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2/25/97 2/21/97 2/20/97 2/10/97

My take on this class, by position:


  • Offensive Line: A.
      The interior OL was a key need in this class, and the coaching staff did a great job filling the need. This is a great group. I had this as an A+ but they did lose out on Kareem McKenzie (needed some room for improvement if they had signed McKenzie). This group stacks up with any in the country; in fact, it is probably the best group signed, followed closely by Penn State. Unfortunately, offensive line is probably the most difficult position to judge, so we'll have to wait and see how things develop (I guess that's true at all positions, but OL is particulary difficult to predict). I would not be surprised to see either Jason Brooks or Todd Mossa on the two-deep before the end of next season.
  • Quarterback: Inc.
      Didn't recruit a QB for this year as Drew Henson has already committed for next year, and QB has young depth to spare. I don't see this as a negative of this class in any way. By the way, the Ann Arbor News columnist that covers Michigan football wrote an article saying that Jason Kapsner has a very good chance at being the starting QB next year.
  • Running Back: A.
      This was a funny year at RB. Michigan recruited a ton of guys, but ended up getting the top two RB's on their board in Anthony Thomas and Patrick McCall. Either could contribute immediately but watch out for Thomas - he will be the biggest TB on the roster in the fall. Nationally, there are a number of schools who have landed more than one top back, so it's difficult to compare; Notre Dame, Tennessee (if their signees qualify), and Florida State, should they get Travis Minor, will have classes with similar talent levels. Penn State could still creep in here if they get Antoine Womack to go with Omar Easy, but Womack may end up at Virginia.
  • Tight End: C-.
      Michigan signed one sleeper in Shawn Thompson; he's an excellent athlete, but it was disappointing to lose out on three of the top TE prospects in the country: Alvin Morrow, Chad Irwin, and Brandon Stephens. The grade could improve significantly if they can land Ryan Humphrey, though his intentions regarding basketball vs. football are not totally clear. Florida State cleaned up at this position with Morrow and Carver Donaldson.
  • Wide Receiver: Inc.
      Another position with no recruits. Again, not a necessary focus in this class given the signing of four receivers last year; however, I think the coaches would have liked to land one top receiver (e.g., Daryl Jones). Michigan may still have a chance at Kenyon Rambo; if he visits, I think the chances will increase significantly. Michigan does have one factor in its favor - Rambo is friends with RB recruit Patrick McCall, who is actively recruiting Rambo to visit. Nationally, you have to like Florida's WR class for both quality and depth; they landed Steve Shipp and Daryl Jackson, who some consider the top two WR's in the country.


  • Defensive Line: B
      This is actually a tough one to judge because of the flexibility of many of the recruits. For example, if Maurice Williams, Demetrius Smith, Jake Frysinger, and Kurt Anderson end up playing at DL, this could be an outstanding class. However, Williams will probably start out at OL and Smith at FB, so it's much tougher to judge. Alabama, Florida, and Florida State all did very well along the defensive line this year; Florida State's signing of David Warren may have been the coup of the recruiting season.
  • Linebacker: B
      Another tough one to judge because of the flexibility between OLB and DE. The loss of Grant Irons was obviously disappointing; it is quite likely he'd have ended up at DE, in any case. I really like the speed of the OLB prospects (Anthony Jordan and Eric Brackins), and Kurt Anderson could become a great player, though he may play any of several positions. Nationally, I think that Penn State has the best class of LB's - Lavar Arrington and Ron Graham are the keystones of their recruiting class. Florida also did very well.
  • Defensive Back: A
      This group is also among the best in the country - the coaches landed a complete secondary. James Whitley will challenge for immediate playing time opposite Charles Woodson; the coaches love his potential on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Lloyd Carr mentioned in his signing day press conference that Whitley may return kicks this year. William Peterson is a player who was overlooked by many services as he moved around the country, but he has excellent speed and was one of the top players in one of the toughest high school football conferences in the country. DeWayne Patmon and Eric Rosel are both great athletes who will provide depth at safety. Nationally, I like the DB classes of Penn State, Tennessee, USC, North Carolina and Florida State - the rich got richer.

go blue!