Review of 2007 Recruiting: Defensive ends

Submitted by Magnus on October 17th, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Since it's a bye week, I had some time to post a summary of Michigan's attempts to reel in defensive ends in the 2007 class. Michigan scored with Ryan Van Bergen, who turned into a pretty solid player. They missed out on some other high-quality players who ended up hurting us on the field a little bit. I see some people crediting Rich Rodriguez recruits for Brady Hoke's 11-2 season in 2011, but it's important to remember (in that argument) that guys like Van Bergen were Lloyd Carr recruits. This was Carr's last full class before the Carr/Rodriguez combination that signed in February 2008.…



October 17th, 2014 at 10:22 AM ^

A nice write-up, and an interesting tour of that position.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend and asked this hypothetical: "If you could have the body and the talent to play any football position, and you played purely for the joy of the sport, which position would it be?" 

For me I think it would be defensive end.  Not exactly sure why ... just something about rushing the edge appeals to me.  Perhaps it's a throwback to college intramural touch football days.

philidor's legacy

October 17th, 2014 at 10:35 AM ^

Great defensive ends are almost impossible to come by and even the decent ones have to mature over time. With the game becoming more and more pass oriented, there is no other position on the field that can make a bigger impact on defense. They need the bulk and strength to "set the edge" against the run - preventing TBs on sweeps, tosses and screens from turning the corner. They need to have a blazing first few steps, with great change-of-direction and short area quickness. That combinatrion of size and suddenness is extrremely rare.


October 17th, 2014 at 1:32 PM ^

People credit Rodriguez because every player (save for a few '11 Hoke recruits who did not contribute much) were either recruited by Rodriguez or coached by him for 3 seasons. Carr deserves a little bit of credit for the handful of those seniors that stuck through 2 coaching transitions, but mostly THOSE PLAYERS deserve the credit.  They were recruited by Carr, coached by Rodriguez and then fine-tuned by Hoke/Mattison/Borges.

The credit needs to be spread around, naturally, but the bulk of credit for 2011 goes to Rodriguez and the top players on that team - most of which were, again, either coached or recruited by Rodriguez.  Hoke had spring practice and fall camp with them before the season.  Rodriguez had 1-3 seasons.

Dave Brandon's narrative "Carr recruited/Hoke coached" is disrespectful to Rodriguez and, more importantly, disrespectful (if not outright insulting) to the three classes of kids (including Denard, Gallon, Roundtree, etc.) who stuck to their commitment to Michigan through a lot of turmoil. It's one of the most classless things Brandon has said and it shouldn't be repeated or reinforced in any way.

As has been made abundantly clear in the last few years - it's not just the talent you recruit but what you do with them.


October 17th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

But I will expand on your point. According to Bentley, the 2011 defense started 2 LC recruits: RVB (12) and Woolfolk (10). 2 walk ons, Kovacs and Heininger had 12 starts each. The rest were RR's guys: Roh (13), Martin (13), Ryan (11), Morgan (7), Avery (4), Countess (6), JT Floyd (12), Cam Gordon (10), Demens (13), Hawthorne (5).

On offense Molk (12), Huyge (13) and Junior Hemingway (12) were LC guys. So was Steve Watson who started 4 games as a second TE. I think the regular TE starter, Koger (12), was also recruited by LC. The rest were recruited by RR: Roundtree (13), Lewan (13), Schofield (10), Omameh (13), Odoms (5), Denard (13), Fitz (11) and Shaw (9).

Gibbons and Hagerup were the kicker and punter.

Some others had fewer than 4 starts. It should be noted that Martin decommitted after LC resigned. RR went out and recruited him.

Bottom line: 5 LC recruits played a major part in 2011, compared to 18 RR recruits.



October 17th, 2014 at 5:37 PM ^

As I stated, Martin formally decommmitted after LC's retirement. ND and MSU (and others) heavily recruited him. RR brought him back. You may as well give Bo credit for Martin, if you're going to credit LC.

According to Rivals, Demens committed on 9/29/07, insist[ing] he would stay true to his word and be a Wolverine," so it's fair to attribute him to LC. That does little to change the calculation. It was the team that RR built that went 11-2.


October 17th, 2014 at 11:27 PM ^

That's just flat-out false. Martin did not decommit from Michigan. He was exploring others options. That would be the same as saying Darrin Kirkland has decommitted from Michigan at this time. It's simply not true.

And saying "you might as well credit Bo for blah blah blah," that's just utter bulls***. You lost any credibility in that conversation when you said that. Did Bo Schembechler offer Mike Martin a scholarship? Did he identify the talent and develop a relationship with Martin? Did he convince Mike Martin and his family that Michigan was the right place for him, athletically and academically? Martin was recruited by Lloyd Carr's Michigan football program, and he committed to the school. He remained committed through the regime change, despite exploring other options. If you don't think there's any boost provided by having him already committed in the class, then you're not thinking straight.


October 17th, 2014 at 11:33 PM ^

Also, it wasn't the team that Rich Rodriguez built that went 11-2. It was the team that Carr AND Rodriguez AND Hoke built that went 11-2. There were several key components that committed to Carr. There were several key components that committed to Rodriguez. And there was a small chunk that committed to Hoke. Regardless of who committed to whom, it was a completely new defense that Michigan installed, going from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 Under. And the offense was significantly altered.

I don't know if you're anti-Hoke or pro-Rodriguez, but something is skewing your view.


October 19th, 2014 at 3:29 PM ^

Well, there are lots of things that could happen. Assuming there are no further "scandals" like the Gibbons case, the Morris incident, Stretchgate, etc., I think his return should be dependent on the rest of the year.

I think an 8-4 season (winning out) is definitely worth bringing him back. If he goes 7-5 but beats MSU and OSU, I think he should come back. If he goes 7-5 and beats OSU or MSU (but not both), then that's a gray area. Losses to both rivals would be a death knell.

I'm not ready for him to be fired yet. There are some signs of improvement. But they have to improve significantly in these last five games.


October 17th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball (as opposed to the offense), I do not give RR's staff much credit for the 2011 turnaround.  Mattison related not long after his arrival that he pretty much had to teach his players how to properly analyze game film.  Reading between the lines, the players didn't have a lot of good to say about the RR defensive braintrust either.






October 19th, 2014 at 10:19 AM ^

"Reading between the lines, the players didn't have a lot of good to say about the RR defensive braintrust either."

When things go so poorly, you have to question the leadership. Michigan was not exceedingly talented at the time, but they did have some decent parts. Unfortunately, the coaches couldn't figure out a way to find success for the unit on the field. Considering that Scott Shafer has had pretty decent success everywhere else he's been, it looks dumber and dumber that Rodriguez neutered him and went with the 3-3-5 in the second half of 2008.


October 18th, 2014 at 12:32 AM ^

I look at it differently from a philosophical standpoint. The credit for 2011 falls mostly on the coach of that team. Sure, Lloyd brought them in and Coach Rod taught them for 3 years, but Hoke got them to perform at that level during that year.

That's not an effort to make Hoke look better either. He gets the discredit of having coached this team as well. I wont blame Coach Rod for recruiting Gardner, Ryan, etc. Hoke had to get them to perform and hasn't.

Whoever coaches here next year will get the credit for how Hoke's recruits perform. The coach of the team gets the credit or blame. Period. The one thing that might be an exception is a glaring roster omission: No OL in a class must be blamed on the recruiting coach, because the current coach has no one to get to perform. That's the one gripe I have with Coach Rod.