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Recruiting Positions of Need

Coming into the 2009 recruiting season, the biggest need for Rich Rodriguez was the quarterback position. With a few QBs on the 2008 roster, but only one being a dual-threat who is capable of running his system effectively, he needed to get at least one run-pass signal caller, and preferably more. With a highly-ranked QB in Kevin Newsome, and now a second player in Shavodrick Beaver, the quarterback position is solidified, and it could become a strength if Tate Forcier were to become a Wolverine as well. Coming into the Michigan job, Roriguez also needed several slot receivers, and has seemingly recruited 7,000 of them in his time as a headman in Ann Arbor.

So with issue #1 taken care of, what is left?

The most pressing need becomes defensive ends. While most Michigan fans were banking on Detroit King's Nick Perry to become a Wolverine, Perry had plans of his own, turning to the more attractive depth chart at USC. This left Michigan with slim pickins behind their starters, one of whom (Tim Jamison) is graduating, and the other (Brandon Graham) a potential early entry candidate for the NFL. Michigan will need players to fill this void, and as of right now, it doesn't seem like they have a ton of great options.

The next main issue that needs to be addressed is the entire defensive backfield, but particularly safety (when was the last time Michigan landed a bigtime safety?). Isaiah Bell is a pretty speedy guy at safety (he returns kicks for his high school team), and if he doesn't bulk up and become a linebacker, he can hopefully maintain his speed in the backfield. Justin Turner can either be a very speedy safety, or a pretty big corner (for now, I think he is more likely to stay at corner).

The biggest need once safety is addressed is (finally) something on offense. The line has been hit hard by graduation and defections. Though there is a large class coming in, Rich Rodriguez has said he likes to have 16 O-linemen on the roster, and there are currently only 14, which leaves room for 2, and possibly more if Rich Rodriguez can land some top guys.

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“Recruiting Positions of Need”

  1. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    How does the class look so far compared to most years at this point?

  2. Blogger Max Says:

    "...doesn't seem like they..." Come on Tim, tighten things up here. No time for off-season scattermindedness.

    RJ, at roughly this point in recent years (Stars are per Scout):

    '03 - No commits (First was 4-star Jake Long on July 10, 2004)

    '04 - 4-star (WR) Morgan Trent committed in February 2003. After that, the first big push was in mid-June, when the Wolverines got verbals from 4-stars Max Martin, Will Johnson, and Roger Allison; 3-stars Chris Rogers, Charles Stewart, and Mike Hart.

    '05 - September 2003 commit from 5-star Kevin Grady. As of May 11, 2004, commits included Grady; 4-stars Justin Schifano, Mario Manningham, and Laterryal Savoy.

    '06 - As of May 13, 2007, commits included 5-stars Brandon Graham and Justin Boren.

    '07 - As of May 5, 2006, commits included 5-star Ryan Mallet; 4-stars Vince Helmuth, Ryan Van Bergen, Martell Webb; 3-star Artis Chambers.

    '08 - As of May 17, 2007, commits included 5-star Boubacar Cissoko; 4-stars Dann O'Neill, Elliot Mealer, and Kurt Wermers.

    As I never followed recruiting very closely until the '08 class, I can't speak to the need-filling qualities of the respective classes. However, on the basis of ratings and size alone, this year's 2009 class looks to be way ahead of the standard Michigan recruiting curve. The 2007 class is the only one that seems to contend with 2009 for the distinction of best-assembled as of early-mid May. I suppose an argument could potentially made for the 2008 class as well.

    Something moderately interesting: of the 4 5-star recruits who have committed early in recent years, 2 have transferred (Justin Boren and Ryan Mallett out of the two and Kevin Grady, Brandon Graham).