2009 Offer Board Update

2009 Offer Board Update

July 4, 2011
Stephon Gilmore

Yep, this is a 2009 Offer Board update.



I went back and gathered the information I could about 2009 offerees to go along with the offer boards for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The 2009 kids who went elsewhere include Stephon Gilmore (pictured above), who was an All-SEC performer at cornerback in 2010 with South Carolina.  He had 79 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 1 fumble recovery while starting all 14 games.

Compare that to Michigan’s 2009 defensive back haul:

  • Vladimir Emilien: 1 tackle in two seasons; transferred to Toledo
  • Thomas Gordon: 23 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks in 2010 after redshirting
  • Justin Turner: never played a down for Michigan; transferred in 2010
  • Adrian Witty: did not qualify academically for Michigan and posted 1 tackle for Cincinnati in 2010


  1. Comments: 21383
    Jul 04, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    I wonder if the Rodriguez apologists who spend so much time trying to prove that RR had NO CHANCE! at UM because Carr left the cupboard bare will make the same arguments on Hoke's behalf. RR's defensive recruiting was dreadful and UM will probably suffer because of it for several years.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Jul 04, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    My first thought reading the title was that Magnus is working for Oregon now.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Jul 04, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    @ Anonymous 7:12 p.m.

    I honestly think Michigan's biggest problem was its coaching when Rodriguez was here. The defense was bad even in 2008, when we had a bunch of talented starters returning (Taylor, Johnson, Warren, Trent, Ezeh) and some good talent elsewhere (Jamison, Harrison, Mouton, Martin, etc.).

    Now it will probably be the reverse – less talent but better coaching. I think there's enough talent on the defensive side to have at least an average defense. I will be very surprised if Michigan's defense finishes in the bottom third of the country's defenses (a.k.a. 80-120).

  4. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    I agree that UM probably won't be as God-awful on defense as they were under RR regardless of the dearth of talent but I suspect UM will be stuck in the 31-60 range in defense for a few years.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 05, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I think that 2009 class was a killer in RR's prospects for success (one of a few major ones). The class ranking was OK, but it is obvious he made a lot of bad picks. By then, he should have realized he needed studs on defense, but pretty much struck out.

    I agree that the defense should be an average Big 10 defense over the next two seasons on the merits of solid coaching. By 2013, the back seven talent should be in place to be a top three defense in the conference again. Unless some of the current underclassmen surprise, DL may take a little longer. It would have been nice if a couple of these 2012 DL prospects had been part of the 2011 class. But at least you know the DL will be competent/sound with this coaching staff. No more Andre Patterson playing NT. Hopefully, Hoke can get at least 4-5 years out of Mattison.

  6. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    @ Painter Smurf 7:04 a.m.

    Offensively, the 2009 recruiting class was pretty solid…

    …but defensively, the only ones who have done anything are Roh and Cam Gordon. A couple others have potential (Thomas Gordon, Will Campbell, etc.), but the number of defections and non-contributors is a little silly.

  7. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 12:08 PM


    Tell us about Campbell.

    Lack of effort? Lack of coaching? Neither? Both?

  8. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    And since I'm on the subject of Def Tackles.

    If you only get to take one ….. Pipkins or O'Brien?

    And do they even play the same position?

    O'Brien seems to think they're only taking one "inside guy".

    I have him for a three tech with Godin.

  9. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:08 a.m.

    I think Bruce Tall was Michigan's best defensive coach under Rodriguez, so I don't think coaching was necessarily the issue. Campbell's biggest problem was staying low, which is more of an effort/concentration thing. Maybe he just didn't buy into what the staff was telling him. I'm not sure. But I would say it's more on Campbell than anyone else that he didn't play much the first couple years.

  10. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:53 a.m.

    I would take Pipkins. Three-techs can be created from defensive ends. Nose tackles are just created that way.

    O'Brien could play nose tackle, too. And if we don't get Pipkins, I would put O'Brien at NT. But Pipkins is a NT, and O'Brien is kind of a combo.

  11. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 05, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    It's amazing to ponder that the coaches may be slow-playing O'Brien. In any of the past five classes, UM would have been all over a solid DT prospect like this, especially a local one. It's nice to be in the position of being picky with recruits again.

  12. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Was there a bare cupboard left when Carr retired…..sure. There was also a large misunderstanding of how the Big Ten plays football by the head coach too. He was used to having marginal defenses with solid offenses. When you can outscore your opponent then you win games. He lacked a basic understanding of how the Big Ten played ball. Not like the Big East where his offenses played against poor defenses and he could shred them for points.

    Shame on RR for not knowing what he was going into, and shame of US for not informing/ educating him on how the Big Ten and specifically U of M worked. That was a major downfall.

  13. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Considering many of them are entering their red-shirt sophomore years, isn't it premature to judge the 2009 class after two seasons on campus?

    No question that the attrition rate was high and highly regarded prospects like Lalota, Emilien, and Turner did nothing for Michigan, but between Campbell, Roh, Gordon, Jones, and Gordon you have 5 guys who are starters or close to it, several of them proven – not bad for 3rd year on campus. You also have a few others like Washington who still have time to make an impact. Compare this to some other classes. Look back, say, 5 years to the 2004 class – how'd they look after 2 years on campus? (A: A few impact guys like Branch and Jamison but…not much better in terms of numbers). Expectations seem to be a bit unrealistic here.

    I'd argue the 2008 transition class and 2007 class are the bigger problems right now. That's where your upperclassmen/starters should be coming from. But because the 2008 class only yielded Martin, Floyd, and Demens (and the 2007 class only Van Bergen, Woolfolk, Rogers and Evans [plus Donavan Warren] the young guys have been pressed into action early. There's other guys on the roster from those classes obviously, but they've been passed by, marginalized or disappeared altogether. You're talking about 5 or 6 players on the 2 deep across the 2-deep – a number that is close to being matched by the 2009 class alone.

    The 2009 defensive class seems to be producing more productive players than most recent classes (from both Rodriguez and Carr.)

    As for offense, the class is unassailable considering the production (past and expected future) from QB, RB, and OT alone.

    Rodriguez had his share of misses that year, but 2009 falls well within the norm of recruiting since 2002 and I'd argue its one of the stronger and more productive classes Michigan has had in the last decade.

  14. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    The problem for Rodriguez's Defenses was mainly bad coaching. The 2008 D had some decent veteran talent but the coaching was inconsistent. The 2009 and 2010 defenses suffered a dearth of experienced talent and that forced younger players into the spotlight – most of which weren't ready – not necessarily due to talent but because they lacked the coaching necessary. What we saw was that production on defense seemed to correspond to overall talent/experience mix and that coaching didn't do a damn thing to elevate the team or mitigate the talent/experience issues – particularly in the secondary.

    My two (least) favorite misconceptions about the Rodriguez era are that he lacked class and failed in recruiting. I think that's totally wrong. The 2008 and 2009 classes were successful in producing quality players and filling the most immediate needs at the time (OL and QB) the problem was that the defensive talent wasn't cultivated, nourished, developed in time to fill the needs that were there in 2009 and 2010 defenses.

    As for class, every player that ever came into contact with Rodriguez likes him and nothing tangible was ever said. Rodriguez just lacks the political skills necessary to come in and change a place like Michigan from the outside. The hurdles were too high for a man with his limited off-the-field skills as a program-manager.

    But…its just easier to say the talent wasn't there (therefore Rodriguez didn't recruit) and the alumni disliked him, Lion-King, recruiting Feagin and Dorsey, etc. (therefore he didn't fit the classy Michigan tradition). There are almost as bad as "the Big East sucks" and "the spread doesn't work in the Big 10". Easy/false answers.

    Rodriguez biggest failures:

    1. Defensive Coaching
    He was too loyal to his assistants who were schooled in the 3-3-5 and had trouble adapting without Casteel. Robinson was a bad hire – flat out.

    2. Politics / The Role of Program Ambassador
    Rodriguez had it easy as a prodigal son in WVU, but he had no experience as a program ambassador and coming in as an outsider to Michigan was an uphill battle. The fanbase needs to be fired up, not just the players.

    3. Player Retention
    Rodriguez wanted to change the culture, and I think he was successful in many regards, but the toll it took was one that couldn't be afforded on the defensive side. He needed to find a way to keep people like Warren, Emilien, and others around.

    4. Defensive Recruiting
    Rodriguez was justifiably focused on offense in the 2008 transition class and assumed the defense would be OK. It wasn't. 2009 was a good class but there were too many swing-and-misses and not enough reliable players who could provide adequate depth.

    As for the first comment: The cupboard is hardly bare for Hoke. The team looks very good for 2011 and to some degree 2012. The stage is set for a 8-9 win season if the transition can be reasonably managed. Where Hoke will have to overcome inherited difficulties will be due to the impacts of the down years in recruiting (2010 and 2011) and especially how the OL has been ignored. The 2012 recruiting class looks to be addressing those concerns but no one knows if these kids will be ready when they'll be called upon (as underclassmen) to contribute.

  15. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 4:12 PM


    Rodriguez had pretty good defense at WVU under Casteel, who is bona-fide.

    If he had brought him along to UofM we'd be having very different conversations.

  16. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:09 p.m.

    Yes, it's premature to judge the 2009 class as a whole, but the attrition rate is what kills it. You're right that, for example, the 2007 class is a problem, but that was to be expected due to the coaching change. Several guys (Mallett, Chambers, Clemons, Helmuth, and Evans…sort of) left due to the coaching change or – in Mallett's case – coincidentally at the same time of the coaching change. Those are potential 2010 and/or 2011 starters, but it's hard to say how many would be starting right now.

    The problem with the 2009 recruiting class (and the 2010 one, while we're at it) is that no coaching change occurred before a lot of those guys booked it. None of the 2009 kids have left since Hoke was hired, so Emilien, Lalota, Turner, and Witty all played positions of need and are no longer on the team. That's three 4-star kids and one 2-star kid who didn't even stick around for the duration of Rodriguez's tenure.

    As I said above, the 2009 class was strong on offense. Out of 9 offensive commits, 4 have turned into starters (Forcier, Robinson, Lewan, Smith) with another (Gallon) who did some good things whenever he held onto the ball. Meanwhile, out of 12 defensive commits, only 2 have turned into starters (Roh, Cam Gordon). A few of those other guys have potential (Campbell, Thomas Gordon, etc.) but early returns haven't been that great.

  17. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 5:01 PM


    I agree the attrition rate was high, but it doesn't at all 'kill' the class that, as I argued above is more productive than most classes.

    I'm a little confused about your point regarding the 2007 class and attrition. I don't see Helmuth, Evans or the others as making a serious impact on the field. Besides Mallet (who many argue was gone regardless due to off-field issues) there aren't many impact players there. To be sure, ANYONE would have helped that 2010 secondary, but we're talking marginal gains here. Maybe I'm missing your point.

    Secondary recruiting was a problem for years and it finally couldn't be papered over anymore in 2010 when all the attrition pinnacled. Many things went wrong at once, but the 2009 recruiting class isn't why the 2010 D stunk, nor is 2007 attrition. Williams, Chambers, Sagesse, Panter, Herron, Evans…these guys just weren't very good.

    I think one can say that attrition is always a problem. Its a reality that has to be acknowledged and dealt with. The problem is that Rodriguez had no margin for error and that the attrition in the secondary was particularly debilitating when combined with the overall lack of talent/depth available.

    Looking back over time a reasonable expectation for a class is 12 guys on either side of the ball – almost half aren't going to pan out, so hopefully you produce at least 2 above-average starters and 4 guys who you can use confidently, and maybe a few depth/special team guys from those that don't pan out. It seems like 2009 is the only class lately meeting those targets.

    As for that comparison of offense to defense its a little misleading. The 2009 offensive class addressed QB, RB, LT already and is providing depth for WR and RT as well – 5 positions from 9 recruits. Gallon is less significant to this team than Stokes, so its strange for you to mention him. As for defense we have DE and OLB adressed already, and DT, DB,and WLB depth provided. 5 positions, like offense, but it did take 12 recruits to get us there with attrition.

    Yeah, Roh's impact isn't like Robinson and Lewan looks a lot better than Campbell. But the point here isn't to compare offense to defense, its to compare the 2009 class to other defenses. The '09 class may lack for star-power (so far!) but it's providing more than it's share of this year's projected 2-deep.

  18. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 05, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Magnus basically makes the point well that I was trying to make. After familiarizing himself with the defensive roster and observing the quick flameouts of the 2008 LB recruits, RR should have made defensive recruiting a priority for the 2009 class. But I have to assume that he mailed it in. The high star guys were either projects or flawed (i.e., LaLota being much smaller than advertised, Emilien having lost a step due to injury, etc.). The fans go by star ratings, but the coaches should have a lot more information on them. And RR also brought in a bunch of undersized project LB's and questionable DB's who would take years to develop, at best. Maybe the chaos on the defensive staff played a big role in the weak defensive recruiting as well.

  19. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:01 p.m.

    You brought up the 2007 class and said that it wasn't very productive. My point was that its lack of productivity could be expected due to the fact that there was a coaching change, and attrition often follows a change at the top. But there's no such excuse for 2009. If the 2009 class isn't getting production, it's simply because it was a bad class. I admit that the book isn't closed on those 2009 kids, but the defensive haul isn't exactly lighting the world on fire.

    I'm not sure how you conclude that Stokes is more valuable to the team than Gallon. Stokes has 3 career catches for 27 yards in his two seasons. Gallon redshirted in 2009, but then eclipsed Stokes' production with 4 receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown, not to mention his kick returns, in only one year of play.

    My projected defensive starters for this year are:

    Van Bergen (2007)
    Martin (2008)
    Campbell (2009)
    Roh (2009)
    Ryan (2010)
    Demens (2008)
    Evans (2007)
    Woolfolk (2007)
    Avery (2010)
    Johnson (2010)
    Kovacs (N/A since he's a walk-on)

    That's 3 from 2007, 2 from 2008, 2 from 2009, and 3 from 2010. I guess I don't see how the class of 2009 has outstripped its surrounding classes. Like I said, there's potential…but I don't see a whole lot of productivity there, especially when one of those 2009 guys (Campbell) has barely played and the other (Roh) had a disappointing sophomore season. I know he was playing out of position (and you know that infuriated me), but it's not like these guys are solid as a rock.

    BTW, Evans could be a starter this year and would presumably only be better if he had stayed at Michigan for his entire career. He has just as good of a chance as starting as Jones, and I'm wagering on Evans as the WILL. And Helmuth might have been our starting FB this season. They're probably not superstars, but potential starters are potential starters.

  20. Comments: 21383
    Jul 05, 2011 at 8:42 PM


    When I brought up 2007 I was referring to its production on the defensive end. The significant production in 2010 from that class was Van Bergen. You can include Rogers and Sagesse, if you're being generous in defining the word 'significant'. The production from that class in 2011 will be Van Bergen, Woolfolk, and maybe Evans. That's 3 guys. You say that's justifiable due to the coaching change, but its hard to see where that has a tangible effect on the defensive personnel (unless you think Chambers was going to do something) or maybe Warren gets talked into sticking it out for one more year (which doesn't affect 2011 anyway.) In short – the coaching change played no role in why that class isn't helping in 2011 (and very little role in why it didn't help in 2010).

    "But there's no such excuse for 2009. If the 2009 class isn't getting production, it's simply because it was a bad class"

    Ah, but it IS getting production if things go as most people are projecting in the 2009's 3rd year. You project Ryan to beat out Cam Gordon, but that's a huge leap on your part given all the coaching praise reported by Rivals and others and considering that he was the starter last year. Less notable, but also significant is your opinion that Evans will beat out Jones and/or Bell for WLB. I think you're making a big deal out of the spring game and I'm not sure that's a great idea.

    Furthermore, while T.Gordon may not be a starter in name, the coaches have indicated he'll play a large role (probably larger than Evans or Ryan IMO). Washington, too looks to see the field pretty often in the DL rotation.

    So yes, if you ignore 3 of the players projected to see a lot of time, then the 2009 class looks average. But lets displace some of the debate and look at the projected 2-deep (using your starters and including only people who project to see significant playing time):

    Van Bergen (07) / Wilkins (10)
    Martin (08) / Washington (09)
    Campbell (09) / Heininger (NA)
    Roh (09) / Black (10)
    Evans (07) / Jones (09)
    Demens (08) / TBD
    Ryan (10) / C.Gordon (09)
    Woolfolk (07)/ T.Gordon (09)
    Avery (10) / Floyd (08)
    Johnson (10) / TBD
    Kovacs (NA) / Robinson (10)

    I could have included Bell in there at MLB, but like you I'm skeptical he'll ever do much. There's a chance Evans is the backup MLB or that one is rarely used.

    18 of the top 20 defensive players came from recruiting class:

    2007: 3/18 (RVB, Woolfolk, Evans)
    2008: 3/18 (Martin, Floyd, Demens)
    2009: 6/18 (Roh, Gordon, Gordon, Campbell, Jones, Washington)
    2010: 6/18 (Avery, Black, Johnson, Robinson, Wilkins, Ryan)

    What it should look like:

    2007: 4/20 (many will leave before 5th year)
    2008: 6/20
    2009: 6/20
    2010: 4/20

    I will agree that 2009 lacks defensive star power so far. Roh has been decent, but not great. C.Gordon and W.Campbell have great potential but it has yet to produce results. T.Gordon, Jones, and Washington look like contributors, but not stars. But lets remember many of these guys have played one season. One! Things can change in a hurry. Lets remember that a year ago we thought our starting secondary might prominently feature Gordon-Emilien-Williams-Woolfolk-Christian and instead looked more like Rogers-Avery-Vinopal-Kovacs-Talbott.

    So yeah, 2009 hasn't produced a stud yet, but neither has 2007 – and 2008 gave us one (Martin). I don't see how '09 is a failure in comparison.

  21. Comments: 21383
    Jul 06, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    @ Lankownia 4:42 p.m.

    I'm not saying 2009 is a failure. What I'm saying is that, thus far, it has not shown much production, and the number of non-contributors in that class (Turner, Witty, etc.) is somewhat ridiculous. And while we're counting Campbell and Washington as contributors, they have combined for 7 tackles in their careers. They still have 2-3 years to contribute, but early returns have been…mediocre at best.

    I'm basing my Marell Evans projection on what I saw throughout the spring and what I've seen from Jones in his first couple seasons on campus. I don't think Jones is starter material. Meanwhile, Evans got lots of positive reviews for his aggression and he picked up the defense pretty quickly. Jones and Evans each have 4 tackles in their careers (each consisting of two seasons), so it's not like Evans winning the job would be a major upset.

  22. Comments: 21383
    Jul 06, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    Well, again, most of these kids have all of one year experience. Most were red-shirted and Jones had a season ending injury after 2 games, [counting him as having 2 seasons is disingenuous].

    I'm not sure when it became expected to produce much after one's RS Freshman year – these guys SHOULD be bench warmers. The discussion is getting circular so maybe its time to agree to disagree. We'll see what production the '09 class has to offer this season. Its put up or shut up time for a number of these guys but I think you're selling some of them short – especially Jones and the Gordons.

    I decided to look at the history of 'defections' or 'early attrition' for incoming defensive recruits.

    2002: 2 of 8 (Cooper transfer, Harrison legal)
    2003: 2 of 9 (Presley academics, McCoy academics)
    2004: 3 of 12 (Walton ?, Rogers transfer, Cheathem transfer)
    2005: 5 of 9 (Slocum academics, Germany off-field, McKinny transfer, McLaurin injury, Sears transfer)
    2006: 4 of 10 (Kates ?, Mixon transfer, Patilla transfer, Woods academics)
    2007: 1 of 10 (Chambers academics, Evans sidetrip to Hampton not counted)

    The overall total for Carr since 2002 was a 30% rate of early attrition. Lets be nice and assume he lost a 25% of his guys under 'normal' circumstances…How does the 2009 class of 12 defenders stack up?

    Exactly the same! 4 guys (turner, emilien, lalota, witty) out of 12 are gone. 25%.

    And Rodriguez's other class (2010) had 15 guys, 4 of which are gone (Vinopal, Christian, Kinard, Rogers). So he was actually doing better than Carr's norm.

    The 2008 class (which only had 8 recruits with 4 leaving early) shouldn't be attributed to either guy since it was a transition with several already committed under Carr.

    Same narrative I've been preaching for a while now – recruiting wasn't RR's problem, it was player development.

  23. Comments: 21383
    Jul 06, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    @ Lankownia 10:24 p.m.

    Math fail:

    4/12 = 33%

    Additionally, the losses of those four players from the 2009 class included three 4-stars and Witty. Those other classes' defections are full of 3-stars, with only a few exceptions. Rodriguez missed on a lot of defensive recruits, and two of the guys you're counting on to be in the two-deep (Washington, Cam Gordon) were recruited as offensive players, anyway.

    Recruiting guys who don't stay on your team is bad recruiting. I don't care how many times you blame player development (which I admit was a separate problem unto itself), Witty never qualified, Emilien was a shell of his former self, Lalota was overrated by the recruiting services and couldn't sniff the field, and Turner was too lazy to get into playing shape.

    Add that 33% attrition rate to the loss of Conelius Jones, Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, and Davion Rogers in 2010 – who never even made it to their freshman year – and things aren't looking so hot for Rodriguez's defensive recruiting. And I'm not even including Vinopal and Cullen Christian, since they both left after the coaching change and have three years of eligibility left to change our minds. That's 6/16 guys who are gone already. Over a two-year span, that's 10/28 guys (36%) who have left.

  24. Comments: 21383
    Jul 06, 2011 at 6:13 AM

    Fail indeed. You'd think with the time I spent looking that stuff up I'd bother to do basic math right…

    It does seem that RR's retention was worse than normal (though not by much). I still have a hard time attributing that to recruiting rather than development. Witty was used to help entice Denard, who is worth 2 scholarship. CoJones was a QB. Dorsey was never even admitted, so I didn't even count him. Those guys didn't hurt the program a bit. Etc… it doesn't really matter because as you said, the results are what matter. For every guy that was overrated Rodriguez seemed to find another that was underrated. 6 guys on the 2-deep from one class (2 years in) is a level of success that's been pretty rare for Michigan recruiting classes.

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