Duncan Robinson (19 points) and Caris LeVert (28) led the onslaught. [Barron]
There once was a game in Tree City
For the foe we only felt pity
The home team scored lots
The road team did not
While you watched football on TV
Michigan added their second commitment from a "Pipeline 9" in-state junior today, as Scout's Allen Trieu reports 2017 Oak Park OT Ja'Raymond Hall will stay close to home for college. Hall has been a fixture on campus along with his highly regarded 2018 teammate, OL Marquan McCall. He becomes the fourth Michigan commit in the 2017 class, joining Brother Rice TE Carter Dunaway, Georgia RB Kurt Taylor, and Canadian DB Benjamin St-Juste.
4*, #21 OR,
|3*, #33 OT||
4*, 80, #25 OT,
4*, 94, #15 OT,
4*, #30 OT,
This is where the composite rating only tells you so much. Scout and ESPN are right in the same range, while 247 is a significant positive outlier and Rivals a negative one. Before you ask: yes, Hall has attended a Rivals camp.
The four sites are in general agreement on his size. Three of the four list him at 6'5" (ESPN says 6'4") with weights ranging from 255 to 272—he's probably closer to the high end of that range at this point. Hall is most likely a tackle prospect; with that frame he could also play inside.
Get ready for many slight variations on a constant theme: Hall has a great frame, quick feet, and plenty of work to do on the technical side and in the weight room. Here's ESPN's underclassman evaluation ($):
STRENGTHS:Possesses excellent height at this stage with good strength. Flashes ability to come off ball and gain physical leverage and when he does can drive defenders back. Displays good mirror and balance when stays low....AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Good frame, but needs to continue to develop and add good mass and further improve strength. Too inconsistent at this stage and needs to continue to work on pad level. Can improve angles.
Josh Helmholdt named Hall as one of the ten best performers at the RCS Cleveland camp in April, saying he flashed quite a bit of potential ($):
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Hall has a tall, lean and athletic build that suggests a future at the offensive tackle position. Hall is still learning the fundamentals of the position, but the potential that has earned him two early offers certainly was evident. When Hall did get beat in one-on-one reps it was due to technique, not physical abilities. The rising junior showed excellent feet and does a good job when locked on, and staying between the quarterback and the defender. Added weight on his frame will certainly benefit Hall's overall game, and all that should come easily as he matures.
Scout's Dave Berk considered Hall one of the best O-linemen at last summer's Opening regional in Columbus:
Jaraymond Hall is a player to watch in the 2017. Against bigger and strong players at The Opening, Hall used his athletic ability and quick feet to battle. Must get stronger physically in the coming months but has the making to be a top prospect.
Allen Trieu called him one of the best underclassmen at any position at that event and specified that he most needs to add strength in his upper body.
247's Steve Wiltfong got straight to the point after seeing Hall at June's Sound Mind Sound Body camp:
When Oak Park (Mich.) High Top100 2017 offensive tackle JaRaymond Hall adds mass and strength to his long frame, he’s going to be a flat stud at left tackle. His feet are really good.
After seeing him in person against a quality Southfield squad, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan gave a detailed analysis of the areas Hall can improve ($):
Hall shows the athleticism and punch to protect the quarterback on the edge. He'll have to clean up his technique, however. He's too prone to crossing over his feet against a speed rush, which will doom him when he faces top-level talent. He also keeps his hands too far outside, and although he wasn't called for holding Friday, there were a few instances where he could have been. Most importantly, he will have to add upper-body strength to complement what is already a good base to build upon.
While everyone else pegs Hall as a future tackle, 247's Clint Brewster broke down his junior film and suggested he could better fit on the interior:
Hall plays offensive tackle for Oak Park because of his ability top move and slide laterally but his frame probably fits guard better at the next level, depending on how much length and height he adds. Hall has a nasty streak that would correlate well to the interior line spots, especially with his ability to get out and move on pulls and screens. He blocks extremely well out in space and on the move. Hall is still raw from technical standpoint with his hand placement but he's coordinated and understands leverage and pad level. He's got a solid foundation to work with.
Last but certainly not least, we have ourselves a potential Piesman candidate:
But that doesn’t mean that Hall wouldn’t love to be the guy with the ball – even just one time – to relive his years as a youth football running back. Growing up playing in the West Seven Rams program, he was a hard-charging ball carrier who couldn’t be stopped.
While Hall said he embraced his move to the offensive line in eighth grade, he – like virtually every lineman – still has dreams of glory.
“It’s every lineman’s dream to score a touchdown,” he said. “I miss that part. I love being a lineman, but I’ll always be a running back at heart.”
The upshot: Hall has the frame, feet, base, and nasty streak to be an excellent lineman, either at tackle or as an agile guard; how close he comes to his ceiling depends on how much strength he can add and how much he develops from a technical standpoint. Given that's the norm for any high school lineman, it's hard not to like Hall's potential.
Hall's list isn't particularly long—perhaps in part because he's looked like a Michigan lock for a while, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if there are unreported offers—but it contains a few other high-level programs, namely Ole Miss, Penn State, and Tennessee. Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (NTM), and Western Michigan round out his offer sheet.
Oak Park hasn't produced an extensive list of D-I prospects, but they've got a couple notable ones: former MSU RB Edwin Baker and Tennessee freshman John Kelly. Michigan is heavily involved—probably the early favorite—for OL Marquan McCall, who'd be a great pickup for 2018.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hall ran an electronically timed 5.82 40-yard dash according to his ESPN profile, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. His Hudl page lists an unverified 5.03 time that merits a few FAKEs. Hall's plenty quick for a lineman; straight-line speed is far less important.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Projecting a two-deep when Michigan isn't done recruiting linemen in the 2016 class is a pointless endeavor. It's safe to say Hall is going to take a redshirt since (1) he's an offensive lineman, and (2) even for a line prospect, he's got a lot of physical and technical development to do before he's college-ready. As he fills out his frame and settles into a position—I can see him at tackle or guard, but more likely tackle—he'll get his chance to crack the lineup a couple years into his time in Ann Arbor.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's 2017 class stands at four commitments. They will take several more.
Michigan (5-2) vs
Houston Baptist (2-5)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||2 pm ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -23 (KenPom)|
PBP: Lisa Byington
Analyst: Brooke Weisbrod
Right: Michigan's offensive prowess was downright terrifying the last time these two teams met. [Fuller]
You can breathe a little easier; X-rays on Derrick Walton's ankle, which he turned in nasty-looking fashion against NC State, came back negative. He's going to miss some time with a sprain. How much is uncertain:
"So it's a sprain," Beilein said on his weekly radio show on Wednesday night. "It's a mild sprain."
Shortly thereafter, Beilein added, "He sprained his ankle badly — I don't know what type of grade it would be, but it's sprained and we do not know when he'll be back.
"Hopefully it's not before too long."
Walton's absence shouldn't be an issue against Houston Baptist; it'd hurt if he couldn't give it a go next Tuesday at SMU. Based on Beilein calling it both a "mild" and "badly" sprained ankle in the span of a few minutes, the timeline for a return is unclear. Today, Beilein said they'll "wait and see" if Walton can play tomorrow; my guess is they won't feel the need to push Walton against a very overmatched opponent.
THE LAST TIME
Michigan played Houston Baptist two years ago. If you think the KenPom line—Michigan is favored by 23—is a little extreme, it's nothing compared to the margin from the 2013-14 matchup, which the Wolverines won 107-53 while scoring a nearly unfathomable 1.62 points per possession. Most importantly, Andrew Dakich hit a three:
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
On the roundtable this week:
- Not great gameplan, Bob.
- I compare Ed to a twitter egg because he says "I liked Durkin before I got more data" like twitter eggs do.
- Basketballin': Moritz McGary comin', Duncan Robinson is unconscious, etc.
THE USUAL LINKS
Heiko sings the hits! Remember Heiko? Used to badger Al Borges about bubble screens, was Adam before Adam was Adam. Currently turning in his Punt/Counterpunt column about sixty seconds before I want to post it. Draftageddon chaos agent. That guy. Doctor guy.
Well, if you'd like to see him sing(?), that is now a thing you can do. The med students have this charity, you see:
Every winter, Galens members don red ponchos, grab metal buckets, and take to the streets of greater Ann Arbor to collect monetary donations for the children of Washtenaw County. Held on the first weekend of December since 1927, Tag Days has become an important Ann Arbor tradition and occupies a central role in Galens' mission to support local children's charities. Galens members annually raise tens of thousands of dollars, with 100% of the collected money donated directly to local organizations and charities.
Last year they raised over 75k via various methods including people throwing coins at med students for singing*, and you can do this by THROWING COINS at HEIKO in front of Gratzi from about FOUR O'CLOCK TODAY to MIDNIGHT.
Or you could just donate here if you don't want to throw quarters at Heiko for some reason. Weirdo.
*[This is an assumption, but I'm sure you'll agree it is a good one.]
Things that happened. Ross Fulton breaks down events that transpired on Saturday.
Meyer and Warinner borrowed a page from Utah and Indiana. Both offenses had success outside against Michigan's cover 1-man defense by forcing Wolverine defenders with contain responsibilities to cover receivers while the offense runs outside, and by using spread read principles to outnumber a Michigan defense with a deep safety.
Meyer's staff used a similar strategy. Frequently using two tight ends - with one aligned as a blocking slot receiver - the Buckeyes' success began with power read. On power read the offensive line blocks power, but - rather than kicking out the defensive end - the quarterback reads the end. If he crashes, the quarterback gives on the sweep. If the end stays wide the quarterback runs power following the pulling guard.
With Michigan using a common opponent tactic - slanting towards Ezekiel Elliott to limit tight zone - Ohio State ran outside opposite the slant, providing Elliott a running lane beyond the crashing end.
When Michigan prevented this from happening again it opened up JT Barrett on the inverted veer, because Michigan took a basic and completely predictable approach to dealing with the OSU run game. Michigan changed nothing except occasionally running a 3-3-5. It was incredibly frustrating to see inverted veer gash Michigan over and over again as if the Wolverines had no idea it would be coming. On the above play they have not one but two 100% irrelevant players, as the backside corner and safety aren't blocked but can't do anything about the gain.
Durkin spent the entire year running the same defense predicated on decisively winning DL matchups, and when that was not true his answers were miserably bad. The final drive of regulation for Indiana saw Michigan passively eat run after run without reacting; this game was as if the last 15 years of football had never happened.
Let's not change anything. Iowa is 12-0, which is not something even Kirk Ferentz's family saw coming. Spencer on the power of doing nothing at all:
Iowa football never changed, and needed to badly, at least from the perspective of someone looking at the long decline of the program into a 7-6 stasis interrupted by bumps into 11-2 and drops into 4-8 territory. The Hawkeyes had become an EKG of a drunk man falling into a deep and dreamless sleep. This drunk man was also hypothermic and sleeping under a bridge.
Then in 2015, that drunk man woke up, found a flawlessly tailored suit under a concrete overhang beneath that bridge, downed a bottle of Steel Reserve, and walked into the nearest investment bank and become a confident, beaming tycoon overnight.
Iowa should have changed everything, and didn't. They're undefeated despite doing few things they haven't done for years. You didn't think they could do it, but they did. Iowa, the laziest hard-working team in America, wore the same shirt until it came back into style.
So if DJ Durkin runs that defense against OSU for the next 12 years it might work the 12th time. That's the ticket.
Veni, vici, Harbaugh. Jim Hackett is stepping down as Michigan's athletic director. He never did get the Notre Dame series back, but other than that probably impossible thing he hit 1.000 in a brief tenure as Michigan's athletic director.
Hackett decided he should hire Jim Harbaugh. Also he got Harbaugh. This seems like a rather obvious thing to do. But as we saw with the previous athletic director, sometimes people in charge of things are just in charge of them for no reason. Hackett, above all, was a solid dude acting sensibly.
I have heard that Hackett was close to exclusively focused on the big-ticket items, which was the right move for him and Michigan. Unfortunately that did mean that the department's Brandon-imparted momentum continued in various ways. The hockey schedule, accepting the worst possible basketball tournament for fans, and lingering Special K issues, particularly at Yost, irked me over the past 12 months. Hackett also paid virtually no attention to non-revenue sports. This is again fine for someone who is trying to get a few big-picture things right, but none of it is great for the long term.
Baumgardner wrote a column with a pithy headline:
Jim Hackett steadied Michigan's ship, but next AD must be able to steer it
Steering the ship. Michigan should be properly chagrined by their decision to pass on the actual athletic directors their department had spawned last time. Anyone other than the four sitting ADs that came from the pre-Brandon department would be an enormous upset. Those gentlemen:
- Warde Manuel, AD, UConn. Previously the AD at Buffalo, where he hired Turner Gill for those two years where Buffalo was not terrible. At UConn hired Kevin Ollie, which was a given after a national title, and Bob Diaco after taking a swing at Pat Narduzzi.
- Jeff Long, AD, Arkansas. Hired Bert out from under Wisconsin, which is pretty impressive. Also hired Bobby Petrino away from the Falcons, which was a good idea until it really really wasn't. Cofopoff chair.
- Brad Bates, AD, Boston College. Is, uh, at Boston College? Before he was at Miami and helped acquire Enrico Blasi and a new arena for the Redhawks. BC Interruption take here if you're inclined.
- Joe Parker, AD, Colorado State. The favorite candidate of many people who worked in the department when he was around. Recommended by most of the Brandon-initiated Michigan Athletic Department Diaspora. Only one year as an AD but has held posts just below that level for a decade.
Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2011 and resigned from his post in 2015. While Hackett brought him on as a consultant that probably doesn't indicate he's a serious candidate for the job.
Oh, and Tom Lewand's free! Anybody? Anybody other than Mark Snyder? Nobody? That appears to be nobody signing up for a guy with zero AD experience, but plenty of hiring Jim Caldwell experience. (Other staffers say he's the Lions' coach, and that the Lions are a local professional football franchise with a star-crossed reputation.)
I haven't heard much buzz on the search yet but a few months ago I did get a note that Manuel was probably the favorite.
Linebackers to be coached. Chris Partridge will pick up linebacker duties for the bowl game. This allows him to go on the road in the absence of Durkin, which is a good thing.
Given the way the release is phrased it doesn't seem like he's getting a position coaching slot permanently—or at least that's not the plan right now. Keeping Partridge for another year or two before he does move onward and upward is a good thing, especially with Michigan having most of New Jersey on lock.
Stats to be goggled at. Michigan features twice in a PFF column on crazy stats, and this is the craziest:
Even though [Jake] Rudock has had an underwhelming season, he has one thing going for him. He leads the country in accuracy under pressure at 71.4 percent. That’s especially surprising considering he was ranked 40th last year in the same category at 56.8 percent. It’s not a small sample size either. Only nine quarterbacks have had more snaps under pressure than Rudock.
I guess "underwhelming" is a thing you could say about Rudock's 2015 if you are not a Michigan fan. If you are a Michigan fan he's the guy holding onto your hand as you reach for the Holy Grail in a crevasse. Also, his first half was indeed very underwhelming. His finish not so much.
Related: I thought Michigan's pass protection was more or less good this year, what's the deal with all the pressures?
Chris Wormley (DT, Michigan) is having the best pass-rushing season by a defensive tackle in the last two years.
Wormley is the definition of a pass rushing specialist. On every one of the 269 plays that he has lined up as a defensive tackle the opposing offense has passed the ball. On every pass play, Wormley has rushed the passer. … Wormley currently leads the country in PFF’s signature stat, pressure percentage (PRP) at 12.3. … The senior from Ohio has improved tremendously from last season. His current grade of +35.8 is over 25 points higher than is 2014 grade. He has graded positively in every game except last week’s game against Ohio State where he struggled with his run defense.
When I saw that I thought to myself "he's a defensive end, not a DT," but they cover that in the paragraph on him.
I think the way PFF is crediting rushes here is generous to Wormley. He benefited from the pile of stunts Michigan ran—without question the best thing Durkin did this year is base his pass rush on constant stunting—and in UFR I've started splitting credit between the guy who drives the lane open and guy who loops around for the glory. Wormley did have a major breakout season, don't get me wrong, but Michigan's ability to pressure was a team thing in which all three DT/DE types contributed about equally.
Etc.: NC State highlights. Holdin' The Rope on the game. Texas key plays. UT take on that game. Walton's issue a "slight ankle sprain"; exhale. Kansas still has a student athletics fee. Love Moritz McGary. The Big Ten has a big rights package coming up.