The Wolverine

December 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 59 of 91

FOOTBALL RECRUITING Controlling Attrition Is Important In Recruiting Since 2002, the dawn of the era, the Wolverines have never signed a recruiting class that ranked lower than No. 21 in the country, and that class arrived in 2011, a year of transi- tion between coaching staffs in Ann Arbor (for the second time in four years). However, many of the signees — M ichigan has always been among the nation's leaders in recruiting. BY TIM SULLIVAN certainly during the Rich Rodriguez era from 2008 to 2010 — have not borne out their rankings by the recruit- ing services. Evaluation misses by the recruiting fit well with their new coaching staffs (for example offensive linemen Dann O'Neill in 2008 and Tony Posada in 2011) and players who were late grabs to fill out the commitment list, even though they may not have been great fits (such as athlete/quarterback Justin Feagin in 2008 and tight end Chris Bar- nett in 2011). In 2009 and 2010, the story was sites are partially to blame for the dis- parity between incoming talent and production in the Big Ten. Though Trotwood (Ohio) Madison running back Michael Shaw rushed for 1,001 yards during his four-year career in Ann Arbor, it's fair to say that he was overrated as the No. 102 player nation- ally in the 2008 class. Detroit Cass Tech defensive tackle Head coach Brady Hoke and his assistant coaches have shown in their first two years in Ann Arbor that they're more capable of holding onto their student-athletes, when compared to the previous coaching staff. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN winged helmet, too many left town before getting a chance to make a ma- jor impact. Among those that did wear the William Campbell has rounded into form as a true senior with 44 total tack- les this season. However, it's fair to say that a five-star rating out of high school was overzealous for a player who only emerged as a starter in his final year of eligibility. Transitioning from a pro-style attack to a spread system and then back to a pro-style approach in a span of five years has also led to major issues for the Michigan program. A quarterback like Denard Robinson, talented though he may be, is not the prototype for the Al Borges offense. Similarly, Michi- gan's 3-3-5 defensive scheme under Rodriguez favored smaller, faster play- ers, and few were on the team when his coaching staff arrived at Michigan, since Lloyd Carr's coaches preferred larger linemen and linebackers. Perhaps the biggest factor in Michi- suffered some attrition. Those players signed to play for Carr, and when he retired, they had to get familiar with Rodriguez and his staff who didn't recruit them, and, in many cases, ran schemes that didn't suit those players' abilities. That was very apparent in the case of It is no surprise that the 2007 class THE STORIES simple: the Rodriguez coaching staff simply didn't appear to be the right cultural fit for Michigan. The U-M pro- gram brought in a number of academic and character risks during that time — getting more desperate as the losses piled up on the field — and those play- ers, predictably, washed out. Warren (Ohio) Harding linebacker Davion Rogers couldn't make the grade to qualify at Michigan, for example, and media backlash from legal issues — including an expunged arrest when he was a minor —kept five-star defensive back Demar Dorsey from Florida from ever stepping foot on campus. encompassing all players who would have been eligible to play for a Hoke- coached Michigan team to date, aside from the true freshman class (from which there has yet to be any attrition) — U-M signed 113 players. From that number, an astounding 47 players left Ann Arbor prior to completing their eligibility (see sidebar). In the 2007 class, nine of 20 signees In the 2007-11 recruiting classes — THE NUMBERS gan's struggles was attrition from recruiting classes and the roster. Al- though the Wolverines routinely inked top-flight talent in February, many of those players didn't make it to campus in August. 60 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2012 Texarkana, Texas, five-star quarterback Ryan Mallett. The 6-7, 230-pound pro- style passer didn't see a fit with Ro- driguez's spread option and left town before giving the coach a chance to convince him to stay. Mallett's fellow five-star, cornerback Donovan War- ren, butted heads with new position coaches Scott Shafer and Tony Gibson, and declared for the NFL Draft after three years at Michigan. The 2008 and 2011 classes are also special cases. Those were hybrid classes brought in by multiple coach- ing staffs — a mix of Carr and Rodri- guez for the former, and Rodriguez with Brady Hoke for the latter. That led to a combination of players who didn't left before completing their eligibility. That included the top three signees and four of the top seven (another, ju- nior college transfer Austin Panter, had only two years of eligibility to spend in Ann Arbor, anyway). By the 2013 team-rank- ings formula, Michigan's 2007 class was worth 1,970 points on National Signing Day. Those who stayed for the entirety of their eligibility in Ann Arbor accounted for just 960 of those points (48.7 percent). In the 2008 class, 12 of 24 signees left before completing their eligibility. Once again, the departures were top- heavy. The three best signees — Texas wideout Darryl Stonum, Michigan cor- nerback Boubacar Cissoko and O'Neill — did not finish their eligibility in Ann Arbor. By the 2013 rankings formula, the class was worth 2,702 points on National Signing Day. The players who stuck it out for their Michigan

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