Ekiyor at yesterday's game. [Isaiah Hole/247Sports]
As first reported by Sam Webb, 2018 four-star Indianapolis (IN) Cathedral OG Emil Ekiyor committed to Michigan this afternoon. Michigan was the first program to offer Ekiyor, who has since compiled an impressive offer sheet, and they also got to evaluate him in person at both the Indianapolis satellite camp and Sound Mind Sound Body this summer.
Ekiyor is Michigan's second commit in the 2018 class, joining four-star GA OLB Otis Reese.
4*, #3 OG,
4*, #4 OG,
4*, 81, #4 OG,
4*, 92, #5 OG,
4*, #4 OG,
Ekiyor's rankings are in a remarkably tight grouping; the "spread" of a whopping seven places in the overall rankings is the smallest I can remember. As a result of his rankings being so consistently high, his composite ranking outstrips any of his rankings from the four recruiting services.
All four sites consider Ekiyor a guard, and he's very much built like one. He's listed between 6'2" and 6'4" and in the range of 315 to 349(!) pounds, with camp reports listing him on the shorter and stouter end. He looks like an interior mauler all the way.
Scout's short, free evaluation screams interior lineman:
EvaluationBig, powerful lineman who is light on his feet and finishes his blocks. Can still improve overall pass pro technique.Strengths
- Drive Blocking Skills
- Power And Strength
- SizeAreas to Improve
- Pass Protection
Despite only being partway through his junior season, Ekiyor has been on the recruiting radar for quite a while. He's started since his freshman year at Cathedral, a powerhouse program in Indiana's biggest divison, and Michigan's offer came way back in March of 2015. That summer, Tim Sullivan evaluated Ekiyor's performance at OSU's Friday Night Lights camp:
Ekiyor picked up his first offer from Michigan back in March, and he's added a few more since then. He has the mass to be a bullying offensive guard, and his feet move very quickly as well. He has a bit of a "chopped off" look, so unless he hits a growth spurt (always possible with young men who haven't yet started their sophomore year of high school), it seems he's bound for the interior line. He moved very fluidly through the day, and showed off some good power, as well.
Rivals's Josh Helmholdt listed him among the top performers at the Cincinnati Crosstown Showdown a month later:
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Ekiyor does not look like a high school offensive line prospect, let alone one who is just starting his sophomore year. The Indianapolis native is built like a brick house and physically overwhelms opponents, but he is also light on his feet and can locate in space. Cathedral plays Ekiyor at right tackle, but his future will be on the interior of the offensive line where his wide frame and outstanding power will provide for a dominant drive blocker in college.
After helping Cathedral to a state championship appearance in his sophomore season, Ekiyor impressed Scout's Allen Trieu at this May's Chicago Opening regional:
Strong, powerful kid. Very wide base and when he got his hands solidly on guys, he won. Looks like a power guard at the next level.
Irish247's Tom Loy was also in attendance and came away with a different take:
It wasn't a strong performance for the Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral four-star offensive guard from the class of 2018. Notre Dame hasn't offered yet and I see why there is some hesitation. Despite his massive 6-3, 350-pound size, Ekiyor got moved around by smaller defensive linemen. He wasn't physically dominant even though it's expected when looking at his size. He needs to continue working hard in the weight room and drop some bad weight. He has time to do that when working with a proper trainer and nutritionist. Ekiyor still possesses a ton of upside and potential. If he puts in a lot of hard work, he'll have the chance to be very good down the road.
Few high school prospects carry 350 good pounds; Ekiyor almost certainly has some bad weight to shed before he can make an impact at the college level.
247's Steve Wiltfong named Ekiyor one of the top performers at M's Indianapolis satellite camp even though he wasn't fully healthy:
Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral Top247 2018 offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor is still trying to get right coming off an injury, but the wide interior body with good feet and strength showed flashes of his great potential. Ekiyor said he’s transitioning to center this fall.
Ekiyor is a wider guy than most centers, but if he's closer to the 6'2" end of his height range than that could be a possibility. Wiltfong also mentioned Ekiyor among the standout offensive linemen at SMSB.
ESPN's evaluation doesn't put forth much criticism beyond Ekiyor's lack of height and need to shed some weight:
STRENGTHS: Possesses excellent bulk and moves very well for his size. Gains an immediate advantage with a good first step. Has quick feet and great strength. Fluid and flexible athlete who is comfortable playing in space. Mirrors effectively in pass pro and can anchor against the bull rush. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: On the shorter side and lacks length. Would benefit from shedding a few lbs and redistributing his weight better. Leans forward too much at times. ... BOTTOM LINE: Ekiyor is a big man with deceptive athleticism. He has the strength to dominate in the run game as well as the quick feet to play in space in pass pro. Overall, he's a very good offensive line prospect.
So long as Ekiyor keeps his weight under control, he sounds like an excellent guard prospect for a power running team.
Ekiyor had Tennessee tied atop his list with Michigan until this weekend. He also holds offers from Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Cal, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mizzou, NC State, Syracuse, Toledo, USF, Vanderbilt, and Virginia. Notably, Notre Dame and Ohio State have not come through with offers.
Cathedral made the state championship game last year after moving up to Indiana's biggest division. Michigan has an offer and strong interest in Ekiyor's friend and teammate Markese Stepp, a four-star 2018 running back committed to Notre Dame. Stepp accompanied Ekiyor on his visit yesterday, per 247's Steve Lorenz. Given how ND's season has gone thus far, his recruitment is one to keep a close eye on.
OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
ESPN lists a combine 40 time of 5.44 seconds, which gets zero FAKEs.
Mid-season junior highlights:
Full sophomore highlights:
Freshman highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Ekiyor will definitely wind up on the interior of the offensive line. With his wide frame and quick feet, the guess here is he plays guard. Even Michigan is far from done recruiting the 2017 offensive line class, Ekiyor could have the chance to see the field relatively early; among players on the current roster, only Michael Onwenu, Stephen Spanellis, Jon Runyan Jr., and perhaps Ben Bredeson (if he's not needed at tackle) project to play guard. In all likelihood, though, Ekiyor will marinate for a couple years while doing plenty of strength and conditioning work—with a major emphasis on the conditioning bit.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It'll probably have Emil Ekiyor in it.
News bullets and other items:
- Grant Newsome’s injury will likely require surgery
- Quinn Nordin is injured
- There will be a kicking competition this week, and Ryan Tice will have the chance to lessen the burden on Kenny Allen; Harbaugh said he always thought it was too much to have to use Kenny for field goal, punt, and kickoff duties.
- The defense got an A++
- Speight’s decision making got an A
- A couple of the penalties came from Wisconsin simulating the offensive and punt team cadence, which you’re not allowed to do.
You guys left a lot of points on the board with the three missed field goals. You guys also kind of uncharacteristically had a mistake filled game with a lot of penalties. I was wondering, was that a source of frustration for you and what message did you give your team to get them back on track?
“Well, first of all, talking to the team, we were celebrating a win. Great win for our team. Thought there was a lot of things we did really well. Obviously we left nine points off the scoreboard. You've got to put those points on the board. Points on the board really matter. So, we'll have a little kicking competition this week, and it'll be an opportunity for Ryan Tice. And, uh, yeah. See if we can't make them next time.”
Can you talk about your perspective on Jourdan Lewis’ interception? Ever seen anything quite like that?
“Yeah, I've seen Odell Beckham Junior do that. Looked like that kind of play. Really, most impressive thing about it was, you know, he jumped a little early and I was a little nervous that he was going to come down and the ball was just going to go over his fingertips but he was able to hang in the air and he made a spectacular play. Then I was thinking, well, it was fourth down. Probably would have been better had he not intercepted it. I'm really glad he did. It was a spectacular, spectacular football play, Athletic play. Really unbelievable.
“I thought Channing Stribling did a great job as well. And Jourdan had a tremendous tackle in the open field. Thought the secondary was really good. Our defensive line was lights out. It was a game-ball for Don Brown kind of a game. Very impressed with our defense, our defense of coaches, and the character of our defense of players and their talents. A++.”
First off, what was your vantage point on Wilton's downfield throw for the touchdown? Looked right on the money. And also, are you itching to get this team a good road test next week?
“Yeah, we were under center, play action pass, really the play is designed to go to Jake Butt, but then I saw Wilton wheel and throw it to Amara and I saw Amara had a step on him or two. Just kind of hold your breath through the last split seconds of the play to see that it doesn't get deflected, but I really felt good when the ball was in the air.
“Wilton has been extremely good throwing the deep ball, extremely accurate throwing the deep ball, so we all have a lot of confidence. And he has a lot of confidence in throwing it and it was a tremendous play. The slant a couple plays before that, also to Amara, was another excellent throw. We didn't get Wilton the pass protection today that we would like and he deserves, But when he had protection and was able to set his feet and throw the football, I thought he did it very effectively.”
[After THE JUMP: ice cream time!]
Lewis caught this, somehow. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]
A normal recap would probably fixate on Wilton Speight and Amara Darboh totally redeeming themselves. Jourdan Lewis did not make a normal play.
On Wisconsin's last-gasp fourth-and-ten, Lewis made an interception that ranks up there with Charles Woodson's against Michigan State. Yes, that one. Running full speed in man coverage against George Rushing, Lewis appeared to leap far too early on a deep shot down the middle. He hung in the air, kept his eyes on the ball, and plucked it backhanded out of the air, somehow pinning it against his body to keep it off the turf.
"I've seen Odell Beckham Jr. do that. It looked like that kind of play. The most impressive thing about it is he jumped a little early," said Jim Harbaugh. "He was able to hang in the air and make a spectacular play."
Was Harbaugh upset given Lewis could've improved M's field position by simply batting the ball down?
"I'm really glad [he caught it] because it was a spectacular, spectacular football play."
Field position be damned, Lewis's incredible play allowed Michigan to run out the clock in a stressful, mistake-filled one-score win.
Despite dominating the yardage battle, 349-159, the Wovlerines were locked in a 7-7 game midway through the fourth quarter. Three missed field goals, two by Kenny Allen and one by replacement Ryan Tice, were partially to blame for the tight score.
"We'll have a little kicking competition this week," said Harbaugh. "It'll be an opportunity for Ryan Tice. Hopefully we make them next time." He added that freshman kicker Quinn Nordin is injured, which explains his absence the last couple weeks.
Some of the blame also fell on Speight, who'd been scattershot for most of the afternoon and forced a ball to Jake Butt that got tipped and picked off to set up UW's only score, a perfectly thrown wheel route to Dare Ogunbowale. Darboh was also partially culpable after dropping a potential third-down conversion on M's opening drive of the fourth quarter.
On the very next Wolverine drive, all was forgiven. On first down from the Badger 46-yard line, Darboh got a step on corner Derrick Tindal down the sideline. Speight uncorked his best throw of the day, hitting Darboh in stride for the eventual winning score.
"It was perfect," said Darboh. "Wilton put a perfect ball in and I just had to run underneath it."
"I saw single-high one-on-one with Darboh." said Speight. "That's probably the best thing as a quarterback you can hear: one-on-one with Darboh."
Speight capitalized. That was all the defense needed. Two punts and Channing Stribling's second interception followed to give Michigan the ball with 3:24 left at the Wisconsin 45. Harbaugh clearly felt comfortable putting the game in the hands of Don Brown; the Wolverines ran three straight times, then Allen pinned the Badgers at the own eight-yard line.
"It was a game ball for Don Brown kind of a game," said Harbaugh.
Brown's defense finished the game emphatically. Jabrill Peppers stoned a swing pass to Ogunbowale for no gain on first down. Pressure from the D-line forced a low pass from Alex Hornibrook that Robert Wheelwright couldn't haul in on second down. Ben Gedeon raked the ball out of Troy Fumagalli's hands to force an incompletion on third down. Then Lewis did his combination Woodson/Beckham impression.
While self-inflicted errors made the score too close for comfort, Michigan survived their first truly tough test in their first game that was close wire-to-wire. It was tough to sit through. It also provided the opportunity for an all-time highlight.
I'll take it.
Michigan records a Top 10 win in statistically dominant fashion, which is only slightly at odds with the demolished fingernails of Michigan fans everywhere.
Football is a three-phase game. Michigan only needed one.
If you try to have one without the other, Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis will make you pay.
Thanks to BOBBY for making us liveblog software. We are slowly rolling out more features and are working through the the priority tree of issues. Last week was the transparent aluminum, and quick thought: why did Scotty need transparent aluminum? Wouldn’t six-inch Plexiglass have been fine on that spaceship? It seems unnecessarily fancy to make a plastics manufacturer from the mid-’80s invent a non-polymer clear plastic instead of just dealing with some old fashioned heavy plastic windows. I mean, okay, if you need to give the guy a small leg up on his competition in payment that’s understandable, but then give him something you know was invented shortly after, like light-emitting poly-ethyne or something. And don’t give me “How do we know he didn’t invent it?” because these characters lived centuries after the invention of the internet.
That said, if you notice anything else missing, put them in the comments on this article so the liveblog stays clear of meta.
The yellow/ orange bar is your mana.
Sending messages costs mana.
Messages cost more, the more active chat is.
The red dudes on the side bar are lives remaining.
If you break the Board Rules, you lose a life. Lose three lives and you have to insert a quarter into your monitor. No no keep trying it, it’ll go in. As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.
Enter the liveblog here: http://kibitz.io/#/wisconsin (will open in new window. Sorry no embed yet. Tuesday.)
By Bryan MacKenzie
You may remember "Wisconsin" from your childhood, but if you don't, here's a brief refresher: Wisconsin is a state just west of Michigan that somehow claims to be the one shaped like a mitten.
This is somewhat like Louisiana trying to claim the title of "the one shaped like the wang" from Florida, or Idaho trying to declare itself "The Great Rectangle State of the American West." But I digress.
The reason you may not remember Wisconsin very well is that Michigan hasn't played the Badgers since 2010. Both schools have gone through two coaching changes since then; Brady Hoke's Michigan never played Wisconsin, and Gray Andersen's Wisconsin played Michigan. The last time these two teams met, Wisconsin did to Michigan what Michigan just did to Penn State; they ran the same. damn. play. over. and. over. They ran for 357 yards at 6.2 yards per carry. Greg Robinson, who believe it or not was Michigan's defensive coordinator, rubbed a stuffed beaver in Kenny Demens' face on the sidelines. Remember 2010? 2010 was weird as hell. 2010 sucked in a lot of ways.
A lot has changed since 2010. Gas was $0.27 per gallon, but we didn't notice because cars ran on Arcade Fire and Four Loko. Our computers SUCKED at playing Jeopardy. We hadn't seen Anthony Weiner's Florida a single time. Rutgers still sucked, but they sucked WAY THE HELL OVER THERE. Global warming was still called global warming, and hadn't produced a single Sharknado.
2016 is emphatically not 2010.
2016 Wisconsin is not 2010 Wisconsin. You can see a family resemblance, of course. But those old Wisconsin teams always had a massive, immovable, road-grading offensive line consisting of three-star corn-fed midwesterners. 2016 Wisconsin's offensive line is fine, but they are far from the mass of murderous thunder-flesh that blew those RichRod teams three yards off the ball on every play.
2016 Michigan is also decidedly not 2010 Michigan. 2016 Michigan is the Michigan that runs the same play eight times in a row, because the opponent can't stop it. 2016 Michigan is the team that can throw "rock" on every snap because the rock is Wormley-shaped. 2016 Michigan is the river carving the canyon through simple operation of physics over time. And this game is when that really becomes clear. Michigan's defensive line will simply overwhelm Wisconsin's line, and they force Wisconsin's young quarterback to put the ball up and pray for rain. Meanwhile, Harbaugh uses a combination of crazy wizard magic and Jabrill Peppers (admittedly, these are related fields) to put points on the board against a stout defense.
Welcome to 2016, Bucky. Michigan 31, Wisconsin 7
by Nick RoUMel
Last week Michigan fans came tantalizingly close to the exceedingly rare “quad-fecta.” Michigan trounced Penn State, Sparty was crushed by the Badgers, Notre Dame lost at home to Duke, and Ohio State did not win (drat … only because they didn’t play).
We also enjoyed two bonus games. Colorado, behind their second-string quarterback, won at Oregon - thus enhancing the value of Michigan’s win against the Buffalos. The other was 0-4 Furman’s 20 point drubbing by Coastal Carolina, a margin that exceeded Michigan State’s 28-13 home victory over the Paladins on opening day. Thus both of Sparty’s victories were significantly diminished Saturday.
(To be fair to Michigan State, as I must because I am married to a Spartan grad, it is looking like a rebuilding year for them; and I am certain they will come back strong behind their handsome and determined coach Mark Dantonio.)
I was curious enough to look up the last time we experienced an actual quad-fecta. You have to go back to September 12, 2009, when the Buckeyes lost to Southern Cal, MSU lost to Central Michigan [insert helplessly laughing emoji here], and Michigan stunned Notre Dame in the Big House, 38-34, on the legendary Tate Forcier’s pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds to play.
The last quad-fecta where none of these teams played each other happened on October 2, 2004. Michigan beat Indiana; and Ohio State (Northwestern), MSU (Iowa), and Notre Dame (Purdue) all went down ingloriously. No doubt Wolverine fans everywhere rejoiced long into the night.
Can we have another today?
Let’s start with Ohio State, which hosts Rutgers, a 38-point ‘dog. Unlikely.
The Flailing Irish travel to Syracuse as a 10 ½-point favorite. Could be an upset special.
And Michigan State, distracted by those pesky Dantonio-to-LSU rumors, visits Indiana as a shaky 6.5 point favorite. The non-horrible Hoosiers will give it a good shot.
Which brings me to UM.
This one makes me nervous. The oddsmakers are too generous here, giving 10 ½ points to Wisconsin, which is rolling like the thunder Mother Nature has in store for us on Saturday. Those behemoths on both sides of the ball are going to battle in the trenches a lot tougher then Pederast State did last week, and lefty QB Alex Hornibrook showed a lot of poise against the Spartan defense. The weather could also be a factor to slow down Michigan’s offense.
But Wisconsin is vulnerable in the secondary, which was lit up by 0-3 Georgia State’s Conner Manning two weeks ago (20-29, 269 yards, 1 TD) in an upset bid at Madison that fell just short, 23-17.
So what’s the call, Counterpunt?
Say it ain’t so, Superboy … it’s going to be a Bizarro quad-fecta:
WISCONSIN 28, MICHIGAN 27
OHIO STATE 54, RUTGERS 20
MICHIGAN STATE 23, INDIANA 15
NOTRE DAME 24, SYRACUSE 16
[Insert stunned Bizarro emoji here]