Michigan Wolverines Football: Breaking Down the 2009 Class

Ryan Senior Writer ISeptember 18, 2008

With the commitment of DE Anthony Lalota, the pending commitment of DE Craig Roh, all the junk with DT Will Campbell and the Kevin Newsome drama, Michigan's 2009 recruiting class has changed it's look a bit. I'm going to break down the current crop of commits, what impact they may have as Wolverines and what lies ahead for the rest of recruiting.



CA Tate Forcier & TX Shavodrick Beaver. Note: Beaver may or may not have gained an extra star for having the best name in the class.  I'll have to look into this.

So, ok, first thing's first. Kevin Newsome is gone.  Big deal? Maybe.  He's got a ton of talent and could potentially be Donovan McNabb.  Then again, he has to work on his mechanics and accuracy so he could end up being Tavares Jackson.  He left because Rich Rod's style of offense isn't an NFL machine. Torches and pitch-forks and all that.

So where does his departure leave Michigan? Well, thankfully, Tate Forcier was still hot and heavy on M while Newsome was still in house.  Not longer after big Kev's departure, Tate signed on.  We lost a potential super-duper star, but we gained a very mobile, extremely accurate quarterback who is not much of a step down.  That worked fine.

Beaver, meanwhile, is Newsome lite.  Smaller than Newsome, the Beav is still quick as hell and has tons of potential. Hopefully, coaching will do him wonders.

M is still recruiting four-star FL Eugene Smith, apparently.  I don't see M landing him with two QB's in tow, but stranger things have happened. Would rather see them land an OL or a high-quality DB or LB, but it wouldn't be terrible.

So what does this mean in terms of on-field stuff? Well, with the somewhat emergence of Steven Threet as a legitimate collegiate quarterback, Force can presumably come in next year, redshirt and learn the offense before hopefully starting in 2010 with the Beav improving and keeping Force and Threet on their toes.


Running back/Slot

FL Jeremy Gallon, FL Vincent Smith, OH Fitzgerald Toussant, MI Teric Jones

So, apparently, Rich Rod loves these little dreaded, electron-sized guys who can disappear at the snap of your fingers. See: Odoms, Martavious; Shaw, Michael.  Gallon & Smith are your standard "three-stars because I could squish them with my shoe" guys.  Not much is known about Teric other than his name is awesome and that he and Beav should be close pals.

Then there's Toussant. Originally thought of as a throw-in of sorts with Liberty OH teammate Isaiah Bell (more on him later), Toussant has been showing signs of making a huge climb up the rankings ladder.  Signs like 843 yards rushing in four games. Oh, and touchdowns. Like, a lot of them. If he maintains this pace, he should be a high four-star, potentially a five. So, that's pretty good, right?

Michigan is always looking at tiny, electron sized dreadheads, so you never know who could be next. I would hope that this is it and the attention goes elsewhere. 

All could be contributors either in the slot or in a back-by-committee role, with "Slayer of Worlds" Fitzgerald Toussant as a potential star. Depth isn't an issue here with these guys being added to McGuffie, Shaw, etc.  Feeling good here.


Wide Receiver

MN Bryce McNeal & TX DeWayne Peace.  Not an area of urgent need and I suspect this will be it for wide receivers not named Shaquille Evans.

Peace is your standard three-star recruit, decent size and speed, could see another position or be a permanent special teamer.  Very meh about this one, but there are bound to be a few of those in most classes.

McNeal, on the other hand, is a four-star top 250 player for Scout and a top 100 for Rivals.  Good size (6'2") and wheels, he appears to be in the Mario Manningham mold. Hopefully, he left out the "drop everything over the middle" and "admit to smoking pot" parts out. One of the only true outside receivers on the roster, he should be a star at M.

Peace won't have much of an impact but McNeal could be a breakout star by his Sophomore season.  I expect him to either see limited, but tantalizing, action his freshman year before busting out the following fall. Very excited about McNeal.


Offensive Line

IL Michael Schofield & NJ Anthony Lalota.  Lalota will be in both offensive line and defensive line sections as he's one on Scout and one on Rivals.

Schofield is a big, mobile guy and exactly what Rich Rod likes in his offensive lline. Obviously needs to add size, but once he's been Barwis-ized, he could be beastly. 

I doubt Lalota sees the offensive line unless he shows that he is secretly Jake Long back on campus and incognito. He's raw but incredibly talented. Again, expect to see him on the d-line.

One real commit (Schofield) is a bit troubling, but M graduates no one from the line next year and will have several from 2008 (Dan O'Neill, Ricky Barnum and so on).  Would like to see Rich Rod add at least one more, though again, it's not incredibly dire.

M is still hard after Brennan Williams, though he seems like a long shot. Expect, if any, a relatively unknonw three-star to fill out the ranks. 


Defensive Line

MI William Campbell, LA Dequinta Jones, NJ Anthony Lalota, AZ Craig Roh.  Yes, I know Campbell has technically de-committed. He's still with M, trust me on this.  Roh is an assumption. Hopefully, I'm not kicking myself later tonight.

Campbell is like..woah.  A potentially dominant tackle and a guy who could see a good amount of time next year.  Definitely a tremendous pick-up for the line assuming he doesn't tank and become Gabe Watson.

Jones is a relative unknown and, though listed as an end, projects to tackle with his frame. Solid things, when said, have come out about him and his offer sheet (TCU, Bama, Arkansas) is decent. Hopefully, a bit more soon.

Lalota is nice pickup.  A nice, shiny four-star with tons of talent and fills a huge need. Ditto for Roh.

This could potentially be your front four in two-three years.  All will no doubt be broken down and built back up by Barwis.  Once successfully Barwis-ized, this could be a dominant unit.  I think I just peed a little.

Once (assuming again) Roh commits, this should be it. A great haul overall, filling needs and bringing in quality talent.



FL Brandin Hawthorne & IN Jordan Barnes.  Rod, or whoever does the defensive recruiting, seems to like these smaller, quick linebackers.

Hawthorne has received rave reviews for his intensity, hustle and speed.  Obvious issues of him being englufed are a problem, but those will be addressed in due time I'm sure. Ditto for Barnes.

I'd like to see one more added here, but we could potentially have four linebacker types in the class, depending what happens with safeties Mike Jones and Isaiah Bell. Not terrible, considering Obi Ezeh and just about everyone else is back next year.

This is probably it, though I wouldn't be surprised to see another addition here.  Hawthorne is the potential impact player of the group, though redshirts are imminent.

Edit: Michigan is said to be a favorite for 5-star MD LB Jelani Jenkins.  He has a visit planned and hopefully, once on campus, Rich Rod will sell him hard on snake oil, over-powering Jelani's mind with his wizard hat.

Defensive Back

OH JT Turner, OH Isaiah Bell & FL Mike Jones. Commence with lame references to famous rappers.

Turner is a potential standout corner and appears to be the only "sure thing" of the group. Universal four-star and top 100 player on the rankings sites. Expect spot duty next year before seizing a starting spot in 2010.

Bell and Jones are both LB/S hybrids and could end up in either spot. I expect at least one to be bulked up and moved to linebacker. Hopefully Bell will make noise like his Liberty teammate, Fitzgerald Touissant, has already this year.

Probably set for the '09 class, but one more solid addition will no doubt be welcomed. Unless it's a four or five-star, I expect this to be closed off.


Special Teams

TX K Anthony Fera. He keek ball far.

One of the few kickers to get a third star from the services, he earned an offer the hard way. Expect him to take over by 2010 and keek teh ball far.

Obviously, no way in hell does another K/P/Long Snapper/Water Boy get offered here, rendering this one closed.

So what does this mean overall?  Lots of quick little buggers, for one. Two, end has been shored up and the defensive line can potentially have continued dominance through 2012 if the cards fall correctly.

Linebacker is something I'd like to see addressed with a bit more than small guys who run fast. Offensive line is a pretty big concern still, though no one we bring in is going to make the kind of impact that will affect the current line.


Michigan only has a few more scholarships to go around. Hopefully, Evans (mentioned above) is one of those who commits late and we can add an offensive lineman or two. Overall, tremendous class with lots of talent.  Once Barwis works his magic, we could see great results.


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