Mailbag: Roster Questions for Next Year

Tag: Justice Hayes

12Dec 2011
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Mailbag: Roster Questions for Next Year

Michael Schofield (#75) celebrates with Devin Gardner

I was going through the could be depth chart for next year and I have a ton of questions for you.

Cox stays or goes?? I’m thinking he doesn’t come back

TE is going to be a mess next year. Your thoughts??

Does Schofield move back to OT?

What side will Magnuson, Braden and Williams play?

Is Justice Hayes a WR or RB?

Reading the Jerry Montgomery article scares me about Brink. Can he put on 20 lbs or so and be half effective??

Thanks, love the blog.

Thanks for the e-mail, Randy.  I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

My gut tells me that redshirt junior running back Michael Cox will not return in 2012.  He was limited to special teams this season and did not see a single snap on offense.  While I think he has the talent to play at Michigan, he obviously hasn’t done what it takes to get on the field more consistently, whether it’s in the classroom or on the practice field.  It’s somewhat rare that a guy who plays that little as a redshirt junior gets a scholarship for a fifth year.  If Cox gets his degree, though, I would not be surprised to see him transfer to a MAC-level school and play somewhere next season.  The kid has talent, whether people see it or not.

I’m not too worried about Michigan’s tight end situation.  An elite tight end can be a great weapon, but you can still have a decent team without a great tight end.  Kevin Koger is not as good as most Michigan fans think he is; he’s above average but that’s about it.  Michigan will almost surely take a step back at the position, but I don’t think it will affect the team greatly.  As a blocker he’ll be missed, but he’s only caught 21 passes for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns.  That production is roughly par for the course ever since Bennie Joppru suited up in 2002.  With players like Tyler Ecker, Tim Massaquoi, and Carson Butler in between, the performance of Michigan’s offense suffered little – and neither Massaquoi or Butler was a great blocker, either.  The combination of fifth year senior Brandon Moore, redshirt sophomore Ricardo Miller, freshman Devin Funchess, and freshman A.J. Williams should be fine.

I do think redshirt sophomore Michael Schofield will move back to offensive tackle in 2012.  Michigan has lots of options on the interior between Ricky Barnum, Rocko Khoury, Patrick Omameh, Jack Miller, Chris Bryant, and Elliott Mealer.  At the tackle positions, it’s just Taylor Lewan, Schofield, and freshmen, unless the coaches want to shake things up and move Omameh to tackle.

Incoming freshman Erik Magnuson looks like a future right tackle to me, but based on the available talent, he will probably play on the left side at Michigan.  Ben Braden looks like a prototypical right tackle.  A.J. Williams is being recruited as a tight end, so he’ll play on whichever side the formation requires.

Freshman Justice Hayes has been playing running back in practice.  Some insiders suggest that he will end up at slot receiver sometime in the future.  Personally, I have never been high on Hayes as a running back.  He’s a slightly bigger version of Vincent Smith, someone who can catch passes and do okay when put in open space.

Can Nathan Brink put on 20 lbs.?  Sure.  That’s not an unbelievable amount of weight to add in an off-season.  Craig Roh has put on about 20 pounds in each of the past two off-seasons.  Can Brink be effective once he puts on that weight?  I don’t know.  He has been manhandled this year, and it’s hard to predict good things when he’s been pushed backward with consistency.  I hope he can turn into all the good things that Jerry Montgomery and Greg Mattison have predicted for him, but that’s a prediction I’m not willing to make.

25Jun 2011
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Freshman Numbers Revealed

A poster over at Rivals posted the following jersey numbers for the incoming freshmen.  I’m not sure how accurate they are, but here’s what he gave:

3 Russell Bellomy
5 Justice Hayes
18 Blake Countess
20 Tamani Carter
21 Raymon Taylor
24 Delonte Holowell
35 Greg Brown
38 Thomas Rawls
40 Antonio Poole
44 Desmond Morgan
45 Matt Wile
52 Kellen Jones
57 Frank Clark
58 Chris Bryant
79 Tony Posada
82 Chris Barnett
92 Keith Heitzman
95 Chris Rock
97 Brennen Beyer

Sorry, I did not get Russell Bellomy (EDIT: Bellomy is #3.  Thanks, readers!) or Jack Miller.

6Jun 2011
Uncategorized 23 comments

Poll Results: Starting running back in 2011?

Stephen Hopkins tries to break a tackle against Bowling Green State

Recently I asked the question: Who will be Michigan’s starting running back in 2011?

The results:

29% – Stephen Hopkins
28% – Michael Cox
18% – Michael Shaw
10% – Thomas Rawls
6% – Fitzgerald Toussaint
4% – Justice Hayes
2% – Vincent Smith

Some of this voting seems a bit dubious.  First of all, if you’re a frequent reader, you know that I’m a fan of Michael Cox’s running ability.  You’ve heard reasons why he didn’t play much the past couple seasons (couldn’t learn the plays, fumbled in practice, etc.).  But you’ve also seen me make a case for why his in-game production (8.9 yards a carry, frequent big plays) warrants a longer look.  Cox supposedly had a class conflict with some afternoon practices this spring, which caused him to miss some practice time.  That has reportedly hurt him in the eyes of the coaches, which doesn’t make any damn sense at all.  I guess student-athletes who get punished for missing classes (they have to push a 45-pound weight plate up and down the field 15 times) ought to . . . miss classes and become athlete-students if they want to get on the field.

I can see why Hopkins would be the leading vote-getter because, after all, he was able to attend every single one of the spring practices, and that made the coaches happy.  Yet he averaged 4.1 yards a carry in 2010 (the lowest average on the team) and I didn’t see a single impressive run in spring practices or in the spring game.  Of course, all the Youtube clips and highlights don’t encapsulate everything a kid accomplishes over 15 practices, but one would think that a starting running back would have at least a couple highlight-worthy runs.

Shaw is another guy who seems to have been knocked down a peg or two because he had a broken hand and wore a cast for most of the spring.  He’s perpetually injured but when he plays, he looks good.

The other vote-getter I take issue with is Justice Hayes.  With all the options available, 4% of voters chose Hayes.  I don’t see how a 182 lb. incoming freshman is going to unseat a bunch of bigger, faster, and (in my opinion) better backs.  But especially when one considers that he received double the amount of votes as last year’s starter Vincent Smith, something’s wrong here.  I guess a bunch of Justice’s family members must have been visiting this website over the past week.

Overall, I don’t see how one can justify playing Hopkins over two guys who put up good numbers last year (Cox averaged 9.3 yards a pop; Shaw averaged 5.4 and had 9 touchdowns), but it’s a new coaching staff, a new offensive system, and I guess anything can happen.

4Jun 2011
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2011 Countdown: #86 Justice Hayes

Justice Hayes

Name: Justice Hayes
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 182 lbs.
High school: Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, MI
Position: Running back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Hayes was a high school senior (commitment post here)

TTB Rating: 72

Hayes was a 4-star recruit to every service and the #85 player in the country to Rivals.  That seemed a little high to me, but when the services are in lockstep, hopefully that means something good.  Hayes is good in space but doesn’t have a second gear to break away.  Without great size or speed, his ceiling seems a little limited to me.  However, I do think he fits better in more of a pro-style offense than he did in a zone read option spread, where I saw him more as a slot receiver.  He could still play receiver in a pinch, but hopefully it doesn’t come that.

His senior season ended early due to a wrist injury, but that shouldn’t affect his freshman year of college.  What should affect his freshman year of college more than the injury is the fact that Michigan has a bunch of experienced running backs in the stable and ready to go.  That ought to give Hayes time to bulk up and get used to the ways of the college world.

Prediction: Redshirt

2Feb 2011
Uncategorized 6 comments

Why “Blue Chip Players” Chose Their Schools

Why am I including a picture of myself?  Shut up, that’s why.

There was an article in the Detroit News that gave recruits a chance to explain why they chose their respective schools.  Many people on the internets have taken it to reflect extremely poorly on Michigan.  I don’t really see that.   Here are some of the more interesting comments:

1. Lawrence Thomas, LB – Renaissance High School (Detroit)

“Why not Michigan? They had problems. There were some past experiences with other Renaissance players that I didn’t like. Plus, Rich Rodriguez sent an assistant to our school to recruit me. He wouldn’t even send the defensive coordinator, just an assistant. Then we’d hear that Rich Rod would be in Florida recruiting.”

Interpretation: Some of the coaches at Renaissance think former Renaissance players were treated poorly at Michigan, even though TE Carson Butler was constantly in trouble and FB/DE Andre Criswell couldn’t cut it on the field.  I can’t stand it when troublemakers and subpar athletes aren’t treated like royalty!

8. Taiwan Jones, LB – Anchor Bay High School (New Baltimore)
“Why not Michigan? When I went there to visit, I didn’t think it was the right fit. Just the campus, the way they talked to me. I went to the UConn game (last year) and the crowd showed the other recruits all the attention, not me.”

Interpretation: Michigan’s coaches didn’t recruit me, and the fans were jerks because they had no clue who I was.

Notice that when asked “Why not Michigan State?”, the Michigan commits – Brennen Beyer, Justice Hayes, and Delonte Hollowell – essentially said “I just didn’t see myself at Michigan State.”

Perhaps the cruelest part of the entire article is when they ask recruits who were never really contacted by the Wolverines, “Hey, why didn’t you choose the most successful program in the state?”  As if they even had a choice.

It would be like asking Halle Berry, “Why aren’t you dating Thunder from Touch the Banner?”  What would they expect her to say?  The truth?  She wouldn’t want to be dragged down into that pit of misery, not again.  To save face she would have to say that she wasn’t interested. 

But in reality, I think Halle Berry is a little old for me.  She’s probably got stretch marks from having a baby.  And frankly, I saw Monster’s Ball – I don’t want to touch anything that’s come in contact with Billy Bob Thornton.  Sister, please. 

Emanuela de Paula and I are doing just fine, thank you very much.