Signing days come and go and so do the student athletes that commit themselves to succeed at the major avocation that is Wolverine football. This year?s signing day presser was held in the Junge Center yesterday.
For those students signing commitments on the dotted line, the responsibilities and toil and tears that occur subsequent to that act are just beginning. The process may seem endless, drag and grind for a long while, while the committed adjust to the weather, to being away from home, of growing into adult hood, of living down mistakes, or being double-crossed by honey baby, as they recover from losses or failure, or whatever. They face a cauldron of life challenges, football challenges, and academic challenges.
But in the end college football will fly by for them. Some will succeed and some will fail at the sport. Some will suffer injuries that will necessarily end their participation in sports. Some will disappoint themselves and us. Some will not. Most will not.
Some will remember the sport with life long aches, but in the long run there will not be failure for many of them, football success or not, if they can capture that springboard to life?s success, a Michigan degree. Later memory will obscure the challenges and they will fondly remember the success of becoming a grown up, a Michigan man, and hopefully remember the restoration of the success Michigan seeks on the football field.
Hopes and aspirations do not change much from class to class, generation to generation. Everybody wants to be Saturday?s Hero, graduate a quantum physicist, or a forensic CPA, orthopedic surgeon, or constitutional attorney, and at the same time be the MVP of the Rose Bowl, national title game, and the Super Bowl.
At this stage of their development, their dreams can be lofty. To be honest, today there is more emphasis on preparation for the pro football game than in the past. In the now distant past you didn?t get much money for being clothes lined by the Chicago Bears. Now you can get a small fortune to break your leg.
Being on a successful football team enhances the memories and the rewards both for players and fans. But success comes at a price. Is this class willing to work hard enough to pay that price?
The Michigan Coaches today stated that they have gathered a supporting cast that will help in numbers (27 signed), and fits their needs: (by position; Athlete Josh Furman, Cornerback Courtney Avery and Cullen Christian, Defensive Back Demar Dorsey, Terrence Talbot, Defensive End; Jordan Paskorz; Ken Wilkins; Defensive Line Jabreel Black; Defensive Tackle Richard Ash; Terrence Talbott; Linebacker Antonio Kinard, Davion Rogers, Jake Ryan, Offensive Line Christian Pace; Punter Will Hagerup; Quarterback: Devon Gardner, Cornelius Jones, Running Back Stephen Hopkins, Austin White; Safety Carvin Johnson, Marvin Robinson, Ray Vinopal, Slot Receiver Drew Dileo; Wide Receiver Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Gerald Robinson, D. J. Williamson).
Coach R went over the history and accomplishments of each of the recruits. It would seem that DB recruits might see major playing time as freshman due to the lack of depth at those positions. There is no question that they are high on Demar Dorsey and Marvin Robinson. RR mentioned that DB recruits may play early due to the depleted nature of the position.
There is also no question that a couple might not qualify academically (not necessarily meaning Dorsey or Robinson). That always happens and proves the value of having a big class. That and other attrition has hurt several recent classes. Surprisingly, I heard no mention of walk-ons at all.
At the presser Coach Rodriguez seemed rightfully enthused regarding his new Wolverines. Suffering from a chest cold, his patience seemed to wear a little thin at questions regarding rumors that Demar Dorsey had a checkered past in some juvenile incidents. Questions regarding Dorsey?s background were slung at Rodriguez persistently. Who else but Mr. Drew Sharp persisted. No doubt with another hatchet job article in mind. It is no rumor that Demar does not have any convictions. That is a fact. So why pick on a kid and make a happy day miserable?
I thought Rodriguez did not handle this series of questions as smoothly as I thought he could have. I thought he should have simply said that the student is protected from such discussions, and moved on, but he let himself become slightly irritated. He stated that Michigan will not take a player with a misdemeanor or felony.
Rodriguez did not, as stated by Caputo on his Spartan slanted radio tirade, stomp out of the meeting mad, nor is this class in any way shape or form inferior to that garnered by the Spartans as the Great Caputo consistently avers. As far as the Rodriguez behavior, I doubt Caputo was there to observe it first hand. I was.
I haven?t heard that much propaganda since they collared Mata Hari. And I never will again, as I won?t dial in that station again. I would rather watch the Price Is Right than listen to that drivel and I am not fan of TPIR. Whoever said talk is cheap must have been tuned into Caputo. Maybe Caputo verifies his information by referencing the Free Press.
Everybody but Caputo ranks the Spartys considerably below the Blue in the Big Ten standings, and national rankings. Could it be that Rodriguez is doing something right? The top three are Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan, and the order is somewhat variable. OSU may not have had their best day. Michigan had four of the top ten Detroit News players. Ten recruits attended the football camp. Several players, including Devin Gardner, enrolled in January. He?ll have fifteen practices before fall camp. Is that enough to put him in the two deep?
Gardner is not a savior, and he may or may not pan out. Like the rest of them, only time will tell. But it looks like they are developing a competition at quarterback, and that is only good. In fact a stated coaching goal is competition at every position. RR indicated that by next year they would have that. They will still be thin at some positions this year.
I talked to several of the Coaches and received no indication that Denard Robinson would be anything other than a QB. I will be interested to see how he is used in the spring. It was indicated that Demar Dorsey, Denard Robinson?s cousin, could see major playing time and that Marvin Robinson might also.
When I asked Coach Robinson about this year?s defense, and Craig Roh specifically, Coach Robinson said ?he wished he had his (Roh?s) future.? He said Roh is growing.
Had a nice talk and interview with Devin Gardner, from Detroit (attended high school at Inkster). Seems to be a young man with a lot on the ball and a great deal of poise to go with his good size.
Talked to Stephen Hopkins, from Double Oak, Texas (fairly near Dallas) who models his running game on Brandon Minor. He didn?t want to be called a slasher, so he must have some moves as well as power.
Ricardo Miller was the most outspoken of those three. Perhaps he is the most outspoken of any three on the team. He is expert at forming words into sentences and indicated, as Coach R had previously stated, that he had directed a lot of those sentences at fellow recruits. Perfectly at home, perfectly poised. Said the winter had provided a challenge at first, feet felt frozen, and felt like his hands would break. Now, he said, the adjustment is complete and he doesn?t even dress heavy any more to face the chill.
Granted I talked to only three of twenty-seven, but each seemed extremely happy to be Michigan men, claimed to be hard workers, and exhibited experienced poise beyond their years.
RR indicated that now that 2010 recruiting was past he could concentrate on filling the missing DB coaching position. Coach Robinson will coach linebackers. Departed Coach Hopson has not yet been replaced. but will be soon. I should have asked regarding a dedicated special teams coach. It appears to me they need one. They have long been one defensive coach short.
The wheel of fortune that is the recruiting process stopped on February 3rd for this year, and has seemed to provide Michigan with an outstanding class tailored to the needs of the program?s style, even though some are lamenting the lack of ?five star? recruits in the class.
Bo was often quoted as saying that the worth of a class can?t be evaluated for four years, and that has to be true.
But that doesn?t mean that the game of recruiting speculation enjoyed by so many fans has to end. One year is barely over when another recruiting cycle starts, and concerns start about the ?one that got away or is about to get away?.
Let?s hope this big class is what Michigan needs in all respects. We shall see.