|Kyle Kalis is my top-rated recruited from 2012, but not every recruit receives
such high praise.
Recently I have taken a lot of flak for the TTB Ratings (and player reviews) I’ve been giving. I’m a big boy and can handle the criticism; I expected criticism when I created the ratings. However, I have to admit that some of the comments are unfounded and unrealistic. Many of the complaints have centered around the fact that the coaches like the kids, so why can’t I just shut up and enjoy the ride? Well . . . because coaches are wrong. And yes, that means I can be wrong, too. But these are my opinions, not anyone else’s. And if my predictions are wrong, you can always point to a commitment post or a TTB Rating and say “Told ya so!”
Looking from a historical perspective, though, I think some people need to realize that a large number of these kids are bound to fail at football. It’s just the nature of the business. Some high-profile recruits bomb. Some low-profile recruits turn into stars. And vice versa.
Looking at the bottom rung of my TTB Ratings, it says “0-39: Below average backup or special teams contributor.” Keep in mind that the TTB Ratings are trying to predict success at
Michigan, not necessarily overall talent. For example, a guy who I
predict might get buried on the bench at Michigan could go to Kent State
and play very well. From 2002-2008, here’s a list of all or most of the players who would fit that 0-39 category (essentially, these are complete non-contributors for various reasons): Tom Berishaj, Mike Kolodziej, Quinton McCoy, Kevin Murphy, Will Paul, Jim Presley, Clayton Richard, Pat Sharrow, Jeff Zuttah, Roger Allison, Keston Cheathem, Jeremy Ciulla, Grant DeBenedictis, Brett Gallimore, Marques Walton, Jason Forcier, Brandon Logan, Chris McLaurin, Chris Richards, Justin Schifano, Cory Zirbel, David Cone, Jason Kates, Cobrani Mixon, Quintin Patilla, Quintin Woods, Zion Babb, Artis Chambers, Vince Helmuth, Isaiah Bell, Taylor Hill, Dann O’Neill, Kurt Wermers, and Marcus Witherspoon.
In a span of seven years, that’s 34 guys who were complete busts . . . an average of 4.9 per recruiting cycle. I realize some of those guys’ careers ended early due to injury (Kolodziej, Sharrow, etc.), some transferred, and some got in trouble with the law . . . but some of them just couldn’t cut it. Jason Forcier was buried on the bench here and got buried at Stanford. Brandon Logan could never see the field despite playing on a depleted football team. Cone was behind younger players and walk-ons for his entire career. No matter how you slice it, there are bound to be flops.
Am I a soothsayer? No. I can’t predict the future. All I can do is offer an educated opinion based on depth charts and what I see on film. But I am 99% certain that some of these 4-stars will play like 5-stars, some 5-stars will play like 3-stars, and some 3-stars will become studs. Nobody knows for sure which players they will be, but we’re all bound to be wrong sometimes, and we’re all bound to be right sometimes.
The difference between this site and others – whether you like it or not – is that I will share who I think those booms and busts will be. There are numerous recruiting sites out there that essentially say “I love this kid and think he will be great!” . . . and they say that about every recruit. That’s fine if they want to do that, but I’m not going to put stock in the opinion of any “evaluator” who thinks 99% of these kids are going to be studs. Imagine if you went to a doctor for your back pain and he said, “Surgery is great, acupuncture is great, chiropractors are great, exercise is great, and meditation is great! They’re all great!” Or imagine if you went to a financial analyst who wanted you to put your money into every stock out there. Well, surgery might mess up your back for life, and putting all your money into Groupon might sink your life savings. Just like you would want a doctor or financial planner to steer you in the right direction, I hope I can steer Michigan fans in the right direction.
I will never root for a Michigan player to fail. These kids play for Michigan, my alma mater. I would love for every kid who walks onto the field to be an All-American and get drafted in the first round. But that’s not a realistic expectation, and realistic fans ought to be able to see that. If my approach to recruiting upsets you, I encourage you to read another website. That’s not because I don’t want traffic or that I don’t value others’ opinions. I simply think you’ll be happier elsewhere . . . and I know I’m unlikely to change. I welcome other fans’ opinions, but getting angry about my ratings is a waste of everyone’s time.