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With class of 2011 high school prospects having wrapped up their college careers by now, it’s a good time to take a look back at the TTB Ratings I assigned for those players five or six years ago. The 2011 class was my first batch of TTB Ratings, so I’m interested to see how it went. It also happened to be the transition year between Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.
Keep in mind that the ratings (fully explained here) are intended to project how players will fare at Michigan and, to a certain extent, in the NFL Draft. I do not take into account how players will do once they get to the NFL or how they will pan out if they transfer to other programs. I will give myself a grade of 1-5 like a 5-point grading scale (5 is best, 1 is worst) for each player; I reserve the right to give myself an incomplete if the guy never made it to his first season. I’ll work down the list from highest to lowest with a brief career recap for each player:
Hit the jump for the ratings review.
87: Chris Bryant – OG – Chicago (IL) Simeon (Rivals 4-star, #203)
Bryant was a massive offensive guard prospect who battled weight and injury issues throughout his career. He trimmed himself down to 6’4″, 316 lbs. after a couple years on campus, and he started a couple games at left guard in 2013. He received a lot of practice praise for being a mauler, but it never showed much during games. Eventually, injuries caught up to him and he quit football after that 2013 season, his redshirt sophomore year.
Prediction accuracy: 2. Injuries got in the way, though things were not trending toward him being the best player in the class.
84: Blake Countess – CB – Olney (MD) Good Counsel (Rivals 4-star, #133)
Countess was a solid cornerback prospect who played immediately in 2011. He then tore his ACL in the 2012 season opener against Alabama, missing the rest of the season and getting a medical redshirt. He returned with a vengeance in 2013, making 6 interceptions for 169 return yards and 1 touchdown. He was 1st Team All-Big Ten in 2013 and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2014. However, he transferred to Auburn for his final year of eligibility, where he played safety. He’s now on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. He finished his Michigan career with 114 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 6 interceptions (169 yards, 1 TD), 13 PBUs, and 1 forced fumble.
Prediction accuracy: 5. This was pretty spot-on since he was an All-Big Ten player, even if he did regress as a redshirt junior.
82: Chris Barnett – TE – Hurst (TX) Hurst (Rivals 4-star, #223)
Perhaps against my better judgment, I pegged Barnett at 82. I shouldn’t have done so, and this has factored into some of my more recent rankings. Here’s an excerpt from my commitment post (LINK):
I have my reservations about Barnett, despite his impressive offer list. He seems to be a boom-or-bust type of player. He has good speed and good size, catches the ball well with his hands instead of his body, shows decent agility, etc. If and when he gives 100%, he should be a real threat.
But there’s a good amount of film on him out there on the internet, and I see a general theme: he seems to be a guy who doesn’t go hard all the time. He jogs through camp drills at times. He has some bad body weight around his middle. He doesn’t move his feet extremely well as a blocker.
He busted. He never made it to campus, played a little at a JUCO, and then was out of football. He did have some personal problems that were out of his control, and I feel bad for the guy.
Prediction accuracy: Incomplete. Never made it to campus.
82: Brennen Beyer – DE – Plymouth (MI) Plymouth (Rivals 4-star, #201)
Beyer was a guy I was critical of during his career at Michigan, because he was never a playmaker. However, he did turn out to be a solid, consistent player at SAM linebacker and then defensive end. He finished his career with 92 tackles, 12 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT (of Iowa’s Jake Rudock for a TD), 2 forced fumbles, and 1 PBU. He joined up with the Baltimore Ravens practice squad after going undrafted.
Prediction accuracy: 4. He probably belongs in the 70-79 range, but low 80s is pretty close.
82: Antonio Poole – LB – Cincinnati (OH) Winton Woods (Rivals 3-star)
As you can see, several of my top picks in the 2011 class were decimated by injury or outside forces. I thought Poole would turn out to be a solid weakside linebacker, but injuries forced him to “retire” after his redshirt sophomore year. He’s now a recruiting assistant for Michigan.
Prediction accuracy: 1. Injuries ended his career, but it’s not clear what level he would have reached if he had stayed healthy. There’s no evidence to suggest he would have been an 82-level player.
78: Kellen Jones – LB – Houston (TX) St. Pius X (Rivals 3-star)
Jones arrived at Michigan and left almost immediately for reasons that have yet to become truly public, though I have heard rumors and those rumors are not flattering for Jones. Regardless, he bounced around from Oklahoma to Clemson to Wisconsin and never really found a significant role anywhere. He ended his nomad college career with 38 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.
Prediction accuracy: Incomplete. He transferred before he ever had a chance to play.
76: Desmond Morgan – LB – Holland (MI) West Ottawa (Rivals 3-star)
I pegged Morgan as a redshirt guy, but he ended up starting several games as a true freshman at WILL linebacker. He was solid throughout his career. He did suffer a shoulder injury in 2014 that caused him to miss all but one game, but he returned as a fifth year senior to ring in Jim Harbaugh’s first year at Michigan. Morgan finished his career with 300 tackles, 16 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 9 pass breakups. He won the Roger Zatkoff Award for the team’s top linebacker.
Prediction accuracy: 5. He was a solid starter but never much of an NFL prospect.
74: Russell Bellomy – QB – Arlington (TX) Martin (Rivals 3-star)
I thought Bellomy could develop into a decent starter late in his career. He was never going to wow anyone with his physical skills, but he seemed like a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders. If we’re being honest, he turned out to be one of the worst QBs Michigan has sent onto the field in my memory. He played in just five games, finishing 4/21 for 46 yards, 0 TDs, and 4 INTs. He also ran 12 times for 16 yards in his career. Most of those attempts came in the ill-fated Nebraska game in 2012 when Denard Robinson got hurt; Bellomy was replaced the next week by Devin Gardner. Bellomy eventually transferred to UTSA after his redshirt junior year but didn’t play much there, either.
Prediction accuracy: 1. He was a below average backup, and I had him pegged as an eventual solid starter.
72: Justice Hayes – RB – Grand Blanc (MI) Grand Blanc (Rivals 4-star, #85)
Hayes, a flip from Notre Dame, redshirted in 2011. Afterward he became a part-timer and third down back, totaling 68 carries for 302 yards (4.4 YPC) and 1 touchdown from 2012-2014. Blocked by Fitzgerald Toussaint, Vincent Smith, Derrick Green, and others during his career, he transferred to Southern Mississippi as a grad transfer and played a bit, but he never established himself as a starter.
Prediction accuracy: 3. He was never a starter, but he did play with the first team at times and did okay.
69: Jack Miller – C – Toledo (OH) St. John’s (Rivals 3-star)
I liked Miller’s attitude as a high schooler, but he wasn’t very big and he played high. Both of those qualities factored into his Michigan career. He started four games as a redshirt sophomore in 2013 before being replaced by Graham Glasgow, and then Miller started all twelve games of the 2014 season. However, he “retired” before his fifth year came along, supposedly because he was concerned about his health.
Prediction accuracy: 5. Even if he had stuck with the sport for his final year, I don’t think the NFL would have come calling. He was just a so-so starter.
68: Thomas Rawls – RB – Flint (MI) Northern (Rivals 3-star)
Rawls has actually turned out to be the best NFL player out of this bunch, though that doesn’t really factor in here. He was a career backup at Michigan, starting one game after Fitzgerald Toussaint broke his leg. Rawls had a career highlight against Illinois in 2012 with a 63-yard touchdown late, but otherwise, it was a pretty forgettable career. He ended up with 73 carries for 333 yards (4.6 YPC) and 5 touchdowns before transferring to Central Michigan in 2014. He went undrafted in 2015 but latched on with the Seattle Seahawks, for whom he has 1,157 rushing yards and 6 total touchdowns in two seasons.
Prediction accuracy: 4. Maybe he belonged in the 70-79 range somewhere. I think 68 is pretty accurate, but I’ll let the NFL success sway me from a 5 here to just a 4.
67: Raymon Taylor – CB – Highland Park (MI) Highland Park (Rivals 4-star)
Taylor reminded me of James Rogers coming out of high school, and I think he played like Rogers would have if not for all the WR-to-CB-to-WR-to-CB shuffling. Taylor earned a starting gig as a sophomore after Blake Countess got injured and ended up starting 32 games in his career. He finished his four-year career in 2014 with 171 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 6 INTs (145 yards, 1 TD), 2 fumble recoveries, and 16 pass breakups. He wasn’t drafted in 2015 and did some practice squad stuff but never made a roster.
Prediction accuracy: 4. Taylor’s another guy who probably belongs in the 70-79 range, but he’s pretty close at 67.
63: Keith Heitzman – DE – Hilliard (OH) Hilliard (Rivals 3-star)
Heitzman redshirted in 2011 and then played as a backup defensive end in 2012 and 2013, making 15 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and 1 fumble recovery. He switched to tight end in 2014, where he made 2 catches for 32 yards and 1 TD as a backup. He became a grad transfer and went to Ohio for the 2015 season, where he made 22 catches for 288 yards and 3 TDs.
Prediction accuracy: 4. He probably fits somewhere between 50-59.
62: Tamani Carter – CB – Pickerington (OH) Central (Rivals 3-star)
As you can tell, I was not enamored with Carter coming out of high school, but he was a late add when Michigan needed players after Rich Rodriguez was fired. He spent one year on the team before quitting football and transferring to Ohio as a regular student.
Prediction accuracy: 2? I don’t really know what to do with this one. He spent one year on campus and redshirted.
Frank Clark – LB – Cleveland (OH) Glenville (Rivals 3-star)
This is my biggest miss in the whole bunch. I’ll take the blame like a big boy, but in my defense, here are a couple quotes from the commitment post (LINK):
In Brady Hoke’s press conference today, he called Clark a linebacker. So I’m going to assume he’s a linebacker. And I’m going to base my opinions on seeing approximately 60 seconds of film on Clark, who doesn’t have a great deal of film out there in cyberspace.
To be honest, I can’t really project Clark anywhere. He could be a strongside linebacker, where he would be rushing the quarterback off the edge. He could be a weakside linebacker, too, but I haven’t seen him take on any lead blocks from fullbacks, fill any running lanes, etc. He could be a career special teamer, since he’s decently fast and might be able to hit hard.
My handle on Clark wasn’t strong, partly because there was such limited film. Another part of that was he went from a 210 lb. linebacker to eventually being a 274 lb. defensive end. If you’ve been a Michigan fan for long, you also know he outplayed his ranking by a good deal. One of his career highlights came as a true freshman when he made a leaping interception of Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas in the Sugar Bowl. He went on to start 26 games in his career, totaling 120 tackles, 35 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 PBUs, and the 1 interception. Despite some legal troubles late in his career and got booted out of the program, he was a 2nd round pick in 2015 by the Seattle Seahawks, for whom he has 12 career sacks so far.
Prediction accuracy: 1. Caveats above apply because I said I was unsure at the time, but I did give a rating and it was way off.
58: Delonte Hollowell – CB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech (Rivals 3-star)
Hollowell didn’t play much and was mostly a special teamer, with some nickel corner mixed in. For his career, he ended up making 27 tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 pass breakups. It brings back some interesting memories to go back through the comments on Hollowell’s commitment post (LINK). I took a lot of criticism for my thoughts on Hollowell, but almost six years later, I think I was justified.
Prediction accuracy: 5. He was a solid backup guy and that was about it.
58: Chris Rock – DT – Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales (Rivals 3-star)
Rock enrolled at Michigan but redshirted as a true freshman. He left the program after the fall semester and ended up at Ohio State, where he walked on to the football team. He also did not become a heavy contributor to the Buckeyes, playing just a couple games in garbage time, and his career ended with two years of eligibility remaining.
Prediction accuracy: 3. He never did much at Michigan or Ohio State, but that’s only a notch or two below what I expected.
INC: Tony Posada – OT – Tampa (FL) Plant (Rivals 3-star)
I didn’t have enough information on which to judge Posada
INC: Matt Wile – K/P – San Diego (CA) Parker (Rivals 3-star)
I generally don’t rate kickers and punters because it’s such a difficult thing to evaluate based on film.
That 49 points divided by 15 guys (remember, I’m not counting Posada, Wile, or the guys who never made it to campus) for an average score of 3.3. That’s a C+ on an AP scoring scale. A breakdown by accuracy score:
5: Blake Countess, Delonte Hollowell, Jack Miller, Desmond Morgan
4: Brennen Beyer, Keith Heitzman, Thomas Rawls, Raymon Taylor
3: Justice Hayes, Chris Rock
2: Chris Bryant, Tamani Carter
1: Russell Bellomy, Frank Clark, Antonio Poole
Looking at the bottom of that list, I feel pretty comfortable with the evaluations I made. I whiffed on Clark, but he put on 60+ pounds in college and outperformed almost everyone’s expectations. Bellomy’s the one I really regret, because it turned out that he just didn’t have the tools at all to be a good college quarterback. I thought he was decent all-around, but he ended up having a weak arm, made some poor decisions, and was just a so-so runner. Bryant and Poole both suffered career-ending injuries, and Carter didn’t stick it out for us to see what he had to offer.
How do you think I did? What players were you right or wrong about in that 2011 class?
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