Defensive Recruiting in the Coach Rodriquez Era

Coach Rodriquez has had three recruiting seasons to help build the defense at Michigan. In his first recruiting class, we already had commitments from the likes of Will Campbell, J.T. Floyd, Kenny Demens, Brandon Smith, Mike Martin, J.B. Fitzgerald and Boubacar Cissoko from Coach Carr and staff. Other current defensive players are holdovers from Coach Carr's staff: Obi Ezeh, Jonas Mouton, Brandon Graham, Donovan Warren, Stevie Brown, Troy Wolfolk, Ryan Van Bergen, etc. These players have tried to "fit in" to Coach Rod's system including a defensive scheme change from a 4-3-4 to the current 3-3-5 plus three defensive coordinators in three years. Two of his 2008 defensive recruits left the team: Taylor Hill and Marcus Witherspoon. The other 7 recruits were offensive commitments: Feagin, Odoms, Moore, Roundtree, Shaw, Barnum and Omameh. Off 22 new commitments in 2009, only 9 were defensive, two are playing, 6 will probably redshirt and one didn't make the grade. Adrian Witty re-committed for 2010, but couldn't make admissions so he went to Cincinnati. Teric Jones was recruited as an offensive player, pledged as an offensive player; however, he moved to defense in the August, 2009 camp. He moved back to offense in 2010 despite injury and "numbers" issues in the secondary. Here is an updated list of his 2009 recruits and their status of help to our 2009 and 2010 defense:

Defensive Recruits(8) Status Notes
Lolata, Anthony Redshirt Quit to Transfer to Rutgers
Emilien, Vladimir Redshirt Quit to Transfer to Colorado
Turner, J.T. Redshirt Quit to Transfer to West Virginia
Roh, Craig Starter Quick LB 37 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass break ups and 1 interception in 12 games in 2009; 39 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 0.5 sack, 1 pass break up in 11 games in 2010, changed position from Quick LB to DE in Bye Week
Jones, Mike Backup OLB-SAM 3 tackles in 6 games in 2009; 1 tackle in 2010, broke leg vs. Notre Dame
Gordon, Thomas Redshirt Backup OLB-SAM, started 4 games, 22 tackles, 4 for loss with 2 sacks
Hawthorne, Brandin Redshirt Special Teams, 1 tackle, 2 fumble recoveries
Bell, Isaiah Redshirt No action in 2010 after Redshirt Year in 2009

Here is a list of 2010 recruits on defensive and their contributions so far in 2010:

2010 Defensive Recruits(14) Position Notes
Talbott, Terry DE Redshirt
Wilkins, Kenny DE Redshirt
Kinard, Antonio Quick LB NCAA Clearinghouse Issues, Prep School, Enrolling January, 2011
Robinson, Marvin Bandit SS Backup SS-Bandit, Shoulder Injury, 3 tackles, 1 on special teams, moved to ILB-WILL?
Paskorz, Jordan Quick LB Redshirt
Avery, Courtney DB Starter due to injury to Floyd, 21 tackles, a forced fumble and 4 pass break ups
Talbott, Terrence DB Backup DB moved to FS, 7 tackles, 1 pass break up
Johnson, Carvin OLB-SAM/FS Backup OLB-SAM, FS, Knee Injury, 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1 sack and 1 pass break up
Christian, Cullen DB Backup, 6 tackles
Furman, Josh OLB-SAM Redshirt
Vinopal, Ray FS Started last 4 games replacing Cam Gordon, 26 tackles, 1 for loss 1 interception, 2 pass break ups
Ash, Richard NT Redshirt
Rogers, Davion Quick LB NCAA Clearinghouse Issues, re-enroll ???
Ryan, Jake ILB-WILL Redshirt

While our defense has ranked amongst the worst in NCAA Division I and Big Ten football for the past two years under his leadership, he continues to emphasize offensive recruiting. Of 19 pledges thus far, only 7 are defensive. According to the concept of building a solid football team according to Coach Rod, the mathematics are as follows: 32 offensive and 25 defensive players over the past three years. 56.14% of his scholarships are dedicated to offensive players; this would equate to 48 of 85 scholarships held to the offense and 37 to the defense. Of his 20 defensive recruits, 3 are not on the team to help us, 6 aren't yet ready to help the team and 14 more are coming next year. This only leaves two contributors in 2 years. As a result of the poor defensive recruiting in previous years and players leaving the team, 6 true freshman (Carvin Johnson, Ray Vinopal, Terrence Talbott, Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery and Marvin Robinson) were forced to be significant contributors in 2010.

Year Offensive Defensive Total
2008 7 2 9
2009 13 9 22
2010 12 14 26
2011 7 6 13
4 yrs. 39 31 70

Under Coach Rodriquez' leadership, the defense is poor, doesn't appear to be emphasized nor does the future of the defense look promising with the lack of commitment to defense on his part. All he seems to be interested in is building an offense, and particulary obsessed with a quick strike offensive juggernaut at the expense of a sound defense. How can we win a Big Ten or NCAA BCS Championship without a solid defense?

The New Michigan: Football Recruiting has Changed at Michigan

Former Ohio State All-American and NFL All-Pro Linebacker Chris Spielman on the Michigan Defense

2010: Lack of Michigan Defense

Category Defensive Rank Big Ten Rank
Rushing 92nd 9th
Passing 111th 11th
Total 112th 11th
Scoring 99th 9th
Pass Efficiency 92nd 8th
Sacks 94th 7th

Tackles for Loss

Turnover Margin





First Downs n/a 11th
3rd Down Conversions n/a 8th
Red Zone n/a 6th

2008 versus 2009: Lack of Michigan Defense

2008 Big Ten Rank NCAA Defensive Category 2009 Big Ten Rank
51st 6th Rushing 91st 10th
87th 9th Passing 67th 7th
66th 9th Total 82nd 9th
90th 10th Scoring 81st 9th
81st 10th Pass Efficiency 74th 7th
107th 11th Turnover Margin 112th 11th
35th 6th Sacks 72nd 10th

If you were a good defensive player, would you want to come to Michigan to play defense under Coach Rod?

Observations on Coach Rod's Second Year

Observations on Coach Rod's first year