"Speed is overrated."

By Jason Priestas on February 11, 2013 at 3:04p

Michigan's new recruiting strategy for wide receivers favors size and hands above speed. But most importantly, recruits should look like "Michigan Men":

"When he walks through that door, he should look like a Michigan wide receiver," Hecklinski said of Michigan's philosophy on recruiting receivers. "That thought, when a kid walks in and you say, 'Does he look like a Michigan Man?' That's important to us. That's very important to us because he represents us."

Big guys that can catch are nice to have, but you won't go far without any game-breakers.

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Bolt's picture

To each his own. To be fair, they have had their share of pretty damn good WRs as well.
Edit: I just thought about Braylon Edwards post-college and started laughing out loud.
Edit Edit: And then remembered my Browns drafted him. *sigh*

OSUAndy07's picture


"But I'm tryin' Ringo. I'm tryin', real hard, to be the shepherd"

bucknut24's picture

That's crazy thinking.  Good luck with that!

Maestro's picture

vacuuming sucks

Unky Buck's picture

Absolutely won't go far. With speed being the name of the game these days, on occasion, you're going to need a guy or 2 who has that chance to turn a 10 yd out route into a 70 yd TD. Having tall receivers is a nice asset, but when safeties are jumping the routes of slower WR's, who cares how tall they are?

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

ATXbucknut's picture

This is your average "Michigan Man."  His Scout profile says Hecklinski is recruitng him hard.  Good luck to him.

dubjayfootball90's picture

wait, gotta che..... yea, just threw up in my mouth.....

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

buckeyedude's picture

Meet Coach Hoke's most recent offer and first commit for the class of 2019. Thomas Kincaide from Utica Elementary in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Tom said he wants to play WR, as he's really good at cathing the ball, and he can run fast, especially when it's time to go to lunch.  5'2" and 168lbs. Dont' have his 40 time yet.  Looks like a "Michigan Boy/Man" for sure. UM was the only school that offered him.



LouGroza's picture

Laughed out loud on that one. That's his mini-me!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Hoke offered his son?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Knarcisi's picture

No, he ate his son. 

ATXbucknut's picture

Look at those man cans!

jfunk's picture

Hoke would never recruit someone capable of beating him in a pie eating contest...

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

Brutus Forever's picture

looks like a walmart wolverine got all butthurt and systematically downvoted you guys...here are some upvotes brothers

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

Knarcisi's picture

Men that look like this?

bigbadbuck's picture

damn...even while he's eating one he's got his eyes on the rest of those ribs......Id hate to be the guy whos holding that pan  if someone, anyone else tries to steal Brady's ribs

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

Brutus Forever's picture


"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

buck-I.8's picture

Let's look at the best recievers that UM has had in the past decade:
- Braylon Edwards - Not a burner, but could get separation with the best of them
- Manningham - pretty fast
- Breaston - Returned kicks and punts, obviously has above average speed. 
I think Coach Heck is confused by the recruits that RichRod brought in because they were burners and they weren't good. He's clearly missing the fact that they weren't good because they were all 5'6'', not because they were fast..

JKH1232's picture

Coach 1: “We just couldn’t stop you guys from hitting the speed out. We used our Tango technique, then switched to the Dragon Claw alignment, and even whipped out the Lombardi Kung Fu grip and we still couldn’t handle it. What are you guys doing to make that that route so effective for you?”
Coach 2: “Our fast kid runs it.

d1145fresh's picture

How did "Tall Wide Receivers" work out all those times Denard just threw the ball up in the air as far as he could. Armpunts for days. 

Nick's picture
old_rasputin's picture


"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

CowCat's picture

This made my week.  LMFAO

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

biggy84's picture

How many rings does this guy have? I will take Urbz's resume over this clown any day.

cplunk's picture

He's partially right- speed is vastly overrated.
Agility/cutting and acceleration (ability to get to top speed quickly) are both more important than top speed, as is strength to get off the line, hands, precision route running, and ability to read zone coverage. Run blocking is also vital if the offense is run-based. Speed is WAY down the list of being important in a WR.
BUT, speed is not irrelevant. It still matters, and it matters a lot more than "looking like a Michigan man." looks are completely irrelevant- I offer exhibit A, Dane Sanzenbacher, and exhibit B, Anthony Gonzalez.
that said, TSUN has produced some excellent WRs over the years. So have our Bucks. 
I'm confident that whatever WRs TSUN gets, ours will be better for our system and continue our recent dominance.

sb97's picture

People often confuse speed with quickness.

HighBallAce's picture

That is very true! Especially in basketball! That being said, I don't really take coach Heck's comment as saying speed doesn't matter at all. No wide reciever coach is that dumb. I think what he's saying is he's looking for the total package.
In all fairness to UM, they are saying that they aren't going to recruit the typical guys they have been recruiting.

bigbadbuck's picture

I hear and understand what you are saying but at first glance "speed is overrated" comes across to me like "brain cells are overrated"

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

penult's picture

That's fine.  Might want to use a more objective approach and get some guys on defense who can actually stop this from happening when they play schools that aren't so childish about recruiting receivers:

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Whoever the Michigan DB was that got beat on that play . . . in his defense, after finally catching up to Damiere Byrd in the EZ after alllowing that 56 yard TD completion, that tackle really looked like a Michigan Man kind of tackle. If you'll notice, the DB really wraps up well and pulls the receiver to the ground - text book tackle. And when the DB gets up, he just looks like a Michigan Man.   

jarheadbuckeyefan's picture

True not much else can be done after getting burned for 50+ yards and dragged another 3 by the WR that just torched you, lol.

"The only meaningful statistic is number of games won."~ Woody Hayes

penult's picture

Maybe I'm not giving enough credit, he really closed the gap like a Michigan Man (while the ball was hanging in the air long enough for Hoke to eat three cheeseburgers).

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Also, too bad Clowney wasn't a bit slower.

onetwentyeight's picture

[edit: speed is overrated when evaluation WR prospects. HOWEVER. It's still WAY MORE IMPORTANT than "looking like a Michigan Man"] 

ab42beerman's picture

That line of thinking might lead them to be Wisconsin East at best.

steensn's picture

Speed matters, there is no doubt, but why does a 4.2 guy not excel all the time? It's because they still need to run great routes and catch the ball. He is right in saying that you need to have guys that can catch (duh) and you need guys that have size (most of the time you aren't going to win with a ton of 5'9" receivers). But where you can get some clear seperation in talent level is when you have guys who can catch, run routes and is really fast. Those type of guys are not proven out of high school, one way the SEC does it is to bring in a ton of burners and hope a few pan out. It seems to be a winning strategt, one that Meyer help mold, and he has brought  it here. I for one am excited to get a bunch of really fast guys with hopes a few step up and show they can catch and run routes than (mostly) what UM and OSU has had the past few years which were guys who could catch and run routes but couldn't seperate. Not a knock on anyone we have had, the Sanzenbachers and others showed what will power could do, but imagine if Sanz was a 4.3 guy? I'd take him over a 6'3" kid who ran a 4.55 40  from UM any day of the week

onetwentyeight's picture

That's not what he's saying in this case though. He's NOT saying, generally, "speed isn't that important for WRs as ppl think". That is a reasonable argument, the same as what you're saying. 
HE is saying, "Speed isn't as important for WRs, as looking like A Michigan Man." Which is just crazy and arrogant and delusional.

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

That's not really what he said.  If you're going to use quotes, quote the person correctly.

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

OP left out the second part of the sentence: "Obviously, it's something we have to have."  He's saying when evaluating film of a prospect, speed isn't a top priority, but it's stilll important.  It's just as important as basic skills such as route running and catching.  I actually kind of agree with him.

kr66osu's picture

This is why the Big Ten sucks at recruiting

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

The Big Ten sucks at recruiting because there are many more good football players in the South.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture


Class of 2010.

carton's picture

I hope they stay that way for a long time.
A sigh of relief from me.

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

Think about this in terms of the math.  Say you've got a receiver who runs a 4.3 and he's going up against a corner who runs a 4.5.  So over 40 yds, that 1/5 of a second advantage.  But most routes aren't 40 yards - they're closer to 10 yards.  So you're talking about 1/20 of a second difference on the average route based on the speed differential.
Now think about how much time you lose if you don't get off a jam, or run a route too far to the outside.  Much, much more. That's why I think what he's saying here is actually quite correct.
This postseason, Boldin led the league in receiving yards.  His 40 time?  4.72.  Brandon Marshall, 3rd in regular season receiving, runs a 4.52.
Jerry Rice is generally regarded as the greatest receiver ever.  Do you know what he ran at the combine?  4.71.

Nick's picture

During a game this bowl season (can't remember which) ESPN showed the different between a 4.4 and 4.5 on a long post route and it is the difference between an incompletion and a TD. So it is important but not the most important factor. 

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

Ok but most teams with competent safeties aren't going to give up 40 yards bomb for TDs on post patterns.  
Btw, here are a few more:
Wes Welker - 4.65
Roddy White - 4.47
AJ Green - 4.5
Dez Bryant - 4.52
Marques Colston - 4.5
Is it important?  Sure.  Is it that important?  Nope.  I get that it's fun to rip on Michigan coaches, but the facts actually do support his statement.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I hear you, SE Buckeye.

buck-I.8's picture

Why are you citing guys that run a 4.5s? That's still pretty quick. UM's recruits are:
- Jaron Dukes allegedly runs a 4.6
- Csont'e York doesn't have a listed 40 time anywhere, but if you look at his tape, he plays against some pretty mediocre MI competition and isn't burning anyone.
- Da'Mario Jones is faster, but not as tall, so he doesn't even follow the argument.
Sure there have been lots and lots of empirics that we can pull out of legends that ran slow 40 times and were still beasts, but you're making it seem like it's the norm. They're pulling low ranked WRs with MAC offers just because they're tall and can catch the ball, while  we're getting highly ranked burners that can also run routes and have solid hands. 

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

Well the question wasn't who is getting the better receivers.  Certainly no argument there. The question was whether speed is overrated.  Looking at the success of NFL wideouts and their 40 times, it's pretty clear that speed is not a decisive factor.  And I'm making it seem like the norm because it is.  Of the top 15 receivers in the league this year, 7 of them ran decent to poor 40 times, and tons of NFL greats were not good straight line runners. For an NFL receiver, 4.5 is fast, but not elite. 
If speed were one of the most important attributes for a receiver, guys like Welker and Boldin would have a much harder time.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

Yeah but most of those receivers are pretty large aside from Wes Welker, when you are 6'4 to 6'6 the difference between a 4.4 and a 4.6 isn't magnified as much.

hodge's picture

Meh, he's just preaching to his choir.  Michigan fans will just lap those kind of quotes up.  There's as much a place for the taller, possession-type wideouts as there is for the burners--but I'm betting that most Michigan Men would take a wideout with Denard's frame and abilities just as quick--if not quicker--than they'd take the more traditionally-sized Drake Harris.
Hopefully though, that kind of cognative dissonance will be for naught; because I'm hoping that we land Harris.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Exactly. The point is that, ceteris paribus, it's better for a receiver to run 4.4 than 4.6.
Obviously, if the 4.4 burner can't beat press coverage, runs poor routes, has butterfingers, etc., he's going to suck. But there are plenty of 4.7 kids who have other weaknesses, too. 

AngryWoody's picture

This kind of thing makes me think about just how delusional the MU fan base is. They go on and on about Michigan Men when they have won 1 national championship in 65 years. So is a Michigan man a guy who accomplishes nothing and has wet dreams about 1948 when he actually mattered?

Our Honor Defend!

buck-I.8's picture

Here's why we still match up better than they do:
- Our average WR height for the next few years will be around 6'1'' - 5'11''. Most are speed guys, or at leats more speed than classic possession WRs.
- The CBs UM has been recruiting for the past few years :
(2013) Douglas 5'10''  -  Lewis 5'10''  -  2 Low rated guys who are taller.
(2012) Richardson 5'9''  
(2011) Countess 5'10''  -   Taylor 5'10''  -   Hollowell 5'8''
So basically they don't have a single non-sleeper type over the height of 5'10''. 
On the other hand, they have taller receivers to contend with:
- 6'1'' Eli Apple --- 6'0'' Cam Burrows --- 6'1'' Gareon Conley --- Armani Reeves 5'11'' --- Doran Grant 5'10'' 
Basically, our WRs are tall enough to be competitive in the pass game without even factoring in speed. 
In comparison, their WRs have a comparable height advantage over our DBs. So it's a wash, right?
- No, because of the type of athletes we're recruiting. UM's receivers might be able to get open at times using size alone, but our long lean DBs will put up a fight and make it hard for them. On the flip side, not only will UM's DBs be at a height disadvantage, they'll be trying not to get burned on a double move because every WR on the field runs in the 4.4 range. It'll look like the South Carolina game, except with a receiving corps that's even better. Not to mention, Heck's strategy basically burdens the Wolverines to have a star QB in at all times. I don't think Gardner is a stellar passer, so if his guys cant get open he's gonna throw picks. It leaves little margin for error for the WRs, Gardner, and Morris in the future. 

Brutus Forever's picture

nice analysis, buckI.8

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

painterlad's picture

I have always found the term "Michigan Man" to be quite the oxymoron.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

old_rasputin's picture

What does "michigan man" actually mean?  No, seriously...

"We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we'll be back, and someone will pay the price." Coach Hayes

sirclovis's picture

I agree and I don't know. I have heard other fans call OSU's fanbase arrogant but I don't think there is anything more arrogant than the constantly used phrase of "Michigan Man". Its just pretentious, snobby, and completely ambigous.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Michigan Man

Speed might not kill you...but some Michigan men will

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Mad props as always, Ski.

GoBucks713's picture

Didn't Corey Brown burn scUM for a TD this year? Didn't he also burn them for a 50+ yarder last year??

-The Aristocrats!

buck-I.8's picture

Don't think we can count those, they were both cases of JT Floyd being a horrible DB, not so much our guys being too fast. But they definitely showed it against USCe

zacisone's picture

Speed is over-rated huh Hecklinski?? Well, let us know how that works out for you.


Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Lets ask M*chigan State if speed is overrated

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Iron_Buckeye's picture

Ginn literally looked like he was going to blast off! Absolute burner!

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

partisan's picture

Awesome post.
That's one of my favorite OSU plays ever.  The amount of distance he puts between himself and the defender over that first 10-15 yards is just unfair. 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I would love to see a player like Ted Gone(if he gets a step, he gone) in this offense. James Clark looks like he has that kind of speed.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

gobucks96's picture

The fact that he can't understand having both types of receivers is what you want on offense is very telling...

Brutus Forever's picture

Most of their "M*chigan men" are actually Ohio men. They would be nothing without players and coaches from ohio, because michigan isn't exactly the most fertile recruiting ground. They are so pompous with everything, even recruiting evidently.
An unrelated note: after reading the meltdowns on mgloblow.com and other WW sites they are in full-scale meltdown over us snagging players from m*chigan.

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

Knarcisi's picture

Speed is overrated.  Except when your head coach is counting jiggle frequency while doing the Truffle Shuffle. 

Brutus Forever's picture

heeey yoouu guuuyss!

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

If they only want Michigan men, I guess that means they won't be coming into Ohio or Florida anymore trying to sign top recruits... good luck with that!

harleymanjax's picture

Good hands mean nothing if you dont have the speed to get open!
When I think of what a Michigan Man looks like I picture a guy wearing a disgusting shade of yellow getting hit so hard that his helmet launches into space!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Urbanmania's picture

So they just find the douschiest looking WRs available and offer them scholarships? That's the only way I can think of to be certain you have a michigan man.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

So they basically just want to recruit overweight Ohio kids.  Got it.

jestertcf's picture

to current TTUN team members, "You are not fast, but you resemble what I consiider to be traits of a M*ch*gan man." - Random Assistant Coach.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

mitchjacobsen01's picture

TSUN's Coach Heck didn't sign any fast receivers this year so he's downplaying the importance of speed.

Jake in Cali's picture

If a coach comes out with statements like that it's obvious he's countering some criticism, and it's well known that they have been criticized about lacking a game changer at reciever. There is no other reason to say stupid comments like "speed is overrated" and "he has to look like a Michigan man." Really who would say speed is overrated? You have to have someone that can stretch a defense vertically. You have to get big plays so you aren't forced to repeatedly string together long drives since the probability of scoring w/o big plays is not good. Of course you want SOME tall physical recievers but you better have ones that can run too...and c'mon good hands are a prerequisite to any type of reciever; thats their job.

WoodyHayesHaymaker's picture

Read my posts above.  Speed is, empirically, very overrated.

Jake in Cali's picture

I already read them...

buckeyechad's picture


Jake in Cali's picture

OMG RATES OF MOTION WHAT ARE THOSE?!? Yes, speed isn't everything but it's definately not overrated. You're forgetting college is a different game than pros. Technique at the position level and unit level are not as good. There's also more disparity between athletic abilities. With those it is easier to spring someone on a play in college, and when you have speed a lot better things happen when something breaks down. So what happens when someone breaks a tackle or a defense makes a mistake? Speed kills. Thats why you want speed when spreading the field. Not only to spread vertically but to get big plays when shit goes down 1on1 in space. If I'm recruiting a reciever in college I want speed.

Miami of Brohio's picture

Michigan obviously knows what they are talking about, what, with their two BCS bowl game wins in the last 15 years or so...

gutterwaste's picture

So, maybe this explains the 4,000 lineman they recruited this year.  Those guys are usually pretty tall, maybe they're planning on switching some of them to receiver.  

gobucks96's picture

Say goodbye to marshon and Harris after that comment....

cajunbuckeye's picture

Speed is only overrated if your recruits don't have any.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

CowCat's picture

What Michigan calls a receiver is what we call a tight end.  
I guess they're expecting to throw a lot of jump balls, given that Mitchell, Bosa, Spence, Schutt, Washington and Vonn Bell will be coming after their QB every play.   LOLOLLLLL

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

mitchjacobsen01's picture

I just don't know how well their sure handed, tall receivers will work out against our DBs.  If our guys can get into position faster and prevent the big play then their great hands are negated.  To then negate our speed advantage, they'll throw short passes on quicker routes, negating their own height advantage.

Vico's picture

Those Who Stay Will Get Donuts.

That said, if all Jeff Hecklinski is doing is advocating for Fat Guy Wide Receiver Touchdowns, I can get on board with that.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

BuddhaBuck's picture

"Winning is overrated too. I just want Michigan Men." - Jeff Hecklinski

Don't text while driving.

dbit's picture

"Speed is overrated"  -Said by no one....until now