With video: Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez defends signing defensive back Demar Dorsey
Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez defended his decision to sign blue-chip prospect Demar Dorsey as part of the Wolverines’ 27-man recruiting class Wednesday.
Dorsey, ranked the No. 2 safety and No. 12 player in the country by ESPN.com, was charged with two felonies while in high school, according to court records in Broward County, Fla.
He was acquitted by a jury on a 2008 charge of robbery with a deadly weapon, and had an earlier charge of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling dismissed.
“Anytime there's a situation, we look at it,” Rodriguez said. “We have found out the whole story. A lot of times there's more to the story than what people understand. You have to look at the whole story. If a guy is in the wrong place at the wrong time and made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all right, then you have to look at why he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you don't pass judgment on him when he did that as a juvenile.
“There's nobody on this football team that we've signed that has a felony conviction. So you have to look at the whole story before you pass judgment. Or misdemeanor conviction.”
Dorsey, the cousin of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, committed to Florida early in the recruiting process, but began considering Florida State and USC, along with Michigan, in recent weeks.
Rodriguez indicated that Florida never stopped recruiting Dorsey.
“These other schools do the research, too,” Rodriguez said. “And don't always believe when they say they drop somebody when they didn't drop somebody. Somebody has committed to somebody for a year, over a year, and they still recruit them last week? Still recruiting them last week? Then they didn't drop the guy, all right? Maybe the guy decided not to visit there. Make sure you get the facts. Everybody don't get the facts on everything and pass judgment on something.”
Mark James, Dorsey’s coach at Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson High, did not return several phone calls seeking comment.
Dorsey is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman in Michigan’s thin secondary. Rodriguez said Dorsey will start his career at cornerback, but could play safety as well.
“Demar’s a very athletic guy, very fast,” Rodriguez said. “He’s indicated he may run track as well, like Denard’s doing up here, so it may be good news for our track program. A fast guy who can play corner and safety. ... We’re excited about Demar.”