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Playing the Stock Market – Michigan Football Style

August 22, 2011

Today The Wolverine Den welcomes a guest post from FOTB (Friend of the Blog) and avid Michigan fan Mike Randazzo.  If you tell him you like it enough, hopefully he’ll come back and write some more this fall! 

Since we’ve seen evidence the last couple weeks that investment analysts are usually wrong when talking about the stock market, I figured it would be good for me to use stock market analogies for players to watch in the upcoming season since it’s apparently acceptable to be completely wrong with those types of predictions and analysis.

Blue Chip pick: Denard. A lot of people worried that he would look as good in this offense as Steven Threet did in RichRod’s offense. From all reports this summer though, that has been proven untrue. Offensive Coordinator Al Borges seems to have adapted his offense around the personnel he has, while also mixing in some new power concepts. I’m sure Denard will make some mistakes, but he’s still going to break off long TD runs, complete long TD passes, and get his share of ESPN top plays. After initial concern from the coaching change, his stock will again be up at the end of the season.

Initial Public Offering: Blake Countess (CB) and Matt Wile (Kicker). We’ve been destroyed by injuries in the secondary the last few years, so it’s not hard to think we see another true freshman if things go south again. Countess was an Army All American in high school and has impressed the coaches. He should see the field as the #3 or #4 CB, and his future is very bright. He could easily follow the trajectory of Donovan Warren and be a top performer in a couple seasons. With sophomore punter Will Hagerup suspended for 4 games, we will likely be seeing true freshman Matt Wile punting and handling kickoffs. He’s also competing with Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen for the placekicking job, so he could very well end up doing all of the kicking early in the season. Wile seems to be a great kid and comes from a family of Michigan graduates with his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all graduating from med school at Michigan. I’m sure that will be a common talking point during games this season, when hopefully we are seeing a huge improvement in the kicking game.

Second IPO: Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB). Coming out of high school, his YouTube film caused a massive amount of internet hype that he was going to be the next great Michigan RB. He got injured early though so he redshirted his freshman season, then came in last year and had a 60 yard run on his first carry, but re-injured his shoulder and played sparingly the rest of the year. Most people at that point started throwing out words like “snake bit” and “Carlos Brown 2.0,” assuming he’d never be completely healthy. He’s had a very solid camp though and is pushing Mike Shaw for the starting RB position. Can he stay healthy this year and start building the hype again?

Long Term Growth: Jake Ryan (LB). He’s a redshirt freshman this season, and people who watched the Spring game saw him terrorizing the QB on blitzes and picking off a pass in coverage. He’s going to be battling Cam Gordon for playing time at the strongside linebacker (SAM) spot so he might not see the field very much, but the buzz has been very positive since the Spring. He just always seems to be around the ball making plays when he’s in the game. He’s better against the run whereas Gordon is stronger against the pass, so we could see them playing in different situations depending how they both perform on Saturdays.

International Fund: Nathan Brink (DE) and Desmond Morgan (LB) : Not really international, but both of these guys hail from Holland (MI), so I’m going with it. Brink is a kid I had never heard of before the Spring and is a walk-on redshirt sophomore defensive end. Coaches continue to praise him every chance they get, and it’s very likely he ends up starting at DE for the Western game, moving Ryan Van Bergan into a DT position. He has decent size (6’5″ 267lbs) and coaches rave about his fundamentals, so this could just be a case of wanting to play the guys who are consistent so they can get a solid game plan without worrying about mental mistakes. Pay attention to him in the Western game because we may see a lot of him this year and in the future. The second guy here is true freshman Desmond Morgan. He was an unheralded 3-star recruit who played against weak competition for the most part, so nobody really knew what to expect. What jumped out to me when he was recruited though was that he played both Quarterback and Linebacker in high school because that usually means they are a solid athlete who can learn quickly (similar to true freshman Courtney Avery last year). Morgan is competing for the Weakside LB (WILL) spot and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him get serious playing time against Western.

Buy Low Sell High: Will Campbell (DT). Most people have lost confidence in Big Will with the news Nathan Brink might start at DE, moving Campbell to the bench. Under RichRod, Campbell played with poor technique to the point they moved him to the offensive line. The defensive coaching under the previous staff was pretty damn bad though, so it’s not hard to see why his fundamentals never improved. My thoughts on Campbell are that this offseason he hit his target weight (dropped to 320lbs) that he never could under RR, and improved his technique enough to stay on the DL and be in contention for playing time. I think he struggles early, but with another 12 weeks of coaching and film review with great defensive coaches will have people excited about him by the end of the year.

Sell! Sell! Sell!: Mike Cox (RB). Cox is a redshirt junior who every offseason we hear about him being the best athlete on the team. He’s got power, speed, and size that make him look like he could be a star in this offense. Unfortunately, for his 3 years under RichRod he could never learn the playbook well enough to see the field because he’d make too many mental errors. It’s not like we were running that complex of an offense the last 3 years either, needing to scale it back to account for rookie QBs almost every year. Other guys in his recruiting class (Mike Shaw, Tay Odoms, Kevin Koger, Darryl Stonum) all managed to keep up fine, so it doesn’t bode well for Cox changing to a new offense with new blocking and pass protection schemes. I don’t expect to see him get much playing time this year, and with only one more year of eligibility left after this season, who knows if he’ll ever be the feature back.

Penny Stock: Jeremy Gallon (WR). Anyone who watched Michigan games last year will immediately think “fumble” or “horrible decision” when you hear the name Jeremy Gallon. As a redshirt freshman on punt returns last year, he made fans excited if a punt went out of bounds. He has another offseason of conditioning and practice under his belt though and has been one of the top WR performers throughout fall camp. He’s only 5’8″, but has been noted as out-jumping guys to catch passes, and at 185+lbs he can break tackles better than you’d expect. He’s a guy who most fans will cringe when they see him step on the field this year, and could end up being another fumble machine who gets benched, or could end up being a star on special teams and at WR. For those who don’t know/remember, Gallon was the player-of-the-year in Florida when he was a junior in high school for the top division (6A) in the state. That’s a very impressive accomplishment considering all the talent that comes out of Florida each year, which means he’s got some serious talent if he can put it together on the field.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill Costello permalink
    August 23, 2011 6:59 AM

    Great article Mike. Go Blue.

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