Sunday, March 18, 2012

How will the recent departures affect Michigan in 2012?

Darryl Stonum is Michigan's biggest off-season loss
Several football players have left Michigan's program this offseason, including four announced departures during Friday's spring practice press conference.  Here I'll rank the departures from most important to least:

WR Darryl Stonum: Stonum was booted out of the program for yet another run-in with the law.  He had several alcohol-related offenses throughout his college career and was suspended for the entirety of the 2011 season, which would have been his senior year.  Instead, he took a "redshirt year" and everyone hoped he would mature and jump back into a starting role for 2012.  In 2010 he had 49 receptions for 633 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He probably could have approximated those numbers again in 2012 because he would have been the most proven and most physically talented wide receiver on the roster.  The Wolverines lost Junior Hemingway, Martavious Odoms, and Kelvin Grady to graduation, who combined for 46 receptions, 908 yards, and 7 touchdowns.  Now the top two wideouts going into 2012 seem to be the 5'8" Jeremy Gallon (31 receptions, 453 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Roy Roundtree (19 receptions, 355 yards, 2 touchdowns).  The loss of Stonum will hurt Michigan significantly.

C Rocko Khoury: Khoury was considered to be in the mix for the starting center job in 2012.  He had been the top backup at the position for the past two seasons, and with David Molk's graduation, there was an opening.  Most of the buzz this offseason indicated that Ricky Barnum was the front-runner for the position, and perhaps that was because the coaches knew for a while that Khoury would not return.  I would be interested to know why Khoury is done at Michigan.  Did he burn out?  Did he assume he would lose the battle with Khoury?  Will he continue his career elsewhere?  The answers to those questions are unclear.  It is clear, however, that the Wolverines are dangerously thin at center now.  Barnum - who has a history of getting injured -  is practically guaranteed to start at center, and the backup is redshirt freshman Jack Miller, who was listed at 263 lbs. last season.  Other options are Elliott Mealer, who has played guard and tackle in his career and taken some practice; walk-on Joey Burzynski; or one of the true freshmen, although none of them was expected to play center when recruited.  Considering Barnum's injury history, one or more backups are practically guaranteed to play at some point.

WR Terrence Robinson: Robinson was a virtual non-factor as a wide receiver (1 reception for 43 yards in 2010), but he turned into a bit of a special teams coverage demon in 2011.  He made a total of 6 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery on punt and kickoff coverage teams.  Some insiders believed that he even had a good shot at contributing on offense, based on comments that some of the coaches had made.  Robinson's role can likely be filled on special teams, however, and history suggests that any offensive output would probably have been minimal.

RB Michael Cox: Cox contributed very little in Michigan's 11-2 season last fall; the most he did was return a couple short kickoffs.  He had 19 career carries for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, most of which came in 2009.  While Cox gave flashes that he might have been the most physically talented running back on the roster, rumors persisted that he struggled to learn the playbook and had some attitude issues.  He did play very well whenever he got a chance to show his skills, but all indications seemed to be that he would be see only limited duty again in 2012.  Of the six players listed here, Cox is the only one who has announced plans to continue his career elsewhere; he will transfer to UMass and play football for the upcoming season.

LB Isaiah Bell: Bell had been moored to the bench for the last three seasons.  He was likely destined to continue that role as a benchwarmer, and his departure should have virtually no effect on the team.

LS George Morales: Much like Bell, Morales hadn't seen the field yet in his career.  The Wolverines have a couple long snappers already on the roster, one of whom (Jareth Glanda) won the starting short snapper job last season for field goals and extra points; there are also a couple kids entering school as part of the 2012 class who might be able to help if needed.


  1. Are you that confident that Bryant will start? It seems to me the position battle on OL boils down to Bryant (at LG) vs Miller (at C) and Barnum will play wherever is leftover.

    Interesting that Mealer, who some fans were ready to get rid of to open a scholarship, is now pretty likely to be an important contributor. Seems like he'll be 3rd string at about every position.

    I'd be willing to be the '13 class ends up at 24 or 25.

    1. Mealer is 3rd string at every position? Who is 2nd string? Do you honestly feel Mealer is 11th best OL on our roster? Next year there are 11 scholarship linemen on the roster, 4 of them being freshmen. You think all 4 freshmen are going to beat out 5th year senior Mealer for the two deep? Or maybe a handful of walk-ons? You seem like an educated fan.

    2. That's not how it works. I think Mealer will be the 8th best linemen on the team.

      The top back-up along the interior line will probably be whoever loses the 5th starter job between Miller and Bryant. The top backup at tackle will be Kalis. I think Mealer will fall behind those two in the pecking order, making him the 3rd option at every individual position.

    3. I'm not extremely confident that Bryant will start. I think Mealer will get the first shot because he's a senior, and because Bryant isn't perfect. But I do think Bryant will be a better player in the long run. It's just a matter of whether now is that time.

      I think Mealer could very likely be the primary backup at both tackle and guard, kind of like Schofield was this past year.

  2. Going to be interesting to see where Khoury and Robinson end up.

  3. Just to clarify, none of these departures affect the size of the 2013 class except Isiah Bell, who most were likely already counting toward the predicted 20-21 spots.

  4. I think the coaches have planned to keep Miller and Bryant at C permanently, i.e., no more flirting with OG for Barnum. They will have enough pieces with Bryant, Omameh, Mealer and possibly Kalis or one of the other freshmen at OG.

    I have been arguing the last few months with people who felt Khoury had a chance at C. Despite all of the coachspeak you hear about competition and players having chances, Funk was unusually candid about Khoury not being a starter-level talent before the season. I don't think he was ever able to put on the bulk needed to compensate for his height.

    Regarding Cox, he had the physical skills but not the mental. More so than not knowing plays, the guy was constantly missing holes and bouncing as if he were Barry Sanders, instead of getting N/S. If you put Troussaint's instincts on him, you would have had a great player.