I just have a question about Beyer, is he any good or is he just serviceable? In my eyes yes he has been good and he has been doing a great job for Michigan this year. The reason why I ask this is because my wife's uncle does not think he is any good and believe that he should have gone and played at a MAC school playing tight end instead of going to Michigan to play DE or LB. He is basing this off of watching Beyer play at Plymouth and using his football knowledge of being a QB at Ferris St back in the early 80's. This is a conversation that he and I have been having since Beyer's freshman year and it's kind of getting annoying now and I wanted to get your thoughts since you watch the film of these kids and have a better grasp of things since you are a coach.I have that same question about Beyer. I have not been shy about questioning Beyer's talent since he arrived at Michigan as a defensive end . . . and immediately earned playing time as a backup SAM linebacker in 2011. Naturally, the first thing to look at would be his statistics:
2011 (Fr.): 11 tackles
2012 (So.): 19 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble
2013 (Jr.): 22 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass breakup, 1 interception returned 7 yards for a TD
In the 2013 season countdown, I said "Beyer's next big play will be his first." He obviously took that personally because his first two games this year - against Central Michigan and Notre Dame - included 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Since those two games, he has notched 16 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup while starting either at SAM or strongside defensive end. Let's be honest - those numbers are pretty paltry for a season-long starter.
For comparison's sake, let's look at Craig Roh, who played at Michigan from 2009-2012. Roh was a starter from his freshman year at various positions, including outside linebacker, weakside end, and strongside end. He was not chosen in the NFL Draft and latched on to the Carolina Panthers' practice squad. It's tough to pick his worst year because his statistics were fairly static throughout his career, so we'll take his average stat line: 37.5 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks.
In one year as a starter and two more years as a frequently used backup, Beyer has 52 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. If Roh is the standard for being an average starter, then Beyer falls noticeably short of that level.
Beyer could almost surely have gone to the MAC and had some success there, either at defensive end or tight end. He probably wouldn't be lighting the world on fire there, either, but he would have some decent statistics. Should he have done so? That really depends on what the kid wants out of football. I think Michigan needs players like Beyer to be backups, journeymen, special teamers, etc. You can even get away with guys like Beyer starting, and Michigan has done fairly well defensively with him in that role. But in his third year, I think we can fairly conclude that Beyer is a supporting cast member at best.
In summary, you're both right. Beyer would have been able to rack up better stats and maybe gain more notoriety by going to the MAC. At the same time, he's doing okay for himself at Michigan, and lots of people would rather be mediocre players at Michigan than standout players at, say, Eastern Michigan. There are plenty of guys who would have been better off at a MAC-level school by most standards (Mike Jones is, Richard Ash and Jordan Paskorz could be, etc.), but big programs all have guys like Beyer.