off, but we're not holding student body tryouts to fill out the two-deep.  Like the Russians in WWII, our roster is getting its ass kicked backwards at a fantastic pace, yet they continue to have land to give even if we've run out of most of the non-frozen-rocky-shitty parts.

Don

August 18th, 2010 at 5:41 AM ^

What is your verifiable source for that information?

"Marques Slocum is just one who did not get in."

Slocum eventually DID get in. He just couldn't hack it academically to stay in.

psychomatt

August 18th, 2010 at 7:27 AM ^

The way the Dorsey situation was handled clearly was a f%ck up. Without having all of the facts, it is impossible to know where the breakdown occurred. Either the football program did not provide all the relevant info to admissions when they gave their pre-approval or Dorsey misled everyone about all the shenanigans he was doing to get qualified on or admissions did not make the right assessment the first time around and then changed their decision after the LOI was signed. But I do not buy the UM company line that the process worked properly and these things just happen.

Dorsey had red flags all over the place that called for special handling and if I were the head coach of the UM football team I would have told my staff to do whatever extra they needed to do with a key recruit like this (i.e., close to the highest rated kid in the class, position of great need, obvioius issues with grades and backgound) to make sure there were no surprises. If admissions had been given all the information they needed the first time around and they came back and told the football program and Dorsey exactly what he needed to do to to qualify and Dorsey explained exactly what his plan was for getting it done, then the only question would have been whether his final grades and test scores were high enough.

It is certainly possible that Dorsey just plain lied about how he was going to raise his scores so quickly, but it is also possible that the UM pre-approval process needs to be tightened up for kids close to the line. It is common sense that pre-approval process needs to be much more rigorous for a kid with a questionable criminal past, a 2.2 GPA and offers from Tennessee and Florida as you do for one who is class president, has a 3.8 GPA and is choosing between UM, ND and Stanford. Admissions and the football program should have known about and approved in advance whatever "special steps" Dorsey intended to use to improve his scores or they never should have allowed him to sign the LOI in the first place.

psychomatt

August 18th, 2010 at 7:39 AM ^

The way the Dorsey situation was handled clearly was a f%ck up. Without having all of the facts, it is impossible to know where the breakdown occurred. Either the football program did not provide all the relevant info to admissions when they gave their pre-approval or Dorsey misled everyone about all the shenanigans he was doing to get qualified or admissions did not make the right assessment the first time around and then changed their decision after the LOI was signed. But I do not buy the UM company line that the process worked properly and these things just happen.

Dorsey had red flags all over the place that called for special handling and if I were the head coach of the UM football team I would have told my staff to do whatever extra they needed to do with a key recruit like this (i.e., close to the highest rated kid in the class, position of great need, obvious issues with grades and backgound) to make sure there were no surprises. If admissions had been given all the information they needed the first time around and they came back and told the football program and Dorsey exactly what he needed to do to to qualify and Dorsey explained exactly what his plan was for getting it done, then the only question would have been whether his final grades and test scores were high enough.

It is certainly possible that Dorsey just plain lied about how he was going to raise his scores so quickly, but it is also possible that the UM pre-approval process needs to be tightened up for kids close to the line. It is common sense that the pre-approval process needs to be much more rigorous for a kid with a questionable criminal past, a 2.2 GPA and offers from Tennessee and Florida as it does for one who is class president, has a 3.8 GPA and is choosing between UM, ND and Stanford. Admissions and the football program should have known about and approved in advance whatever "special steps" Dorsey intended to use to improve his scores or they never should have allowed him to sign the LOI in the first place.

BlueGoM

August 18th, 2010 at 7:06 AM ^

That I think ought not be counted.  Was Conelius Jones ever recruited as a DB?  I thought he was penciled in at QB.

As for Denard Robinson,  I remember hearing that a big reason he came to UM was that RichRod told him he'd have a shot at QB.  

Magnus

August 18th, 2010 at 7:40 AM ^

Jones was recruited as an athlete.  He could have ended up on either side of the ball.

Robinson was promised a shot at QB.  But if that didn't work out, he could have moved to cornerback.  I'm not saying he SHOULD be playing cornerback.  I'm just explaining where all the guys who COULD have played cornerback are now.

w2j2

August 18th, 2010 at 7:16 AM ^

Doesn't Tony Gibson, defensive backs coach,  share some responsibility for recruiting these guys who do not make the team ? 

Clarence Beeks

August 18th, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

I don't think it's fair to include Conelius Jones in this discussion, Magnus.  His non-qualification wasn't something that it would have been overly easy for the coaches to foresee.  He didn't qualify because of his core course grades (read: freshman and sophomore year), which made him need a much higher test score to qualify.  The problem with his core course grades was that he wasn't in school for much of the time period when core course grades accumulate (because of something totally non-academic).  From all local accounts, he's actually a really smart kid and did well in school (when he was in school).  Knowing the ins and outs of that type of situation are something I'm sure the coaches will be looking for in the future, but I have a really hard time faulting them not seeing this coming.  If a kid has a good overall GPA, it's kind of strange that they wouldn't have a reasonable core GPA.

jamiemac

August 18th, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

Well, I agree with Magnus to a certain extent. Except the depth on defense has been so bad for so many years that this first wave of Rodriguez recruiting was only going to make the lack of depth more manageable, not solve the issue. I dont know if he, or any coach, would be in position, under these circumstance, to effectively prepare for worst case scenarios. That's just the reality of the roster.

That said, I do think the Dorsey recruitment was very counter productive. And, given his issues trying to get into other schools was probably a mistake to focus so much on him and not other targets. But, we still wouldnt be in a great situation this morning with our starting corners had he targeted somebody else and got him instead, so why point fingers. That's just as counter productive.

Frankly, I'm pretty happy with the CBs in this class--Christian, Avery and Talbott. A kid from Pennsylvania and two from Ohio.  We'll get some play out of those three before its all said and done down the line. So, my Dorsey critique is hardly something I really crucify Rich for because he didnt put all his eggs in that basket. Just all his late eggs as they tried to lock down the final class.

Major roster issues dont get solved overnight or with 1 or 2 recruiting classes. I think he's done a wonderfuil job stocking the program along both lines of scrimmage and really getting the entire offensive side up to snuff after the offensive attrition that hit with his hiring. Clearly, they need to work more on the units within the defensive back-7, but I just dont think we were in position to really have a Plan B in the wake of losing Cissoko, Warren, Turner and Woolfolk in an 8-month span.

E.L. blue fan

August 18th, 2010 at 9:24 AM ^

If you think back to when RR signed the 2009 class this is what the projected depth at corner would of been for this year: Warren (SR), Cissoko (JR), Woolfolk (RS SR) Tuner (SO), Floyd (RS SO) Witty (RS FR), then the true freshmen. Even if he assumed that Warren was going to leave for the NFL and that Witty wasn't going to qualify that would still have left us with 2 non freshmen starters and 2 non freshmen backups, a couple of which were blue chip prospects. I can't imagine that the coaches felt that depth at corner was a major issue at that time, especially with all the other holes to fill on the roster. As another poster stated in the 2010 class the coaches did exactly what they should have done to address the issue at corner, they tried to hit a home run with a prospect that was a risk but they also signed a couple three star types that would qualify easily. Maybe I have had too much RR kool-aid but I just can't put the blame on the coaches for this. 

Magnus

August 19th, 2010 at 12:00 AM ^

...except Witty didn't qualify and the coaches couldn't rein in Turner and Cissoko.  I'm not blaming them for the overall personalities/ethics of Turner and Cissoko, but part of your job as a coach is to a) recruit quality kids and b) motivate them to improve themselves.  They obviously were unable to motivate Turner and Cissoko to do the right things, which isn't the most horrible trait in the world . . . but it's biting them in the ass right now.

msoccer10

August 18th, 2010 at 9:27 AM ^

I think the fact that people were complaining about all the db's we were recruiting last year and this year shows that Rodriguez knew he was thin and was trying to address the problem. Conelius Jones would have been a linebacker probably, Witty didn't seem to have major issues until the last minute, and, as as stated before, was recruited at least to some degree with Denard Robinson in mind and Dorsey was a really talented player he took a chance on which I think was worth it. I guess you could argue that taking Conelius Jones was a mistake because you could have picked up a cornerback in his place, but you were one of the people pointing out that Rodriguez wanted 4 qbs on the roster.

The biggest reasons for our problems right now are Woolfolk injury, Warren departure, Turner transfer and Cissoko brain problem. Those are all really good dbs who should be our two deep right now and Rodriguez isn't to blame for any of them. Add to the fact that there aren't any redshirt juniors or seniors because of Carr recruiting and that is why we have problems.

All that being said, if Forcier wins the starting qb spot and Devin Gardner looks as good as he sounds, then I am all for putting Denard Robinson at cornerback. Also, I think you have to consider someone like DJ Williamson for cornerback as well.

Magnus

August 19th, 2010 at 12:04 AM ^

a) Conelius Jones would NOT have been a linebacker.  If he didn't play QB, he would have been a CB, S, or WR.

b) Yes, I was advocating a fourth quarterback on the roster.  Regardless, if Jones qualified and those other three quarterbacks (Forcier, Robinson, Gardner) were around, you would have the flexibility to move Jones to CB in an emergency.  Ideally, you'd have more than three scholarship quarterbacks...but emergencies sometimes get in the way.

jblaze

August 18th, 2010 at 9:42 AM ^

Jones and Dorsey. The rest were random events or guys who may have been projected at CB by recruiting sites, but choose Michigan to play another position that RR promised them a shot at.