Since commitments are coming in pairs, Wednesday Recruitin' will make the revolutionary change of also coming in pairs this week. Today: The most recent Wolverine commits, and a look at who might be next.
Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown Go Blue
The creepy tendency to pick up commitments in twos continues, as defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio committed back-to-back on Friday. First up was MI DE Mario Ojemudia. Local commitment article. GBMW on Mario:
Mario plays with great effort and intensity and is always moving and hustling. Mario has very good quickness and his feet are always moving. He shows good lateral movement with good burst and closing speed. What makes him special is a dynamite first step and an explosive get off.
Some plays he bursts off the line, gets great leverage, and makes a huge play for the FHH defense. During other plays, he relies completely on his speed and athleticism to beat the O-linemen. That’s fine in high school, it won’t translate to the bigger leagues. That being said, just like Royce Jenkins-Stone, I love Mario’s fiery, competitive spirit. He gets really excited when he blows a play up, and that intensity is clearly infectious.
While there’s a lot to love, there’s always room to grow, as well. There’s not a single play in his highlight video where he bullrushes the tackle, or uses his strength to get to the QB. Sometime he plays too high coming off the ball. When you’re 6’6, you can’t afford to give up leverage. His tackling technique needs a little work. All in all, I’m very excited to watch Brown’s future play out.
Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers. He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.
Also a Sophomore
MI QB Shane Morris broke the seal on the class of 2013(!) last night, picking the Wolverines over - you guessed it - Michigan State. Check out Hello From the Future: Shane Morris for more details on his game.
He looks like a very mature passer. He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc. Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball. When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there. When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it. That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time. In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.
That's some seriously high praise. Welcome to the fold, young man.
MI DE/DT Matt Godin is the only prospect with a definite commitment planned: He will announce tomorrow at his school from a final list of Michigan (the childhood favorite and current chalk), Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The Flint Journal recently profiled Godin:
“This is what I wanted,” he said of the attention and tedious decision-making processes that accompany his recruitment. “It was my goal to be a top prospect. That’s why I worked hard in the weight room. It’s tough (handling the situation), but it’s what I wanted.”
Conventional wisdom has Godin picking Michigan, but we'll wait and see with everyone else.
MI CB Terry Richardson might be next to commit, as he's moving closer to a decision ($, info in header), and asource told Tom that an announcement could be coming next week, although this tweet was apparently a joke. Either way, Michigan would be in strong position with commitments from his friends Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, whether he draws out his recruitment or not.
Michigan's picking up commitments from TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia could really help Michigan land their teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. Burbridge, one of the top wideouts in the midwest, has offers from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, but also has reported academic issues that may make it difficult for him to go directly to a 4-year university out of high school.
As for Burbridge's recruitment, he may be close to a decision, and the Wolverines are suddenly right in the thick of things, along with Michigan State, as Michigan "surges" up his list ($, info in header). Tom had the following to say (prior to Mario Pjemudia's commitment, no less):
I will also say that anyone that says Aaron Burbridge is an MSU lock doesn't know what they're talking about. I was told quite a bit this weekend about Mario and Aaron, and if Mario chooses Michigan [ed: Check!] then there's a chance Aaron would follow. He does have grade issues, but I don't think it's bad enough to where Michigan wouldn't take him and hope he makes it. I don't want to say too much, obviously, but there's a chance Michigan could steal those two from MSU.
I spoke with him today and he told me that his final two are Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the two schools he will be deciding between. He also said that he'll be scheduling a visit back up to Michigan in the next two weeks. He's more familiar with MSU because he's been there more, so he's trying to make up for that by visiting Michigan again.
Sounds like Michigan is right in the thick of things. Aaron also told Tom that he's working hard on his grades in order to qualify.
MI TE Ron Thompson seems forever teetering on the verge of a decision. Most expect that if the Wolverines still have room for another tight end, he'll be Blue.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
That sounded like he may have been close to a commitment, right? HOWEVA, he had to reschedule that visit, and Notre Dame, Illinois, and Cincy have suddenly offered (events unrelated). That's made him reconsider an early commitment, and he'll take his time.
Josh Helmholdt runs down some of this guys committing soon, including Godin and Thompson (and, uh, Ojemudia).
Rivals has finally released their initial set of rankings, and current Michigan commits ring in as follows:
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. #87 Overall.
- MI LB James Ross. #143 Overall.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. #167 Overall.
The other guys who may be making decisions soon:
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. #134 Overall.
- MI CB Terry Richardson. #195 Overall.
For a list of which other Rivals250 prospects are still considering Michigan, check out Tom's Diary.
Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this week's recruiting post!
Though there's still plenty of time to recruit for the 2012 class, Michigan's coaches are continuing their in-state recruiting dominance into the future. 2013 MI QB Shane Morris has become Michigan's first commit in the sophomore(!) class, he told Tom tonight.
First, the size. The sites (except ESPN, which - big shocker - doesn't have any 2013 prospects in their database) agree he's 6-3, and though 24/7 Sports estimates his weight at 190, Rivals and ESPN are within a pound of each other at 183 and 182, respectively. So, 6-3, 183 it is.
The HALOLs you see above are not due to the presence - or lack - of any particular talent, but rather because the recruiting sites are about a year (almost exactly in Rivals' case) from ranking 2013 prospects. We'll start the evaluations in chronological order, starting with a Detroit National Underclassmen Combine following Morris's freshman year:
Morris, 6'1.5 174, won the 9th grade MVP. He had a 28 inch vertical, 8'7 broad jump, ran a 4.60 shuttle...
QB Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) was in a class of his own. The 6-1, 174-pounder has a sensational arm, great vision, moves his feet well and carries himself like a pro. Talent wise, he is far beyond his age group and already has top-notch abilities.
Prepseer took a 1-game sample size and made it big:
Morris wasn’t the stud quarterback that I expected. It was the first time I’ve seen him. He has a decent arm and he runs the offense well–particularly for a sophomore. I don’t think he’s the Div. 1 lock that many fans are proclaiming. He’s not even the best in the CHSL Central. But, he’s only a sophomore and he will get better.
Though Prepseer is a hilariously biased Michigan State slappy, that report was long before Morris committed, so there's no bias present.
Fortunately, the kid's already been featured in a Sam Webb column. First, Scout's Allen Trieu:
"Shane, for a young kid, has a really great arm," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "I saw him as a freshman and that ball came out of his hand with great spin and velocity then... There's still a ways to go, but he has a lot of talent. He'll be a kid that gets attention from all over, not just the schools within a close proximity."
And his high school coach:
[De La Salle Coach Paul] Verska added: "He makes great decisions with the football, he has a very strong arm, and he is learning and getting better every day. As long as he continues to do that I think great things will keep happening for him."
Sound Mind, Sound Body Foundation's program director weighs in, primarily on how experienced he is for such a young guy:
"He has really been exposed to a lot more than your average 10th grader has," said program director and founder Curtis Blackwell. "He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the state in the Catholic League and he has a great coaching staff at DeLaSalle. At the same time he comes from a very strong family background where his mom is very influential and his dad is a middle school coach that coached him in football. He has had a great foundation. Then since the ninth grade he has been working out and a part of all of our programming here in the inner-city."
So what has Shane gotten out of the SMSB camps?
"I felt like it helped me out tremendously," he said. "It helped me out with my confidence. I feel I am a leader and so I'm going to lead everyone. That's what you're supposed to do as a quarterback, supposed to be the main leader on the field, and that's what I feel like I'm doing with this team."
At the Badgersport 7-on-7 in Pittsburgh, he was named "Best Young Arm:"
Not only was Morris an effective passer over the weekend, but he exudes the confidence and leadership you look for out of the quarterback position.
He also impressed Scout's Scott Kennedy in New Jersey ($):
"[I]t was obvious he had a big arm to go with his frame. He has good mechanics as well, and I was doubly surprised to find out that the biggest kid on the field was only a member of the Class of 2013."
"He reminded me a little of how it was with Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike at these events last year... Gunner and Zeke are going to be Top 5 quarterbacks this year, and while I’m not ready to say Morris is going to be there next year, he certainly has all of the tools to be."
Morris grew up a Michigan fan and modeled his game after Tom Brady (I'm sure most Michigan fans approve). It's so early that it's tough to know a whole lot about him, but "arm strength," "size," and "potential" are clearly going to be in his corner. Also, he's a lefty, so I'm fully in support (before all you evil righties wipe us out).
Michigan offered Shane on March 28th. He also held offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Toledo. If that sounds light on the offers, keep in mind this kid can't sign with a school for almost two years. Waiting to commit would have seen plenty of top schools with pro-style offenses jump into the fray. He had interest but no offers from Stanford and Tennessee.
If you're into Mark Dantonio schadenfreude (and you really should be), there's a story on Rivals's Michigan State affiliate about how Shane is at the top of MSU's list for 2013 ($, info in header).
Rivals provides sophomore numbers in convenient table form:
Passing Year PA PC Yds TD Int 2010 (So.) 180 102 1,150 14 5
Scout says 1139 yards. That's good-not-great, but... dude's a sophomore, and almost certainly a first-year starter. It would be a 130.44 passer efficiency by the NCAA calculation.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the premium site providing the time, and it's a good one for a pocket passer: 4.63. They also credit him with a 4.6 shuttle time. For a kid who's not expected to be much of a runner in college, that seems a little FAKE, to the tune of three out of five.
There are also 7-on-7 highlights.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Shane Morris is going to be a really good football player. However, he's got plenty of time to develop into his potential.
When he's a freshman, Denard Robinson will be a senior, and Devin Gardner will be a junior (or redshirt sophomore). Russell Bellomy will be a sophomore (or redshirt junior). With three QBs with at least a year in the system before Morris, he's got a chance to take a redshirt year. Following that redshirt year, Devin Gardner will likely take over for Denard as the starter. Following Devin's graduation (he could even leave school after his redshirt junior year and still graduate), there will be a hot competition between Bellomy and Morris for the job, and I predict Morris will win it.
Let's try this again. When he's a freshman, Devin Gardner will be a senior or redshirt junior. Russell Bellomy will be a junior or redshirt sophomore. With two capable QBs on the roster (and likely another a year ahead in the class of 2012 - see below), Morris will redshirt, then either compete with Bellomy and 2012 Prospect X to take over for a Gardner that leaves early for the NFL, or gets another year of seasoning to do the same with Gardner's swan song in maize-and-blue.
He has NFL size, he has an NFL arm, and he'll be playing in an NFL offense. I think there's no question that Morris is the next in a long line (briefly interrupted) of successful pocket slingers at Michigan. All-American honors are not out of the question, and an NFL future is likely.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
More than what it means for the 2013 class (about which we currently know very little), is what Morris's commitment means for the 2012 class. He probably committed to Michigan with the knowledge that the coaching staff will not pursue a highly-rated passer for next February.
The coaching staff could take a lesser-rated guy, but it almost makes sense - with a numbers crunch already looming in May the year before Signing Day - to not take one at all, opening a slot for other positions. Shane told Tom that the coaches are thinking otherwise, but his commitment certainly opens that door down the road.
The Rivals top 100 came out yesterday and there seemed to be a lot of confusion about the lack of midwest prospects. The complete 250 rankings are now out and it's looking a little more balanced. Here's a look at the top 250 prospects that Michigan is still in on with a little commentary as well.
|Overall Ranking||Position & Name||State||Star Ranking||Summary|
|#1||WR Dorial Green Beckham||MO||5 Star||Without an elite QB like Zeke Pike in this class don't get your hopes up.|
|#4||DT Eddie Goldman||DC||5 Star||Goldman still lists Michigan as a school of interest, but there won't be much to go on until he visits.|
|#6||DT Ellis McCarthy||CA||5 Star||McCarthy has expressed interest in Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed on the west coast.|
|#8||WR Stefon Diggs||MD||5 Star||Michigan is still in the conversation, but until he visits there might not be a lot to go off of.|
|#13||DE Noah Spence||PA||5 Star||Spence lists Michigan as a school of interest, but it will take a lot for them to reel him in.|
|#15||OL Andrus Peat||AZ||5 Star||Andrus' brother Todd committed to Nebraska in the 2011 class. I would be surprised if he picked Michigan.|
|#19||QB Gunner Kiel||IN||5 Star||Kiel took a visit to Michigan recently. He's very quiet as far as media attention. I have a feeling a school like Oklahoma has a good shot with him.|
|#28||OL Kyle Murphy||CA||4 Star||Murphy has expressed a lot of interest in Michigan. They have a decent shot, but again I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed on the west coast.|
|#29||DT Tommy Schutt||IL||4 Star||Schutt hasn't mentioned Michigan in awhile. If they can get him to visit they might have a chance, but it looks like they're on the outside for now.|
|#31||OL Zach Banner||WA||4 Star||Banner has expressed a lot of interest in Michigan, and plans on taking an official.|
|#32||WR Durron Neal||MO||4 Star||Just received a Michigan offer, we'll see how much interest he has.|
|#34||OL Erik Magnuson||CA||4 Star||Magnuson is very interested in Michigan, they have a good shot.|
|#37||ATH Devin Fuller||NJ||4 Star||Fuller has been relatively quiet lately, but he has maintained that he will visit Michigan in the summer. We'll know more once that happens.|
|#45||OL Jordan Simmons||CA||4 Star||Simmons has a lot of interest in Michigan. He's taking things slow for now. He has genuine interest in Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed out west.|
|#48||DE Ifeadi Odenigbo||OH||4 Star||Odenigbo has Michigan on the outside of his top group that includes Ohio State, Stanford, and Notre Dame. He plans on taking a visit to Ann Arbor in June, so we'll see if that changes anything.|
|#55||RB Keith Marshall||NC||4 Star||Marshall has Michigan in his top ten, but I believe he'll end up staying down south.|
|#60||DE Tyriq McCord||FL||4 Star||Just received a Michigan offer. I haven't spoken to him yet about where he's at.|
|#61||DE Se'von Pittman||OH||4 Star||Pittman has expressed interest in Michigan, and it seems like there's a shot.|
|#65||DB Deon Bush||FL||4 Star||Early on Bush had expressed some big time interest in Michigan, but it seems like that's slowed down. I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay in Florida.|
|#67||DT Jarron Jones||NY||4 Star||Jones is committed to PSU, but recently told an ESPN analyst that he still plans on visiting Michigan in the summer.|
|#72||QB Zeke Pike||KY||4 Star||I'll just keep him on here because it's not signing day yet.|
|#74||ATH DJ Foster||AZ||4 Star||DJ just received a Michigan offer. Oregon is probably his early leader, but he said he would like to visit Michigan.|
|#86||DE Adolphus Washington||OH||4 Star||Washington recently told me that he's wide open and really likes what the Michigan coaches are about. He'll be a package deal with teammate WR Dwayne Stanford. Ohio State may be tough to beat.|
|#88||DE Greg McMullen||OH||4 Star||Ohio State will be tough to beat for Greg as well. Anything can happen though with the NCAA investigation looming.|
|#93||WR Dwayne Stanford||OH||4 Star||Same situation as Adolphus Washington.|
|#96||WR Jordan Payton||CA||4 Star||Committed to USC, but will be taking looks at other schools. Michigan is a school that he really wanted to hear from.|
|#103||OL Max Tuerk||CA||4 Star||He spoke very highly of Michigan, and it seems like they have a shot. It's California though so he may end up staying closer to home.|
|#124||RB Bri'onte Dunn||OH||4 Star||Fresh off a visit to Michigan, Dunn is watching the NCAA investigation very closely at OSU. There's a lot that could happen here.|
|#130||OL Evan Boehm||MO||4 Star||Says he has interest in Michigan and would like to make it up for a visit. Until then I wouldn't get excited.|
|#134||WR Aaron Burbridge||MI||4 Star||Burbridge was just in Ann Arbor with now Michigan commits Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross. He will be back up with his mother within two weeks. He'll be choosing between Michigan and MSU. Michigan has a real shot.|
|#136||ATH Davonte Neal||AZ||4 Star||The Michigan coaches stopped in Scottsdale to check out Davonte this past week. No offer yet, which is surprising. I think he'll end up staying out west.|
|#137||OL Paul Thurston||CO||4 Star||Thurston actually just took a trip to Ann Arbor. I think Michigan has a very good chance here.|
|#139||DB Wayne Morgan||NY||4 Star||Morgan's coach has told me that Michigan and Rutgers are at the top of Wayne's list. Michigan has been making a surge, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have taken the lead over the hometown Scarlet Knights.|
|#140||DT Jaleel Johnson||IL||4 Star||Johnson was just offered by Michigan and plans to visit relatively soon. He's starting to gain some attention from Ohio State. I think Michigan has a real chance here.|
|#152||OL Kyle Dodson||OH||4 Star||Dodson has seen his recruitment take off with offers from Alabama and Auburn recently. He still maintains that Michigan is one of his top schools. I think they have a good chance.|
|#184||RB Greg Garmon||PA||4 Star||Garmon should be visiting Michigan in the next couple weeks. They are in the top three with UNC and Penn State, but I think Michigan is behind both.|
|#187||DB Armani Reeves||MA||4 Star||Reeves will be narrowing his list down soon, but has said that Michigan will be right in there. I think he has some schools in mind that stick out, and I also think Michigan is in pretty good standing right now.|
|#191||OL Shane Callahan||CO||4 Star||Callahan has mentioned Michigan as one of his favorites, and I think there's a good shot here.|
|#194||WR Amara Darboh||IA||4 Star||Darboh has told me that he's intrigued by Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him pick elsewhere.|
|#195||DB Terry Richardson||MI||4 Star||Terry could be deciding as early as next week. With his friends on board Michigan has a really good shot.|
|#209||OL Jordan Diamond||IL||4 Star||Diamond has been public with how he feels about Michigan. He plans on taking his time with everything, but Michigan is in great shape.|
|#222||DT Danny O'Brien||MI||4 Star||There's been a lot of questions about Danny lately and where he's at with Michigan. I think Michigan has backed off of him a little bit, but I'm not sure why.|
|#231||DT Tom Strobel||OH||4 Star||Strobel has said he wants to visit Michigan. If he does then they have a shot. Ohio State might be tough to beat.|
|#242||OL JJ Denman||PA||4 Star||Denman has Michigan in his top group and has said he really likes Michigan. I think they have a good shot with JJ.|
|#246||DT Ondre Pipkins||MO||4 Star||Pipkins really likes Michigan, has connections with former Michigan players, and still has relatives living there. Michigan has a very good chance with Ondre.|
By my count that's 45 prospects in the top 250 that Michigan is recruiting and has somewhat of a chance with. Before you ask, yes I'm surprised that Chris Wormley isn't in the top 250. That seems weird.
I think Michigan has a realistic chance with a good amount of these top 250 players. Among those are:
DT Ondre Pipkins, OL JJ Denman, OL Jordan Diamond, DB Terry Richardson, OL Shane Callahan, DB Armani Reeves, OL Kyle Dodson, DT Jaleel Johnson, DB Wayne Morgan, OL Paul Thurston, WR Aaron Burbridge, OL Erik Magnuson, and OL Zach Banner.
In the aftermath of Darius Morris's decision to stay in the NBA draft Michigan has a scholarship open, and along with German Patrick Heckmann here's a second candidate to take that spot:
Luke Hancock is still weighing his options and could transfer from George Mason basketball, according to a report by Steven Goff of the Washington Post. Hancock, who was rumored to be transferring last week, has spoken to new coach Paul Hewitt several times as he is making up his mind, George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor told Goff. … Sources told SB Nation that Hancock is considering trying to transfer to Michigan as well as Virginia, the latter of which had previously been reported.
Hancock just finished his sophomore year. After pulling a Blake McLimans (going to prep school after getting zero offers) he managed to convince GMU to offer him and rewarded their faith by becoming the CAA freshman of the year in 2010. Last year he was an efficient, somewhat low-usage scorer (54% from two, 36% from three, 81% from the line with a shot percentage around 19%) who got to the line quite a bit. His 60% true shooting rate would have been second on last year's Michigan team behind Jordan Morgan, and his statistical profile indicates a guy who is creating a lot of opportunities, not just absorbing them efficiently. He played about 70% of Mason's minutes and led the team in assists despite being described as "6-5 swing player" most places. Unfortunately, he also led the team with a Courtney Sims-like 21.5 TO rate.
While all of these are CAA numbers and should be taken somewhat skeptically, Hancock had 18 points on ten shots and a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio in GMU's opening round tourney win over Villanova. (He missed the OSU blowout due to illness.) Against VCU he had a tougher time, with just four points in a 79-63 loss in the CAA playoffs; he went 0-5 from the field in a regular season win but was 10-10 from the line and had seven assists. He played well in most of Mason's games against the meat of their schedule—Old Dominion, NC State, Duquesne, and Harvard mostly.
Hancock would sit out next year and have two to play, so Michigan's looking at Heckmann now, Hancock, a random late-emerging 2012 player, or banking that scholarship all the way to 2013. If Hancock wants to come I'd probably take him. He fits Michigan's offense, gets to the line, and hands out assists. He's a proven college player who will almost certainly be better than the freshman and sophomore years of whoever they might grab with Morris's scholarship in 2012 or 2013. Unless they really like Heckmann he seems like the best way to make lemonade out of Morris's departure.
Now he just has to decide to transfer.
|Detroit, MI - 5'8" 162|
|Scout||3*, #40 CB|
|Rivals||3*, #25 CB, #7 MI|
|ESPN||4*, 79, #15 CB|
|Others||3* to 247.|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post.|
|Notes||Cass Tech (Campbell, Jones, Gordon, etc.)|
Delonte Hollowell is archetypical in many ways. He committed to Michigan before anyone else in his class (doing so before the previous signing day), he's a cornerback best described as "beyond tiny," and he comes from Thomas Wilcher's Cass Tech program. He is the median Cass Tech recruit.
This time around the recruiting sites were less enthusiastic, at least eventually. Though Hollowell started off in the Rivals 250 by the end of the season he'd dropped to a three star everywhere save ESPN, which tends to rate 'em and forget 'em unless you show up at the Under Armor game.
It's hard to fault that assessment. Hollowell really is tiny—he measured in at 5'8.3" at the Army combine a year and a half ago—and of late Cass Tech recruits have proven a bit overrated. Since his early commitment prevented everyone save Central Michigan from offering we don't have much to dispute those fairly mediocre rankings. What's more, the Army combine performance that landed him on the All-Combine team and got him an early fourth star was frankly underwhelming. While he benched a lot of weight and jumped high he also ran a 4.88 40, which tied for 40th amongst participants. (If that sounds awful, the top time was a 4.55. Subtract at least two tenths to get a FAKE equivalent.) His shuttle was in the same range. Those seem like more important indicators than a bench press for a high school corner.
It's not all bad, though. Though Rivals dropped him to a three star it was by the smallest possible margin. The guy one slot ahead of him got that star. ESPN did think well enough of him to give him a fourth star. And it seems like he's got the intangibles down:
During his presentation, Rodriguez told the story of deciding which of two unnamed prospects to offer last year.
“I said, 'I want to take him,'” Rodriguez said. “The coaches said, 'Why do you want him?' I said, 'I was at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp and I watched the one-on-ones and that guy was trying to get in the front of the line and that guy was trying to hide in the back.' I want the guy that wants to take every rep against every guy, who’s not afraid to compete.
“So we took that guy, and I’m glad we did because he’s going to be a great player.”
Hollowell was at the SMSB camp last year, and those who know him say that sounds like him.
Of course, Justin Feagin also had the intangibles down, caveats, etc., etc. An assessment of that camp says Hollowell "regularly stepped up" to battle eventual Vol DeAnthony Arnett but did not come out on top often.
The median Hollowell scouting report reads "Despite his size, Delonte Hollowell's size despite should be taller his size Y U NO taller despite his size." Delonte Hollowell is not a large person. Examples from Rivals($)…
"Delonte Hollowell has a lot of upside and athleticism despite being small for a cornerback."
…from the Army Combine…
Delonte Hollowell may have not been the biggest corner, but he was one of the strongest competitors. Hollowell benched more than his body weight 19 times, while posting a 33 inch vertical.
And from ESPN($):
Has a well-defined, deceptively strong body but does have marginal height and could struggle to defend the jump-ball versus today's taller college receivers.
You get the idea.
At this point we've got a very small corner who's not that fast or quick at this one combine and you might be wondering WTF. Well, maybe that combine was a bad day or something because every subjective assessment says he's not quite as quick as Dior Mathis but there's no shame in that. Rivals scouted a game of his and came away calling him a "taller, thicker" version of the even more diminutive Mathis..
When not talking about his height ESPN sounds generally impressed($):
If Hollowell had a bit more size he would likely be considered a top national cornerback prospect. ... Has a tight, fluid pedal and transitions smoothly in and out. Sharp and direct out of his breaks with good burst; can decrease receiver separation quickly. Does a good job reading the quarterback and jumping routes in zone schemes and can mirror tightly with his fluid hips and turns in off-man coverages. Very effective in press and bump-and-run coverages as well.
A lack of top-end speed is their other main complaint; they figure that combined with his height limits him to a nickelback and underneath corner. That assessment was echoed by Sam Webb($) when he saw Hollowell at the Army combine:
This aggressive youngster is at his best when he can get his hands on receivers. … At this stage of development he isn’t as adept at playing off of receivers as he is up on them. A few times he stayed in his back pedal too long, giving the receivers too much of an advantage. By the time he decided to turn and run the receiver had achieved far too much separation for him to make up. As a mid 4.5 to 4.6 guy he won’t make a living hawking guys down from behind. That said, when he could get up on guys and bump them a bit, he had no problem staying with virtually everyone he covered.
Similarly, Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher praises his jam:
"He's a good pressure cornerback," coach Thomas Wilcher said. "He has good feet and hands, and he jams the receiver."
Touch The Banner also knocks Hollowell's lack of "elite athleticism and speed" but likes his hands and adjustments when the ball is in the air. The chorus is in harmony.
Etc.: Photo gallery. Rivals checked him out as a junior($) they said he does "a good job of turning and running with receivers down the field, and appears to be an aggressive tackler." Another Wilcher quote: "He's aggressive, tough. He's smart, good head on his shoulders."
Why Brandon Harrison? Like Hollowell, Harrison was a super-quick, tougher-than-you-think 5'8" guy who lived on the 3-4 star borderline as a recruit. If you ignore the Army combine numbers in favor of the scouting assessments, Hollowell is also that guy.
Why not Cissoko? Hope about his situation, mostly. There are small cornerbacks and then there are the Cissokos and Harrisons and Hollowells of the world. By the time Cissoko saw the field it was clear that whatever his recruiting rankings were they were too high—put him up against a 6'3" guy and he might as well not be on the field. Harrison, on the other hand, had the luxury of playing inside as a nickelback. This largely protected him from downfield doom against the Michael Floyds of the world.
With three other cornerbacks in his recruiting class, two in front of him, and a couple more guys coming in next year Michigan should be able to protect Hollowell from a Cissoko-like fate. Michigan has also moved back to a 4-3 under with a dedicated nickelback for spread teams and passing downs—they've revived the Brandon Harrison spot just in time for this YMRMFSPA.
Guru Reliability: High-ish. Heavily scouted player who attended a bunch of camps and was healthy. Only "-ish" because of a significant spread in rankings.
General Excitement Level: Meh. I can't get over Hollowell's obvious physical limitations and the parade of Cass Tech guys who need a ton of coaching before they can be effective in college, if they ever get there. He's got a role, but it will be a limited one achieved only after a few years in the program.
Projection: Almost certain to redshirt and will probably sit on the bench for another couple years as Avery and Countess and maybe a couple other guys suck up the available snaps at corner. As a significantly more polished but probably no taller upperclassmen his best bet is to replace fellow Cass alum Thomas Gordon as the nickelback three years from now.
Everyone assumed that because it showed up on I-94 somewhat near Ann Arbor (it's close to the airport) that Michigan fans were responsible for it. But if you know anything about Paul Reiser-penned billboards in Michigan you know that Michigan State fans love 'em. Example one:
At this point we cannot act like we have been there because we haven't.
It's almost as if there's some billboard company with spare inventory run by Spartan Paul Reiser. Reader Section 1 finds SPR:
The idea actually came from a Michigan State alum, who also happens to be the local sales manager for CBS Outdoor advertising.
About 10-12 of the boards are expected to be put up around the state, most with sponsor names on them.
Two are already in place -- on northbound I-75, north of I-94, and another in Grand Rapids. There's also one coming to the Lansing area, and the rest will be located in metro-Detroit.
"I have several State alumni and State fans that work for me," said Tom Carroll, vice president of the Michigan Region for CBS Outdoor. "The billboard is our response to Michigan State getting snubbed."
Section 1 went so far as to call up Bob Brown, another Michigan State guy who used the close-your-eyes-and-don't-think-of-Iowa billboard to express "frustration," and ask him who was behind the billboards. They refused to answer, saying only that the buyer was anonymous. Why they'd be so reticent now when they'd embraced their role as the state's key purveyor of stupid sports-themed billboards is unknown. It's probably not the sudden onset of shame.
Unfortunately for Spartan Paul Reiser, his kid sold him out. An emailer relates:
I put a pic of the billboard up on my Facebook page, and got a response from a [high school] classmate who is a Facebook friend of mine – Brad Carroll. He said his dad had created the billboard, and had shown him a mock up a couple weeks earlier. At the time I thought nothing of it, other than that his dad was a Michigan fan.
In the aftermath of the Section 1 post the emailer deduces that Brad is Tom Carroll's son. The googles confirm by turning up a CBS Outdoor Detroit Facebook page that only people with the last name Carroll have bothered to like things on, one of whom is a Brad who matches the biographical information elided above. QED.
As per usual, Michigan State fans are responsible for the stupid billboards. Stay your wakizashi and carefully tell the guy with the katana to go get some ice cream: your honor is restored.