Ranking Michigan’s Wide Receivers

Tag: Greg Mathews

24Aug 2020
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Ranking Michigan’s Wide Receivers

David Terrell (image via Michigan Football History)

Previously, I ranked the Michigan quarterbacks (LINK) and running backs (LINK) from the beginning of the Lloyd Carr era onward. That corresponds with the time that I have paid close attention to Michigan football.

Now we will take a look at the receivers. Because I don’t have an endless amount of time, I have to trim this down to guys who started at least twelve games in a Michigan uniform, which represents roughly one full season as a starter. The lone exception here is Devin Gardner, who started a bunch of games, but mostly at quarterback.

Hit the jump for the list.

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21Jul 2011
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Review of 2006 Recruiting: The Wide Receivers

The Roster
Steve Breaston, 5th
Mario Manningham, So.
Adrian Arrington, RS So.
Carl Tabb, 5th
Doug Dutch, RS So.
LaTerryal Savoy, RS Fr.
Antonio Bass, So.

The Recruits

Greg Mathews
High school: Edgewater High School in Orlando, FL
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #8 WR; Scout 3-star and #39 WR
Other notable offers: Florida State, North Carolina State, Ohio State
College: Michigan
Scoop: Mathews was a sure-handed, slow-footed wide receiver who looked like the second coming of Jason Avant.  His catches and touchdowns slowly dwindled after his sophomore year (thanks to a new offense that emphasized slot receivers), but his yards per catch increased incrementally as he got older.  Mathews caught 7, 39, 35, and 29 passes for 0, 3, 2, and 1 touchdowns in his four years.  That went along with yardage outputs of 68, 366, 409, and 352, respectively.  Mathews made some spectacular catches over the years, but quarterback play and offensive schemes limited his play.  He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has been on practice squads in the NFL.

David Ausberry
High school: Lemoore High School in Lemoore, CA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #5 WR; Scout 5-star and #6 WR
Other notable offers: Georgia, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State
College: USC
Scoop: Ausberry redshirted in 2006, but started several games as a redshirt freshman in 2007.  From 2007 to 2009, he caught 44 passes for 448 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Prior to the 2010 season, the 6’4″, 235-pounder switched to tight end.  He caught 20 passes for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2010.  Overall, he had 64 receptions for 700 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Ausberry was drafted in the 7th round (#241 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Chris Bell
High school: Granby High School in Norfolk, VA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #11 WR; Scout 5-star and #5 WR
Other notable offers: Cal, Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech
College: Penn State (then Norfolk State)
Scoop: As a freshman and sophomore, Bell caught 8 total passes for 162 yards.  However, Bell was kicked off the team prior to 2008 for threatening defensive tackle teammate Devon Still with a knife.  He transferred to Norfolk State, redshirted in 2009 to get his academics in order, and finished his career in 2010 with 51 receptions for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season.  He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Percy Harvin
High school: Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, VA
Ratings: Rivals 5-star and #1 overall player; Scout 5-star and #2 WR
Other notable offers: Florida State, Miami, USC
College: Florida
Scoop: Harvin was an instant success at Florida.  His receiving stats as a freshman weren’t eye-popping (34 catches, 427 yards, 2 touchdowns), but he also averaged over 10 yards a carry on 41 carries as a do-it-all offensive player.  His receiving numbers improved consistently over the next two seasons; his rushing totals improved while the averages dropped slightly.  He finished his three-year career in 2008 with two national championship rings.  He caught 133 passes for 1,929 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns, and he rushed the ball 194 times for 1,852 yards (9.5 yards per attempt) and 19 touchdowns.  He was selected in the 1st round (#22 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings in 2009.  Since then he was named the Sporting News Offensive Rookie of the Year, was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, has 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, and also has returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns.

Derrell Johnson (Koulianos)
High school: Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, OH
Ratings: Rivals 3-star; Scout 3-star and #47 WR
Other notable offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, North Carolina, West Virginia
College: Iowa
Scoop: Johnson-Koulianos (who added the “Koulianos” after high school) was a high school quarterback who switched to full-time receiver in college and redshirted in 2006.  He was a steady contributor for the Hawkeyes, catching between 38 and 45 passes each of the next four seasons.  He finished his career in 2010 with a total of 168 catches for 2,554 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 16 touchdowns.  Johnson-Koulianos also returned 60 career kickoffs for 1,575 yards (26.3 yards per attempt) and 2 touchdowns.  However, he was arrested for drug charges prior to Iowa’s bowl game as a senior, which prevented him from being drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.  He left Iowa as the Hawkeyes’ career leader in receptions and receiving yards.

Robby Parris
High school: St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH
Ratings: Rivals 3-star and #64 WR; Scout 3-star and #44 WR
Other notable offers: Boston College, Illinois, Iowa
College: Notre Dame
Scoop: Parris was a big receiver (6’3″, 205 lbs.) without much speed.  He had his best season as a sophomore in 2007 with 29 catches for 361 yards and 1 touchdown.  That was roughly half his career output, as he totaled 64 receptions for 645 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Chris Slaughter
High school: Peach County High School in Fort Valley, GA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #7 WR; Scout 4-star and #18 WR
Other notable offers: Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio State, South Carolina
College: Auburn
Scoop: Slaughter did not qualify coming out of high school in 2006 and attended Hargrave Military Academy for one season.  He signed with Auburn in 2007.  In two seasons at Auburn, he caught 18 passes for 198 yards and 1 touchdown.  However, he was suspended for part of the 2008 season for a violation of team rules and did not return in 2009.  His football career appears to be over.

Damian Williams
High school: Springdale High School in Springdale, AR
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #9 WR; Scout 4-star and #8 WR
Other notable offers: Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas
College: Arkansas (then USC)
Scoop: As a freshman at Arkansas in 2006, Williams caught 19 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.  However, he didn’t like the Razorbacks offense, which was run-oriented by that time, and transferred to USC along with his quarterback and high school teammate Mitch Mustain.  He sat out the 2007 due to NCAA transfer rules.  He broke out in 2008 with 58 receptions for 869 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Williams topped that production in 2009 with 70 catches for 1,010 yards and 6 touchdowns.  He also turned into a very good punt returner in 2009 and returned 24 punts for 340 yards (14.2 yards per return) and 2 touchdowns.  Williams left college after his redshirt junior season and was taken in the 3rd round (#77 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 NFL Draft.  He had 13 receptions for 195 yards as a rookie in 2010.

Tony Wilson
High school: Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, FL
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #14 WR; Scout 4-star and #15 WR
Other notable offers: Florida, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee
College: Georgia
Scoop: Wilson redshirted in 2006 and then played sparingly in the next two seasons, totaling 15 receptions for 126 yards.  However, he suffered an ankle injury that severely hampered his ability to play and was given a medical scholarship at Georgia, thus ending his career for them.  He resurfaced as a graduate student at Bethune-Cookman in 2010, but could only muster 5 catches for 62 yards in three games.  He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.

It wasn’t a stellar class of receivers in 2006, aside from a couple stars.  There just wasn’t much depth.  Mathews actually fit Michigan’s offense well at the time and likely would have been a productive wide receiver if the Wolverines’ tradition of a pro-style offense and stellar quarterback play would have continued.  Unfortunately for him, the departure of the wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart (Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington) coincided with the arrival of a spread offense and inexperienced quarterbacks.

Biggest miss: Harvin.  Harvin was lightning fast and could have been a great player in just about any college offense.  Furthermore, a 2008 offense that included Harvin would have been a dangerous one, even if Nick Sheridan and Steve Threet were the only options at quarterback.  Harvin played high school ball in a talent-rich area (southeastern Virginia, which produced the likes of Allen Iverson and Michael Vick) and still made high school opponents look like they were running in place.

Biggest bust: Slaughter.  There were several “busts” to choose from in this group, but I have a hard time calling Wilson a “bust” since he suffered an injury.  Bell certainly had some potential that was wasted at Penn State, but Slaughter didn’t even revive his career at a lower level – he just disappeared.  Eighteen career receptions is pretty disappointing.

Best in class: Jeremy Maclin.  This was a tough choice over Harvin and Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina and now the New York Giants).  Maclin played in a defense-starved Big 12 conference at Missouri, but he put up stellar all-around numbers and was selected higher than both of his counterparts in the draft.  Maclin redshirted in 2006 but exploded in 2007.  He only played two college seasons, but had 2,315 yards receiving, 668 yards rushing, and 5 return touchdowns (two of which went for 99 yards) out of his 33 total touchdowns.  He was the #19 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 and has 1,737 yards and 14 touchdowns so far in his NFL career.

7Jul 2011
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2006 Offer Board

David Cone – Statesboro, GA (Michigan)
Mitch Mustain – Sprindale, AR (Arkansas)
Neil Caudle – Hoover, AL (Auburn)
Tim Tebow – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (Florida)
Matthew Stafford – Dallas, TX (Georgia)
Pat Devlin – Exton, PA (Penn State)
Dexter Davidson – Coconut Creek, FL (Pittsburgh)
Nick Stephens – Flower Mound, TX (Tennessee)
Taylor Potts – Abilene, TX (Texas Tech)

Carlos Brown – Franklin, GA (Michigan)
Brandon Minor – Richmond, VA (Michigan)
Cameron Smith – Snellville, GA
Knowshon Moreno – Middletown, NJ (Georgia)
Aaron Gant – Orchard Lake, MI (Ohio State)
Chris Wells – Akron, OH (Ohio State)

Greg Mathews – Orlando, FL (Michigan)
Damian Williams – Springdale, AR (Arkansas)
Chris Slaughter – Fort Valley, GA (Auburn)
Percy Harvin – Virginia Beach, VA (Florida)
Tony Wilson – Daytona Beach, FL (Georgia)
Derrell Johnson – Youngstown, OH (Iowa)
Robby Parris – Cleveland, OH (Notre Dame)
Chris Bell – Norfolk, VA (Penn State)
David Ausberry – Lemoore, CA (USC)

Dedrick Epps – Richmond, VA (Miami)
Will Yeatman – San Diego, CA (Notre Dame)
Jake Ballard – Springboro, OH (Ohio State)
Andrew Quarless – Uniondale, NY (Penn State)
Nate Byham – Polk, PA (Pittsburgh)
Dorin Dickerson – Imperial, PA (Pittsburgh)

Perry Dorrestein – Plainfield, IL (Michigan)
Stephen Schilling – Bellevue, WA (Michigan)
Alex Stadler – Bealeton, VA (Alabama)
Jim Barrie – Tampa, FL (Florida)
Marcus Gilbert – Fort Lauderdale, FL (Florida)
Daron Rose – Tampa, FL (Florida State)
Bartley Webb – Springdale, AR (Notre Dame)
Connor Smith – Cincinnati, OH (Ohio State)
Sam Young – Fort Lauderdale, FL (USC)

Justin Boren – Pickerington, OH (Michigan)
Justin Anderson – Ocilla, GA (Georgia)
Joe Thomas – Parma, OH (Pittsburgh)


Greg Banks – Denver, CO (Michigan)
Brandon Graham – Detroit, MI (Michigan)
Adam Patterson – Columbia, SC (Michigan)
Quintin Woods – Flint, MI (Michigan)
John Paul – Immokalee, FL
Micah Johnson – Fort Campbell, KY (Kentucky)
McKenzie Matthews – Syracuse, NY (Pittsburgh)
Jason Adjepong – Carteret, NJ (Virginia Tech)

John Ferrara – Staten Island, NY (Michigan)
Jason Kates – Harrisburg, PA (Michigan)
Marques Slocum – New Berlin, NY (Michigan)
Corey Peters – Louisville, KY (Kentucky)
Dexter Larimore – Merrillville, IN (Ohio State)
Jason Pinkston – Pittsburgh, PA (Pittsburgh)
Butch Lewis – Aurora, CO (USC)
Neil A’asa – Big Rapids, MI (Utah)

Obi Ezeh – Grand Rapids, MI (Michigan)
Cobrani Mixon – Cincinnati, OH (Michigan)
Jonas Mouton – Venice, CA (Michigan)
Quintin Patilla – Flint, MI (Michigan)
Akeem Hebron – Gaithersburg, MD (Georgia)
Toryan Smith – Rome, GA (Notre Dame)
Thaddeus Gibson – Euclid, OH (Ohio State)
Michael Morgan – Dallas, TX (USC)
Joshua Tatum – Oakland, CA (USC)

Jai Eugene – Destrehan, LA (LSU)
Ken Tinney – New Berlin, NY (Michigan State)
Darrin Walls – Pittsburgh, PA (Notre Dame)

Steve Brown – Columbus, IN (Michigan)
Jamar Hornsby – Jacksonville, FL (Florida)
Myron Rolle – Princeton, NJ (Florida State)
Asher Allen – Tucker, GA (Georgia)
Reshad Jones – Atlanta, GA (Georgia)
Taylor Mays – Seattle, WA (USC)
Antwine Perez – Camden, NJ (USC)
Franchot Allen – New Berlin, NY (West Virginia)

Bryan Wright – Salem, OH (Michigan)

9Aug 2010
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Review: 2009 Season Predictions

Jordan Kovacs went from an afterthought to a Freshman All-American.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to record my predictions, in order to look back on them at a later date. Well, that date has come. It’s a few weeks prior to the 2010 season, and I can’t help but think back on how I did last year (2009 Season Predictions here). I didn’t do too badly, but there were a couple surprises.

Starting Quarterback
Last year’s pick: Tate Forcier. I said he’d start every game.

I should have picked . . . Forcier. He started every game.

Leading Rusher
Last year’s pick: Brandon Minor. I said he’d end the season with about 900 yards.

I should have picked . . . Minor. Minor only had 502 yards, but he missed three full games (plus parts of several others) due to injuries.

Leading Receiver
Last year’s pick: Greg Mathews. I said he’d catch 50 balls for 650 yards.

I should have picked . . . Roy Roundtree. Mathews only caught 29 passes as the coaching staff continues to de-emphasize outside wide receivers. The leading receiver was slot receiver Roundtree, who caught 32 balls for 434 yards.

Leading Tackler
Last year’s pick: Obi Ezeh.

I should have picked . . . Steve Brown. Middle linebacker Ezeh fought through a back injury and inconsistency to finish third with 69 tackles. SAM linebacker Brown brought down 80 ballcarriers, while redshirt freshman safety Jordan Kovacs made 75 stops.

Leading Sacker
Last year’s pick: Brandon Graham. I said he’d finish at 10 sacks.

I should have picked . . . Graham. The obvious choice was obvious. Graham ended the season with 10.5 sacks, or 1/2 more of a sack than I thought. Damn half sacks!

Leading Interceptor
Last year’s pick: Donovan Warren. I said he’d snatch 3 errant passes.

I should have picked . . . Warren. He actually picked off 4 passes, so once again, I overestimated. If he had only picked off 3 like I told him to, then maybe he’d have stuck around for an extra year! Then again, that pick-off against Indiana really saved Michigan’s ass.

All-Big Ten First Team
Last year’s picks: Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko.

I should have picked . . . Graham, Mesko, and Donovan Warren. Graham and Mesko were voted All-Big Ten first team by the coaches. Those two plus Warren were chosen for the first team by the media. Two for three isn’t bad.

Leading Scorer (non-QB, non-kicker)
Last year’s pick: Brandon Minor.

I should have picked . . . Minor. He scored 8 rushing touchdowns (48 points). The next closest scorer was Carlos Brown with 5 touchdowns (30 points). Placekicker Jason Olesnavage scored 75 points, but kickers are almost always the leading scorers, which is why I didn’t allow myself to pick him.

Breakout Offensive Player
Last year’s pick: Junior Hemingway.

I should have picked . . . Roy Roundtree. Hemingway only caught 16 passes, while Roundtree emerged as the go-to receiver late in the season and perhaps the front-runner for the next wearer of the coveted #1 jersey.

Breakout Defensive Player
Last year’s pick: Troy Woolfolk.

I should have picked . . . Jordan Kovacs. I don’t feel bad about the Woolfolk pick. He made 46 tackles and I think he surprised a lot of people with his solid play at both deep safety and cornerback. Despite switching to cornerback halfway through the season, it seemed that opponents targeted Donovan Warren more often than Woolfolk. Still, Kovacs was a Freshman All-American, started eight games, and finished second on the team with 75 tackles.

Most Disappointing Offensive Player
Last year’s pick: Kevin Koger. I said he wouldn’t catch any more than 15 passes.

I should have picked . . . I’m not sure. Greg Mathews? Maybe Koger was the right pick. I said he’d catch 15 passes or less, and the spiteful bastard caught 16 just to piss me off. Regardless, he dropped a lot of passes in the second half of the season and got phased out of the offense a bit. It’s arguable who was the most disappointing, but I’m satisfied with my pick. I think most Michigan fans expected more production from the tight end spot.

Most Disappointing Defensive Player
Last year’s pick: Ryan Van Bergen. I said he’d end up with about 20 tackles and a couple sacks.

I should have picked . . . Obi Ezeh. Maybe Jonas Mouton. Those inside linebackers made a lot of Michigan fans sad. It might be a little harsh to put Ezeh here, since he had a bad back and everything. But it’s one of the two. Both were benched at various points, and Mouton had the same number of tackles as cornerback Donovan Warren. That’s not good. Meanwhile, Van Bergen basically doubled my predictions – he had 40 tackles and 5 sacks. Good for him.

In Summary . . .
Well, the results are a mixed bag. Out of twelve predictions, six of them were spot-on. That’s 50% (I’d like to thank my 4th grade teacher for the math skills). Technically, I guess I should get a slight deduction for only picking Graham and Mesko as All-Big Ten First Team; the coaches agreed with me, but the media added Warren. That’s 49%. But I think I should get a few points for Koger as Most Disappointing Offensive Player, as well as a slight bump for Woolfolk as Breakout Defensive Player. That puts me at right around 55%.

So . . . 55% of the time, I’m right every time. Perhaps I should not be trusted.

Go blue!

3Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Slot Receiver

Two slot receivers joined the class of 2010, both of whom committed early in the process.

New England Patriot receiver Drew Dileo

The first is Drew Dileo, a 5’10”, 175 lb. player from Greenwell Springs, LA. Despite not having overwhelmingly impressive offers, Dileo can fill a role at Michigan – punt returner. Since Steve Breaston left after the 2006 season, Michigan has suffered from poor to mediocre punt returning. The role was assumed by guys like Donovan Warren (who took a lot of chances), Greg Mathews (sure-handed but slow), Martavious Odoms (whose butterfingers only show on punt/kick returns), and Junior Hemingway (again, slow). Dileo can play slot receiver, but his earliest chance to contribute will probably be on special teams.

It’s a good thing this photographer had a high-speed shutter.The second commitment at slot receiver comes from D.J. Williamson, from Warren, OH. Williamson is listed at 6’1″ and 172 lbs., meaning he’s thin and willowy. He has state championship track speed, but unfortunately, that speed hasn’t necessarily shown itself on the football field. Since his commitment, he struggled through a senior season in which he was injured and his quarterback play was subpar. He could play out wide or in the slot, but said on National Signing Day that he’ll start off inside.

Predictions: Dileo reminds me of New England Patriots receiver . . . Troy Brown. He’ll probably redshirt in 2010, as guys like Odoms and Jeremy Gallon could handle the punt returning duties. But at some point in his career, we’ll likely see Dileo deployed as a sure-handed, occasionally exciting returner. Williamson as a slot receiver intrigues me. When he appeared to be an outside receiver in the making, I thought he would get outmuscled and I’m not impressed with his route running. He has reportedly suffered from the dropsies at times, but if he can get that problem worked out, Williamson could be a speedy Roy Roundtree in the slot working against slower linebackers and safeties. As it is, I don’t see him contributing for a couple years.

Grade: B. Neither player is an immediate-impact sort, but they don’t need to be with guys like Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrence Robinson, and Roy Roundtree ahead of them (in addition to Teric Jones and Kelvin Grady, who could play slot). Dileo fills a hole, and Williamson has the speed to make a few big plays before all is said and done. Ultimately, this is a position/class where Rodriguez could afford to “miss” with a player or two and not suffer greatly in the future.