Signing Day Updates

Signing Day Updates

February 2, 2011

I’ll do my best to track the commitments of recruits of interest to Michigan fans throughout the day:

Darien Bryant (TE) committed to Vanderbilt.

Kevin McReynolds (DT) committed to UCLA.

Branden Jackson (DE) and Desimon Green (DE) committed to Texas Tech.

Shane Wynn (WR) committed to Indiana.

Cardale Jones (QB) committed to Ohio State.

Keith Heitzman (DE) has officially signed with Michigan.

Matt Wile (K) has officially signed with Michigan.

Chris Barnett (TE) has officially signed with Michigan.

Justice Hayes (RB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Darius Jennings (WR) has committed to Virginia.

Delvon Simmons (DT) has committed to North Carolina.

Antonio Poole (LB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Desmond Morgan (LB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Timmy Jernigan (NT) has committed to Florida State.

Darian Cooper (NT) has committed to Iowa.

Kellen Jones (LB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Chris Bryant (OG) has officially signed with Michigan.

Chris Rock (DE) has officially signed with Michigan.

Tony Posada (OG) has officially signed with Michigan.

Blake Countess (CB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Raymon Taylor (CB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Lamar Dawson (LB) has committed to USC.

Aundrey Walker (OT) has committed to USC.

Thomas Rawls (RB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Brennen Beyer (DE) has officially signed with Michigan.

Jack Miller (C) has officially signed with Michigan.

Greg Brown (CB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Tamani Carter (CB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Russell Bellomy (QB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Frank Clark (OLB) committed to Michigan.

Delonte Hollowell (CB) has officially signed with Michigan.

Jake Fisher (OT) committed to Oregon.


  1. Comments: 21379
    oriental andrew
    Feb 02, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    this is awesome, thanks!

  2. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Now that signing day is here and Michigan will end up with their lowest ranked class in … since recruting rankings existed, are you finally, at last, willing to "credit" Dave Brandon's approach as having a detrimental impact on the class?


  3. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:46 p.m.

    First of all, Signing Day isn't over.

    Secondly, there's no evidence to suggest that Brandon's approach had a significant impact. Some guys (like Hart) would have been gone, regardless of whether Hoke was hired on December 5th or January 5th.

  4. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    I'll take that as a no. So is it Rodriguez's fault? Hokes?

    Barnett or Willingham, I don't think, change the class dramatically. Its still going to be the worst in Michigan recruiting ranking history.


  5. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Consider this a mailbag question:

    Which of the Michigan commits could potentially play/contribute as freshman?

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts beyond the obvious (the kicker)


  6. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:52 p.m.

    I think you're melding two ideas that aren't 100% related to each other. There are two separate issues:

    1. The Coaching Change (Rodriguez to Hoke)
    2. "The Process" (aka Brandon's decision to hold off firing Rodriguez and searching for coaches until after the bowl game)

    In regard to #2, there's no evidence that hiring Hoke on December 5th (and not having dealt with "The Process") would have suddenly given Michigan access to a bunch of 5- and 4-star recruits.

    In regard to #1, I think it's too early to tell. But if we're looking at the low recruiting ranking as a whole, it would have to be Rodriguez's fault, since he's responsible for Michigan's losing record and poor bowl performance over the past three years. More wins = better recruits.

  7. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    @ Lankownia

    No offense, but I always put up a post with my recruiting "awards" for most likely to contribute early, best overall recruit, best offensive recruit, best defensive, etc. It will be up in the next couple days.

  8. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    No offense taken. Look forward to reading.


  9. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Agree that there are 2 different factors (though really 3 considering the impact of losses is felt by both and dampens recruiting.)

    It's true that there is no evidence that hiring Hoke earlier would have helped Michigan or the coaching change hurt Michigan. Theres also no evidence that the losses under Rodriguez hurt Michigan. We can't pin recruiting to discrete factors. Its complicated and dynamic but there following are generally accepted as truth:

    -winning helps recruiting
    -established relationships help recruiting
    -coaching stability helps recruiting

    You've been saying "wait till signing day" all along, in judging Brandon's process. I said "why wait?". So now its here and I'm wondering if you changed your mind or have judged.


  10. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    @ Lankownia 2:15 p.m.

    Like I said above, Signing Day isn't over. In the time that we've been having this discussion, Chris Barnett faxed his NLI to Michigan. Willingham still might decide for Michigan when he announces tomorrow.

    So…let's hold off on judging just yet.

  11. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Worst class in Michigan's recruiting history? According to which ranking site? All of them? I don't know if I can believe that.

  12. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    @ David 2:34 p.m.

    Currently we're sitting at #24 on Rivals, which hasn't figured in Chris Barnett yet.

    Meanwhile, last year Michigan was #20 on the strength of six 4-star commits (the same as this year) and TWENTY 3-stars (compared to thirteen this year).

    So while we're [currently] ranked 24th, the team above us – Arkansas – has 31 commitments.

    Anyway, the numbers can still change…and the formulas to determine the rankings are ridiculously convoluted.

  13. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    That all makes sense. Just making sure Lank was just being a sourpuss. I hope he cheers up.

    The formulas do seem wonky when the breakdown of each class is taken into account. I feel that recruiting class trends speak more about the recruiting strength of school than one or two classes.

  14. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Scout and Rivals only go back to 2002 in what they list. ESPN is newer to the game. I'm sure there were rankings in the 90s but I can't track them down easily. Michigan was always top 20 from my recollection. Often, but not always top 10. AFAIK, recruiting wasn't really publicly tracked in the 80s. This is the first time I know of where Michigan is outside of the top 20. So yes – worst ever.

    Keep in mind this is "worst class" in the sense of how it looks on signing day. Doesn't mean it will have the worst result. These things are sort of ranked outside of on-field results in many cases (e.g. Antonio Bass, DeMarr Dorsey, and other players who never do much are great on paper, but didn't end up helping much for various reasons).

    Its an important distinction and all this should be taken with a grain of salt, but theres also a strong correlation between winning in recruiting (ranks) and winning in real life.


  15. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 7:48 PM


    The 2010 class was much higher on ESPN and Scout. Rivals was the outlier.


  16. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    @ Lankownia 2:48 p.m.

    I know we could do this all day, but last year's ranking also included Demar Dorsey (who would never set foot on campus) and several other kids who never qualified or were booted off the team before their freshman year. So Rivals might have been the outlier…but it might have been more accurate.

  17. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    This is beating a dead horse, but I always thought the presence of a healthy Antonio Bass would have made the last transition a hell of a lot smoother.

  18. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Barnett cheered me up but I'd rather have landed Fisher. I might prefer Barnett over Cooper though, not that I have a choice. Barnett's offer list is impressive (if it's real, which Flower's wasn't.)

    It just seems like Michigan took another step back compared to other schools today. We've always at least had top 20 talent based on recruiting classes and for the first time that won't be the case. The writing was on the wall, but to see it finalized is a little disappointing.

    Its not a death blow or anything but its a minor step away from reasserting the program's status as top 10.


  19. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:22 PM


    This year's rankings will also include casualties. You have to compare apples to apples and thats what the class looks like on signing day.

    Rivals dinged the class more heavily for having a lot of 3 stars. If you look at scout (whose rankings and positions seem more accurate in recent years, at least for Michigan) there were more 4+stars in the 2010 class (9) than the 2011 class (6 w/Barnett). Take out White and Dorsey and its still 7 to 6.


  20. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    @ Lankownia 3:17 p.m.

    It's not finalized. The day isn't over. Willingham hasn't committed anywhere yet. Michigan was #20 last year on Rivals, and now Michigan is . . . #21. Meanwhile, the #8 and #10 ranked classes from a few years ago are still around.

    There are always disappointments, but cheer up, buddy. Michigan did pretty well for itself.

  21. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    "Michigan did pretty well for itself"

    The consensus recruiting rankings disagree with you and so does my gut.

    I can handle disappointments but getting 2 out of the top 10 guys in state and having the lowest rated class Michigan's ever had doesn't make me feel extra optimistic.

    But what really matters is how the 2011 class looks in 2015 – so I hope you're right.

    Willingham isn't announced till tomorrow I think, so for Michigan the day is probably done right? More guys will commit and probably none to Michigan. I suspect the 21 rank is our pinnacle for the year but we'll see.


  22. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 9:03 PM


    Was this recruiting class ever going to be good if Rich Rod was assuredly fired? It's not fantastic, but this class could very well have been abysmal by ANY measure.

    I also fail to see the extreme importance placed on in-state recruiting. I can see how it's important for schools in Texas, California, and Florida, but Michigan? We produce a couple of bluechips, but it's not like we're a gold mine.

  23. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    I suspect the class would have been better if Brandon had decided (one way or the other) in December, which is the conventional timeline for coaching changes. Instead several recruits were left hanging and it cost us Fisher and Crawford at least.

    RR would have gotten Fisher and Crawford and (maybe) Hart and probably several other 4-star caliber players. Barnett is the only 4-star that Hoke got that RR definitely wouldnt have.

    I agree the class isn't abysmal and I also agree it couldn't have work. "Not abysmal" and "could have been worse" don't really leave me feeling positive though.

    I agree with you on in-state. It doesn't really matter, as long as you make it up out-of-state. That said, you'd like to see the offered in-state guys or least a healthy percentage of them stick around.


  24. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    @ Lankownia 4:26 p.m.

    You have no idea if Crawford and Fisher would have hung around if the coaching decision had been made sooner. Hoke put in a huge effort to get Fisher, and it didn't happen. Crawford peaced out a while ago.

  25. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 10:10 PM


    True, its unknowable. We can say this over and over about recruiting hypotheticals.

    Several recruits were open about being unhappy that they had no idea what was going on. Would their scholarship offer be honored? Who would their position coaches be? It was only smart to look around. Some were brought back in (e.g. Posada, Jones, Bryant and Countess) but others left (e.g. Fisher). Theres no question Michigan (Brandon) put those kids in an uncomfortable situation. If it was handled properly (like say Florida's transition) you don't have the problem to the same degree.

    Some hit occurs with any coaching transition. You can mitigate the damage by moving quickly or you can let the problem fester.

    Anyway, my point about timing is less about retaining RR's recruits as it is about giving Hoke time to land a stronger class. He did a good job given the circumstances, but that doesn't mean we give ignore the cause of the circumstances.

    So, who gets blame for a class – the first ever at Michigan – outside the consensus top 20 rankings?

    There are 3 candidates: Rodriguez, Hoke, and Brandon.

    Rodriguez is a proven recruiter and essentially maintained the level of recruiting that Carr had established. Certainly you can argue that the losing took its toll but Rodriguez had better classes than 2011 each season. He can be criticized on many levels but he delivered quality classes on signing day that were ranked in the top 20. That's a fact. He appeared headed for another top 20 class, though we can't know how things would have turned out.

    Hoke, failed to retain several players but retained others and brought in Barnett, Poole, Clark and poached a few recruits from other schools. Its nearly unanimous that he did a good job given the circumstances despite losing a number of people he pursued.

    That leaves Brandon. The way the transition was handled in '08 (when most recruits were retained) offers up a very recent contrast to what occurred this round. Unorthodox is great if it delivers better results. This didn't.

    You can argue that spending weeks afloat has no impact but theres strong evidence that it cost Michigan at least one recruit (Fisher) and substantial circumstantial evidence that it cost more. Consider how many prospects Hoke landed with 2 recruiting weekends. How much would it have helped to have extra weeks to identify talent, make contacts, establish relationships, etc. We can't know, but it seems exceedingly logical to think that it would have helped.

    Its fair to say "maybe it wasn't that bad – we'll never really know" but it would be ridiculous to say the transition process had no effect.


  26. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Without hypotheticals, MgoBlog Brian runs the numbers and concludes "As far as the end result of The Process: Michigan is two scholarships short pending tomorrow's Willingham commitment, which right now looks like it won't go M's way. In addition, they're carrying Mike Williams—a likely medical redshirt—and at least two more players who could have not gotten fifth years after graduating this spring. Michigan forewent up to five additional recruits thanks to the awkward timing of The Process. They didn't sock themselves with USC scholarship penalties—they socked themselves with half of USC's scholarship penalties. "

  27. Comments: 21379
    Feb 02, 2011 at 10:39 PM


    Is this such a catastrophe that we have to "blame" someone?

    Give it a rest. The world is not going to end because Michigan's class of 2011 isn't lights-out on paper.

  28. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    @ Lankownia 5:10 p.m.

    I'm sorry, are you talking about the 2008 class in which Michigan lost two commitments (Wienke and Wilson)…and then lost eight other recruits who signed Letters of Intent within about a year and a half?

    Hill: Never set foot on the field.

    McGuffie: Gone after one year.

    Brandon Smith: Gone after two years.

    Feagin: Gone after one year.


    Obviously, some of the 2011 commits might depart, too. But that 2008 class was filled with flameouts, whether they left before NSD or after. Looking back on that class and saying "Remember the days when Michigan's recruiting was so awesome…" is pretty twisted. We got some good players in that class (Omameh, Roundtree, Martin, etc.), but no less than one-third of them are at other schools, in jail, or out of football right now.

  29. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 1:49 AM


    I agree its not a catastrophe, nor did I say anything about the world ending. We're talking about following a football, so – obviously. Dumb argument.

    Dropping from a typical class (ranked 10-15) to a class in the 25-30 range isn't good. It's not a great sign for the program and it raises or underlines questions about management, perceptions and program direction. Yes, it warrants assigning blame, just as a 5 or 7 win seasons warrant assigning blame.

    My point wasn't to compare '11 to '08 or '10 or any other year individually. Michigan has had a steady and strong advantage of top 20, even top 10 recruiting and thats not the case this year. Losses in recruiting generally transfer to losses on the field. Its just a part of the equation but its a significant part.

    That said, it doesn't mean certain doom for the program. The talent level for the 2011 class is below the bar Michigan has set, but production can outpace it in two scenarios:
    A. the talent evaluators are wrong (they're not perfect but they're generally right)
    B. this class will produce lots of contributors with abnormally low attrition.

    A or B (or both) could end up being true, but to assume that they will be (with no evidence) just seems like wishing thinking. Attrition in the '11 class could be better or worse than other classes. We don't know.

    Because I'm such an optimist…I suspect this class will have less attrition than the previous few classes and you'll see a lot of 5-year players from this group. I see a class that can provide reliable contributions and let the coaches focus future recruiting efforts on specific positions of need and higher ranked recruits. Hoke took some risks, but not at positions of need. The ceiling may not be high for the class, but the floor looks high. In short, the kind of foundation-building class RR should have been going for in '08.


  30. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Sorry, that should have been addressed to David and Thunder. No offense intended to either.


  31. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    @ Lankownia 8:49 p.m.

    Again, you're choosing to use the worst ranking (Scout) instead of the best (Rivals). Rivals has Michigan ranked #21 after being #20 last year. So in some respects, this class isn't a significant drop-off. I think the team rankings are ridiculously convoluted and, as David said, not very useful when only looking at recruiting in the context of a single class.

    Furthermore, the whole assigning of "blame" thing is a bit ridiculous. You're making it way too complicated and taking it way too seriously.

    The only thing we know with a reasonable amount of certainty is this:

    If Michigan had won more games from 2008-2010, this class would have been significantly higher ranked and filled with more talent.

    That's it. We don't know what would have happened with Fisher, Crawford, Zettel, etc. The role of David Brandon's "Process" might have had something to do with it…it might not have. We'll never know, and yeah, conjecture and speculation is what the internet is all about.

    But winning teams typically get good recruits. Losing teams don't. I'm the Captain of Conjecture, but you really can't come to a definitive conclusion one way or the other without taking some giant intellectual leaps.

  32. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    @ Anonymous 5:14 p.m.

    That is true about the scholarship situation. But again, there's no guarantee that Michigan could have filled those scholarships. Michigan was down to approximately 70 scholarship players in 2009, and that season didn't include any coaching changes.

    And I think it's pretty clear that Michigan didn't WANT to use all of its scholarships. If Brady Hoke wanted to use up every last spot, I'm guessing there are some MAC-level kids who would have jumped at the opportunity to be a Wolverine. But Hoke never bothered to offer them.

  33. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    i dont think this class turned out too bad considering you went through a coaching change. very few(if any) schools can hold on to all their recruits wen going through a coaching change. hell, texas lost christian westerman to auburn and we kept mack brown and brought in georgia's OL coach.

    also, your 3 general rules to recruiting obviously have exceptions. first, look at penn state. consistently 10ish win seasons, coaching stability, and im sure joepa has some decent relationships with HS coaches. their recruiting class was extremely lackluster this year(tho i really like mangiro). also, with regards to the team recruiting ranking please take a gander at vtech's recruiting since forever. theres this stat that since south carolina's recruiting director got his job in 2009 he's gotten more top 100 players than beamer has since 2001(10 to 9?). its crazy and no1 would expect it but its true. recruiting sites dont mean everything is my point. tho, they do provide something to talk/brag about in the offseason


  34. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    "If Michigan had won more games from 2008-2010, this class would have …more talent."

    I agree with this, but its no more or less true than the following:

    If Michigan had not had to deal with a coaching change…more talent.


    If Michigan had not had a recruiting lull during the process…more talent.

    The losing between 08-10 didn't seem to bother many of the recruits that were coming in under RR and it didn't seem to turn off Barnett and the guys Hoke brought in. Fisher and Frost for example still seemed M-bound until the coaching transition fiasco.

    Winning is just one factor in a recruits decision making. There are others.


    "you're choosing to use the worst ranking (Scout) instead of the best (Rivals)"

    Respect your opinion Thunder, but this is total BS. ESPN's ranking don't include Michigan in the top 25 – Rivals is the outlier, not scout. Your accusation of selectively choosing biased evidence to prove my point is hypocritical and untrue. I'm choosing the middle rank for Michigan.

    The 2010 class included more high end (4+) talent than the 2011 class. It also included more people over all (most of them 3 stars). The methodology for rankings IS convoluted and somewhat arbitrary, but thats why it's worth paying attention to more than one source and looking at the overall consensus.

  35. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Agree with you Thunder that Michigan didn't want to use all its scholarships.

    That seems somewhat curious to me (at least along the OL) but its a sign that maybe the staff might be confident in 2012 and potentially affirm some of the optimism fans have for that recruiting class.

    I hope it works out as well as people think because this time last year people were counting on Zettel being in the class and talking about DePriest, Arnett, and other players who ended up elsewhere. Michigan better be going after O'Brien like crazy but rumors are they have a lot of work to do.

  36. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    @ Lankownia 11:08 a.m.

    We had this discussion yesterday, but you can't say this:

    "If Michigan had not had a recruiting lull during the process…more talent."

    You have no verifiable evidence for saying so. Some guys (like Hart) were gone, regardless. Other guys (like Zettel and Frost) had opportunities to be wooed by Hoke, and Hoke either didn't want them (unlikely) or they weren't open to playing for someone other than Rodriguez. They MIGHT have been turned off by the wait, but you don't know that for sure. And especially in Zettel's case, he committed to PSU and didn't look back. I'm sorry, but if he REALLY wanted to play for U-M, then he had his chance and didn't take it.


    I don't really care about ESPN's rankings. They're often clueless. And I'm not saying Rivals rankings are better.

    But you're unhappy with last year's Rivals rankings because they were lower than Scout/ESPN…

    …and now you're using Scout's ranking because it's lower than Rivals.

    I'm not going to buy into the doom and gloom just because you're looking at the worst-case scenario. In your mind, Michigan dropped from #14 (or whatever Michigan was last yearon Scout) to #27 this year. In my mind, Michigan dropped from #20 to . . . #21. It's not a precipitous drop.

  37. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    @ Lankownia 11:11 a.m.

    Personally, I never counted on Arnett, DePriest, or Frost. Most Michigan fans think EVERY kid wants to be a Wolverine. I did expect Zettel to come to Michigan last summer, but oh well.

  38. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 5:06 PM


    "You have no verifiable evidence for saying so." True, but nor do you have any for the argument you make (about winning). All we have is vague anecdotal examples and an overall impression from following recruiting over the years. We also have direct quotes from recruits and coaches. These things point to many different factors playing a role in recruiting. You can use that to say X doesn't matter or Y does matter, but to what extent X and Y matter in individual cases is conjecture on our part. On this I think we agree.

    Where we disagree is what conjecture is reasonable or not.

    I agree on Zettel and even Hart (and didn't raise them as examples), but Frost? The guy was all blue until he was left in a lurch leading up to a date when he committed to making a decision. You can't blame that on Wins and Losses. Yeah, we'll never know for sure, but we can be pretty confident in this case that had a staff been in place leading up to the AA game, he was very likely going to choose Michigan. Sure, he could have turned back, but he was left not knowing what was going on at a critical juncture in HIS process and that killed Michigan's chances.

    Regarding rankings: I'm not unhappy with any of them but I question Rivals methodology. Whenever I make comparisons I use the same criteria and try to use the consensus rank. On Michigan, Rivals was higher than espn/scout this year and lower than espn/scout last year. They're the outlier here but I'm not ignoring either rank. I'm including Rivals in my assessment of the class overall. My "unhappiness" is not a factor in my method.

    You on the other hand are using the absolute lowest rank from 2010 and the absolute highest rank from 2011 and concluding that the change is small almost insignificant.

    Your exclusion of ESPN seems arbitrary. They're usually the outlier between the 3, but they've definitely nailed many players better than Scout/Rivals.

    Regarding expectations for a year ago: I wasn't referring to you. One of the reasons I read here is that you generally have a level-headed view on Michigan Football and manage to avoid too much pro-M bias in your assessment. I suspect living outside Michigan helps… Though, you were too bullish on Michigan's chances with Cooper IMO.

  39. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    As another data point – MaxPreps does not include Michigan in their top 25 either. They do include ND, OSU, Illinois, Iowa, MSU, Wisconsin in the top 25 – indicating some bias for the midwest compared to other sites.


  40. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:06 p.m.

    Comparing the following two statements:

    a) Michigan would have a better class if they won more games over the past few years.
    b) Michigan would have a better class if they hired a new coach sooner.

    "A" is something that is a near certainty.

    "B" is near a wild-ass guess.

    I'm using Rivals rankings because I find them to be more accurate. Additionally, they have often listed players at positions for which they aren't being recruited (i.e. Lalota as an offensive tackle for most of the recruiting cycle). And I prefer to see how rankings change from year to year within one ranking system.

    I was bullish on Michigan's chances with Cooper. I got some information from a source I trust (and who is usually right), and it ended up being wrong. But saying Michigan had a 50% shot to get Darian Cooper can hardly be counted as a monumental error.

  41. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    P.S. I find it laughable that anyone could put MSU's class in the top 25. Outside of Lawrence Thomas and Brandon Clemons, I didn't see anyone who wasn't just "a guy." The Connor Cook kid will probably be okay just because Dantonio seems to be solid at developing decent college quarterbacks, but yeah….I'm not impressed.

    MaxPreps also put MSU's class ahead of Michigan's a couple years ago, which was just as ridiculous.

  42. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    ""A" is something that is a near certainty.
    "B" is near a wild-ass guess."

    They're both near certainties. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. Several recruits were very open about how it was very uncomfortable and disconcerting to deal with the coaching transition and uncertainty. Some returned some didn't. Cooper was quoted as saying something to the effect of "I wish they had called me sooner" regarding Hoke's staff. Nearly everyone agrees that the short timeframe was a major factor working against Hoke – but you want to go way on a limb and call that all a "wild-ass" guess. OK.

    Saying Michigan had a 50% shot at Cooper, when there are more than 2 schools involved means Michigan was the most likely destination – the favorite. I'm not trying to give you a hard time about it, I just disagreed. It was a rare case where you seemed overoptimistic – which is why I mentioned it. the exercise is guesswork by nature. If you had inside info then your prediction makes sense.

    I was impressed by MSUs class – mostly because they focused on DL and OL and thats where Michigan has failed in the last few years. I wouldn't say it's better than Michigan's though.

    I really don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about Rivals/Scout/ESPN/others. To me they're just subjective guesses and each is to be used as a datapoint. More datapoints is better.

    It does seem that Scout has been better both in identifying future positions and in ranks for Michigan guys in recent years but there are plenty of examples, I'm sure, on both sides of the debate.


  43. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    I think part of the equation that is being left out is the recruiting of others. Rodriguez's "hot seat" would clearly be used against him by rival recruiters. Stability within your organization/staff offers security not only to the recruits, but also to his family, HS coaches and all others who may assist and influence. With the on the field performance being below Michigan standards, this is the major reason are recruiting classes the last two seasons have been so poor. Michigan is a premier program, but in its current condition it is not very attractive as it has been in years past. How quickly we forget, that Lloyd Carr did deliver several top 10 classes and a few top 5 classes as recently as 2004.

    Looking back on Carr's recruiting classes it goes like this (different sites will vary):
    '10- 20th
    '09- 8th (RichRod's honeymoon)
    '08- 6th
    '07- 10th
    '06- 9th
    '05- 2nd
    '04- 5th
    '03- 8th
    '02- 19th

    Carr left plenty in the cupboard. He may have underacheived on the field, but RichRod is responsible for the fall of this program with his on the field performance.

  44. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:44 p.m.

    The time frame of Hoke's hiring was indeed a "major factor" for Hoke. And yet he was able to pull in two 4-star recruits (Poole, Barnett) and various others, despite the time frame. So was it REALLY that big of a deal? Kids still had three whole weeks once he was hired to get to know him. These are kids that had the opportunity to learn everything about the university for a year or more – Zettel, Frost, etc. had been attending Michigan events since at least their junior seasons (Frost as a freshman, IIRC).

    So they had years to learn about the school/program….went a few weeks without knowing the head coach…had three weeks to be convinced…

    …and it didn't happen.

    By the way, Cooper "eliminated" Michigan back when Rodriguez lost several games. It's not like he was turned off on January 2nd or January 10th when nobody knew what was going on. So yeah, he might have said that Michigan would have had a better chance if they had tmade the change sooner…

    …but it's far from a certainty.

    A winning Michigan team gets good recruits. Period.

  45. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    Yes, it was a big deal. As argued in Mgoblog and other places, the only 'catch' that Hoke made was Barnett. Everyone else, including Poole, had not previously been offered by Michigan. In other words, he got guys that probably anyone else could/would have if they wanted them.

    Compare Barnett to the losses that weren't replaced: Frost & Fisher (due to process/coach change), Crawford (due to coach change), and Hart due to (losing/coach change). In balance, we lost in the transition, as any team would have.

    I didn't say Michigan would have landed Cooper for sure, but the point is it would have helped with him, and potentially other recruits as well. Relationships matter.

    Three weeks is not very long to get to know someone. Furthermore, its about more than head coaches but positional coaches, coordinators, strength and conditioning, teammates and all the other people involved. Most recruits cultivate relationships over years, not days. Michigan still hasn't officially announced who the secondary and DL coaches would be on signing day. Mattison was announced well after Hoke.

    I don't know why you keep bringing up Zettel because he's been committed to Penn State for a while. I've never said Zettel was affected by all this. But, compare a position coach like Larry Johnson to Michgan's no one and Zettel's decision makes perfect sense. You can say it was the W-L record, but just like all your "we don't know/wild-ass guess" arguments the same thing applies to that logic. Maybe he was going to PSU anyway, even if Rich Rod had won 3 national titles.


    Averaging across the 3 recruiting sites rankings, Michigan's average class ranking between '06 and '09 was 11, 11, 10, 11. If you recall, there's some pretty big differences in the degree to which Michigan was winning in that time, but not a big shift in how the recruiting classes turned out.

    Bigger picture: Since '02, the classes have averaged (in order) 18, 13, 5, 4, 11, 11, 10, 11, 15, 24. Those don't correspond real strongly to winning seasons. They DO respond very closely to incredibly awkward, ill-timed, and acrimonious coaching transitions on Michigan's end.

    I actually agree with you though. Winning does matter! I'm not trying to say otherwise. I'm just not willing to say it's the only factor like you seem to imply (Period).

    Again, we'll have to agree to disagree.


  46. Comments: 21379
    Rob Pollard
    Feb 03, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Siehbiscuit, I suggest you go look at who actually was in that "#2 in the nation" 2005 class and see how quickly it imploded. What should have been the core of the team in 2008 & 2009 was half gone by the time 2007 rolled around. It was a debacle.

    And, as you've probably seen this elsewhere, the 2007 recently was voted one of the most underachieving recruiting classes of the decade by Doc Saturday. To be fair, a little of that can go on RR, but most if just goes to the fact Mike Williams, Zion Babb, Vince Helmuth, Austin Panter, Marell Eveans, Steve Watson, Avery Horn etc turned out to not be very good.

  47. Comments: 21379
    Feb 03, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    @ Lankownia 3:47 p.m.

    I'm bringing up Zettel not because you brought him up, but because he was the biggest fish Michigan had to lose. He was an in-state guy, a top 100 guy who had been a Michigan fan for a long time. Hart was a Rodriguez recruit through-and-through, and Frost was iffy from the get-go. I know Frost was supposedly a silent commitment at one point, but he's also from the south – and southern kids like to stay in the south.

    I'm not sure why you don't see a correlation in recruiting class rankings since '02. Michigan had good classes because Michigan was winning games…

    …when they stopped winning, the classes dropped from around #10 to #15 and then #24.

    Recruiting isn't affected on a season-to-season basis by winning and losing. But when a pattern develops (here at Michigan, it was 15 wins over three seasons), things start to drop off. Every one of those pre-Rodriguez classes you mentioned was a solid winning season for Michigan, save the '06 class (which followed Michigan's 7-5 season, a mere blip on the radar). One season of mediocrity won't drag down recruiting; three seasons will.

    Furthermore, the real boon for Michigan was the hiring of Mattison. He's the one who lured Countess back, convinced Poole to come, etc. If you're saying that hiring a new coaching staff back at, say, the beginning of December would have helped…

    …well, Mattison was still in the midst of his NFL season and wouldn't have been available for another month or so. There's a very good chance that Hoke would have hired somebody else to be his defensive coordinator in the meantime, and perhaps Poole and Countess might have signed with other teams. Obviously, we don't know whether that would be true or not, but if you're looking at the negatives of "The Process," you also have to consider the positives.

    I'm okay with agreeing to disagree, but like I said, the effect of "The Process" lies outside of our grasp.

  48. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    The class was ranked 18 in 2002 – the program had definitely not "stopped winning" at that point so your lagging theory fails to explain that. What then explains the worst recruiting class Michigan had till 2011? A class worse than 2010 or 2009 (when we were coming off 5 and 3 win seasons.) Was '02 just an outlier? If so, can't 2011 be just an outlier as well? You're seeing what you want to see.

    If RR hadn't had been fired the class would very likely have stayed at the 10-15 level, especially when you consider how strongly RR closed each of his other classes. Replace Barnett and Poole with Frost, Fisher, Lucien, Flowers, Crawford and a few signing day surprises and you're looking at a class thats better than the 2010 class.

    How much is entirely up to "the process" and how much is up to the coaching change is hard to say. We can say it was negative but, as you say, it is outside of our grasp to say exactly how…which is why I always asked why you insisted on waiting till signing day to pass judgement. It was, and remains, reasonable to say that the process was a negative. Whether that negative created a tangible impact is unclear, but it seems highly likely that Fisher and Frost are casualties of it.

    Again, I agree the losing takes a toll, but 7 wins is an improvement on 5 and the trajectory of the team seemed positive enough to entice people like Frost, Crawford and Fisher into committing in one form or another.

    Listing Mattison as a positive of the process is absurd. He could have left the NFL during the season or still arrived when he did after it (it's not like Hoke sat on his ass before hiring Mattison). If you want to go into hypotheticals, how about DB forces Harbaugh into a decision on the Michigan job in November, before the NFL came calling? Take it or leave it. Maybe that approach gets you Harbaugh AND Mattison, plus a top 10 recruiting class.


    p.s. I'm refuse to be too impressed by the Poole commitment. This is a guy RR knew about and chose not to offer.

  49. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    @ Lankownia 7:04 p.m.

    I think you know that Mattison wouldn't have left Baltimore on, say, on December 5th. That would be about 12 games into the season for Baltimore, which was on a playoff trajectory. Let's be serious.

    By the way, I'm going to trust Brady Hoke/Greg Mattison more than Rich Rodriguez/Greg Robinson on linebacker recruiting. None of Rich Rodriguez's linebacker recruits have done ANYTHING at Michigan, and Rodriguez/Robinson clearly had no idea how to run a defense. Please. You don't have to be impressed by the Poole commitment, but he's a 4-star/3-star player with a solid (though unspectacular) set of offers.

    Somehow I don't think removing Poole/Barnett and adding Frost/Fisher/Lucien/Flowers/Crawford would have jumped Michigan all the way to the low teens. Fisher, Lucien, Flowers, and Crawford were all borderline 4-star/3-star guys; the only elite recruit in the bunch was Frost. And besides, that haul ignores Hoke's ability to pull in Taylor, Rawls, Heitzman, Bellomy, etc. If you want to give credit to Rodriguez for middling recruits, then Hoke deserves credit for his middling recruits, too.

    The biggest difference there is Frost,and like I said, that probably doesn't jump you from #21, #27, whatever all the way up to the low teens.

  50. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Well at this point its quibbling but in terms of rivals ranks:

    Frost > Poole
    Crawford > Carter
    Fisher > Heitzman
    Flowers > Rawls
    Lucien = Barnett

    Taylor and Rawls were coming to M regardless of the coach, if asked. Bellomy is a middling recruit that RR would have matched or bested once it became apparent Forcier was gone. (Perhaps Sousa could have been sweet-talked back into re-committing. 3 star QBs aren't hard to come by.) These are "replacement level" recruits for a program like Michigan.

    And again, given how RR finished on signing day, you can reasonably assume he would have landed several more highly regarded prospects.

    If you want to play the hypothetical game further you can wonder what would have happened if RR was told to hire a new DC/staff in December and brought someone else in with different recruiting ties that lead to some new commits.

    Coaching transitions cost recruiting classes. That always how it works. Even Texas and Florida had somewhat down years for them.

  51. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    @ Lankownia 9:50 p.m.

    No offense, but this is going to be my last comment on the topic. We're clearly in opposition to each other. Frankly, I'm just growing tired of the topic.

    But the argument hasn't been about the coaching change costing Michigan recruits. We knew that would happen going into it. For example, Demetrius Hart was out if Rodriguez was out (and maybe even if Rodriguez were still here).

    The discussion has been about whether "The Process" hurt Michigan's recruiting. And if you're not impressed with the guys Hoke recruited from the time he was hired until NSD, then who's to say that you would be impressed with the guys he would recruit from early December until NSD?

    As far as we know, the only guys Hoke offered were a bunch of borderline 4-stars and some 3-stars (many of whom he recruited successfully) and a couple highly touted cornerbacks (McClure, Raven), both of whom stuck close to home. The timing of the hire had an undetermined effect on the 2011 class, and arguing otherwise with any kind of vigor is pure, unadulterated, wild speculation.

  52. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Oh, and I forgot…

    You can do that inequality in any way you choose. You chose to go the route that suits you best, but how about this?

    Barnett > Flowers
    Heitzman < Fisher
    Poole > Flowers
    Carter < Crawford
    Rawls < Frost

    In that case, Coach Hoke got 2 superior players, and Coach Hypothetical got 3 superior players. Not much of a difference anywhere except Frost being better than a 3-star…which, like I said above, wouldn't have jumped this class from the twenties into the low teens.

    In summary, this class is just fine. I'm not going to be upset about it.

  53. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    I think you decided your opinion on this subject a month ago. You said "wait" because you thought people were overreacting. Then we did wait and now you say "we can't know".

    Yeah, the class is "fine". Its also the worst class in at least a decade and probably many.

  54. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    @ Lankownia 11:24 a.m.

    If you're looking for people to join your pity party, you're more likely to find them at MGoBlog than here. I refuse to be as depressed about it as you.

  55. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    haha. fair enough and true.

    I'm not looking for a pity party. I'm just making a point about the damage Brandon caused. We can say 'water under the bridge' but the ramfications of those actions may be felt for a long time and the worst case scenario is very ugly indeed.

    I don't think the class is worth getting excited about. I don't see it as a positive sign in many respects. I think hopes are just hopes and there isn't much value in that. I do think its worth being concerned about.

    Like I said before, I'm hopeful this class will end up being better than some of the previous classes that were higher ranked. I think this class builds a foundation for Hoke. I think it provides depth and security, and I think there is (underrated) value in that and it's something that RR failed to do.

  56. Comments: 21379
    Feb 04, 2011 at 10:39 PM


    Excuse me for being excited that this class wasn't a total fucking disaster like it could have been.

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