TomVH: A Few Quick Notes *One More*

Submitted by TomVH on June 15th, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I spoke to Mass OL Eric Olson yesterday. I quoted him in this week's Weekly Update saying that he thought his decision could come at any time. Last night he said it will most likely be made before the 4th of July, so the next few weeks. I know that Michigan really likes him, and he probably has the Wolverines in the top three. I would expect this decision to come sooner than later.

Ohio S Jarrod Wilson was also recently mentioned in an update that he would be sitting down with his coach, Ricky Powers, today. This is also one to potentially keep an eye on. They keep everything quiet, but I have a feeling that Wilson probably won't take too long. Powers mentioned that he thought Jarrod was done with visits. If that is the case then a decision should be coming relatively soon.

**UPDATE: Jordan Diamond just finished up his visit to Michigan. He will be going back up to Michigan later in the week for a second visit though. I'll keep you updated.



June 15th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

Pull the trigger!  Love the kid.

As for Olson...maybe I missed this, but will Michigan take  him before all the other prospect, regardless?  They like him that much,  huh?


June 15th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

I have no specific knowledge, but when the subject of football powers in the east with marginal academics comes up, West Virginia springs to mind; so does Florida State. Also in contention: South Florida, Louisville, Cinci, and any number of MAC and Con.-USA schools.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

I don't believe the coaches are relying on what Scout/Rivals/ESPN says about a prospect in order to offer a kid.   When the coaches offer kids who happen to be ranked high, we as a fan base trust that they are evaluating talent appropriately by interviewing the kid and looking at game/camp film and not be naive to only offer a kid because he's a 4 star per Rivals, correct?  So why is that any different with Olson? Clearly the coaching staff likes him and if that means they accept his commitment, I’ll trust it.   We won’t know if this was a sound move or not until 2015 I would guess.    I just hate seeing our fan base downing a kid or the staff when we don’t have the resources and knowledge of the kid’s ability or the staff’s intuition.   I know faith is hard but let’s get it together folks.  


June 15th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

are independently -- and pretty strongly -- correlated with success as a college player.  The sites are quite good at what they do, enough so that, absent strong reasons to think the sites missed on a kid (growth spurt, played at a school that wasn't scouted, etc.) I would prefer that the sites always take the consensus highest ranked kids.  


June 15th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

OL recruiting is fuzzier than pretty much any other position.  But I don't think that's a problem exclusive to the recruiting sites (i.e., I'd guess coaches have a lot of the same difficulties in figuring out which 6'6 guy bulldozing 5'9 5.2 40 high school DEs is best equipped to bulldoze 6'3 4.6 40 college DEs).


June 15th, 2011 at 12:23 PM ^

I understand what you are saying. But their has to be a very good reason why the coaches like him. If the recruiting services don't then I would trust our coaches even of they may be wrong. But with 3 ol, the coaches know they have to be more selective. I just hate it for any kid to read that the fanbase does not want him at this moment.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:27 PM ^

from criticizing Olson as a prospect in any way.  I'm flat-out not qualified to judge whether he's a good prospect or not, and I haven't heard anyone suggest he's a bad prospect in any way. I don't even question the idea of taking his commitment.  I'm just surprised at the timeline when the OL board is littered with so many huge talents.  I'd like to see us go slowly with pretty much all OL prospects at the moment.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

But of course, taking his commitment now suggests that the coaches like him as much or more than the top OLs our board is littered with.  So the real issue remains that you'd prefer our recruiting strategy to match something resembling taking the consensus highest ranked kids by the recruiting sites barring special circumstances (small school, kid avoided camps, etc.) - not that I think you mean teams shouldn't also scout.  I think that's a fair summary of your posts above - if it's not, feel free to clarify.

The issue is that it assumes the consensus of 4 or so scouts employed by recruiting websites is better than the consensus of the 4 or so scouts employed by Michigan (or some other school) if that school pursues 3 star guys over 4 stars.  While I don't doubt the frequent correlation of star rating to success, and agree that the sites are pretty good at what they do, you see major variation among the sites all the time.  And even in the NFL draft, where you have FAR more data to consider, media scouts often vary wildly in their assessments from pro scouts and from each other.  It's not news that scouting is not a science, nor that Miami crumbled when it started relying on the recruiting sites instead of scouting, but just the same.

So in a situation like this, where many guru-approved guys remain on the board for limited spots and the coaches go after a 3* hard, I think it's reasonable to believe they see something others may have missed.  I'd argue the most important thing in recruiting is that the staff gets guys they really want.  You still keep an eye on ratings to get a sense of "Do these guys have no idea what they're doing, or do they see something special in some specific cases?"  In this case, it seems Olsen is a relatively rare case of Hoke butting heads with the ratings, and I think that's (perhaps paradoxically) a really good sign.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

in a nutshell:  I agree that recruiting services are an inexact science and often err.  I don't think they're gospel at all.

I just don't get why that same logic doesn't also apply to the coaches.  With a guy like Olson, we're essentially being told, "ignore both the recruiting sites and coaches from other teams who have decided not to offer (and for those saying he's self-selecting away from bad academic schools, I'll note that neither Stanford nor ND have offered), the coaches have decided that he's worthy of an offer, and that's good enough."  

But coaches also screw up in evaluating players. I believe that, in most circumstances, the opinions of the recruiting sites, along with the opinions of other coaches as expressed in offer lists, will be a better predictor of success than the opinion of Michigan's coaches. That's not a knock on Michigan's coaches in any way; I think they're doing a very good job on the recruiting trail. I'm just uncomfortable being told that we should accept the coaches' verdict of a player over all the other indicators. Our coaches aren't perfect either.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:55 PM ^

I agree that it sounds quite odd that he's cutting schools off from offering because of academics, but there's no ND or Stanford offer.  And that coaches screw up too, and especially that offer lists are the best guide we've got.

I just think when for 90% of the guys so far, both the offer lists and star rankings have been in agreement with Hoke, and the coaches are now pursuing a particular guy hard in the face of a guru-approved board, you have some cause to be optimistic that they think they've got something special.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

I want Banner, Diamond, Peat, Garnett, Kalis, etc. as much as anyone but I look at our 2012 Offer List and I don't see a lot of middling prospects on there. That makes me think that the coaches are going after the best early on, including guys flying under the radar of the recruiting sites for any number of reasons. It's possible that someone on staff got wind of Olson somehow and the coaches then did extensive diligence on him. Plus, after everything that's happened at osu and pryor, a high character guy that is actually turning down schools for not meeting his academic standards (who is also 6'6" 270 and sports a badass mohawk) sounds good to me. I'll be happy if he goes blue. 


June 15th, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

No doubt that on a large sample size, the recruiting sites are pretty accurate, however there are a handful of areas where they're less so:

Offensive Line. OL is the hardest position group to evaluate, so if there was ever a kid you'd be happy with taking at a lower ranking, it would be OL.

Region. Olson is from a part of the country that isn't nearly as highly recruited as most others. If he played for a big HS in OH or FL or something, he might have more stars.
And the offer issue which has been mentioned a million times. The services put weight into which other coaches decided to offer (which I think is a good metric). But in this case, Olson essentially turned down offers before they were given.

All we can go on are the coaches of the schools he was interested in, and it sounds like they all like him, including ours.


June 15th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

I share some of your concerns about rankings and Olson but as others have poibted out his strong emphasis on academics has caused him to turn down offers and that in turn i would think keeps a lid on his recruiting profile to the scouting sites.

CO Blue

June 15th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

It appears to me that Hoke and co. have decided to offer a lot of players that they want on the team and that whoever commits first gets the spot- placing an emphasis on both the players talent level and their passion to play for Michigan, with both of those attributes being near equally important in the coaches eyes. I believe there will be a couple spots left open after all the team position needs have been met for special talents that are taking their time.

Note that in positions we only have one open spot for, or in which there is no "need" (ie. quarterback), the coaches are being very selective.


June 15th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

I think this is correct. I'm also suspect more and more that his policy on the trail mirrors the spirit he is trying to foster in the team: a competitive atmosphere. To some degree, perhaps this is gamesmanship. Perhaps offering a solid player like Olson (that I assume Hoke would be pleased to have) who might well snatch his spot at the table is meant to pressure the A list talent into coming early if they think they want to come at all.

But...perhaps it is more reflective of the competitive spirit Hoke seems to emphasize: "You WILL come early, or someone else will. The Team is ALL, and you get what you earn, when you've earned it. If you don't like the deal, someone else I want will."  This kind of attitude drives home that getting onto the team is bigger than the player, rather than allowing players to think they're gracing the team with their presence. Maybe he thinks kids like Olson, who are solid and will jump at the chance to be here, will never back down, or transfer because they aren't starters as true freshmen, or slack off in training, all because they're honored to be here.

I'm not saying this is so. It's just something I've been thinking about as this unfolds. 


June 15th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

As always, thanks for the info Tom!   I had one question:  How did the Greg Garmon visit go?   I know that he was in last week, but haven't heard anything.   Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated!


June 15th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

I've had some scheduling issues trying to get some time with him to talk about it. He obviously didn't commit, I'll try to have more with him soon.

Also with Olson, remember he still might visit Stanford but I'm not sure that he's made that decision yet. 

Yes, the coaches really like Olson. I've said this a couple times but he turned down some schools from even offering because they didn't meet his academic standards. His offer lit is what he wanted it to be based on academics and football. 

Mr Mackey

June 15th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

Probably because he's the kind of guy that doesn't need an ego boost..

Not saying he's cocky, but he just doesn't need to feel like "Oh yeah I'm a good football player because these schools want me." he probably already knows he's good, and doesn't want to waste his own time or the school's time


June 15th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

I always trust the coaches...Hoke now, RR before.  If you don't trust them, why are they your coach?

I don't know much about Olson, but I believe Tom when he says they love him.  It does speak volumes when so many other big name guys are out there. 

As for Wilson...TSIO fans are still confused why he wasn't offered down there, and so am I.  The guy is clearly the best S in Ohio.  I would LOVE to have him. 


June 15th, 2011 at 12:16 PM ^

and they screw up.  Rich Rod hired GERG.  Ron English (I think it was Ron) became absolutely enamored with Johnny Sears.  Trusting the coaches doesn't mean assuming that they're infallible.  


June 15th, 2011 at 12:33 PM ^

I'm glad other people are making this point.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one and I become a broken record.

Lloyd Carr won a national championship, and a bunch of people around here criticize him almost on a daily basis.  I don't see people saying "Trust the coaches" or "You don't know more than the coaches" about stupid things that happened in the past, only when some of us try to make predictions or voice opinions about the future.

Carr was a better coach than Rodriguez, and there's a good chance that he was better than Hoke will be.  So if Carr's open for criticism, then Rodriguez and Hoke should be, too.


June 15th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

"Carr was a better coach than Rodriguez"

It is great to hear someone with as much clout around here as you say this in such a straight forward manner. 

And, I agree that ALL coaches are open to criticism.  Lloyd was sometimes deserving of criticism when his tendency to be conservative cost us a game (which happened far less frequently than the number of times that his conservative nature protected a lead that a more aggressive coach may have squandered).  RR was deserving of criticism for some of his staffing choices and player management.  And as much as I love Hoke, I am sure that there will be moments when I scream at my TV, "come on Hoke, why wouldn't you go for it on 4th in this situation."


June 15th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

I agree, coaches are human and will make mistakes. But bad decisions are judged based on outcomes.   Hoke is open to criticism, but when some folks on the board go after him for offering a kid solely because he isn't ranked by scout and without seeing the kid play a down for UM yet is not worthy criticism, just my take 


June 15th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

We're all practicing our prognosticating skills.  That's what fans do.  It's one of the reasons why the NFL Draft is so fun to follow and watch.  Everyone says "Great pick!" or "That pick sucked!" but nobody really knows for sure until 5 or 10 years down the road.

Whose opinion are you going to trust more?

Person A: Says "That pick sucked!" during the NFL Draft.  And after five years says "I told you that guy would suck" because the player did indeed fail in the NFL.

Person B: Keeps his mouth shut during the NFL Draft.  Five years later, he says "I knew that guy would suck, but I didn't want to say it."

I'm going to lend a little more weight to Person A, whereas Person B . . . well . . . for all I know, he could be lying.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

Jarrod Wilson: Yes, please.

Eric Olson: ........

Personally, I think it's about time the coaches slow down on taking some of these commitments.  I know a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, but there are lots of birds in the bush right now...


June 15th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I get the impression (which may be wrong) that the coaches are looking to wrap this class up as soon as possible.  If that's true, I'm not sure I understand it.  Yeah, it'll give them a head start on 2013 recruiting, and it's nice not to be scrambling to fill your class in December.  But a lot of top prospects decide really late in the process, and if we're insisting on having the class full before the all-star games, then we're eliminating the possibility that we can get any kids who choose on signing day, and lots of really, really awesome football players decide at all-star games or on signing day.  Off the top of my head, if Michigan hadn't kept spots open until December or later in the past, it would have missed out on Alan Branch, Woodley, Jamison, Schilling, Mouton, Warren, Crable, Mundy, Burgess, Denard, Roundtree, Quinton Washington, etc.  It's mid-June, and I wouldn't hate to see us be patient.  At this rate, we're not even going to have spots open for the guys planning on visiting for the ND game.  


June 15th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

Has he been right about other things. I know he was right about rippy not coming here. It seems to me that to finish off 2012 to start off on the next year is out there. I mean they can still recruit a couple of guys for next year. Our recruiting class is pretty close to being done.