Posted on: June 5, 2009 5:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2009 11:04 am

Player Defections During The Rodriguez Transition


This piece, originally published on the Spartan message board as "Lest We Forget (part 1)," received some worthwhile comments from go-blue-go, a Wolverine fan. I have his permission to include his insights here, too. Those passages that go-blue-go contributed are marked with his member name.

In addition, the entry for Matt Mallett is corrected from decommit to transfer.

From the dialog with go-blue-go and others, it seems the common perception is that this article attempts to blame Rodriguez for all the player departures. It is likely that the quotes from the Forcier vs. Paulus message thread contributes to that perception. The exchange of posts in Forcier vs. Paulus was my inspiration and motivation to digress from my primary research project to compile this data. The research actually did not delve into why a player left (except in 2 or 3 cases), but rather verified both that player had left and the type of departure (decommit versus transfer for example).

For the past several weeks, I have been engaged in a large research project (NCAA football). As often happens during research, interesting things are uncovered that are not directly related to the thesis being investigated. Such curiosities are often worth a digression, so I spent a little time looking at what follows.

First, a little background.

It the Forcier vs. Paulus, who cares ? Gotta Love It!!! on May 1, 2009 at 9:49 pm, Michwolverines1 posted:

All three of you are idiot that dont do their research first

One has to pause and comtemplate the literacy of that particular fan.

A few minutes later (9:53 am), I posted:

How many players has Dik-Rod lost or chased away now? Seems in spring practice a year ago, one or more left because of the lack of values brought to the program by Dik-Rod. Lost Treet recently.

A bit later (10:59 pm), Michwolverines1 responded with:
I havent really kept a tally but the player you are referencing in the next sentecnce about "values" would be Justin Boren.   He claimed there was "eroding family values" when in fact it was his father who did want his kids playing at rival schools.
THREET transfered becuase he is a more suited for a pro style system.

One has to pause anew and comtemplate the level of research conducted by that particular fan.

In the course of my research, the site I discovered was Observations of Coach Rodriquez' First Year at Michigan, which was authored by a Michigan fan.

Listed on that site, are 12 recruits that decommitted and 19 players who left or were kicked off the team during the first year of Rodriguez as head coach at UM plus one coach who resigned. In addition, one recruit decommitted and later recommitted and 5 players may decide to leave (still listed on the spring roster). That's 36 players and 1 coach.

Shafer, Scott
- resigned (now Defensive Coordinator at Syracuse)
go-blue-bo: Scott Shafer resigned due to poor performance of his D, he said "Bottom line is, I take full responsibility for the demise of the Michigan program. I accept all the responsibility." - The Detroit News . It also had nothing to do with Coach RR.  Was he fired or resigned?  When asked  if it was actually a resignation Shafer replied "Yes, it is accurate. We just had a mutual decision." - The Detroit Free Press.

Campbell, Will - decommit & recommit (class of 2009)
go-blue-bo: Will Campbell while I have no actual proof, everyone knows that Big Will is a practical joker, and has been known to play pranks on everyone.  He decommited and recommited to UM just to pull their chain, as well as when choosing the team hat at the Army All-American game he first reached for the LSU cap then returned to UM.  He was in the spotlight, who wouldn't have a little fun.....

Babb, Zion - kicked off team (new school not identified)
There is disagreement whether Babb was kicked off or left of his own accord. As reported, Babb probably deserved to be thrown off the team.
go-blue-bo: Zion Babb was in fact kicked from the team, repeatedly violated team policy.  Every team has this type of departure.  He did not leave due to RR.

Kates, Jason - left the team (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Jason Kates a redshirt freshman that saw 0 snaps.  Left to find some more playing time (rumour has it he also had difficulty maintaining his weight during his time at UM). - http://varsityblue.blogspot.com/200

Bostic, William - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: William Bostic in '06 and '07 he produced 0 playing time, never saw the field.  Can't blame those years on RR.  http://www.mgoblue.com/football/pla

Buckman, Sam - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Sam Buckman in '06 and '07 he produced 0 playign time, never saw the field due to a tear in his vastas intermedius muscle.  Again, that is not RR's fault.  http://mgoblue.com/football/playerb

Butler, Carson - did not return (entered NFL draft)
go-blue-bo: Carson Butler as you stated entered the NFL draft, and got picked up by Green Bay Packers, not RR's fault  - http://www.packers.com/team/players

Criswell, Andre - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Andre Criswell its anybody's guess where this kid is now, this player had 1 year of eligibility left (if I'm correct) however I cannot find any information as to why he departed.  RR may very well have played a factor into his departure.

Middleton, David - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: David Middleton did not see any action in his first year '06 nor any action in '07.  Again can't blame those on RR.  http://web1.ncaa.org/stats/StatsSrv

Perry, Lawrence - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Lawrence Perry did not see any action in '07, however many freshmen do not, his departure could be due to RR.  http://web1.ncaa.org/stats/StatsSrv

Ramirez, Michael - did not return (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Michael Ramirez was actually on the roster last year, however in '07 and '08 he did not see any playing time and was a SO for both seasons.  Not on current roster may have departed due to RR.

Ciulla, Jeremy - wasn't asked back for 5th year (whereabouts unknown)
go-blue-bo: Jeremy Ciulla 4 good years in UM, well 3 really as he didn't play in his first.  Unknown reasons why he didn't play for his 5th season.  Could have departed due to RR.

Mitchell, Alex - wasn't asked back for 5th year (whereabouts unknown)
go-blue-bo: Alex Mitchell much like Jeremy Ciulla played in 3 seasons, only 7 games in his last year.  Unknown reasons why he didn't play for his 5th season.  Could have departed due to R.R.

Boren, Justin - claiming a lack of family values at UM, transferred  to Ohio State
go-blue-bo: Justin Boren 100% departure due to RR

Chambers, Artis - played in 2008 while ineligible, transferred to Ball State
go-blue-bo: Artis Chambers was deemed Academically Ineligible, did not return to UM and transfered to Ball St.  As you pointed out.  Nothing to do with RR

Clemons, Toney - transferred to Colorado
go-blue-bo: Toney Clemons another student who transfered due to the arrival or RR, however it was not RR specifically (much like Boren) but more the installing of the spread offense.  http://www.ralphiereport.com/2009/5
  however we'll count it as a departure due to RR

Horn, Avery - transferred (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Avery Horn actually saw field time last year, but only on returns and didn't see a single snap on Offense.  Its said he transfered to a school closer to home, however I cannot find any hard proof.  Could be becuase of RR, but then again it may have other reasons.

Mallett, Ryan - transferred (new school not identified). Ryan Mallett played in (not as a starter) 11 games as a freshman at Michigan. According to a WJLA report, Mallett may end up at Tennessee under former UM offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler, both of whom Tennessee is, at the time of the report, was considering hiring. Texas A&M, UCLA, and a couple of other schools were also under consideration by Mallett.

McGuffie, Sam - transferred to Rice. Interesting speculative articles (Detroit Free Press and Scout) contended in December 2007 that then recruit McGuffie was considering decommitting depending on whether Fred Jackson was or was not retained as an assistant coach. Rodriguez rehired Jackson on December 21, 2007 and McGuffie was on the Michigan roster for a year.
go-blue-bo: Sam McGuffie yes he transfered, but it had nothing to do with RR, he left to be closer to his family as well as after recieving 2 concussions last year he felt he could not take the hits at this level. There are a number of factors," McGuffie said about his decision, according to Rivals.com. "It's nothing against the Michigan football team or the university. I felt that I had to do what is best for myself and my family."  Can't blame that on RR  http://www.bukisa.com/articles/6191

Patilla, Quinton - transferred to Grand Valley
go-blue-bo: Quinton Patilla left due to issues with new staff at UM as well as medical reasons, might not be RR but thats splitting hairs.  We'll say this is RRs fault. http://grandvalleystate.scout.com/2

Slocum, Marques - alleged conflict with Rodrigues, transferred (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Marques Slocum you say "alleged conflict with Rodrigues" however depending on what you read it seems most of his aggression was towards Mark Barwis. Seemed to be academically faultering as well as skipping team workouts.  Not to mention the alcohol related misdemeanor... Won't blame RR for this. http://varsityblue.blogspot.com/200

Threet, Steven - quarterback competition with Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, transferred (new school not identified)
go-blue-bo: Steven Threet this is more of a case of player unable to fit a system, and coach RR tried to work it with him, but in the end some players dont fit.  He stayed at RRs request, but left because he couldnt fit.  We'll still say RR was the reason http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/

Grady, Keven - may possibly transfer but still listed on the spring roster
go-blue-bo: Kevin Grady has no intentions of transfering, but may not play due to dui. Until he actually transfers can we really blame someone (if that was the case women would begin to blame us for crap we didnt do...wait they do that now). http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/

Mathews, Greg - may possibly transfer but still listed on the spring roster
go-blue-bo: Greg Mathews haven't heard anything of him transfering,

Patterson, Adam - may possibly transfer but still listed on the spring roster
go-blue-bo: Adam Patterson haven't heard anything of him transfering,

Warren, Donovan - may possibly transfer but still listed on the spring roster
go-blue-bo: Donovan Warren haven't heard anything of him transfering reciently (since 07)

Webb, Martell - may possibly transfer but still listed on the spring roster
go-blue-bo: Martell Webb haven't heard anything of him transfering

Hill, Taylor - decommitted, signed with Kent State (class of 2008)
Wienke, John - decommitted, signed with Iowa (class of 2008)
Wilson, Christian - decommitted, signed with North Carolina (class of 2008)
Witherspoon, Marcus - decommitted, signed with Rutgers (class of 2008)
Barnes, Jordan - decommitted, signed with Oklahoma State (class of 2009)
Beaver, Shavodrick - decommitted, signed with Tulsa (class of 2009)
Fera, Anthony - decommitted, signed with Penn State (class of 2009)
Graves, Pearlie - decommitted, signed with Texas Tech (class of 2009)
Jones, DeQuinta - decommitted, signed with Arkansas (class of 2009)
McNeal, Bryce - decommitted, signed with Clemson (class of 2009)
Newsome, Kevin - decommitted, signed with Penn State (class of 2009)
Peace, DeWayne - decommitted, signed with Arizona (class of 2009)
go-blue-bo: As for all the Decommitted and signing with other teams, this happens each and every year with each team.  Players commit and decommit regularly.  Some may very well have had to do with UM's 3-9 record last year, some may not want to play the spread, and some may just not like RR, but we may also have taken a few commits from other teams for the same reasons.  Unless a players specifically said "I will not sign with Michigan because of Rich Rodriguez" then I cannot accept it as his fault.

Certainly there is turnover from year to year. Too, a change in coaching is sufficient cause for players and recruits to reconsider. One recruit stated he decommitted because he wanted to play for coaches more like Carr. Some of the players did not fit in with the spread option or the new defensive scheme and left for programs with better fits to their talents and training.

But 40% of the team? In one year?

It makes one wonder.


The fall 2008 Michigan roster listed 109 players. There are currently listed 96 players on the Michigan Spring roster (not all the recruits are listed since they are not yet enrolled). Based on 109 players and 31 confirmed departures, the turnover percentage is just over 28%. The original 40% was based on the 85 scholarships allowed per team, 31 confirmed departures and an assumption that another 3 of the 5 "possible transfers" would also depart.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com