Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ricardo Miller, Ex-Wolverine

Junior tight end Ricardo Miller has left the football program.  He played in 14 games as a special teams guy, but just two as a tight end.

As you can tell from my first real post about Ricardo Miller in July of 2010, I was never a huge fan of Miller's abilities.  He peaked early at Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips and earned some rave reviews as an underclassman, but it was painfully obvious once he transferred to Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer for his senior year that he lacked any kind of deep speed or smooth athletic ability.  You can see in this video that he just lacks explosiveness and athleticism.  He seemed like a pure blocking wide receiver for Rich Rodriguez, and he even temporarily moved to tight end for Brady Hoke when he got up to around 234 lbs.  Unfortunately, he was always destined to be a "tweener" - too slow to play wide receiver, too slightly built to be a tight end.  Perhaps Rodriguez would have found a way to use him, but he doesn't have a role for Hoke.

Regarding the future of the football team, this won't really affect Michigan other than freeing up a scholarship.  I didn't expect to see Miller in any meaningful role for the remainder of his career, and Michigan's coaches were already recruiting tight ends as if they didn't expect Miller to step up, either.  However, it's somewhat sad to see a kid's career end so early, especially when that player was so devoted to Michigan that he moved from Florida a year early and was heading up the recruiting for that 2010 class much like quarterback Shane Morris is doing for the class of 2013.  By all accounts, Miller is a likable guy who just doesn't have the athleticism to get on the field in the Big Ten.  And he's on pace to graduate from Michigan this spring, so he's getting the job done in the classroom well enough to graduate after just three years.

Miller's departure leaves just 14 players on the roster from the 27-man class of 2010.  For information on other ex-Wolverines, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.


  1. All the best to the kid and congrats for graduating early. Hopefully he gets an opportunity to play elsewhere like Mike Cox did.

    From the fan perspective this is a cautionary lesson about recruits and expectations and anyone who tries to project depth charts with recruits in them.

    Even the best of kids and highest ranked of prospects often don't pan out. You just don't know until a kid hits campus and starts practicing, and even then an injury or off-field situation can derail everything. Can't put all your eggs in one basket.

    In 2013, this applies especially to positions where many people think we'll rely on freshman: QB (Morris) and OL. At least with OL most of the kids are red-shirt freshman and initial rumors/reports are good on most of them.

    1. Another thing to learn from this is the recruiting services are heavily biased toward kids who bloom early. And with recruiting moving earlier and earlier, the risk of signing guys who have already peaked is getting higher. That's why the coaches can't just rely on the recruiting services and need to do plenty of their own research. Marvin Robinson might be another example. I have some fears about Morris too. His reputation was built primarily on a sterling sophomore season, but he has not continued to progress as expected.

    2. I agree. 'Sleepers' can emerge with a good senior year and it used to be a that a lot of kids wouldn't even get offers until coaches got a chance to see senior film. These days it's all about your soph and junior year. Some kids just won't be physically mature yet.

      Morris has a chance of being a very good player, but even a national #1 QB like Drew Henson didn't necessarily pan out the way many fans expected. Recruiting studs like Matt Guttierez and Scott Driesbach didn't do much, while a 3-star DE/TE like Navarre was a 3+ year starter. There's a heavy dose of uncertainty, variance, and risk in the recruiting rankings - that's the bottomline. There are no sure things and treating recruits like it is a bad idea.

    3. Painter Smurf: Morris had 1,684 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions as a junior. Those are pretty solid numbers for a high school quarterback, especially considering that De La Salle isn't really a football powerhouse. It's not like he has stud players around him to help make him look good.

      Lanko: I'm not really sure what you're talking about with respect to Henson, Gutierrez, and Dreisbach. Henson was a stud and probably would have been a 1st rounder if he had stayed for his senior year. Gutierrez was an NFL draft pick (IIRC) and hung around in the NFL for a couple years as a backup. Dreisbach did the same. I don't think many people expect that stud high school recruits will automatically turn into Peyton Manning, but I do think that the three aforementioned quarterbacks did pretty darn well for themselves, and I think Gutierrez and Dreisbach would have done even better if they had had a chance to finish out their careers as starters at Michigan; Gutierrez would have had a great career as a starter at Michigan, I think.