Ron English as a Recruiting Force

One reason Ron English was brought aboard the Michigan staff in 2003 was his deep ties to the West Coast high school scene. However, some fans have expressed reservations regarding his success in recruiting his home-turf. takes a look at the quality of players English has brought in over the three years he's been at Michigan, compared to other Midwest college football powers.

When it was reported that Ron English would leave Michigan for the NFL, one concern among fans was who would take over recruiting responsibilities for the West Coast - the area for which he was responsible. English decided to stay on at Michigan when he was given the defensive coordinator job. However, some questioned how successful English really was as a recruiter. decided to take match up Michigan's West Coast recruiting against two other Midwest college football powers that recruit the West Coast - Ohio State and Notre Dame.

The area for which English is responsible includes the states of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Idaho. We'll take a look at the number of players lured to Michigan out of those states and their ranking at the time of their signing. We'll also look solely at high school recruits as opposed to junior college players, as Michigan rarely targets those prospects.


In English's first full recruiting season, he found a true sleeper in defensive tackle Alan Branch of Cibola High School in Albuquerque, N.M. Branch ended the recruiting year as a three-star prospect, and was ranked the No. 23 defensive lineman in the country according to However, he saw considerable playing time as a freshman. As a sophomore he was named the team's top defensive lineman.

The other West Coast prospect that year was safety Keston Cheathem of English's hometown of Pomona, Calif. A three-star prospect, he was the No. 19 safety in the country according to However, he was unable to find a home on he field at Michigan, and transferred to Oregon State before the 2005 season.

No. of Players - 2
Average Stars - 3

Notre Dame reeled in a huge catch for the class of 2004. Heading the Fighting Irish signees was four-star cornerback Terrail Lambert of St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif. Lambert was the No. 8 cornerback in the country according to Scout. Lambert redshirted his freshman year, but saw time in all 11 games as a sophomore.

Other West Coast Irish signees were four-star linebacker Anthony Vernaglia of Orange County Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif.; defensive tackle Brandon Nicolas of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif.; offensive lineman John Kadous of Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Ariz. - both three-star prospects; and two-star quarterback Darrin Bragg of Bellarmine Prep High School in San Jose, Calif.

No. of Players - 5
Average Stars - 3.2

Ohio State did not sign any players from the West Coast for the class of 2004.


The recruiting class of 2005 was a banner year for Michigan, and especially for English in terms of the number of players signed from the West Coast. Four-star quarterback Jason Forcier of St. Augustine High School in San Diego topped the class. The No. 8 QB in the country according to, Forcier originally committed to Arizona State, but pledged to Michigan after the Wolverines offered late. The other was four-star defensive end Eugene Germany of Pomona, Calif., High School. Germany, the No. 33 defensive end according to, was originally in the class of 2004, but chose USC over Michigan at the insistence of family. After being released from his Letter of Intent by the Trojans, he signed with Michigan in 2005.

The true scope of English's recruiting prowess will be defined by the college careers of cornerbacks Johnny Sears of Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., and Chris Richards of Monroe High School in Los Angeles. Both three-star prospects were virtually unknown until their commitments to Michigan. Sears ended as the No. 31 cornerback in the country according to, with Richards coming in at No. 56.

No. of Players - 4
Average Stars - 3.5

After the big haul of 2004, Notre Dame failed to bring in any West Coast prospects in 2005.

Ohio State bought in one West Coast player, three-star defensive end Ryan Williams of Mission Viejo, Calif., High School. Williams was the No. 62 defensive end in the country according to He redshirted his freshman year.

No. of Players - 1
Average Stars - 3


In one of the most impressive West Coast showings ever by Michigan, in terms of quality of players, English landed not one, but a pair of five-star prospects - No. 6 safety Jonas Mouton of Venice, Calif., High School, and No. 2 offensive lineman Steve Schilling of Bellevue, Wash., High School. The two were the highest ranked players taken by English since coming to Michigan.

No. of Players - 2
Average Stars - 5

Notre Dame lured a five-star prospect of its own in tight end Konrad Rueland of Mission Viejo, Calif., High School. They also took in three-star tight end Will Yeatman of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., High School. Rueland was the No. 2 TE in the country according to, with Yeatman coming in at No. 38. Yeatman is a two-sport star and will also play lacrosse for the Fighting Irish.

No. of Players - 2
Average Stars - 4

Ohio State landed four-star linebacker Mark Johnson of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, and two-star safety Grant Schwartz of Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Calif. Johnson was the No. 12 linebacker in the country according to, with Schwartz unranked among safeties.

No. of Players - 2
Average Stars - 3

In the three recruiting years since Ron English has been a Michigan coach, he has brought in eight players with an average ranking of 3.75 stars. In the same time period Notre Dame landed seven players with an average ranking of 3.4 stars. Ohio State took three players over the three-years analyzed, with an average ranking of 3.3 stars.

As veteran recruiting fans know, star ranking is not the definitive measure of how a player will perform at the college level. However, it does offer a gauge for reference at a later date.

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