Post-spring Summary: Offensive Backs

With spring practice finally concluded, it’s time to start looking at the team for 2008. First, the depth chart, then recruiting needs.

QB Speed RB Power RB MX
Threet (fFr) Brown (Jr) Minor (Jr)
Grady (rJr)
Moundros (rSo)
Sheridan (W – rSo) Horn (rFr) Helmuth (So)
Cone (rSo)

Here in the fall:
Justin Feagin (QB), Sam McGuffie & Michael Shaw (Speed back), Mike Cox (Power back). Feagin will almost definitely play a big role on this team, with McGuffie and Shaw getting PT as well. Look for a redshirt out of Cox.

With the new offense, things are going to get a bit confusing, because there will be some definite overlap between speed backs and slot receivers, and they currently occupy different position groups in these handy charts.

Anyway, Michigan loses nobody from this position group to graduation, though there may be some possibility for early entry (an RB that has a huge year – which isn’t all that likely) or other attrition (such as a Cone transfer). This means that the need is somewhat limited in recruiting. Michigan will need 2 quarterbacks, both dual-threat, and preferably have one of them enroll for the winter semester. They can always use more speedy guys, especially since they can double as slot receivers. It is unlikely that there will be a need for bigger running backs or fullbacks.

Class of ’09 Dual-Threat QBs
Name Measurables Rating Hometown School Offer? Timetable Player Notes Recruiting Notes
Kevin Newsome 6-3, 215, 4.40 **** Chesapeake, VA Western Branch Offer Early Enroll He has been described as Tebow-like, but I’d think he probably has more speed, as he is an indoor track all-american in 60m hurdles. More track. Many consider VT the favorite for Newsome, especially with Tajh Boyd committing to WVU. If he wants to be a Mountaineer, he won’t play QB.
Eugene Smith 6-3, 180, 4.65 **** Miramar, FL Miramar Offer His dad went to Miami of Florida. He is considered more of a pro-style QB. Rodriguez has made it clear that Florida will be a big priority for new-UM recruiting. Not clear how badly he’ll want Smith, however.
Morgan Newton 6-5, 205, 4.50 **** Carmel, IN Carmel He is the apparent star of his high school basketball team, which also includes Michigan signee Stu Douglass. He is a fast pro-style(ish) guy who can run if pressured. Many Michigan fans really like this guy. He could be a fallback or 2nd QB (less suited for the Rodriguez offense). Notre Dame is on him as well.
Aaron Murray 6-2, 200 **** Tampa, FL H.H. Plant Early enroll White guy who is turning from a passing runner into a passer with good mobility. Florida is widely considered the favorite, and Murray is a lot like their current starter (Tebow). Michigan expects to recruit Florida well under Rich Rod. Elite 11 participant.
Tate Forcier 6-1, 190, 4.63 **** San Diego, CA Scripps Ranch Offer Post-unofficials (summer) decision, early enrollment Former Wolverine Jason Forcier (loved the school, didn’t get along with Scot Loeffler, and is now at Stanford) is his brother, and is
encouraging Tate to look at Michigan.
PSU and Oregon listed as favorites?
Shavodrick Beaver 6-4, 200, 4.5 **** Wichita Falls, TX Rider Springs Offer Pre-season His team may play no ESPN2 this fall. Speddy, shifty guy who has good mechanics. He was ready to commit (to TCU) until he got a Michigan offer. When an offer from a particular school changes your whole paradigm, there’s a good chance they’re among your favorites.
Donavan Tate 6-3, 195 **** Cartersville, GA Cartersville Offer HS QB/DB. His Michigan offer is actually as a QB. He is a baseball prospect as well, who wants to do both in college. All of his other schools have offered him at safety.
Jordan Luallen 6-3, 187, 4.75 **** Greenwood, IN Center Grove A white boy who is slower than IU’s Kellen Lewis, but still compares himself to the IU signal-caller. His high school runs the Wing-T. He is also a track athlete. IU really likes Luallen. Georgia is his favorite, despite no offer. He is swinging through the Peach State this weekend.
Clayton Moore 6-2, 205 *** Louisville, MS Louisville Maybe early enroll Passer who can run. He is also a baseball prospect who may opt for that route instead. He was a 2nd team all state 2007 selection according to the Clarion Ledger. Michigan’s Mississippi presence has increased greatly with the addition of coach Hopson.
Kolby Gray 6-2, 180, 4.58 *** Houston, TX Cy-Falls Threw for 222 yards in the McGuffie ESPN2 game. He carries his HS team. He bout to blow up, ya’ll. So far, mostly smaller offers.
Thomas Gordon 6-0, 170 *** Detroit, MI Cass Tech Could be a depth player if Michigan gets a super QB, or move to a different position, etc. At least one of his teammates will be heading to Ann Arbor. He is probably Michigan’s if they want him.
Darwin Rogers 6-4, 205 *** Chicago, IL Leo He was hurt most of his junior year, and can really climb up the board with combine/camp performances. His class at Leo HS appears to have a lot of D1 prospects. Has a couple teammates already committed to Illinois.
Stephon Gilmore 6-0, 175, 4.5 *** Rock Hill, SC South Pointe Offer Probably a #2-type guy that may come to Michigan for the opportunity to play QB, but won’t scare off Newsome or Forcier. He is a QB/S who runs the spread in HS. Most of his other offers are at S. Tennessee is his favorite.

Michigan’s top prospect is likely Kevin Newsome, who is a near-perfect fit for the offensive scheme. He is also a pretty serious student, and is considering an early enrollment. After that, Tate Forcier and Shavodrick Beaver are the next prospects. Beaver is an explosive athlete as well, and Michigan fans would be ecstatic to gain his commitment as well. It is unlikely that Michigan will be able to convince 2 top-top guys to commit (this isn’t USC, after all), so one elite prospect (of the aforementioned group of three) and another depth player/project (perhaps Thomas Gordon from Cass Tech or Darwin Rogers from Chicago Leo) would be a realistic goal.

Class of ’09 Running Back Commits
Name Measurables R
Hometown School Player Notes Recruiting Notes
Teric Jones 5-10, 190, 4.39 *** Detroit, MI Cass Tech Ran a fast 40 at Army junior combine, and was considered top-10 there. Could fit in the slot or backfield in the RichRod Offense. Less power and experience than Baker/Caper, but more speed. He needs the most work, but has the most upside. Michigan’s 3rd commit, on 3-29-08
Fitzgerald Toussaint 5-10, 185 **** Youngstown, OH Liberty RB/Slot. Teammate of Julius Ferrell and Isaiah Bell. Michigan’s fifth commit, 4-18-08.

Both of these guys can be RB/slot players.

Class of ’09 Running Backs
Name Measurables Rating Hometown School Offer? Timetable Player Notes Recruiting Notes
David Oku 5-9, 174 **** Oklahoma City, OK Albert Offer October 10th (his birthday) or sometime in November. Is he an RB or slot WR in college? He is Devine-like. Down to a top 6 of Michigan, OSU, USC, FSU, Tennessee, and Illinois.
Ronnie Wingo 6-2, 205, 4.49 **** St. Louis, MO St. Louis University RB/CB prospect (he would be a BIG CB). 10.78 100m He visited Michigan in the fall. Illinois is a major player for his services. Dad committed to MSU but didn’t play there. Mizzou junior day visitor.
Jordan Hall 5-9, 180 **** Jeannette, PA Jeannette Offer Early decision. A two-way player who could also be a defender or slot receiver in college. Visited OSU with Terrelle Pryor, will Pryor’s choice influence Hall?
Tavon Austin 5-9, 170, 4.49 **** Baltimore, MD Dunbar Offer Short, speedy guy. Sounds familiar, no? Maryland wants him. They are his co-leader with UVa.
Darrell Mason 6-0, 209 **** Youngstown, OH Ursuline RB/Athlete. Rich Rodriguez visited his school in January ’08 on the way back from Pennsylvania. Ohio State is pretty big favorite.
Jazsman Mitchell 5-9, 170 *** Tyler, TX Lee A little guy who is probably a slot WR prospect. LSU and Texas are cleaning up East Texas this year…
Desmond Scott 5-9, 179 *** Durham, NC Hillside Jim Stefani notes that he would be a good fit for the Rich Rodriguez spread.
David Wilson 5-9, 170 *** Danville, Va George Washington Offer?
Hersey Jackson 6-1, 215, 4.6 *** Allendale, MI Allendale A bigger, bruising back. Interesting to see if he might be receptive to adding weight to become an MX back in the Rodriguez offense. He is unlikely to have feature-back speed at a high-BCS level. Attended Michigan’s junior day.
Vincent Smith 5-9, 170 *** Pahokee, FL Pahokee HS teammate of Wolverine Martavious Odoms.

With two speedy guys already in the fold, Michigan may start to slow down at the RB position, unless they are projected to both be slot players. Michigan may be done, unless a top guy wants to commit. If they want a power back or MX, Hersey Jackson could be the guy, though I’m not sure there is much interest from either party.

Posted under Personnel, Recruiting
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4 Comments so far

  1. a2matt says...

    Jamal Berry out of Florida, a highly touted runningback was offered.

  2. steve says...

    Dunbar is a high school in Washington D.C. I don’t know why it is listed as Baltimore Maryland. Just FYI.

  3. Tim says...

    It’s a different school, which is in Baltimore.

  4. jeff says...

    NO way does RR take Jordan Hall now, don’t want him and don’t need him. Make tUOS waste a scholie on him, as tressel hates those small backs, and only offered as a lure.

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