Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2011

Tag: Chris Rock

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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11May 2012
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Chris Rock, ex-Wolverine

Chris Rock

Defensive lineman Chris Rock has left the football program.  As a part of the class of 2011, he would have been a redshirt freshman in the fall.  Word in the offseason was that he had bulked up significantly from when he arrived and the coaches were toying with moving him from strongside end to 3-tech defensive tackle, but the potential move seems not to have mattered much.  As you can tell from my May 2010 commitment post, I was never a fan of Rock’s abilities; his TTB Rating of 58 meant he looked like a below average starter or a decent backup.  It’s odd that I compared him to Anthony Lalota at the time of his commitment, because neither one lasted long at Michigan.  Lalota, of course, transferred to Rutgers and then didn’t last long there, either.

It is unclear at this point what the reasons are for Rock’s departure and whether or not he will continue his football career elsewhere.  Most guys transfer closer to home, if anywhere, so it would not be surprising to see him pop up at Akron, Kent State, Miami-OH, or perhaps Youngstown State.  While this nominally hurts Michigan’s depth on the defensive line, Rock was buried on the depth chart and likely would have struggled to fend off the 2012 recruits who would have been vying for playing time, such as Matt Godin, Willie Henry, Tom Strobel, and Chris Wormley.

For a rundown of other former Wolverines, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

15Apr 2012
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2012 Spring Game Review – Defense

Senior WILL Brandin Hawthorne was Saturday’s defensive MVP

I thought Craig Roh looked pretty darn good at strongside end.  The starter at weakside end was Brennen Beyer, who looks significantly bigger this spring than he did in the fall.  He looked like a bona fide weakside end instead of a lanky outside linebacker.  Beyer got a good pass rush a couple times.  Meanwhile, backup weakside end Frank Clark performed solidly and made a nice hit on fullback Joey Kerridge, whom Clark chased down out of the backfield.  I also thought backup strongside end Keith Heitzman looked pretty solid.  Based on how Nathan Brink looked last year, I’m going to posit that Heitzman passes up Brink this fall.  (Brink sat out the spring game, still recovering from his broken leg.)

William Campbell looked alternately solid and inconsequential.  He had one or two good  plays but he just didn’t seem to be going hard all the time.  He should have destroyed walk-on guard Joey Burzynski (or so I would think) but instead got stalemated too often.  Maybe the coaches are teaching him differently than I would expect, but it all seemed to start with his stance, which needs work from my perspective.  Jibreel Black looks like a matchup nightmare for a lot of offensive guards, because he’s too quick to handle with any consistency.  He looks bigger than last year (although the neck roll might have had something to do with that).  It also seems that Richard Ash has taken a step forward, and I was surprised by how big backup 3-tech Chris Rock has become.  I saw glimmers of hope there for some competent rotation players.  Quinton Washington and Ken Wilkins still didn’t impress me.

I didn’t pay much attention to Jake Ryan because we already know he’s a good player.  Kenny Demens looked solid but unspectacular at MIKE.  Desmond Morgan left the scrimmage early after getting chopped down on a blitz; he limped to the sideline and was later carted into the tunnel.  Hopefully it was nothing serious.  Cam Gordon was Ryan’s backup at SAM, and he’s definitely put on some weight since last year.  Now he looks like a linebacker rather than a strong safety.  I don’t think he’ll surpass Ryan, but he’s a very good backup.  It will be interesting to see what the coaches do with him in 2013 as a senior, because by that time, I don’t think they’ll be able to afford to keep him off the field.  Mike Jones and Joe Bolden played as backup middle linebackers, but neither one was particularly visible.  I saw a couple loafs out of Antonio Poole, which does not bode well for his immediate future.  Kaleb Ringer looked like he was in great shape and he made a nice tackle on Justice Hayes, but both of those guys seem to be a ways down on the depth chart.  The linebacker who impressed me most on the day was Brandin Hawthorne, who made a couple nice tackles for loss and grabbed a one-handed pick, albeit off walk-on Jack Kennedy, who floated the ball across the middle.  Hawthorne looked good at times last year, too, but he’s another guy who loafs once in a while, and that seemed to get him in the dighouse.  The linebackers now have depth, which we haven’t been able to say for several years.  I truly believe that Michigan has five starter-level linebackers: Ryan, Gordon, Demens, Morgan, and Hawthorne.

J.T. Floyd started over Terrence Talbott, despite reports that Talbott had overtaken Floyd.  That was somewhat expected.  Floyd looked solid but was never tested deep.  Blake Countess made a nice pick on a late Devin Gardner throw and also made a couple nice tackles.  The backup cornerbacks did not impress me, although I don’t remember seeing much out of Talbott.  Maybe he’s the third guy and we’ll be fine, but I don’t think Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell are ready.  We know Courtney Avery is pretty solid at the nickel corner, and although he pulled up on a tackle, it seemed like he was trying not to submarine the leaping receiver; if it were a game, I would be disappointed by that play, but I think he was just trying not to hurt his teammate.

The starting safeties weren’t really tested in the running or the passing game.  Jordan Kovacs should be good and practice reports suggest that Thomas Gordon has improved once again, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see on him.  Backup free safety Jarrod Wilson needs to get stronger.  He did miss a tackle on Thomas Rawls that turned into a touchdown, but Wilson should be struggling through senioritis and ordering his prom tux right now.  Tackling 220 lb. running backs is a tough task for a safety so young.  Marvin Robinson looked solid as the backup strong safety and made a nice tackle for little or no gain in the run game.  As long as Robinson’s legal troubles are behind him, I expect him to improve and be a good in-the-box safety.  He should be a good replacement for Kovacs after the latter graduates.

18Jul 2011
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Getting to Know — Chris Rock

Freshman defensive lineman Chris Rock–not to be confused with the comedian Chris Rock–recently moved from Columbus to Ann Arbor to join forces with the good guys. Hail to the Victors. But as awesome as that is, the fact remains that most people think of the comedian when they hear the name Chris Rock. So against my better journalistic judgment, I began the interview with Chris by asking him what it’s like to share his name with a megastar, and he was kind enough to humor me.

“Well, my parents wanted to name me Christopher, and when they named me that, Chris Rock wasn’t famous yet or anything. And when I was growing up, I didn’t like the name Christopher, so everyone called me Chris. And then Chris Rock became famous. So now not a day goes by that someone doesn’t say, ‘Oh, your name’s Chris Rock!'”

Okay, since that’s now out of the way, we can return to the real story, which includes Chris becoming a Michigan Wolverine despite being raised deep inside enemy territory. And as you might expect, the decision to come to Ann Arbor was met with some resistance.

“I hear so much every day, like ‘You’re going to Michigan! Why?’ They just love talking crap to me. One time they actually wrapped up my stuff, like all my Michigan gear, and wrote [on it], ‘Go Bucks!’ So I use that sort of stuff for motivation.”

In September, Chris will be channeling that motivation for the Wolverines as he runs out of the Big House tunnel and touches the banner. But it wasn’t too long ago that even he was on the other side of the most bitter rivalry in college football.

“Um, it’s hard to say this, but I grew up an Ohio State fan. I used to love Ohio State; I loved Ohio State right up until my freshman year, until I started to be recruited. I guess you take a different mindset when you’re thinking about which colleges to go to.”

Chris even rooted on the Scarlet and Gray during a visit to Ann Arbor in seventh grade. But now sold on the Maize and Blue, Rock joins his new Michigan teammates, one of whom is Patrick Omameh, who hails from Chris’ same Ohio powerhouse football program: St. Francis DeSales. Obviously, Omameh is an established force on the offensive line at Michigan, and it sounds like Rock is looking to make a similar impact on the defensive line.

“My mindset is I’m going to do whatever I can to play [during the 2011 season]. I know I’m not guaranteed anything, so I’m trying to work my butt off and see what happens.”

Strongside defensive end is the position for which Chris was recruited; however, many Michigan fans–including myself–look at the depth chart and believe that a player or two slotted for that position could/should move to defensive tackle. For his part, Chris is open to the idea, and he’s quickly putting on muscle mass. At 6’5” tall, Chris now weighs in at 270 lbs., an even 20 lbs. more than his previously reported weight. Don’t be surprised to see him add an extra 10 -15 lbs in the upcoming years to provide flexibility and utility along the defensive line.
Let’s hope that when Michigan fans hear the name “Chris Rock” five years from now, they think of the football player rather than the comedian. This kid from Columbus is about to make a name for himself — in Ann Arbor.
5Jun 2011
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2011 Countdown: #85 Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Name: Chris Rock
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 250 lbs.
High school: St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus, OH
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #95
Last year: Rock was a high school senior (commitment post here)

TTB Rating: 58

As you can tell from Rock’s commitment post, I’m not especially high on Rock.  He’s essentially a wild card, because I think he has pretty poor technique.  There are things on virtually every play I’ve seen that concern me (mostly playing too high).  But he’s 6’5″, probably weighs more than 250 now, and can run a little bit.  Some of the physical attributes are there, but he’s not a high-caliber natural athlete.  If he wants to be good, he’s going to have to work – hard.

Rock is probably a little weak to play this season, and he’s not enough of an athlete to help much on coverage units.  He should find a niche eventually as a strongside end or even a 3-tech defensive tackle if he puts on enough weight, but that might be a few years down the road.

Prediction: Redshirt

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