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Friday, February 09, 2007

Ryan Van Bergen

Whitehall, Michigan - 6'5" 260

Scout4*, #8 DE, #51 overall
Rivals4*, #18 SDE, Rivals250
ESPN78, #13 TE(?)
Lemming#24 DT(?)
Previously On
Commit article.

Van Bergen seems to be flying under the radar a bit. In a normal year in Michigan, he would be the second or third best prospect and would receive the modicum of hype due him -- he's almost a Scout five star(!). This year, not so much. He's still on most in-state top ten lists (obviously); Tom Markowski of the News ranks him sixth and claims he had "361/27" sacks, oddly. That's 13.3703703070... etc. for those not inclined to divide in their heads. Also likely to be a typo unless Markowski is really into surprise math. A Muskegon Chronicle article from before the year cites fairly improbable numbers: 6'5", 265, a 320 pound bench, a 4.89 despite being that very large guy.

Unfortunately, Van Bergen's senior year stats are a bit disappointing: 33 tackles and 11 for loss, presumably with far fewer sacks than 361/27. (There were also around 20 catches as a TE.) Van Bergen's production is at odds with this potential according to the gurus and is perhaps a sign he'll redshirt.

Guru Reliability: High.
General Excitement Level: Fairly high. Everyone mentions that excellent size-speed ratio and I buy it.
Projection: Van Bergen's stuck behind a lot of high-profile young bodies at DE (sophomores Brandon Graham, Adam Patterson, Eugene Germany, and junior Tim Jamison) and will struggle to get early playing time, but should be a contributor down the road at either DE or DT.

Renaldo Sagesse

Montreal, Quebec - 6'4" 320
Scout2*, NR
Rivals3*, #34 DT
Cheese Eating Death Monkey
YMRMFSPATerrance Taylor(?)
Previously On
Oui Oui It's A DT
NotesDigs our installations

Hopefully Sagesse turns out to be a more important player than previous Canadian defensive line prospects like Emmanuel Casseus and Alain Kashama, because the opportunity to grunt Frenchily and say "sacre bleu" on a stuffed third and short seems an appealing way to while away the next four years of Saturday afternoons. Can anyone reliably project whether he will be or not? No. The video I've seen of him is dominating, but he's playing high school football in Quebec. He is literally twice the size of most of the kids he tackles and blocking him is complete futility. This is necessary but not sufficient for a proof of his competence at an entirely new level of competition.

Sagesse, being Canadian, has an interesting lack of physical upside -- already 20 -- and surplus of technique upside -- he's Canadian. If it turns out he can't hack it physically soon after getting to campus he'll never do so. And even if he does he still has to adapt to playing against players who he can't just eat. Casseus couldn't hack it; Kashama couldn't pick up the technique. I won't bother to guess whether or not Sagesse can do both.

Guru Reliability: None. Canada.
General Excitement: I haven't a damn clue.
Projection: Obvious redshirt, and from there who knows? Not likely to see the field in front of Slocum or a guy like James McKinney and will have to wait his turn. Kind of doubt he ever makes an impact, just from previous experience with Canadians.

Marques Slocum

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 6'5" 310

Scout5*, #5 DT, top 50
Rivals4*, #1G, #37 overall
Lemming#78 overall, #6 G
Previously On
2005 recruiting summary.
NotesHas been in school since last January but will not be eligible for spring practice

After two years of wandering in the desert Marques Slocum will finally see a Michigan practice field this fall. If his motor is anything like his academic persistence, you can change that "Gabe Watson" into "Alan Branch," but we'll have to wait and see on that.

Before Slocum was cursed to scour the land high and low for a qualifying test score, he was a totally shirtless recruit. You can check the recruiting summary from way back in 2005 if you don't believe me. At that point he was ranked in the top 100 by Lemming, Scout, and Rivals (ESPN was Lemming at that point). He must have risen a bit after a dominating All-American game, as his current profile on Scout shows him with five stars, meaning he was in the top fifty at some later point. Back in the day it was chic to compare him to Gabe Watson, but that was before Watson ended up being a moderate disappointment. (I still content he was a very good player despite the whole teddy bear thing.)

If his performance in the '05 Army Bowl is any indication of his talent -- he was one of those
guys who leaps off the screen, Watson should be the bare minimum with Branch the upside. Those rankings two years ago were for the rare combination of size and agility that all highly rated defensive tackles display. Is he rusty after a year with no football? Yes. Is he in shape? Probably not. Can we expect much this year? Probably not. Down the road, though...

Guru Reliability: High, with the rust caveat.
General Excitement Level: Sky-high. Slocum was one of my favorite recruits from a couple years ago and finally seeing him on the field will be rewarding.
Projection: Unlikely to redshirt -- he's already 20 or so -- but also unlikely to make much of an impression early. Hopefully he can work his way into the DT rotation by midseason. Should be a two-year starter after the Johnson/Taylor duo graduates.

Side note: weird that Michigan is bringing in two twenty-year-old DTs.