Michigan received Letters of Intent from 27 new football recruits on February 3, 2010. This is the largest football recruiting class in Michigan history. The consensus of Rivals (20), Scout (12), ESPN (14), MaxPreps-Lemming (10) and other rating services show that the Wolverines landed one of the top 12 classes in the nation. Michigan ranked 2nd in the Big Ten behind Penn State, and had no decommitments this year while gaining 5 decommitments from other schools so we have to conclude that this was a very successful recruiting year for football. Including Walk-ons, we have 32 new players, and 12 are considered 4 Star.
|Michigan commitment||Position||Scout 300||State||Rivals 250||ESPNU 150||Max Prep 100||All Star|
Michigan needed to create more competition of high quality players at several positions to improve the position. The top player in the class, Devin Gardner, is a five star quarterback and showed his skills at the Elite 11 quarterback camp as well as the All-American High School Football game. We also recruited Conelius Jones, a solid athletic quarterback from South Carolina who is a team player willing to play wide receiver or safety if needed. We now have 4 scholarship players at quarterback for the first time since Coach Rod took over December, 2007 so Spring practice will be very interesting with 3 of those 4 players participating: Forcier, Robinson and Gardner. At running back, we recruited two solid players: Stephen Hopkins and Austin White. Along with returning players: Vincent Smith, Fitzgerald Touissaint, Mike Cox, Kelvin Grady and Mike Shaw, we will have 7 tailbacks competing in the Spring with Teric Jones moving to the position. Smith had surgery after the knee injury against Ohio State so hopefully he'll be back in the Fall. The Spring competition at these two positions should improve both positions. We also recruited six wide receivers who will increase the competition at four wide receiver positions: Slot, Two Outside Receivers and Tight End. Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson where the two highest rated receivers, but we also added Drew Dileo for the Slot position and D.J. Williamson, Coach Fred Jackson's son, Jeremy Jackson, and 3 star walk-on Banquer Sayed. With four returning starters at these positions, Roy Roundtreee, Kevin Koger, J.R. Hemingway and Daryl Stonum, backups Martavious Odoms plus redshirts JeRon Stokes and Jeremy Gallon, it should make for an interesting competition this Spring. Coach Dews has told recruits that the coaching staff plans to play 6 wide receivers. Each of the 6 skill positions will feature at least 3 or 4 quality players who are competing for playing time and a starting position. We only signed one offensive lineman, Christian Pace and he enrolled in January. The five offensive line positions will feature 4 returning starters and 20 total players competing for playing time. Stephen Schilling will return to start at tackle or guard for his 4th year in a row. Patrick Omameh will return to start at either guard or tackle. Three redshirts, Quinton Washington, Taylor Lewan and Mike Schofield will compete for starting positions along with returning starters Perry Dorenstein, John Ferrara and Mark Huyge. Sophomore Eligibility Backups Rocko Khoury, Ricky Barnum and Elliot Mealer will also press for playing time. The competition will be interesting. My prediction is that Schilling will move to Left Tackle to open the Left Guard position to Quinton Washington. Dorenstein will battle Huyge, Lewan and Schofield for the Right Tackle position and Omameh will return to start at Right Guard. Offensively, we did a great job recruiting with the only criticism being that we may have added one more offensive lineman, but hopefully we may add more linemen in 2011.
We really closed well on defense landing 16 of 27 commitments. This really finally showed that the coaching staff recognizes that we must prioritize defense. We have 4 new defensive linemen, Richard Ash, Jibreel Black, Terry Talbott and Kenny Wilkins. While we expect three of these new recruits to redshirt, we also expect one to contribute immediately at Defensive End. The competition between Jibreel Black and Kenny Wilkins in Summer Camp will be interesting. Ryan VanBergen and Mike Martin are returning starters and Will Campbell will also be hard to keep off the field. Most Michigan fans believe VanBergen will move to Defensive End, this will allow Martin and Campbell to start at the other two positions, Nose and Defensive Tackle. 5th year Defensive Tackle Greg Banks will also vie for playing time along with backups Renaldo Sagesse and Redshirt Anthony Lolata. At Linebacker, we have a new Outsife Linebackers Coach, Adam Braithwaite who was promoted from staff assistant. Coach Robinson will coach the inside linebackers. Our weakest link in 2009 was linebacker so our schemes and personnel will be under the microscope and scrutinized by our coaching staff as well as by our opponents who exploited us in 2009. The five linebacking recruits we added are Josh Furman, Antonio Kinard, Jordan Paskorz, Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan. It is expected that Furman will play the Outside-SAM linebacker, Rogers and Paskorz will be Quick Linebackers and both Kinnard and Ryan will be an Inside-WILL Linebackers. Kinard still needs to pass the Ohio Graduation Test to be eligible in September. If there is a criticism of our defensive recruiting, it is that we didn't acquire an inside MIKE linebacker for the middle. Obi Ezeh returns at MIKE along with J.B. Fitzgerald and Walk-on Mike Leach. It is rumored that Senior Kirk Moundros may move to MIKE Linebacker this Spring since the Power Back position is deemphasized in the spread offense, and because he knows the position so well after playing there so long. At WILL Linebacker, Starter Jonas Mouton returns along with Sophomores Kenny Demens, Mike Jones and Redshirt Isaiah Bell. Quick Linebacker Craig Roh could move inside giving Brandon Herron a chance to start. Coach Rod has said that the linebacking group needs to play better "in space" so the emphasis this Spring on defense will be to shore up this huge problem. None of the new recruits enrolled early so Spring ball will give the holdovers a chance to establish themselves; thus, all five recruits may be looking at redshirting unless they really impress this Summer. One must say that we probably did the best job recruiting in the defensive backfield. We recruited 7 players in the backfield, 4 defensive backs: Courtney Avery, Cullen Christian, Demar Dorsey and Terrence Talbott. Many Michigan fans have already written in Cullen Christian and Demar Dorsey as potential cornerback starters with the loss of Donovan Warren to the NFL. Freshman Redshirt, J.T. Turner, Sophomore J.T. Floyd and Junior James Rogers will also compete at cornerback for playing time. The three new safeties are Carvin Johnson, Marvin Robinson and Ray Vinopal. Troy Wolfolk will start somewhere in the backfield, but beyond that, every position is open. None of these recruits enrolled in January so Summer competition will be interesting. It is expected that Redshirt Freshman J.T. Turner will also start somewhere. Redshirt Wide Receiver Cameron Gordon has moved to Free Safety to battle Junior Michael Williams and Freshman Redshirt Thomas Gordon. Could newcomers Marvin Robinson or Carvin Johnson win the position? It certainly is possible, both have great talent. At strong safety, Walk-on starter Jordan Kovacs will have to fend off Redshirt Freshman Vladimir Emilien along with both Gordon's, Vinopal, Jared Van Slyke and all the others mentioned above.
We will have a new punter and placekicker in 2010, and we recruited Will Hagerup to be our punter so he is expected to start in 2010. The placekicker position is up for grabs with Redshirt Freshmen Brendon Gibbons and Kris Pauloski as the two leading candidates. Bryan Wright will return for his senior year to handle kickoffs, but Redshirt Freshman Eddie Murray, Seth Broekhoesen and new walk-on Jeremy Ross will also be competing for kickoff and placekicker positions. Wright is also the backup punter. The snapper position should continue to be Tom Pomarico with competition from Jared Glanda, Curt Graman and George Morales. Our Punting Flyers will probably be cornerback players like Zach Johnson and James Rogers as in 2009. Our punt returns will feature J.R. Hemingway, Martavious Odoms, but also Redshirt Freshman Jeremy Gallon and True Freshman Drew Dileo. Our kickoff returner will probably continue to be Daryl Stonum. Special teams is a place where newcomers including walk-ons may secure playing time.
Ohio State is the returning Big Ten Champ, and has beat us now 8 years in a row; they have plenty of talent, great coaching and they'll be hosting us in Columbus in 2010 so you have to like their chances to repeat as Big Ten Champs with Terrell Pryor at Quarterback and return to a BCS Bowl. Wisconsin will have a solid team returning although they did not have a great recruiting year. Many are picking Wisconsin in the Top 20 and some even in the Top 10. Michigan State beat us in our own state again dominating with 7 of the Top 20 recruits compared to our 4 of the Top 20, but their overall class wasn't as good as ours; however, they did finish in the Top 30 nationally. Penn State, Iowa and Northwestern are solid returning teams, and Penn State had a Top 10 recruiting year. Michigan was considered to be the 2nd best class in the Big Ten, Ohio State was third, Michigan State 4th, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota has possibly Top 40 or 50 classes. Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern are now the Top 6 football programs in the Big 10. In the Bottom 5, it is a dogfight for respect between us, Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois. Last year, we beat one of these and lost two; in 2010, we must will all three to gain some semblence of respect since we will be hard pressed to win against the Top 6. We didn't play Minnesota or Northwestern in 2009, and won't play them again this season so we must beat Purdue, Indiana and Illinois and hopefully win one or two of the games against five of the Top 6 Big Ten teams we play: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan State. We play Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa at home. If we win at least three of our four non-conference games and four Big Ten games, we finish 7-5 or better and earn a bowl game. We play 7 games at home, 3 games in Indiana (Notre Dame, Indiana and Purdue), 1 game in Pennsylvania (Penn State) and 1 game in Ohio (Ohio State).
2010 is a season where we must emphasize defense, and improve dramatically. Coach Rod did a good job recruiting and emphasizing defensive recruiting with 16 new defensive recruits; now, the coaches and players must re-group, adjust and improve on the defensive side of the ball if we are to be a competitive football team that has a winning record and earns a bowl game.