Tuesday, January 22, 2013

J.T. Floyd, #8

J.T. Floyd
Floyd attended Greenville (SC) J.L. Mann.  Throughout his career, he made 139 tackles and 13 interceptions, along with 127 catches for 2,208 yards and 16 interceptions.  He committed to Rich Rodriguez on January 31, 2008, over offers from Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  He was a Rivals 3-star athlete and a Scout 3-star/#75 safety.

Floyd redshirted as a freshman in 2008.  As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he started two games and made 17 tackles and 1 pass breakup.  In part because of attrition at the cornerback position, Floyd started nine games in 2010, making 66 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and 4 pass breakups; he broke his ankle in practice prior to the Illinois game and missed the final four games of the year.  As a redshirt junior in 2011, he returned from injury to start twelve games at boundary corner, making 48 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 8 passes defensed.  As a senior in 2012, he started the twelve regular season games and tallied 48 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 5 pass breakups; he was suspended for the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.

179 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions returned for 59 yards, 2 forced fumbles, and 18 passes defensed

All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (2011, 2012)

It's no secret that I was never a fan of Floyd's abilities, and that started at the time he was recruited.  His lack of speed and change-of-direction ability always made me think he would be best suited for free safety, but there was never really an opportunity to bench Floyd.  Unfortunately, due to attrition and poor recruiting, he was always the best option to start.  Unlike when I was calling for Vincent Smith to give up carries to Michael Shaw, Michael Cox, and Fitzgerald Toussaint, the guys behind Floyd were tiny, inexperienced, and/or just not very good.  Floyd turned into a three-year starter at the position and got a couple of all-conference honorable mentions out of the deal, which was perhaps the best we could hope for from a guy with his limited physical capabilities.

. . . getting suspended for the Outback Bowl.  I find it inexcusable that he was silly enough to get suspended (allegedly for smoking marijuana) for his final college game, and it very well might have been the key reason that Michigan lost a close game to South Carolina.

Floyd was already a borderline NFL prospect, likely to get a shot as an undrafted free agent simply because he started three years at a school like Michigan.  His on-field production and testing numbers likely won't garner much attention, but he could latch on as a practice squad player.  The suspension thing can't help, but that type of thing isn't a death sentence for an NFL career.


  1. I think you've always been too harsh on him, maybe in part because of your initial take on him as a recruit.

    Not a great player, but for a ho-hum 3 star, he had a pretty nice career. Very productive, many starts, all-conference honors. Can't really complain. He got thrown out there when he wasn't really ready but he bounced back and had a very good year in 2011 and a decent year in 2012 too, until the disappointing finish.

    The coaches praised him a good bit and it seemed like he worked hard to get better.

    Memories are a subjective thing, but I think this one says more about the author than the player. It's kind of sad that neither of the last 2 guys you've mentioned (Hawthorne and Floyd) get an actual game-moment to their credit. We're not talking about Stonum or Harrison here. Hawthorne and Floyd had highlight plays in some big victories.

    1. He was a 3-star and played like a 3-star.

    2. Your typical 3-star isn't a productive 3-year starter. Even if that's the case, I'm saying it doesn't match well with your comments about his absence costing M a bowl game and that being his defining memory. He was really really bad as a soph and turned into a decent starter.

      To me, if anything he overachieved. Maybe it was due to lack of competition, but you could make the same argument for Mike Hart.

    3. Stars don't predict how long someone will start. In Floyd's case - as you seem to admit yourself - he stepped into a starting job because of a void. There was literally almost nobody else to play the position when he took over. That doesn't mean he played like a 4-star. It just means he was a 3-star who lucked into playing time.

      I think other Michigan fans overrate him because of his nice interception against Illinois last year. And while I won't take away the fact that it was a nice play, it was a rare accomplishment. It was not something he did habitually. He proceeded to get beaten consistently as a senior, and he made 0 interceptions. He was just a guy.

      Hart, on the other hand, beat out other players (David Underwood, Jerome Jackson, Kevin Grady, Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown), some of whom played pretty well at times (Jackson, Minor, Brown). Hart certainly overachieved. I won't claim the same for Floyd.

    4. I think he played well enough to earn a spot. Yes, in 2010 it's fair to say circumstance was the overriding factor there - Michigan was desperate - but by 2011 he had hung on over more highly rated recruits and earned considerable praise from coaches. (just like Hart.) In 2011 he and Countess played played ahead of Woolfolk or Gordon - both decent DBs.

      Underwood and Jackson and Grady were like Cullen Christian without the transfer. They didn't live up to their recruiting hype. Minor and Brown were younger (a la Countess, Taylor, etc.) No one ever really threatened to unseat Hart and the same went for Floyd in '11 and '12.

      Ultimately, he delivered results beyond what normal 3-stars would. He should be praised accordingly, IMO.

      Hart was the better player, I'm just saying their circumstances are kind of similar in terms of a lack of competition.

      I don't quibble with your assertion that he may be overrated by some others, but if he plays like he played against Illinois every week, he's an All-American. Like Jordan Kovacs, he took advantage of the opportunity presented, he got better, and he played well despite his physical limitations.

      He won't go down in Michigan history books as a great (like Hart does), but he had a good above average career, and he deserves a better memory than (got suspended for bowl game).

      Once again, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Keep the senior profiles coming. Not too many left thanks to all the RR-related transfers and flame-outs.

    5. Floyd held a job over guys who were two or three years younger than him (Cullen Christian, for example). That's not really the accomplishment you make it out to be. Ricky Barnum held the left guard job this year despite the presence of Kyle Kalis; that doesn't mean much.

      If Brandon Herron played every week like he did against WMU, he'd have been a first round pick. If Brandin Hawthorne played every week like he did against Notre Dame in 2011, he would have been All-Big Ten. If Jerome Jackson played like he did against Iowa, he would have been an NFL draft pick. You can't take one good game for anyone and extrapolate it over an entire career with any accuracy.

      Did Floyd have a "good above average career"? I don't think he did. He had 179 tackles, 3 interceptions in 34 career starts.

      James Rogers: 40 tackles, 3 interceptions in 1 season as a starter
      Donovan Warren: 170 tackles, 6 interceptions in 3 seasons as a starter
      Morgan Trent: 149 tackles, 7 interceptions in 3 seasons as a starter
      Grant Mason: 85 tackles, 2 interceptions in 1 season as a starter
      Markus Curry: 82 tackles, 5 interceptions in 1.5 seasons as a starter
      Charles Drake: 74 tackles, 1 interceptions, 3 sacks in 1 season as a starter
      Todd Howard: 136 tackles, 8 interceptions in 3 seasons as a starter

      I excluded players like Marlin Jackson and Leon Hall, so that's not exactly a "Who's Who of Michigan Cornerbacks." Yet all of them created interceptions at a higher rate than Floyd except Drake, but Drake made more tackles and sacks. I did not include Troy Woolfolk, because he was clearly less productive. So if Floyd had a "good above average career" and these guys all went on to do very little in the pros, then who falls in the category of average? JT Floyd is one of the least productive cornerbacks in the last 10-15 years. In fact, the numbers might suggest (if you're looking at Michigan guys in the last decade or so) that he had a BELOW AVERAGE career, practically the opposite of what you're claiming.

      So...yeah. Maybe that's our final answer. Maybe JT Floyd is the second-worst cornerback over the last 10-15 years except Troy Woolfolk. If you want to call that "good above average" then have at it.

    6. An 'average career' is probably at about Mealer's level, or Avery, at best. The greats go on to the NFL, the duds drop out or transfer. In between you have a whole lot of special teamers and career backups like Hawthorne and guys who don't earn starting jobs till they're seniors or as injury-replacements.

      You act as if being an NFL player is 'average'. Your sample is all players who were above average players at Michigan. That's ignoring a whole lot of negative reality. The 3-year starers who earn it are rare. I think you're discounting how hard it is for a 3-star caliber player to come into a school like Michigan, compete with a bunch of other good athletes, and earn a starting job -- then KEEP that starting job as new talent files in.

      I can go through the recruiting class and list dozens of guys who are less productive in the last 10-15 years (e.g., Cissoko, Turner, Christian). Those number far more than the NFLers and multi-season starters.

      Beating out younger guys was a point you raised in regard to Hart - I was just saying Floyd did the same thing. Those same arguments that apply to a 3-star like Hart apply to Floyd.

    7. The point is with Floyd that he didn't beat out anybody. There was almost no one to compete with. You're talking about the likes of Cullen Christian (whom I never liked much, and who's now on the bench at Pitt), Teric Jones, Terrence Talbott, etc. Those are the guys he beat out, Rodriguez-recruited duds. If Talbott had stayed, he had a good chance to play, too. Not because he was awesome, but because there's a void at the cornerback position.

      I don't really count guys like Cissoko, Turner, and Christian as having "careers" at Michigan. Those guys played - or didn't play - for about one season before leaving. Maybe that's a disconnect in our discussion, but those guys don't count. Like I said, I'm talking about guys who actually stayed at Michigan for 3-5 years.

      Hart beat out younger guys, older guys, whoever. He beat all comers. Underwood and Jackson were both older than him. Grady, Minor, and Brown were all younger than him. It doesn't really apply to JT Floyd. He redshirted in 2008. He mostly sat on the bench in 2009, behind the likes of Cissoko and Woolfolk. It was only in 2010 that he solidified a starting job, when he was competing with freshmen like Christian, Avery, Jones, etc. He was a redshirt sophomore beating out true freshmen. That's not the same situation as Hart.

      At no point have I claimed that Floyd should have been benched, because I admit that Michigan didn't have much else. But your rationale for him being an "above average CB" would be the same rationale as me saying that Steve Threet was an above average starter at quarterback, simply because he beat out David Cone and Nick Sheridan. Eleven guys have to start on defense, whether they're any good or not.

    8. In 2011 Floyd beat out Woolfolk, and by extension, Gordon who got demoted when Woolfolk slid back to safety (thanks to Floyd's and Countess' emergence). Woolfolk and Gordon were the 4th and 5th DBs but Floyd starting job was never threatened, even when Countess stepped up. Besides Kovacs, Floyd was the top DB. Countess and Avery and Taylor couldn't beat him out. No one did. I know you'll say Countess is the better player (and I agree, eventually he will be) and blah blah about positions, but it's clear that the coaching staff saw flexibility in where they put people and butnever threatened was Floyd.

      Similar situation in 2012 where he was ahead of Taylor (who was a decent player this year) even before Countess got hurt.

      I'm not saying the competition was stiff. Again, my point was that Hart faced a similar situation. The competition was not there for Hart (the good backs were too young and the guys his same age were duds) and it wasn't there for Floyd either. Yes, obviously Hart is a better player - he won his job as a true freshman instead of red-shirting, but if Wheatley, Thomas, etc were still around he would have been red-shirting too.

      The veterans tabbed to start sucked, and the younger player filled the void. A couple years later some players came in, but the 3-star starter stayed on as a starter. The opportunity presented itself and the player took advantage, earned the coaches trust, started for many years, and received all conference honors.

      Steven Threet didn't start for 3 years, he transfered. But I like the parallel of Steven Threet in '08 as Floyd in '10. Thrown in before being ready, with terrible results ensuing. The '08 O was almost as historically bad as the '10 D. The difference is that Floyd stuck around as the new recruits came rolling in, battled, and kept his job.

      If Threet had done the same thing - if he stayed at Michigan and fended off recruits and started in '09 and '10, and gotten honorable mention all conference -- then yeah, I'd say he was an above average player. But Threet didn't do that and Floyd did.

  2. "might have been the key reason that Michigan lost a close game to South Carolina"

    It's interesting to me that you'd say that when you were so adamant that Gardner@WR didn't cost Michigan the Nebraska game.

    1. I think I said that Gardner's presence might have, but that there was no real way to know. A two-touchdown loss to Nebraska in what would have been Gardner's first significant time at QB doesn't scream to me that it would have made a difference.

      A 5-point loss to South Carolina in a game where they threw the ball all over us (including a game-winning TD with a few seconds left), in a game that would have been his 35th start? I think the impact here is a little bit clearer.

    2. There's never a way to know. That's as true for Gardner as it is Floyd.

      Nebraska wouldn't have been Gardner's first significant time at QB - he did it in 2011. In 2012, his first start was MIN and he ended up doing very well.

      Lets not pretend the Nebraska game wasn't close. 3-7 when Denard got hurt, after running Michigan into the red-zone. 6-7 after the FG. About as close as it gets. Michigan's D gave up 16 points in the second half, but that's with a QB throwing INTs left and right. Bellomy's pick gave Nebraska the ball at the UM 4, the next drive started at the UM 38, and then Nebraska got the ball again in UM territory. The D was keeping them in check, just needed the other side of the ball to help out a little bit. I think, based on OSU and S.Car games (not to mention Minn and NW) it's reasonable to think Gardner could have put up a TD or two in the second half of that game. Probably enough to win.

      A quarterback makes a bigger difference than a cornerback and the gap between Floyd and Avery is far less than the gap between Gardner and Bellomy. Bellomy was TERRIBLE - you know that very well. You also know Gardner is pretty solid. That's a game-changing situation right there.

      Both games were close - one you went from an average QB to an unplayable QB and the other you went from an average CB to a below average one.

    3. Preparing for a week to be the starter is different than getting a few second-team snaps, which is what Gardner would have done prior to the Nebraska game. And Gardner didn't play significant time in 2011. He had 23 passing attempts and 9 rushing attempts the whole year.

      Most of the other things you say are accurate...but one game was a 14-point loss. The other was a win...until there were about 11 seconds left, or something like that. And at that point, South Carolina had been chucking the ball all over the field, with 341 passing yards and 4 touchdowns at game's end.

      In the Nebraska game, our STARTING quarterback had failed to put the team in the end zone. Of course, Gardner could have played better than Denard. But your scenario would require Gardner to play better than the starter and make up a 14-point difference. My scenario would require Floyd to play better than the backup and stop one of those four passing touchdowns.

    4. My scenario requires a talent 3rd year QB to be better than a freshman QB who went 3-16 with 3 INTs. With our defense playing well, I don't think a 14 point swing is even close to being a stretch.

      You have a point in that those 4 or 5 practices may have made a difference, but the larger point is that Gardner should have stayed at QB from the outset of the season. Even still, going in totally cold - he does way better than Bellomy, IMO.

      Nebraska was a 14 point loss BECAUSE of Bellomy. And, Denard hadn't scored YET -- it was still the 2nd quarter and he just put us in the redzone. The Whatif Game is a subjective exercise, but the dropoff from Denard to Bellomy was, quite obviously, enormous. We know that Devin is a lot closer to Denard than Bellomy and even without being fully prepared gives Michigan a MUCH better chance of winning that game.

      In 2011, Gardner had 25 rushing attempts not 9, but regardless of his stats he played significant roles in games against tough competition, most notably MSU. He wasn't a total newbie.

      I get what you're saying, but, as we've discussed before, unless you think Courtney Avery is absolutely atrocious there just no way that a guy like Floyd (who, you think is mediocre at best) is going to completely alter a game result. Game of inches and all that - sure, but that's the nature of the Whatif game.

      Yeah, they passed all over our D, but they also averaged 5 ypc, so they probably could have run on us too. SC was the better team and I don't think Floyd changes that. Maybe we win, maybe we don't -- just like Nebraska w/Devin at QB.

      All a matter of opinion ultimately.

    5. Your talk about the drop-off from Floyd to Avery ignores the fact that other guys were forced into uncomfortable situations in the defensive backfield, including Thomas Gordon and Jarrod Wilson. That was not simply a Floyd-for-Avery exchange. Avery had other roles on the field, but the nickel corner position was then weakened, too. And Floyd is presumably a better a run defender than Courtney Avery, so maybe that YPC drops from 5 to 4.8. Is that enough to make a difference? I don't know.

      Regardless, I think you're missing the fact that Michigan was something like ELEVEN SECONDS away from winning that game without Floyd, who didn't play at all. You're talking about a game that Michigan never led, despite the fact that the starting quarterback WAS AVAILABLE for the majority of the first half.

      If you think Gardner was worth a 15-point swing in that game despite a lack of much experience, then you quite simply MUST allow that Floyd probably would have helped Michigan hold on to that lead for another eleven seconds, prevent a TD, force an extra punt, something.

    6. I'm not missing that anymore than you're missing that Michigan was 11 yards away from leading Nebraska 10-7 in the 2nd quarter when Denard left. To pretend like that game wasn't close when Bellomy swung the offense's effectiveness so dramatically...

      Imagine if Michigan had decided to put Courtney Avery at WR that bowl game and used Hollowell or Norfleet at CB instead, then that CB proceeded to make the defense almost entirely ineffective (GERGian). That's easily a 2-score swing right?

      Our D made stops without Floyd. Our O couldn't do anything with Bellomy. Avery/Wilson are viable replacements for an average CB. Bellomy is simply unplayable and a massive dropoff from Gardner. One of these events is a game-changer and one of them is not.

    7. My overall point is you can't just say "scoreboard" as justification to apply totally different logical terms to hypotheticals. Either "we can't possibly know" or "yeah, it probably swings the game".

      IMO, both events/decisions probably swung those 2 games...but I think Floyd was a pretty good player.

    8. I'm not pretending that the game wasn't close. What I'm saying (and this is fact, not pretend) is that our STARTING quarterback had been unable to procure a lead in almost two quarters of play. For some reason, you're assuming that our BACKUP quarterback would have suddenly been able to turn a deficit into a win. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

      Floyd was not "a pretty good player." Fact. This will be my last comment on the topic, since I don't think you or I have anything new to say.

    9. It makes sense if you remember that that football is a team sport. The 1st quarter ended in a stalemate 0-0. Michigan missed a FG that quarter and had to start one of it's drives from their own 2 yard line. In the second quarter Michigan's defense gave up a TD, then Denard answered right back with a FG drive, punt Neb, then Michigan drives to the 15 yard line when Denard was hurt. That's a deficit only in a technical sense. That's 2 successful drives in a row for Michigan, 3 FG attempts generated on the day, compared to one scoring drive for Nebraska. The status of the game was 'too close to call' and 100% undecided, but favoring Michigan at the point that Denard left. Look up Mathletes win probability chart for that game to confirm.

      After that, Bellomy went in and missed the next 4 attempts before taking a sack. It only got worse in the 2nd half.

      The O was moving the ball and then didn't, at all. The D wasn't going to shut out Nebraska, but they kept them in check, allowing one score in the 1st half, and holding them to FGs on very short fields (thanks to Bellomy in the 3rd). Going into the 4th it was a one possession game, the D kept the game competitive despite the hurdles put before it by the offense. Michigan's D again held and got the ball back with 11:40 left in the game. Hell, if Gardner had been brought in THEN Michigan could have won the game, let alone in the 2nd quarter. But no - Bellomy threw an INT on the just one play and the worn-down D was out of tricks. ballgame.

      You act like Nebraska was going to beat Michigan anyway -- maybe. But maybe SCar was going to beat Michigan anyway too.

      I'm done as well, but FYI - that is not a FACT. This is:

      2012 All-Big Ten Conference Football Team as Selected by Conference Coaches:
      HONORABLE MENTION: MICHIGAN: J.T. Floyd; Jeremy Gallon; Brendan Gibbons; Will Hagerup; Roy Roundtree; Jake Ryan