Review of 2011 TTB Ratings

Review of 2011 TTB Ratings

December 21, 2016

Frank Clark

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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?


  1. Comments: 1356
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Dec 21, 2016 at 6:56 AM

    What a horrid class.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 7:40 AM

      Yep. Clark was the only high-quality player, and he had off-the-field issues.

  2. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Dec 21, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    And I was just about to support your site by purchasing a new car off your Amazon link until I read your grades…

    Seriously though, that was a horrible class. It was also my first year of really following recruiting. I didn’t spend much time researching film and analyzing different sites so I didn’t have much to compare these players to.

    I love these types of articles. Thanks for reviewing with us and giving us a sneak peak back at the valleys of UM recruiting. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is star rating for each of the players from any of the sites. For example, if Hollowell was a 4 star from both Scout and Rivals (not sure if 247 was around) and was generally thought to be a stud, however, you predicted his imminent demise as a back-up and special teamer, it would have been handy to compare your expertise to the other services.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 10:00 AM

      Might I suggest the Lamborghini Diablo?

      Anyway, maybe I can add in the star ratings later today. 247 wasn’t around back then.

      • Comments: 295
        Joined: 12/19/2015
        Dec 21, 2016 at 12:20 PM

        Awesome. Thanks for adding.

  3. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Dec 21, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    Another great morning read Thunder, THANKS!

    How do we know if you got credit for our Amazon purchases? I did quite a bit of my holiday spending there, but don’t see anything on my receipts showing a portion came here

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 10:50 AM

      I see things on my end, but I can’t tell whether it’s you or another reader because I don’t see names. If you’re unsure and concerned about it, I can look up certain items. So if you bought a mixer or a TV or a bottle of vitamins, I can look up what items sold and tell you whether one was purchased.

      Otherwise, I guess we just have to trust Amazon to keep track accurately. I hope that answers your question.

  4. Comments: 49
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Blue in NC
    Dec 21, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    Okay, I will be the brown noser and actually give you credit for these predictions. Not spot on but reasonably accurate given how terrible this class turned out (which almost no one could have expected). Everyone missed on Clark but otherwise, if we are grading on a curve, these are reasonably accurate. I expect that it’s much easier to grade a class under Harbaugh when guys are more heavily scouted and much more film is available.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 11:23 AM

      Thanks. I mean, I gave myself some bad grades for guys who were affected by injuries, off-the-field issues, a lack of desire, etc. I try to be objective even when “grading” myself. Truthfully, I wouldn’t knock a recruiting site like Rivals or Scout when someone like Chris Barnett never shows up to school. He was a 4-star recruit, but it’s hard to account for “personal lives” getting in the way, it’s impossible to predict injuries, and it’s hard to tell when someone just doesn’t have the desire to stick with football. I don’t want to remove those things from the equation entirely, but it does throw off the results a little bit. That’s one reason why I’m rarely like “Haha Rivals is dumb for making Player X a 5-star LOL.”

  5. Comments: 33
    Joined: 8/15/2016
    Dec 21, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    Hopefully, I’m right about this, but I feel like the low end and middle of Harbaugh recruits will end up better than projected. The top end will realize the potential. When you’re in the 90’s, there isn’t much better that you can do, but there is a lot of downside. When you are a 60 or 70, there is a lot of coaching/S&C upside which I think will be mostly realized. I think that the current staff has a much better eye for potential than previous staffs. Small data sample, but consider Josh Metellus. I think that the emphasis on character, coachability and work ethic, will cause all of these guys to outperform. The only wild card should be injuries.

    I loved the quote by the Florida guy about why they lost to us. We weren’t better, just better coached. How does that play out when the recruiting average is half a star higher?

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 12:54 PM

      In the case of Rich Rodriguez, not very well.

  6. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 21, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    Fun post. Reflection is good.

    I think you did an excellent job overall. Particularly impressive that you called out a few guys with high rankings and got proven right. My quibbles are favorable to you: I’d give Poole and Incomplete. I’d give you a 5 for Heitzman.

    Your big mistake on Clark was the initial assumption that Hoke’s comment about being a LB should be taken at face value. He was a boom/bust athlete the staff took as a flyer. You want to take some guys like that but usually they won’t work out. They are hard to evaluate inherently because there isn’t a safe middle ground. You’re more likely to be wrong unless you take an extreme position – in which case you could be VERY wrong, and nobody likes that.


    As for me, I thought Rock, Bellomy, Hayes, and Bryant would all be much better than they were. I was not a fan of recruiting Rawls but he turned out to have legit talent. I loved the Taylor pickup late. Clark, Jones and Barnett were worthwhile gambles, as Hoke was in a tough spot. I think I underestimated just how much of transition this class was – and overestimated Hoke’s eye for talent.

    It was a weird class and, ultimately, a very unsuccessful one. The best players got essentially booted from the team (Clark and Rawls), got injured, or ended up transferring (Countess). Taylor, Beyer and Morgan were the only 3 whose careers can be viewed as unqualified success – starters who stayed at Michigan through their eligibility.


    The 2012 class was much better. You should do that one next.

  7. Comments: 522
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Dec 21, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    Regarding Russell Bellomy …

    … how much of that can be pinned on Al Borges?

    I’m not trying to pile on Borges, necessarily. But is it not true (a) he was the QB coach, and (b) he was somewhat proud of the fact he did not take a hands-on approach to being the QB coach? That stands in stark contrast to Harbaugh, who is the quintessential hands-on QB coach.

    Is it not also true that Bellomy was a dual-threat QB in the mold of, say, Tate Forcier … and the idea of putting him under center in a west coast offense wasn’t the wisest thing? That, of course, begs the question why Michigan went after Bellomy when he was a Purdue commit. Maybe just to have a warm body.

    Early in the Harbaugh era we had a commit in Messiah DeWeaver, and he de-committed and went to MSU. My guess is he was pushed. My guess is Harbaugh has a better handle on exactly how he will use a QB than Borges ever really had. Perhaps I’m being unfair to Borges. Perhaps I’ve had too much coffee.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 1:27 PM

      Borges sucks. It’s hard to argue otherwise. He had his moments here and there but ultimately was very inconsistent in most respects.

      The one thing he did that was wise was NOT run a west-coast offense. Instead, he adapted the offense to suit Denard Robinson. That gave us the 2011 season and could have given us more if the talent and development had been better, particularly on the OL.

      And even THAT, it could be argued was a mistake. The hodge-podge offense geared to gradually transition from one scheme to another flamed out quickly.

      Parsing out if Bellomy was just bad or Borges was bad seems fruitless to me. All evidence says it’s both.

      • Comments: 522
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Dec 21, 2016 at 2:21 PM

        I’m going to agree with you re: Borges and 2011 up to a point. Yes, he did not implement a west-coast offense in one big bang … but damn it, he had his eye cast in that direction. I wish I had a count of how many times Robinson was under center, and any number greater than zero was too many.

        Ditto Devin Gardner in 2013 … Gardner was not a drop-back QB, and it was nearly certain that when he went under center bad things were going to happen. Part of that was the OL play, I admit. But why make that worse by making Gardner do things unnatural to him — that is, drop back? Gardner had a tendency to turn his eyes *away* from the defense when he dropped back, which just meant he had less time to process what was happening when he got his eyes back downfield. I used to scream at the TV when I’d see Gardner go under center … nothing good every came of it.

        Can you tell I still have unresolved emotional issues from those years?

        • Comments: 6285
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Dec 22, 2016 at 1:16 PM

          Well, people forget that Rodriguez was running the offense under center too. Not inherently bad to have that variety as a counter-attack to your base. The issue with Borges was that there was never an effective base after 2011 (where that base was essentially the skeleton of the RR offense).

          Borges began a transition to … something. Presumably it was eventually headed to a west coast offense, but we never really saw that.

          I have no interest or intent in defending Borges. He was awful here. Like Rodriguez with Robinson, Hoke dug his own grave by hiring Borges. You take a mediocre barely qualified retread you get what you deserve.

          I blame most of it on the OL but even so – what Borges ran probably played a big part of it. The talent they got on offense was suboptimal and poorly developed too. The offense was a failure in every regard. Hoke:offense. Rodriguez:defense.

          Thankfully those dark times are behind us.

      • Comments: 522
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Dec 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM

        Oh, and somewhere in my gut there’s a sense that Bellomy may have been a decent (meaning: serviceable) QB at some mid-major … in the right system. He wasn’t *bad* … just not good enough to play at Michigan *and* play at Michigan under the mis-guided tutelage of Mr. Borges.

        • Comments: 6285
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Dec 22, 2016 at 1:18 PM

          He tried to go to a low major and failed there too. I think he was bad. Honestly, probably the worst scholarship QB to ever play a meaningful down at Michigan.

  8. Comments: 14
    Joined: 12/21/2016
    Dec 21, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    I think this is a tough class to judge in general since so many washed out of it. As accurate as they seemed to be for this class, I’m betting your grades will be a lot better in future years as the program has stabilized.

    One player I will be very interested in seeing develop from last year’s class is Nick Eubanks. You ranked him as a 44 which is way below any other recruiting service or scout. He seems like the type of boom or bust player that could really boom in a Harbaugh offense. I also think you were a bit harsh on Deron Irving-Bey who is very raw on technique but seems like he has the size and athleticism to develop in a few years. These types of players are the toughest to judge though as they really could go to either side of the success spectrum.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2016 at 5:41 PM

      Yeah, Eubanks has some talent. He could turn out to be a very good player, so I did go out on a limb with that projection. We’ll see how he develops. I might end up being very wrong about him.

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