What players have exceeded/fallen short of your expectations?

Submitted by Magnus on July 5th, 2010 at 7:49 PM

This board is boring today.  Maybe we can have a discussion about this.

What player(s) has exceeded your expectations in your time as a Michigan fan?  Conversely, which player(s) has fallen short of your expectations?  I'm not looking for anyone to bash any players, but I'm just curious to know - who were you really wrong about?

EXCEEDED: I was not a big fan of Ryan Van Bergen when he came out of high school.  I thought he was a Pat Massey clone.  I figured he would bulk up to play defensive tackle but he would get pushed around.  But he had a good season last year and now I expect him to have a good season replacing Brandon Graham at DE in 2010.

FELL SHORT: I really thought Marcus Witherspoon was going to be a great linebacker at U of M.  He was fast and aggressive and I was extremely excited about him when he signed in 2008.  He had a problem with admissions, which has nothing to do with his football ability.  But then he ended up at Rutgers, couldn't get any playing time, and is no longer with their program.  I don't know if he's transferred to an FCS school or what exactly he's doing now, but I guess I was wrong about him.  Hopefully he gets his head on straight, whether he continues his football career or not.



July 5th, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

I never thought that Chad Henne would do as well in the NFL as he is. Not that I didn't think he had the ability, but I didn't think he'd have a chance.

In college, I would have loved to see Adrian Arrington do more. It's a shame he left early.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:02 PM ^

Fell short- Alan Branch. He had a pretty good career at UM but for his size and strength thought he could completely dominate the line of scrimmage. Think Albert Haynesworth in a contract year.

Exceeded- Mike Hart without a doubt. Man do I miss watching him carry the ball on Saturdays. If you think about the running backs that preceded him, which were all physical studs, I wasn't expecting what UM got from him. His senior year also falls under the fell short category.


July 5th, 2010 at 9:40 PM ^

For the reasons I stated above. Though you are not a fan if you look at the picture that is what Branch was capable of at times. There were also times when he would just disappear. Like I said physically he was imposing and had the potential to really dominate games. He was good just never great which is why he was disappointing because the ability was there.


July 6th, 2010 at 7:37 AM ^

Branch definetly had a good career at UM. My point is that I thought he had the talent to dominate not only in college but in the NFL. I listed Hart as my player who exceeded so I was trying to go outside of the box with Branch. In his fouth year with the Cardinals I will be looking for him to have a break out year and prove me right.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:06 PM ^

Exceeded:  David Harris.  I played against him in HS, and while he was a beast, he did most of his damage on the offensive side of the ball.  After the injury early on in his career, I didnt expect much.  He was the anchor of that great 2006 defense and could potentially be an elite NFL LB if he can continue to play like he has the past two seasons.


Fell Short:  Obi Ezah.  Another guy from my hometown of Grand Rapids, and wearing the same 45 that David Harris wore.  After a good freshman year I really thought he would step it up and be another elite Michigan LB, clearly he has not done so.  Lets all hope that he steps it up this year.


July 5th, 2010 at 11:22 PM ^

I was going to put Ezeh in my "exceeded expectations group."  To the OP above who said Obi has fallen short of his expectations, be honest and tell me what you expectations were of Obi coming out of high school (if you had even heard of him).  He was barely a 3-star, and the lowest ranked player in his recruiting class.  We battled the likes of EMU and WMU for his commitment, MSU didn't even offer, and he's a West Michigan kid. 

If your expactations were anything beyond "special teams with the dream of mop up duty" you knew something not many others did.  The fact he's a 3 year starter at this point (very likely a 4) who was at one point the leading tackler on the team, shows that he blew his expectaions out of the water.  Is he the stud MLB we wish UM had right now?  No.  Is he David Harris?  No.  But to say he's fallen short of expectations is a bit silly, IMO.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:19 PM ^

The one person that has exceeded my expectations was Craig Roh. Taylor Lewan could be one that could surprise many people this year.

Monocle Smile

July 5th, 2010 at 9:22 PM ^


Omameh. I'm an engineering student and I have no clue how anyone could major in engineering and play a varsity sport, much less do enough work outside of activities to earn a starting spot.

Fell short:

Mouton. Whenever I see him play, I notice his incredible burst and athleticism, but the guy just makes so many GODDAMNIT plays. I'm really hoping he goes nuts this year.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:24 PM ^

Exceeded: Although this may be premature, given he has only played one year, I'm going with Vincent Smith. He began last year behind Minor, Brown and Shaw and concluded the year by proving not only to be serviceable, but potentially a standout, All Conference performer.

Fell Short: Shawn Crable. A physical beast, but a knucklehead.


July 5th, 2010 at 9:10 PM ^

that one play cost the best umich team since 97-98 a big ten crown, a chance to play for a national championship, and a win for bo the day after his death ...

in no way did crable fall short of my expectations, he was a beast and my 2nd favorite defender on a stacked defense ...

but that one unexcusable late hit still haunts me to this day

MyUncle played-4-UM

July 6th, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

the play was objectionable at best. The following week I watched USC and UCLA and saw an SC player clearly knock the stuffing out of UCLA's quarterback out of bounds and heard Musburger fawn over the kid. The week before he talked about how bad of a play Crable's was when the hit by Crable was questionable at best. He hit Smith by OSU sideline, how often than not on a third down play by the teams sideline in a collge game not the pro's but college will the referee be influenced? I would say he was good player but not great I actually thought Prescott Burgess would be a terror at Michigan and if we can do two who didnt meet expectation how about Earnest Shazor? Above expectations I would go with Jason Avant. Turned himself into a decent pro with the Eagles.


July 5th, 2010 at 10:12 PM ^

The position I'm least concerned about is probably slot receiver.  We have 6 on the roster (Odoms, Roundtree, Robinson, Gallon, Grady, Williamson), and most of them are pretty young.  Holloway doesn't really blow me away, but he's the small, shifty type that eluded us this past year when Tony Drake went to Colorado State.

Either way, I think he'll pick WVU.  So the point is probably moot.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

EXCEEDED:  Martavious Odoms.  This kid was thrown in the water year one.  Fumbled a lot, had no QB to give him a legit pass.  Year two he turned it around and made some CLUTCH catches.  I feel he will do very good things this year.

Middle on the verge of breakout:  DC Stonum.

Fell Short.  Boo Boo.  What a tard.


July 6th, 2010 at 12:25 AM ^

It's his fault, and he's getting his just deserts, but calling him a tard is just rediculous, what does it accomplish?

And just because it's his fault doesn't mean I can't feel bad for the guy... he's a prime example of what can happen when you get mixed up in the wrong crowd, yea he deserves what he's gotten, but that doesn't mean you have to go around calling him a tard.

Steve Lorenz

July 5th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

Exceeded - David Harris......never seen a guy improve more within his four years of eligibility. 

Short - Gabe Watson.....he should have been unstoppable....I think he was a little too focused on driving his pimped out Hummer around campus. 


July 5th, 2010 at 11:29 PM ^

Gabe Watson was a second or third round pick, who now starts in the NFL.  He was a beast for us for a few years.  Plus, he didn't get his Hummer until after his senior season had ended. 

If "I wanted him to be the best player ever and win five Heismans, but instead he was just the best player at his position that we've had in the last 10 years and now starts for an NFL playoff team" is the guy who you think of when you think "fallen short of expectations" then we should have won more games recently.

Smitty D

July 6th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

by Chris Balas today on the Wolverine about Michigans Top 11 Defenders

"He is comparing Big Will to Gabe"

The 330-pounder is a load on the line capable of requiring double teams on every snap … when he wants to be. Time will tell whether he becomes a dominant Big Ten tackle or the next Gabe Watson

I agree with him, just because you are good is simply not enough when you have all the tools to be DOMINATE

Steve Lorenz

July 7th, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

Five....too many. Three? Yeah. 

I mean, sorry for looking for more out of a guy who was constantly in Carr's doghouse for not giving a full effort in practice and game situations. He was suspended at least once if not more for basically not giving a crap. Weird that out of all these underachievers you would decide to argue in favor of one who was punished for blatantly underachieving. 


July 5th, 2010 at 8:27 PM ^

Exceeded: Craig Roh - I thought he would be a scarecrow of a DE or a lumbering giant of an OLB. 

Fallen Short: Kevin Grady - Explanation seems unnecessary.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:27 PM ^

Exceeded - John Navarre.  I don't know how he highly he was regarded coming out of HS, but I was here for most of Navarre's time at UM, and the guy just kept winning even though most of the school and media thought he was a stiff and should be benched.  I don't think people realize just how much crap he took as the starting QB in Ann Arbor, and all the while he performed admirably.  Everyone knew he wasn't a stud, but he took some meh teams and kept them competitive. 

Fell Short - Shantee Orr.  You can't complain too much - he did play for some pro teams.  But every year I was at UM, you heard about how Orr was going to have a breakout year.  I just looked him up, and he was an absolutel beast in HS.  To see him constantly flounder was disheartening.  


July 5th, 2010 at 8:31 PM ^

exceeded: easily 3* rb mike hart.. he was small, and not to fast for his size, and had 5* max martin ahead of him in class, but came in and took over for his entire career


failed: during his um career he was a beast, he left after his junior yr. thinking he would be a high draft pick. he didnt even get drafted and never played on a nfl team, i believe if he stayed for his sr yr his whole life would be diffrent right now... Earnest Shazor! man i had high hopes for him


July 5th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

exceeded: Death Roh, I thought he would be a solid player after about two years, couldn't have been more wrong.  Congrats to him and his family on a great freshman year.  I thought that finding out he would start the first game was my favorite moment of the year last year.  Then he came through all season long.  Not too mention how Roh Sr. has spoken out for the program, true Michigan Men.


fell short: D. Warren, don't get me wrong, he was one of my favorite players last year.  I just wished he would have had a better draft.  I think he will have a solid career in the pros.

Maize and Blue…

July 6th, 2010 at 7:25 AM ^

I agree with the fell short, but for an entirely different reason.  He didn't get drafted for a combination of reasons- slow 40, 12 benches (work ethic), and quite frankly he didn't have the type of college career you would expect out of one of the highest rated CB in the country his senior year in HS.

His most memorable moment last year was probably the pick 6 against Iowa and that was just an awful pass by Stanzi.  DW never developed into the shutdown corner I expected him to be after a very successful freshman season.

Overachiever- Tom Brady.  Wasn't thought of much as a stud QB coming out of HS.  He managed to keep the highly regard Drew Henson from starting and led M to some great victories.  What he has done in the NFL is just gravy.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:35 PM ^

Exceeded: Roy Roundtree, thought he was going to be a solid to low level contributor due to the bodies at the position but he arguably is our best weapon on offense this season.


Fallen short: D. Stonum, I thought with his speed and size he was going to be the next Braylon. Although he has shown flashes it seems as if in any given game he drops as many passes as he catches.


July 5th, 2010 at 8:43 PM ^

Could of went anywhere. He had offers from USC, Texas, Georgia, etc. He has been rather so-so these past 2 years, but look what he has had for a QB. DEATH year one and Tate year two. Tate is a good QB but he rarely stays in the pocket so you can't blame it all on Stonum for his lack of catches. He made some great plays last year when the ball was in his hands. I think he is just a player that simply doesn't get the ball enough to make a big impact. Look at what he did against ND and SPARTY. The talent is there, Rich Rod just needs to get him more involved.