Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2011

Tag: 2011 Recruiting

13Apr 2021
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Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2011

Blake Countess (image via Alchetron)

Here’s a look back at the recruits who did not pan out for Michigan in 2011, the transition class between Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.


Chris Barnett – Tight end – Hurst (TX) L.D. Bell
Barnett was an outstanding tight end coming out of high school.  He tore his ACL during his senior year and struggled to regain his playing shape.  When he arrived at Michigan in the summer of 2011 for his freshman season, he weighed 278 lbs.  By late August the distance from home, the summer classwork, and the required physical conditioning forced him to leave the program and re-evaluate his options.  He enrolled at a Texas junior college, but left that program.
Current status: Unknown

Russell Bellomy – Quarterback – Arlington (TX) Martin
After the decommitment of Kevin Sousa in December 2010 (see below), Michigan was scrambling for a more traditional quarterback, whereas Sousa had been a dual-threat guy. He was previously committed to Purdue, but that changed when Michigan came calling. He redshirted in 2011. Then he played in five games in 2012, including stepping in for Denard Robinson against Nebraska, which was an ugly performance (3/16, 38 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT), and stuck around through 2014. Altogether, he was 4/23 for 46 yards and 4 interceptions at Michigan. He transferred to UTSA as a senior in 2015, completing 4/10 passes for 39 yards and rushing 7 times for 21 yards.
Current status: Out of football

Greg Brown – Cornerback – Fremont (OH) Ross
Brown was the first commitment of the 2011 class after choosing the Wolverines in September of 2009.  He enrolled early in January 2011, but was one of those kids who was caught in the middle between Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.  Rodriguez recruited him, but he wasn’t fired until January, when Brown was already on campus.  The cornerback received mixed reviews in spring practices and played sparingly on special teams at the beginning of the 2011 season, but decided to transfer mid-season.  He played sparingly for Findlay in 2012, then transferred to Iowa Central Community College prior to the 2013 season.
Current status: Out of football

Hit the jump for more.

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21Dec 2016
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Review of 2011 TTB Ratings

Frank Clark

If you’re doing any last-minute Christmas shopping on Amazon, please consider using the below link(s) to support TTB while you’re at it. Thank you!

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.

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7Dec 2013
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Status of the 2011 Recruiting Class

Blake Countess has been the jewel of Michigan’s 2011 class

Rich Rodriguez recruits: None
Brady Hoke recruits: Russell Bellomy
Scoop: Bellomy redshirted in 2011, made a brief and inauspicious debut against Alabama, and proceed to have a horrendous game against Nebraska in relief of Denard Robinson in 2012 (4/21, 46 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions on the year). He then tore his ACL in the spring of 2013 and has scarcely been heard from since. Most observers seem to think he will be looking up at current freshman Shane Morris for the remainder of his career.

Rodriguez recruits: Justice Hayes
Hoke recruits: Thomas Rawls
Scoop: Hayes redshirted as a freshman, played sparingly in 2012, and saw his time increase a little bit in 2013. Brady Hoke stated that his future will be at slot receiver, but Hayes played as a third down back pretty frequently down the stretch this year. He has 1 carry for 7 yards and 3 catches for 18 yards on the year. Going in the opposite direction is Rawls, who went from the primary backup to Fitzgerald Toussaint last year to 3 carries for 12 yards and 1 touchdown in the season opener, since relegated to special teams. Neither player looks to have much of a shot at winning the starting job in 2014, and while Hayes might see some time in the slot or as a backup running back, Rawls could find himself buried on the depth chart yet again.

Rodriguez recruits:
Hoke recruits:  Chris Barnett
Barnett never even made it to his freshman season, ended up at a junior college, and is reportedly out of football. If he had stuck with it, he could have found ample playing time in 2012 and beyond.

Rodriguez recruits: Jack Miller, Tony Posada
Hoke recruits: Chris Bryant
Scoop: Miller and Bryant are both in similar situations. Miller took over the starting center job this year, only to be supplanted by former walk-on Graham Glasgow halfway through the year. It does not look like Miller will earn back his job anytime soon. Meanwhile, Bryant has suffered numerous injuries, was given a chance to start mid-season, and was promptly benched in favor of freshman Kyle Bosch. Neither one looks like a superstar, but both could be serviceable backups until they run out of eligibility in 2015.

Rodriguez recruits:
 Chris Rock
Hoke recruits: Frank Clark, Keith Heitzman
Scoop: Hoke scored pretty well with defensive ends late in the recruiting process, nabbing two starting-caliber guys, including a Second Team All-Big Ten performer in Clark (42 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble returned for a touchdown this year). Heitzman isn’t particularly gifted but can hold his own (8 tackles, .5 tackles for loss). Rock left Michigan after one year, eventually transferring to Ohio State, where he walked on to their football team and rides the bench.

Rodriguez recruits: Brennen Beyer, Kellen Jones, Desmond Morgan
Hoke recruits: Antonio Poole
Scoop: Beyer has been a starter or key backup all three years on campus, with his best performance coming here in 2013 (25 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception returned for a touchdown). Morgan is a 2.5 year starter and earned Gerald Ford’s #48 Legends jersey (73 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception in 2013). Jones transferred to Oklahoma and then Clemson; he played a fair amount at the former as a true freshman, but has been mired on the sideline at the latter stop. Poole suffered an pectoral injury early in his career, and while he still attends Michigan, his career is likely over.

Rodriguez recruits: Greg Brown, Blake Countess, Delonte Hollowell
Hoke recruits: Raymon Taylor
Scoop: Countess turned into a First Team All-Big Ten performer here in 2013 (42 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 4 pass breakups) after tearing his ACL in 2012. Hollowell has been mostly a special teamer throughout his career. Taylor, meanwhile, is tied for the team lead in tackles (81) and has added 4 interceptions and 9 pass breakups. Brown left after one year and now plays for a community college in Iowa.

Rodriguez recruits: None
Hoke recruits: Tamani Carter
Scoop: Carter redshirted in 2011 and then left the team before his second year.

Rodriguez recruits:
Hoke recruits: Matt Wile
Scoop: Wile has had an up-and-down career. With fairly accomplished players ahead of him, he has averaged 40.6 yards/punt, notched 61.4 yards/kickoff, and made 3/6 field goals as the long distance kicker throughout his three seasons.

Rodriguez: 6/10 of Rodriguez’s recruits are still on the team.
Hoke: 7/10 of Hoke’s recruits are still on the team.
Scoop: Hoke had a tough task with trying to pull in recruits over the span of about three weeks, and he did a solid job as far as pure numbers go. Two of his ten recruits have turned into solid players (Clark, Taylor), and a third (Wile) has been decent but nothing special. A couple guys flamed out, but it’s tough to blame Hoke for recruiting Poole, who was at least earning some practice buzz and scheduled to be the backup WILL before the injury. Rodriguez’s guys suffered more attrition, and it’s tougher to excuse his flameouts (Posada was too lazy, Brown was a bit of a head case, Jones got in trouble almost immediately after arriving on campus, and Rock transferred to the hated Buckeyes). Of course, Rodriguez also brought in the best player of the class (Countess), a pretty good linebacker (Morgan), and a solid LB/DE tweener (Beyer). If we’re talking about talent, Rodriguez wins the battle here, but neither coach had a home run class.

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.

25Aug 2011
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Chris Barnett Plans to Continue with Football

As reported earlier today, freshman TE Chris Barnett is no longer with the University of Michigan football program. Per our conversation this afternoon, Barnett is back with his family in Texas and intends to enroll at another school after he reviews all of his options. “Everything is moving so fast,” he said. “[I’ll be looking] at whatever’s out there.” Barnett stated he will address his reasons for leaving the program after “declaring a new school.” A time frame for that decision has understandably not yet been established.
Chris always presented as a respectful, humble young man during our conversations, often addressing me as “Sir” and describing himself as a “family man.” I’m sure I speak for the Michigan community when I say that we wish him only the best going forward. To learn more about Barnett as both a player and a person, check out an interview with him from earlier this summer.