Thursday, February 14, 2013

Final TTB Ratings for 2013

Maurice Hurst, Jr. made the biggest leap in
the final TTB Ratings
Here are the finalized TTB Ratings for the class of 2013.  Discuss!

Derrick Green - RB - Richmond (VA) Hermitage: 92 95
The more I think about the offensive line Michigan is building, the more I think Green is going to have a very good career in a winged helmet.  He could very well be the starter by his sophomore year, if not as a freshman.

Dymonte Thomas - S - Alliance (OH) Marlington: 92 89
I'm downgrading Thomas because I don't know that he's an All-American candidate, which is what a 90+ grade entails.  I think he will still be a very good player and turn into an all-conference player as a strong safety.

Kyle Bosch - OG - Wheaton (IL) St. Francis: 88
I'm going to leave Bosch right where he is.  He looks like an excellent guard prospect, and I like his nastiness.

Shane Morris - QB - Warren (MI) De La Salle: 89 87
Morris still has all the physical schools he has ever had - strong arm, decent athleticism - and has shown with his recruiting that he has some leadership skills.  It just seems like he has some limitations on seeing the whole field and making good decisions.

Patrick Kugler - C - Wexford (PA) North Allegheny: 83 86
With a couple years between Jack Miller and Kugler, the latter should have at least a couple seasons as a starter.  I liked what I saw of him at the Under Armour All-American Game.

Chris Fox - OT - Parker (CO) Ponderosa: 90 85
Fox's ACL tear concerns me some. He's still a big body who's pretty athletic, but I fear that this injury might put him behind some of the other linemen to begin..

Jourdan Lewis - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: 86 84
Lewis isn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest recruit out there, but he shows good change of direction and ball skills.  I like him as a college cornerback, but he might be limited beyond that.

Jake Butt - TE - Pickerington (OH) North: 82
I'm leaving Butt right where he is. He's not a "next generation" tight end who can run really fast and jump really high, but he's a very solid prospect.  He should have no problem turning into a good blocker at the very least.

Ben Gedeon - LB - Hudson (OH) Hudson: 82 81
I still like Gedeon, but I have slightly more confidence in Butt as a prospect.  I like turning running backs into linebackers, and he has experience at both positions.

Da'Mario Jones - WR - Westland (MI) John Glenn: 79 81
As Michigan's passing offense improves and they can find more ways to get the ball to receivers, I like Jones's skill set more.  He's not an absolute blazer, but he offers a dimension of speed that some other recent receiver recruits lack.

Henry Poggi - DT - Baltimore (MI) Gilman: 81 79
Watching Poggi in the Under Armour All-American Game, I still think Poggi looks like a good prospect for the college level - he played very well - but I'm not sure he'll have the size or explosion to be a serious NFL prospect down the road.

Maurice Hurst, Jr. - DT - Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers: 73 78
I always liked Hurst's athleticism, but I like his energy, too.  After seeing his senior highlights and his performance in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl, I think he has some potential to be a pretty good player down the road.

Csont'e York - WR - Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy: 79 77
York's rating doesn't change much, but I have less confidence in him than Poggi.  He still has considerable upside because he can go up and get the ball, but he's not a dynamic athlete.

Taco Charlton - DE - Pickerington (OH) Central: 75 76
Charlton has the speed to stick at weakside end, but he keeps growing and growing. I wonder if at some point he might be too heavy to play WDE and end up as a strongside end. Considering some lacking technique, that could be troublesome.

Logan Tuley-Tillman - OT - Peoria (IL) Manual: 79 75
I'm downgrading Tuley-Tillman a little bit because he's so raw.  He's helped by the fact that he's the only left tackle prospect in this class, but it's tough to get a feel for him.  Pass protection is still a huge issue for him as he learns.

Mike McCray II - LB - Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison: 74
This seems to be a pretty good spot for McCray. It's unclear whether he'll finally end up at SAM or MIKE. He's a good athlete, but I have questions about his ability to read plays quickly.  I might be in favor of putting him at SAM, where he would be in a position to attack more often than having to read and react.

Channing Stribling - CB - Matthews (NC) Butler: 73
I thought about bumping up Stribling, but I just don't think I can do it.  He showed his ability to make plays in high school, but I just don't think he has the speed to be a dynamic player in college.  Most of Michigan's good corners over the past 15 years or so have been fast or at least quick, but I don't see that in Stribling.

David Dawson - OG - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: 67 71
I'm bumping Dawson up a little bit, because I think he could be a starter later in his career.  Anyone who becomes a starter with the way Michigan is recruiting has to be pretty good player, but I don't see a particularly high ceiling for him.

Delano Hill - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: 71 69
Hill has lots of physical talent, but if he were a great playmaker, he would have been rated higher by the recruiting services.  He seems to be a guy who could be a very good special teamer and earn spot duty in college, but he's a man without a position - is he a corner or a safety? - and there's talent at those spots already.

Wyatt Shallman - RB - Novi (MI) Catholic Central: 65
I think this is a pretty good spot for Shallman.  I don't think he will ever be a starter at running back, although he could be a factor at fullback or U-back in the future.  He also has the ability to contribute on defense, but Shallman and the coaches have been insistent that he'll play offense.

Ross Douglas - CB - Avon (OH) Avon: 63
Douglas was recruited to play slot corner, and when you combine that with his lack of great size, I think he's somewhat limited when projecting him beyond college.  I think he could be a solid slot corner in the same vein as Brandon Harrison.

DeVeon Smith - RB - Warren (OH) Howland: 63
I thought about bumping Smith up because I truly believe that Michigan will be putting together some good rushing seasons in the coming years because of the offensive line, and not totally because of the talent of the running backs.  I do not believe Smith has the speed to be a dynamic running back himself, but he might put up good numbers as a backup and perhaps eventual successor to Green.

Reon Dawson - CB - Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison: 62
Dawson does have some potential to outperform this ranking, but he's behind some of the other guys in technical prowess.  The speed and size are there.  It just depends on how it all comes together.

Khalid Hill - TE - Detroit (MI) East English Village: 68 60
Hill can fill a role on this team, but he has talent ahead of him and his lack of speed or size sort of limits his upside.

Dan Samuelson - OG - Plymouth (IN) Plymouth: 65 59
I think Samuelson will be a quality backup down the road, who could make a spot start and be fine.  However, I think he's someone who might get lost in the shuffle with the rest of the linemen Michigan is getting.

Jaron Dukes - WR - Columbus (OH) Marion Franklin: 70 58
Dukes didn't have a great senior season, and I already had questions about him going into the 2012 season.  He doesn't have great speed, and he doesn't look like a lithe athlete who can make up for that speed deficiency with acrobatics.

Scott Sypniewski - LS - Ottawa (IL) : Incomplete
I don't know enough about long snappers around the country to offer an opinion here.


  1. Based on your ratings, we have no capable CBs and WRs. Should we be concerned?

    1. I don't know where you get that. Lewis and Jones are both ranked in the 80's. I'm more concerned about WR than CB. I'm hoping the combination of Morris's recruiting profile and Speight's current recruiting efforts will help for the class of 2014.

  2. With Darboh, Chasson, Jehu, York and Damario Jones, followed up by Wilton Speight it's pretty obvious that the plan from this coaching staff is to post you up with a big downfield leaping type wide receiver and then put it up and away from your smaller and likely less physical CBs, fast or otherwise and then try to break a tackle and go.

    This of course after having hopefully hit them in the mouth a couple times with our big downhill running back having hopefully come through the occasional big hole untouched.

    This isn't the worst plan of all time. Our boy Shane will hopefully improve on his ball placement, accuracy and touch having learned that attempting to fit balls into tight spaces is mostly bad, regardless of the cannon you may be carrying around with you. In his defense, DLS doesn't/didn't exactly throw it around ..... ever.

    1. That does seem to be the plan (post up), but it seems dubious to me. How many jump balls a game do teams realistically throw? And how's that going to work when OSU's corners are all 6'1 or 6'2 also?

      I think this staff is really oriented towards grinding it out, converting 3rd downs with big targets, and keeping the D off the field. Which sounds great, if it works. I'd just like them to mix in a few more speedy playmakers into things.

    2. I don't really get the jump ball scenario, either. I don't know that I've seen any/many successful teams go for huge-ish, slow-ish wide receivers and have success consistently. The excellent passing attacks seem to have a bunch of fast guys or a nice combination of big guys and fast guys. So far Michigan's "fast" guys over the last couple classes consist of a couple sleepers in the form of Jones and Chesson.

    3. To be clear, while I don't think it's the worst idea I've ever heard, I'm not promoting this approach or even defending it. I'm just thinking that this is what I'm seeing coming down the road, particularly when I hear both Hoke and Big Al on signing day go on some about how this, that or the other kid can "go up and get it"

      Given the choice, I'm be looking for guys who can threaten seems deep and run "Air Raid" or Spread to Pass or something/anything other than F%^$#*&% I formation football.

      But now I'm repeating myself.

  3. I share your excitement about Green. With the offensive line Michigan is assembling, my scrawny ass could run for positive yards pretty consistently. Of course I probably could only go as quickly as the OL, but fear also does wonders. In all seriousness though, which recruit(s) do you think have the potential to greatly exceed your expectations provided they successfully address one or two deficiencies in their games?

    1. I think Taco Charlton, Logan Tuley-Tillman, DeVeon Smith, Maurice Hurst Jr., Mike McCray, Delano Hill, and Dan Samuelson could all exceed my expectations if the right confluence of events occurs.

  4. I slightly disagree with your rating of Stribling. I think he plays relatively quick, but he needs to add bulk to his lanky frame. I also think that your rating of Jourdan Lewis was kind of high considering I think his career will be similar to that of Terry Richardson.. who's future is still uncertain due to his size and run stopping abilities.

    1. I wouldn't sleep on Richardson. He's a small kid and would have benefited from a red-shirt but this is still the same guy Alabama and other elite teams were clamoring for. It may take him another year or two but he could still end up a sticky lock-down man-to-man corner. He has talent - even if he isn't starting till his senior year (with Countess and Taylor seemingly ahead of him), you need nickel and dime corners who can reliably cover - especially with all the spread teams out there.

      Some kids, especially kids who aren't going to all the clinics or getting high end coaching at the high school level, they can take a couple years to develop.

  5. You have Smith WAY too low. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he had more career yards than Green by the time he's finished here.

  6. I think your (and some of the services) rating of Smith is WAY too low. Looking at his film he just gets it done. I predict he has more career yards than Green by the time they are both done. A 95 vs 63 ratings difference between Green and Smith is way off.

  7. Nice post. I agree with most of it.

    It's probably the nature of predicting recruit performance, but every kid on here is either pegged as either a starter or a "good backup". If that comes to fruition, Michigan will be a pretty great team. For example, if Green is going to be a all-conference player it's unlikely Smith is an 'average starter'. In reality, 5-10 of these guys will be subject to attrition or career backups and special teamers.

    RB competition is typically especially challenging. I do agree that the '12 and '13 OL recruiting has been impressive, but it will probably take a couple more years for our RBs to really benefit. It's going to be a very inexperienced line in 2014 with a bunch of RS Freshman and RS Sophomores. If all goes well, things will really come together in Green's junior and senior years though.

    Based on your relatively low rank of Dawson it seems like he should be your most "overrated" recruit. I think he'll be a good one though - it's hard for me to see so many coaches/programs being wrong about him but it does happen. You tend to be skeptical of the Cass Tech kids.

    Samulson does seem like a low ceiling prospect, but OL are tough to predict. He sounds like a hard-working high-character kid who is sure to have a role. I think the coaches took him knowing that some of their other recruits might not pan out.

    I'm also more optimistic on both Hill kids.

    Dukes could end up a backup TE if he's as slow and nonathletic as you think.

    I'd also add that the NFL part of the criteria could really be dropped, IMO. Many kids (like Kovacs or Denard) can be fantastic college players without it translating to the next level. To a lesser extent kids like Hart and Molk this is true for too. They may not be Jake Long, but they have similar value at the college level. I'm thinking specifically about future H-backs/U-backs/FBs. In the Michigan system this is setting up to be an important player. I don't know if you have space for the Zack Novak/Vincent Smith/Kovacs types out who are difference-makers for teams but won't ever sniff the pros. I think there's a chance K.Hill is this type of player.

    1. If they're not NFL-caliber players, then they simply won't be ranked in those ranges. It doesn't mean they'll be bad players.

      Quite frankly, Kovacs and Denard are very good college players, but they may not deserve to be in the 90s or 100. They have some deficiencies (too many interceptions in Denard's case; not enough speed or pass coverage ability in Kovacs').

    2. Nobody is perfect but Denard was an all-american and all-conference player. Remember, he won conference offensive MVP - how's that not a 90+ by your scale? He broke all kinds of records, he dealt with a coaching and system change, went 11-2 his junior year and won a BCS bowl. His senior year he was a captain and the team was 6-2 before he got hurt. After that he just went ahead and sucked it up, changed positions, and helped the team. On a performance/production scale, you can't ask too much better from a recruit. On top of that he's a borderline icon who might have his jersey 'honored' one day.

      Denard's maybe not a perfect example of what I'm saying because he is going to get drafted into the NFL, but it's not hard to envision massively productive college players that are not NFL prospects due to physical limitations.

      Just seems to me theres going to be a significant number of kids who might be all-conference caliber players but don't fit for the NFL. College production and NFL draft status are weakly correlated.

    3. Denard would probably fit in the high 80's or low 90's range. I don't think a lot of kids at Michigan (and remember, these ratings are limited to Michigan players) are going to be excellent Big Ten players but fail to be NFL prospects. If you have a great deal of success at that level, you're going to get drafted.

      I'm not denying Denard's success or diminishing his accomplishments, but he was a unique player in a unique situation...and he wasn't all that great at his job. His job as a QUARTERBACK was to march his team down the field and score, and the offense failed too often, partly because of his turnovers, inaccuracy, and decision making. He is a great runner and nobody can say differently, but he didn't play running back. His position required more of him.

      If you put Denard in the MAC or Conference USA or something, then I could see the distinction you're making. "The kid destroyed the competition, even though he might not be a great fit for the NFL." But Big Ten players picked off too many of his passes and caused too many fumbles. Therefore, his ceiling is limited.

    4. Certainly with Rodriguez, the quarterbacks job was to run. I don't think that's up for dispute, and Denard did that very well. The job description did change to an extent under Hoke/Borges, but Denard remained successful. 16-4 as a starter under Hoke with losses coming against the #1 and #4 ranked teams (2012) and two tough conference road games (in 2011). 3,300 yards and 36 TDs in 2011, 4,200 yards and 32 TDs in 2010, then 'just' 2,500 yards in an injury-shortened 2012. His QB rating (i.e. passing) compares favorably against Chad Henne's.

      Yes, the limitations (turnovers/accuracy/injuries) are well documented, as are the struggles against elite defenses. But again, no player is perfect. Even our Heisman trophy winners had down games on occasion. I agree that Denard and his situation are unique, but that doesn't discount what he did. The offense was very productive with Denard at QB - the stats say so and so does the won-loss record. He had an excellent run.

      His draft position in the NFL is utterly beside the point. But back to that:

      I do agree that the correlation between NFL and college success is stronger at Michigan than most places because of the caliber of athlete and the style of play. HOWEVER, there are a few notable exceptions where 'the system' needs don't translate to the NFL. For example, the H-backs/FBs that I mentioned before, and the previous tendency to get short, stout, plugger types at DT. That used to be the norm for Michigan when Mattison was around. They never had the pro-style behemoths at NT/DT, they had guys like Will Carr and Jason Horn who just grinded, Terrence Taylor for the younger fans. This years DT recruits (Poggi and Hurst) seem like similar players. Can't say for sure yet, but they could have great careers without being picked up by the NFL.

      I think run-stopping strong safeties might be another non-NFL 'quirk' of the Michigan system. Bigger/slower RBs and WRs perhaps...we'll see. Michigan backs in years past, even the greats, haven't had much NFL success.

  8. Great work as always. I disagree on Mike Mccray. I saw him play in the state championship game and he laid some serious hits in that game. Not sure about his ability to read plays, but that seems like he could be taught by Mattison.

  9. Not sure I agree on Mike Mccary. Saw him play in the state championship game and he hits hard. Don't you think someone like Mattison could teach him how to read plays a little better? People who hit hard are few and far between.

  10. 1. Where do you think G. Connelly would have fit in, did we really miss on that?
    2. If Deveon blows up people will never let you hear the end of it.

    1. I think Conley and Lewis would have emerged as the two best corners in this class (for Michigan).

      If DeVeon blows up, I'll be fine with it. I'll be in no different of a spot than Rivals, Scout, etc. who have Green ranked significantly higher than Smith. No big deal.

  11. I really enjoy your assessments. As with anything in life I do have some disagreements. Khalid Hill will find a spot somewhere either at HB or FB. The guy is a matchup nightmare. He runs and catches the ball well. I thought he was the most underrated player in the class.

    I agree on Morris. I see Demetrius Brown in the respect that he has a fantastic arm but looks to be a turnover machine.