One that got away

Submitted by mGrowOld on October 10th, 2010 at 9:33 PM

After watching our defense struggle yet again this season I couldn't help but think about a good (not great) big 10 defensive player who in high school had great grades, bloodlines and wanted to play for Michigan and yet couldn't get a scholarship offer for reasons i have never understood..

I live in Northern Ohio and in 2005 a very good friend of mine's son set an Ohio high school record scoring five touchdowns in a playoff game.  He also played some cornerback when needed.  As a season ticket holder who did a small amount of recruiting for Michigan in the early 90's I started bringing the boy up to games and alerted my contacts to take a look at him.  In 2005 he was invited to several camps (Michigan included) and began to get scholarship offers.  By 2006 he had received offers from every MAC and Big East program as well as lower tier Pac 10 and ACC schools but nothing from  Michigan.   After the 2006 season he was invited back to Michigan's camp when they were trying out QBs and he basically shut down every wideout they placed in front of him but still no offer.  His dad, an ex-Louiseville Cardinal DB made it known that they were growing tired of the recruitment process and would commit early in 2007. Michigan was #1 on their list but they weren't  going to wait his entire senior year to see if an offer would be forthcoming.  I again contacted the football department and told them what I knew about the kid - good grades, good family and outstanding athlete - basically everything Michigan wanted in a player and yet nothing.  No offer, no communication - nothing. So when Northwestern offered early in his senior year they accepted and shut down all recruiting.  After that I called and asked why no offer - all I was told was "he's 5"10 and we want taller corners" and that was the end of it.

Today Jordan Mabin is a starting DB for Northwestern.  If you remember, he was played especially well against us (motivated maybe?) and I cant help but wonder how we would look if we had bothered to offer a tremendous athlete with good grades who happened to be "only" 5'10.



October 10th, 2010 at 9:45 PM ^

If it makes you feel any better, my crystal ball tells me that if he'd gone to Michigan, he would have slipped in the shower the day before the UConn game and broken his femur in four places.

B10 or Bust

October 10th, 2010 at 9:52 PM ^

I'm thinking that a few years of coching from Pat Fitzgerald might have more to do with his success than anything else.  Fitz is a bona fide rising star. 

South Bend Wolverine

October 10th, 2010 at 10:04 PM ^

He truly is.  He's my favorite non-Michigan coach in all of football.  Came in on short notice, under tough circumstances, and has brought NU to a great deal of success.  The interesting thing is that he has such strong ties to NU, it will take a lot to pry him away.  I'm sure that in the coming years when big name programs are looking for new coaches, though, that he'll be getting some phone calls.


October 10th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

Anyone surprised?

Also, it probably wasn't just his height.  But a combination of things, but it's easier to say a fact than to spout, well he's not fast enough, or have a quick enough hip turn, etc.

I'm glad he's suceeding at Northwestern.  it proves what we all should know:  Recruiting and evaluating football players is not exact science.  Just ask any NFL GM or Matt Millen.


October 11th, 2010 at 12:23 AM ^

In the only discipline that matters, EE, UofM is 7th. I don't see NU on the list.

In general, Engineering at UofM is ranked 8th. NU is 21st.

When I went to UofM for EE, we were 5th. Come on guys, you're slackin'. Let's win some more concrete canoe competitions and get back into the top 5.

I think if you look at other disciplines such as Business, Medicine, and Law, you'll find similar results. Plus, UofM is hampered in these rankings because our selectivity is poor, just because we're a large school. When my brother started ME at UofM, the top 700 students had better average SATs than MIT. So there. 


October 10th, 2010 at 10:25 PM ^

I knew a kid back in the early 2000's who camped at Michigan but never recieved an offer. He was also "too small" to get an offer. He was a 6'4" 270 pound offensive lineman. He eventually went to Central Michigan where he washed out. I don't think 6'4" 270 as a high school senior was too small to play an interior line position at Michigan, he just wasn't good enough. If you tell a kid he lacks agility, or doesn't have an explosive enough first step, or lacks upper body strength, etc. ; He may get the wrong impression and think he just needs to work on some things. If you tell him he's not the right size, that's the end of it and he can move on in the process.


I'm not saying that that's what happened in Mabin's case. Just sharing a cool story of my own I guess. Glad everything worked out for your friend's kid though. He'll get a great education playing Big Ten football for one of the best coaches in the conference.