When I went back and researched the players Michigan recruited in the years prior to when I started this blog, it was interesting to see how the careers of Wolverine targets played out. As with every team's recruiting, there were some successes and some failures. In a series that will surely take awhile to develop, I'll take a look at how the careers of these players have unfolded in the last five years.
The 2006 Roster
Chad Henne, Jr.
Jason Forcier, So.
Jeff Kastl, 5th
Lee Mondol, Fr.
Nick Sheridan, Fr.
Jeff Ziegler, Fr.
High school: Statesboro High School in Statesboro, GA
Ratings: Rivals 3-star and #33 pro-style QB; Scout 3-star and #23 QB
Other notable offers: Ball State, Eastern Kentucky
Scoop: Cone was buried on the depth chart behind future 2nd-rounder Chad Henne, Georgia Tech transfer Steve Threet (who eventually transferred to Arizona State and then retired from football due to concussions), walk-on Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier, and Denard Robinson during his career. For his career he completed 4/6 passes for 75 yards against teams like Minnesota, Delaware State, and Western Michigan. His scholarship was not renewed for 2010.
High school: Spain Park High School in Hoover, AL
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #7 pro-style QB; Scout 4-star and #10 QB
Other notable offers: Clemson, LSU, Miami
Scoop: Caudle redshirted in 2006 and then spent four seasons as a backup for the Tigers behind Brandon Cox, Kodi Burns, and Cam Newton, completing 20/29 passes for 212 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: North Broward Prep School in Boca Raton, FL
Ratings: Rivals 3-star and #32 pro-style QB; Scout 2-star
Other notable offers: BYU, Kentucky, Louisville, Rutgers
Scoop: Davidson redshirted in 2006 and left the team prior to the 2007 season after having surgery on both knees. His whereabouts since then are unknown (to me) since then.
High school: Downingtown East High School in Exton, PA
Ratings: Rivals 4-star and #5 pro-style QB; Scout 4-star and #4 QB
Other notable offers: Miami, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Virginia
College: Penn State (then Delaware)
Scoop: Devlin redshirted in 2006 and threw one incomplete pass for Penn State in 2007 as the third-stringer. He was the #2 QB in 2008 and backed up Daryll Clark, completing 25/47 passes for 459 yards, 4 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 2 touchdowns. He then transferred to Delaware prior to the 2009 season and started for the next two seasons, completing 481/728 passes for 5,696 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: Springdale High School in Springdale, AR
Ratings: Rivals 5-star and #2 pro-style QB; Scout 5-star and #1 QB
Other notable offers: Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee
College: Arkansas (then USC)
Scoop: Mustain played one year for the Razorbacks, winning eight games and completing 69/132 passes for 894 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He then transferred to USC and sat out 2007 due to NCAA rules. He spent 2008-2010 as a backup behind Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley for the Trojans, completing 52/89 passes for 505 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: Abilene High School in Abilene, TX
Ratings: Scout 4-star and #14 QB
Other notable offers: N/A
College: Texas Tech
Scoop: Potts redshirted in 2006, backed up Graham Harrell in 2007 and 2008, and then was a two-year starter for the Red Raiders in 2009 and 2010. He finished his college career 7,835 yards, 62 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
High school: Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX
Ratings: Rivals 5-star and #1 pro-style QB; Scout 5-star and #2 QB
Other notable offers: Florida State, Oklahoma, Texas
Scoop: Due to an injury to Georgia's starter in 2006, Stafford played early and started for his three years in Athens. He played poorly as a freshman, throwing 7 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. However, he was an All-American by 2008 and finished his three-year college career with 7,731 yards passing, 51 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions. He was the #1 overall pick by the Detroit Lions in 2009.
High school: Flower Mound High School in Flower Mound, TX
Ratings: Rivals 3-star and #15 pro-style QB; Scout 4-star and #11 QB
Other notable offers: Georgia Tech, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma State
College: Tennessee (then Tarleton State)
Scoop: Stephens redshirted in 2006 and did not see playing time in 2007. He started a handful of games in 2008 and completed 63/130 passes for 840 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He then reverted to a backup role in 2009 and finished 9/13 for 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He transferred to Tarleton State prior to the 2010 season, where he finished 132/258 for 9 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His career seems to be finished.
High school: Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Ratings: Rivals 5-star and #1 dual-threat QB; 5-star and #3 QB
Other notable offers: Alabama, LSU, USC
Scoop: Tebow played a significant role as a backup/part-time QB behind Chris Leak as a freshman (22/33 passing, 5 TDs, 1 interception; 89 carries, 469 yards, 8 TDs rushing) when Florida won the national championship. He started the next three seasons, won the Heisman trophy as a sophomore in 2007, won the 2008 national championship, and set records too numerous to list here. He finished his college career with 9,286 yards passing, 88 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions; and 2,947 yards rushing for 57 touchdowns. He was then drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round of the NFL Draft in 2010.
There were some good players in there. Michigan didn't do a bad job of evaluating talent, but most of the better options had clearer paths to starting jobs. Mustain started immediately, Stafford was #2 on the depth chart by fall and started as a sophomore, and Tebow played a lot as a freshman and started as a sophomore. Two targets were 1st round picks (Stafford, Tebow) and one other was a borderline college star (Taylor Potts). Two transferred to lower divisions (Devlin, Stephens) and one transferred to a better team (Mustain); none of those three found glory, though Devlin has a good shot of latching onto an NFL team as an undrafted free agent whenever the NFL gets back into action.
Biggest miss: Tebow. Duh. He won two national championships and the Heisman. It would have been tough to beat out Henne in 2006 and 2007, but the transition to Rich Rodriguez in 2008 would have been a good fit for both player and coach. Michigan still wouldn't have been great in either of those years, but it's not unreasonable to think that Tebow could have given Michigan a boost to beat Toledo, Purdue, and perhaps a couple other teams.
Biggest bust: Mustain. He was essentially a career backup and couldn't beat out a freshman (albeit a talented one) for the starting job at USC. He went from the nation's #1 QB (on Scout) to throwing for approximately 1,400 yards and tossing an almost even number of touchdowns and interceptions throughout his career. He still would have been better than David Cone, but probably wouldn't have meshed well with Rich Rodriguez's offensive style, either.
Best in class: Tebow. An argument could be made for Matt Stafford, the #1 overall pick in 2009 who's having a decent career with the Detroit Lions, or Sam Bradford, the #1 overall pick in 2010 who had a very good rookie year for the St. Louis Rams. However, Tebow set tons of records, won the Heisman, won two national championships, and was a first round pick himself. It was a very good recruiting class for quarterbacks in 2006, a class that also produced Josh Freeman (Buccaneers' 1st round pick and current starter), Jake Locker (Titans' 1st round pick), Colin Kaepernick (49ers' 2nd round pick), Greg McElroy (undrafted but won a national championship at Alabama), and Andy Dalton (Bengals' 2nd round pick).