Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mailbag: How will Michigan get to 24 scholarships?

In order for Michigan to get up to 24 football scholarships for 2013, several players will have to be lost to attrition. Could you please post your thoughts as to who is likely to leave the program in order to create the scholarship space?
Thanks,
Jeremy
First of all, Michigan technically only has 20 scholarships in the 2013 class between previously unused scholarships and departing seniors.  The number 24 comes from Michigan recruiting experts such as Sam Webb, so it's not really an official class size.  The 2013 class could end up smaller or larger than 24.  However, the coaches have already accepted commitments from 21 kids, so Brady Hoke and company clearly have some other plans.

I don't like to speculate about which underclassmen will depart, but I have heard rumors about one player currently on the roster who may leave the team prior to the season.  In addition, there are always one or two kids in every recruiting class who don't make it to their freshman season for various reasons.  Some don't qualify academically, some get into legal trouble, some get homesick immediately, etc.  You can look at Chris Barnett, Kellen Jones, and Tony Posada from 2011; or Demar Dorsey, Conelius Jones, Antonio Kinard, and Davion Rogers from 2010; or Adrian Witty from 2009.  I could go on, but you get the point.  I don't know which kid(s) from the 2012 class won't end up making it through August, but history suggests at least one true freshman will disappear.

On top of early departures, non-qualifiers, etc., you will usually see at least one redshirt junior who does not return for a fifth season.  The list of scholarship redshirt juniors is as follows:

  • Jeremy Gallon
  • Brendan Gibbons
  • Cameron Gordon
  • Thomas Gordon
  • Mike Jones
  • Taylor Lewan
  • Michael Schofield
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint
  • Quinton Washington
From the above list, there are a couple guys whom I could see leaving early for the NFL.  Lewan is one of the best linemen in the Big Ten, if not the country, and possesses the athleticism NFL teams look for in a blindside tackle.  Toussaint had a very good redshirt sophomore season and already has a child to support.  With a decent season and a history of injury, you have to wonder if he can hold out for two more seasons before making a run at the big bucks.

Gallon, Gibbons, Thomas Gordon, and Schofield are guys who have starting jobs locked up who would probably stick around for five years unless they blow up.

On the flip side, Jones and Washington seem to be buried on the bench and might not find it worthwhile to spend another year in Ann Arbor.  Both are from out of state - Florida and South Carolina, respectively - and don't necessarily have ties to the school or the area outside of football and a degree.  If they finish up school, they might move on.  Cameron Gordon is a good player who may find himself sitting on the bench behind Jake Ryan.  If he wants a chance to play at the next level, he may want to transfer to a place where he can nail down a starting job and show off his skills.

Let me emphasize that I am not suggesting these players should  leave.  I am simply looking at the options and the potential rationale for some of these players.  With 20 scholarships currently open, it's very feasible that this class will grow to 24 or even more.

17 comments:

  1. First you bad-mouth recruits, now you're running off current players!!

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  2. Toussaint's a real talent. I'm not sure there's been a back with his ability since... I don't know when. Hart had special balance and Perry was an impressive physical package by his Senior year, but Toussaint's ability to change direction and weave his way around would-be tacklers is special. Size and durability are the concern with him. He's a decent risk to depart early - that might explain why the coaches are going after a 3rd RB for the class.

    If Washington stays buried on the bench, you might be right about him next year, but he has talent and there's a decent chance he'll step up as an upperclassmen given DL depth. I'm rooting for him.

    Things don't look as good for my man Mike Jones, but you never know. Maybe he can keep a role on special teams and perhaps get a year of grad school in. I hate to write-off players with 2 more years of eligibility, but the depth at LB is going to be a challenge for him to see the field.

    You also never know what guys' off-field situations are. No one expected Khoury to depart, but the guy obviously didn't love football. It happens.

    I hadn't really thought about Gordon moving on for more playing, but you're right. Is the 5th-year/grad school transfer rule still in effect? I thought I heard that might be going away. In his case, given that he's a local kid, he might not be too interested in leaving, but you never know. It certainly worked-out for Ryan Mundy and Gordon does have some good athleticism that may appeal to the NFL.

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    1. I believe that rule is still in effect. That's how Russell Wilson got to Wisconsin last year.

      If Cam Gordon left - and that's a big "if" - he would probably end up somewhere nearby, since he's a Michigan kid. WMU, Toledo, Cincinnati, etc. Most guys transfer close/closer to home.

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  3. Nice post BTW. I usually hate to 'name names' when it comes to potential unrenewed 5th's, but you handled it (or worded it) responsibly. Most people focus on the football teams needs, but as you point out, it goes both ways. Guys have to want to keep putting in the work, in some cases after they've graduated.

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  4. Bottom line, it's more than a year between now and when this class enrolls. I don't know the exact number, but typical attrition is going to mean you lose 4 or 5 guys at least, from the current team. Odds are there will be some de-commitments too between now and February.

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  5. Lankownia should be hired as an official contributor to the blog. He carries the comments, making the posts even more interesting.

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    1. His comments are certainly appreciated, whether I agree with them or not.

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  6. Is Lankownia a male or female....i dont know if im dyslexic, but I call Lankownia "Lakwanda" when skimming

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    1. I'm guessing male, but Lakwanda is an interesting interpretation.

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  7. Damn right! Gimmie mah money.

    Just kidding. Sometimes Thunder might want to pay me to go away, but I enjoy talking Michigan football and having some good debates. Mgoblog used to be a good place but now it's mostly stupid GIFs and bad attempts at humor. It's hard to have a decent conversation over there. Plus Brian is increasingly disengaged and/or indifferent, so I find myself checking less often. Most other Michigan football bloggers are terrible homers and that doesn't do it for me. Thunder keeps it real and Andrew brings a lot of good content too. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

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    1. Yeah, I'm finding it harder and harder to have discussions over there. All the pictures and videos get in the way. I still visit there way too much, though.

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  8. Jeremy asked a question which I feel was answered as carefully as possible. Good job and thanks! We realize it's just an "educated" guess. And that's what most of us want.
    I like the variety of sites, and read this one and tre first. Both good, with a different perspective. (And the Hot Chicks don't negatively distract!!) LOL!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy the site. Thanks.

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  9. I agree with most of what has been posted. However, I would lay my money on Gordon and/or Jones leaving due to lack of consistent play time. That being said, it has been my experience that Michigan seems to unexpectedly lose one or two players each year for personal reasons.

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    1. Gordon plays a decent amount. Any injury along the LB corps could open up more time for him and people keep talking about Ryan seeing some time at DE. I think he's a pretty low flight risk.

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    2. This is funny to look back on. With Frank Clark's status up in the air, Cam Gordon has got to be feeling good about his PT. Jake Ryan will be on the field but not necessarily in place of Gordon.

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