BLUE

...the joy and despair of being a Wolverines fan.

 

 

July 28, 2007

POSITION PROFILING


Many years ago, rooting for the Michigan Wolverines was simple: three or four televised games a year, the occasional Free Press article, and usually one game at the Big House against the likes of Purdue or Iowa. I never knew the name of a single recruit. A player earned space in my brain by playing good football on the field.  The larvae/pupae stages of the collegiate football player life cycle were as yet undiscovered.  It never occurred to me that knowing about players before they were good was desirable or even sensible. Think about the brain cells I have wasted envisioning Cobrani Mixon laying waste to enemy running backs.

That said, I love recruiting, and it’s not creepy as some humorously suggest. It’s about hope. One school walks away with the National Championship, and the other 127 hope. The futures market for college football fans is recruiting.

And this year, Michigan fans are hoping Sam McGuffie chooses the Wolverines on Sunday. Really. Really. Really. Hoping. In fact, I cannot ever recall this level of intensity about a recruit, although the Rojo fiasco comes close.

Which raises the question as to why Michigan fans are this excited about a player not even in the Rivals100.  A four star player ranked behind several other running backs, a player not in same league as Kevin Grady or Jonas Gray, according to the recruiting services.  

The answer is simple: Sam McGuffie is a victim of racism. The Michigan faithful, being far smarter than the average Buckeye, see through this racism and understand that Sam McGuffie is the best running back in the country. That’s why they’re excited.

Those who read my main blog, Logic Times, know that I am an arch conservative and abhor victimology, which seeks to replace common sense and hard work with blame. I offer this disclaimer because I do not seek out victims – real victims are obvious and deserving of our compassion and help, contrived victims are grifters, deserving of scorn. So why find a victim where no one else does? Why point to the white elephant in the room? First of all, it hardly matters – it’s more of a humorous observation than anything else. That Sam is a victim of recruiting racism or position profiling is of little consequence and without any need for remedy. But it does raise an interesting question: Why?

Highly successful running backs in major collegiate football are not white.  Sam McGuffie does not fit the profile of a big time running back and, as a result, his accomplishments and physical skills have been devalued, if only slightly.  If he were black and had the same stats, he would unequivocally be a five star recruit. Perhaps to compensate for this, Rivals reclassifies him as an “All Purpose Back” and rates him number one in this category, although why someone who lugged the ball out the backfield an astonishing 358 times as a junior is an All Purpose Back and not a Running Back is beyond me.  

Compare Sam McGuffie to the seven Rivals100 running backs this year:

In most ways, the Cy Fair senior surpasses the other backs rated in the top 100. Now, I will readily admit I am not a recruiting professional. I am not a recruiting amateur. But rating a player has to be based upon physical potential or stats or gut feel watching him run or some combination of these things, and nowhere can one find a hole in Sam’s football resume that would suggest not ranking him higher.  Size? All the players rated ahead of him are near clones; their heights are eerily similar and while Sam is the lightest by a few pounds, it is not significant (look at Reggie Bush, Joe McKnight and Noel Devine in previous years below).  He is the strongest. He is the fastest. His SPARQ rating is the highest (in fact, out of 1146 records in the SPARQ database, he ranks 4th and he is not number 1 only because the three kids in front of him have like 5,000 bench press reps). He has a 3.83 shuttle! He has the most carries (durable). He has the second most yards and touchdowns (within a whisker of the number two player in the country and miles ahead of the rest). He plays in a tough football state at the highest level.

And most important of all, any football fan who watches Sam McGuffie run knows that he is looking at something unique. Never have I seen a more explosive player with greater acceleration and better vision than this kid (at the high school level). Rivals experts agree, ranking him first and second overall in two out of four skill categories. “The video of McGuffie breaking people down in the open field is almost legendary, and he's without question the best in this group in my opinion,” says Rivals’s Jeremy Crabtree($).  And, “I also think McGuffie definitely is a threat to score on every play.”

Admittedly, in watching the Rivals video highlights of other backs, some (like Darrell Scott - $) compile yardage in a different, more physical, manner, shedding tacklers like they are oompa loompas, and perhaps that is the deciding factor in this irrelevant game of awarding stars.

No five star, Rivals100 running back in recent years has stats that compare to Sam McGuffie (admittedly, stats become thin as we look back in time):

Does this position profiling matter?  Not at all. I personally believe that, if McGuffie chooses Michigan, he could win a Heisman. God has not created a more harmonious match than McGuffie’s running style and the zone running game. With no studs in the corral, Sam McGuffie stands to shine and shine early.  Four star, five star, white, black…who cares? I just can’t wait to see that kid accelerate through holes opened by Justin Boren, Dann O’Neill, Elliot Mealer and Steve Schilling like Dash in the Incredibles (click):

Note: The goon guards are surely OSU lineman.

Second Note: I admit, Brain (mgoblog), the Matrix is cooler.

Last Note: It is a coincidence Dash and Sam are both white! I swear!

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