Michigan Football Recruiting: National Signing Day
Today is national signing day, an event that has become a major deal over the last 10 or so years. The rise in popularity is not unlike the NFL Draft spectacular. Many years ago, team followers just tuned in to the local radio or read the paper the next day to get information about both events. Times have changed with the media mania evolution.
Today is a day when colleges expand the family. The aftermath boils over quick, both positive and negative, and then fans turn to spring football.
First off, who cares if the class ranking is 1st or tenth? The bragging rights may sway a few future recruits that easily fall for old Jedi mind tricks, but…..
Today, many schools will declare their happiness and assert that they have the best class in the nation. There really is no pure, accurate, quantitative manner to seal any such statement.
Suffice it to say, Michigan’s coaches have done a splendid job. As I wrote before, last week or so, recruiting is a nasty grind for coaches. Persistence pays off, getting the hat in the ring early pays off, and having a great university and staff pays off (to the really smart astute guys). Tenacity exponential.
I always start off with the quality of a class’ grades and character. This 2013 class indicates great future potential, well past football success. Character still counts, and not every place is a minimal standard meat market, win only, NFL factory. The smart kids with high perception see what is right at places like Michigan and smell out the phony baloney at other spots. There may be kids who leave due to playing time concerns, and there may be an episode or two as can happen to even super kids. But look at the gpa’s and how these recruits have articulated- wow.
I would not rate this class as number one, but I believe it is in the top five. The primary strength is overall quality. Other strengths are players of top 250 in almost every position group, and many groups have players in the top 80 area. The strength all programs will be envying out of Michigan’s class is the magnificent hall on the offensive line. Everyone of the six has a real shot at playing time.
The only real weakness in this class applies only to top five or so programs. Michigan did not acquire as many instant impact players as programs like Tuos and Alabama. But the depth problem, while not eliminated, has shrunk in a big way. Michigan now needs to pound the pavement and compete with the Alabama, ND, USC, Tous types for the best of the best. USC’s situation appears to be the football version of the ending of Gotterdammerung-the twilight of the gods. Alabama may shelve some impact players or turn them loose next year. Solid players are a great luxury, but top five programs have big impact players. Michigan may or may not have a couple of these guys besides Green and Thomas. Jake Ryan is a solid player, our buddy from South Carolina, Clowney, is impact personified. There are not many guys like that and get em is a must to be top five.
Shane Morris has two important qualities that are hard to teach and a luxury for a coach: loyalty and commitment. These are two very powerful forces that should never be discounted. Take guys with these qualities and good talent and games will be won. Shane will be relieved tomorrow. The success of recruiting in large part is due to his effort and, later, other recruits efforts to present Michigan in an incredible manner. Shane had a senior year from hell, and the truth is he has a ton to work on to see the field as a big time quarterback. He does have size, arm strength, dedication, discipline, and will power on his side.
Dymonte Thomas is almost certainly the best athlete in the class. Michigan has lacked an elite safety since the War of 1812. Thomas could be that guy, but first he must learn to play safety the Michigan way. This will not happen in six weeks, but some use will almost certainly be found for Dymonte. He could play both sides of the ball.
Kyle Bosch reminds me of a former Michigan lineman that played down south, except maybe more athletic. if Bosch gets his technique and strength to a high level, he has a very high chance of all league and beyond. He is already as big (weight wise) as Lewan. About every big program in the midwest wanted Kyle Bosch.
Kugler has lived the life of an offensive lineman his entire life. He may or may not be as quick off the ball as David Molk, or have quite the balance, but he is as mean, bigger, and wants to win. he can handle the mental part of being a center, a trait all too often ignored.
Fox is not far behind, but injured. He needs more work than Kugler and Bosch, but Fox can plow the field.
Dawson will be the wild card that may determine four years from now if this group was good, very good, or premium. I think he will work his butt off and be very relieved to put recruiting behind.
Green is a talent, pure and simple. His success will depend on three factors: (1) position coaching; (2) staying healthy (every rb has this factor), and (3) his offensive line. Get this guy into the second level and good luck one on one. Success may be mixed next year as the o-line still needs seasoning.
DeVeon Smith has such good feet and balance, so does Green. Deveon will succeed if he hits the hole with sufficient speed. Sometimes this is a blessing, hitting the hole after the play develops, and sometimes it results in a negative loss. Here is a guy that did not need the attention, does not mind competing, and has shown high loyalty.
Henry Poggi was highly rated by some sights and not by others. He is very athletic, quick, but has had his butt pushed backward at times. Coach Mattison sees a guy that can get into the backfield if UM has a great 1T or nose tackle that frees him up.
It is really hard to ignore Maurice Hurst’s speed and first step, competition be dammed. I think someone on the staff made a good call on this prospect. Private school kid and a good student. If he wants it bad enough and gets technique, he will play, and play well.
Wyatt Shallman is more than intriguing. He is one of the better athletes in this group and as such very versatile. He is the jack of all trades, but so far the master of none. That can be a problem. Personally, I would challenge Shallman to become a great athlete and use his 250 pounds to smash linebackers. I like the thought of isoblasts with Shallman and Green. That is almost 500 pounds running downhill, with power and good speed.
There are many guys a school down south did not consider elite enough to play, at least early in the recruiting process. The next two or three years will determine who was right, if anyone. These names include Butt, Charlton, McCray, and to a lesser extent Gedeon. The feeling was from a certain football factory that these guys were not the type of players to win national titles. Maybe not, but i will tell you this, every one of those four are the type of kids that should go to elite colleges and be assigned the moniker of true student athlete.
Butt makes everything look easy and as such is not that impressive at first look. He has excellent motor skills and there are some of us that value his ability at defensive end. But that inn is full. He is a gamer.
I enjoyed interviewing Taco Charlton in early fall of 2012. He may be a full 6′ 6″ and if not he is really close. His weight is well past 250 pounds. He came out of nowhere, from situational player to a star. Sites elevated him due to athletic upside. I think he is smart and coach-able.
Sites differ on McCray and the question is where he will play. He is also hurt, and some have labeled him as a tweener, we will see.
Gedeon is a guy that could have gone to ND or Stanford. He seems to have high perception, and the view here is Gedeon made a very good choice. The knock is competition, but what I see is a guy that is both an athlete and a football player: nice combo. He is in the get it club, the type of guy Mattison enjoys coaching.
There are corners galore, some of which may go to safety. Who is to say which two or three will rise to the top of the team rankings? Of a more serious note, the real question is will any rise to an elite level? This group is boom or bust. But, again, some very high quality kids. Many people speak really high of Ross Douglas. He is similar to Avery, but maybe a hair faster.
Well enjoy tomorrow, I am, in more ways than one, off.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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