Part 1 of a multi-part series.
Since Rich Rodriguez arrived in Ann Arbor 19+ months ago, one of the main focus points of his tenure, outside the actual football field, has been the emphasis, or perceived lack of emphasis, on in-state recruiting. The picture has been painted that Rodriguez is neglecting the pool of talent in the state of Michigan, a picture that has been enhanced and promoted by a united front in East Lansing. The irony is this was not born out of a desire to attack Michigan and Rodriguez, but it was the plan for Michigan State the moment Mark Dantonio arrived in East Lansing a full year before Rodriguez at Michigan. After the abomination that was the John L. Smith era at MSU, Dantonio was brought in to restore a sense of stability and toughness, starting with a renewed focus on the state of Michigan and a rebuilding of the relationships with in-state high school coaches that eroded under Smith. This became easier once Lloyd Carr retired and Rodriguez was hired. But this will be discussed more in depth later in this series. This part will be dedicated solely to the numbers and facts.
Of coure, being that this delves into the bizarre and erratic nature of football recruiting, even "facts" can be disputed at times. Offers aren't offers, recruitments are rarely black and white, and perception counts. Here, I will attempt to lay out the facts as I know them in an unbiased and objective manner. My own personal opinion will be expressed at a later time. To be frank, this isn't easy. This is a hotly contested issue between Michigan and Michigan State fans, and both sides have, in many cases, a completely different perception of how things have unfolded in the last two and a half years in our state's battleground. For example, many Michigan fans don't look at the 2008 recruiting class when looking at Rodriguez's recruiting acumen, as the majority of the class was put together by Lloyd Carr and company. For the sake of this analysis though, the 2008 class will be considered, and here's my logic: the on-field results (all the 3-9 ugliness) are absolutely considered when looking at how Rodriguez has performed as UM coach. If you hold that against him, then you must also consider the 2008 class when looking at his recruiting. It's uneven to dismiss the 2008 class as Carr's, but then not give Rodriguez the leeway of a mulligan on the field. So, point is, the 2008 class will be factored in here.
Another issue of contention is, who actually had a scholarship offer, and who was actually recruited to the end? Fans on both sides are conveniently selective on this matter. In a perfect world, all recruiting cases would be cut and dry like a Thomas Gordon, a Jake Fisher, a Lawrence Thomas, etc, where both schools clearly offered the prospect, clearly recruited the kid to the end, and clearly wanted him in the class before losing out to the other side. Unfortunately, things aren't that even. MSU fans trumpet kids like Larry Caper and Dion Sims as recruiting victories over Michigan. Michigan fans point to Cameron Gordon as a win over MSU. The reality is slightly different (Caper's Michigan offer was from Carr, Rodriguez never recruited him; Sims was recruited by UM as a defensive end and the two sides never spoke after the summer; Gordon had an MSU offer early on but was skittish on his position and MSU filled up at WR), but for the sake of clarity and fairness, when compiling the analysis here, an "offer" will be treated as an offer, period. The one exception I will make that I can think of off the top of my head is Onaje Miller, because I know for a fact that Michigan did not extend any sort of offer in his direction, verbal or otherwise. It wasn't a case of UM offering but not pursuing, or offering and cooling later on. They simply didn't offer, at any point, period.
Anyway...with all that said, let's begin.
In the 2008 recruiting cycle, Michigan AND Michigan State both offered the following in-state prospects:
- CB Boubacar Cissoko, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)
- DE Nick Perry, Detroit Martin Luther King (USC)
- RB Jonas Gray, Detroit Country Day (Notre Dame)
- WR Fred Smith, Detroit Southeastern (Michigan State)
- DT Mike Martin, Novi Catholic Central (Michigan)
- LB Kenny Demens, Detroit Country Day (Michigan)
- DE Tyler Hoover, Novi (Michigan State)
- OL Rocko Khoury, Traverse City West (Michigan)
- OL DeOn'tae Pannell, Birmingham Groves (Penn State)
In addition, these prospects were offered by Michigan, but not by Michigan State:
- OL Dann O'Neill, Grand Haven (Michigan)
On the other side, Michigan State offered these prospects, but Michigan did not:
- RB Mark Ingram, Flint Southwestern (Alabama)
- DB Charles Burrell, Detroit Southeastern (Michigan State)
- OL Ethan Ruhland, Lake Orion (Michigan State)
- WR Keshawn Martin, Westland John Glenn (Michigan State)
- RB Caulton Ray, Birmingham Brother Rice (Michigan State)
- OL Anthony Woods, Melvindale (Michigan State)
- OL Chris McDonald, Sterling Heights Utica Ford (Michigan State)
- RB Glenn Winston, Detroit Denby (Michigan State)
- DB Tim Dandridge, Detroit Highland Park (Minnesota)
- DB Trenton Robinson, Bay City Central (Michigan State)
- OL John Deyo, Richland Gull Lake (Michigan State)
- ATH Myles White, Livonia Stevenson (Michigan State)
- OL Zach Hueter, North Branch (Michigan State)
Understandably, the above data is taken with a grain of salt due to the coaching change at Michigan and the understandably dubious link Rodriguez had with assembling the class. The 2009 class is more clear.
In the 2009 recruiting cycle, Michigan and Michigan State both offered the following prospects:
- DT William Campbell, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)
- RB Edwin Baker, Oak Park (Michigan State)
- LB Chris Norman, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State)
- WR James Jackson, Grand Ledge (Ohio State)
- WR Cameron Gordon, Inkster (Michigan)
- RB Larry Caper, Battle Creek Central (Michigan State)
- TE Dion Sims, Orchard Lake St. Mary's (Michigan State)
- DB Thomas Gordon, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)
The overall score after analyzing both 2008 and 2009: Michigan 7, Michigan State 6.
**(Again, I understand there are extra circumstances surrounding Cam Gordon, Caper, and Sims. I'm erring on the side of caution.)
These prospects were offered by Michigan in 2009, but not Michigan State:
- RB Teric Jones, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)
Here are the prospects offered by MSU in 2009, but not Michigan:
- TE Reid Fragel, Grosse Pointe South (Ohio State)
- DT Blake Treadwell, East Lansing (Michigan State)
- LB Jeremy Gainer, Livonia Clarenceville (Michigan State)
- QB Andrew Maxwell, Midland (Michigan State)
- TE DeMarkus Bracy, Flint Southwestern (Cincinnati)
- OL Zac Matthias, Hemlock (Wisconsin)
- WR Dana Dixon, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State)
- WR Donald Spencer, Ypsilanti (Michigan State)
- K Kevin Muma, Troy (Michigan State)
- LB Will Schwarz, Troy (Central Michigan)
- OL Micajah Reynolds, Lansing Sexton (Michigan State)
- WR Bennie Fowler, Detroit Country Day (Michigan State)
At this point, a trend can obviously be seen, with MSU offering 42 in-state players in 2008 and 2009, while Michigan only offered 19. This will be discussed later in the series.
As each year passes and both coaches establish themselves in-state, the data becomes more and more reliable. Let's look at 2010.
Both schools offered the following prospects last year (NOTE: Ricardo Miller is obviously omitted from all data here, as he was obviously a transplant from Florida):
- DE William Gholston, Detroit Southeastern (Michigan State)
- QB Devin Gardner, Inkster (Michigan)
- QB Robert Bolden, Orchard Lake St. Mary's (Penn State)
- CB Dior Mathis, Detroit Cass Tech (Oregon)
- DE CJ Olaniyan, Warren Mott (Penn State)
- CB Mylan Hicks, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State)
- RB Austin White, Livonia Stevenson (Michigan)
And the 2008-2009-2010 score, head to head: Michigan 9, Michigan State 8.
To expand, Michigan offered these in-staters last year, while MSU did not:
- WR Jeremy Jackson, Ann Arbor Pioneer (Michigan)
- DT Johnathan Hankins, Detroit Southeastern (Ohio State)
Here are MSU's 2010 in-state offers Michigan didn't pursue:
- LB Max Bullough, Traverse City St. Francis (Michigan State)
- K/P Mike Sadler, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (Michigan State)
- LB Austin Gray, Warren Fitzgerald (Iowa)
- QB Joe Boisture, Saline (Michigan State)
- RB Nick Hill, Chelsea (Michigan State)
- DT Carl Davis, Sterling Heights Stevenson (Iowa)
- WR Tony Lippett, Detroit Crockett (Michigan State)
- RB Jeremy Langford, Westland John Glenn (Michigan State)
- DE Taylor Calero, Southfield Christian (Michigan State)
- OL Paul Jorgenson, Dewitt (Northwestern)
- WR Tony Jones, Grand Blanc (Northwestern)
- ATH Daniel Easterly, Detroit Cass Tech (Missouri)
- FB Niko Palazeti, Novi Catholic Central (Michigan State)
Also, I again acknowledge and understand some extenuating circumstances with a few of these kids like Gholston, Bolden, Mathis, Olaniyan. I can again go into these more indepth when I editorialize later in the series, but for now, again, an offer is an offer.
And now we arrive at the present. Both coaches are coming off underwhelming, disappointing 2009 seasons on the field, and one of the two has some warmth under his seat. But at the same time, both are also becoming more entrenched in the state and building relationships with the coaches within the mitten.
Both UM and MSU have, at this moment, offered the following prospects this cycle:
- LB Lawrence Thomas, Detroit Renaissance (Michigan State)
- WR DeAnthony Arnett, Saginaw
- OL/DE Anthony Zettel, West Branch Ogemaw Heights
- CB Valdez Showers, Madison Heights Madison
- DE/LB Brennen Beyer, Canton Plymouth (Michigan)
- RB Justice Hayes, Grand Blanc
- OL Jake Fisher, Traverse City West (Michigan)
- LB Ed Davis, Detroit Southeastern
Furthermore, Michigan offered these kids, but MSU didn't:
- CB Delonte Hollowell, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)
- WR Shawn Conway, Birmingham Seaholm (Michigan)
On the other side, here are MSU's offers this year with no UM offer:
- RB Onaje Miller, Lansing Sexton (Michigan State)
- WR Jake Duzey, Troy Athens (Iowa)
- LB/S Taiwan Jones, New Baltimore Anchor Bay (Michigan State)
Since 2008, the head to head scoreboard is Michigan 11, Michigan State 9.
Since 2008, Michigan has offered 38 in-state prospects, landing commitments from 16 of those 38 (42.1%).
MSU, on the other hand, has offered a staggering 73 players in-state. Of those 73, they've landed 38 (52.1%).
In the last four classes, both schools have offered 32 players. Of those 32, we must exclude the five from this year who haven't committed yet for the sake of the data. So, from those 27 over the past four classes who signed somewhere and were offered by both UM and MSU, Michigan landed 11 (40.7%), Michigan State landed 9 (33.3%), and 7 (25.9%) signed elsewhere.
What does all this mean, and how does it affect certain perceptions that exist? Well, there's for you to determine on your own. As for what I think, that'll be in Part 2.