Class of 2015: By the Numbers

Tag: 2015 recruiting

11Feb 2020
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Class of 2015: By the Numbers

Tyree Kinnel (image via The Wolverine)

Thanks to the following people for their immediate and generous donations to the Flywheel-payoff efforts (LINK): George, Javier, John, Josh, Pat, Paul, Peter, and Scott! You have combined to knock out $270 of the $1,250 hosting fee as of Monday evening.

With the class of 2015’s redshirt seniors having wrapped up their careers, I wanted to quantify what that class of players contributed to Michigan on the field. There were 14 total players who signed National Letters of Intent for the Jim Harbaugh/Brady Hoke combo class.

Hit the jump.

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15Jun 2015
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Rashad Weaver, Wolverine

Cooper City (FL) Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver (image via

Cooper City (FL) Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver committed to Michigan on Sunday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Air Force, Illinois, Syracuse, and Temple.

Weaver is 6’4″, 245 lbs. He claims a 4.9 forty, a 4.66 shuttle, and a 27″ vertical.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 2-star WDE
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: Unranked

Weaver was a total unknown to me until he participated in the Florida satellite camp. It looks like he was also unknown to most of the recruiting world. But when a player is looking at offers from the ones listed above plus some FCS schools, a scholarship from Michigan looks pretty darn good. Weaver was thought to be considering an immediate commitment to the Wolverines, but he ended up taking about a week before pulling the trigger.

Weaver has a thick frame that looks like it will probably continue to fill out and add weight. He has a long wingspan and can get his hands in the throwing windows. He also shows some decent speed in the open field if he can beat the blocker in front of him. He can be an aggressive hitter who makes the quarterback or running back feel some punishment if he gets a clean shot.

Unfortunately, he is also a very raw player. When it comes to technique, virtually everything needs to be tweaked – from his stance to his initial steps to his hand placement to the angles he takes to the ball. He plays 3-4 defensive end in high school, which is probably pretty similar to what he will play in college. However, he often fails to get his second step down unless he’s speed rushing on the outside, and he tends to stand up too high off the snap. He does not use his hands well and instead tries to shoulder past offensive linemen.

Overall, Weaver seems like a boom-or-bust prospect in more ways than one. If he cleans up his technique and adds the necessary strength, he could be a very good strongside end in a 4-3 or a 3-4 end. In fact, his body type is pretty ideal for those types of positions. With the way his body is built, he could even turn into a 300-pounder, because I think he looks a little like Chris Wormley coming out of high school. On the other hand, his technique and the way he plays reminds me even more of another Ohio defensive end, Chris Rock, who left Michigan early and walked on at Ohio State, where he never played a meaningful snap. Weaver also has a chance to play some tight end, where he would presumably more of a blocking tight end, although offensive highlights are few.

Michigan now has twelve commits in the 2016 class. He is the first defensive end in the class, and it’s a position that needs some replenishing. Michigan took two defensive ends in the 2015 class, but the position is rather thin with senior Mario Ojemudia and junior Taco Charlton the only experienced ends at this point. Michigan is even more in need of Buck linebacker types who can speed rush the passer. After Rich Rodriguez concentrated heavily on Florida, Brady Hoke focused his efforts on the midwest. Jim Harbaugh is back to a more national approach, and this is the fourth commitment in the 2016 class from the deep south (two from Alabama, two from Florida), joining the four who committed near the end of the 2015 cycle (three from Florida, one from Alabama).

TTB Rating: 45 (ratings explanation)

29Apr 2015
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Visitors: May 1-3, 2015

Hartland (WI) Arrowhead offensive tackle Ben Bredeson

At this time I only know of one prospect headed to Ann Arbor this weekend.

Ben Bredeson – OT – Hartland (WI) Arrowhead: Bredeson is a 6’5″, 270 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, among others. He’s a 247 Composite 5-star, the #4 offensive tackle, and #27 overall. Michigan and Notre Dame are thought to be the front-runners, and Bredeson’s older brother has committed to play baseball at Michigan. Ben is planning to choose his school within the next month or so. UPDATE: Bredeson is no longer visiting this weekend since it’s graduation weekend. He has rescheduled the visit for May 30th.

Austin Mack – WR – Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers: Mack is a 6’2″, 205 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, along with numerous others. He’s a 247 Sports 4-star, the #20 wide receiver, and #129 overall. Michigan jumped out to an early lead in his recruitment when they initially offered, but the Wolverines have since fallen behind Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Buckeyes currently have 84% of the 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictions. As a junior in 2014, he caught 69 passes for 1,062 yards and 15 touchdowns.

11Feb 2015
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2015 Recruiting Grades: Defense, Special Teams

Tyree Kinnel

I posted the recruiting grades for the offensive side of the ball (LINK), so here are the grades for the defense. Rankings used are from the 247 Composite.

Lost from 2014: Brennen Beyer (graduation), Frank Clark (suspension/graduation)
Commits: Shelton Johnson, Reuben Jones
Grade: B+
Comments: Michigan didn’t land the highest value targets, and the two guys they brought in were last-minute fixes who don’t provide a huge speed rush that Michigan has been lacking in recent years. But Michigan does need numbers at the position, where the graduations of Beyer and Clark left the team with few viable replacements and a couple guys who perhaps should be playing defensive tackle instead of on the edge. Johnson (3-star, #20 SDE) has some high upside and Jones (3-star, #44 DE) has potential, too, so at least one of these guys should pay dividends sooner or later.

Lost from 2014:
Commits: None
Grade: C
Comments: Neither coaching staff deemed defensive tackle as a priority. Hoke only offered a handful of guys and actually backed off several targets last summer, and Harbaugh hardly made an attempt aside from offering defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, who never visited. Michigan is in a situation where they have a lot of guys in their middle years of football, but they will need to renew their efforts in 2016 to avoid a huge age gap.

Lost from 2014:
 Michael Ferns III (transfer), Jake Ryan (graduation)
Commits: None
Grade: D
Comments: Jake Ryan was a Butkus Award finalist and a stud at middle linebacker for Michigan last season, but the Wolverines should not miss him too awfully much with four senior linebackers scheduled to be on the roster in 2015 (Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Desmond Morgan, James Ross). However, the only non-senior to have played much so far is junior Ben Gedeon, which means Michigan will be searching for answers in 2016. It would have been a good idea to land at least one guy to redshirt and adjust to the college game, because that guy could have been deployed in 2016. Assuming the five aforementioned guys suck up most of the playing time in 2015, the Wolverines will be very green in 2016.

Lost from 2014:
 Delonte Hollowell (graduation), Raymon Taylor (graduation)
Commits: Keith Washington
Grade: C-
Comments: Much like the running back position, Michigan had two highly touted guys committed at different junctures – Shaun Crawford (Notre Dame) and Garrett Taylor (Penn State) – and both of them slipped out of their grasp. Cornerback is a spot where guys can contribute early, but with Jabrill Peppers moving to safety, the Wolverines are very thin at the position. Washington (3-star, #77 ATH) was a high school quarterback who did not play a ton of defense, so he’s a project. If anyone higher in the pecking order gets hurt, the Wolverines could be in serious trouble, although Peppers has the ability to move back to corner if necessary.

Lost from 2014:
Commits: Tyree Kinnel
Grade: A-
Comments: I don’t see Kinnel (4-star, #11 S)as a huge playmaker in college, but he’s a good field general with some respectable athletic skills. The only safety scheduled to depart after 2015 is starter Jarrod Wilson, and most of the other safeties on the roster are good athletes without a great understanding for the game. So if new safeties coach Greg Jackson can coach those guys up, Michigan should be in very good shape here.

Lost from 2014:
 Will Hagerup (graduation), Matt Wile (graduation)
Commits: Andrew David
Grade: A
Comments: Punter is a position that can often be filled by walk-ons, which is likely what will happen in 2015 with Kenny Allen expected to take over the punting job. With no walk-on kickers daring to take the job, Michigan offered one guy and one guy only to be their placekicker, and they got him. David (3-star, #9 K) will be in a situation where he has a special teams coach in John Baxter, which should speed his development at least a little bit. Michigan got exactly whom they wanted.

8Feb 2015
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2015 Recruiting Grades: Offense

Zach Gentry (image via Maxpreps)

With the 2015 class about wrapped up, I’ll offer some final takeaways from the recruiting cycle. With something like this, it’s difficult to separate Brady Hoke’s recruiting efforts through early December from Jim Harbaugh’s efforts over the last five weeks of the cycle. So the grades and feedback I provide are geared toward the program’s job of recruiting, not necessarily a specific coach.

Starters are listed in italics.

Lost from 2014:
 Russell Bellomy (transfer), Devin Gardner (graduation)
Commits: Zach Gentry, Alex Malzone
Grade: A-
Comments: Michigan needed to add talent and numbers to the quarterback position to engender competition, and they did that. Gentry (#8 pro-style quarterback, #175 overall) is the raw talent at 6’7″, 230 lbs. with a reported 4.6 forty and a strong arm. Malzone (#13 pro-style quarterback, #295 overall) is the local field general with good skills all around but nothing that really stands out. Other than getting a truly elite prospect, Michigan did about as well as they could. Toss in the possible arrival of Houston transfer John O’Korn, and all these guys won’t finish their careers at Michigan, but at least one should emerge looking good.

Lost from 2014:
 Justice Hayes (transfer)
Commit: Karan Higdon
Grade: C
Comments: The unfortunate thing here is that Michigan had two top-150 running back talents committed at different times, and the Wolverines let both of them slip through their fingers. The first one, Damien Harris, ended up signing with Alabama. The second one, Mike Weber, was darn close to flipping from Ohio State to Michigan at the last minute, but he ultimately stuck with the Buckeyes around 10:30 a.m. because Higdon had committed to Michigan at 8:00 a.m. Michigan stole Higdon (#40 running back, #479 overall) himself at the last minute from Iowa, so there’s something to be said for getting someone on the board, at least. Still, this could have looked better.

Lost from 2014:
 Devin Funchess (early NFL draft entrant)
Commits: Brian Cole, Grant Perry
Grade: B+
Comments: Michigan might have hit a home run with Cole (#5 athlete, #75 overall), who was a jack-of-all-trades player in high school and will have to learn the receiver position in college. Perry (#109 wide receiver, #864 overall) is a solid role player plucked from Northwestern at the last minute. Otherwise, both Hoke and Harbaugh swung and missed at the big-timers in the class.

Lost from 2014:
 Keith Heitzman (transfer)
Commit: Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
Grade: B
Comments: Michigan let Chris Clark slip through their fingers, although Clark was wishy-washy and seemed to be all over the place with his recruitment. The Wolverines may have dodged a bullet, because Wheatley – as the son of a coach on staff – might be less likely to flake out if things don’t go smoothly from day one. Wheatley (#12 tight end, #313 overall) has a fair amount of talent himself, although some think he’s better suited for defense. It would have been nice to get two tight ends with Heitzman transferring, A.J. Williams being a senior in 2015, and starter Jake Butt a junior who could possibly go pro if he stays healthy.

Lost from 2014:
 Kyle Bosch (transfer)
Commits: Grant Newsome, Jon Runyan Jr., Nolan Ulizio
Grade: B
Comments: The offensive line recently went from being “way too young” to being “maybe too old” now that four projected starters will be fifth-year guys (2) or fourth-year guys (2), joined by sophomore left tackle Mason Cole and redshirt junior utility man Erik Magnuson. With a couple backups looking stuck there for a reason, Michigan needed to bring in some fresh talent. Newsome (#22 offensive tackle, #235 overall) is a possible star, whereas Runyan (#122 offensive tackle) and Ulizio (#137 offensive tackle) look like they could be passable players in a few years. This probably isn’t the class that will turn around Michigan’s fortunes immediately, but they’re functional. Michigan essentially ignored a national prospect with high interest (USC-bound Chuma Edoga) and a local, guru-approved guy with high interest (Wisconsin-bound David Moorman), so hopefully they picked the right ones to pursue. If Newsome pans out like I think he should, he’ll make this class look pretty good.