So at this point I am having many issues with finding enough information for schools not named Michigan before 2004. I've had to skip one Penn State class and am sure I'll have to do it with other schools. Fortunately, Purdue and Minnesota are mailing me their information. I've got requests out at many schools trying to get information. So at this point, I've got two Michigan classes in a row, and then back to the grind of finding information. Enjoy.
Set the Stage:
Head Coach: Lloyd Carr
2001 Performance: 8-4-0, 2nd Big Ten, 20th Overall
New Blood: 23
Mini Recruiting Board Lives Here:
The 2002 class was recruited off of a mediocre 8-4 campaign in 2001, which succumbed to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl. Lloyd aimed for a very balanced class here, though a light on the line on both sides of the ball. The emphasis on skill positions was expected to pay off in spades. This class contained 13 in-state players, showing Lloyd's preference for Michigan Men to come from Michigan.
How They Did:
Overall Record: 47-16
Varsity Letters: 61
Graduated on Team: 18
Started a Game: 17
Full Eligibility: 15
5th Year Seniors: 12
- Jason Avant, WR, All-Conference 2005
- Dave Harris, ILB, All-Conference 2006
- Gabriel Watson, DT, All-Conference 2005 2006
- Jason Avant, 2006, 4th Round, 109 Overall
- Steve Breaston, 2007, 5th Round, 142 Overall
- Dave Harris, 2007, 2nd Round, 47 Overall
- Gabriel Watson, 2006, 4th Round, 107 Overall
Of the 23 students drafted, 18 graduated, 17 started a game, 15 used their full eligibility, and 12 played as redshirt seniors.
I think this class justifies the use of the man-game starting ratio. This team had an extremely weak starting percentage, barely over 15%, but a high winning percentage, ~75%. The senior season, at 7-6, reflects the starting percentage well. All other classes for Michigan within this time period should have a higher starting percentage, and better senior seasons. This was nowhere near Carr's best performing class.
The lean of this class was towards its skill players in recruiting, and a couple of strong players came from it. Steve Breaston and Jason Avant were both strong receivers and anchors for their senior campaigns. However, the linemen, even though they had less presence, had 43% of the starts for the class. Gabe Watson, DT, won two All-Conference First Team honors, and was drafted just before Jason Avant in the '06 draft. Of the skill players, only two wide receivers an an inside linebacker (Dave Harris) stood out, while Gabe Watson, Reuben Riley, Mark Bihl, and Rondell Biggs all became strong presences on the line during their respective senior campaigns.