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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
5 negative signing day surprises for U-M

By Michael Rothstein

Michigan has had a lot of positive recruiting surprises on Signing Day over the years -- from Dennis Norfleet last season to Demar Dorsey, Denard Robinson, Adrian Arrington and others.

But as with every school in the nation, the Wolverines have had their share of guys go the other way on or close to Signing Day, either spurning an offer or changing a commitment at the last minute.

As we did with five positive Signing Day surprises for Michigan over the past 10 years, here’s a look at five which did not go the Wolverines’ way and how their careers ended up panning out.

Brady Hoke
Brady Hoke is hoping there are no negative surprises on signing day.
Pearlie Graves (2009)
What happened: Michigan thought it had a good one in defensive lineman Pearlie Graves -- and not only because of the name. The No. 67 defensive tackle in the 2009 class would have given the Wolverines a quality defensive lineman and a pull out of Oklahoma, which has been notoriously difficult for Big Ten teams. He had committed to Michigan in November and looked good to sign until...on national signing day he flipped his commitment to Texas Tech.

How did it work out: Graves ended up with the Red Raiders and after a redshirt season in 2009 started five games in 2010, making 14 tackles and two sacks. That was about as good as it got for Graves, though. He left Texas Tech early in the 2011 season and resurfaced with the Oklahoma Defenders of the American Professional Football League, an indoor football league, last season.

Jerimy Finch (2007)
What happened: Michigan landed Finch, the No. 8 safety and No. 69 player overall in his class, before his senior season of high school, a big-time target in what would end up being Lloyd Carr’s last recruiting class at Michigan. Then, Finch flipped to in-state Indiana in January before surprising everyone again and selecting Florida on National Signing Day, capping a strange recruitment where the Wolverines kept trying to get him back until the end.

How did it work out: Finch’s nomadic ways as a recruit continued in college. He broke his leg as a freshman at Florida three games into his first season. He transferred back home to Indiana in time for the 2008 season, where he was deemed eligible immediately. He played two seasons with the Hoosiers splitting time between special teams and safety before leaving Indiana and landing at Marian, an NAIA school in Indiana, where he made 49 tackles and intercepted two passes in 2011.

Ronald Johnson (2007)
What happened: It was a commitment which still is mentioned from time to time among those who are around recruiting in Michigan. Johnson, from Muskegon, Mich. was the No. 47 prospect in his class and someone who seemed like he would almost assuredly stay close to home with three of his five finalists Big Ten schools along with Florida and USC. Then, in the church in his hometown, he surprised everyone and decided to head to Southern California.

How did it work out: Johnson became an immediate impact player as a kick returner for the Trojans as a freshman and also caught seven passes for 110 yards. As a sophomore he had 33 catches for 570 yards and eight touchdowns and his junior season ended with 34 catches for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson had 64 receptions for 692 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season. He was drafted by San Francisco in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, was waived and eventually landed with Philadelphia, where he spent the season on the team’s injured reserve list.

Daron Rose (2006)
What happened: Michigan was in the final three for the offensive lineman out of Tampa, Fla., the No. 12 tackle and No. 145 player in his class, someone who considered the Wolverines throughout the process. He ended up picking Florida State close to signing day ahead of Michigan and South Carolina.

How did it work out: Rose played two seasons at Florida State, sparingly as a freshman in 2006 and as the Seminoles’ starting left tackle for 11 of 13 games in 2007. He was deemed ineligible at FSU before the 2008 season. It appeared, according to the St. Petersburg Times, that Rose was going to transfer to South Florida, but in 2009 he ended up at ASA College, a junior college in Brooklyn, N.Y. and then in 2010 the Times reported he had recommitted, but eventually finished out his college career at North Alabama.

Cameron Colvin (2004)
What happened: Michigan went west to try and grab one of the top receivers in the country in 2004 in Cameron Colvin out of De La Salle, one of the nation’s premier high school programs. Michigan, which at the time had a pedigree of top receivers, appeared to have a legitimate shot when Colvin announced his commitment on ESPN on Signing Day -- to Oregon.

How did it work out: Colvin played as a true freshman in 2004 and in 2005 caught 22 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. He caught 18 passes for 121 yards as a junior and had 20 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. Colvin, though, had injuries throughout his career and personal tragedies throughout his life, chronicled by Jeffri Chadiha in this 2008 ESPN.com story. Colvin went undrafted in 2008 and signed a free agent deal with San Francisco, but was later released. Colvin now owns his own company, CamColvin Inc., and according to his Twitter account is trying to make a return to professional football in 2013.