The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 9, 1993 - 19
Freshmen gridders try to make an impact
Star-studdedfield of recruits attempts to adjust to college level
By ADAM MILLER
DAILY FOOTBALL WRITER
In general, afreshmanfootballplayer
at Michigan cannot expect to see sig-
nificant playing time. Indeed, with the
depth of the Wolverines' roster, and the
complexity of the system the rookies
must learn, most don't play until they
However, a few always stand out,
and - to use coaching lingo - "step
up and contribute" immediately. This
year is no exception, as Michigan has
once again landed one of the top incom-
ing classes in the country. Most major
polls rated the class of Wolverine new-
comers topsin the Big Ten and as high
as No. 2 in the country.
Freshmen often shine when circum-
stances necessitate their involvement,
and Michigan's hobbling linebacker
unit provides three rookies, Trevor
Pryce, JJ. Brown and Mike Elston, just
such awindow ofopportunity. All three
come to Ann Arbor with lockers full of
Named The Sporting News' top de-
fensive line prospect in the country,
Pryce wasalsoratedNo. 8byrecruiting
analyst Tom Lemming, and was named
the top freshman in the Big Ten by
Athlon Really Big Ten. Pryce contrib-
uted against Washington State, forcing
a fumble in his debut.
Similarly, Brown was the top pros-
pectin his home state of South Carolina.
He was named the No. 2 linebacker in
the country by Prep Football Report
and the fifth-best linebacker by Super
Prep. Brown may see action later this
year, but Moeller said he still must
develop within Michigan's system.
Elston, considered by many to be
the top linebacker from Ohio, was a
Prep Football Report All-America and
a USA Today honorable mention for
Another position that provides an
opportunity for a freshman to "step up"
is tight end, due to the graduation of
two-year starter Tony McGee. Pierre
Cooper, who was rated as a "sleeper"
prospect during the summer, has earned
the designation of third-string tight end
behind Mark Burkholder and John
Jaeckin. Cooper will wear the same
number as McGee - No. 88.
In all, Michigan had 13 players
among Athlon's Top 50 Big Ten re-
cruits, with Pryce the No. 1 selection.
Clarence Thompson, a defensive
back from Detroit who was a USA To-
day, Super Prep, Prep FootballReport,
and Scholastic Coach first-team All-
America (No. 8 in Athlon).
"Clarence Thompson's going tobe a
real good defensive back," senior
cornerback Alfie Burch said. "He's a
top-of-the-line youngster. He's incred-
Thompson has worked his way to
No. 2 on the free safety depth chart.
-Damon Denson, adefensive tackle
from Pittsburgh who was ranked the
No. 6 lineman in the country by Prep
Football Report (No.6 by Athlon).
- Seth Smith, a wide receiver from
Murphysboro, Ill., who SuperPrep rated
the No. 2 receiver in the nation (No. 5
Athlon). Smith is currently recovering
from a separated shoulder suffered in
non-contactdrills earlyin the preseason.
- Jon Ritchie, a fullback from
Mechanicsburg, Pa., notedforhispower
and rated the best fullback prospect
nationally by analyst Max Emfinger.
He also played against the Cougars (No.
"He's a good running back," senior
tailback Ricky Powers said. "I was sur-
prised myself, for as well as a blocker,
he's a great runner. He learns fast. He's
not Burnie Legette yet, but give him a
- George Howell, a linebacker from
Austin, Tex., who also ran track and has
notable speed. He was ranked the No. 8
linebackerby Prep FootballReport (No.
14 in Athlon);
- William Carr, another Texan (Dal-
las) and the country's top nose tackle
prospect according to Prep Football
Report. He'll play defensive tackle for
the Wolverines (No. 17 by Athlon);
* Rob Swett, an ironman from
Chalfont, Pa., who came to Michigan
with the skills to play on either side of
the line. Named as one of the Top 100
overall prospects in the nation by the
SportingNews,he's working outat full-
back (No. 24 by Athlon);
- Scot Loeffler, a quarterback from
former Michigan coach Bo
Ohio. He was an All-American in sev-
eral prepmagazines (No. 26byAthlon);
. Danya Overton, a running back
from Jeffersonville, Ind., who runs the
40-yard-dash in an impressive 4.4 sec-
onds. Due to the Wolverines' depth at
tailback, he may have to wait his turn
(No. 30 in Athlon);
- Finally, Joe Ries, a center who's
also from Barberton, Ohio, rounds out
Michigan's dominance of the Athlon
list at No. 47. Ries snapped to Loeffler
'Ho's a good running back.
I was surprised myself, for
as well as a blocker, he's
a great runner. He learns
fast. He's not Burnie
Legette yet, but give him a
- Ricky Powers
on freshman Jon Ritchie
at Barberton High School. As with oth-
ers on this list, Ries won several prep
accolades in his senior year.
Other Wolverines who are likely to
make an impact in the future include
Tu Biakabutuka, a running back from
Quebec; Brent Blackwell, an All-State
defensive back from Anderson, Ind.;
Nate DeLong, akicking specialist from
Wyandotte, Mich., who will back up
punter Chris Stapleton; Brian Griese, a
pocket passer from Miami who's the
son of the famed Miami Dolphin Bob
Griese; John Partchenko, an offensive
lineman from Etobicoke, Ont.; Earnest
Sanders, a defensive back from Flint,
Mich., who was the state's third best
overall player according to the Detroit
Free Press; and Glen Steele, a tight end
from Ligonier, Ind., who was an All-
Midwest selection by the G& W Re-
Starting outside linebacker Matt
Dyson, when asked about the potential
of Michigan's freshmen, put the expec-
tations of the group in perspective - a
perspective Wolverine fans would be
wise to keep this year.
"They all have the potential,"Dyson
said, "but as the saying goes, 'Potential
doesn't mean anything unless you per-
form.' The key thing is how they adjust
to the Michigan system."
Gary Moeller gives the freshmen a pep talk at the team's media day Friday, Aug. 13.
Moeller looks for big things from fullback Jon Ritchie and Pierre Cooper.
Continued from page 1
studied at the University's Flint cam-
pus. After playing six seasons in the
Brooklyn Dodgers minor league sys-
tem, Roberson embarked on a career
with the University that has spanned 27
years. Before coming to Ann Arbor, he
served as vice chancellor of the Flint
campus from 1980 to 1983 and interim
chancellor from 1983 to 1984.
"I'm thrilled, excited and probably
only a -little more surprised than you
are," Roberson said. "I'm looking for-
ward to it. The transition period will be
very important to me. I look forward to
working with Jack (Weidenbach) and
learning. I look forward to working
with the athletic department."
A University committee conducted
a comprehensive search for
Weidenbach's successor over the past
six months. Ironically, Roberson was
not interviewed by the committee and
surfaced in Duderstadt's mind only
seven weeks ago.
"As we proceeded with the search, I
became more and more convinced that
within our athletic department and
among Michigan graduates nationally
there are some candidates with poten-
tial, many of whom were interviewed
by the search committee," Duderstadt
"While these candidates have po-
tential, each of them lacks the manage-
ment, personnel and financial experi-
ence I truly believe is vitaltorunning an
athletic department as large and com-
plex as ours."
Duderstadt said he hopes that over
the nextthree years someone from within
the athletic department will be ready to
"There are some outstanding people
in the department, and this provides a
system forsuccession," Duderstadt said.
Roberson possesses the credentials
Duderstadt was looking for. He has a
background in athletics, even though he
has been away from the sports scene for
anumberof years. His years on the Flint
campus provided him with experience
in University administration.
Moreover, as director of Campaign
for Michigan, Roberson has been suc-
cessful in raising and managing sub-
stantial amounts of money. The $1-
billion fundraising campaign has al-
ready raised almost $500 million in less
than one year. Roberson will still work
on the Campaign during the transition
Once Roberson becomes athletic
director, he plans to concentrate his
efforts in three areas. *
"Gender equity obviously is an is-
sue that has to be dealt with, and I think
we should be a leader in that," he said.
"Funding is also an area of great con-
cern in maintaining the quality of our
athletics. We also have to maintain the
quality and integrity of our programs."
It was reported that the four finalists
for the job were North Carolina AD
John Swofford, Michigan Associate AD
Fritz Seyferth, former Wolverine foot-
ball All-American and current Seattle
Seahawks employee ReggieMcKenzie,
and Kansas AD Bob Frederick.
"I think it's an outstanding job at a
great university with an outstanding
athletic program," said Swofford, who
withdrew from consideration. "But
when it was all said and done, I think the
best thing for me was to stay at North
Carolina. I think you're talking about
two of the best AD jobs in the country
with Michigan's and North Carolina' s."
Frederick and McKenzie could not
be reached for comment.
Seyferth, who was at the helm of the
fundraising efforts for Schembechler
Hall and the renovation of the golf
course, said hemet with Duderstadt and
was disappointed in not getting the job.
He also said he has no plans for his
future at this time.
"(Working at Michigan) has been a
labor of love and I've had a lot of fun
doing it," Seyferth said. "This has been
a disappointment among some donors
but in time that will pass."
Duderstadt's decision to bypass the
recommendations of the search com-
mittee angered some contributors to the
athletic department who were in
Seyferth's corner. Regent Deane Baker
(R-Ann Arbor) also supported Seyferth
and said he will oppose Roberson's
appointment Sept. 24. Baker said he is
against Duderstadt's decision mainly
because of the abandonment of proto-
"I expect very little (support at the
Regents meeting)," Baker said. "Joe
(Roberson) and I are very good friends
and I expect us to remain friends. I have
spoken with him about my decision to
oppose (Duderstadt' s recommendation)
and he understands why I am doing it."
Despite Baker's objections,
Roberson should receive the necessary
five votes from the eight regents.
e1 i% [ i I
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