I did a review of my TTB Ratings from 2011 here (LINK), but it’s been a while, so it’s long past time for a look at the 2012 class.
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:
95: Kyle Kalis – OG – Lakewood (OH) St. Edward’s
Kalis redshirted in 2012 and then started 43 games at right guard. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2016, probably largely because he was just a well known name at that point. He didn’t get drafted in 2017.
Prediction accuracy: 3. Based on the fact that he stuck in the NFL a little bit, he probably did have some NFL draft interest, but he played like a so-so college starter throughout his career.
94: James Ross III – LB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s
Ross had an odd college career that I can’t quite pin down. He was a better college player than some others at his position, but he only made 21 starts in his career. He made 188 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks throughout his career and did not have an NFL career.
Prediction accuracy: 2. He was a solid college player who, for whatever reason, never got the treatment he was due from the coaching staff.
90: Ondre Pipkins – DT – Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Pipkins spent three years in Ann Arbor and was always a decent backup, but never started a game. He made 23 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. After that he was offered a medical scholarship but instead transferred to Texas Tech to finish out his college career.
Prediction accuracy: 1. Pipkins never did much of anything at Michigan, and that’s what matters for these rankings.
88: Joe Bolden – LB – Cincinnati (OH) Colerain
Bolden played in 51 games and started 28 of them at linebacker through his four-year career. He finished with 270 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks, which were better numbers than Ross, but the eye test had those roles reversed. Bolden, however, was named a captain in 2015, so he must have had some leadership qualities that put him over the top. He did not turn into an NFL player.
Prediction accuracy: 3. I thought he would be a very good starter in the Big Ten, but he turned out to be just average for the most part.
88: Jarrod Wilson – S – Akron (OH) Buchtel
Wilson made 169 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 4 interceptions in his four-year Michigan career, and he was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten as a senior. He went undrafted in 2016 but has carved out a nice backup role for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past three seasons.
Prediction accuracy: 4. Wilson had a solid career at Michigan, especially his final couple seasons. He wasn’t quite the difference-maker I expected, but he went from being a liability early in his career to a very dependable player.
87: Erik Magnuson – OT – Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon
Magnuson started 37 games in his five-year career, and he capped it off by being named First Team All-Big Ten and the team’s best offensive lineman in 2016. He has played in eight games with three starts for the San Francisco 49ers, but he’s a center now instead of a tackle.
Prediction accuracy: 5. I expected Magnuson to hit his stride as a college player a little earlier, but he finished his career with two solid seasons. I would probably rate him lower in the 80s in retrospect, but that’s pretty close.
87: Jehu Chesson – WR – St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins
After redshirting as a freshman, Chesson turned into a very good blocker for a couple years before taking off as a wide receiver, jet sweeper, and kickoff returner. He finished his career with 50 games played and 25 starts, along with 22 carries for 232 yards and 3 scores, plus 114 catches for 1,639 yards and 12 touchdowns receiving, along with 33.7 yards/return and 1 touchdown on kickoffs. He was a 4th round pick in 2017 by the Chiefs and has since played for both the Chiefs and Redskins.
Prediction accuracy: 5. I expected better overall receiving numbers, but the NFL draft pick shows the potential. Chesson’s second half of 2015 with quarterback Jake Rudock was one of the best streaks in school history.
85: Tom Strobel – DE – Mentor (OH) Mentor
Strobel redshirted in 2012 before making 6 tackles over the last three seasons; he also played a role as an extra offensive lineman in his final season at Michigan. He transferred to Ohio for his final year of eligibility and did not have an NFL career.
Prediction accuracy: 2. He did not have nearly the career I expected, but he did at least become a contributor.
84: Royce Jenkins-Stone – LB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Jenkins-Stone was told by then defensive coordinator Greg Mattison that he could become the next Ray Lewis, and instead, Jenkins-Stone became a career backup, special teamer, and part-time contributor. He made 59 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks in four seasons and did not sniff the NFL.
Prediction accuracy: 2.
80: Terry Richardson – CB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Richardson appeared in fifteen games as a Wolverine backup defensive back, but he never saw any meaningful playing time and finished his career at Marshall.
Prediction accuracy: 1. Richardson was supposed to be the next big thing out of Cass Tech, but he never had any success until he was at Marshall.
78: Mario Ojemudia – DE – Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Ojemudia had a solid career throughout his four years in Ann Arbor, but he was never a standout. He finished his career with 82 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception. He started seven total games and played in 38, but his career unfortunately ended with a torn Achilles against Maryland in 2015. He got a cup of coffee in the NFL but didn’t last.
Prediction accuracy: 4. Ojemudia wasn’t a draft-worthy player, but he was an adequate starter.
77: Amara Darboh – WR – West Des Moines (IA) Catholic
Darboh played a bit as a freshman and was expected to do big things as a sophomore before breaking his foot. When he came back in 2014, he became a primary target for the remainder of his career. He made 151 career catches for 2,062 yards (13.7 yards/catch) and 14 touchdowns. He became a 3rd round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2017 and has since played for the Seahawks and Patriots.
Prediction accuracy: 5. Some might want to go back and rank him in the 80s, but Darboh was never a consistent standout at receiver, either with his athleticism or his production.
76: Willie Henry – DT – Cleveland (OH) Glenville
Henry redshirted during his initial season and slowly improved to the point where he was all-conference honorable mention as a redshirt junior. He made 86 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 1 interception (returned for a 7-yard touchdown) during his three years on the field and left early for the NFL. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Baltimore Ravens and has 36 tackles with 4.5 sacks so far during his NFL career.
Prediction accuracy: 4. I think Henry flashed the playmaking ability and athleticism to be ranked in the 80s.
76: Dennis Norfleet – RB – Detroit (MI) King
Norfleet spent just three seasons at Michigan before transferring out. He had 15 carries for 130 yards (8.7 yards/carry), 21 catches for 157 yards (7.5 yards/catch), 94 kickoff returns for 2,203 yards (23.4 yards/return), and 15 punt returns for 90 yards (6.0 yards/return). Obviously, he contributed more on special teams, where he’s Michigan’s all-time leading returner, than he did on offense. He transferred to Tuskegee for his final college season and did not make it to the NFL.
Prediction accuracy: 3. Norfleet never became a starter, unless you’re counting special teams. And while he got a lot of volume, he wasn’t a standout returner.
75: Devin Funchess – TE – Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Funchess was a tight end coming out of high school and made an immediate impact in Ann Arbor. He played tight end as a freshman and sophomore before switching to full-time wide receiver in 2014. He finished his career with 126 catches for 1,715 yards (13.7 yards/catch) and 15 touchdowns and became a 2nd Team All-Big Ten player as a junior. He declared for the NFL Draft and was a 2nd round pick (#41 overall) of the Carolina Panthers, for whom he had 161 catches for 2,223 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first five seasons. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts this off-season.
Prediction accuracy: 4. Funchess is a tricky one to rate, because he looked like a tight end but didn’t have the willingness or toughness to block. He has had success as a receiver, though.
73: Chris Wormley – DE – Toledo (OH) Whitmer
Wormley looked like a stud as a high school underclassman, and his play dropped off as a senior, which resulted in my ranking him as a 73. He was supposedly going to see playing time as a college freshman but tore his ACL, causing him to redshirt. He proceeded to make 122 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery over the next four years. In 2016 he was a Sporting News All-American, and he was named all-conference twice. He was a 3rd round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2017 and has 21 tackles and 1 sack in two seasons.
Prediction accuracy: 3. Quite simply, Wormley turned out to be a better college player than I thought. His senior year of high school was a blip.
71: Ben Braden – OT – Rockford (MI) Rockford
Braden had a prototypical career for what I expect from an average lineman at Michigan. From his first to his fifth season, he redshirted, played in two games, started twelve games, started thirteen games, and then became a 2nd Team All-Big Ten player in his final season. The 6’6″ lineman progressed throughout, and after playing mostly guard early in his career, eventually grew into being a solid starter at left tackle as a senior. He was not drafted but has played in two games for the New York Jets.
Prediction accuracy: 5. He became a solid starter and I guess had some NFL draft potential, since he was picked up as an undrafted free agent and has had a two-year career.
70: Matt Godin – DT – Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Similar to Ben Braden’s career, Godin got progressively better as he matured. He went from redshirting to playing in seven games to playing in eight games to making four starts to becoming all-conference honorable mention. He finished his career with 56 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 1 interception. He went undrafted in 2017 and spent a little time with the Houston Texans; most recently he was seen playing in the now defunct AAF.
Prediction accuracy: 4. I originally rated him as a 65 before bumping him up, and I think the 60s are a more accurate description of his career.
69: A.J. Williams – TE – Cincinnati (OH) Sycamore
Surrounded by rumors his whole career that he would make a switch to tackle, the jumbo tight end played all four years in Ann Arbor. He made 17 catches for 164 yards (9.6 yards/catch) and 1 touchdown while starting thirteen games and playing in 49 altogether. He was not drafted in 2016 and did not have a professional career.
Prediction accuracy: 4. I probably could have put him in the 50s. He was not a standout as a blocker, nor was he much of a receiver.
66: Sione Houma – FB – Salt Lake City (UT) Brighton
Houma played in 39 games during his four-year Michigan career and started seven of those games. The highlight season of his career was Jim Harbaugh’s first year in 2015, when Houma got his first career carry (total: 43 carries, 184 yards, 5 TD). He also made 14 career special teams tackles and caught 10 passes for 91 yards. He went undrafted in 2016 and did not have a pro career.
Prediction accuracy: 5. He did what a fullback at Michigan should do.
65: Drake Johnson – RB – Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer
Johnson redshirted as a freshman in 2012 before becoming a dependable backup for the remainder of his football career. He had 116 career carries for 641 yards (5.5 yards/carry) and 8 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately, his career was marred by two separate ACL injuries and getting hit by a forklift while stretching, and he opted just to run track instead of playing his fifth year of football.
Prediction accuracy: 5. Am I wrong? Maybe he was a solid starter, but he only started three games. And he was better than being a “good backup.”
63: Allen Gant – S – Sylvania (OH) Southview
Gant redshirted as a freshman and progressed to a backup role, eventually growing into a linebacker. He said he was going to grad transfer in his fifth year, but his career was done at that point. Career totals: 18 games played, 7 tackles.
Prediction accuracy: 3. He should have been rated lower and never really made an impact on the field.
59: Jeremy Clark – S – Madisonville (KY) North Hopkins
Clark redshirted as a freshman safety, played a backup safety role, and eventually moved to cornerback. He started fifteen total games during his career, but he really shined at corner – as a very tall corner. He made 49 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 7 pass breakups, with almost all that production coming after the position switch. He became a 6th round pick of the New York Jets in 2017, but he has yet to play a game for them.
Prediction accuracy: 3. If your name is Clark, I have no idea how to project you, whether your first name is Jeremy or Frank. Clark was tall and gawky and played against poor competition in high school, and he certainly didn’t look like he would get drafted to play cornerback in the NFL. Good for him.
Kaleb Ringer – LB – Clayton (OH) Northmont
Ringer redshirted in 2012 before transferring to Ferris State and finishing his career at Georgia State.
Prediction accuracy: 5. He did about exactly what I expected.
That’s 85 points divided by 24 guys, which gives me a 3.5 on a five-point scale. That’s somewhere between a C+ and a B-. A breakdown by accuracy score:
5: Magnuson, Chesson, Darboh, Braden, Houma, Johnson, Ringer
4: Wilson, Ojemudia, Henry, Funchess, Godin, Williams
3: Kalis, Bolden, Norfleet, Wormley, Gant, Clark
2: Ross, Strobel, Jenkins-Stone
1: Pipkins, Richardson
It’s interesting (to me) that the guys I whiffed badly on were generally the higher ranked guys who failed to live up to expectations, not the low-rated guys who exploded. Clark might have been the closest one to blowing up after a low rating, but his success only lasted for a short time, thanks to late development and a torn ACL. All five guys who earned a 1/2 were 4-star or 5-star prospects who fell short.
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