Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
We decided to grade out the 2013 class as it winds to a close, starting with the Quarterback, Running Back, and Wide Receiver positions. Tell us what you think!
Shane Morris... That is all. He's going to be as good as he wants to be. I would have liked for Michigan to have grabbed another quarterback with him for depth (*cough cough Nebraska game cough*), but I understand the logic of not wanting to do anything to threaten the strength of his commitment (although he and Dymonte are probably the strongest UM commits out there). Michigan supposedly offered NJ QB Kevin Olsen and NC QB Riley Ferguson, but it never seemed as though they recruited either heavily, and the Ferguson offer was a remnant from the Rich Rod era. It's my hope that Michigan will recruit 2 quarterbacks next year for depth and to push Morris.
A+ will really only be given out to college ready players, and they don't earn an A since they didn't add depth. All in all, though, they grabbed the future of Borges' offense (hopefully), so going lower than an A wouldn't seem prudent.
A position of huge need that got even bigger when starting tailback Fitz Toussaint injured his leg during the Iowa game. After landing a scatback return specialist (who is now a cornerback) and a kid whose only offer hailed from Eastern Michigan in the previous recruiting cycle, Michigan desperately needed some larger, more balanced tailbacks for the future of the offense. The first to drop during the weekend of Ace-thritis was MI ATH Wyatt Shallman, who had been flirting with a commitment since he was first offered. Despite repeated assertions by, well, everyone that he might end up elsewhere, both Brady Hoke and Shallman see him as the second coming of Brandon Jacobs. It will be interesting to check out his senior highlights, but at this point, it seems as though that's based off of nothing but his size/speed combo. He doesn't look very natural as a running back at this point; he has poor balance for a kid that big, his speed isn't anything impressive, and he doesn't seem to understand how to use his size effectively. In the long term, I too am in the camp that Shallman will end up elsewhere if he wants to see the field.
The second commitment came from OH RB Deveon Smith, who choose the Maize and Blue over an offer from Ohio State, among others. He looks a bit more natural as a tailback, but he's far from elite. Smith shows pretty good shake and he's definitely a bruiser, but his lack of top end speed will limit his ceiling.
It looks as though Michigan is keen on adding a third running back to this class, the most likely target currently coming from VA RB Derrick Green. Green would be the best of the group, with bruising size, better balance than Shallman, and a work ethic like no other.
This probably jumps to about an A- if Green commits. Again, no one in this group is perfect, and missing out on Ty Isaac (IMO the best RB in the country) was a big miss. All in all, it might not end up mattering based upon the past 2 OL classes, but this group could have been better.
Another huge position of need that was somewhat mitigated by the late addition of Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh to the 2012 class. However, this group is a bit more underwhelming than the RB (potential) trio.
Jaron Dukes was an early addition to the class. Judgment of Dukes should be taken with a grain of salt due to the small sample size of his highlights (I'm most excited to see his senior year clips), but he simply looks like an average, albeit tall, receiver. He's very unpolished, especially in his route running, and his speed leaves much to be desired. He'll also need to add some weight before getting into the rotation at Michigan.
C'Sonte York was another addition in May, after he tore up a couple camps (most notably beating OSU commit Cam Burrows on several occasions). On film, he looks to be nothing more than an middling talent. A lot of people have labelled him (and Da'Mario Jones) the 'hidden gems' of this class, but I think that's more a combination of his offer reportedly coming from camp settings that the public was not privy to, as well as a dearth of lowly-rated guys in this class. IMO, there's nothing about York's highlights that warrant such praise, but perhaps he'll prove me wrong.
Da'Mario Jones was a Halloween surprise for Michigan fans, as most did not expect the staff to be filching talent from..Central Michigan's class. While Jones is the recipient of a lot of (perhaps unwarranted) 'diamond in the rough' talk, at the very least, he seems to have a higher upside. He's a nice size/speed combo at 6'2, 190ish pounds. Of the three kids here, I think Jones might have the biggest impact in the future.
Although Michigan targeted a lot of wide receivers early in the process, it seems as though it's become less of an emphasis down the stretch. Former offer recipients like Rob Wheelwright, Eldridge Massington, and Paul Harris have all seen coaching changes or decommitted, but Michigan never really looked into them. As their position fades with some guys like Devon Allen and LaQuon Treadwell, no new offers have been reported. Some have suggested the movement of Jourdan Lewis to WR. Although I think he would instantly become one of the most gifted threats on the roster, we need his athleticism on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach Mallory recently told '14 WR Dominique Booth that he'd be receiving an offer if they didn't add another '13 guy, so the door isn't completely shut, but at this point it seems as though adding another guy would entail digging for someone who hasn't previously been on Michigan's radar. The only possibility at this point, LaQuon Treadwell, reportedly 'eliminated' Michigan. While this can probably just be added to the list of recruiting words that don't mean what you think they mean, it still isn't a good sign for Michigan. They might have an official visit to close the gap with Treadwell, but it isn't promising.
As you can probably tell by this point, I'm not a huge fan of any of Michigan's WRs this year, and it doesn't look like this group will grow. In a year where this was perhaps the biggest need that had to be addressed, the staff added 3 mediocre players. Hopefully, they'll remedy that in the '14 class.