Michigan Recruiting: Rodriguez Scores Big Without Terrelle Pryor

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IFebruary 9, 2008

He didn’t nail down that big time recruit, or bring in that flashy prospect to top off his recruiting class.

Well, for the time being.

However, Rich Rodriguez’s first recruiting class at Michigan was extremely successful, with or without Terrelle Pryor.

Would the addition of Pryor certainly help?

Considering he didn’t get another quarterback, absolutely. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

But if Pryor takes his business elsewhere, Michigan will be fine without him.


Star of the Class: Darryl Stonum

Stonum is a 6’3” wide receiver from the state of Texas that Rodriguez thinks will be an impact player. Stonum is just one of the many players from Texas that Michigan hopes can contribute next year.

He has the size and the speed to create after the catch and with the loss of Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington he could step right in and contribute. He graduated high school early and has already enrolled at Michigan.

Stonum is ranked as the 14th receiver in the nation by ESPN, and the seventh receiver by Rivals.com.

He runs clean routes and is a legitimate vertical threat, which is great news for a team that lost their two biggest vertical threats to the draft.


Three Big Steals

Ricky Barnum(OG) – Rivals 5th Center, ESPN 4th Guard

Roy Roundtree(WR) – Rivals 44th Wide Receiver, ESPN 104th Wide Receiver

Michael Shaw(RB) – Rivals 7th Running Back, ESPN 77th Running Back

Barnum, Roundtree, and Shaw are three signing day steals by Rodriguez and the Wolverines. Barnum was set on Florida, Roundtree with Purdue and Shaw with Penn State.

Then as soon as those teams turned their heads around, Coach Rodriguez swooped in and picked them up.

Something to note about all three is that they were recruited by West Virginia, in all likelihood when Rodriguez was still around.

Barnum is probably the best of the bunch, while Roundtree and Shaw being equally important because it weakens other Big Ten teams.

Ricky Barnum can play guard or center, and with the Wolverines losing some lineman, and installing a new system, he has the measurable and versatility to slide right in.

While he lacks the size that most linemen do, he makes up for it in strength.

Shaw and Roundtree bring speed to the team. Both have 4.4 forty times listed on Rivals and both will be going into competition for positions that lost their starters. Interestingly enough, both are former teammates from Madison High School in Trotwood, Ohio.

Shaw will remind a lot of Michigan fans of Mike Hart. He is a little bigger but the same bruising demeanor about moving the chains and gaining yards.

Roundtree might not make an immediate impact at receiver, but could see time as a kick returner because of his playmaking abilities with the football.


Defensive Backs

Boubacar Cissoko (DB) - Rivals 4th Corner, ESPN 24th Corner

Brandon Smith (DB) - Rivals 11th Safety, ESPN 75th Athlete

Cissoko and Smith are total opposites. Cissoko is a small quick corner who makes up for his size with heart and determination. Smith is a larger safety who is a very solid tackler.

Boubacar might be just fine where he is now, but Smith’s size and lack of quickness might force him to move to linebacker. His sure handed tackling and high motor play might fit best there in the end.


Offensive Threats

Brandon Moore - Rivals 8th Tight End, ESPN 6th Tight End

Terrence Robinson - Rivals 9th Running Back, ESPN 18th Athlete

Brandon Moore is the prototypical big target tight end that can catch the ball. His blocking game needs refining but his size and movement makes him a strong candidate to be a huge addition in the red zone offense. 

Terrence Robinson ,on the other hand, could be a poor man’s Reggie Bush. He has the ability to play both running back and slot receiver and was actually a quarterback in high school.

When it comes down to it, these could be two future studs at Michigan. Moore has the ability to be one of the best tight ends in the nation, and Robinson has the skills and versatility to be that everything man that some programs desire.


Linebackers Galore

Kenny Demens (OLB) -  Rivals 23rd Outside Linebacker, ESPN 35th Athlete

J.B Fitzgerald (OLB) - Rivals 18th Outside Linebacker, ESPN 14th Outside Linebacker

Taylor Hill (OLB) - Rivals 21st  Outside Linebacker, ESPN 70th Outside Linebacker

Marcus Witherspoon (OLB) - Rivals 20th Outside Linebacker, ESPN 23rd Outside Linebacker

Miami probably had the best day when it came to nailing down big time linebackers, but Michigan was right there with them in terms of roping them in.

Fitzgerald and Witherspoon are apart of the New Jersey movement that over took this year’s class. Fitzgerald brings size and speed and his play in small space might make him a favorite to play in the stack defense.

Witherspoon can rush the passer well. One thing about this group of linebackers is that they all bring different skills to the table.

Taylor Hill comes from my neck of the woods and is no stranger to power house teams. He played for the juggernaut Cardinal Mooney Cardinals of Youngstown, Ohio. Mooney has won plenty of State Championships with defense and the running game.

Demens might be the most intriguing prospect of the bunch. He has skills that could put him on either side of the ball, at linebacker or fullback. Certainly the ability to play fullback gives the staff flexibility on what to do with this tackling machine.


McGuffie Resists Change

McGuffie was the early gem of the Michigan recruiting class way before the regular season even ended. When Rodriguez retained running back’s coach Fred Jackson, it was almost a given McGuffie would stay true to his commitment.

However McGuffie was having some last second thoughts and considering Cal as signing day neared and he took an official visit.

But through it all, McGuffie who was one of Michigan’s first commitments was one of the last ones to make it official. He ended up signing with Michigan, sticking with his commitment and all the other prospects he helped bring in.

McGuffie is a home run hitter like any other. The YouTube marvel hurdles over defenders and hits the hole with unbelievable bursts of speed and strength. When he gets past the first line of defense, he is a nightmare to handle.



There are plenty of other big time talents in this Michigan class that haven’t even been mentioned. Mike Martin and Dan O’Neill figure to be two trench monsters that will make a big impact. Some even think O’Neill will make Jake Long a distant memory and regard him as Michigan’s best 2008 prospect.

Martin is a defensive tackle staying instate to help create holes for all those linebackers that were brought in.

Kevin Koger is a two way athlete that could end up at defensive end or tight end and offensive line prospects Kurt Wermers and Elliot Mealer look to contribute as well.

J.T. Floyd and Patrick Omameh are two lower rated prospects that scouts feel could end up being big contributors. Omameh was wiped right out of rival territory in Columbus and Floyd could be a dynamic defensive back down the road.

So even if he doesn’t pull in Terrelle Pryor, Rich Rodriguez can rest easy. His first class coming into Ann Arbor is full of speed, potential and high ratings.

In the end, one person doesn’t make a team, and in this case one five star talent doesn’t make a class.

But 17 four stars do.


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