It is the bye week here. So, it is time to look at some recruiting classes and do a, “what the heck happened” look at where these guys are or if they are still on the team.
Let me break some news to you, a lot of guys from this 2016 class - would be Redshirt Juniors or True Seniors - are not on this team anymore. Looking back on classes from Pre-Brohm, there is a reason our offensive line is struggling.
We didn’t recruit for depth. Remember, Coach Brohm has had two true recruiting classes to fix the offensive line, so these kids are Sophomores, Redshirt Freshmen, or Freshmen. The first class he had was pretty much set in stone with Darrell Hazell recruits.
I am not making excuses, but there is a clear lack of depth. Offensive Lineman are hardly plug and play guys. It is hard to build an Offensive Line from the ground, there is a reason we took grad transfers the first two years, this year we did not find any.
If you look back at Coach Tiller, it was the same way. He took over a crippling program that needed help in the trenches - it took 4 years for that to happen. His first true recruiting classes became upper class men and it helped. It is a process, now am I worried our OL doesn’t look like a B1G OL yet? Yes I am, but I will give it another year before I truly am freaking out
Looking at the 2016 class, it was ranked dead last in the B1G and 73rd overall in the nation. There are only a few guys left from this class.
Josh Hayes - Left the Program - Defensive Back
Brandon Shuman - Left the Program - Defensive Back
Navon Mosley - Starting Safety - Defensive Back
Terrance Landers Jr. - Left the Program - Wide Receiver
Simeon Smiley - Nickel Corner - Defensive Back
Javonte Ferguson - Who? - Wide Receiver
Benaiah Franklin - Left the Program - Wide Receiver
Jack Wegher - Left the Program - Running Back
Christopher Parker - Again, who? - Defensive Line
Anthony Watts - Starting Defensive Line - Defensive Line
Alex Criddle - Starting Left Guard (Was a DT until this year) - Offensive Line
J.D. Dellinger - Starting Kicker - Kicker
Kamal Hardy - Graduated - Defensive Back
Austin Larkin - Graduated - Defensive Back
Jalen Neal - Left the Program - Offensive Line
Lorenzo Neal Jr. - Starting Nose when Healthy - Defensive Line
Jared Sparks - Rotation at Wide Receiver - Wide Receiver
Jackson Anthrop - Rotation at Wide Receiver - Wide Receiver
Grant Hermanns - Starting Left Tackle - Offensive Line
Rob Simmons - Left the Program - Defensive Line
Tanner Hawthorne - Left the Program - Offensive Line
Semisi Fakasiieiki - On roster - Defensive Line
Brian Lankford-Johnson - Left the program - Running Back
Of the 23, there are 10 on the roster still. Of those 10, this season, only a handful start. We have two starting offensive lineman from this class, where one, Alex Criddle, played defensive line most of his career at Purdue.
It is interesting to go back and look at these classes.
Many of these players were victims of a new head coach being hired. No players were truly forced out, but they were told what playing time would look like.
From this class, we do have the two starting offensive lineman, but in the classes before and after this, there are very few offensive lineman that are still on the roster or who helped.
Mosley and Neal are our only two full time defensive starters from this class. Neal is currently out while he is still recovering from a torn ACL. Both of the running backs, Jack Wegher and Brian Lankford-Johnson are no longer with the team, leaving a void where we should have some upperclassmen at running back.
Overall, with right under 50% of this class still sticking around, it was not a complete waste, but there also is not a lot of players who have been or were at one point major contributors for the program.
Tomorrow, we will look at the 2015 class who may be in their 5th year on campus, and then the 2017 class which was Brohm’s “First Class” but was truly Hazell stay overs.