Thursday, 19 January 2012

ESPN updates prospect rankings

Firstly, I know a lot of you don't like ESPN, probably because of their apparent bias to the SEC. But with six national titles in a row, its certainly feasible to say that recruits in the south east are at least on average, better. States like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana are consistently putting top players into the college game and the pros - and this is why ESPN tends to rate them higher. Better competition in high school produces better players.

Fortunately for Michigan, and other Midwest programs, the talent in Ohio and Michigan this year has been at a very high level, and this is reflected in Michigan's class ranking, which currently lies at #7. Anyway, without further ado, let's see where UM's commits and targets line up.

ESPN 150 Members:
CB Terry Richardson - 4* (81), #68 overall, #5 CB
OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone - 4* (80), #113 overall, #9 OLB
OG Kyle Kalis - 4* (80), #132 overall, #10 OG
MLB Joe Bolden - 4* (80), #142 overall, #5 MLB

Outside ESPN 150:
DT Ondre Pipkins - 4* (80), #16 DT
DE Chris Wormley - 4* (80), #16 DE
TE Devin Funchess - 4* (80), #5 TE
MLB James Ross - 4* (80), #8 MLB
S Jarrod Wilson - 4* (80), #13 S
DE Mario Ojemudia - 4* (80), #20 DE
OT Erik Magnuson - 4* (79), #27 OT

OT Ben Braden - 3* (79), #50 OT
DT Matt Godin - 3* (79), #32 DT
WR Jehu Chesson - 3* (79), #58 WR
OT Blake Bars - 3* (79), #54 OT
DE Tom Strobel - 3* (78), #61 DE
OG Caleb Stacey - 3* (78), #35 OG
MLB Kaleb Ringer - 3* (78), #23 MLB
WR Amara Darboh - 3* (78), #82 WR
TE A.J Williams - 3* (77), #36 TE
S Jeremy Clark - 3* (76), #52 S
S Allen Gant - 3* (75)
FB Siona Houma - 2* (74), #4 FB
RB Drake Johnson - 2* (72), #161 RB

The good:

Right now, you may be fuming at a couple of snubs whilst cursing that perceived ESPN bias. Personally, I don't think it's that bad. Let's start off with the positives. Terry Richardson is still rated very highly despite his size, which tells us they think he's a really good cover guy.

Joe Bolden made a leap up into the ESPN 150 after his good showing at the Under Armor game, and Ondre Pipkins made a big jump (3 rating points) up to a four star prospect. He probably should be in the 150, but clearly the analysts have found something they don't like.

The bad:

James Ross is one of the top commits in the class, I'm telling you right now. He's underrated here for sure, and it's probably just because of his size. Tom Strobel is also lower than expected, considering scout has him as a top 100 guy. There are other commits that should be higher too.

The ugly:

Drake Johnson a two star (72)? This is harsh for a guy that put up great numbers and has incredible speed. Whether he goes on to have a great UM career or not, he's better than that rating suggests.

Are there really 81 WRs better than Amara Darboh? No, there aren't.

This is still a positive set of results, you must take into consideration that ESPN gives harsher grades than the other sites. For example they've only handed out 11 five stars this year. Personally I like this, a 5* player should be something special, someone that is ready to dominate at the next level almost immediately. 

As fans we naturally assume that the site that gives our recruits the best ratings, is the best 'ranker'. I bet a few of you will be thinking right now that is the best, and maybe they are. But maybe its because they have many of our commits ranked in the top 100. I use ESPN rankings for this site because they give the most detailed evaluations of commits (i.e a long description of their strengths and weaknesses).

The Targets:
Josh Garnett is rated as a four star prospect (#42 overall, 82 rating) and the #3 OG in the nation. This would obviously be a great pickup if we can land him, as it would help push us up the rankings.

Armani Reeves is a four star prospect (80 rating), and he's listed as the #23 ATH in the class.

Sam Grant is a three star prospect, with a 78 rating.


  1. Great breakdown, Benji. I think you have to look at all the rankings, taking the good with the bad. However, it's hard to argue that Pipkins isn't a top 100 or top 50 player, let alone top 150 - they missed here. And, I worry that ESPN overly favors the Under Armor commits, because of the marketing/TV deal.

  2. Did anyone else hear that Jordan Payton cancelled his in-home with Hoke tonight?

  3. ESPN probably does favor Under Armor players, just like rivals favors Army players.

    It'll be a Washington-Cal race for Payton now. I think we'll really struggle to bring in a decent 3rd WR. Looks like Madaris won't visit.

  4. ESPN simply hates the Big Ten but will probably be all over O$U because Urban came from an SEC program previously... I dont even pay attention to the ESPN recruiting news.

    And, no I did not hear about Payton. As far as I know, the in-home is still on. If not Payton, do we somehow make a late push for Stefon Diggs?????????

  5. While all of this is certainly fun stuff to follow, we can't let any of it get to us, the only numbers that matter are the ones each team has at the end of a game. I think it's great some of these guys are getting dissed, more motivation to prove everyone wrong. Great job Benji, GO BLUE!!!

  6. Garnett is clearly the top prospect. If we add him, we are in good shape. It would be interesting to see the contingency recruits that Michigan has lined up in case out primary targets commit elsewhere.

  7. Jordan payton just wants attention and michigan fans shouldn't give it to him

  8. I hope and expect Hoke's recruiting philosophy is similar to that of Bo's..go after recruits that are excellent athletes, but focus on the character and work ethic most. This pays dividends in the long run.

  9. I am hoping Pipkins will use his low rating to motivate himself. To me it does not matter to me where UM finishes in the ranking the only thing that matters is wins and loses. Texas always ranks high in the recruiting polls and they have not turned that into wins.

    I am so done with the Payton drama. I would be happy to have him in this class. But I don't know if he is worth all the drama?

  10. UM fans believe Garnett is a UM lock and that may or may not be. I think Stanford is going to be tuff to beat out for Garnett. Lets say Garnett picks Stanford and Kozan and Diamond go somewhere else. Will UM pass on taking another O linemen? I also do not believe that UM will be getting Reeves, Grant, Wright(dodged a bullet on him), Patyon or Madaris. So if UM can't get these player will UM bank the rest of the scolarships or take some lower rated recruits?

    I believe UM will get either Garnett or Diamond in the end. As for the rest I don't know who else is interested in UM that we have not talked about.

  11. I'm all for banking all but 1, Garnett, we can put them to good use next year. As long as we finish top 10 we're good. We can hang with any team givin recruiting like that.

    '13's going to be a blast!! I don't see us taking 10-12 linemen, 5 linebackers, it's going to be a great skill positions year. I don't see how '13 can be anything but a top 5-10 class. We gotta be #1 as of now. Haha

  12. It's off topic but I would like to see hoke bring back pride stickers for the helmets. What do u guys think?

  13. I like the sticker. But the winged helmets are the best helmet in football. So I say leave the stickers to the Luckeyes.

  14. yea, bring back the pride stickers

  15. Cameron Burrows gives his verbal to Ohio.

  16. I never cared for ESPN recruiting and lately broadcasting. Their bias is not just for the SEC they are biased against the Big Ten. Ever since the Big Ten Network has come out ESPN's bias has been more and more apparent. I do believe some of our recruits would be ranked much higher with them if they were going to non B1G schools. To me it seems like ESPN goes out of it's way to dog every school in the Big Ten. OSU will not have their wrath now but if Meyer can not get a BCS win very soon it will be because the Big Ten has dragged him down.

    I will guess at who we end up with but will probably be way off. I think we get Diamond. His buddy is here and from my understanding they are pretty tight. Plus being from Illinois I hope he ends up at UM.
    Grant I think will come here also. I did not know much about him before but everything I can find says he'll be a good player.
    Garnett I hope we land. From everything I have read it seams like he will go blue.
    Outside of these three I am truly not sure. Maybe Payton, Reese or someone else. I'd really like to see another top player. I'd also like to see a schollie or 2 banked for the next year

    Do we have another scholarship now? Do we have 5 or 4 left open?

  17. Oh BTW I didn't like the pride stickers before and hope they do not come back. It is one thing on a plain helmet but on our winged helmet it just looks tacky. If it is going to be "THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM" There is really no room for individual pride stickers.

    1. Definitely. I think it is tacky. Good players know they're good, they don't need to rub your face in it. Leave individual showboating to Ohio.

  18. Benji you should really look into Rivals, in my opinion they are spot on with their analysis and their rankings are always changing. Not to mention I really do not believe in ESPN's 5 star system. Out of all the outstanding athletes and recruits in the country you really think there are only an elite 11. I think Rivals has hit the 5 star system spot on, seeing as they are constantly evaluating and do not have a problem having a few kids losing/gaining their 5th stars. For example, Andrus Peat played like shit at Under Armour yet ESPN still keeps him at 5 stars because of their TV deal. Also take a look at a kid like Sammy Watkins who was a 4 star all year on Rivals until they saw him at the AAA bowl. They realized this kid needs a 5th due to his ability to make an immediate impact. Next thing you know, he is the Freshman of the year.

  19. well for what I have seen on a Hostpph site, sometimes those rankings some kind of relative, and I do not know if I can rely on them anymore