2020 Recruiting Awards

2020 Recruiting Awards


July 15, 2020
Braiden McGregor (image via MGoBlue)

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You can take a look back at the awards for the 2019 class if you want (LINK).

Best Overall Recruit: DE Braiden McGregor
McGregor lost a little bit of steam in the recruiting world when his senior season ended in a fizzle after a knee injury. That doesn’t put a damper on my excitement for him, though. Michigan does a good job of developing defensive talent – particularly defensive ends – and I expect that to continue with McGregor.

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

Best Offensive Recruit: WR A.J. Henning
Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the nature of the position, but wide receivers bring out the biggest fluctuations in expectations for me. Some guys look like stars but flop (LaTerryal Savoy, Je’Ron Stokes, Darryl Stonum), and some guys are ho-hum recruits but lead the team in receiving (Junior Hemingway, Jeremy Gallon, Ronnie Bell). Henning brings some jackrabbit speed and running back experience to the receiver position, so I hope he can fulfill that promise.

Best Defensive Recruit: DE Braiden McGregor
See above.

Recruit Most Likely to Make an Early Impact: CB Andre Seldon, Jr.
You’ve probably read elsewhere that Seldon would be a lot higher rated if he were a couple inches taller, but at a listed 5’8″, he’s probably a little bit limited position-wise. But he’s confident, tough, and athletic, and I think he will see the field very early as a nickel corner. I expect the defensive backfield to include Brad Hawkins and Dax Hill at safety, Ambry Thomas and Vincent Gray at corner, and Seldon playing early in the slot.

Fastest Recruit: WR Roman Wilson
Wilson (4.37 forty, 3.96 shuttle) edges out A.J. Henning (4.46 forty, 4.06 shuttle) for being the fastest player in the class. Wilson’s acceleration is silky smooth, and he flies past the competition. Some people might point to the questionable talent he faces, but the laser-timed forty and shuttle confirm what you see on film.

Strongest Recruit: OG Zak Zinter
I admit not having exhausted all resources when it comes to trying to look up workout numbers for each and every recruit, but they guy who looks the biggest – and plays like it – also has some pretty impressive numbers. He claims to bench 360 pounds and squat 510 pounds, and both of those numbers are over a year old. At 6’6″ and about 310 pounds, those are pretty impressive numbers if he plateaued after that.

Best Under-the-Radar Recruit: LB William Mohan
I love the way Mohan plays. He finished the 2020 cycle as a 3-star, the #23 athlete, and #459 overall, but he’s a hellion coming off the edge. If he went to a lower tier Big Ten team, I could see him starting as a freshman and pestering opponents coming off the edge. He might have to wait his turn at Michigan, but I think he’s going to outplay his ranking.

Most Overrated Recruit: CB Darion Green-Warren
Green-Warren was an All-American Bowl participant who performed pretty well during bowl week and finished the cycle as a 4-star, the #13 cornerback, and #189 overall. I think Green-Warren is a fine player, but I don’t see him performing at a level any higher than what we’ve seen from random 3-star cornerbacks in recent years like Channing Stribling, Jeremy Clark, etc. With limited speed that puts a ceiling on his NFL potential, I think he’s ranked too high as a top-200 player.

Recruit Most Likely to Redshirt: QB Dan Villari
Villari was a late addition to Michigan’s class after fellow 2020 quarterback J.D. Johnson had to bow out due to a medical issue. Villari is a project whose highest upside might be at a different position, such as tight end or linebacker. With three quarterbacks ahead of him and a lot of learning to do, Villari is a lock to spend 2020 on the sidelines.

Personal Favorite Recruit: CB Andre Seldon, Jr.
I could have picked a bunch of players for various reasons. I have to go with Seldon because he’s an undersized local kid who plays with a chip on his shoulder. But this might depend on the day. I really like Mohan for his playing style, McGregor for his potential, Wilson for his speed, Henning for similar reasons to Seldon, running back Blake Corum for his work ethic, and Zinter for his sheer size and physical domination.

36 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 123
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    AC1997
    Jul 15, 2020 at 8:12 AM

    I like this piece – fun read. Hard to argue with your picks too much, though I thought we might get some love for the safeties in this class. I also like Seldon a lot (to make a basketball analogy, he has a Xavier Simpson vibe to him where he isn’t the player on paper you may want or will play in the pros, but he’s going to do what he does really well and we will love him for it).

    Thanks for hyping McGregor….I will admit to forgetting about him in the sea of SDE prospects we seem to sign.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 183
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    ragingbull
    Jul 15, 2020 at 8:55 AM

    totally agree on mohan. love the violence he plays with – if he really takes to coaching and the weight room, look out.

    i actually see quite a few underrated guys this class (and some overrated too). id say persi and mohan have a good chance to be the best pro prospects in 3-4 years, if im picking 2 right now

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1910
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 15, 2020 at 12:58 PM

    Agree on DGW.

    While I am hopeful for Seldon, I can’t help but recall other tiny Detroit-based CBs and am hesitant to jump for joy

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5998
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 15, 2020 at 3:47 PM

    Good post. No real disagreement here though I would say that DGW getting to Stribling or Clark level – all conference and fringe nfl draft – would exceed my expectations for a recruit just barely in the top 200.

    There’s a pattern in the WR expectations being off — height is overrated.

    That goes for Seldon too, IMO. Michigan has had great success with short CBs in recent years and the Detroit pipeline has been pumping them out to the NFL via AA. Jourdan Lewis and Levert Hill were well under 6 feet too. Maybe it matters that the top of dudes head is 68 inches away from the bottom of his feet instead of 70 but I doubt it. Speed, instincts, toughness can make up for it. Seldon sounds like he has the ingredients.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 15, 2020 at 4:12 PM

      I’m not sure I understand the logic there. You don’t think a 4-star recruit can reach the level of former 3-star recruits?

      Jourdan Lewis and Lavert Hill have were 5’10” and 5’11”, respectively. I’m not arguing against Seldon’s success because of his height, but Lewis and Hill are right in the sweet spot for NFL success (which usually doesn’t come without college success). I did a post on this several years ago, but the most successful NFL corners are between 5’10” and 6’1″. At 5’8″ Seldon is on the low end for playing FBS football, period. I think Will Likely was 5’7″, but you almost never see scholarship guys who are 5’7″ or shorter.

      https://touch-the-banner.com/whats-ideal-size-for-cornerback/

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 15, 2020 at 4:22 PM

        What is the median or typical outcome for a recruit ranked around 180-200? Are there more all-americans or a transfer/busts? What is most likely for that recruiting range.

        A very small percentage of 3-stars are as good as Clark or Stribling.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5998
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 15, 2020 at 4:28 PM

          Related – a top 10 recruit nationally is not likely to be a top 10 player nationally. Most are not.

          So when it comes to setting expectations do you go off history or fantasy? We have the data available – we can use it or ignore it in favor of unlikely best-case scenarios.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3658
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Jul 15, 2020 at 4:39 PM

            It’s related in a way, but not super relevant.

            Who’s more likely to be a top 10 player nationally: a top 10 recruit, or someone ranked outside the top 10?

            Odds are that the #189 guy is going to be better than the #300 or #500 or #700 guy. It’s obviously not a certainty, but recruiting rankings have some merit when it comes to predicting the future.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5998
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jul 16, 2020 at 10:10 AM

              No one is arguing otherwise.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 16, 2020 at 10:09 AM

            It’s the same thing conceptually.

            Whether you expect 6th round QBs to be HOFers, 5-stars to be all americans, or 3 stars to go to the NFL, you are setting the expectations based on outliers. The result is you will be disappointed most of the time.

            But some people seem to want an excuse to complain.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 15, 2020 at 4:36 PM

          The three closest on either side of #189 are Terry Richardson, Leon Hall, and Myles Sims (all ranked higher in their respective classes) and Charles Stewart, Benjamin St-Juste, and Raymon Taylor (ranked lower).

          Still, Channing Stribling was #578 overall and Jeremy Clark was #574. Vincent Gray allowed a very low completion percentage and he was #703 overall.

          If Green-Warren ends up playing, he’s bound to perform very well. There’s approximately zero evidence available otherwise. If you’ve played CB at Michigan since 2015 when Harbaugh/Zordich were hired, you’re good. Period.

          If you want to argue that Green-Warren is going to be a backup and therefore won’t be very good, I guess you can make that argument…but the guys who are going to have to pass him up are lower ranked (Jalen Perry, Gemon Green, Ja’Den McBurrows, etc.). So if you’re going to doubt the #189 overall guy, you have to have even more doubts about the #382 overall guy or the #621 overall guy.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jul 16, 2020 at 10:19 AM

            Setting expectations based on what has happened in the past. That’s not “doubt” that’s reality.

            Of the 6 guys you named, one was great, a couple were solid starters and 3 of them stunk. That’s probably about representative for this range. The median in this case would be somewhere between Raymon Taylor and Terry Richardson.

            Now do the same exercise at 300 or 500 and probably 4 stink, 1 is a solid backup, and another is a starter. At 700 in might be more like 1 out of 8.

            But yes – whoever ends up being the starter will probably be a solid player because it’s Michigan.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Jul 16, 2020 at 4:33 PM

              That doesn’t really explain this:

              “I would say that DGW getting to Stribling or Clark level – all conference and fringe nfl draft – would exceed my expectations for a recruit just barely in the top 200.”

              Clark and Stribling weren’t anything special (no NFL success whatsoever, and only 1 got drafted), and they were ranked significantly lower.

              You said it would exceed your expectations for Green-Warren to reach that level, and yet you also acknowledged that every cornerback since 2015 has basically played at that level.

              Your expectation is that the starting cornerbacks at Michigan are going to play at that level, yet you’re mentioning that you don’t expect Green-Warren to play at that level.

              So you’re either saying that Green-Warren won’t start, or you’re saying that you have higher expectations for lower ranked guys.

              Let me ask the question more pointedly:

              Which lower ranked cornerback(s) do you think are going to outplay Green-Warren that would meet the expectations of playing at an all-conference and being on the fringe of the NFL Draft?

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5998
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jul 16, 2020 at 7:01 PM

              Clark and Stribling are special. They vastly exceeded typical performance of 3 star recruits. They made it to the NFL and were high caliber starters on excellent defenses in college. Most 3 stars don’t touch that.

              I think this boils down to one thing: the assumption that DGW is a starter.

              You seem to be saying he’s more likely than others to start at CB therefore he will probably be a starter and therefore probably be successful.

              I might agree that he is more likely to start, but so what. There’s way too much uncertainty to assume it. He might be the mostly likely person on the entire roster to start in 2022, yet the probability might still be less than 25% because there’s just such a big group of potential starters (including transfers, recruits current, recruits future position-switchers, etc.)

              I think Myles Sims and Terry Richardson were also some of the higher ranked CBs in the those classes too. Didn’t matter one bit.

              To answer your question: I have no idea. I’m setting expectations based on recruiting ranking, not tenuous depth chart projections years into the future.

              If we’re talking about people on the roster right now I would say Vincent Gray is on track to be a starter so l have higher expectations for him (now) than I do for any incoming recruit. He’s already exceeded expectations for 3 star recruit.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 3658
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Jul 17, 2020 at 9:31 AM

                If all starting cornerbacks are good, and you have doubts about Green-Warren, then you’re either saying you have more confidence in someone else OR you’re saying that you have doubts about every single cornerback recruit on the roster.

                If it’s the former, who’s better?

                If it’s the latter, what’s the point?

                Yes, it’s true that not all recruits pan out…but “past history tells us that only about 25% of corners play well” doesn’t tell us anything about this particular recruit. If that’s the case, you could just say that about 100% of the recruits and you’d be right 75% of the time.

                • GKblue
                  Comments: 358
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  GKblue
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 10:11 AM

                  I would have given your logic here Thunder an up-vote but I can’t find the button.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3658
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 6:10 PM

                  The button expired, and without income from AdSense, I decided I’m not paying for the yearly renewal. It might come back eventually if I get functional ads once again. (TL;DR from another post, I was making less than $1/day with AdSense before they cut me off. I’ve switched ad servers and I’m up to $2-$3 a day for now while I try to figure out how to improve that.)

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5998
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jul 17, 2020 at 5:11 PM

                Not true. I’m not saying either thing.

                I don’t need confidence in any particular player, because I can pick the field. That’s how it works. That’s what the coaches do too. Each individual guy may have a small percent chance of starting, depending on their rank. Look at any individual and he’s probably not going to be a good starter (unless we’re talking top 100 recruits). But add up the probabilities over a bunch of recruits and you’ll very likely have a couple good ones on your team.

                Same logic goes for national title contender. When the season starts Alabama might be the odds on favorite to win the national title but the odds say it’s still not likely (20% at best).

                If I say “Alabama’s probably not going to win the national title this year”, I would be correct. If your response is “Then who will smartguy?” I will tell you the same thing. I don’t know and neither do you.

                No one should EXPECT Alabama to win the national title even if they are the favorite. If you EXPECT the 20% thing to happen you will be disappointed 80% of the time.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3658
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 6:08 PM

                  So you’re saying you have doubts about every single player, the equivalent of saying you have doubts about every team competing for the championship.

                  What I’m saying is “Alabama might not win the championship” is obvious and pointless. The same goes for “Darion Green-Warren might not be good.” The same can be said for every single team, every single player, etc.

                  Darion Green-Warren, who is ranked #189 in the country, has a better chance of winning a starting job than the guys ranked lower than him. I don’t see why this needs to be a controversial discussion, especially without any specific criticisms of Green-Warren’s game.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5998
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 7:13 PM

                  The part that is ‘controversial’ is the expectation.

                  You say DWG is overrated but you set the bar well above what his rating indicates is most likely.

                  You say he won’t perform above all-conference/fringe NFL level and that seems to be. His rating says he’s more likely to be backup or bust.

                  Put another way — if you expect this kid to be a starter with all conference honors and play in the NFL, then he is underrated – the opposite of what you said.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3658
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 9:04 PM

                  The #189 NFL Draft pick is in the 6th round.
                  Jeremy Clark was picked at #197.
                  Channing Stribling was not picked in the draft.

                  Those are my comparisons. Saying he’s overrated at #189 still leaves wiggle room for him to be good in college. There were 255 players taken in the draft in 2020, and guys like Stribling, Lavert Hill, Brandon Watson, etc. went undrafted.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5998
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 7:15 PM

                  What you call “doubt” I call data.

                  What I think is “pointless” is setting unreasonably high expectations, in disregard of the evidence available.

                  I call THAT doubt – of historical reality.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5998
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jul 17, 2020 at 7:29 PM

                  I think 4th round pick Jacob Eason is overrated. Tom Brady (a 6th rounder) is going to be in the HOF and I don’t think Eason will be any better than that.

                  I will tell you I was right in calling him overrated when he doesn’t make the HOF.

                  It’s pointless for anyone to doubt him though. Nobody knows anything for sure and most HOFers got drafted.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 15, 2020 at 4:37 PM

        I am a Michigan fan. I have only passing interest in what might happen in NFL down the line, so I don’t really care about ideal NFL size.

        BUT on that topic – WRs have gotten a bit shorter over the last decade but it hasn’t translated to CBs at this point.

        https://www.footballperspective.com/average-height-of-defensive-backs-and-wide-receivers/

        In the college game we’ve seen defenders getting smaller in the back 7 and more emphasis on versatility.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 15, 2020 at 4:54 PM

          This appears to confirm what I was saying, even if it isn’t about NFL corners.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5998
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 17, 2020 at 7:20 PM

          This article is about NFL players.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jul 20, 2020 at 12:06 PM

        Same thing again with draft position.

        Most players in rated in the top 250 will not get drafted in the top 250. If someone is expected a recruit rated X in the country to get drafted at spot number X in the NFL, they are ignoring the historical facts aka reality. That player is far more likely to go below X, if he gets drafted at all.

        It’s just math. A recruit ranked number 85 is not very likely to go in the top 3 rounds. That’s not because he’s battling the 84 guys ahead of him but the field behind him – literally thousands of kids. A significant number of whom will turn out to be dramatically underrated. There will always be an army of Striblings and Clarks. There will always be 3-stars crashing the party at the top of the NFL draft to bump everyone else down.

        DWG’s rating implies he is something like 50/50 to be a starter in college. It does not indicate that he is on track for a late round NFL pick. That would be nice though.

        Of course we can all look at it how we want but one perspective means most top 200 recruits will be a disappointment and the other results in half being disappointing and half exceeding expectation.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jul 20, 2020 at 2:21 PM

          “Most players in rated in the top 250 will not get drafted in the top 250.”

          Right…but players in the top 250 are more likely to get drafted than the players outside the top 250.

          FTR, the guys on either side of Green-Warren historically at Michigan are Brennen Beyer (#188 overall) and Steve Breaston (#190 overall). Beyer was an UDFA and Breaston was a 5th round pick.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5998
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jul 20, 2020 at 5:32 PM

          Nobody is saying otherwise.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 69
            Joined: 10/3/2015
            UM2013
            Jul 23, 2020 at 12:16 AM

            FWIW, I agree with Lank’s logic here. I think the Alabama football example is a good comparison, and more or less hits at the crux of the disagreement. I think the fact remains that if we look at the players rated 150-250 over the last 10 years, the median outcome is not going to be an all conference level player. So if we’re using Stribling as a point of reference for DGW, we’re more than 50% likely to be disappointed.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5998
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jul 23, 2020 at 11:04 AM

              Thanks ’13 and just to advance it further, the effect gets stronger the higher you go in the ratings.

              So while a guy ranked 190 will typically be a fringe starter rather than an all conference player or NFL pick, a guy ranked in the top 20 will have an even harder time being an all american or first round pick. Not only is it harder to be an all american (duh) but you’ve got 170 more 4-stars and high 3-stars to fight off to do it.

              This is relevant to Dax Hill, who some will call a disappointment if he doesn’t become an all american and 1st round pick. Yet – if anyone does an analysis similar to what Thunder did for Ruiz and Gary when they were recruits – they would see that most guys ranked 14th in the country are NOT all americans and expecting such heights ignores historical reality.

              Extend it to the #1 recruit and you see they are almost the #1 player in the country.

              The expectation for top 20 guy should be based on what happens most often – something like an all conference starter (maybe like David Long or Kwity Paye).

              That said — Dax Hill had a GREAT season for a freshman and appears to be on a trajectory to exceed reasonable expectations. But there’s still a looong way to go from starting 3 games to being an all american, and even guys who have the ability to do it get sidetracked by injury or maybe head off to the NFL before getting there because they don’t have anything left to prove about their potential to scouts on the next level.

              IMO – this would closer to “most likely” than “disappointing” even if I HOPE for more for Dax Hill.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5998
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jul 23, 2020 at 11:05 AM

                Correction: #1 recruit is almost NEVER the #1 player

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 1910
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 16, 2020 at 12:09 AM

    Lol. Another classic

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5998
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jul 17, 2020 at 7:31 PM

      Happy Friday JE. Hope you enjoyed the TOTAL MELTDOWN

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 1910
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jul 17, 2020 at 11:53 PM

    Not yet – it’s only July

    Meltdowns typically come later in the season, and after more than one poster disagrees with you

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 5998
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jul 20, 2020 at 11:36 AM

    I’ll try harder

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