Friday, January 21, 2011

Tamani Carter, Wolverine

Cornerback Tamani Carter (#3) digs pink.  And maize and blue.

Tamani Carter, a 6'0", 175 lb. cornerback from Pickerington Central (Ohio) committed to Michigan on Wednesday.  He was offered a scholarship by new coach Brady Hoke on Sunday night and took a few days to mull it over, but ultimately decided to switch his commitment from Minnesota to Michigan.  And really, who wouldn't rather be a Wolverine than a Gopher?

Carter is a 3-star to Scout and Rivals, and a 2-star to ESPN.  He had offers from Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, and Stanford, as well as a few others.  Carter's Rivals profile also lists a bench max of 295, a 35-inch vertical jump, and a 4.48 forty yard dash.

Prior to Carter's commitment, Michigan had only used 10 of its approximately 20 scholarships available for the Class of 2011.  Many fans and some analysts think that if Michigan can't get elite prospects to fill out this recruiting class, then they should bank those unused scholarships for the next recruiting cycle.  I disagree with that theory.  As of now, approximately 16 players should be graduating after the 2011 season, leaving at least 16 scholarships open for next year.  More likely, that number will swell to 20 or so, which is a decent sized class.  This "banking scholarships" thing only really makes sense if next year's class would be a very small number, say 10 or 12; that's not the case.

Therefore, I'm not that concerned with Michigan using a scholarship on Carter.  Including Class of 2011 additions to the roster, Michigan could have nine cornerbacks on the roster.  I expect that at least one of those nine will move to safety, so the numbers are fluid.  The ultimate goal is to get talented players on the roster, and I'd rather Michigan use a scholarship on a guy like Carter than just handing it to a walk-on whose maximum contribution might be running down the field on kickoff coverage a few times.

That being said, nothing about Carter really stands out on film. He has decent size (unlike many cornerbacks Rich Rodriguez recruited), he has decent speed, he's not afraid of contact, etc.  It's not a wasted scholarship.  At the same time, I don't see the suddenness and change of direction that I'd like to see from a cornerback.  This is not an "elite" player, but Michigan can't exactly hold out for elite players when the class has ten guys and less than two weeks until National Signing Day.  I would like Carter more if he were going to be playing in a Cover 2 defense and sitting in the flat most of the day, but that's not what I'm expecting from new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

At this point, Michigan needs to secure the commitments of a few linemen (Jake Fisher, Tony Posada, Chris Bryant, and maybe a fifth guy), a quarterback, a tight end, a linebacker, a safety, and hopefully a couple defensive linemen.  That would bring the class to approximately 19.  I'm hopeful that Michigan can also convince a highly touted cornerback like Stefan McClure or Floyd Raven to join the squad.  Michigan lacks a true free safety outside of Ray Vinopal, in my opinion, and while McClure is purely a corner, I think Raven has the instincts, speed, and tackling ability to be an outstanding free safety. 

TTB Rating: 62


  1. Good analysis. Agree 100%. RR made the mistake of not establishing a baseline of talent (on D at least) and it may have been his undoing. Hoke & co. seem to not be repeating it. Theres still going to be attrition before fall, so banking scholarships for next year is silly. Have to use up all the scholarships with at least serviceable/reliable players before they can start taking too many chances on 4 or 5 stars that may not commit or pan out.


  2. @ Lankownia 12:03 p.m.

    I agree on Hoke. I think he realizes that defense has been Michigan's biggest weakness, and he's doing his best to correct the situation. The baseline of talent on offense is much higher, although it will need to be replenished soon (especially OL and WR).

  3. Do any of the 2011 DBs have a chance at playing time on defense next year? Beyond Woolfolk and MAYBE JT Floyd and Avery, it seems pretty wide open

  4. It does seem possible that the staff, while still trying to get some of those "elite" guys on defense, is also trying to build some depth as well. While guys like Carter or Heitzman (sp?) may never be stars or even starters, building that depth is always important, and I think the new staff understands that and is recruiting accordingly with the little time they have left to get things done.

  5. I don't see any of our DB recruits seeing the field next year but I also thought Ray Vinopal would definitely redshirt last year. Hopefully the injury bug doesn't hit us like last year and we can redshirt these recruits and allow them to add the necessary weight/strength to their frames. It also depends on who we close with and what position are tweener guys (M-Rob, Hawthorne, T. Gordon, Carvin, etc.) end up playing.

  6. Taylor and Heitzman seem to fit the same mold. These guys don't look like they'll be all-conference (though obviously, you never know), but they seem like prospects that should be able to contribute.

    Taylor for sure. I'm usually unmoved by most highlight videos, but Taylor looks decent at CB. Wondering about your thoughts Thunder, generally, about which of these DB commits (if any) might be headed for Safety. Brian Cook said on the radio that he thought both Floyd and Christian would move to Safety because they lack man-man skills as CBs. I tend to agree with that, and it would explain why so many corner-sized DBs are being offered.

    Anyway, since we many DBs who were freshman last year and around probably 6 coming into this class, we can probably guess DB is a position where Michigan will be a little more picky going forward.

    Heitzman is an interesting commitment. He seems to be closer to FB/LB sized than TE/DE, but its a minor distinction. Sounds like he's headed for TE for now, which is an area of enormous need for depth purposes.

    Still need find some OL pretty badly and pick up a depth QB. A DT is pretty high up on the wish-list as well.