Michigan Football Recruiting: How Losses Affect the 2012 Class

Matthew HansenCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2011

Je'Ron Stokes is one of 3 players to leave the program this week. How will their departures affect recruiting?
Je'Ron Stokes is one of 3 players to leave the program this week. How will their departures affect recruiting?

After a blazing start to the 2012 Recruiting Class, Brady Hoke and the Wolverines have slowed down and become more selective with their final 5–6 spots. The quick start has filled critical needs and added tremendous quality on both sides of the ball, resulting in the No. 2 class in the nation. By doing both of those things with the 22 current verbal commitments, the staff has afforded itself the right be selective with who they round out the class with.

The number of commitments for the 2012 Class has been set at 26 for quite some time now, but that number could expand with the recent departures of freshman guard Tony Posada and junior wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes (more on that here). It’s possible that those scholarships could result in a class size of 27 or 28, but I think 27 is probably the biggest this class will get to short of a “5-Star” type talent wanting to call Ann Arbor home down the stretch.

Posada’s exit certainly hurts an already thin offensive line group particularly at guard, but Posada always felt like a reach. When he showed up 40 pounds above his playing weight, it was easy to see that he wasn’t committed to playing football.

Essentially, Posada’s departure solidifies that Michigan must take a sixth offensive lineman in this class, which was already the plan.

5Q Top 100 offensive lineman Jordan Diamond is still the most like candidate to take the spot, especially with Adam Bisnowaty leaving Michigan out of his most recent “Top 2.” Diamond wanted to extend his time line, which could have led him on the outside looking in, but right now it would appear that the staff will be OK with him taking a little more time.

Je'Ron Stokes leaves a bigger hole behind than Posada, however. He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup and make an impact the way many expected. But he could have helped next year with the departure of Junior Hemingway and Daryl Stonum’s future in question.

Many people didn’t realize the great need for wide receivers in this class, but I have been trying to point it out since this class got rolling. With Stokes leaving, I don’t see any way they can avoid taking two receivers in this class.

The good news is that they are in good shape for guys like Amara Darboh, Monty Madaris and Jordan Payton. These guys are all very solid receivers, but I am not convinced they will be the impact receiver that they really need. Losing out on Aaron Burbridge due to grade issues could come back to hurt Wolverines. He is a dynamic player, but they simply could not take the chance on him not qualifying.

Payton is highly rated, but you can expect him to drop out of the next 5Q Top 100. He just has progressed like I expected since his sophomore year, and he may have just hit his potential early on. I still think he would be a nice addition to this class, but not the Top 100 type player who many expect.

Amara Darboh is the most likely to commit soon as he has a visit scheduled for the Western Michigan game on Sept. 3. The most telling part of that visit is that it is the first game of the season, and he has no plans for any other visits at this time. Michigan will try to close the deal before schools like Notre Dame get their chance to steal him away. Darboh is my favorite of the trio listed above, with a 6’3” frame and great hands. He reminds me of another Iowan—Adrian Arrington.

If the Wolverines find their superstar receiver in this class, it will likely be 5-Star Stefon Diggs. Diggs is a phenomenal talent and has given some indication to former teammate and current Wolverine Blake Countess that he would seriously consider becoming a Wolverine if the staff pursued him a little harder. Diggs has a few off-the-field issues as well, however. Until those get cleared up, Michigan will likely not pursue Diggs as hard as they normally would a player of his caliber.

Two more open spots will help in the recruitment of another couple of players who Michigan fans should be familiar with as well. Both DT Danny O’Brien and CB Yuri Wright have high interest in the Wolverines but extended timelines.

I think the staff would take Danny O’Brien if he wanted to come regardless of when he decides, and a couple of more open scholarships will only make that easier.

Yuri Wright and current CB commitment Terry Richardson will be linked in their recruitments throughout the rest of the process. Terry Richardson continues to indicate that he would like to take visits, and the staff isn’t exactly thrilled with that idea. In fact, they basically consider it a decommitment.

Richardson hasn’t scheduled any visits as of yet. But if he does, expect Michigan to turn up the heat on Wright. Wright currently lists Cal and Rutgers as his top schools, but Michigan is still in the mix. He has previously stated that Michigan is his “dream school.” If they get him on campus and the staff has a chance to play him a few Charles Woodson highlights, expect the recruitment to escalate quickly.

Here’s how I see the rest of the class playing out:

  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Offensive Lineman
  • 1 Defensive Tackle
  • 1 Running Back

Having said that, I think they have a little bit of room to play with outside the two receivers and one more lineman.

The defensive tackle spot is for Danny O’Brien only. At this point, the running back slot seems to be reserved for Bri’onte Dunn. If those two guys go elsewhere, I think they will have a couple of scholarships that good go to other positions.

Ending with a few quick notes:

  • Kyle Kalis rumors have begun to boil up about him decommiting and heading back down to Columbus. These will probably continue until signing day, but don't expect anything to come of it. Kyle is a Wolverine. He loves the school and coaches.
  • With the departure of freshman TE Chris Barnett, Michigan may revisit the recruitment of TE Ron Thompson out of Detroit. They really like his potential. He could be one to watch during the next few weeks.

For up-to-date info on the Michigan Recruiting Class follow the Michigan Football Recruiting Board.

Check out my website, www.5thQuartersports.com, which features this story along with other articles and reports on college and other major sports. You can also follow me on Twitter for real-time updates on recruiting and other breaking news, @5thQuarterMatt.