Jerald Robinson, Ex-Wolverine

Tag: 2010 Recruiting

15Dec 2012
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Jerald Robinson, Ex-Wolverine

Jerald Robinson did not catch this.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jerald Robinson has left the football program.  A 6’1″, 215-pounder, he played sparingly over the past couple seasons, making just 5 receptions for 69 yards, all in 2012.

It is unclear whether he left for a better playing opportunity elsewhere or if he didn’t get along with the coaching staff, but he has often been at odds with the coaching staff(s) since coming to Michigan.  As a freshman in 2010, he was one of the players who had to “earn his wings” from head coach Rich Rodriguez – a group of players that also included Tate Forcier and Austin White, neither of whom made it through the 2010 season.  Since then reports have persisted that he lacked the dedication and work ethic to be a significant contributor, even though many departing seniors pegged him for a future breakout star because of the catches he would make in practice.

Those plays never showed up in games, though.  Looking back at his high school career, he was always a guy who lacked speed and caught the ball in his body.  You can view his highlights and watch him make body catch after body catch, get caught from behind, and catch short passes over the middle where he gets caught and tackled rather immediately.  Some people – including me – thought he might be better off playing safety.  He had a few opportunities this past season to catch balls that were outside the frame of his body, but the only ones he seemed to reel in were those that hit him near the numbers.

Rodriguez’s 2010 recruiting class has now been whittled down to 12 players after initially being 27, Michigan’s largest class in the Rivals/Scout era of recruiting.  Rodriguez took just 9 offensive players in that class, and only 3 remain – quarterback Devin Gardner and wideouts Drew Dileo and Jeremy Jackson.  By way of comparison, just 6 of 20 recruits from the 2011 class have left the program; and 8 out of 20 recruits from Lloyd Carr’s last full class left the program early.  So while 40% of Carr’s final full class left the program before exhausting their eligibility, 56% of Rodriguez’s last full class are gone before three full years have passed.

EDIT: This brings the number of available scholarships in 2013 to a whopping 25.  Wide receivers remaining on the team next year will presumably include seniors Drew Dileo, Jeremy Gallon, and Jeremy Jackson; sophomore Amara Darboh; redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson; and incoming freshmen Jaron Dukes, Da’Mario Jones, and Csont’e York.

For news on other former Wolverines, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

20Oct 2011
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Mailbag: Does Hoke deserve blame for lack of OL depth?

Do you think Hoke deserves any blame for not going after OL/DL last year? I realize time was short, but he managed to snag a QB, TE, DE and LB – guys that hadn’t been targeted before.
Shouldn’t he have seen the potential train-wreck coming at OL and tried to address the situation? I’d imagine there were some marginal 3-star types available that could have at least contributed to depth. DT is probably a different story – since competition is so stiff and freshman can contribute right away. But OL…the needs been there for a long time. Besides Rodriguez’s class of 6 guys in ’08 Michigan has under-recruited the OL position since 2005 (no more than 3 OL in a class). Rodriguez recognized the need and immediately worked to rectify it. Yeah, he had more time, but we didn’t even hear of any new names pop up at OL in the 2011 class.

I think that Rodriguez deserves a little less blame for the OL situation. 1st, he was forced by Carr into recruiting a giant OL class in ’08. with all the other needs around he couldn’t keep taking 5 guys a year. So, the small OL classes in 09 and 10 were somewhat justifiable. 2011 was looking strong but the transition cost UM Fisher and probably some other OL recruit. I don’t think it’s all on him that the ’09 and ’10 OL classes now look to be so damaging.

The question above comes from a commenter in Tuesday’s recruiting update post.

No, I don’t think Brady Hoke deserves blame for not going after offensive linemen and defensive linemen last year.  First of all, he was hired less than a month before National Signing Day.  With that short of a start, I don’t think he can really accept any blame whatsoever.  But secondly, he did  go after linemen.  Hoke offered:

  • Ohio DE/DT Keith Heitzman (Michigan)
  • New Jersey DE Max Issaka (Rutgers)
  • Arizona OT Ryan Nowicki (Penn State)
  • Florida DT Trevarris Saulsberry (Tennessee)
  • Florida DE Jordan Williams (Tennessee)

Furthermore, he continued to recruit former Michigan commit Jake Fisher, who ended up signing with Oregon.  I got the feeling that the new coaches were really pushing for Fisher and wanting to make him believe that he was their priority at the position.  The fact that Fisher chose Oregon was very disappointing to me, because I think Fisher is going to be an excellent lineman and he has already earned solid reviews in Eugene.

Rodriguez offered just 17 linemen in the class of 2010; one committed (center Christian Pace, who has since left the program).  Rodriguez offered just 13 linemen in the class of 2009; three committed (Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield, and Quinton Washington, who has switched to defensive tackle).  Furthermore, by the time Rodriguez was fired in January 2011, he only had three offensive linemen committed (Fisher, Jack Miller, and Tony Posada).

The offensive line recruiting at this point has nothing to do with Lloyd Carr.  Carr left behind a mediocre group (Justin Boren, David Molk, and Steve Schilling along with a bunch of journeyman types), but Rodriguez had a few years to fix it.  And while Rodriguez did a decent job of bringing in talent, he clearly didn’t bring in enough of it.  This roster is full of Rodriguez recruits, Mark Huyge, David Molk, Rocko Khoury, and Elliott Mealer; Lloyd Carr hasn’t coached a game since January 1, 2008, yet two starters and two key backups remain from his regime.  Here’s a breakdown of who’s responsible for the expected 2012 offensive line:

  • Carr: Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer
  • Rodriguez: Ricky Barnum, Chris Bryant, Taylor Lewan, Jack Miller, Patrick Omameh, Michael Schofield
  • Hoke: Blake Bars, Ben Braden, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, Caleb Stacey (plus a presumed sixth commit)
In other words, the guy responsible for two full recruiting classes and parts of two others will have six guys on the roster . . . and the guys who are responsible for one full recruiting class and parts of two others will have seven or possibly eight guys on the roster.  And keep in mind that, unlike Carr’s classes, none of Rodriguez’s recruits on the line will have graduated by the beginning of next year.

Lastly, you state that Rodriguez had so many other needs that he couldn’t commit more scholarships to linemen.  I think that’s a farce.  Every team has 85 scholarships to use.  Every team needs roughly the same number of cornerbacks, receivers, quarterbacks, etc.  Rodriguez had five slot receivers on the roster by the time he started recruiting for 2011 (Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrence Robinson, Drew Dileo, and D.J. Williamson), yet he still offered five more slot receivers for the 2011 class.  Virtually every coach – except perhaps Rodriguez – would tell you that offensive linemen are more important than slot receivers, but Rodriguez whiffed on too many offensive linemen in the class of 2011.  After taking only one in 2010, he was on his way to taking only three in 2011.  The position group was going to continue to be thin under Rodriguez.  We’re talking about a difference of one guy (Fisher) between the current team and the team Rodriguez would have had.

With all that out of the way, take a look at what Hoke is doing now.  He threw out a late offer to Nowicki and didn’t get him.  Rather than poaching 3-star linemen from places like Vanderbilt and Purdue, he decided to throw himself into grabbing 4- and 5-star linemen for the class of 2012.  The Wolverines have enough depth for the 2011 season, so we’re talking about 2012 (and beyond).  Is a 3-star redshirt freshman loads better than a true freshman Kyle Kalis or Erik Magnuson?  Yes, it’s ideal that every lineman redshirts, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily take age over talent.

The 2012 offensive line looks to be:

LT: Taylor Lewan
LG: Ricky Barnum
C: Rocko Khoury
RG: Patrick Omameh
RT: Michael Schofield

The backups will be Elliott Mealer, Jack Miller, and Chris Bryant, plus a bunch of freshmen.  It looks like a pretty good starting offensive line, but whether the next guy in is a 3-star redshirt freshman or a 4-star true freshman, there’s bound to be a significant drop-off.

I don’t blame Hoke for any of the 2011 recruiting class, but I give him credit for Russell Bellomy, Tamani Carter, Keith Heitzman, Antonio Poole, and Matt Wile.  I also don’t blame Rodriguez for not getting a viable quarterback in 2008, but I do give him credit for pulling in Ricky Barnum, Justin Feagin, J.T. Floyd, Taylor Hill, Martavious Odoms, Patrick Omameh, Terrence Robinson, Roy Roundtree, and Brandon Smith.  But I will hold Hoke responsible if any of those five players wash out, just like I blame Rodriguez for wasting scholarships on Feagin, Hill, and Smith.

16Aug 2011
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Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia Update: Tony Drake

Tony Drake (#12)

Former Wolverine commit Tony Drake made the news this past week, and not for a good reason.  Drake was declared academically ineligible to participate for the 2011 season at Colorado State.

Drake committed to Michigan and Rich Rodriguez in March 2009.  Coming from Skyline High School in Dallas, TX, he could have been the first step toward building a pipeline to the powerhouse program.  However, rumors started to swirl during the 2009-2010 school year that Michigan had stopped recruiting Drake, likely due to grade issues.  Sure enough, by late January 2010, Drake switched his commitment to Colorado State.

As a Michigan-level recruit playing at Colorado State, he had a fair amount of success in his true freshman season.  Drake split time between wide receiver and running back, catching 6 passes for 71 yards and rushing 7 times for 89 yards and 1 touchdown.  He also led the team in kickoff returns, taking 29 of them back for an average of 24.3 yards per attempt.

Unfortunately for the 5’8″, 169-pounder, his road may have ended when he was pronounced academically ineligible last week.  He no longer appears on the CSU roster and will either get his academics back on track and rejoin the team or perhaps end his career prematurely.

Find out about Drake and others in the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia, read his commitment post from a couple seasons ago, or check out his high school highlights below:

[Thanks to reader Robby for alerting me to Drake’s academic status.]
22Apr 2011
Uncategorized 14 comments

Cullen Christian, ex-Wolverine

Cullen Christian made a brief appearance on the Michigan football team

Like so many others before him, Michigan defensive back Cullen Christian has departed before ever making an impact in Ann Arbor.  The 6’0″, 187 lb. cornerback told Superprep, “I came here to be a part of something big and it has all fallen apart.  Part of you feels like you failed, while another part of you wants to go prove them they were wrong.  I need to move on now and do what is best for me.”

When Christian says “prove them they were wrong,” he’s of course talking about the two coaching staffs who had him lower on the depth chart than lightly recruited fellow freshman Terrence Talbott and walk-on Tony Anderson, among others.

Christian played in ten games as a freshman and made 6 tackles.  However, he was beaten badly on a couple plays and often looked a step or two slow.  There were some questions about his speed coming out of high school, and the biggest question I had was about his tackling.  Despite those apparent faults, he was a top-six cornerback to both Rivals and Scout.  And as a senior in high school, he was selected for the Army All-American Bowl.  I’m not sure that many people expected he would be an instant star at the college level, but I don’t think many people expected him to be buried on the depth chart, either; in addition to the aforementioned Talbott and Anderson, he also seemed to be behind fifth year senior Troy Woolfolk, redshirt junior J.T. Floyd, and classmate Courtney Avery.

Christian is the eighth (or ninth, depending on where you slot 2010 quarterback/defensive back Conelius Jones) defensive back to sign a National Letter of Intent for Michigan from 2007-2010 and then transfer or fail to qualify.  In other words, there are nine defensive backs floating around the free world (or the imprisoned world, in Boubacar Cissoko’s case) who could be playing out their eligibility for the Wolverines right now.  He’s also the seventh player of the 27-member class of 2010 to depart prior to the end of his freshman year.  Rich Rodriguez looks like less and less of a recruiting expert as more than 25% of his class disappears in less than a year.

This probably doesn’t hurt Michigan in the short term.  Christian was likely a third-string cornerback, and that doesn’t even take into account the incoming freshman class, which includes a few talented corners.  But it does potentially hurt Michigan in the long run, especially if other defensive backs continue to flame out at similar rates.  James Rogers essentially defaulted into a starting cornerback job as a senior in 2010, and continued departures could provide more opportunities like that in the coming years.

On the plus side, the Wolverines’ small 2012 recruiting class just increased by one.  A class that looked to be 16 should now be able to take 17 players, and I would not be surprised if that number continues to grow.

I would bet a nickel that Christian ends up transferring to Pittsburgh (UPDATE: You owe me a nickel.).  He’s from the Pittsburgh area, the Panthers were one of his finalists coming out of high school, his former position coach Tony Gibson latched on at Pitt, and he also has a former high school teammate and good friend, Brandon Ifill, who plays defensive back there.  Fellow ex-Michigan defensive back Ray Vinopal transferred to Pitt in recent weeks as well.

For summaries of other departures, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia button at the top of the page.

15Jul 2010
Uncategorized 4 comments

2010 Recruiting Awards

Best overall recruit: Devin Gardner
Gardner will likely redshirt, but largely because there are two good sophomore quarterbacks on the team. He’s got the size, speed, arm strength, and leadership – the sky is the limit.

Best offensive recruit: Devin Gardner

Best defensive recruit: Marvin Robinson
Robinson will go through an adjustment period, but he’s going to be a star at some point. He should be a 215 lb. heat-seeking missile within a couple years.

Recruit most likely to make an early impact: Will Hagerup
He’s virtually guaranteed to be the starting punter as a true freshman.

Fastest recruit: Josh Furman
Furman has run electronic times in the high 4.3-second range.

Strongest recruit: Ken Wilkins
A supposed workout warrior, Wilkins reportedly bench presses 365 lbs. and squats 375 – as a 244 lb. linebacker/defensive end.

Best under-the-radar recruit: Jake Ryan
Even Michigan’s middling recruits got a lot of hype, so not many qualify for this category. But Ryan has the potential to be a solid linebacker in a couple years. I’m hoping he plays middle linebacker rather than Craig Roh’s rush linebacker position.

Most overrated recruit: Jeremy Jackson
Jackson’s recruiting rankings fell slowly as the recruiting cycle wore on, but he reportedly had offers from Texas and Florida. In my opinion, his lack of speed will make college ball a very difficult transition for him.

Recruit most likely to redshirt: Christian Pace
He enrolled early, but weighed only 259 lbs. for spring ball. With two capable centers on the roster (David Molk, Rocko Khoury) and a couple other guys who have been getting snaps for two years now (Elliott Mealer, Ricky Barnum), Pace won’t be needed in 2010.