Monday, February 7, 2011

2011 Recruiting Awards

Offensive guard Chris Bryant

This is something I do every year, and it's a fun exercise for me:
2009 Recruiting Awards
2010 Recruiting Awards

Best overall recruit:  OG Chris Bryant
Bryant has the size, strength, footwork, and athleticism to be a great offensive lineman at Michigan.  As long as he can get rid of some of his bad weight and stay well conditioned throughout his career, I think he'll be an All-Big Ten player by the end of his career.

Best offensive recruit: Bryant
See above.

Best defensive recruit: CB Blake Countess
Countess isn't the biggest or fastest kid out there, but he's got a good quality for a cornerback - sticky.  Receivers just don't seem to get away from him.  He probably needs to bulk up before playing (we all saw what happened to Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott last year), but he could be a slot corner early in his career before taking over on the outside after a year or two.

Recruit most likely to make an early impact: K Matt Wile
If former walk-on Seth Broekhuizen or redshirt sophomore Brendan Gibbons steps up his game, then Wile might not be needed as a freshman.  But those first two combined for 4-for-14 on field goals last season.  It's also entirely possible that Wile will redshirt as a freshman, but Michigan returns the vast majority of its two-deep from last season, so a lot of these 2011 recruits will probably be redshirted.  Wile seems like the best candidate.

Fastest recruit: CB/S Raymon Taylor
Taylor reminds me of departing cornerback James Rogers in many ways.  While Taylor is probably more physical, he has good straight-line speed and a smooth stride. 

Strongest recruit: Bryant
Bryant reports a bench press of 395 pounds and a squat of 420.  Even if he couldn't bench press Charlie Weis, all Bryant had to do with most high schoolers was get a hand on them and they fell to the ground, begging for mercy.

Best under-the-radar recruit: LB Desmond Morgan
Michigan has a good history with linebackers from western Michigan, and I like the fact that Morgan was a bulldozing quarterback in high school.  Quarterbacks just seem to understand the game better.  I think there will be a good battle for the middle linebacker job between Morgan and classmate Kellen Jones once redshirt junior Kenny Demens graduates.

Most overrated recruit: LB Frank Clark
The problem with this "award" is that nobody's rated very highly.  And while my choice if Rich Rodriguez were here would be Justice Hayes, I actually think Hayes will fit better in Hoke's system than that of Rodriguez.  I don't think Hayes is a threat to start anytime soon, but he could be a very good change-of-pace back.  So I'm going to go with Clark, who is only a 3-star.  But I haven't seen anything from Clark that shows me he's going to be a successful college football player, especially as a linebacker.  If he were rated as a 2-star recruit, I probably wouldn't bat an eyelash.  He has some potential with his size and speed, but he needs a lot of coaching.

Personal favorite recruit: LB Antonio Poole
This kid looks like the future at weakside linebacker.  He can run, he can hit, and best of all, he plays downhill.  He might have to bide his time for a couple years, but he might be the second coming of Larry Foote.


  1. Seems like a pretty ho-hum class overall. But unlike RR, the new guys are at least targeting positions that make sense. Haven't looked at the numbers, but my guess is that the roster is getting more balanced. I would load up on DB's and LB's too after watching our defense the last two years. Seems to be some dead weight on defense and a lot of it is unfortunately young. It's being reported that UM is in good shape with some defensive studs next in 2012. Hopefully, they are able to attract more lineman and offensive play-makers in the next class to get this thing back on track.

  2. @ Painter Smurf 9:47 p.m.

    Yeah, the class isn't anything to get super excited about. What it does (as another commenter has said on here) is that it establishes a baseline of talent. There are a few guys who are going to be solid starters, IMO (Countess, Bryant, Poole, etc.). But it fills in some gaps. The real standouts are in the classes already enrolled and (hopefully) in the classes to come.

  3. Painter Smurf,

    We have been loading up on defensive backs for a couple of years now. The problem isn't recruiting/signing them. The problem has been getting them to stick.

  4. Not a big fan of Kellen Jones, eh?

  5. @ GregGoBlue 10:14 a.m.

    No, I'm a fan of Jones. I just don't think he's #1 in any of these categories.

  6. The one thing that pleases me is that UM is at least building a healthy pool of players to plug into the defensive back 7 (or 8). I think UM has been thin here going back maybe ten years. Obviously, you want to be strong at every defensive position and fans are stressing about DT depth. But I would rather the coaches bring in solid back 7/8 prospects than take fliers on questionable DT's.

  7. Clark, for what it's worth, had offers from Cal, MSU, and UNC. Very nice consolation prize, especially when you consider how later we got in on the process and how we haven't gotten a recruit from there for 10 years.

  8. FWIW, Jones claims he can squat more than Bryant (515 lbs)... But I don't want to split hairs :)

  9. The only possible concern with all these LBs and DBs is that there are a ton of '12 prospects at these same positions in the region. In reality though, it just lets Michigan focus on the elite players they're sure they want. They can now afford to be picky, which wasn't the case the last 4+ years.

    And now that I'm seeing so much hype for some of the DL in the region, not landing a DT in the last class doesn't seem so bad...though they still need Ash/Washington/Campbell to step up to avoid trouble in '12 and '13.

  10. Wile is too easy. What non-special teamer is going to play? I'd guess they won't red-shirt all of these linebackers and some will get used at a minimum on special teams. Barnett should probably play some. Anyone else?

    My best under-the-radar recruit is another HS quarterback - Bellomy. I think in 5 years when you rank which players in this class had the most impact/importance Bellomy will be in the top 5 (along with Bryant, Countess, Barnett, and maybe Taylor)...though your excitement about Poole is starting to become contagious.

  11. @ Painter Smurf 1:12 p.m.

    FWIW, most analysts think teams should prefer to build up the OL/DL rather than skill position players.

  12. @ Lankownia

    The two linebackers that seem to be on Michigan fans' radar are Ross and Jenkins-Stone. I still think Michigan can take both if they want. There are a couple linebackers at Michigan who migh not end up staying for all five years, IMO.

    The thing about picking someone who will contribute this year is that a LOT of players are returning. Whereas players were forced to burn redshirts the past couple years just to field a team, virtually every freshman could redshirt without seeing a negative impact on the field.

    But if any of the other players are going to play, I'd guess it would be a free safety (Raymon Taylor, Tamani Carter) or a linebacker (Kellen Jones, Antonio Poole).