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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Michigan Class of 2009 review

By Tom VanHaaren

The 2009 class was the first full recruiting class for Rich Rodriguez while at Michigan. At the time, the class was considered a positive for Rodriguez and his staff. Looking back, however, it’s a mixed bag of success and fall out.

The top prospect in the class was defensive end Craig Roh, who started all four years at Michigan, has been a significant part of the Wolverines’ defensive line and became a defensive leader last season.

Michigan's Denard Robinson
Taylor Lewan (77) and Denard Robinson are two of the most notable players from the 2009 class. Lewan projects to be a first round NFL draft pick.
The most popular names from this class, while they weren’t the highest ranked, are quarterback Denard Robinson and offensive lineman Taylor Lewan.

Robinson was the No. 7 ranked athlete with offers from Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Auburn among others. Robinson has left his legacy as one of the most dynamic players in college football and was a huge part in Michigan’s offensive success over his career.

Lewan undoubtedly would have been a first round draft pick had he chosen to enter the NFL draft after this season, but he chose to return for another season. Barring anything unforeseen happening, he should be a high pick in next year’s draft.

The class finished with 22 prospects, but right off the bat, defensive back Adrian Witty, Robinson’s cousin, didn’t make it. Witty failed to qualify academically and eventually ended up at Cincinnati.

Witty wasn’t the only one either. Of the 22 total commitments, nine are no longer with the team.

The biggest losses were wide receiver Je’Ron Stokes, the No. 8-ranked receiver, quarterback Tate Forcier and defensive back Justin Turner.

It wasn’t all bad news for the 2009 class, though, as Michigan initially landed seven ESPN 150 prospects and came away with some very good players that became tremendous contributors to the team.

The class produced nine eventual starters and some prospects that have outplayed their ranking and projections.

Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon has turned into an excellent receiver for Michigan, but was only the No. 80 ranked athlete out of high school. Safety Thomas Gordon was the No. 77 athlete in the class and has held down his safety position for the past few seasons as well.

In any recruiting class there will be some hits and some misses since recruiting isn’t an exact science. There were a number of defections from this class, but looking at the amount of contributors Michigan has gained from 2009, this class would have to be deemed more positive than negative.