this may be of some local interest
After a brief server outage, here come the Hello. GBW is reporting that FL OL Tony Posada out of Tampa Plant High School has committed to become the 10th member of Michigan's 2011 recruiting class.
|3*, #75 OT||NR OL||3*, 78, #34 OT|
At 6-5 and already over 320 pounds, Posada is expected to be an offensive tackle at the next level. We'll get started with the ESPN evaluation:
Posada has great size along with enough explosion and playing strength to dominate defenders at his present level of play. Has the height and weight we like to see for the offensive tackle spot at the major level of competition.
He has a number of strengths:
Flashes explosion off the ball with good pad level and fit for his height; brings his hips with a good base and the leg drive necessary to sustain contact.
His agility is also singled out as a positive, though they say that quicker pass rushers, primarily from the linebacker position, could give him trouble. Other points to work on:
Will need to work on all aspects of punch, location and extension however his arm length and quick hands should be an asset.
Uh, that's actually really brief. ESPN, per usual, gives the above raving review, then follows it up with a lofty... #34 offensive tackle ranking. How can a guy whose only weaknesses are "might have trouble picking up a blitzing linebacker" and "has a little technique work to do on his hands" be ranked so low?
Elite Scouting Services puts a decidedly non-elite effort into breaking down his game:
Up front the offensive line for Plant will be led by Tony Posada. He is a big kid who moves well. Posada also played very well in their state title game. He will have the chance to really blow up this fall if his play on the football field continues to improve.
Tony also has enough flexibility to move inside and play offensive guard, which is always a plus when recruiting offensive linemen. The more spots a recruit can play, the more opportunities he might have with a program. Coaches like linemen who provide multiple possibilities instead of being tied to one position and having to then recruit other linemen to fill a specific need.
Tony is a bulldozer; think somewhat of a taller Justin Boren. The biggest difference is stength.
Despite "stength" being listed as one of his weaknesses, he has shown impressive strength in winning a regional title in the shot put, then finishing sixth in the state. Still, if there's even the slightest question about his strength, that 320-some pounds is not all good weight.
Posada was offered early, at least back in February. Kansas, USF, and Wake had also offered at that time. According to his Rivals profile, his other BCS-level offers included the likes of Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisvulle, Missouri, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee, and Texas Tech.
The conventional wisdom on Posada was always that a Florida offer would be nearly impossible for him to turn down. When it became clear that an offer from the Gators was never going to come (despite performing impressively at their camp), Michigan became the heavy favorite. However, South Florida came on strong in the end, causing Michigan to stave them off down to the finish line.
Posada is an offensive lineman, and therefore doesn't have stats. He was, however, part of a dominant Tampa Plant running game last year (more on Plant in a moment). TJ Glover and James Wilder both ran for nearly 1,000 yards, and the team on the whole rushed for 2,945 yards on their way to a state title.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals credits him with a 5.39-second 40-yard dash time. That doesn't sound FAKE at all, but given the fact that he's well over 300 pounds, it still qualifies for one FAKE out of five.
There are no Posada-specific highlight reels available, but a bunch of Tampa Plant material is out there (Posada is #75):
Here's another game, and you can peruse Youtube for more.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
There's a huge disparity between descriptions of Posada and his actual rankings. He's certainly not under-the-radar, playing at one of the most visible programs in the nation. So what does it all mean? I would guess based on photographic evidence and measureables that he has to get in much better shape to be ready to play in college, in addition to the technique work mentioned above.
Tony's an offensive lineman, so he would probably be a lock to redshirt even if he didn't have conditioning and technique question marks. During his first year in Ann Arbor, he'll work to rectify those issues.
After a redshirt, Tony would hopefully be in decent shape to play (he certainly has good size). There will be more playing time available at tackle than guard, and he's a combo prospect who projects at either position. As a redshirt freshman and sophomore, he could get some playing time before sliding into a starting position as a junior and senior.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Posada is offensive lineman #3 of four or five in the class. That means there's only room for a couple more. Chris Bryant,
Jordan Walsh, and Nick Martin seem like some of the most realistic prospects to fill any remaining OL spots.
Offensive recruiting is almost completed (a tight end, and outside receiver, and Dee Hart are probably the only three positions left on that side of the ball). Defensive tackles, another linebacker or two, and defensive backs are the emphasis from here on out.
Plant is a powerhouse program, routinely pumping out tons of talent. In this year's class alone, 5-star RB James Wilder and 4-star QB Phillip Ely will graduate from Plant. Getting a foot in the door for future years can't hurt Michigan's recruiting efforts. The Panthers will play on ESPN on August 27, against Manatee in a preseason state title rematch.
Monday came and went without an announcement about playing Alabama in Jerryworld, and with a few "not quite yet" type announcements from key players. See the title of this Rivals article($) ("Brandon: Exciting news is coming") for one. My source re-iterates: it is happening, with all three parties set on an agreement and just waiting to announce it when everything gets dotted and crossed.
This actually comes from UM football spokesman Dave Ablauf, but it's certainly news nonetheless. Redshirt freshman corner JT Turner has asked for (and been granted) his transfer release from the University of Michigan. The request was made yesterday.
Now, onto the GERG:
The biggest questions for the defense on the whole are "How much can we develop by September 4th? How far can we take this defense by September 4th?" The goal is to be an excellent defense at that time. Robinson: "I like our movement on defense." Team success will come down to how the coaches are able to utilize people on that side of the ball.
The main changes in the defense this spring came in the usage of terminology. They went to some of the terminology that the defensive coaches (all of whom have been with Rodriguez since the West Virginia days) were familiar with. This was a suggestion that Rodriguez made that Robinson immediately thought was a good idea. Robinson had to take on a lot more terminology, but he's been around the block a few times, and had to do it before, including moving from defensive line coach to offensive coordinator at UCLA over the course of one offseason.
The change worked well in the spring, and by now "it's pretty much second nature for everybody." Prior to the terminology switch, there was potential for some messages to get lost somewhere in the chain, but now everyone's on the same page.
Robinson has used 3-3-5 and nickel concepts throughout his career, including in the NFL. With the prevalence of spread offenses in today's game, there's a need for a more athletic group of midrange players.
Robinson really likes coaching the linebackers, and this year's crop in particular. Linebackers are "the glue of the defense" between the defensive line (the heart of the defense - pumping everything) and secondary. Being right in the middle allows Robinson to work with all position groups more easily.
There has been some change since spring, as the players have been through summer workouts. The coaches are able to get their full attention during the beginning of summer camp, because most of them aren't in school.
It's "too early" to single out any freshmen that have emerged as potential contributors. The team isn't even in pads yet. There are still some young guys that the staff feels good about.
Lots of guys came back from the summer in great shape. When asked how Will Campbell looks: "He's very handsome." Marvin Robinson "walks around the building looking pretty good." (Second GERG evaluation of a player's appearance. [Ed: I bet Will Campbell tells his teammates how awesome GERG's hair looks.]) Robinson is one of the freshmen who has intentions on getting onto the field right away.
The defensive line has plenty of experience. Craig Roh, Mike Martin, and Ryan Van Bergen, and Greg Banks (who has "played a good amount") were all singled out. Craig Roh is a good athlete. He can run, is a good pass rusher, and is also a smart player. His intelligence allows the coaches to give him a variety of responsibilities (of which a hybrid player has more) with confidence he'll be able to carry them out.
Obi Ezeh is working very hard. He has "good intentions" but is aware that he has a battle for a starting spot with Kenny Demens and Mark Moundros the other contenders. Robinson is a "real fan" of Jonas Mouton. He has the physical abilities, and can process information well. He really wants to up his game. Kenny Demens and Mike Jones are challenging for playing time. Jones was injured last year, which held his progress back.
Moundros was a good selection by his teammates as defensive captain, though the whole senior class is filled with leaders. It's easy to see why Moundros was selected, because he has great work ethic, he's smart, he's tough, he loves football, and has a giving mentality. When GERG first arrived at Michigan, he saw Mark Moundros and thought he might be a linebacker before being informed he was the team's fullback. The position switch will work well because "he has linebacker skills."
Kevin Leach, Floyd Simmons, Thomas Gordon, and Josh Furman are some of the players at safety/linebacker hybrid spots. That's a competitive situation, and far from a done deal yet. They're willing to give up a bit of size at the position as long as there's still physical play. Stevie Brown was a good example of this.
Jordan Kovacs is the guy who's taking first reps at his position right now. There's nothing set in stone this early, of course, and there hasn't been enough time for anyone to make a push for his job. He's the type of player who makes everyone around him better with his communication.
In the secondary, Woolfolk is the experienced guy, and they feel very good about JT Floyd "showing a lot of progress." His spring was good, and it seems like he had a good summer. Cameron Gordon is mature, and a hard worker. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean he's ever seen a live snap at this level. Vladimir Emilien and Jared Van Slyke have both gotten plenty of reps in practice, but even they don't have much game experience.
The backups at corner include two true freshmen, Cullen Christian and Courtney Avery, and walkon Tony Anderson. [Not sure if James Rogers was just an oversight, or if he's unlikely to contribute this year].
JT Turner - :glances at Dave Ablauf, Football Media Relations Guy: "I don't know what's going on there." [See top]
That rumor metastasized quickly: Tim reports that Dave Ablauf has just read a statement that Justin Turner has asked for and received his release to transfer. I blame myself for suggesting that this offseason had been a relatively tranquil one when it came to things that mattered.
It sounds like the 11 pounds Turner put on in the offseason were not the good variety, and that he was never in a position where he was physically ready to play because of sheer lack of desire. Odd for that to happen with a corner—usually it's linemen battling to stay under 350 that wash out because they're not interested in keeping up with the work.
Impact on the team bit: losing Turner is a terrible blow to a secondary short on everything; beyond the starters at corner Michigan has three freshmen, one of them highly touted and the other two middling three-stars, and vagabond James Rogers. Corner's the worst spot on the team to suffer attrition. Turner was a near five-star coming out of high school who killed people at the Army game; his disappearance from Michigan without so much as playing a snap ranks up there with the most disappointing recruiting flameouts ever.
It's a plot device so well-worn it's hackneyed in even real life: kid on team mouths off publicly about something or another. The coach threatens castration privately; publicly he downplays the loose lips and denies the veracity of whatever claim has got the media atwitter. Hugs are shared, unity declared, and the incident forgotten.
So when Troy Woolfolk sort of called Tate Forcier a leper, but not really, to the point where he had to issue a twitter retraction, Rodriguez immediately leapt to his quarterback's defense:
"I'm glad our seniors are taking some ownership and leadership in this team. They want everyone to work as hard as they have."
And by "leapt to his quarterback's defense" I mean "obliquely agreed with Woolfolk." That's the blockquote equivalent of scratching a record, especially since he followed that up with "Tate has a lot of work to do to prove himself, and not just on the field but off the field" and deviated from his years-long obsession with finding "two guys you can win with" at quarterback, instead suggesting that if someone separates himself from the rest of the competition he will be The Guy. So much for this blog's Tate/Denard QB Voltron fever dreams, I guess.
Having one half of your hopes for a competent non-freshman quarterback damaged by that guy's seeming disinterest is bad. Worse: Rodriguez was moved to publicly declare a "handful" of players "not ready to play Division 1 football" after the first day of practice. The identities of the folk in this handful are largely unknown—please no corners please no corners—but today's premium internet chatter fingers Justin Turner—GODDAMMIT—as the most prominent member of the group. [Update: Greg Robinson on Turner: "I don't know what's going on there."] The trepidation that's built up the last year as Turner first failed to crack the worst Michigan secondary ever and then failed to beat out a guy who lost his spot in the worst Michigan secondary ever has now broken through the last frayed tendrils of hope born of his recruiting rankings; he's now solidly en route to epic bust status. "Dann O'Neill or Shawn Crable?" is a much less pleasant question to answer than "Charles Woodson or just Marlin Jackson?"
With Turner apparently 0/2 when it comes to showing up to camp with the ability to outrun Rod Smith, Michigan's corner depth chart now looks like this:
- Troy Woolfolk and JT Floyd
If you're looking for damage mitigation, cornerback is a spot at which a freshman can hypothetically cope, but after so much hammering to one position group something's got to give touchdowns in bunches.
And since today's Turner PANIC is late-breaking, it doesn't even figure in Doctor Saturday's fair and totally depressing evaluation of the state of Michigan's defense: