Ben VanSumeren, Wolverine

Ben VanSumeren, Wolverine


December 17, 2017

Essexville (MI) Garber FB/TE/LB Ben VanSumeren

Essexville (MI) Garber fullback/tight end/linebacker Ben VanSumeren flipped from Iowa to Michigan on Sunday afternoon. He chose Michigan over the likes of Cincinnati, Iowa State, Minnesota, and Missouri, among others.

VanSumeren is listed at 6’3″, 228 lbs. He runs a 4.5 forty and a 3.95 shuttle. He claims a 350 lb. bench press, a 570 lb. squat, and a 42″ vertical. He set a state record for catches with 85 this season, totaling 1,259 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns. That all came after he started the first two games at quarterback.

RATINGS
ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #52 ATH
Rivals: 3-star, #37 ATH
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #54 ATH, #655 overall

Hit the jump for more on VanSumeren’s commitment.

I had been aware of VanSumeren as an in-state prospect for a while, ever since he committed to Western Michigan in February. He decommitted and offers from bigger programs started rolling in. After the Iowa offer came in October, it didn’t take him long to take an official visit, and then he committed in November. It looked like that would be it and he would sign with the Hawkeyes on December 20. That is until Michigan sent him an offer late last week and several of the coaches visited his school on Friday morning. They convinced him to take an official visit this weekend, and now he’s committed to the Wolverines.

Ben VanSumeren (image via MLive)

VanSumeren is a jack-of-all-trades football player as the best athlete on his team – quarterback, receiver, linebacker, crack blocker extraordinaire. At 6’3″ and 228 lbs., he’s a bit of a tweener when it comes to an offensive position; he’s somewhat short for a tight end and fairly tall for a fullback. Iowa had him pegged as a linebacker, which is where his physique would seem to fit best. He has good straight-line speed and some shake to him. He can high-point the football and shield the ball from defenders. The most important thing for him is probably that he’s a very physical player. He’s not afraid to hit, whether he’s blocking, taking on blockers, or running the ball.

On the negative side, VanSumeren has not had a chance to concentrate on any single position since he plays so many different spots. It may take some time for him to learn the nuances of one position, but he’s obviously a smart guy; not only did he learn several positions for his high school team, but he has offers to play for several Ivy League programs. Physically, he will need to continue bulking up and getting stronger, since 228 lbs. isn’t particularly heavy for a college H-back, particularly one who’s 6’3″.

Overall, this is a good pickup for Michigan. The clear favorite for the fullback position next season is sophomore Ben Mason, since two fifth year seniors are graduating (Khalid Hill, Henry Poggi) and the only other fullbacks are walk-ons and Jared Wangler. There is immediately playing time available, and Mason himself got plenty of playing time as the #3 guy during the 2017 regular season. Jim Harbaugh loves to use fullbacks and tight ends, and VanSumeren will probably not redshirt.

There are some stargazers who are probably not happy that Michigan got a commitment from a 3-star prospect, but there are a couple reasons to dismiss the idea that this hurts the class. First of all, Michigan had three scholarship fullbacks on the roster in 2017 (Hill, Poggi, Mason), so this is actually still a reduction in scholarship allocations for the fullback position. Second, a 3-star prospect like him would usually be so lowly ranked in the recruiting class that some websites wouldn’t even count him toward the team recruiting rankings. Since Michigan will have a small class, he may “drag down” the class ranking, but that can be misleading. Third, the #1 fullback in the 2018 class (Miami commit Realus George) is a 3-star and #1468 overall; VanSumeren is a 3-star and #601. Fullbacks are very rarely rated highly, so teams that recruit them surely acknowledge that recruiting pundits won’t approve.

Michigan now has 17 commits in the 2018 class, and this puts the team at 87 allotted scholarship players for 2018 (LINK), which means at least two more players will have to depart from the current squad.

TTB Rating: 78 (ratings explanation)

51 comments

  1. Comments: 150
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Dec 17, 2017 at 10:22 PM

    At first, I was skeptical but after hearing more about the kid and watching the highlights I can see why Iowa recruited him. He’s the type of kid that you hate to play against and they often end up at Iowa or even worse, MSU. I’m glad he’s on our side. However, he’s not a game changer in the college football platform. He’s obviously strong and fast (though, 4.5 is not real. That’s faster than many NFL DB’s) but at the end of the day, he’s a fullback. Difficult to get excited about but for some strange reason I am. Go Blue. Go Sam Van!

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 276
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Dec 18, 2017 at 6:52 AM

    His 127 Sparq isn’t anything to sneeze at and that includes a more realistic 40 time.

    Let’s see how he adjusts to college competition and S&C. I have a feeling he will be considered for both sides of the ball.

  3. Comments: 1139
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 18, 2017 at 7:02 AM

    It’s hard to imagine Sparty not having been all over this kid. I’m thinking they just couldn’t qualify academically.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 276
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Dec 18, 2017 at 7:56 AM

      “I’m thinking they just couldn’t qualify academically.”

      Excellent Roanman!

  4. Comments: 1139
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 18, 2017 at 7:20 AM

    I went looking for how the Sparq rating was calculated and found this instead. By this list, our boy VanSumeren would have had the 23rd best Sparq rating among Linebackers entering the 2017 NFL draft, he spots ahead of 22.9 year old Ben Gedeon by 3+ points.

    https://3sigmaathlete.com/rankings/

  5. Comments: 739
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Dec 18, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    His ranking is not so much the issue as is the fact that it’s a waste to recruit more than one scholarship fullback. Yes, we had three last year, but two were failed projects at other positions. There will always be more than enough of those to fill whatever slots you need at FB, without having to expend scholarships that could be better used on other positions. Better to use guys who are already taking up a scholarship, but who clearly aren’t going to contribute at the position you originally recruited them for.

    • Comments: 82
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      AC1997
      Dec 18, 2017 at 8:46 AM

      I see your point and I do think that there are walk-on FBs that could contribute. Along those lines I was opposed to Michigan recruiting a THIRD TE in this class with so many obvious needs at OL/DL. But with Harbaugh’s offense I think you’re wrong about FB.

      He played three scholarship FBs this year and did a fair amount of complex things with them. Hill was a short-yardage expert and able pass catcher. Mason next year will be a traditional thumper. I think to go into the season with only one player at the position who has any experience is a little concerning.

      As for Vansumeren, I look at him as Aaron Shea 2.0. I think he’ll split time between an H-back role and FB role and give the offense some diversity with his skill set. Shea did the same thing and carved out a nice career in the NFL at a similar size – 6’3″ 248 pounds.

      • Comments: 739
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Dec 18, 2017 at 9:29 AM

        Well, you say he did “complex” things with his fullbacks, but what’s the good of that if your offense is still weak? Hill only caught 5 passes all year, and when he ran it, we were basically sacrificing any chance at a big play, since he never gained more than 4 yards on a carry. Harbaugh came in with a huge reputation for running a powerful offense with fullbacks, H-backs and tight ends, but three years in, we’re still not seeing it. Our most experienced guys, Wheatley and Bunting, were essentially useless last year, so I’m not buying Harbaugh’s rep as a great developer of tight ends.

        This is not to say this guy won’t be a pretty good player. Maybe he will. The question is, is he the very best use we could possibly make of this scholarship? Are the teams we’re competing against doing better than this type of player?

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2504
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 18, 2017 at 10:02 AM

          “I’m not buying Harbaugh’s rep as a great developer of tight ends.”

          Well, two of the guys he recruited/developed were perhaps Michigan’s top two most reliable targets this year in Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon. Just because other guys get passed up doesn’t mean Harbaugh doesn’t develop tight ends. That doesn’t make any sense. If you recruit 10 offensive linemen and only 7 of them play, it doesn’t mean those other 3 suck or weren’t developed. It means that you developed 70% of them and the jury’s still out on the others.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2504
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 18, 2017 at 9:58 AM

      I disagree in this case. First of all, fullback is a position for Jim Harbaugh. He uses the position a lot. If you’re Rich Rodriguez, sure, there’s no need to spend a scholarship (or two or three) on a fullback. I think some people have become too used to the spread offense as The One Way to run a football program. If you’re Georgia Tech, you need to recruit a bunch of running backs because you use a diveback and two slotbacks on every single play. At Washington State you need a crap ton of wide receivers on the roster. At Michigan you need some fullbacks.

      Second, just because Hill and Poggi played fullback the past couple years does not mean that’s what Michigan wants. Those guys were holdovers from the previous regime, and let’s face it, maybe they’re guys that Harbaugh wouldn’t have recruited, anyway. Poggi did not have a ton of value as a blocker, runner, or receiver, and he must not have been great at defensive line, either. Michigan rolled him out there perhaps because there was nobody else. That doesn’t mean Harbaugh should plan to “waste” a fullback spot by moving any old Tom, Dick, or Reuben Jones to fullback.

      Third, I’m not sure there are any great options to move to FB. This goes hand-in-hand with point #2 above, but maybe the guys who could move to FB are transferring or quitting. Maybe the guy you’re thinking of to move has hands of stone. I don’t know. I think Bobby Henderson was a quality walk-on fullback type, but I have not seen another walk-on FB on the team who’s as good as Henderson was through 2016.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3725
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 18, 2017 at 12:25 PM

        That’s the thing – if you use scholarship FBs you likely won’t see much from walk-on FBs. So we’ll never know.

        Moreover, you’re not going to attract the same caliber of walk-on if the opportunity isn’t there. Michigan now has 2 scholarship FBs all lined up for the next 3 years. If you’re an in-state FB who thinks they have what it takes to succeed as a walk-on you’re going to be inclined to look somewhere else.

      • Comments: 739
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Dec 18, 2017 at 12:53 PM

        Sure, Harbaugh uses fullbacks, but he doesn’t need guys with a lot of physical talent, speed or athleticism at that position, not nearly as much as you want at tight end, say. And you’re not going to find very many guys coming out of high school having played the kind of role that Harbaugh uses his fullbacks for in any case. You’re going to have to switch guys from their accustomed position, anyway, so why not wait for the inevitable busts at other positions, and try to salvage something out of those scholarships, once you’ve actually had a chance to see who might fit the fullback role? Otherwise, a guy like Poggi is buried deep on the depth chart and never contributes at all.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3725
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 18, 2017 at 12:20 PM

      I agree with WCB. Using scholarships on FBs is a luxury Michigan probably can’t afford.

      The hypothesis that there is some marginal gain to be realized from taking a scholarship FB (vs. using position-switches or walk-on) hasn’t been proven. We’ve seen FBs easily replaced from other positions and perhaps the most complete FB Michigan had was a walk-on (Kerridge). Concerns about specific skillsets have been dispelled (remember when people were questioning Hill’s ability as a ball-carrier?). Visions of exploiting matchups in the pass game have gone mostly unrealized.

      More important (than if the benefit exists) is if it has more value than the marginal cost at other positions. Each fullback scholarship means Michigan sacrifices depth elsewhere or gives up on a chance at an impact player. If you take 10 RBs with a 5% chance of superstardom you have a 50% chance of having a superstar. If you take nine your odds just went down to 45%. If you have to play ever decent true freshman on the OL you’re never going to get 5th year’s out of your best guys. etc.

      Michigan can, will, and should allocate scholarships to reward FBs who play significant roles. The question is if they should allocate full 4-year scholarships to them when there is an abundance of leftover talent from other positions (RB, TE, LB) and willing-and-able walk-on candidates at a large and prestigious university like Michigan.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3725
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 18, 2017 at 12:42 PM

        That all said, I’m not really mad about the scholarship offer.

        As I said above, Michigan can and will allocate scholarships to FBs and that’s fine. This offer smells like a plan B – not only has Michigan missed on it’s first options in the recruiting class – but this tells they aren’t in love with options like Wangler, Jones, or whatever walk-ons are rising up.

        Right or wrong they want to be able to rotate FBs rather than relying too heavily on Mason.

        It’s sub-optimal (compared to developing FBs from internal sources) but it’s not a huge problem if Vansumeren comes in and contribute from day 1 like Mason.

        • Comments: 739
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 18, 2017 at 1:07 PM

          I tend to agree. Giving scholarships to two guys that you have slotted specifically for fullback is one more than you need, IMO, but if this gives us two reliable fullbacks for the next three years (with no need to give more 4 year scholarships), and the luxury of filling other spots at that position with cast-offs for the rest of their time here, so be it. And if we’re going to recruit that type of guy, there aren’t going to be many 5 stars available, so a 3 star will likely do fine.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3725
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 18, 2017 at 1:52 PM

            Right – probably the biggest gripe here is that you already have a scholarship FB that you feel very good about as a starter. So now you’re giving a scholarship to a BACKUP FB – thus making it even less likely you’ll get the marginal return on the scholarship.

            But like I said – if they whiffed on all the guys they really wanted as it appears, the benefit of the scholarship going elsewhere shrinks. And if they don’t like the potential position switchers/walk-ons then the return on Vansumeren goes up. At some point the math works out in this particular circumstance.

            The worry here is more about the strategy and philosophy in general than anything else. If Michigan doesn’t take another FB in the next 3 classes I don’t think anyone should fret. But if they take another one, yet again, in 2019 there will be room for complaint IMO.

            The staff is clearly viewing the 2018 class as an opportunity for luxury pickups. They are addressing the handful of needs they have but beyond that taking chances.

            I still think they should take 2 or 3 more OL instead of a third TE, a FB, another RB etc but it’s clear they don’t agree with that approach and are comfortable with the OL numbers as is.

            • Comments: 1139
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Dec 18, 2017 at 2:46 PM

              LOL.

              Yeah, because hardly ever does someone get hurt playing football. One guy at a position is perfectly fine.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3725
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 18, 2017 at 3:37 PM

                One SCHOLARSHIP guy.

                I mean if you recognize that the debate is about ANY scholarship going to the position, you should be able to recognize that that it is even harder to make the case for two.

                Michigan does not use a FB every down so a backup is hardly needed. Even if they are they can pull from other positions as has been demonstrated repeatedly over the last 2 years.

      • Comments: 1139
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Dec 18, 2017 at 1:44 PM

        In a system that calls for the heavy employment of Fullback/H Backs types, the hypothesis for using walk-ons or position switchers rather than players specifically recruited to play those positions is not proven. Actually, it isn’t even credible.

        If your offense is specifically designed to use Fullbacks and H Back types, with plays specifically designed for specific kinds of players with specific kinds of shapes, sizes and skill sets and you’re relying on walk-ons for your talent, you are either negligent or have a death wish for your career. Harbauugh is neither of those guys.

        There are 85 scholarships available, you recruit to your system. Washington State has every bit of 10-12 scholarship Wide Receivers on their roster, likely no Te types, nothing that really resembles a FB. Even if they have a guy they might call a FB, that guy is a little, really thick, power packed, short yardage man and is nothing resembling a lead blocker. Maybe they have one other power-ish type back and a hoard of water bug, slot types they call RBs zipping around all over the place. Why on earth would his roster look like that? Only because Mike Leach is lining them up all over the place, spreading the field, trying to get guys in space one on one, and then throwing it around on just about every down.

        Harbaugh uses Fullbacks and Tight Ends a lot. Consequently, he recruits guys who play those positions to the exclusion of guys that play positions he has less demand for. What makes sense is for Harbaugh to bring in walk ons and position switchers at wide receiver for depth, while handing out scholarships to Tight Ends/H Backs and Fullbacks. what makes no sense is relying on walk-ons for a position he uses all day long.

        Walk-on lineman of every persuasion and big people in general are always a real good idea, as well.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3725
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 18, 2017 at 1:55 PM

          I am not sure you have noticed who has been playing FB at Michigan for the last 3 years.

          • Comments: 1139
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Dec 18, 2017 at 2:32 PM

            Only because the previous regime recruited no fullbacks.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3725
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 18, 2017 at 3:27 PM

              It took till Harbaugh’s 3rd class to sign his first fullback. So I don’t think you can blame it only on the previous regime.

              Anyway – that regime recruited Houma.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3725
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 18, 2017 at 1:56 PM

          If Harbaugh was taking fewer WR, TE, or RB to allow for the FB I think that would make sense, but it’s hard to make a case that he is really doing that.

        • Comments: 739
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

          There’s a reason why there are lots of 4 and 5 star wide receivers on the recruiting boards every year, but not lots of 4 and 5 star fullbacks. There’s a reason why WRs get votes for the Heisman, but fullbacks don’t. There’s a reason why walk-ons or position switchers have made significant contributions here at FB, but not at WR.

          When you figure out what those reasons are, you’ll understand how silly your post is.

          • Comments: 1139
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Dec 18, 2017 at 3:39 PM

            I already know the reason.

            Wide Receivers catch touchdown passes, thrown by QB’s who get even more Heisman votes than do Wide Receivers. And interestingly, it’s the guys throwing and catching the touchdown passes to the cheers of the crowd who get the press, acclaim and the Heisman votes. This is pretty much commonly understood among people who are paying attention to the world around them and how things really work. And is the absolute reason that the people who make it all possible by keeping the Qb’s upright and drives going have to look elsewhere for their awards.

            And, I made no statement that even insinuated that I thought that walk-on Wide Receivers were going to be significant contributors around here, although Nate Schoenle is doing not bad. I referenced them as depth.

            Position switchers have done well here the last couple of years, and we have a nice tradition of walk-on fullbacks, particularly during Lloyd’s tenure.

            But position switching was made necessary by the fact that Hoke brought in nothing like a Harbaugh Fullback and there weren’t a lot of options. and walk-ons were ok in the day because Lloyd’s offense was nowhere near as fullback reliant as is Harbaugh’s

            if Fullbacks are integral to your offense and you are not recruiting them, that is in itself a real good definition for silly.

            • Comments: 739
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Dec 18, 2017 at 4:18 PM

              I seem to remember a sarcastic comment of yours to the effect of “Yeah, because hardly ever does someone get hurt playing football. One guy at a position is perfectly fine.”

              Yet now you say that we’ll be just fine with two or three scholarship WRs to start, and walk-ons for the rest of the “depth” chart.

              It doesn’t matter why position switching was made necessary. By your own admission, and in contradiction to your previous statement, those guys have done just fine at fullback.

              And what player on offense ISN’T “integral”? They all are, but fullback is by far the least important player on the offense, and the one where differences in talent will have the least effect on the outcome of games. Again, there’s a reason why there are All-conference and All-American players at every position on offense except fullback. You still haven’t grasped the significance of that.

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:29 PM

                Whiny, find and quote where I say anything about two or three scholarship Wide Receivers.

                Then, just fine is just fine. If you want the best guys for the style of football you want to play, it is a requirement that you recruit them and offer them scholarships. This is a fundamental principle of college football.

        • Comments: 739
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 18, 2017 at 3:27 PM

          So Kerridge, Houma and Hill aren’t enough evidence for you that walk-ons and position-switchers can do a capable job at FB?

          Exactly what would convince you?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3725
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 18, 2017 at 3:34 PM

            One SCHOLARSHIP guy.

            I mean if you recognize that the debate is about ANY scholarship going to the position, you should be able to recognize that that it is even harder to make the case for two.

            • Comments: 1139
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Dec 18, 2017 at 3:54 PM

              It’s pretty simple making the case for two, three, or even more

              You’re using fullbacks, so get the best ones you can find. Get enough of them so that you minimize to the greatest extent possible the negative impact from injury.

              That it doesn’t sit well with your argument that one Fullback on scholarship is wasteful, is neither here nor there. The point is simply this, if you use Fullbacks get the best Fullbacks you can find. Then get as many of the best Fullbacks you can find as you think you need to operate your system.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3725
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:09 PM

                And why does this philosophy not apply at other positions?

                Or is your argument simply that there is plenty of scholarships so who cares how they are used?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3725
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 18, 2017 at 3:36 PM

            Houma was a scholarship FB recruited by Hoke to play FB. Harbaugh turned him into a rotation RB eventually when he proved a better option than Ty Isaac, Derrick Green, and others.

          • Comments: 1139
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Dec 18, 2017 at 4:01 PM

            I’d forgotten about Souma. He was not a position switch. He played fullback in HS. If you remember, i wanted to line him up in a two point stance and hand him the football, a lot.

            Hill was a TE, H Back that mostly played it that way. By the way, among you’re other thoroughly demonstrated to be wrong opinions was the one about wasted scholarships on Tight Ends and H Backs and how we did;t need them because nobody was going to deploy multiple Tight Ends. You can feel free to file this set of comments into the same folder. Wrong.

            Kerridge did good and was a fine Wolverine. Relying on attracting Joe Kerridge over and over again without having to come up with a scholarship is foolishness.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3725
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 18, 2017 at 4:08 PM

              Houma played RB here and played RB in high school.

              Nobody ever thought Harbaugh wouldn’t use multiple TEs. The issue was that there was more than enough to cover multiple TEs and that remained true this season. Despite a surprise departure in the offseason and a season ending injury to another early season contributor, Michigan still had no fewer than 6 TEs it could use at anytime (including Hill and Poggi with Gentry/McKeon/Wheatley/Bunting). This is called excessive depth.

              Wisconsin manages OK with their “foolishness” and as a result can afford to do things like red-shirting their OL.

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:10 PM

                Houma was the up back in a wishbone offense.

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:11 PM

                Windy thought adamantly and at length that there was no need for multiple TE sets.

                • Comments: 739
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Dec 18, 2017 at 4:26 PM

                  The point was (again, whizzing over your head) that you don’t need to recruit 6 scholarship TEs if you want 6 on the roster. That’s a waste of scholarships, because you always have guys you can switch from other positions to fill the 5th and 6th spots on the depth chart (or higher if you’re lucky). And surprise, surprise, we had two position switchers on the depth chart this year.

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:20 PM

                Who are Wisconsin’s walk-on Fullbacks?

                • Comments: 739
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Dec 18, 2017 at 4:38 PM

                  Out of five recruiting classes on the roster, Wisconsin has 3 fullbacks, 2 of which started off as linebackers before they switched positions.

                  Your point was…what?

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:32 PM

                Who are the two position switchers at TE?

              • Comments: 1139
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Dec 18, 2017 at 4:42 PM

                They were brought in as Fullbacks as scholarship players. What 247 or any other service called them is irrelevant.

                That’s my point.

                Three scholarship players at the Fullback position at the University of Wisconsin.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3725
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 18, 2017 at 5:40 PM

                  I stand corrected on the point for the case of Wisconsin but it is typical of teams – even those traditional offenses that use them – NOT to allocate a lot of scholarships to the position. Instead – they rely on position-switches or walk-ons.

                  http://onlineathens.com/dogbytes-football-mobile/2016-05-13/uga-fullbacks-scholarship-continue-fade

                  And even the argument that 3 is correct is implicitly agreeing to the point that they are less important (in comparison to say QB or RB).

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 3725
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 18, 2017 at 12:32 PM

    Michigan FBs have been taller than Michigan LBs in general. Most of our FBs are 6’2 or more. Most of our LBs are 6’2 or less.

    The 90’s football paradigm of 5’11 FBs and 6’4 LBs isn’t really reflected in the Harbaugh offense or Brown defense.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 3725
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 18, 2017 at 5:53 PM

    Michigan has found FBs from walk-ons, discarded DL, TE, and LB. This approach would be likely to continue to work, especially with Harbaugh’s penchant for moving people between positions as a vehicle for development.

    This is a great way to utilize players who lose out in playing time battles at their positions. This is what Bo did with a lot of failed RBs. They can do this while still offering depth at their previous positions.

    There’s an opportunity there to get optimal allocation of scholarships since those players are already on scholarship. They are ‘sunk costs’ – unless you want to run them off the roster. Compared to allocating scholarships to fullbacks exclusively it’s more efficient. In effect, you have fewer scholarships for other positions.

    There has to be a significant payoff for taking fewer scholarships at other positions and most other programs – even those that use FBs a lot – don’t see it working out this way.

    Harbaugh is different. And that’s great. But resource allocation isn’t intuitive for everyone and he might be looking at it as simplistically as Roanman is: I use fullbacks a lot so why not give them scholarships… The reality is that Harbaugh can get some of the best FBs in the country even without offering a scholarship. That’s the benefit of using them a lot and the reality that most programs don’t. That’s the beneift of being high prestige school where many athletes are happy to walk-on that could get a scholarship elsewhere.

    I suspect the payoff for these scholarships isn’t there but if we start seeing production from Mason/Vansumeren that we didn’t see from Hill/Poggi/Houma/Kerridge I’ll be happy to admit I was wrong.

  8. Comments: 1139
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 18, 2017 at 9:25 PM

    This ain’t rocket science, it’s simple arithmetic. On offense, we run out different line-ups that feature the following basic personal groups
    5 Offensive Linemen
    2 Tight Ends
    2 Wide Receivers
    Slot
    H Back
    Running Back
    Fullback
    Quarterback
    14 positions.

    On Defense we run with
    Nose Tackle
    3 Tech
    Strong Side DE
    Weak Side DE
    Sam
    Will
    Mike
    Viper
    2 Corners
    2 Safeties
    Nickel
    13 guys
    You want to have ready to play a minimum two guys at every position, that’s 14 on offense, 13 on defense so 27 x 2 or 54 slots taken up. 31 scholarships are left.

    We like to rotate our defensive line, so you want to be three deep at every position for 12 scholarships total. Thats 58 used up, 27 left.

    I think you want to be a total of 3 deep at every position on your offensive line, because big people tend to take longer to mature. That’s 15 total or your offensive line which means 5 more scholarships are soaked up and 22 remain available.

    You also want to be three deep at Sam, Mike, Will, Viper, Corner, Safety, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Slot and Fullback. That’s 14 more gone and 8 left.

    I don’t think you ever want less than 4 scholarship QB’s on the premises and never less than 5 Running Backs, because they break. That’s 5 more scholarships gone with three left for specialists.

    So
    15 offensive linemen
    6 Tight Ends
    6 wide Receivers
    3 Slots
    3 H-Backs
    3 Fullbacks
    5 Running Backs
    4 Qbs
    45 Offensive Players on Scholarship

    Defense
    12 Defensive Linemen
    9 Linebackers
    3 Vipers
    7 Corners/NickelTypes
    6 Safeties
    37 Defensive Players on Scholarship

    3 Specialists for 85 total.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3725
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 18, 2017 at 10:58 PM

      Wow. This is such detailed nonsense. I don’t even know where to start. 6 H-backs and fullbacks!

      • Comments: 1139
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Dec 19, 2017 at 12:52 AM

        You could start by making up some statistics, maybe about Wisconsin’s roster.

        Then subtract 1 Sam, and add 1 Corner.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3725
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 19, 2017 at 12:12 PM

          Between FB, HB, and TE you are proposing 12 scholarships.

          Wisconsin has 8: 3 fb, 0 hb, and 5 TE.
          https://247sports.com/college/wisconsin/Season/2017-Football/ScholarshipDistribution

          Those guys include walk-ons and grayshirts. In fact, Wisconsin did not offer a scholarship to play FB initially to any of their FBs. Walk-on, position-switch, gray-shirt. Their all conference TE is a walk-on too.

          Stanford has 9: 2 fb, 0 hb, and 7 TE.
          https://247sports.com/college/wisconsin/Season/2017-Football/ScholarshipDistribution

          Please find me any team in the country that puts 12 scholarships at FB/HB/TE.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3725
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM

          Wisconsin plays a 3-4 defense. There scholarship allocation should be nothing like Michigan’s 3-3-5 / 4-2-5 personnel.

          They have 11 DL scholarships and 17 LB scholarships and 14 DB scholarships. Nothing like what you listed (12/9/16).

          Your DL allocation supports a 3 man front – which Michigan has not generally run and moved to (part-time) this year in part out of depth concerns. It does not support the typical Mattison/Brown 4-man front.

          Michigan has barely used the SAM at all until this year and even then it was less than 50% – but you start with the assumption that it’s equal to all the full-time positions.

          For Wisconsin it’s woefully short.

      • Comments: 1139
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Dec 19, 2017 at 6:04 AM

        Good news Lanky!

        At 5:30 and 1 second this morning, I received a text from Clemson Dad who because, “He knows I’m up anyway.” … yeah, but only in the very most tenuous definition of the word “up” … sort of like a Lanky “fact” … agrees with you that I am stockpiling too many H-Backs. Because he also believes that it’s important to take at least 1 QB every recruiting cycle. He suggests that I lose an H-Back in favor of 5th QB. arguing that I can always take a spare Tight End and maybe a Fullback with some hands and teach him multiple positions. I don’t disagree.

        He’d also add a 3 Tech type maybe at the expense of a Linebacker/Viper type because in a pinch you can slide a 3 Tech down to the Nose, or out to the 5 Tech. Ok.

        The point remains however. You recruit to the positions you use and the volume of snaps they take. For the most part you want to be 3 deep across your entire roster with the exception of high attrition positions and specialists. You want a (hopefully) stud starter, a coming backup and a puppy for every position you play. And of course, you want to be coaching up guys to slide over. Not doing so is as dumb as not recruiting scholarship guys to play positions you heavily use.

        As an aside, Clemson Dad’s daughter has obtained entrance to a graduate program along with a teaching position in her chosen field at UNC on the strength of her undergraduate degree from Clemson University, that stalwart institution of higher learning where there is absolutely no fun being had by absolutely anybody and for damn sure not by any of the men.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3725
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 19, 2017 at 12:20 PM

          Wow. Insert Dave Brandon quote but “back to bed” sounds more fitting.

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