Graduate Transfers?

Submitted by ScruffyTheJanitor on November 17th, 2015 at 12:00 PM

I have been thinking about graduate transfers for next year, and I am thinking other here have been as well. 

  1. How many (if any) do we take?
  2. Which positons would you want to see transfer in? (LB? RB? FS? FB?)
  3. It is VERY early, but any obvious and/or rumored candidates for the transfer?


Leaders And Best

November 17th, 2015 at 12:07 PM ^

Impossible to really gauge without knowing what kind of attrition happens in the offseason, how Michigan finishes in recruiting, and what players are even available & interested in Michigan. A lot of better things worth spending your time on right now. A better time to check back on this subject would be after spring practice when the coaches (and us) have a better idea what the team will look like in 2016.


November 17th, 2015 at 12:48 PM ^

Of course we can't know ALL the needs, but we do know some of them.  Recruiting shouldn't be viewed as a viable strategy to fill starting positions.  You can get the best FB recruit in the country and you're not going to want him starting as a true freshman.  That works in a pinch at some positions (e.g., DE, CB, RB) but you'd rather have a 5th year guy in most cases.  We can also preliminarily rule out, with some degree of confidence, a few position like WR, TE, and DL that have plentiful depth.  It's true that we don't know yet what the market will have to offer.  But we can talk about what our roster needs now.

Obvious needs:

1. ILB - generally not a position you want to throw freshman to the wolves at. 

2. FB - ditto here.  We have Poggi and maybe a RB-switch happens, but we could use a vet because Poggi's not going to play everydown and not much of a threat with the ball.

3. BUCK - this is a spot where a freshman could help, and then there is Marshall, Johnson, and Jones but nobody is proven. Wide open opportunity at a high profile spot.

Pending speculative attrition:

1. QB - rumors of transfers here.  We all feel optimistic about O'Korn but relying on a freshman backup (Gentry or Peters) is suboptimal.

2. Slot WR -  Big outside WR are plentiful, but Michigan could use a threatening playmaker from the slot.  Rumor had it they came pretty close to landing one of these last year and nobody has filled the void this year (beyond Peppers).

3. CB - if Lewis goes pro we'll be in the market.

4. RB - more rumors of a transfer here, and no stand-out starter, but this is a spot where freshman can and should play.

Uncertain depth:

1. Safety - on paper, we have 3 guys with experience in Peppers, Thomas, and Hill but that's really it and Peppers is needed for his LB/CB/S/WR/RB/QB/KR/PR role.

2. OL - total lack of established depth beyond the starters and now Newsome.  Attrition would be scary.



Leaders And Best

November 17th, 2015 at 12:53 PM ^

It is much more likely you will see a true freshman getting reps as a LB next year than a graduate transfer. Do you realize how rare graduate transfers in football are? This isn't basketball. I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan didn't take a graduate transfer at all. Scholarships are going to be tight for this upcoming class. I would much rather have a 4-star recruit than a grad transfer. The only position I think is realistic for a grad transfer may be punter.


November 17th, 2015 at 1:07 PM ^

I see starting grad transfers all over power 5 teams that have holes they need filled (most of them do). Moreover, the number of grad transfers is going up every single year and will continue to do so, because it's college free agency.

A 4-star recruit has what - a 50/50 chance of starting?  And you're going to give them 4 years worth of scholarship for that 50/50 chance at starting.  They might be an NFL standout, they might be a bust, they might start only one year for you.

The choice you framed up above (recruit vs grad transfer) is a false one.  If you take a grad transfer, it just means you defer getting a recruit from one year to the next.  It's similar to red-shirting a freshman.  If you bring them back for a 5th year that defers a scholarship to the following year too.  Would you rather get a 4-star recruit than use a 5th year spot on a senior? -- in some cases yes, but in most cases not.

Grad transfer are a high-reward, low-investment strategy.  They are increasingly popular for good reason.  They are a cheap and reliable way to fill holes on your team.

Leaders And Best

November 17th, 2015 at 1:19 PM ^

Please enlighten me. Most impact grad transfers happen at QB and RB. My theory on that: because only one of them can play and get the majority of playing time. I think that is also why grad transfers and transfers are so much more prevalent in college basketball than college football. But I do not see most successful Power 5 football programs using grad transfers as major tool in personnel. Most of them would rather have a 4-star recruit for that scholarship.


November 17th, 2015 at 1:37 PM ^

You are absolutely correct in this.  I don't know why people will think there will be quality grad transfers at LB, Buck or WR..  There isn't a significant supply of really good grad transfers at those positions.  Why is that you ask?  You see good QB's on the transfer market (OKorn, Greyson Lambert at UGA, Oklahomas's guy, etc.) because only one can play at a time and there is little rotating of that position. If you lose the starting gig to an underclassman, or you don't fit a new coaches system preferences, there is a very good chance you'll be a backup for a long time and it therefore makes sense to transfer.  If you're a good LB, WR or DL, chances are you will get snaps even with guys ahead of you due to the fact that three or more play at a time, those positions tend to rotate depth and, as frequent contact-bearing positions, the injury rate is higher than for QB's.   All in all, I wouldnt expect grad transfers at these positions that are markedly better than our current guys, unless we get lucky.


November 17th, 2015 at 5:30 PM ^

Perhaps this is true in some hypothetical sense, but the issue at positions on this team at LB and FB is not about "upgrading" as much as perilous lack of depth.

At LB or FB we'll literally be an injury away from having to insert a true freshman as a full time starter.  These are gaps that are going to have to be addressed either via roster moves (can Ty Issac play LB?) or grad transfers, otherwise you're going to asking for a lot from a bunch of true freshman.


November 17th, 2015 at 5:51 PM ^

RBs rotate more often than LBs at many (most) places.  There's no reason why Michigan can't land a Silas Redd, Devin Lucien, Matt Patchan, Ryan Smith, Matt Hegarty, Brennan Starlet, Richard Mullaney caliber LB.  There's nothing that limits the impact to JUST QBs, as the RB position shows.

You can do the googling yourself, but just look at how many guys Michigan is sending in and out and consider we aren't the only program around.

MI Expat NY

November 17th, 2015 at 2:23 PM ^

Who are these high-reward grad transfers at a position other than QB?  I honestly can't think of one for a high P5 school.  The closest I can come is Countess.  And, honestly, I doubt I would know that if he hadn't transferred from here.  I'm sue there's some example out there, but it may be easier to name guys that transferred to a school and didn't do much (Lyons, that Alabama lineman we were after a couple years ago).  


November 17th, 2015 at 1:39 PM ^

The quarterback position is sort of a special beast for grad transfer status because the skill set is so narrow and generally doesn't allow for movement to other postions ie if you're stuck behind another guy and you've got one year left to play you'd better be happy as a backup or find someplace else.  This as opposed to the #6 OL, #4 LB etc. who is gonna get his snaps.

Yeah, we look thin at LB for next year and maybe there's an opportunity there, but FB? slot? safety?  We're really in pretty good shape at these positions going into next year.  Even OL looks pretty good with 4 coming back, our current 6th guy competing for snaps, and Dawson, Kugler, JBB and Bars (assuming he's hurt) all competing.


November 17th, 2015 at 5:57 PM ^

I get what you are saying but there are a lot of positions where people can play every available snap (or most of them). DL is really the only position that rotates very heavily for every team.  Morgan plays almost every snap at LB.  Our DBs are our DBs mostly except for some competition-induced shuffling and variance between base/nickel/dime packages.  Lewis isn't rotating out, neither is Peppers, etc. There are a lot of times when a backup QB will play more meaningful snaps than a #6 or 7 OLmen.


November 17th, 2015 at 2:34 PM ^

i know, right?  can you believe the balls of these people here?  it's absurd to think that they would come here and actually speculate on football related things, things about football on a blog...about football.  don't they know that you know much more about their lives than they do?  it's so obvious they have a lot of better things to spend their time on. 


November 17th, 2015 at 12:07 PM ^

LB, because DUH. 

I would also like to see a Running Back brought in. I would like someone who is shifier than Deveon Smith with good vision. Doesn't even have to be a game breaker. Just a solid, consitant back who can take what is given to them. 


November 17th, 2015 at 12:16 PM ^

Linebackers, running backs, Taysom Hills, and we will probably lose a certain WAY TOO SMALL FOR THE NFL UNTIL NEXT YEAR WHEN HE WONT BE TOO SMALL cornerback so an experienced player at that position may help also.


November 17th, 2015 at 12:20 PM ^

A safety would be nice too.

Next year you have Thomas and Hill - both umm...up and down.  One goes down with injury and its Ty Kinnel who could be good but little experience.  Otherwise you talk about moving Peppers their full time which restricts flexibility.  Secondary is still thin next year - it's thin this year too but lucky no injuries.

I dont expect miracles with grad transfers - QB is diff because only 1 can play at a time but LBs you go 3 deep and other positions similar so if you are taking someone's grad transfer in general you are getting a Josh Furman type.  Which worked out ok but even a Blake Countess talent is rare to grad transfer.

Leaders And Best

November 17th, 2015 at 12:48 PM ^

I would be very surprised if we get a graduate transfer LB. We are already going to be tight with scholarships for this recruiting class. I don't get this topic of discussion at all. I think the most probable graduate transfer options are going to be a punter, RB, or Taysom Hill. The only reason I included Taysom Hill and a RB is because there is already some solid information on it (reportedly there will be RB attrition this offseason).


November 17th, 2015 at 12:18 PM ^

I doubt there will be much movement on grad transfers until February.  Coaches won't know how many spots are available and all potential transfers still have games to be played including bowls as well as bowl practices to see where they stand for next season.


November 17th, 2015 at 12:18 PM ^

from Stanford and we were all led to believe he might start in the secondary as a corner or safety. But hs has been a backup and special teams player for the most part this season with a very limited role. 


November 17th, 2015 at 12:33 PM ^

I mean that is the reality of what a typical grad transfer is going to be.  He was a part time starter who lost his job.  Sounds a lot like what Countess might have been facing with Stribling and Clark and the change to press. 

People dont leave the program as field players just to go to a better team in their 5th year - they usually leave because they have been passed by younger better players (or a coaching change).  Some of the "requests" above are a bit pie in the sky.  If we get a servicable depth guy who at least can be somewhat adequate if a starter gets hurt that is generally what you get from non QBs.


November 17th, 2015 at 1:00 PM ^

see: Vernon Adams.

I think people are underestimating the potential impact here because the grad transfer thing is still a burgeoning trend.  Not many people (including players) have accepted this for what it is: free agency.  You can play for any team you want (pending some academic paperwork) and a lot of kids are going to treat it like a second chance. 

Yes, that includes guys who got beaten out, but it also includes guys like Duncan Robinson (not technically a grad transfer, I know, but guys like him are out there) and Vernon Adams who got undervalued coming out of high school.  It also includes guys who, for whatever reason, aren't fully appreciated by their current school like Everett Gholson and Max Bielfeldt.  While Russel Wilson is a bit of an anomoly, that still happened...

I'm really surprised to see Michigan fans still poo-pooing the grad transfer thing after what Rudock has done. It's a HUGE factor in modern college football.  Coaches need to be re-recruiting their 5th year guys if they want to keep them and should be working back-channels to make it be known when opportunities become available.

I would be very surprised if one of starting ILBs next year wasn't a grad transfer.  Between the other positions of need I would guess put the number of starting grad transfers on Michigan 2016 at an over/under of 2, maybe 2.5.


November 17th, 2015 at 1:23 PM ^

You keep naming QBs which is a position there is only 1 on the field of and he will get 99% of snaps if healthy.  Same as punter.

Those positions if you are blockaded you get no playing time at all.  The backup punter doesnt play unless injury.  Same for QB. So those are viable transfer positions because only 1 plays at a time.

By the way Adams and Blake O'Neil came from FCS.  So even more of an asterisk.  Are was scouring FCS teams for a 5th year senior ILB?

Most people here are discussing field position where there are multiple guys playing that position.

If you are the 4th LB in a 4-3 you still play.  And can play 30%+ of snaps.  That's Gedeon for us. So you are now talking about someone's 5th or 6th LB.  Who by the end of his 4th year no longer is good enough to start...or be the next line line backup.  Thats a Gant type.

That is different than a QB or punter.  Even rb - which is more of gray area - you are talking someone's 3rd string because most team's 2nd string aren't going to get up and leave in their 5th year when they are 1 snap away from taking the job.  Isaac was 4th string for example at USC.

People above are saying "I want an athletic LB who runs sideline to sideline and makes ALL of the tackles!"  Well that guy is starting somewhere and is not leaving.


November 17th, 2015 at 6:11 PM ^

What is wrong with taking a guy from FCS that can perform?  Nothing at all.  I'll take a Blake O'Neill or Vernon Adams equivalent at LB anyday.

Morgan, right now, gets 99% of snaps at LB.  Bolden gets what - 75%? We badly need a replacement for both of them and their top backup as well.  Gedeon will play a huge role but what if he's the 75% guy and not the 99% guy?  And Gant? Really?  You want to count on Gant?!

You're assuming a serviceable experienced LB will be 4th or 5th in our depth chart next year. I'm asserting that he could well be #1 or, more likely, #2 or 3.  That's a lot of snaps, regardless of it's 99% or 75% or even 50%.  50% might be more than the kid is going to get at Alabama...

It's funny that people would have a totally different opinion about this topic if Wayne Lyons had beaten out somebody (or if they had been hurt.)  But because Wayne Lyons didn't win the job, all grad transfers are benchwarmers except at QB (and Punter).


November 18th, 2015 at 10:26 AM ^

So you are now talking about someone's 5th or 6th LB.  Who by the end of his 4th year no longer is good enough to start...or be the next line line backup.  Thats a Gant type.


Generally true... but we NEED bodies at linebacker. Even Gant types will be better than 98% of true freshman, and way better than no one.