D.J. Williamson, ex-Wolverine

Tag: Ex-Wolverines


24May 2011
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D.J. Williamson, ex-Wolverine

D.J. Williamson

It seems that wide receiver D.J. Williamson has left the football program.  Though there has been no official announcement, he no longer appears on the roster, and there were rumors all spring that he had decided to transfer.  Williamson was a class of 2010 player who redshirted as a true freshman.  Rivals ranked him as a 3-star and the #53 player in the state of Ohio.  Scout ranked him as a 2-star and the #165 wide receiver in the country.  Other than straight-line speed, Williamson didn’t seem to offer much as a player; furthermore, there were rumors that he dropped a lot of passes in practice and turned the coaches off with his unreliability.

This leaves the Wolverines with 11 wideouts on the 2011 roster but only 7 remaining for 2012.  I can’t help but wonder why the new coaching staff turned away class of 2011 receiver Devin Lucien, who would have been a Wolverine if the coaches hadn’t him to play defensive back instead.

Check out other departed Wolverines in the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

28Apr 2011
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NFL Draft Preview: Ex-Wolverine-style

Justin Boren.

This is slightly related to yesterday’s NFL Draft Preview: Michigan-style and completely related to the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.  I will freely admit that I didn’t put too much effort into this post, because I dislike two of the four players highlighted, and the other two aren’t exactly Boy Scouts.  One is a traitor, one is a reported alcoholic, and two are borderline criminals.  So I won’t exactly be rooting for any of these guys, but it will still be slightly interesting to see when and if they’re drafted.  Those players are:

Justin Boren – OG – Ohio State
Boren, who played for Michigan from 2006-07, transferred to Ohio State and played the 2009-10 seasons for the Buckeyes.  He is 6’3″, 311 lbs. and rated the #17 offensive guard by NFL Draft Scout.
Projection: 7th round or free agent

Eugene Germany – DE – Central Washington
Germany, who was on Michigans team from 2005-06, transferred to Arizona State and then Central Washington.  He is 6’2″, 270 lbs. and rated the #76 defensive end by NFL Draft Scout.
Projection: Free agent


Ryan Mallett – QB – Arkansas
Mallett, who played for Michigan in 2007, transferred to Arkansas and played the 2009-10 seasons for the Razorbacks.  He is 6’7″, 253 lbs. and rated as one of the top five or six quarterbacks.  A potential first round prospect at one time, his stock seems to have dropped off because of serious character issues.  Michigan fans predicted this approximately halfway through Mallett’s freshman year.
Projection: 2nd round


Cobrani Mixon – ILB – Kent State
Mixon, who spent one year at Michigan in 2006, transferred to Kent State and played the 2008-10 seasons for the Golden Flashes.  He is 6’1″, 241 lbs. and rated the #20 inside linebacker by NFL Draft Scout.
Projection: 7th round or free agent

24Mar 2011
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Ray Vinopal, ex-Wolverine

Ray Vinopal makes a tackle against Illinois

Safety Ray Vinopal, who just finished his freshman season at Michigan, has left the team due to personal reasons.  Coach Brady Hoke did not elaborate on the reason for Vinopal’s departure.

When Vinopal was recruited out of Cardinal Mooney (Youngstown, OH) last year, I was not a fan.  I pegged him as a probable backup and special teamer, but Vinopal ascended to the starting free safety role halfway through the season.  His rapid ascension was at least partially due to the ineffectiveness of early-season starter Cam Gordon; the departures of Vlad Emilien and Justin Turner; and injuries to J.T. Floyd and Troy Woolfolk.  My guess is that one of the latter three would have moved ahead of Vinopal at free safety once Gordon proved he wasn’t up to the task.  And yet we saw #20, a 2-star recruit, find his way into the starting lineup.

Vinopal exceeded my expectations, but his play was nothing special.  He ended the season with 33 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups.  He made a couple decent plays throughout the season (a pick against Bowling Green, a critical tackle on Mikel Leshoure of Illinois), but he was outmatched by the majority of Michigan’s 2010 opponents – too small, a step too slow, or both.

Regardless of his shortcomings, he may have been the frontrunner for the starting free safety job in 2011.  Now Michigan will probably be in the same position it has been for the past few seasons – starting a very inexperienced youngster at the secondary’s most critical position.  It was Jordan Kovacs, Mike Williams, and Woolfolk in 2009, Gordon and Vinopal in 2010, and . . . someone else in 2011.  Options include sophomores Carvin Johnson, Marvin Robinson, and Cullen Christian; freshman Tamani Carter; or a converted cornerback like Woolfolk or Floyd.  The situation is less than ideal.

As for the 2010 recruiting class, this is yet another blow to its quality and numbers.  Twenty-seven kids signed National Letters of Intent in February 2010, and only 21 remain.  Safety Demar Dorsey (now at Grand Rapids Community College), quarterback Conelius Jones (Marshall), linebacker Antonio Kinard (Miami), linebacker Davion Rogers (Youngstown State), and running back Austin White (Central Michigan) preceded Vinopal in leaving the program.

Vinopal has not announced a destination, although rumors have floated around that he might be headed to play at Pitt.  His former position coach at Michigan, Tony Gibson, is now the cornerbacks coach for the Panthers.  For those of you who are wondering, Pittsburgh is about one hour and fifteen minutes from Vinopal’s hometown of Youngstown.  Ann Arbor is three hours and thirty minutes away.

16Mar 2011
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Marell Evans, Wolverine (again)

#9 Marell Evans is back on the team

At the coaches’ pre-spring press conference yesterday, it was officially noted that linebacker Marell Evans has returned to Michigan’s team.  This isn’t news for anyone who paid attention to various Facebook and Twitter posts, which revealed that he had been working out with the team in the offseason.  This is the same Marell Evans who transferred away from Michigan back in 2009, and I can’t remember the last time a Michigan player enrolled at a school, transferred away, and then transferred back.  This is truly a unique situation.

Anyway, in his sayonara post, I wrote, “It’s unclear where Evans will wind up, but most kids who transfer seem to end up closer to home and at a slightly smaller program.”  Sure enough, Evans transferred to Hampton University, which is approximately 1.5 hours away from his home in Varina, Virginia (just outside Richmond).  As far as I can tell, he played sparingly in 2009 and not at all in 2010.

So let’s recount the career of Evans:

  • 2007: Burns his redshirt running downfield on special teams
  • 2008: Starting SAM linebacker for the Utah game; backup SAM/WILL for rest of year
  • 2009: Moved to outside linebacker in spring; transferred to play linebacker at Hampton
  • 2010: Sat out the 2010 season for reasons that are unclear
  • 2011: Transferred back to Michigan with one year of eligibility remaining
In case you’re counting or wondering, the NCAA gives college players five years to play four seasons.  Since Evans transferred from an FBS school (Michigan) to an FCS school (Hampton) back to an FBS school (Michigan), he wasn’t required to sit out any seasons due to NCAA transfer rules.  So it’s all or nothing this year for Evans.
Evans departed in a classy way prior to the 2009 season, and he had nothing bad to say about the coaches.  But it makes you wonder why he left.  He committed to Lloyd Carr, only stuck around for one year of Rodriguez . . . and then came back to Michigan as soon as Hoke was hired.  He presumably departed for a chance to get more playing time, but now his competition is just as stiff as when he left.
Scott Shafer pegged Evans as a SAM back in 2008, but Greg Robinson turned him into a backup Quick end (outside linebacker) prior to the 2009 season.  At approximately 6’3″ and 225 lbs., it would seem that Evans’ best chance to play would be at the WILL position in 2011.  I don’t think he’s fast enough to play SAM in Greg Mattison’s defense, and I think he’s too small to play the rush end spot.  The WILL position is wide open after the departure of Jonas Mouton, leaving guys like Mike Jones, a couple other positional vagabands, a couple freshman, and possibly Evans to battle for the starting spot.