Friday, November 14, 2008

Seniors: Those Who Stayed Weren't Champions, but maybe they Should've been

Tomorrow, the seniors on the worst Michigan team in over 40 years will run through the tunnel into Michigan Stadium for the last time.

Four years ago, this is not exactly what the 6th ranked recruiting class of 2005 (and those left from the 5th ranked recruiting class of 2004) had in mind.

In 2004 and 2005, many had thought Lloyd Carr and company had put together perhaps their best back to back recruiting classes in Lloyd's tenure. Those from the 2004 class whose eligibility ended after 2007 (Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Jake Long, Jamar Adams), despite their disappointing '07 campaign had largely proven their #5 class ranking, producing Michigan's all-time leading passer and rusher, and the #1 overall NFL pick in Jake Long.

Four years ago, those who saw the 2005 incoming class, certainly wouldn't have predicted those seniors to go 3-7 with a loss to Toledo among the seven losses. But nevertheless, that is where they are.

While most point to Rodriguez's transition as the cause for this disappointing end to the '05 classes career, another look at what has happened to the class, prior to Rodriguez even arriving shows that this senior class is only 1/3 of the class that should be on the field.

Here is the list of players from the 2004 and 2005 recruiting classes who would have been eligible for a fifth year this season and their resulting fates leading up to this season. Anyone who is a fourth year junior from that '05 class was removed from the list. In bold are the players who are actually still here.

2004 Recruiting Class-5th in the Nation by Rivals.com
Roger Allison RB/FB 3 stars---Career Ending Neck injury prior to 2005 season
Adrian Arrington WR 4 stars---Entered Draft Early
Keston Cheathem WR 3 stars---TRANSFER to Oregon State prior to 2005 season
Jeremy Ciulla OL 3 stars---Realized he had no future in football and didn’t come back after coaching change
Doug Dutch WR 4 stars---Disappointing Underachieving Career/Special Teams guy
Brett Gallimore OL/DL 4 stars---Never played much---Got Degree in ’07 and moved on with his life
Tim Jamison DE 4 stars---Good Defensive End and Starter
Will Johnson DT 4 stars---Starter
Max Martin RB 4 stars---TRANSFER to Alabama prior to 2006 then to Alabama A&M
Mike Massey DE/TE 4 stars---Mediocre to Bad Tight End
Alex Mitchell OL 4 stars---Didn’t come back for fifth year with coaching change
Chris Rogers LB 4 stars---TRANSFER to Penn State prior to 2006 season
Charles Stewart DB 3 stars---Decent to Not so Good Safety
John Thompson LB 3 stars---Decent to Not so good Linebacker
Morgan Trent WR/DB 4 stars---Good Cornerback (eventually)
Marques Walton DT 2 stars---TRANSFER to Southern Illinois prior to 2007 season
2005 Recruiting Class-6th in the Nation by Rivals.com
Antonio Bass ATH 4 stars---career ending injury
Jason Forcier QB 3 stars---TRANSFER to Stanford
Eugene Germany DE 4 stars---Kicked off Team for Fight incident in 2007-TRANSFER to Arizona State
Brandon Harrison DB 4 stars---Mediocre safety/nickelback
Brandon Logan LB 3 stars---never played significantly
Mario Manningham WR 4 stars---Entered Draft Early
James McKinney DT 4 stars---TRANSFER to Louisville
Chris McLaurin DE/TE 3 stars---Off team prior to this season/injury? staying on Medical Scholarship
Chris Richards ATH 3 stars---Kicked off team after Fight incident in 2007/Never played significantly
Justin Schifano OL 4 stars---Never played-Left Team b/c didn’t enjoy football anymore
Johnny Sears DB 3 stars---Idiot---Kicked off team in 2007
Mister Simpson RB 3 stars---TRANSFER to Cincy
Marques Slocum DT 4 stars---Kicked off team prior to 2008 season
Terrance Taylor DT 4 stars---Great player

Breakdown:
30 Players to Start With MINUS:

3 Career Ending Injuries (Bass of course hurts big time)
11 Kicked off the team AND/OR Transfers (All of which happened under Lloyd Carr, except for Slocum)
2 Early Draft Entries
4 Decided to move on with their lives and stop playing football (All O-LINEMEN)

With that we are left with just:
10 SENIORS (eligibility wise) after starting with 30 potential seniors

There are 8 fourth year guys (from the '05 class) with another year of eligibility none of which are good enough for the draft (Carson Butler DE, Andre Criswell DE, Kevin Grady RB, Tim McAvoy OL, Zoltan Mesko P, David Moosman OL, Laterryal Savoy WR, and Cory Zirbel OL).

Usually any recruiting class will see some considerable attrition from signing day to the start of their senior year. But from 30 guys who would be in their last year of eligibility to just 10?

Of the 16 players from the '04 class that would be seniors eligibility wise this season, we are left with just 7, 2 of which are Doug Dutch and Mike Massey who hardly have played this year.
Somehow 9 players from the '04 class, more than half the number of who should be in their final year, are gone.

Of the 14 players from the 2005 class who, barring injuries, would be in their final year of eligibility this season, we are left with 3, one of which has been good/great in Terrance Taylor, one mediocre to bad in Brandon Harrison, and one who never plays in Brandon Logan.
Somehow 11 players from the 2005 class who should be on the field this year, are gone. (There were 22 players in the entire class of 2005 so half the class defected)

Sidenote: Before you morons who are already anti-Rodriguez blame him, if you notice, only one player was kicked off the team by Rodriguez and that was the ever-troubling Marques Slocum. Out of the other four who decided not to come back for a senior season, Brett Gallimore and Justin Schifano were flat out ready to move on with their lives regardless of the coaching situation (neither every played and the latter seemed uninterested during his career). It could be argued that Ciulla and Mitchell didn't like Rodriguez and therefore didn't return. And that is only a possibility as neither have come out dissing on Rodriguez or anything. So out of the 20 potential seniors who are now off the team, only two COULD HAVE been due to a disagreement with RichRod.

Although recruiting rankings are flawed, if you are going to judge whether this senior class under/overperformed base on their ranking as a class (which was 6th for the '05 class according to rivals) we might as well judge the talent of the players by what they were rated out of high school.
11 four-star players who would be seniors this year, were lost to team at some point. That's a lot of talent that never really got a chance to develop.

And now we are left with these guys for the senior class:
Terrance Taylor DT
Brandon Harrison DB
Brandon Logan LB/Special Teams

Adding transfer:
Austin Panter LB
5th Year Seniors:
Morgan Trent DB
John Thompson LB
Charles Stewart DB
Mike Massey TE
Will Johnson DE
Tim Jamison DE
Doug Dutch Special Teams

Adding walk-ons:
Shakir Edwards Special Teams
Jason Gingell K
Sean Griffin LS
K.C. Lopata K


That's fifteen players in their last year of eligibility, five of them walk-ons or transfers, and of the ones who are actually from the recruiting classes, only 3 never developed into a big time contributor (Dutch, Logan, and Massey).

For a senior class of just 10 players who were actively recruited out of high school, seven starters is not bad at all. Sure Charles Stewart and John Thompson have not been very good this year, but you have to wonder if Michigan would have ever had to count on them if 20 players hadn't defected from the class.

While this year has been terrible, the seniors who stayed are not to blame. They were caught up in a class that had more attrition than most teams will ever see in a senior class. If they were still surrounded by even 5-10 of the guys who came in with them but are now gone, this senior class probably would have a couple more wins to their credit and still be in the hunt for a bowl game.

But only 1/3 of those who would be seniors this year have stayed. And when they take the field Saturday, no matter what happens in the game, I'll appreciate the fact that they not only stayed with their final year occurring in transition, but I'll commend them for having to watch 2/3 of the guys they came in with disappear.

The record still stands at a terrible 3-7, but when those 15 seniors run through the tunnel on Saturday, I'll be applauding.

Those who stayed certainly weren't champions. But, had that class not seen the unprecedented amount of attrition they did, they certainly would have had a better shot.

20 comments:

tbliggins said...

"There are 8 fourth year guys (from the '05 class) with another year of eligibility none of which are good enough for the draft "

Do you feel comfortable going on record saying that Zoltan is not good enough for the draft? I hope you know how to evade mind bullets, sir.

Anonymous said...

Punters dont get drafted...and those jobs are harder to get than starting QB's.

Rushi said...

Yeah I agree with both of you...I didn't mean to say Zoltan wasn't good enough but I kind of didn't mention it because punters don't get drafted especially early

Stu said...

great post. well researched. I'm impressed. Go Blue!!!

Thunder said...

Brandon Harrison has not been "mediocre to bad." He's actually done pretty well for being a corner/safety tweener. The kid's been getting significant playing time since he was a sophomore.

Anonymous said...

They are still champions because not only were they fortunate enough to play football in the Big House for 4+ years, they have also received a free education at one of the most prestigious and well respected universities in the country.

Enforcer said...

According to MGoBlog, McGuffie is leaving the team. Life is really sucking right now

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