Ryan Jelley beat me to the punch, but I’d still like to offer my two cents on Michigan’s upcoming recruiting class.
The wide variety of opinions that form the basis of the information on Rivals.com and Scout.com are what gives those sites credibility, so why not have multiple voices on here?
- Information on scholarship offers and player heights and weights comes from Varsity Blue and Scout.
- My projected star ratings are purely speculative and based on what I’ve read and heard so far.
- Projected needs are ranked from Low to Moderate to High.
Anyway, down to the business at hand. As anyone who follows college football recruiting will tell you, it never ends. If coaches are not visiting prospects at their homes or hosting them on official visits, they are breaking down game tape and constantly revising their “wish lists.”
With a full year of establishing new contacts, forging relationships with high school coaches, and evaluating hundreds (maybe thousands) of players, Rich Rodriguez and his staff are firmly in command of the recruiting situation at Michigan.
After reading Ryan’s aforementioned article, I had to disagree with one point. He stated that Michigan’s 2010 class would probably be small, made up of 16 to 18 players.
After examining the depth chart, I see four scholarships currently open. With 13 players graduating after this upcoming season, the number becomes 17. Since three players from the 2008 class (Hill, McGuffie, Witherspoon) transferred, it would allow for three of this year’s early enrollees to be counted towards last year’s class. The rough total of open scholarships for 2010 then comes to 20, and that could increase if there is any attrition.
With that out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff: fawning over 17- and 18-year-old young men with prodigious athletic talent.
Need: Moderate (1-2)
Even with the signings of Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, there is still room to improve the depth of this position.
This past year, we all saw how difficult it was to sign multiple QBs, so for 2010, one commitment would be ideal, and two would be amazing.
Devin Gardner (6-4, 195 - Inkster, MI - 4*)
Robert Bolden (6-3, 190 - Orchard Lake, MI - 4*)
Christian Green (6-2, 190 - Tampa, FL - 4*)
Cornelius Jones (6-3, 185 - Spartanburg, SC - 3*)
Gardner is target numero uno. He and 2009 commitment WR Cameron Gordon took Inkster to this past year’s state championship game. It may be a two-horse (Michigan and Ohio State) race for his services.
Bolden is said to be faster than Gardner, but not as shifty and elusive. Christian Green is the cousin of former Michigan LB Sam Sword, a member of the 1997 National Championship team.
Another possible target may be Malik Stokes, the younger brother of 2009 commitment WR Je’Ron Stokes.
Need: Moderate to High (2-3)
With the trio of Minor, Brown, and Grady departing after this season, there is a strong need for multiple quality backs.
Lache Seastrunk (5-10, 180 - Temple, TX - 5*)
Austin White (5-11, 186 - Livonia, MI - 4*)
Brennan Clay (6-0, 190 - San Diego, CA - 4*)
Corey Brown (5-11, 170 - Springfield, PA - 4*)
Judging from who is graduating and who is being targeted, it’s pretty safe to say that Coach Rodriguez favors the smaller scatback types over the prototypical power runners that Michigan fans have become accustomed to over the past several decades.
Seastrunk is the best of the bunch. White is a local kid who will have to be persuaded to come to Ann Arbor rather than East Lansing. Clay is the former teammate of current QB Tate Forcier.
Need: Moderate (2-3)
Greg Matthews and LaTerryal Savoy graduate after this season, and Michigan already has two commitments from outside receivers to replace them.
Provided Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson stay committed, Rodriguez will probably look to add another slot receiver or two.
Ricardo Miller (6-3, 205 - Orlando, FL - 5*, Committed)
Jeremy Jackson (6-2, 175 - Ann Arbor, MI - 4*, Committed)
Chris Dunkley (5-10, 165 - Royal Palm Beach, FL - 4*)
DeJoshua Johnson (5-9, 150 - Pahokee, FL - 4*)
Miller may be the next player to wear the No. 1 jersey, and Jackson is the son of Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson.
Need: Low (1)
With four underclassmen on the roster, TE will not be a major recruiting priority for the second year in a row.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (6-7, 230 - Johnsburg, IL - 4*)
Greg Gainey (6-6, 210 - Trotwood, OH - 3*)
Need: Moderate (2-3)
There may be 17 scholarship linemen on the roster for 2009, but it’s always a good idea to grab two or three players at this position every year (build from the inside-out/beef up the trenches/standard football cliche').
Robert Crisp (6-8, 300 - Chapel Hill, NC - 5*)
Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 317 - Minneapolis, MN - 5*)
Matt James (6-7, 260 - Cincinnati, OH - 4*)
I’ll confess: I know absolutely nothing about any of these guys except for the fact that they are all very tall. Pulling Crisp away from Butch Davis and James away from Jim Tressel would be major coups.
Need: Moderate (2)
DT became a position of need after Pearlie Graves and DeQuinta Jones un-committed on Signing Day. Although Michigan only has four DTs on the roster for 2009, none are seniors.
Jay Guy (6-0, 315 - Aldine, TX - 4*)
Unfortunately, Michigan has only made an offer to one player at this position so far. Expect that to change in the upcoming weeks, as Rodriguez and his staff add more prospects to their board.
Need: Moderate (2)
DEs were needed badly in the 2009 class, and the coaching staff did not disappoint, signing Craig Roh and Anthony LaLota. With the departures of Brandon Graham and Adam Patterson, however, DE will again be a major area of focus for 2010.
William Gholston (6-7, 245 - Detroit, MI - 5*)
Darryl Baldwin (6-6, 245 - Solon, OH - 4*)
Derrick Bryant (6-4, 230 - Columbus, OH - 4*)
Gholston, the cousin of former Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston, is likely to be the top player in the state of Michigan in 2010.
Although there is still a long way to go, MSU appears to have the early edge, thanks to their track record of plucking talent from Detroit Southeastern H.S.
Snatching up Derrick Bryant from Tressel's backyard would be very satisfying.
Need: Moderate (2)
If Isaiah Bell and Mike Jones move from safety to LB, this position becomes less important for 2010. But for now, I’ll leave it as “Moderate.”
Austin Gray (6-2, 210 - Warren, MI - 4*)
Jordan Hicks (6-2, 200 - West Chester, OH - 4*)
It would be nice to pick up Gray after losing another instate LB, Chris Norman, to MSU in 2009.
Need: High (2-3)
I’m of the opinion that, with the four- and five-receiver sets and spread offenses that are so prevalent in modern college football, it’s always a good idea to grab a CB or two in every class. If Donovan Warren has a good season and decides to turn pro, the need goes from “High” to “Summit of Everest.”
Dior Mathis (5-9, 165 - Detroit, MI - 4*)
Lo Wood (5-11, 163 - Apopka, FL - 4*)
Cullen Christian (6-0, 175 - Pittsburgh, PA - 4*)
Mathis seems to be leaning towards Miami right now, but with several of his former Cass Tech teammates at Michigan, the Wolverines should be in the hunt for him right to the end. Wood is the former teammate (seeing a trend here?) of 2009 commitment WR Jeremy Gallon.
Need: Moderate (2)
As stated above, Isaiah Bell and Mike Jones could both play either safety or LB. Also, Justin Turner may grow into a safety, so it’s not clear what the need here will be. It is certain, however, that Michigan will be going after at least one very big fish.
Marvin Robinson (6-1, 195 - Eagle Lake, FL - 5*)
Marvin Robinson, a physical ball hawk who could play either safety position, has drawn comparisons to former Miami standout Sean Taylor. Reported to be good friends with commitment Ricardo Miller, Michigan has a great shot to land this guy.
The rumor is that he would be a commitment already, if not for his high school coach, who bleeds scarlet and gray.
Bottom line: Robinson is a lock to be a five-star player and the competition for him will be fierce. If the Wolverines were to land him, he would likely be the top-rated player and crown jewel of the class.
And, last but not least, Coach Rod also has the unenviable task of trying to find a replacement for the best punter in school history, Zoltan Mesko.
Overall, the 2010 class should turn out to be dynamite: Top-ten across the board, top-five if there were a few more scholarships available.
My prediction: One year from now, Michigan fans will be smiling.