Michigan Football Tidbits: Recruiting, De-Commits and early predictions


Michigan Football Tidbits: Recruiting, De-Commits and early predictions

Here are our pre-Spring Practice predictions for the incoming 2009 recruits:

Contributors: Turner, Will, Gallon (if qualified), Forcier.

Eventual four year starter: Washington, Lewan.

Biggest surprise: Vlad, Bell.

Boom or Bust: Gordon, Jones, and LaLota.

Most athletic: D. Robinson

Biggest upside: Roh

Let’s talk a little bit about De-Commits: We never like it when posters attack kids who decide to de-commit. Mainly, because there are some cases where Michigan welcomes a player choosing another program.

This was the case this year with several of the recruits. It was well-documented that Coach Rod wanted to get as many commits before September as he could, probably because he did not know how the season would progress, so he took some commits from kids he later decided might not be the best option.

Therefore, the staff simply quit calling the kid. Now, if you were that kid would you still come to Michigan, especially when other programs are calling regularly? We think we’ll see less of this in the future because it really is not good business. When you turn on a kid or show him you do not want him by not calling him, that sometimes leaves a bad taste in the high school coach’s mouth and he will spread that around report the offending behavior to other coaches. Hopefully, most will understand that this year Michigan had extenuating circumstances which necessitated practices outside the norm.

Coach Hopson:

We stand by our opinion that Coach Hopson is not only a good coach, but also a good recruiter. But in the recruiting business, it is all about closing, and Michigan did not close on Hopson’s recruits and not all Coach Hopson’s fault. And in Hopson’s defense, when your team is 3-9 and you’re recruiting Southern kids against the likes of LSU, Alabama, Florida, Texas, etc., of course, you’re not going to do well regardless of recruiting ability. Some holes you just can’t talk yourself out of.

There are many arguments in his favor: his area of recruiting is in Louisiana and Mississippi where Michigan has always struggled to actually get a kid’s LOI signed. Another point, is from the Purdue game on, it was known by many people that Coach Shafer was likely not coming back and the decision was not made until early December that a new defensive coordinator would be hired. It wasn’t until after the coach’s convention that Coach Robinson was hired. It’s hard to recruit kids when you are not sure whom the coach will be or what scheme you’re going to be playing. To make things worse, most of these kids were not even committed and were traveling to other schools for visits. In the recruiting business, recruiting Southern kids is a completely different animal: most Southern coaches will use whatever advantage they can; negative recruiting a program is part of their strategy. In addition, a lot of Southern coachs do not even start recruiting a kid hard, especially those in their area, until a kid commits or says who they’re leaning towards, so they can plan on how to best attack their competitor’s school.

Some posters are going crazy on Coach Gibson’s ability to recruit. Coach Gibson reminds me of a sales person who can sell great to those accounts a company already has, but he is not great at “cold calls” or getting new customers. Look at one of his primary territories, Pennsylvania, when he was at West Virginia. High school coaches have said they barely hear from Michigan. Some of those programs were ones that were a feeder school to Michigan / West Virginia in the past.

So — just a thought — have Coach Hopson put less emphasis on recruiting in Mississippi and Louisiana, and have him focus on Pennsylvania. We know this is probably not what Coach Hopson wants given his connections down south and considering he would have to build new relationships in Pennsylvania. But Pennsylvania is a state, along with Ohio, that we need to see more interest from. Not just the middle talent kids, but the ones that Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pittsburgh battle for, the elite talent.

There’s almost five weeks left until the fifteen spring practices start, on March 14. It’s important to keep in mind the differences between spring practices under Coach Carr from those of Coach Rod:

You can watch spring practices under Coach Rod and predict how the season will go in the fall, especially which players are likely to see a lot of playing time. We were to do that fairly accurately last year after attending spring practices. Under Coach Carr, spring practice was so laid back that it was impossible to gauge the future, because so many players were held out in order to see what the younger players could do early on.

>>> (Tomorrow we will be talking about Position Group — Offensive Line — Part 1 of 2.)

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine