Peppers at 10, which seems low.
Michigan picked up a commitment from 2017 PA PG Eli Brooks, a guy who's blown up on the recruiting trail as of about two days ago, when he fielded Ohio State and Villanova offers. Brooks in fact called Villanova his "dream school" under two weeks ago, which… uh… I don't think that word means what you think it means. As a man who has a crystal ball vote I sympathize with the folks with a big red X next to their Nova projections.
Brooks was flying under the radar for a reason:
Brooks is a 6'1" point guard from Spring Grove, Pa. who plays for the non-sponsored Jersey Shore Warriors AAU program (alongside Villanova Football verbal Kyle McCloskey). Because the Warriors don't play on one of the major AAU circuits, Brooks has mostly flown under the radar. A strong AAU season has led to more offers, with Kansas State and NC State jumping in the mix recently.
City Of Basketball Love has a scouting report:
Strengths: In his area, Brooks is known as a scorer, putting up over 25 ppg for Spring Grove High School as a junior. However, his biggest strength is his ability to run a team. Brooks plays the game at a great pace. He never allows the defense to speed him up, and makes his teammates better every time he touches the floor. His jump shot has continued to improve and he his now knocking down outside shots on a consistent basis.
Weaknesses: One concern for Brooks heading into the summer will be his lateral quickness. During the high school season he is not challenged to defend on a consistent basis; it will be interesting to see during the AAU season how he keeps more athletic guards in front of him.
Overall: A super-stock riser over the last few months, Brooks' amazing 2016 summer was capped off with a commitment to Michigan. But he's proven he's a true high-major guard of late -- he's completely unflappable, limits his mistakes as well as anybody around, and is a knockdown shooter from all over the court who also makes his teammates better both in his style of play and his leadership. Has been a winner at every level and will only make a program better at the high-major level, even if he's not a four-year starter.
Ace will have a full Hello post tomorrow.
College football is now two years removed from a significant restructuring and – surprise – the specter of further conference realignment still lingers. With the creation of a four-team playoff and a hierarchy of five ostensibly equal power conferences, it was perhaps inevitable that one conference would consider itself at a disadvantage – and that conference is the Big 12. They were the big loser of the last round of realignment: Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Colorado all found more stable homes in three separate conferences and the Big 12 added TCU (great on the football field, horrible on the hardwood) and West Virginia from mid-major leagues to compensate. They’re the only conference without a championship game, which is perceived to be a significant disadvantage. That they missed out on the playoff in one of the two years of its existence has driven them to question whether expansion might improve the league – though apparently immediate action is unlikely. However, it’s a pretty good bet that the Big 12 won’t exist in its current form in five years.
It’s worth noting that some of the different members of the conference have disparate goals (which isn’t the case in most other Power Five leagues). Texas is content with the present arrangement, which enriches itself with the lucrative (for Texas) Longhorn Network contract and effectively exists as the celestial body around which all others orbit in the Big 12. They and the other Texas schools are probably quite leery of Houston (arguably the best candidate for Big 12 expansion); promoting TCU to the Power 5 level has weakened its neighbors and with Tom Herman at the helm at UH, it’s easy to envision history repeating itself. Oklahoma isn’t happy with looking up at Texas in the Big 12 power structure but – perhaps because it’s saddled with Oklahoma State – can’t flee to the Pac-12 or SEC. West Virginia probably wants expansion to bring more geographically proximate foes into the league. Iowa State’s just happy (and a little confused) to be here.
[hit the JUMP for the rest]
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CB Lavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Nate Johnson, WR Kekoa Crawford, WR Chris Evans,
WR Brad Hawkins, WR Ahmir Mitchell, RB Kingston Davis, RB Kareem Walker.
|Avon, IN – 6'5", 210|
|Scout||4*, #77 overall
|Rivals||4*, #158 overall
#6 Pro QB , #3 IN
|ESPN||4*, #60 overall
#3 Pro QB, #1 IN
|24/7||4*, #34 overall
#3 Pro QB, #1 IN
|Other Suitors||LSU, Neb, UW, VT, Iowa, Indiana|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace. Scouting post from yesterday.|
Scouting video vs Ben Davis:
You may want to watch the above on Youtube itself for more clarity.
Scouting video against Brownsburg:
"[Harbaugh] compared me to Andrew Luck," Peters explained. "It's a similar situation to what he had at Stanford."
This is an opportune time to remind people that "You May Remember Me From Such Players As" is a playing style comparison, not a direct assertion that Brandon Peters is going to be the #1 pick in the NFL draft. I'm not saying that.
I'm not ruling it out either. Peters has a classic NFL frame, a beautiful deep ball, an advanced ability to vary speeds and trajectories, and no quarterback guru. When he's on, as he was in the game against Brownsburg above, he is really on, dropping dimes 50 yards downfield and nestling inch-perfect wheel routes into the hands of his tight end. The play by play guy kept wondering who the five quarterbacks ESPN ranked above him could possibly be, and turned out to be mostly right. By Signing Day Peters had passed all but two of them.
This was part of a universal upward swing in Peters's rep. When he committed to Michigan he was a four-star guy usually found in the 150-200 range. After a senior year spent bombing the Indianapolis era back into subsistence farming he leapt upwards. That year started with the 49-42 barnburner against Ben Davis that Michigan reporters swarmed to see not only Peters but Chris Evans; Ace was amongst the horde:
…money on Friday night, and his performance was made all the more impressive by the lack of Avon's run game and their inability to protect the passer. …pinpoint with almost everything in the short and intermediate range, save a rather strange difficulty getting screen passes on target. His throws had plenty of heat, they hit receivers in stride, and they went to the right guys. …stayed calm in the pocket when defenders were closing in, either stepping up to avoid pressure or bailing out at the last moment to buy time…. His accuracy and understanding of where to put the ball was impressive. …release could be a little more compact.
…has the size … has the athleticism …just a natural. His feel for the game is outstanding. Peters has the arm talent, he is comfortable making plays on the move and he seems to always know where to go with the football. …accurate and threw with the right amount of touch on two of his touchdowns.
I’m not sure I’ve covered a better high school quarterback than Avon senior Brandon Peters. …can make it look so easy sometimes… 26-for-44 for 381 yards for four touchdowns on Friday and – I think I can speak for most in attendance – those numbers probably don’t tell the whole story of how dominant he looked at times.
That kicked off a senior season featuring 3103 yards, a 60% completion percentage, 37 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. Three of those interceptions are in the two scouting videos above: a touchdown catch that a DB ripped away from the receiver just in time, a ball that clanked off a receiver's hands, and a blindside hit that deposited the ball directly in the hands of another defensive lineman. Peters threw somewhere between zero and two interceptions that were actually on him last year. That's absurd for anyone, let alone a high school QB.
[After THE JUMP: some dudes just have It.]
We are drafting Big Ten teams because the one sure way to get us to do our homework on in-conference players is to make it a competition and rip on each other.
Previously on Draftageddon:
A Heisman candidate QB and the reigning Thorpe winner go after two members of Michigan's secondary. (Peppers, Lewis, & Butt)
An underwhelming first swing through receivers, and lots of linemen. (Chesson, Cole, Wormley, Glasgow)
A Michigan second-teamer goes before Purdue-Matt Godin. (Charlton, Hurst)
How things stand:
If we hadn't taken the entire first team of Ohio State and Michigan State last year we'd be homers.
ACE: Round 9, Pick 1: Jalen Myrick, cornerback, Minnesota
OFFENSE: QB CJ Beathard (IA), RB Saquon Barkley (PSU), WR Jehu Chesson (M), OG Jacob Bailey (IU), WEAPON Jabrill Peppers (M)
DEFENSE: NT Ryan Glasgow (M), DT Jake Replogle (PU), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers (M), CB Jalen Myrick (MN)
SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers (M), PR Jabrill Peppers (M)
We’re starting to reach the end of the guys who graded out really well on PFF, but we’re not quite there yet. Jalen Myrick has been overshadowed in Minnesota’s secondary by Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, but with both of those guys off to the NFL, he’s set to break out this year. In fact, he graded out better than both of them last year, when he managed to push his way into the starting lineup for seven games and would’ve played more if injury hadn’t cut short his season:
Myrick ranked ninth nationally in our cornerback grades through week nine, until a rib and lung injury knocked him out of the Ohio State game in week ten and prematurely ended his regular season. Opposing QBs had a NFL rating of 34.8 on targets thrown his way, ranking him third among all returning CBs with at least 250 coverage snaps in 2015. His deep speed and ability to play the ball in the air made him an effective defender downfield, and as long as he maintains his health this year he should be one of the Big Ten’s best at his position.
In addition to strong ball skills, Myrick has great top-end speed, and he’s a tough SOB:
Myrick's breakout 2015 season hit a speed bump because of a freak injury at Ohio State on Nov. 15. While being tackled on the opening kickoff of that game, he suffered a collapsed lung. The injury forced him to stay in a Columbus hospital for two days and be driven back to Minneapolis. But say this about his toughness: Myrick played most of the first half with one working lung, believing at first he only had a back spasm.
JESUS. That article also mentions Myrick played so well last year that the coaches stopped shadowing the opponent’s top receiver with Murray (a fourth-round pick this year); they felt they had two legit #1 corners. He’s also a very capable kickoff returner—he had a 100-yard touchdown against Northwestern in 2014 on which he showed off some serious wheels. I had Myrick above Likely on my draft board—definitive, I know—and I’m quite pleased he fell to me here.
[After the jump: cornerbacks we wouldn't take before Will Likely, a few offensive steals, and a true freshman you can probably guess which]
Previously: Kareem Walker & Michael Dwumfour
A couple weeks after Dave and I saw Brandon Peters's stellar game against Ben Davis in person, Peters played a televised game against Brownsburg, which featured their own star quarterback in 2017 five-star Hunter Johnson. Peters led Avon to a blowout victory with a virtuoso performance, completing 20/28 passes for 335 yards (12.0 YPA), six touchdowns, and an interception on a great throw that was ripped out of his receiver's hands in the end zone.
Here's every throw from that game save for a two-minute portion that wasn't in the full game video—we're missing a touchdown pass, but everything else is there.
The first two throws on the reel display one of Peters's best characteristics: his ability to adjust his throws depending on the situation. At the 0:10 mark, with a receiver—one who'd drop a hard-thrown, catchable ball later in the game—open underneath for a first down, Peters makes an easy toss in a spot where the receiver can easily secure it, turn, and get some YAC. Seeing that throw in a vacuum might make you question Peters's arm strength, but on the next play he uncorks an inch-perfect deep ball down the sideline for a touchdown.
Peters displays solid pocket presence. He's athletic enough to elude free rushers while still keeping his eyes downfield, though he can occasionally do that to a fault—0:59 is a example of this going right, and the very next clip, in which Peters fumbles because he holds the ball too long and doesn't sense the pressure behind him, shows how it can sometimes go very wrong.
Otherwise, there's little to critique. Peters gets the ball out quickly and accurately, puts the ball in spots that maximize YAC, and shows off excellent arm strength when he has to—see the throw 3:58 for evidence. While his mechanics aren't perfect—he fades off to the side a little on that throw—there's nothing in there that can't be fixed rather easily, especially by coaches the caliber of Harbaugh and Fisch.
Harbaugh hanging out with Rich Eisen. 24 minutes:
Remarkable how much different Harbaugh is when he's talking with a person he's comfortable with.
Rashan hype. Jourdan Lewis is impressed:
“You should see Rashan move,” Lewis said this week. “He’s very, very light on his feet. He and (nose tackle) Bryan Mone, it’s crazy. You should see them on the ladder drills. Oh my goodness, it’s unbelievable. At that size, you can’t teach stuff like that. It’s mind-blowing.”
Mone is listed in the spring roster at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, while Gary is 6-5 and pushing 300 pounds.
The ladder drill develops footwork and quickness.
“It’s about how clean you are, and they barely touch that ladder,” Lewis said. “They are really fast on the ladder, and it’s really crazy.”
Hooray for that. Also hooray for quotes in the offseason. What sorcery is this?
Zordich's impact. We heard a ton about Greg Jackson a year ago but no so much about Zordich. Lewis offers up some praise for Michigan's second-year DBs coach:
“When Coach Zordich got here, he really broke it down for us. We have to know every formation by name. He has specific names for formations and we’ve got to know them. That’s the standard. Technique always has to be precise, because that’s the difference between a pick and a reception. I had knowledge of the game and knew when I could do certain things. But when he came in and he showed us these different formations and tricks when you see different looks, it has really helped my game. He’s been a huge part of our development as players.”
Before Zordich and Jackson came in Michigan's DBs coaches were a linebackers coach and
Mike Curt Mallory, who Michigan wanted to get rid of but Hoke held onto because he was excessively nice.
I have a lot of problems with you people. The Michigan Scout board recently had a kerfuffle about ranking in the aftermath of Dylan McCaffrey dropping out of their top 100 in aftermath of the Opening. I shrug at that, like, opinion, man. I think whoever doubts a guy with the last name McCaffrey playing quarterback for Jim Harbaugh is eventually going to look real dumb, but it's just one dude.
I do have a thing that bugs me about Scout's rankings.
That is a map of NFL players by home state. Scout's Midwest region consists of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. Collectively those states provide 260 NFL players, 16% of the league's total membership. While college rankings aren't direct NFL projections, all the sites admit that it plays a large role since they're so often judged on their ability to project guys to the league. Meanwhile football players are generally good or not good; serious disagreements between spread-heavy colleges and the pros are mostly limited to 5'10" quarterbacks and slot receivers. For the other 95% of players NFL counts are an excellent proxy for ideal recruiting rankings.
Scout has a top 300; by NFL reckoning this means that approximately 48 players in the Midwest should make that list. This no longer happens. You have to go back to 2014 to get a representative sample of 47 Scout 300 members from their Midwest region. Since there has been a steady and unexplained decline. There were 39 Midwest Scout 300 players in 2015, 38 in 2016, 29 in 2017, and 27 in their early 2018 rankings. Scout has made no effort to explain why they believe the number of future NFL players in the Midwest has dropped 50% in just four years. Talent fluctuates year to year but that's not a fluctuation—it's four straight years of decline, a severe one in 2017 and 2018.
And while I'm on the subject of recruiting ranking things that bug me. Most every year sees 3-6 kickers and punters drafted. The top end guys should get four stars.
Other adventures in Michigan's turnover luck last year. Per LSU blog And The Valley Shook, PBUs convert into interceptions at a relatively reliable rate:
Interception rate is a lot more steady. Last year, defenses intercepted 19.14% of the passes they defended. The average team defended 63.07 passes and had 12.07 picks. The 2014 rate was 21.44%, so we're looking at a fairly constant twenty percent rate. Still, we'll use the 2015 average rate of 19.44%.
Michigan had 55 PBUs a year ago and ten interceptions so that's very close to on point. It's really the lack of fumbles forced that made Michigan's defense lag TO expectations a year ago.
Rule changes. There aren't many new rules this year. You've probably heard about coach ejections being a thing now. They're probably not an actual thing, though:
The NCAA Football Rules Committee has brought football in line with other intercollegiate sports and increased the accountability a coach has in maintaining decorum. Just as with a player, a coach is now disqualified if he collects two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls during a game.
IIRC Bo Pelini did get hit with two unsportsmanlike flags in one game. That's the only instance I can remember in which this rule would actually get deployed. Even the infamous Will Muschamp rage only resulted in a single flag.
The other change of interest to Michigan fans is a clarification of the rules on sliding to the ground:
Rules-makers continue to expand the scope of targeting. Now they will protect any ball carrier who slides feet-first, giving sliding players the kind of protection they've had in the NFL, as some have advocated. If a defender makes "forcible contact" to the head or neck of a runner who has "given himself up," the defender will incur a 15-yard penalty for his team and be disqualified for at least the remainder of the game.
Jake Rudock took two or three nasty head shots on feet-first slides a year ago. Harbaugh actually changed the way he taught sliding as a result, with Rudock falling forward a couple of times in the bowl game. This year anyone blowing up a QB who's going to the ground will get booted, which kind of sucks for defenders expecting to tackle a ball-carrier instead of a guy sliding into second. No word on whether getting blocked into the QB after a play is still an ejection.
I call it trips TE. MMQB breaks down the "Y-iso" formation. Y-iso isolates your pass-catching tight end:
That's Greg Olsen to the bottom of the screen, and he'll catch that corner route for a big chunk as Richard Sherman bails for the inside slot receiver's deep route.
Y-iso snaps have doubled in the last four years of the NFL and with Jake Butt on the roster and Harbaugh's million NFL contacts, not least his brother, there's a good chance you see a significant dose of this in 2016. The rationale given for the formation certainly applies:
“If a team played man, your tight end is gonna get a safety or a linebacker on him and all the corners are gonna go over there and match up on the receivers,” Smith explains. “The tight end has to be talented enough to win that. That has to be a match up you want, depending on the team you’re playing. There’s probably not many of those match-ups that we don’t look at as favorable with Kelce. He’s that kind of player.”
The number of players with the speed to keep up with Butt and the frame to challenge him on balls up high is vanishingly small.
FWIW, I don't think Michigan lined up with the TE split out like this last year; when they ran this it was Butt in a three-point stance.
Mostly right but when you're wrong whoah buddy. ESPN publishes an "all-century" team that cops out on QB by listing Denard Robinson as an all-purpose player. It's mostly right, though it does that annoying thing where you list two running backs, no fullbacks, and two wide receivers. Also they list three corners and one safety. Marlin Jackson is one of those corners and he did play safety as a junior so whatever man. Errors as I see them:
- Bennie Joppru over Jake Butt. Joppru did have a big senior season; Butt just about matched it last year and is set to shatter the all-time TE receiving mark held by Jim Mandich.
- Gabe Watson over Mike Martin. I defend Watson endlessly to people disappointed in his two-time All Big Ten first team career, but Martin was far more impactful. Watson occupied guys; Martin blew through them.
- Shawn Crable over David Harris. Harris is an all-timer MLB. Crable's nutty 28.5 TFL season in 2007 was as a defensive end, and I'm still taking Woodley and Graham over him.
- Ernest Shazor over most Michigan safeties in the past 16 years. Big play factory largely responsible for Braylonfest having to be Braylonfest. Did murder that Purdue WR, then fell off a cliff. Prefer Jarrod Wilson.
Etc.: Feldman names Michigan the #4 secondary in the country; no anonymous coach quotes this time. CU athletes refer to their academic center as "the Plantation" and CU's president is talking about why they do this and how to address their grievances. New letter jackets for female letterwinners have gone out. Jibreel Black doing a ton of volunteer work. "The Ballad of the Sloop John Belein."