Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review of 2007 Recruiting: Safeties

Jerimy Finch
Anton Campbell, RS Sr.
Brandent Englemon, RS Sr.
Jamar Adams, Sr.
Charles Stewart, RS So.
Steve Brown, So.

Artis Chambers

High school:
 Fort Wayne (IN) Snyder
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #41 S
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Indiana, Purdue
Scoop: Chambers played a bit as a true freshman in 2007, making 7 total tackles, including a 5-tackle performance against Notre Dame. He made 2 more tackles in 2008 before leaving the team in the middle of the season for unknown reasons. He transferred to Ball State and had to sit out the 2009 season due to transfer rules, but he was gone by 2010. He reappeared at Delta State University in 2012 and made 7 tackles in six games. His career appears to be finished.

Michael Williams

High school:
 Ventura (CA) St. Bonaventure
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #15 S
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame
Scoop: Williams was a highly touted recruit out of California who redshirted as a freshman in 2007. The newly hired Rich Rodriguez used him as a box safety in 2008, when he made 18 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. He became a nine-game starter as a redshirt sophomore in 2009 and made 56 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. He appeared in just two games in 2010 and made 2 tackles before the last in a long line of concussions caused his career to come to a close.

Hit the jump for the scoop on the other guys Michigan targeted, including Ohio State-bound Eugene Clifford and one-time Michigan commit Jerimy Finch.

Eugene Clifford
High school:
 Cincinnati (OH) Colerain
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #4 S, #60 overall
College: Ohio State
Other notable offers: Florida, Florida State
Scoop: Clifford played in four games as a true freshman in 2007 before he was kicked off the team for legal issues stemming from a bar fight. He transferred to Tennessee State, where he made 61 tackles and 3 interceptions (returned for 81 yards) as a sophomore in 2008. As a junior in 2009, he made 60 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 6 pass breakups. He was not drafted by the NFL and spent some time on the Baltimore Ravens practice squad in 2011, as well as the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League in 2013.

Jerimy Finch

High school:
 Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #1 S, #37 overall
College: Florida Indiana Marian University
Other notable offers: Indiana, Iowa, Louisville
Scoop: Finch, who at one time was committed to Michigan, played in several games as a freshman in 2007, making 7 tackles and 1 interception before suffering a knee injury. Expected to play outside linebacker in 2008, he transferred to Indiana, where he would be closer to his two children. He was given a waiver to play immediately, and he made 6 tackles, blocked 2 kicks, and returned 4 punts for 41 yards as a true sophomore in 2008. He was kicked off of the team following the 2008 season, and he appeared at Marian University for 2011 season, where he made 49 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 1 blocked kick. As far as I can tell, that was the end of his football career. In June of 2014, Finch was charged with burglary of a Payless shoe store.

Marshall Jones

High school:
 Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #9 S, #92 overall
College: USC
Other notable offers: Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon
Scoop: Jones played as a backup safety in 2007 and made 1 pass breakup in his brief time. As a sophomore in 2008, he made 6 tackles. He moved to cornerback in 2009, but after making 4 tackles early in the season, he sprained his neck and missed the rest of the year, which gave him a medical redshirt going forward. As a redshirt junior in 2010, he became a part-time starter and made 35 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and 3 pass breakups. He returned to backup status in 2011 and made 9 tackles on the year. He was not taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Chase Minnifield

High school:
 Lexington (KY) Henry Clay
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #22 S
College: Virginia
Other notable offers: Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville
Scoop: The son of former Cleveland Browns safety Frank Minnifield (long live Tecmo Bowl!), Minnifield redshirted as a freshman in 2007. As a backup safety in 2008, he made 25 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups; he also averaged 23.3 yards per kickoff return on 21 attempts. He continued those roles as a redshirt sophomore in 2009, making 28 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 more interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and exactly 23.3 yards/return on 22 attempts. He became a starter in 2010 and made 48 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, and 6 interceptions. As a fifth year guy in 2011, he made 50 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions, including a touchdown. He went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Dealing with various injuries and being cut a couple times, Minnifield has made 4 tackles during parts of three seasons with the Washington Redskins.

Davon Morgan

High school:
 Richmond (VA) Varina
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #33 ATH
College: Virginia Tech
Other notable offers: N/A
Scoop: A high school teammate of Brandon Minor and Marell Evans, Morgan signed with the home state Hokies. He was a backup free safety as a freshman in 2007 and made 11 tackles with 1 blocked punt. As a sophomore backup rover in 2008, he made 18 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery. Still a backup in 2009, he played more and made 47 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup. He became a starter as a senior in 2010, notching 82 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 interceptions returned for 119 yards, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked punt, and 9 pass breakups. He was named Second Team All-ACC during his senior year. He was not drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and has since bounced around NFL practice squads and a couple indoor football teams.

Anthony Morris

High school:
 Harvey (IL) Thornton Township
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #18 S
College: Illinois
Other notable offers: Iowa, Michigan State, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Scoop: As far as I can tell, Morris never enrolled at Illinois and did not pop up elsewhere in college football.

Nick Sukay

High school:
 Greensburg (PA) Central Catholic
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #13 S
College: Penn State
Other notable offers: Notre Dame, Pitt, West Virginia
Scoop: Sukay enrolled early in January 2007 but still redshirted as a freshman, and then missed his entire redshirt freshman year with a foot injury. As a redshirt sophomore in 2009, he started at Hero and made 41 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 11 pass breakups. Due to a pectoral injury, he missed the second half of 2010 but still made 29 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble as a starter. He returned to take his starting job as a fifth year senior, making 66 tackles, 3 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 8 pass breakups. He was undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and signed by the Buffalo Bills as a free agent, but he has not played in the NFL.

James Thomas

High school:
 La Marque (TX) La Marque
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #37 S
College: Oklahoma State
Other notable offer: Missouri
Scoop: Despite being listed as a small-ish safety, Thomas grew into a linebacker after redshirting in 2007. He made 10 tackles and 1 tackle for loss as a redshirt freshman in 2008. Then he made 18 tackles and 1 pass breakup in 2009. He became a part-time starter in 2010 and made 49 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery (returned 63 yards for a touchdown), and 5 pass breakups. Again a part-time starter as a fifth year senior in 2011, he made 27 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 8 pass breakups. He was not taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Woodny Turenne

High school
 College of the Sequoias
Ratings: Rivals 5-star CB, #1 JUCO overall
College: Louisville
Other notable offers: Florida, USC
Scoop: Turenne, who entered Louisville as a junior, started eight games at cornerback in 2007 and made 40 tackles with 1 interception. Then as a senior in 2008, he made 38 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 interceptions, and 3 pass breakups. He went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft and after bouncing off of a couple practice squads, he signed with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL. He has 44 tackles and 1 interception in four seasons with the Tiger Cats and the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

This was a pretty bad job of recruiting by Michigan in the 2007 class. I think Michael Williams had some promise, but he was far from being on the star track. His career ended after just over one season of actually playing. Chambers, on the other hand, never really showed that he could play and didn't even make much of an impact at Delta State. Ever since Jamar Adams left after the 2007 season, the Wolverines have had some pretty anonymous safety play, and the best performance came from walk-on Jordan Kovacs. I think it's safe to say that Michigan has really struggled recruiting safeties over the years.

Biggest miss: Nick Sukay. You didn't do a great job of identifying players to offer when Nick Sukay is your biggest miss, but that's how things went in the 2007 class. He had a few decent college seasons, and while the NFL hasn't worked out for him, I think the Wolverines could have used his help in the defensive backfield.

Biggest bust: Jerimy Finch. There are a lot of busts on this list, including Anthony Morris, who never played college ball at all. Several of these guys had off-the-field issues that derailed their careers. I'll call the biggest bust Finch, though, because he was such a highly rated safety. He was committed to Michigan, flipped to Florida, and then transferred to Indiana. He clearly suffered from an inability to make up his mind and stick to it, but he also seemed to have some ability that could have turned into an NFL career. Instead, he ran into trouble and cost himself the chance at perhaps millions of dollars.

Best in class: Eric Berry. Berry was Rivals' #1 cornerback and #3 player overall, but he was a safety at Tennessee and turned into an All-American, a Jim Thorpe Award winner, and first round pick. He made 241 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 14 interceptions (including 3 touchdowns) in three years in Knoxville. Injuries have been a problem in the NFL, but he has 289 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 8 interceptions (plus another 3 touchdowns) in five years after being drafted #5 overall in 2010 by the Kansas City Chiefs.


  1. Artis Chambers had his 2007 season cut short because of an academic issue. It was a major screw up by Michigan that could have led to the PSU game being forfeited.

  2. Please explain.