Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Recruiting Awards

Derrick Green is dressed properly for the occasion
You can go ahead and glance back at my 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 recruiting award posts.

Best Overall Recruit: RB Derrick Green
Green is widely considered to be the top recruit in Michigan's class, and running backs are often fairly easy to scout.  Based on the way Michigan is recruiting the offensive line, I think there's a good chance that Green becomes an All-Big Ten player and perhaps an All-American.  That kind of performance at a place like Michigan would likely set him up for a high NFL Draft pick.

Best Offensive Recruit: RB Derrick Green
Considering the above paragraph, this is obvious.

Best Defensive Recruit: S Dymonte Thomas
Thomas is listed at 6'2", 192 lbs.  He has good speed and shows excellent hitting ability.  I was particularly impressed with him as a hitter/tackler during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  I think his long-term potential might be somewhat limited because he hasn't spent much time in coverage, and NFL teams love those ball hawks.  But as for playing strong safety in college, Thomas looks like an excellent prospect.  I'm excited about his future.

Recruit Most Likely to Make an Early Impact: RB Derrick Green
Until Green committed a couple weeks ago, I would have chosen tight end Jake Butt.  However, Green enters the program when Michigan is looking for a viable #2 tailback, if not a starter while Fitzgerald Toussaint recovers from his broken leg.  I don't think it's out of the question for Green to be the leading rusher in 2013.

Fastest Recruit: CB Delano Hill
Hill is a workout warrior who puts up good numbers, and while his speed doesn't always show up on the field, he did have a laser-timed 4.44 time in the forty.  There really aren't a whole lot of blazing-fast players in this class.  A couple of the cornerbacks - including Hill - might end up at safety, and a couple of the wide receivers are bigger, slower guys.  None of these guys has speed that jumps out at you, but there are a few guys who can scoot a little bit - Green, Hill, Thomas, Ross Douglas, Reon Dawson, and Da'Mario Jones.

Strongest Recruit: OG Kyle Bosch
Bosch is a big, thick kid who probably doesn't need to add much size before seeing the field.  He enrolled early at Michigan, and insiders are already saying that he might be in line for a little bit of playing time as a true freshman.  While I'm not sure that will be necessary (unless there are injuries), it's still a positive tidbit about his future.

Best Under-the-Radar Recruit: WR Da'Mario Jones
Jones is a 6'2", 185 lb. receiver with good speed.  He needs some polishing, but his speed should allow him to be a deep threat a little more than several other guys on the roster.  When he committed to Michigan, he was sitting on several MAC offers and one from New Mexico.

Most Overrated Recruit: CB Delano Hill
Hill is a 4-star to three of the major recruiting sites (ESPN ranks him as a 3-star), but I think he's closer to a 3-star prospect.  He is a very good athlete, but I'm not sure he has the football instincts and playmaking ability to justify those 4-star rankings.

Most Likely to Redshirt: OT Chris Fox
Fox, who tore his ACL toward the end of his senior season, will miss some developmental time while he recovers.  Additionally, Michigan returns both starting tackles (Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield) and has a couple decent redshirt freshmen (Ben Braden, Erik Magnuson), so there's not much need for Fox to play this year.

Personal Favorite Recruit: S Dymonte Thomas
Thomas was a two-way star in high school who put up excellent numbers on both sides of the ball.  He also seems to be a heady kid who reportedly improved quickly during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, so I think he'll be fun to watch.  Jordan Kovacs was fun to watch over the past couple seasons, and Thomas should eventually take that strong safety position and play at an even higher level.


  1. I'm surprised Jourdan Lewis isn't mentioned as fastest in the class. I see Rivals has his 40 time listed as 4.68, but that can't be right. It seems like all the feedback from over the summer was that he was pretty darn fast.

    Plus he has the fastest sounding name...

    And quite frankly, if Lewis isn't fast, then we're in trouble because he's not a hitter, and from previous right-ups I've read he's not great in coverage.

    1. Lewis is more quick than fast. And I do think he's pretty good in coverage because of his change-of-direction ability.

      Several players have faster 40 times than Lewis - including Ross Douglas and Derrick Green.

  2. It was interesting to take a look back at the previous years. You did pretty well given how many recruits there are.

    In 2009, it's an open question who the best offensive player is - Lewan or Denard? Defensively, it's amazing that Thomas Gordon is the only remaining starter from that class.

    The "under-the-radar" and "overrated" picks are the most interesting. In 2010, you nailed those with Ryan and Jackson. Very little production remains on defense besides Ryan - a few backups and Black, but even the well-recruited guys like Robinson and Wilkins and Ash have never broken through

    2011 was a rough year for the program and for your picks. You did nail Morgan though, but Bryant is really struggling to impress (injuries, sure, but for a guy who was supposedly college ready he was behind Burzynski in his second year, before he got hurt) and Clark looks like one of the few impact players in the class so far. Taylor, Countess, and Morgan look like multi-year starters and all-conference caliber players, but this class is THIN.

    2012 is looking like a real good class. One year later, and no attrition and the practice murmers are still pretty positive on most of the kids. The early impact award probably goes to Williams,one of the more underrated players by M fans because he mostly just blocks - but the kid played A TON. For all the Funchess and Norfleet hype they didn't end up making much impact beyond the first few weeks.

    1. Lewan's career isn't over, so the jury's still out... But at this point, I would have to say that Lewan is the better player. Despite all the hype for Denard, Lewan is a projected top-15 pick. Denard is/was a good football player, but he also has a lot of flaws with the turnovers, the incompletions, etc.

      There's still time for Bryant. He only just finished his redshirt freshman season, and he had a broken leg for the entire year. He'll have some tough competition, though, from here on out. We'll see.

      Williams played a lot, but I don't know how much of an IMPACT he made. Considering Funchess scored 5 touchdowns - regardless of the time of season - I think he has to be the choice. Maybe Williams played more, but he didn't really play well.

    2. While I agree with everything you said about Lewan and Denard, I don't know how meaningful NFL draft position is to the debate about who is the better recruit for Michigan.

      But yeah - Lewan being a 4-year starter gives him an edge. Denard clearly could have used a red-shirt year too.

  3. I'm a little surprised by these rankings. Green's the highest rated recruit and you're usually not one to go by the book, plus you were a little reserved in your initial assessment of him.

    As for Thomas - no question he was highly recruited and has talent, but I was rather disappointed to hear about his struggles in coverage. Sounds to me like he's a ways off from playing time and I worry a little bit about him being a Marvin Robinson type of 'early bloomer' who ends up getting blocked by others. Thomas is going to see pretty strong competition with all the guys brought in the last few classes at Safety and he could get lost in the shuffle. I almost wonder if he isn't headed for WLB eventually. Still - glad to have talent like that in the class.

    The more I read about D.Hill the more I like and Iowa still has a good track record of identifying defensive talents. If he really has that kind of speed he could be an impact player in the secondary.

    There are a lot of recruits I'm excited about in this class. I'm excited to see how Shallman, Stribling and Dawson develop. Like everyone else, I doubt Shallman sticks at RB, but I could see him being very valuable as a FB/HB type who gets the ball enough to keep defenses honest. One of the most intriguing things about the last couple recruiting classes is the varying types taken who range somewhere between RB and TE (Houma, Shallman, Hill, etc.) It's also interesting how the two DTs are kind of the shorter plugger types that Michigan used to have when Hoke was DL coach.

    Best recruit: Bosch
    Instant impact: Green, Butt, and Bosch (I'm not confident in Miller or Bryant right now)
    Most important: Morris
    Most overrated: McCray, Poggi
    Personal favorite: Bosch and Kugler
    Underrated: for sleeper I'll go with K.Hill

    I think one of the freshman is going to contribute right away at WR but I don't know which one so I'll go with Hill. Hill was lightly recruited but seems to have a knack for pass catching. I think he's going to be a big part of Michigans offense a couple years down the line - converting big third downs and making TD catches in traffic.

    Poggi got a billion offers but sounds like a low ceiling player. McCray seems like a boom or bust kid and with so many LBs I see him as a special-teamer.

    1. I was reserved in my initial judgment of Green, but he improved a lot from his junior to senior year. I also did that study of #1 rated tailbacks, and when you combine that with the offensive line Michigan is bringing in, you almost have to expect that he'll turn into a high NFL draft pick unless he's a head case like Bryce Brown.

      I also think this recruiting class is full of high quality players, but not necessarily superstars. I mean, I don't think many of these guys have a chance to win the Heisman, become a Legends jersey, etc. They're just guys who can get the job done across the board.

      I'm not too concerned about Thomas. There were always questions about Robinson's speed, and that's not really an issue with Thomas. There were some initial concerns about Thomas during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices, but he reportedly improved throughout the week and did well in the game. If he plays strong safety and has similar responsibilities to those of Kovacs, then I don't see a slight issue with pass coverage to be a huge problem.

      Bosch might play early if there are injuries, but he's got Kalis, Braden, Bryant, and Burzynski ahead of him at guard. And I don't think a guy who played LT in high school is going to be a threat to play center as a true freshman.

    2. You could be right, I just see 3 interior OL positions open and no returning experience. It's one thing to red-shirt a true freshman who is underweight and competing against experienced players, but Bosch is already 310+ and the guys he's competing with have started as many games as he has. Braden, Bryant, Kalis, etc. haven't played a down yet. Burzynski and Miller have played a bit but they may form the OC duo (SOMEONE has to be the backup there).

      95% of the time I'd agree and say it's very likely that a freshman OL red-shirts. But Bosch, as an early enrollee, with good size, offers from schools like Alabama and Notre Dame, and some early practice hype...I think there's a very good chance that they can't keep him off the field.

  4. Disagree with your assessment about Delano Hill. If you watched many Cass Tech games this year, his greatest attribute is easily his instincts. One of the most instinctual kids in this whole class. I do agree that he doesn't play as fast as timed, but no way could I agree with you knocking his instincts.