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Mailbag: Recruiting

This edition of the mailbag will cover some of the e-mails people sent while I was gone. This time, it will be the ones related to recruiting.

Tom asks:
In the past week it was announced that Virginia Tech is pulling a scholarship offer from a QB recruit over some legal problems the kid was having. Prior to Newsome declaring his intent to Michigan, he was pretty much considered “in the bag” at VT. So, my question is, how strong a verbal is he to us ?? Can/will we lose him ??
And I have gotten other people asking similar versions of this question, such as this one from penst8grad:
Ignore the email address, lifelong Wolverine fan here. Couldn't afford the out of state tuition.

Local Penn State homer radio network is reporting that Newsome is having second thoughts and is going to visit schools. They honestly think they have a pretty good shot at him.

Do you know anything about this?
As far as the Penn State angle, I would take anything Nittany Lion homers say with a grain of salt. They have a major Michigan complex, and taking a QB committed to Michigan is something that many Penn State fans would have wet dreams about. It seems like something spoken out of hope rather than reality.

Overall, however, I can't speak (other than from logic) on this situation. Since I've been out of the loop for three weeks, this is the most comprehensive answer I can give at this time. If something has developed since I left, I will certainly update the situation.

Fans were worried when there were rumblings from Virginia that Kevin Newsome might consider reneging on his verbal commitment because he wanted Rich Rodriguez to accept fewer quarterbacks. Many took this to mean that he was opposed to the commitment of Shavodrick Beaver, but since it has become clear that Michigan does not intend to take a third quarterback, the noise has quieted down.

Virginia Tech would have taken Newsome over the QB commit that they already had either way. He is one of the top-rated QBs in the country. He picked Michigan based on factors other than QBs coming in the class with him. Depth chart (VT may be redshirting Tyrod Taylor this year, making Newsome a year further away from getting on the field), education (VT is… a decent but not elite school), and coaching style (Michigan’s spread seems to be tailor-made for Newsome) all played a role.

Kevin Newsome seemed entirely confident in his choice of schools, and has not ever mentioned that he wants to take other visits. Another good sign is the fact that he has been recruiting other players for the 2009 class. It appears as though Newsome is quite solid. Unless something dramatic happens between Newsome and the Michigan coaching staff, expect to see Kevin on campus come January.

Commenter Thruline asks:
What's up with Iowa? They were able to get quality players much more readily in times past.
Iowa had a few of pretty good recruiting classes around 2002-2005. The reasons this isn’t happening anymore are many:
  1. Competition. When Iowa was reeling in top classes, Illinois was a bad program with a bad coach. Notre Dame was being run into the ground by Ty Willingham. While neither Ron Zook nor Charlie Weis is a gret football coach, both are excellent recruiters (and are trying to build better staffs to make up for their inadequacies on the field). Iowa’s good classes came mostly from Chicago’s top players when there was almost nobody to fight against for them. Now, there are two better options for recruits, and Iowa has to pick up the leftovers from the Illini and Irish.
  2. Iowa’s case is also a textbook example of poor results on the field leading to worse recruiting returns off it. Iowa won back-to-back-to-back shares of the big ten title in ’02-’04, and this is when they were pulling down all the top guys. These teams succeeded with sleepers, overachievers, and the occasional top prospect. Since the more highly-ranked players have come in, Iowa has wasted their talent by underperforming on the field, and getting in tons of trouble off it. Top recruits simply don’t want to take on the risk of plying their trade in Iowa City.
I would expect that Iowa will continue to get middle of the pack recruiting classes in the Big Ten, but they will have to start performing better in order to regain footing among the elite recruiting teams in the country.

And frequent e-mailer RJ wonders:
I was wondering how you determine a player's ceiling
(In asking this question, RJ is referring to my posts about the ceilings and floors of the past two Michigan recruiting classes (2007) (2008)). Of course, like almost everything in recruiting, determining a player’s ceiling (maximum potential) is entirely subjective, as is determining the floor (minimum potential), though the floor is a little easier to determine based on polish and high school performance.

The ceiling is essentially based on a player’s untapped potential. Measurables are a pretty good indicator of possible ceiling levels. If a player runs a 4.4 forty, but had the same high school production as a player with a 4.7 forty, they have the same floor, but the faster player probably has the higher ceiling. A quarterback with a very strong arm but bad mechanics has a higher ceiling but lower floor than one with good mechanics and questionable arm strength.

In the end, it’s pretty much all guesswork, putting together all the limited clues we have about how a player might perform in college, and trying to determine actual college production.

Thanks for the good questions, everyone, and don't hesitate to ask more.

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“Mailbag: Recruiting”

  1. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    So Toney Clemons has a pretty high ceiling because of his height and 40...The things that can't really be improve much.

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    Yeah... If Toney Clemons and a player who was 5-11 had similar high school production, and comparable measurements in every other respect, Clemons's ceiling would be considered higher because there is more potential with a 6-4 guy than a shorter one.