Filling out the class....

Submitted by AC1997 on January 17th, 2010 at 10:42 PM

After the first good weekend in Michigan athletics in some time (Basketball win, signing two football recruits, Gardner early entry, Denard defeating OSU on the track...) I kept frequenting MGoBlog hoping for new content. I read a few of the Forum topics devoted to recruiting and there's one theme that keeps coming up and I wanted to discuss it. The topic is how we're going to fit in all of the recruits considering us into this class - whether it be the 29 we all are hoping for or the 26 that Rodriguez mysteriously mentioned this afternoon.

Obviously we all want the best class possible and right now I really like this class for many reasons. We also know that there are going to be some surprises. Today alone there's talk of Davion Rogers signing, who none of us were talking about, and Jake Ryan, a LB we know little about other than his numerous MAC offers. So needless to say, we'll be surprised again before signing day.

But that's not the theme that keeps bothering me. The talk is about how to fit everyone in this class and whether someone will be asked to Gray Shirt or creatively be encouraged to pursue other schools. That discussion alone concerns me, but when it immediately focuses on Ray Vinopal it frustrates me even more. Why Ray? Let's talk about that for a minute.

Anyone who watched the safeties play last year....or the last two years....or the last TEN years would crave any and all recruits that play safety. And if you knew nothing except that Michigan signed an all-state safety from one of the best teams in Ohio, he has been timed at 4.6 in the 40, he's a legit 5'11" and 190-lbs, and he is a great student - wouldn't you be drooling to sign him? (We'll get back to this...)

Why doesn't anyone bring up Conelius Jones when they talk about freeing up another scholarship? He's barely played high school football, was incredibly mediocre this year, is extremely raw, and was offered before he had even played a game as a QB. Basically we signed him to be our #4 QB and hold a clip board for the next four years. In all reality we hope that his career tops out as being the #2 QB or a moderately productive player at another position. Really? Everyone's okay with that?

The answer? Yes. We're okay with it. Why? Because we need depth at the position - badly. And we need someone who is going to work hard and has potential - even if he rarely sees the field. Now think about Vinopal. He plays a position woefully lacking depth and talent. He may not be a 5* recruit, but as with QB you need to comprise your roster of stars and guys who will push those stars to be better every day and may just turn out to be contributors of their own.

I for one am glad to have Ray in the class and I think that he's going to contribute in the future. And I hope that the coaches aren't even considering asking him to delay his enrollment or look elsewhere. Same with Carvin Johnson, Conelius Jones, or anyone else.

(Sorry for the length. I thought it might be better as a Diary but I don't really have much substance - just ranting opinion.)



January 17th, 2010 at 10:49 PM ^

I'm with ya. I really like the way our safety depth is shaping up. If we sign Parker, I feel that we will see two players emerge who can lock down the safety position like we have not seen since Vada M. and Tripp W.


January 17th, 2010 at 10:50 PM ^

Couldn't agree more. Except I wish we didn't have to bag on anyone, even as an example, to bolster someone else. Most people who bag on Vinopal and complain that we don't have enough 5 stars don't know even follow recruiting, much less have any insight about how someone is going to turn out, so if they would try to learn something before spouting off, you wouldn't have to make a post like this.


January 17th, 2010 at 10:54 PM ^

I think there is a growing sense than Conelius will get a look at QB, but ultimately be a DB or WR. From his size alone that's a hell of a DB/WR. He's pretty quick too. So think of him as a stem cell his inexperience will allow him to flourish at any number of positions.


January 17th, 2010 at 10:58 PM ^

More than i want to read, but I was looking at bamas recruiting in 4 years, 104 recruits I believe, so I believe attrition, so it is what it is. we need help


January 17th, 2010 at 10:59 PM ^

I agree with everything you said, and believe the contributions these players make to the program may prove invaluable.

However, if there is a 5* player ready to commit and no spot available for him, somebody's gotta go.


January 17th, 2010 at 11:27 PM ^

I get where both sides are coming from. You never want to rag on a player just because he doesn't have enough "stars" or whatever the fuck that means.

Recruiting is definitely an inexact science as we all know, and it's really one part building hype and one part finding those diamonds in the rough/glue guys that are the bedrock of your program.

Obviously it's going to be better for your program to sign a kid with five stars attached to his name because it creates a certain amount of hype in the recruiting world ("Did you see so-and-so committed to Michigan? They must be doing something right. I think I'll give them a look.")

Success begets success and a lot of times when you bag one big time recruit, others will follow. So regardless of whether or not that 5 star player lives up to his potential, he is a valuable commodity because he has the potential to provide the hype which is necessary for building an elite college football program.

Those 3 star kids are often overlooked but can be just as important in that you know kids like Carvin Johnson, or Ray Vinopal are very cerebral players who use hard work to get the most out their bodies. 3 star kids will probably never be elite players physically, so they make up for it by being leaders on and off the field, in the weight room, in the film room, locker room, and tend to set the tone for practices.

You know those 3 star kids are out there busting their ass on the practice field trying to out do their 4 and 5 star counterparts, and don't think coaches don't use the whole star thing as extra motivation ("Hey 5 star running back, how are you gonna let little ole 3 star linebacker make a tackle on you in the open field").

Also, one more thing that I think tends to be overlooked a little in the recruiting scene is how coaches sometimes take a player to build a relationship with a powerhouse high school team. Vinopal, for instance, is from Cardinal Mooney, a high school that routinely churns out division one football prospects.

So taking 3 star Vinopal, regardless of his impact as a player, may in the long run have a greater net positive impact than taking a four star player from an extremely small high school that produces very few division one players. Establishing that connection is invaluable and an essential part of the game that is recruiting.

Stars are definitely overrated and much like the NFL combine have become far too important. They do serve a purpose in that they can be an accurate representation for how a player will perform on the football field but to a large degree recruiting is a giant crap shoot. You have a basic idea of how good a player will be, but you never really know until they step out onto the field, and even then it might take a few seasons of playing, weight training, conditioning and film study for a player to finally make an impact.


January 18th, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

Ray is a 2 Star on Rivals. He has little stubby legs. He may be 5'10" or 5'11", but he has the legs of someone 5'7".

His short legs will limit his mobility and athleticism. That is why if you look at this film, he looks very stiff. Very tight hips and stubby legs.

It is his frame.... not necessarily his height... that is the problem. He is not proportioned properly. And his strange body proportions limit his athletic ability.

I am going to start calling him, "stubby". Lol.

His only offers were from Kent State and Bowling Green. Hardly football powers. There is reason why rivals is sooo low on this guy. He deserves it. He is bound to be a situational role player AT BEST for his entire career at UM.

He is the guy to gray shirt or give the Barnes treatment to.



January 18th, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

Because that post was the opposite of witty, it was more insipid analysis from Doc Sherwin. His analysis of Tate is that "he's small and plays small" with a "weak arm", and he longs for a "big, sturdy" QB like Gardner. So this is his latest bit of anatomical commentary passing as football knowledge, and as usual it is embarrassing.


January 18th, 2010 at 12:46 AM ^


That's 7 scholarship guys plus 1 Kovacs for 2 positions, and it doesn't include potential commits like Dorsey, Parker, and Knight. It's not that ridiculous to assume that Vinopal would/should be the odd man out if necessary. He's the lowest rated recruit out of any of those guys, save Kovacs, and the guy(s) who would potentially get him "Barnesed" play the same position as him.

Why Conelius Jones? We essentially have two quarterbacks - Forcier and Gardner - as soon as everyone realizes that Denard Robinson isn't a viable option at QB. Cutting Jones loose could be disastrous. He's QB #3 and plays the most important position in football, whereas Vinopal is S #8.

panthera leo fututio

January 18th, 2010 at 1:35 AM ^

I'll definitely defer to you on football analysis, but do you think the coaches might be taking a probabalistic view of the position? To take a way over-simplified view, maybe the coaches figure that each safety on the roster has about a 20% of doing enough to legitimately win a job and that this percentage is independent for each safety prospect. I don't really have the energy to work through the combinatorials, but you'd obviously want a big pool of prospects to give yourself the best chance of filling the two starting spots and having a competent backup or two.

In this light (and obviously making adjustments for assessments based on player experience, skill, etc.) a ridiculously crowded depth chart wouldn't be the worst thing in the world heading into fall practice, and might actually be a necessity given the uncertainties involved and the importance of the position.


January 18th, 2010 at 3:05 AM ^

You are right about Co(r)nelius. He will be taking the ever important role of fourth string quarterback. If you don't think it is important ask David Cone. His popularity propelled him to the top of the charts. Now if somehow C. Jones can spit hot fire we would be set.


January 18th, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

potentially the biggest factor here is, who has the means to be one? would love to have all these kids on the team pronto, but if someone needs to step up, who will that be?

i think the answer to that is: who can afford to be? am i wrong? whoever ponys up for the grey shirt, they'd be on the hook for their freshman tuition? for an OOS kid, isn't that about 35K? i dont know the backgrounds of most in the class, but there are quite a few that cant afford that if i had to guess. Jeremy Jackson is probably the only one I think for sure could, but with him an early enrollee, is that even possible logistically? To practice with the team during spring etc then not be on the team in the fall for a season?

otherwise, the second group that would come to mind would be vinopal and ryan. they attend private schools and pay (in ryan's case) 12K/year tuition in high school. i think thats why you see vinopal's name come up for a redshirt.

hopefully it doesnt come to that, but resources could be the biggest driver.

some of these kids would probably take a greyshirt, but just cant afford one. its a lot of money to ask a family to put forth, especially when they have full rides offered to them by other schools.


January 18th, 2010 at 10:12 AM ^

The most likely candidate for a greyshirt would be a guy who hasn't committed yet. Generally, kids who are offered and accept full rides get pretty annoyed if you come back to them later and say, "Hey, about those thousands of dollars I promised you...uhhh...could I have that back?"

Regardless, I don't think we'll see greyshirts come out of this class. The next class is scheduled to be about 14 or 15 kids, so there's no reason to take a less talented guy when you can be very selective about who you take in 2011.


January 18th, 2010 at 10:48 AM ^

If we are after this newly emerged, super-sleeper LB, how come we weren't interested in MI LB Austin Gray? I'm just asking that as an informative type of question. Looking at Rivals' stats, they are similar in size and speed, and Gray has a bunch of Big10 offers, and one from Pitt also.


January 18th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

It seems very unlikely that Jones will stay at QB. He's too athletic to keep on the sidelines. He'll move to WR or the defense. The coaches told him he could compete at QB, which he will do but then move to some other position after he sees for himself we are getting pretty loaded talent-wise at QB.


January 18th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

At the beginning of the post you said that C. Jones should be the one that opens up another scholarship. You basically say that he is a raw prospect (which I agree). Then towards the end of your post you say that you wouldn't want him at any other school.

As others have stated, C. Jones has the ability to play WR/DB. IIRC, he worked at WR for the shrine game and was voted as one of the players who was "best after the catch".

My other opinion is that it might be to late to "Barns" someone. With NSD only couple weeks away, I think we would have heard of kids taking visits to other schools.

The only way I see us freeing up more spots is if a player doesn't qualify academically or makes a last second switch on NSD.