|Delray Beach, FL – 6'5" 220|
|Scout||4*, #291 overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#37 WDE, #100 FL
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#36 DE, #75 FL
|24/7||4*, #289 overall
#16 SDE, #38 FL
|Other Suitors||FSU, Miami, VT, MissSt, SoCar|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Older teammate of 2016 CB commit Antwaine Richardson. Practices his World Cup arm folding on the reg.|
Half-season senior highlights:
Shelton Johnson was without question the most impressive acquisition in the three-week scramble before this year's Signing Day. Zach Gentry is more highly touted and more important for the roster, but Texas was loudly proclaiming a move towards spread 'n' shred QBs at the same time they courted a five-star A&M commit. Gentry compared that to getting coached by Jim Harbaugh, quarterback whisperer and made a logical decision to go somewhere else pretty far from home.
Johnson, on the other hand, is a Florida native who had been publicly favoring Florida State for six months before Michigan got involved late through DJ Durkin. One visit later and Johnson was ready to head north.
He was not the first to do so—Michigan grabbed fellow FL DE Reuben Jones earlier—but he was the best indicator of Michigan's renewed focus on the south, and Florida in particular. Rich Rodriguez mined Florida for little tough bastards; Harbaugh appears to be going for big tough bastards.
Johnson is certainly on his way to that at 6'5". Sites were split on a fourth star for him, but that did not prevent Florida State from pursuing him heavily after he was a summer camp offer. 247's Josh Newberg came back with some film from that camp:
Johnson is lanky, athletic, quick… and skinny. Every scouting report makes mention of the obvious: 220 pound guys don't do well as defensive linemen. They also report Johnson has the proverbial frame to layer on piles of muscle if he is left alone in an electrical closet with some free weights and several cows. This is not a gentleman who will top out at 250 unless that's a weight at which he is an excellent player.
While the need to add weight necessarily brings questions about whether Johnson can maintain his current quick-twitch ability, there's not much debate that he's got it right now. Scouting highlights:
- 247's Clint Brewster: "…shows true explosive burst getting off on the snap and consistently crossing the face of offensive lineman to beat them into the backfield. Underrated strength and physicality, Johnson shows the core strength to battle bigger lineman upfront and get off blocks, even against the double team. …really light on his feet with good redirection skills. Really like his toughness and motor."
- Scout's Jamie Newberg: "…ton of talent. He looks terrific on film. Johnson can put his hand in the dirt or stand up. He can also slide inside. He has versatility and athleticism. Johnson gets off the ball well and can use his hands to shed blocks. He shows speed and lateral quickness."
- Scout's Corey Bender: "…oozes with potential and moves very well in space. He has a nice frame that can hold an additional 25 pounds with ease … does a good job of using his hands to disengage off blocks, and can provide a steady pass rush standing up or with his hand in the dirt."
- ESPN: "displays good raw, wiry strength … Inconsistent, but flashes good initial quickness … Good burst and length … plays with a physical and at times violent nature. … good physical tools to develop. We don't see an early contributor … displays some good upside."
- Via Tim Sullivan, Johnson's high school coach TJ Jackson: ""…one of the elite pass-rushers I've seen in a long time …. That's kids that I've coached with or against.
definitely going to have to put on a little weight … fantastic student in the classroom and fantastic athlete."
Sullivan also had a lengthy article with an interview of the Sun-Sentinel's Ryan S Clark($) with an interesting perspective of his place in the Florida recruiting sphere:
…they could kind of see the raw talent, it was just a matter of how it would fit into a system. This year, we saw that. He played as a down lineman, and here in South Florida there's so much talk about everyone trying to find that hybrid who can play D-end and linebacker. I don't know if he can play linebacker, but he got the job done very, very well."
Johnson first showed he'd be a big prospect when he caught FSU's attention, and then followed that up with an excellent senior year. There are still a number of questions he has to answer—the recruiting rankings seem accurate when they split on placing him as a 4 star or a 3 star.
At Michigan, Johnson is likely ticketed for the "buck" spot. Whether you define that as a linebacker or a defensive end is a matter of perspective. It is very similar to the way Greg Mattison used his weakside ends: maybe two thirds of the time they would be a defensive and, and a third of the time Michigan would slant its line, use the SAM as a DE, and drop the WDE into coverage or a run fit. From what I've seen of the Florida defense, that's about what their buck LBs do.
DJ Durkin's most recent buck was 6'3", 260-pound Dante Fowler, the third pick in the most recent NFL draft. That is about the weight Johnson will aim for as he attempts to unseat redshirt freshman Lawrence Marshall and (maybe) junior Taco Charlton.
Etc.: There is apparently a famous park ranger Shelton Johnson? One does not expect to type a football player's name into Google Image Search and get back a guy who looks like a cross between a Union soldier and Steve Irwin. Wants to be an engineer—my man.
Why Shawn Crable? Crable was an ostentatiously skinny 6'6" DE/LB hybrid who spent his first couple years at Michigan at LB before transitioning to full-time DE as a senior. He is a pretty tight comparison. One caveat: Crable was a consensus top 100 prospect. Johnson is on the 3/4 star borderline.
Frank Clark is another good comparison point. Clark came in a 220-pound high school safety and hit 280 by his junior year. He kept his athleticism and ended up a second-round pick.
Guru Reliability: Moderate-plus. Healthy and little position projection, but large spread, very few camps, and the fact he's far from a finished product make him a bit of a wildcard.
Variance: Moderate-plus. Needs a lot of weight and some debate about how good of a prospect he is.
Ceiling: High. If he develops could be a first round NFL prospect. The FSU offer and serious pursuit down to signing day is an excellent sign. That is a program coming off a national championship that had a five-star DE in the boat and they went after Johnson hard.
General Excitement Level: High-minus. Long way to go; excellent prospect to develop.
Projection: Another probable redshirt. Michigan is kind of thin at defensive end but probably not thin enough give Johnson significant playing time this year. With Ojemudia graduating a number of snaps open up in year two, when Johnson should be hefty enough to play the weakside end/"buck" linebacker role.
Which shade of maize should Michigan use?
The Opening Updates: Michigan Commits
The Opening, Nike's questionably named elite camp, is now under way out in Beaverton, Oregon—the location is not helping matters, Nike. Brandon Peters has already been out there for a few days due to the Elite11 quarterback camp, which runs in conjunction with The Opening, and he's now joined by Michael Onwenu and a slew of Michigan targets.
Peters has consistently been mentioned by recruiting analysts as being among the top on-field performers at the Elite11. That didn't change on Tuesday, when he was one of just three quarterbacks to hit all six throws in the 7-on-7 drive-the-field drill, which earned him the #3 top performer spot from 247's Barton Simmons:
3. Brandon Peters (Michigan commit)
Stats: 6 for 6, 2 TDs
Quietly, Peters continues to be one of the most consistent performers in this Elite 11 group. There was never a doubt on any of his throws, he spun it well and put it on the money for every throw. Rarely do you see Peters throw a wobbler or skip a football.
Onwenu, meanwhile, impressed both onlookers and those running the camp yesterday. 247's Brian Perroni ranked Onwenu fourth among offensive linemen after a strong performance in the OL/DL one-on-ones:
The 6-foot-3, 365-pound Michigan commit is stronger as a run blocker on tape but he was pretty much impossible for the defensive tackles to move on Wednesday. He had the entire offensive jumping up and down when he threw a defender to the ground like a rag doll.
The camp agreed with the recruiting analysts, selecting Onwenu as one of the "Final 5" offensive linemen who get to face off in a best of the best one-on-one session with the top five D-linemen, which included five-star M target Rashan Gary.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The Highlights: WolverineHistorian
The Setup: After thumping South Carolina on the road, Michigan won their next three games—against Maryland, Wisconsin, and Michigan State—by a combined score of 84-6. That set up a #1 vs. #2 matchup at Iowa that the Hawkeyes won, 12-10, thanks to four field goals and a dominant defensive performance. A 3-3 tie against Illinois two weeks later dropped Michigan to #9 in the polls, and while they bounced back with a blowout of Purdue, a trip to Minnesota looked like a classic trap game the week before The Game.
The Gophers, coached by Lou Holtz, entered the game at 6-3. Two of those losses, however, came in close games against top-five teams, Oklahoma and Ohio State, at the Metrodome. Add in their road loss to Michigan State, and their three defeats came by a combined 15 points. Many felt the Gophers were due for an upset. It wouldn't come against Michigan.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
I don't get it. I mean, I get it: when Seth said he wanted to do a post about what Adidas inflicted on us I was like YES THAT. A combination of incompetent Germans and a weak or nuts AD was literally not a pretty sight over the past few years. I don't get the WOO NIKE half of that:
"We certainly heard it from fans a fair amount, 'when's Nike coming back?' " says Scott Hirth, co-owner of the M Den, Michigan's official athletic retailer. "There's no two ways around it, and there's no way to sugar coat it. Adidas and football success didn't go hand in hand, and we can't dispute that.
"I think for a lot of fans, it's a feeling of 'Michigan's the best, Nike's the best, Michigan should be with Nike.' "
A shirt's a shirt to me. A jersey is a jersey until it becomes two halves of a jersey flopping in the wind. Nike is no stranger to fashion disasters itself. A lot of people are super happy about this because they owe brand loyalty* to a company that probably makes much of its stuff in literally the same buildings other apparel companies do. So it's a bit weird.
*[I reserve brand loyalties for places they really matter: tortillas. Mission forever. If you bring Azteca into my home I will bludgeon you with them and then kick you out.]
But whatever man, I'm happy you're happy. For athletes it's a different story, of course: the gear is important, especially shoes. And Nike seems to have reputation there that is worth something.
If it makes them happy and a bunch of other people happy, that is a good thing to do even if it does not grow the bottom line as much as possible. The athletic department isn't a profit-driven enterprise, so what should it drive to? Making its stakeholders happy. This appears to do that.
And it might not even leave money on the table. I wonder what metrics Hackett is using when he says this:
Jim Hackett has no problem saying that Michigan's new apparel deal is the largest in the country, topping any other collegiate apparel contract.
Hackett, speaking with a handful of reporters on campus Tuesday, said Michigan would have netted the country's largest apparel deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, but ultimately opted to return to the swoosh.
I wonder because of that reportedly bonkers Under Armour offer to Texas, and reports that Nike was coming in under the other two companies. If other company X is willing to offer more to Michigan they will probably offer more to someone else as well. Not because they're worth more than Michigan. Because it's worth more to company X to have something approximating Michigan.
We'll find out soon enough, and I bet he's right in some way or another since they're going to release numbers next week. I mean, you'd think so. It's common sense. I am going to apply that now.
He's got an average of being excellent. Last April a mailbag post contained a rundown of the various negotiations Michigan executed during the Brandon era. The results there were not pretty:
- Brady Hoke was hired and then paid top ten numbers,
- Michigan was stuck in a different division than OSU (with a crossover game),
- Michigan got an unpleasant home/road split in the 14-team league,
- Notre Dame punked Michigan when they ended the contract,
- Mitch McGary did not have his suspension reduced despite the NCAA changing their rules about pot tests
- Al Borges was offered a 300k raise.
Since Hackett has arrived he has hired Jim Harbaugh for far less than he would get from an NFL team and locked down a Nike contract that can be plausibly called the biggest in the country. What do you think about THAT, Bastian Schweinsteiger?
I agree: not bad at all.
Maize. Maize is not blinding yellow. It is not regular yellow. It is an orangey yellow. It is like the image that leads this post. If Michigan actually starts wearing maize that would be nice.
A jumping man. Nike's Jordan thingy is part of their deal with Michigan. I made an offhanded comment about it in the news post about the deal and got several "NO, SERIOUSLY" replies in the comments and on twitter about it. More detail is available at MLive:
According to a Nike spokesperson, Michigan basketball will become the fifth program outfitted by Jordan Brand. The Jordan Brand currently outfits North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Marquette in men's basketball and North Carolina and Georgetown in women's basketball.
That is a weird—but exclusive!—grouping of teams to join. It includes a team that just locked down Jaylen Brown, who repeatedly said he'd play at an Adidas school. Good job, good effort, Adidas.
Anyway. If any logo on a thing can get recruits to sign up for something it appears to be this logo. I think cold, hard cash works better, though.
GAMBLING! ESTABLISHMENT! AND SO FORTH! Ole Miss is being investigated for hijinks in the recruitment of Laremy Tunsil, a five-star OL who walked right into their starting OL. Tunsil was just arrested for domestic assault against his stepfather, who apparently took whatever cash was on offer from TMZ for photos.
His stepfather says the incident happened because "Tunsil exploded on him for voicing his displeasure about the college star hanging out with sports agents," a story so implausible Michigan could have come up with it in the immediate aftermath of the Shane Morris incident. Dollars to donuts the stepfather has flipped on the kid after gently guiding his recruitment.
Minnesota, 1988. Via Wolverine Historian:
The weather was un-good.
Well, when you lay it out like that… MLive has a slideshow of Brady Hoke's old coaches and where they ended up. I'm sure we've addressed it before, but yikes man:
- OKAY: Greg Mattison stuck in Ann Arbor as the DL coach. Roy Manning is at Washington State. Doug Nussmeier is Florida's OC.
- IS THAT A REAL PLACE? Dan Ferrigno is at San Jose State with Al Borges. Darrell Funk is at Akron. Jeff Hecklinski is at Colorado State-Pueblo. Doug Mallory is at Wyoming. Mark Smith is at Florida Tech. Fred Jackson hasn't landed yet, if he's going to stay in coaching.
Hoke's coaching tree is comparable to Lloyd Carr's minus Brady Hoke. Woof.
I am in favor of this. Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis retired a year ago and has been brought in as a "senior adviser" at Michigan. We are just Joe Parker and Bruce Madej away from The Expendables: Athletic Department Edition.
De Carolis brought in Hutch and was well-loved at Oregon State, FWIW.
Another guy. Former UConn OC TJ Weist has been hired at Michigan as an "analyst," which probably means he'll break down tape and help with gameplanning:
Weist is not a Michigan assistant, which means he's not an active recruiter and his coaching duties will be limited by NCAA rules.
"T.J. has a wealth of coaching experience and will be an excellent addition to our staff," Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has shown the ability to develop countless NFL caliber wide receivers over his career and has immense knowledge of the collegiate game. He will be a great asset to our program."
Weist is a former Jack Harbaugh guy and Michigan native, so this is an obvious fit. Michigan appears to be spending its money on having a good football program instead of… not that. This will help happiness, and help make more money.
Etc.: MI/WV SF Miles Bridges says he wants to visit Michigan again. Kentucky though. More decals with Sap. OSU LB talks trash on Twitter. "Split zone" from James Light. Also this is a really cool and sneaky coverage in which a corner plays man press for about ten yards before bailing on his WR in an effort to trap the QB into a bad throw.
It started off so well.
Then they tried to lick our moisture:
…and things began to fall apart.
[After the jump: crimes against fashion, crimes against yellow, crimes against offense, crimes against eyes, crimes against humans]