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Posted on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill likes Michigan's football recruiting class

By Dave Birkett

ESPN ranks the Michigan football team's 2010 recruiting class 20th nationally, lower than any of the past four years. But National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill said he still likes what the Wolverines are doing on the trail.


Ann Arbor Pioneer wide receiver Ricardo Miller is one of the recruits that has ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill high on the Wolverines' 2010 class. (File photo)

“I’m actually one of the few people, and I think our staff is, too, that actually thinks Michigan is doing a better job than people are giving them credit for,” Lugnibill said. “They’ve upgraded their overall skill set offensively, not only at running back, at wide receiver, so I think that they’ve gotten better at their skill spots, which is what you’ve got to have offensively.”

Michigan has 26 verbal commitments and is expected to sign a class of 26 to 28 players when letters of intent become official Wednesday.

The Wolverines loaded up on offensive recruits early, getting pledges from Inkster quarterback Devin Gardner and Ann Arbor receivers Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson, and have added defensive depth late.

Cornerback Cullen Christian, safety Marvin Robinson and linebacker Josh Furman are among those who could see immediate playing time on a defense that allowed the second most points in program history last year.

Michigan went 8-16 the past two seasons, but Luginbill said he sees signs of a turnaround under third-year coach Rich Rodriguez.

“You don’t take a program that for years and decades and decades was based up strength, size and power, and then all of a sudden, with a 180-degree turn, hire a coach that’s going to be about speed, quickness and agility and change an 85-man roster over night,” he said. “I don’t think that’s reality. I think that takes some time. I don’t think you can wave a magic wand.”

Penn State (No. 7) and Ohio State (No. 10) have the top two classes in the Big Ten, according to ESPN, though Luginbill said both Michigan State and Iowa could crack the top 25.

Michigan is waiting on safety prospects Sean Parker and Rashad Knight to announce their college decisions. Parker, from Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne, will choose between Michigan, USC, Cal and Washington Wednesday morning on ESPNU. Knight, from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, is deciding between Michigan and Rutgers.

The Wolverines had the nation's No. 10 class last year and ranked in the top 13 from 2006-08 (11th, 10th and 13th, respectively), according to ESPN.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 2:39 a.m.

NFL doesn't matter in College. Some of the best players in College didn't do so well in the NFL. For example Matt Leinhert (dont know how to spell his name). He was a great QB who won alot in college but isnt doin great in the NFl. NFL is a different game than in College. I can see RR makin a turn-around next year. Like many i would love to see UM next season win a NC. I can predict a rose bowl berth because many teams are gonna over-look UM. I expect 7 wins atleast. If not o well. But i dont think RR wants less than that. I think his first goal in mind is NC, then Rose Bowl. UM did have speed then but not as much speed as it has now. Many of the players then were made for NFL and doin good in careers. RR's main goal is to build a team that could win NC not NFL players. IT would be nice to see many guys in the NFL that can represent UM but that means nothing when their team didnt win a NC or BCS bowl. So quit the discussion bout RR producing NFL players. WHO CARES, thats RR's player's concern. I rather have a NC team with little future NFL stars than a team wit no NC and many future NFL stars. HAIL TO THE MICHIGAN THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WEST!!!!


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

I think you RR supporters have got this backwards. It's not the detractors, such as myself, that brought the NFL caliber players into the discussion. It is you who support RR that used the lack of NFL quality talent as the sign of a declining talent base at the school and have used that to excuse RR sorry performance. If you want to complain the "NFL talent" argument is a straw man, then go look in a mirror. Ultimately, myself and others don't wish ill will on the team in order to get RR fired. It's just the opposite. I root for my alma mater every weekend. I have my Michigan flag posted in front my house in the heart of PSU country and have my Michigan Alumni PA plates on my car. No, we root for our team every bit as much, and maybe more, than the blindly faithful. Our issue is that RR's performance as a coach and leader of men, his tangible record, should be what leads to his termination. I don't want a 4 win season next year. I'd love to see us run the table. The problem is I don't see RR up to the task and therefore the team won't be either. They reflect his lack of composure in the clutch. This will be his last season, IMO. A sub.500 record this season will be his epitaph. In conclusion, I wish these kids the best of luck. They couldn't have found a better university to attend. Their lives will be greatly enriched through the experience that is a Michigan education. Athletically, I think we've got a bunch of little fast guys coming in. If you think that's what FL, USC, LSU, AL, TX are recruiting, then you are not paying attention. The kids those schools get are both fast AND big. Watch that Sugar Bowl between FL and Cinc again and you'll see what I mean. Speed kills, speed w/o size get you killed.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

In the spirit of Theo: Today is Groundhog Day. Where the beast may see his shadow. Speed is what they're talking about. Critics think that's shallow. Wins, fundamentals, and class, they say, are what they want. But the Rodsters say that All heneeds is his players and time. So far his won-loss record though Has not been worth a dime. So haters, lovers, ade drinkers, and critics keep debating to no avail Never to resolve the fix But all hoping to sing "Hail"


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

First, can anyone name a top program that doesn't produce to the NFL? If you have a history of not producing NFL quality players, you will be nothing more than mediocre. I can't think of 1 school that routinely finishes in the top 25 that doesn't move players on to the next level. Now that said, where I have a problem with RR is his lack of being able to make adjustments or coach to a players strength. You don't have to look any further than last season with Robinson. Great threat with the ball as long as he isn't throwing it. RR should of got Robinson involved in other ways outside of QB. The people that keep saying "they were a couple plays away from 2-3 more wins". They were also a couple plays away from 2-3 more losses.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 8:37 a.m.

Who cares how many players RichRod sends to the NFL? If he takes Michigan to an 11-1 or 12-0 season and sends nobody to the NFL, I don't care. I'd much rather an 11-1 season with nobody drafted than an 8-4 season with five players drafted, though some of you (based on comments here) seem to think the opposite. First and foremost, I want to see Michigan win. If kids go on to an NFL career after that, good for them, but the team comes first.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

RR's recruiting doesn't change his screwing the school out of millions becuase he refused to honor his buy out at WVU, his shady friends and business dealings, possible sanctions, no bowls in his 2 years, changing traditions and now going on 7 years the team hasn't beat arch rival OSU. Put all the positive spin you want on his class, it doesn't change the person and until U of M brings in a new coach without all the baggage the schools reputation will continue to be tainted. U of M deserves better, much better.

Sean T.

Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 1:54 a.m.

Oh, and for the record......Michigan has had tons of speed over the years on Offense and Defense. Many of them went on to produce many meaningful NFL seasons too! And the Florida lovefest is beginning to look sad because the only place where Florida excels better than any other conference is the team speed in the trenches. "The Offensive and Defensive lines".

Sean T.

Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 1:47 a.m.

Truthfully we all wanted RR to sucsseed and it's not just the lack of wins, it's the lack of solid play. Brian kelley, Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer all took over another coaches player's and got the best out of them. So we expect and demand the same from RR and should expect nothing less. Even Mediocre State University's coach took over from JLS and went to 3 straight bowls with his players. This is with his own recruited players filling the county jail. And though you can't coach speed, you can coach tackling, catching, blocking, coverage and so forth. Stop with the silly excuses and the twists of reality because RR will never turn UofM into Florida....Only Urban Meyer could make us look like Florida, which isn't the epitome of College Football. Now much as I hate to say it, RR desrves 4 years to accomplish a 10 win season but I believe it would be a major mistake. Many poster's have said it before that RR may be over his head and these recruits are not going to save his job by their ability alone. Coach'em up or get out!


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:57 a.m.

heartbreak - the jury is still out on RR. I think 2010 will be very telling. If he can't manage 7 wins with this team then I will begin to worry. Until then, what else can anyone do but sit around, debate and speculate? I have neither the time nor the inclination (to quote A Few Good Men), but I'm sure others do.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:44 a.m.

Is it just me or does Ricardo Miller look huge in that profile picture? By the way, Jeremy Jackson is going to be a monster. Coach's son, studying the play book and working out with Barwis' program in high school. I'll swap these guys for Savoy and Matthew's any day of the week and twice on Sunday.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:19 a.m.

I believe RR is doin a great job at recruiting, many f u old-time UM fans like myself were used to the big power UM, but after watchn the SEC play, they have speed which RR is tryn to get to make the BigTen The best conference again. I know many of u say that alabama had power and crushed florida, not exactly. Bama had lots of speed especially on defense. RR is tryn to make UM even more dangerous wit speed. RR has also recruited power and big line men too. He jus got speedy guys at WR, RB, and QB. Its easier to be be more physical when ur all speed than when ur all physical tryn to gain speed. Got to have faith, i know RR can turn the program around give him time, its not like any other big program is tryn to change an entire system and is becomin successful right away. Next year will be the turning-point. GO BLUE!!!!


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:14 a.m.

Championships Yes, NFL No. The NFL and college are two different leagues. As much as I hate him, take a look at Tim Tebow...great college career and perfect for the college system he ran, but he won't do anything significant in the NFL and that is okay. Rich Rodgriguez is recruiting the needs of his system. Luginbill gave praise to Rich Rodriguez for addressing the needs of his system, while coaching for an elite academic institution in Michigan...which 2-3 other coaches in the country have to deal with and that's it. Bottom line is that it's only been two years. 1st year he had 1-2 months to recruit so you can throw that "class" as a measurement out Rich Rod out the window. Last year was his first true recruiting class and you saw the turnaround happening (a few plays from 2-3 more wins). This year will be his second year of truly his recruits. So what I am saying is anyone measuring Rich Rodriguez's success at Michigan at this stage by looking at his NFL numbers is a moron. So are the folks calling for his job after 2 years if, in your words, it takes 3-4 years to judge the true talent level of a recruiting class. That's all I'm saying...


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:02 a.m.

I think we have a good class considering our record the past 2 season. I suppose the number of wins we get next season will be dependent on our how well our defense improves. I'm hoping that Tate will take care of the ball better and not get his shoulder banged up. I hope our running game does well. I'm still uncertain about this coming season but given that the younger kids have that firs year under their belt will allow us to win at least 6 games. I think we'll see 9 wins in 2011 with a win over OSU at the big house!


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 11:36 p.m.

Wersch--while I think 'moronic' is a bit strong, I do think it's ridiculous to put too much stock in recruiting as a gauge at all. We won't know anything about recruiting classes for 3-4 years. All we know is that there will be players who will underperform, who will outperform, who will fail out, who will get in trouble with the law, and who will truly match potential. Much of it is beyond coaching. But for Luginbill to proclaim that RR has 'upgraded' and to criticize the fans for being impatient, well that's moronic (to use your term). All we can go by is RR's record (compared to his predecessors)--and so far, it isn't pretty. Getting his own people may help, whether they are 2 star or 4 star or whatever. Whether they are NFl caliber or High school caliber. He is going to make his own record and then we can continue to judge. But Luginbill gives him an awful lot of credit, while RR's record of producing NFL talent out of his recruiting classes just is not there. And players in NFL and championships are really the two best gauges of recruited and developed talent, no?


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 10:58 p.m.

As far as the NFL, let's worry about how many player's Rich Rodriguez sends to the NFL while AT MICHIGAN once his 09' and 10' classes graduate or at least finish their junior year...we got freshman and sophomores on the team and predicting their NFL stock at this stage of the game is nonsense and moronic.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 10:47 p.m.

goblue: who cares about who's in the NFL? well, apparently a lot of RR supporters (and LC haters) who have continually made excuses for RR's record so far (7-16). They have repeatedly asserted that it's not RR's fault that 'the cupboard is bare', and as proof, they use the mantra that none of Michigan's players have been drafted in last year's draft. That's why I bring it up. Frankly, I don't care, either, but you can't have it both ways. Any coach who switches jobs knows it will be years until they have 'their own players' in there, yet they can't take a pass until 'their guys' are seniors, that is unless the boss is William Martin and MS Coleman. For 40 years, no Michigan coach lost so much, despite transitions, tough schedules, away games, or anything. Yet RR has an excuse of "no NFL talent" but now GoBlue says it doesn't matter? Huh?


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 10:41 p.m.

HeartbreakM - you've got it exactly right. Macabre Sunset - you've got it exactly right. I'll leave it at that. I've been a bad boy and must go sit in the corner now.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

Now folks, if you remember the last time we had the vaunted big power team we didn't fare so well againt Columbus Community College (my apologies to all community colleges, except for that one). I'm anxious to see how the season plays out.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

Idk I do miss that pro style type offense and big o lineman big receivers and power strength dominating defense type of a team. I mean the big ten is a physical conference I just don't want Michigan to end up like Illinois or Purdue. However I do support Michigan no matter what I'm not against the Spread I'm just not sure how it will be played in big ten. yeah PSU ran some type of spread so do does PU and NW. But I HOPE FOR THE BEST GO BLUE.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

go blue voiceofreason i feel the same way.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

The last thing OSU+MSU fans want to see is Devin Gardner operating the Rodriguez offense. The main reason there is such a push for Rodriguez to be fired by outsiders is because these people know what he will be able to do given the proper amount of time. If Ohio State fans weren't scared of Gardner, they wouldn't be sending him facebook messages saying, "I hope you tear both ACL's tonight in your game." (Yes, this actually happened.) I look forward to this team running a train on the Big10 next year.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

The people that know what they are talking about when it comes to college football and recruiting are all saying the same positive things about UM football and RR as the evolution continues. I will value these people's comments much more than the yoyo's who continue to bash RR and his program. The process is moving forward and will continue to do so. I believe this staff does a great job in finding recruits to fit the system. It is a known fact that the rosters accross the country are made by the 2 and 3 stars who work their butts off to get better in college and not just the few 4 and 5 stars that think they are already "all world". I'll take the hard working player any day over the "hot dog" that thinks he needs a news conference to announce where he is going to go to college.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 7:26 p.m.

This recruiting class will not mean anything to wins this season so RR welcome to another under-achieving year. Do let the hit you on your way out. Your supporters are dillusional the nay sayers are justified.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

Who cares who is in the NFL?


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 6:45 p.m.

Well said Tater. It's basically broken down but no one sees it yet. This entire year was filled with flashes of what we will see consistently throughout the next couple years. All these naysayers forget about last years recruiting and what they havent had a chance to show. Can't wait till Vladdy takes someones head off or Gallon runs an 80 yard reverse. GO BLUE


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

We can only hope that Mr. Luginbill is correct. It sure would be nice to see a significant improvement over the last two years. What hurts the most is that, for years, Michigan was known for an aggressive and tough defense. We've not had that for a long time. There's nothing quite like your favorite team's defense stuffing the opponent and crushing any hope out of them. It's very satisfying. :-D I hope that returns.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

And one more thing about WVU players in the pros: I just looked up on ESPN: 1 is a punter 2 are players who were there before RR 1 is a transfer from Michigan only 2 of the 11 had any meaningful playing this year. Is that what we can expect from "rr's type of players"? I saw a lot of criticism by the RR supporters that LC didn't leave him enough talent--and used lack of draft picks as proof. Well, what about RR's record of lack of NFL talent as shown by the current NFL rosters?


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

Mitch--this article will go in the same place that all recruiting articles go. Straight into my recycling bin. All I can tell you is that so far, RR has shown he can't coach a team with "strength, size, and power" as shown by his 2 year record. If he can only coach "speedy small players", then that speaks volumes about his ability to adapt and teach. Luginbill (whoever that is) indicates that we are getting all sorts of new talent in at receiver, running back, etc but I think Michigan has done just fine there. Look at the NFL rosters for proof that we are doing OK producing these athletes. Same with linemen, defensive line, linebackers, cornerbacks. Hmmm, come to think of it, how many WVU players are there dotting all the NFL rosters? I looked it up and it is 11 (and one of those is Ryan Mundy so Michigan should get credit for that one too). Let's face it, unless RR starts winning and coaching what's there, he will be joining the 10% of this country collecting unemployment. If he can only coach "his players" then what happens if they get injured or transfer? I think if I were a player in the last 2-3 years, I'd be angry that he threw me out just biding his time, rather than dealing with what's there and coaching them up.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

Why would it shut us up? Rodriguez has destroyed everything that's important to Michigan football fans. And now he has the best track team in the Big Ten. Whoopie! Hello, four-win season and unemployment.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

Sure this will shut everyone up if you think =haveing a declining ranking of your recruits fom year to year is a good thing.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

It's not all about speed. They also need to be strong enough to block and strong enough to get to the quarterback... We are not talking track theo.........