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February 18, 2013
By The Numbers: U-M's most talented position has been D-End
Michigan's recruiting classes from 2000-12 produced 131 starters (min. three games), with U-M's defensive ends, potentially, the most talented of the bunch as the 13 pass rushers earned, on average, a 3.92 star ranking coming out of high school.
The defensive end position has included a pair of five-stars - LaMarr Woodley (Class of 2003) and Brandon Graham (Class of 2006) - while 18 four-star prospects went on to earn starting jobs for the Wolverines.
Michigan's tight ends (3.86 average star ranking among starters), cornerbacks (3.83) and tailbacks (3.80) also seem to be able to match the promise of U-M's defensive ends, but both quarterback and defensive tackle would have posted the high marks if not for a pair of walk-on starters (QB Nick Sheridan and DT Will Heininger) that did not earn any stars coming out of high school.
The other six quarterbacks that have started for the Maize and Blue were four-star prospects or better, with Chad Henne (Class of 2004) and Ryan Mallett (Class of 2007) both five-star signees. At defensive tackle, every one of the other eight starters were a four- or five-star recruit, and that will likely continue this year when four-star Quinton Washington (Class of 2009) opens up next to five-star Ondre Pipkins (Class of 2012).
Meanwhile, no position has produced more than two starters that were once designated a five-star prodigy, with defensive end, quarterback and cornerback each posting the pair. Michigan has never had a five-star rise up at wide receiver, tailback, center, offensive tackle (Steve Schilling, Class of 2007 was an OT before moving to OG his final two years) or fullback to start at least three games.