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02/05/2015 - 12:38pm Thanks

This is an awesome post and the feelings really come through.  Michigan is lucky to have Karan.

Also, kudos to you for defending Iowa.  There's a lot of petty sniping these days but that's been a solid football program for a long time.  Ain't no Michigan though.

Go Blue!

02/05/2015 - 12:21pm what's your basis for not?

As Seth just said - there is no reason to assume Meyer is doing something untoward when he has an established history.

Something to keep an eye on, but way premature to make accusations.

02/05/2015 - 12:18pm If we're going to play the wishing game

I'm going to wish for the guys who play well for OSU rather than the ones who ride pine.

02/05/2015 - 12:14pm For me...

This post had the opposite of the intended effect.  I wasn't worrying or being unreasonable.  I simply thought we had a smaller class that was devoid of elite talent, completely reasonable for a transition year class.  Yeah, it was a bummer to miss on a few elite guys in reach, but overall things look fine.  What the class lacked in size and starz it made up for with high character kids (e.g., Higdon) and addressing the biggest roster needs (e.g., QB, DE, OL).

Then I read this list of pathetic excuses and I thought -- Man, if Michigan fans are bending over backwards to defend this recruiting class there must be something wrong with it.

02/04/2015 - 4:44pm Misleading title

I thought these were last-minute 2015 guys.

02/04/2015 - 12:41am "plan B types... turned up a shocking number of draft picks"

Who are the plan B types that have turned into draftpicks, other than Trey Burke? 

Morris was the crown jewel of his class. He was a plan A not just at PG, but in the entire class.

THJ was identitied early and pursued for a loong time.  Another Plan A.

Nik, McGary, GR3 -- same story.  Beilein identified them, wanted them, pursued them, and got them.  Same as he did with Walton and Irvin and Chatman.

Caris would be another Plan B but that hasn't happen yet.

Maybe it's a matter of definitions but it seems like when Beilein gets the guys he targets early he has success with them.

02/04/2015 - 12:31am Applies for every school

It just seems like a total cop-out to say everybody else just pays their players. It just so happens the two closest schools to Brian happen to be the clean programs?  Everybody else who is good is dirty?

I hear the same BS from the sport-radio hacks out here in Oregon.  They think their programs are the only clean ones around.  They've specifically mentioned Michigan as a big time football program that 'obviously' pays it's players too.  It's just lazy provincialism.

I'm not saying some programs aren't dirty.  And maybe that's an acceptable reason to not have a top 5 recruiting class. But it's NOT a valid reason not to have a top 20 class.  Tom Izzo's Cleansville USA university program has the #14 class right now and consistently brings in top 20 classes.  Marquette is #5.


As for the impacts of missing --Well sure, there is going to be more variability with smaller numbers.  But that's why nobody targets just 2 or 3 kids they target 3 or 4 times the number of openings they have and navigate the waters, adding or dropping as the seas turn.

For the 2014 class Michigan knew it was going to have to find 2 or 3 guys at least, but then the class ballooned to 5.   They missed on ALL their first-cut targets and then had way more openings than they expected.  So double whammy.

But then again -- so what?  It's a problem every successful school has to deal with.  Kansas and Duke and Ohio State don't cry about early NBA players, they reload.


The bottom line is that there is NO reason Michigan should be having a class outside the top 25 coming off the success they have.  That is a FAILURE.  2012 was a succss. 2013 was a success. 2014 was a failure.  2015 is shaping up as a failure as well.

There's no point in sugar-coating it because we want to be underdogs.

I love Beilein, but really - it is OK to talk about what he isn't great at.  So far, getting A-list recruits, even the under-the-radar guys he has discovered going back to Casey Prather on through to Booker.  Beilein is not getting enough of these kids and these excuses our fans are making for it are just petty and cheap.

02/04/2015 - 12:03am Hopefully Clark is a little more reasonable about leaping

to conclusions.

Teenagers aren't known for their consideration of other people. Especially a distant fanbase.  Not like they'll be upset to read about it in the AM anyway...

Also -- He probably has class and doesn't want to spend the entire day worried about how he does at his press conference.  I'd do it in the morning too.

02/03/2015 - 11:59pm You calling him immature?

He's 19.

02/03/2015 - 6:42pm So - how is it different than football?

All the disadvantages, with the exception of shoe-company influence, are also true in football.  Unless you are implying that Michigan football is OK paying players (which I doubt you are), the same hurdles exist.

Yes, Michigan's bball prestige isn't quite football level but our tradition is very rich.  You could even make the case that it's better than football given recency bias.  Michigan basketball isn't Kentucky, but the Fab 5, '89 team and earlier successes combined with recent success make it a clear cut top 25 program in terms of prestige.  Michigan football is too, but given the recent struggles it's struggling on the fringe of the top 10. In other words, we aren't "Kentucky" in football either.

If you ask a 17 year old recruit about which programs have more appeal (probably use the word "swag" to get your point across), I'm not sure M football is in a different place then M basketball.

My point is: let's stop acting like Michigan is handicapped.  They are not.  They had a top 10 class in 2012 and got top 10 results.  They had a poorly ranked class in 2014 and team has struggle.  It's not some strange twist of fate - That's how this works.

Michigan fans are culturally predisposed to think we are a football school and basketball is secondary.  But in terms of success and prestige the two sports are not that far off anymore.

02/03/2015 - 6:19pm Two things here

1.  If you're going to argue 'talent evaluation' than you are making the case that Beiliein is able to unearth 'talent' again and again.  We can agree that sending guys to the NBA isn't the end goal (though obviously it is helpful for recruiting.)  If it is, you have to do it every year, again and again, to sustain success.  Michigan has not.

2.  What you're really talking about is not 'talent' per se, but player development.  Other than Morris, McGary and GR3 - nobody they brought in was considered a significant NBA prospect.  Instead they turned a 6' PG, a more skilled Jon Diebler, and a couple lanky 3-stars wings into 1st round NBA draft picks.   These guys are all struggling to various degrees in the NBA so it's not exactly a case-closed example of 'talent identification'.  It's talent development.

Is it 'bad luck' that Michigan had a bunch of people go pro - no.  Michigan wants these guys.  The problem is that they aren't landing them consistently enough.  The Spike/Caris/MAAR model is not sustainable.  You need the NBA-talent around them.  You have to get some of the A-listers, as Beilein did when he got Stauskas, McGary, Robinson.  I don't necessirly mean ratings -- I mean guys that HIS STAFF targeted.  The examples last year range from Vince Edwards, Booker, Tate, Bates-Diop, plus a bunch of 5-star guys that they probably knew they had little chance of.

02/03/2015 - 6:02pm I'm sure the 7-7 stuff

Is 100% clean tho.

02/03/2015 - 2:49pm I'm just surprised no one has compared him to Avant

Times have changed.  Used to be every slower WR under 6'3 was "the next Avant".  I guess you whippersnappers prefer Drew Dileo these days...

Nevermind that Avant was a top 100 recruit with offers from all over...

At least Dileo is a little more realistic...though he too had a Stanford offer at least.

02/03/2015 - 2:42pm sure

Most guys would get better with an extra year...but that includes guys like Bellomy and Hayes and many many more who move on after graduating for better opportunities elsewhere.  If those guys could have helped as freshman, Michigan would have been better off. Instead, they spent 4 years of scholarships on players who only contributed for 3 seasons.

Anyway, I don't know that Houma, Williams, Ojemudia, and Norfleet would be that much better next year than they are now.  So, I'm not sure that your "roster full of guys" assessment is accurate.  I think the red-shirts Michigan would like to have back are pretty rare on this team.  RJS is the only one I can think of, and he was a special teams contributor, so I don't even feel too strongly about that one.

Finally, each 5th year senior that does stick around costs Michigan a shot at finding another great recruit.  It's the opposite of oversigning - a clear advantage some programs choose to pursue despite the moral reprecussions.


The Coallition for Non-Red Shirts

02/03/2015 - 2:34pm not unless he graduated

You wouldn't spend two years of scholarships to get this guy for one season.

02/03/2015 - 1:28pm I don't think so

Not only does this almost never happen, it appears highly unlikely there are any candidates.  If you mean Stribling, he is going to be a junior and projects to be the top backup across the board (assuming Lyons, Lewis, Countess are your starters/nickelback).

It's also feasible that Lyons ends up starting at safety beside Wilson.


The Coallition for Non-Red Shirts

02/03/2015 - 1:06pm No Red-Shirt

Perry should be an immediate contributor on special teams. The gap between his current ability and his upside doesn't sound like it is large enough to warrant an extra scholarship-year.


The Coallition for Non-Red Shirts

02/03/2015 - 11:50am Harbaugh kept Mattison

and Drevno came from USC.  He's not coming in entirely blind.  Furthermore, it was Harbaugh's choice to hire a bunch of NFL guys who are going to be new and/or out of touch with the recruiting game.

I think we should wait to see what happens tomorrow, but if it doesn't go well, we should acknowledge that Harbaugh's staff hires are focused on player development more than recruiting. (Or at leas tthat's what it means for the preliminary transition year class)

02/03/2015 - 1:38am Nothing makes me think of grit

Like watching dunk contests.

02/03/2015 - 1:37am Gifted Athlete

Zack never got enough credit for his athleticism.  The mismatches he created at the 4 spot had a lot to do with Michigan's success in those years.

02/02/2015 - 9:55pm The whole point

Was to differentiate between NOW and the future.

If you went by NOW half way through their freshman year, Burke was a diminutive PG who wasn't a great passer or shooter and Stauskas was a spot-up shooter who struggled in one-on-one.  Morgan was too skinny and couldn't finish.  Douglass and Novak certainly weren't big-10 caliber players. etc.

Chatman has hit some very nice mid-range jumpers.  His 3s have good arc and solid rotation.  He is probably shooting 20% on layups.  Clearly, he can do a lot better than he has done now.  He's had some very good moments...they're just the exception right now.  It's reasonable to think it's possible that will change...or even that it is PROBABLE that it will.

He's raw, he was always going to be raw.  The question is if he will get better.  I think yes, but nobody knows for sure.

02/02/2015 - 9:50pm If you follow the NBA

You are familiar with the concept of "Big stats on a bad team" guys.  These are good players, but if you put them on a good team, they struggle, because they need the ball to thrive, yet they aren't good enough to lead a team to victory.

Iverson was the best example of this. He was so good that his team actually made the finals, but literally everyone around him had to complement his unique game.  But put him on a team where he was the 4th best player and he wasn't nearly as effective.

In other words, there's only one ball.  MAAR may be the 4th or 5th best 1-on-1 player on the team.  But if you have Caris, Derrik, Spike, and you need another guy dominating the ball and taking shots?

In other other words - the ceiling of a team where MAAR is the leading scorer is not very high.

So yeah, he's going to be HUGE for this team the rest of the season, but this isn't an NCAA tournament team if it's going to be led by Spike and MAAR.

02/02/2015 - 9:43pm Stauskas was a better college player

But it's not as cut-and-dried as most would think for who would be more valuable to this year's team (assuming Spike, Derrick, Caris, Zak, Dawkins, and MAAR are all healthy).

The main reason Michigan has stuggled so badly this season is replacing its entire front-court with inexperienced freshman (with Zak sliding to the 4 nearly fulltime to mitigate).

If GR3 was around, most of the early season problems would have gone away.  You could say the same for Morgan, McGary or even Horford.  A returning vet would have been a stabilizing force on the entire team.

Point is -- this team needed a frontcourt player back more than it needed another guard.

Of course now, with everybody hurt, it's a no-brainer.  Nik would be a season-changer.  And Dawkins and Irvin seem relatively OK at the 4 spot.

02/02/2015 - 8:27pm He is raw

Played at an extremely low level of HS competion. It's tough to go from being able to do everything better than everyone to a role of a specialist without a specialty.

Chatman's game doesn't fit Beilein's model, so it will take some adjusting on both ends.

He's a very raw freshman, and everyone should be patient.

02/02/2015 - 8:20pm You're right that last year's D ranked very poorly.

However, the previous season they ranked 48th according to Kennpom. (Note - better than the previous year with Senior Novak).  The massive drop can be attributed to the changes in personnel.  Namely, Trey and THJ out.  Stauskas and Spike and Zak took up a lot more minutes -- and there's your defensive decline right there.  Nik's reputation for horrendous D is well established, and if you watch those Klay Thompson highlights when he had 37 points in one quarter, a big chunk of them were on Nik.

DRB% is not a good measure of defense.  Beilein's 4-man never has a good DRB%.  Beilein doesn't seem to mind. 

The idea that Irvin is or was better than GR3 is laughable.  Last year Irvin knocked down more than 45% of his 3s.  Beilein didn't start him over GR3. For good reason -- GR3 was very bad at D and still struggles with it pretty regularly.  On offense - certainly 3s are valuable.  My point was that GR3 brought a package of skills that create a similar effect of spacing the floor.  He could hit 3s reasonably enough to be respected, was a very good mid-range shooter, and was a destroyer of worlds on alley-oops.

02/02/2015 - 5:15pm Bump

Yeah...Dawkins is interesting to think about.  I've been pigeon-holing him into a 3&D guy but his dribbling and passing might have some potential.  That said, he and MAAR are old for their class so don't expect a huge bump.  More Spike-level gradual improvement.

DJ Wilson could bump but he wasn't actually that much better than Chatman when he did play, other than not forcing things as much.  I suspect as a big man he'll follow closer to the Horford/McGary career arc than the Trey/Darius/Caris/Nik arc.

Next year's team could be good for sure.  But without Caris there still isn't an elite player on that team unless Walton or Irvin make the leap we hoped the would last year.  Basically, next year's team could be what we HOPED this years team could be before we knew how far away Chatman, Wilson, Donnal and Doyle all still were.

02/02/2015 - 4:59pm GR3 is was and probably always will be badly underappreciated

With the struggles we are seeing this year, I thought people might reflect and give him some praise.  Doesn't seem to be the case.

GR3 was a big part of why Michigan's D was decent despite being undersized as a unit.

Offensively he had tremendous 'gravity' and instincts.  Nobody wanted to get posterized by him, so a lot of the holes that you saw created for Trey and Nik were the result of people keeping one eye on the high-flyer coming from the wing.  GR3 was decisive with his cuts to the rim and the high probability of him throwing down was a MAJOR asset for our guards. He was also a pretty decent mid-range shooter -- another skill that tends to get underrated.

Dunks are overrated by most casual fans, but there's a large segement that takes them for granted because it's not viewed as a refined skill or indicator of hard work.  So what -- it's still invaluable to a team to have a guy like that - just as it is to have a 40% shooter from 3. 

02/02/2015 - 4:53pm Agreed

He would have fit and JB loves that kind of versatility.

02/02/2015 - 4:51pm When do expectations become a problem?

Zak is our best remaining player. He's probably headed toward the NBA at some point. He is clearly improving, just as THJ did, from being 'just a shooter'. He is working outside his 'natural' position at the request of our staff.  He is playing unselfishly and working hard.  Is this really a guy we want to spend time criticizing?  Because Rivals ranks him in the top 40?

I really do get that it's OK to have expectations for people.  But when those expectations start to frame up a narrative wherein inferior players are praised and superior players are criticized it becomes a problem.  Our expectations are not facts - they are subjective forecasts.  Even if they come from published 'star rankings'.  Even if they are based on physical measureables.

As for positions...

I think we should mostly consider the 2-4 positions to be all but interchangeable in the Beilein system on offense.  With Manny Harris and MAAR and Caris and Nik often doubling as de facto PGs, the positions get even less meaningful.  It seems like it's a true 4-OUT/1-IN system with more or less ball-handling duties going to the '4' depending on his skillset.  But that's offense.

On defense, basically it's whoever the biggest guard is.  Sure JB has toyed with Chatman (who really is a jumbo guard right now, which is part of the problem because he PLAYS like it) and McGary at the 4 and did run Sims and Smotrycz as legit 4s a good bit -- but mostly he has always ended up with wing-type playing there.  It's mostly by choice until he lands a Kevin Looney or Carmelo type.  He's not recruiting the same type of banging 4-men that Pitino and Izzo favor.  Again, this is by design.  Beilein is willing to accept the benefit/cost equation of playing a small 4-man.

Yesterday - I think he was trying to temp the MSU offense into a bunch of post-up attempts to their marginal centers.  He knew they'd get some but he also knew it meant their least skilled offensive players would be the focus of the offense.


02/02/2015 - 4:27pm You probably put it better than I did

But this is exactly what I've been trying to say on this board over the last year or so. 

Glen Robinson was a vastly superior player to Zack Novak and the team's fate immediatly skyrocketed with him at the 4...but praise for Zack was bordering on idolatry while GR3 was criticized almost constantly through his year and a half on campus. 

As the team struggled this season Caris was routinely criticized even though most of his numbers were better than last year, despite increased defensive attention and vastly more responsibilities on both ends of the floor.  Caris was having a very good year.  The team was not.  These two things were getting mixed up IMO.

I get that emotions are part of fandom and we all like the underdog narrative, but there's a point where you have to be reasonable and appreciate the players who are good, even if they don't quite reach the heights we hope for them.

02/02/2015 - 4:17pm Excitement Level - 3 years from now

The excitement level/expectations you listed are more or less a ranking of who matters more to the team right now.  But, knowing that freshman develop significantly you have to wonder what it will look like when these guys are all seniors and Spike, Zak, Derrick and Caris are all gone.  I think you could make a case for any of them (possible exception Donnal) being the best guy in the end.

My best guess:

1.  Chatman - sooo far away right now, but it appears to be 90% mental.  Here's a guy who is Jordan Morgan's size but can dribble, pass, and nail jumpers.  Needs to find himself - his role, his place, what he should and shouldn't be doing yet.  Still has more upside than anyone IMO.  Of course, you can't ignore the chance that he's a bust either, but I'm optimistic he can turn it around.  People need to remember what a leap it is to playing low level HS ball in Oregon to playing in the Big 10.

2.  Dawkins - those hops!  that jump shot!  I think there's a solid chance we have an NBA-caliber 3&D on our hands and he's a classic Beilein wing.  I think he'll be a 4-year starter for us.

3.  Wilson - I think it's going to take  2 or 3 years. Like Chatman, you knew he was going to be raw. Has to get stronger.  Projects as as a very good version of Bielfeldt in terms of being able to draw centers away form the rim on offense....and a potential difference-maker on D.  He's at a similar size as Horford and Morgan were as freshman and it wouldn't surprise me if he evolves into the starting 5-man at some point.

4.  Doyle - always going to be limited by a lack of rim protection and athleticism, but his arms and physicality make him a legit Beilein center.  It's going to be fun watching Beilein modify his gameplans to include post touches.  Has he had a true low-block threat like Rickey before?  I love the potential pairing with Chatman on offense.  Can he overcome his limitations on defense and become like Morgan in being at the right place at the right time consistently. I think he can.

5.  MAAR - Just a fun guy to watch.  So crafty with the ball and what outstanding composure.  But, he's already the same age as Caris and seems like a guy that will struggle to find a major role off the ball when more talented players are back.  Seems like an impactful 6th man type and fan favorite.

6.  Donnal - At this point it's unclear if he's a Big10 caliber player. Not big enough to bang, not skilled enough to play the 4.  Could be a quality backup though.

02/02/2015 - 3:57pm Agreed

It was one thing when Caris was hurt and Chatman was a disappointment.  Now you lose Donnal and Walton too?

I'm not big on evaluating against preseason expectations - because expectations are often very illogical and unfair - but Michigan clearly had a lot more raw material to work with at the start of the season.


02/02/2015 - 3:55pm Reasonable Expectations for the "4" wrt Rebounding

Maybe we should stop expecting the wings that play the 4 spot in Beilein's system to be rebounders. 

"he's not a plus rebounder" targets include Irvin and GR3 and applied to Novak and Sims as well.  Has ANY Beilein 4 been a good rebounder?  Not that I can recall at Michigan.  Does Beilein view this as a problem?  It doesn't appear so.

Irvin spent most of his time guarding MSU's centers last game (as Bielfeldt and Doyle were tasked with Dawson).  Zak was giving up 3 inches and 30 pounds. He was also the primary focus of the defense (read clutching, grabbing, slapping) on the other end, is a 3 point shooter unlikely to pick up ORB to boost his numbers, AND he led the team in minutes played. Kid played a gritty game and his passing has clearly improved (the major critique a few weeks ago). 

I realize he isn't Nik offensively but damn...let's give our best player left standing a little credit.

It seems like 3-star recruits get a free pass for their deficiencies while the 4-stars can't do anything right unless they are Big 10 player of the year.



02/02/2015 - 3:39pm It was kind of BS before but...

the MacGuyver narrative is on point with Donnal and Walton both down.  Chatman and Irvin were the only top 100 type recruits available, and Chatman is a extra-raw freshman who isn't ready.  When you're playing walk-ons significant minutes that is trouble in way that scholarship busts are not.

02/02/2015 - 3:33pm "he'll definitely flip"

Somebody let the Freep know that Brian Cooks of is reporting that Mike Weber has committed to Michgian.

02/01/2015 - 5:17pm Excellent

If you trust Beilein (and why would you not) you have to come to grips with just that point.  Clearly he showed some nice ability to earn the starting gig over the other options.

Chatman is playing some awful awful basketball right now, but you can see flashes of why he was so highly recruited.  He is just so mentally out of sorts now and lacking confidence that it's really disrupted his entire game.

Chatman could still be the best player in this class.  I say that as I guy who predicted before the seasons that Kam would backup Dawkins.

02/01/2015 - 5:12pm I thought the same thing after Caris got hurt...

because Caris isn't coming back anyway, so the team would learn to play without him and come back "full". But Walton AND Caris being gone is probably not such a good thing for learning what it takes to win at a high level.

It would have bennefited Derrick to develop into option 1A, and as individuals MAAR, Dawkins, Chatman, and Zak will develop, but they need to grow in their roles off the ball just as much as on it.

Given how the season has played out it's not devastating, but it's also far from a good thing.

02/01/2015 - 5:01pm Confident Prediciton

Utah will be a night game in 2015

02/01/2015 - 4:39pm Zak Irvin appreciation

Guy played center for most of the game, defending guys 3 inches and 25-30 pounds bigger than him, and led the team in minutes.  I doubt that's what he imagined for himself when he signed up at Michigan. 

Tough shooting night and trouble getting his shot off against Dawson (who - credit due - played great for them) but he had some big baskets, steals, even a few nice assists.  He's coming along nicely as a player and he's going to get a lot better experiencing being the focus of defenses over the next few weeks. 

02/01/2015 - 12:08pm It's just math

If there are 5 or more options and we don't have any reason to think one leads strongly, then yeah, 25% does "seem" to lead.

It's reasonable to take Webb's opinion and draw a different conclusion.  It's also reasonable to take that information with a grain of salt and accept more uncertainty in regard to UM's chances.

I think sometimes people hear what they want to. Sam is a MICHIGAN insider talking to MICHIGAN fans.  I know he talks to Dad, but according to rivals Dad has very intentionally stepped back from this process. 

To me, it seems unlikely a kid goes from "I want to blaze my own trail" and "Michigan's not in my top 4" to just flipping the switch to >50% Michigan.  Not impossible, but unlikely.

02/01/2015 - 11:43am I think that bigger classes lead to more attrition.

 Therefore the problem will tend to take care of itself.

Despite perceptions, Michigan has actually done this for a long time at the RB position.  Take a bunch of guys, let them compete, and then the guys who don't emerge end up moving on or shifting to FB, LB, etc.

Harbaugh did the same thing at QB at Stanford.

A lot of programs are figuring out that this is a reasonable approach for other positions as well. 


Attrition is certain, but the specifics are unpredictable.  The idea of balance is appealing as a concept but in practice it is not acheivable because there is attrition and then there is the uncertainty of recruits panning out as well. 

In short - you can't acheive balance, even if you try.  You shouldn't sacrifice talent or depth in order to strive for balance.  Banking scholarships is doing that.

I guess I'm missing your point about 'balance' mattering more or less if you red-shirt kids or don't. I don't see a difference.


I don't see any 'mess' on the Michigan roster, other than at the QB position, which is about to get fixed it seems with Harbaugh's preference for multi-QB classes.  Yeah, there are some imbalances here and there but no position is in red-flag territory or not readily fixable in the 2016 class. 

As you said, the issue comes down to transition costs.  The 2011 and 2015 classes are going to be outliers in terms of recruiting class rankings.



01/31/2015 - 11:06pm You did

My fault for missing your parenthetical, but by "I'm not sure how you got it" I'm primarily trying to question the validity of your methodology. It's disingenous cherry-picking to ignore the one class that has been here for 3.5 years and say the guys who have been here for 2.5 and 1.5 years are a "testament" to the guy that got fired.

I wonder how much different Rodriguez looked at a comparable point.  Most of his guys from his 2008 class were around for a year and half too.  2.5 years later - fewer. 4 years on, with a new head coach, the numbers had shrunk significantly.

That's how attrition works. It takes it's toll over time, some go right away, others depart with unrenewed 5th years.  It's why the '2 years from now we'll be great' rule always works - it pretends attrition doesn't exist but attrition always exists.

Note: I'm not disputing that Hoke did a good job with keeping the 2012 class around or that he did a great job vetting viable college football student-athlete, but it's still the case that a good chunk of those guys are not going to play at Michigan for 4 years.

In other words - evaluating attrition 1 or 2 years in is kind of like evaluating recruiting classes the summer before signing day.  There's a lot that can happen between Shaun Crawford and Damien Harris to awww shucks we missed out on John Kelly and what about these guys from Rutgers, Washington State, UConn and CMU???

01/31/2015 - 10:29pm Decrease Variance by Increasing Population

It's a "crapshoot" in that the endevour is fraught with uncertainity and variance, with a chance of winning and a chance of losing.  Same goes for playing the lottery - which is a better analogy for recruiting.

"Banking" a scholarship is throwing away lottery tickets. It's giving up without trying. 

The benefit is you reward walk-ons.  Which, OK, nice for the kids who are rewarded - but if that was a great thing you'd just build your entire team on walk-ons and call it a day.  Let's agree that rewarding walk-ons is suboptimal.  It's Plan B.  Preferably your recruits pan out into all-americans and future NFL all-pros.

It's BECAUSE recruiting is so uncertain that you can't pass and taking advantage of every opportunity.  You don't skip out on a 3-star kid because you MIGHT get a 4-star kid the following year.   Mike Hart was better than David Underwood. You take the 3-star kid and you hope to develop him into a star.

Bigger classes just mean more attrition.  That's how OSU and the SEC schools do it.  They bring 30 guys in.  Standard attrition drops 5-10 of them, then a handful more realize they're never going to start and transfer and bam - you take 30 more again the next year. 

The mistake in all this is assuming that no attrition and tons of red-shirts are optimal.  They are not.  Alabama would have cut Russell Bellomy 3 years ago and they'd be cutting Blake Bars and Terry Richardson.  Not saying I want Michigan to do this stuff but if you're a cold-hearted football-focused machine that's the way you operate.

People here think it's a tragedy if every recruit doesn't turn into a 5-year player and... not only is that unrealistic... it's also suboptimal.  The real ideal is 4-year players and a healthy level of attrition to increase the people coming through the program.


01/31/2015 - 10:08pm So...

You went from over 50% to 40% - dropping your confidence level more than 10% and yet my difference of 15% is "very different" from your prediction.  By your own definition the predictions you have made are "very different".  So, your inconsistency isn't confidence instilling.

I don't know what Sam Webb said as I don't subscribe to Scout and he says a lot of things elsewhere, but typcially things like Wheatley being more likely to come than not filter through to twitter and messageboards.  I'm just going to guess that he said something pretty innocuous like "I like Michigan's chances" which you ran with to jump to conclusions.  Apologies if I got it wrong - again, I don't know everything Sam says.

And honestly, there is a limit to how much I care.  Insiders are interesting and informative but they are also wrong.  Sam seems genuine and full of integrity.  He's my favorite "insider" by a long shot.  But it's still just a bit of evidence until he says something more concrete.  I've been following Michigan recruiting since the 90s and you really just have to take these guys with a grain of salt -- even the good ones.  And with the many outlets being so competitive now, the echo-chamber misinformation is more preveleant than ever.  Now you have random guys on blogs like Ace Williams and Magnus who just take insider info and pawn it off as their own "updates" without any direct sources whatsoever. {Magnus has 1% of the sleeze, but a lot of his "information" is just stuff from other sites.} I digress...

Point is this:  This thread is about heuristics and mine are far lighter on "insider" conjecture and much heavier on direct information.

I'm going of Wheatley's words and actions.  His words have said he has a top 4 that does not include Michigan. I think Michigan should be included for all the reason you mention.  So that's 5 teams.  Yeah - that could have changed. It also could have not changed.  I don't know what reasons you have ruling out other unnamed schools and maybe they are legit, maybe not.  I have not heard the other teams that were ahead of Michigan a week ago get ruled out, so I'm not ruling them out.

Obviously things change but until I have a reason to rule out his 4 leaders I won't.  So those teams each get at least a 10% chance and then you have to give a non-zero something to "other".

So we'll see...  I think if you had just said in the beggining "In my opinion it's more like 40%, based on what Sam Webb was saying."  My response would have been:  "cool. that's seems reasonable, glad there is a reason to hope I'm underselling it a bit."

01/31/2015 - 8:44pm I don't think that word means what you think it means

Locks aren't supposed to go anywhere else, otherwise it's a mislabel.

I said around 25% (which I consider to mean Michigan leads), you said at least 50% (which is very strong) and then said more than 25% (which is vague but at least sounds close to my stated estimate).  To me 25% and 50% are very different predictions for a guy who is considering 4 or 5 schools (or more).

I'm speculating based on a lack of good information.  I'm a fan of Sam Webb but his info still needs to be taken within the appropriate context.  I'm certainly encouraged by his information because otherwise what I would see would be Wheatley's quotes and I'd put MIchigan's chances at more like 5%.

01/31/2015 - 8:23pm Attrition by year

I don't know how you're getting 4 out of 50 for Hoke.

Presumably you are counting the freshman and sophomores on the team?  You might as well be making a "testament to Harbaugh" case based on how many decommitments he hasn't had.

The 2012 class:  24 out of 25 have made it through 3 seasons, which is a fantastic start. But the writing is on a the wall that a few these guys won't be back by fall, let alone next year.

The 2011 class:  10 out of  20 made it through 4 years (eveb that's counting Bellomy, Heitzman, Hayes).  If you consider these guys (who Michigan invested scholarships on in order to red-shirt for their 5th seasons) to be attrition, then you are talking about nearly 2/3s of Hoke's ONLY class that has gone through a cycle here to be attrition.

Attrition is normal. It happens every year. If we only lose 2 guys in the next 12 months that would be a record by a longshot.

The 2016 class will be over 20, probably well over.

01/31/2015 - 8:21pm Look what you found

01/31/2015 - 7:06pm Self-Imposed Sanctions

Regardless of what your 'ideal' is, I hope everyone can agree that letting scholarships go unused is the exact opposite of oversigning.  Oversigning is a competitive advantage.  'Banking' (i.e., not using) scholarships is a competitive disadvantge. I don't know why any team would inentionally put themselves in a disadvantageous position like that.

There is no good reason to bank scholarships, ever.

01/31/2015 - 7:03pm The ideal situation

Take 85 5-stars every season and let them compete. All go pro. Kentucky of CFB.

In all seriousness, the idea that we should take 20 per year is suboptimal.  The program's aim should be to NOT red-shirt people, a la Meyer's stated practice.  If you get everybody contributing right away you get more players cycling through the program. More players means more liklihood of finding superstars.  The next Woodson, Brady, Hart, etc.

Of course, here in reality, it makes sense to red-shirt kids who aren't going to contribute, especially OLmen and 4th string QBs.  If you haven't broken into the 2 deep or special teams rotation by game 4, it's time to think about it.

01/31/2015 - 6:55pm Reasonable minds...

This isn't exactly science, so I'm not going to start quibbling over decimal points but you said he's "at least 50/50" which , I don't care how much you trust Webb, seems pretty overconfident given Wheatley's statements.

I certainly hope he comes -- anybody with offers from Alabama, USC, Oregon, etc. is a prospect that is exciting and his name will be fun to see again in a Michigan uniform -- but I really don't think people should be remotely surprised if he goes elsewhere.