well that's just, like, your opinion, man
Closing The Opening: Player Evals
— Allen Trieu (@AllenTrieu) July 9, 2016
I hope beyond hope that this is the end of coverage from last week's The Opening finals, but there are some loose ends to tie up, and thankfully they're positive from a Michigan standpoint.
SBNation's Bud Elliott posted some thoughts from the event that go beyond the usual who played well, who didn't observations. He opens by cautioning recruiting followers not to get too caught up in how well shorter players perform in 7-on-7 settings, which cater to their skills without exposing a significant weakness; there are also notes on a few teams, Michigan included:
Michigan is building the perfect foil to Ohio State’s spread in the Big Ten, a bruising throwback pro-style offense with great diversity in its run game scheme and top-notch QB coaching.
Some of Michigan’s commitments won’t exactly shine in a non-contact event. Take 6’1, 232-pound running back A.J. Dillon. A padless, non-contact event just isn’t his game. The same thing goes for running back O’Maury Samuels, whose game is mostly straight-line size/speed. Oh, and Benjamin St-Juste, a 6’3 defensive back from Quebec should in no way be a three-star after the event. He showed good fluidity and was not outclassed by the major step up in competition.
That sentiment on St-Juste is universal. 247 named him one of the two cornerbacks on their "Dream Team" from the event alongside five-star Darnay Holmes, calling St-Juste "the biggest revelation on defense of the weekend." They've mentioned in a couple spots that St-Juste will get a bump in the rankings soon. Scout's Brian Dohn said Michigan "looks to be getting a gem" in St-Juste, so you can bet he'll rise there, too.
Despite already being a top-100 overall prospect, Ambry Thomas may move up, too. Scout's Allen Trieu listed him first among Midwest standouts at The Opening:
Thomas came in ranked as the No. 77 overall prospect in the country, so quite high already, but he not only validated that ranking, he may have shown that he needs to go higher. He used his speed and athleticism to consistently stand out and not just at cornerback, but also on offense, throughout the course of the event. Currently Michigan is trending with Michigan State also right there and Florida being a hot name of late in his recruitment.
Thomas made every all-Opening team I've seen, and new offeree Oliver Martin also earned a ton of mentions—including "Alpha Dog" among Big Ten targets at 247—after his breakout performance at receiver.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
10. Use advantage calls on fast breaks.
Dunks are the best. On this we can all agree. Cynical fouls to prevent dunks are the worst, and there's a model out there for preventing them. Soccer refs will let fouls go if the team fouled seems to have an advantageous position. Basketball should adopt this for situations where there is about to be a breakaway dunk.
9. Eliminate hack-a-blank.
Allow teams to take the ball out of bounds with a reset shot clock instead of shooting free throws on a non-shooting foul. Like the previous bullet this is an attempt to reduce the number of situations where someone is intentionally violating the rules to their advantage. Don't @ me about how players who can't shoot free throws shouldn't be protected. Rules exist to make the flow of a game more pleasant to watch, and when they fail that they should be changed.
8. Get rid of the three-second call.
Nobody calls it. Its purpose has always been mysterious. The rationale is nonsensical: "open up the offense by restricting what offensive players can do." Clogging the lane is the least of modern basketball's concerns.
7. For the love of God please figure out how to call a charge.
Nobody knows what a charge is. I don't know, and you don't know, and refs don't know, and players don't know. The NCAA made things infinitely worse a couple years back with a change that made things even more confusing; one year of that was enough.
Charges get a bad rap. They're very dramatic. There's a dude on the ground fist-pumping; Teddy Valentine has recruited a crew of Busby Berkeley dancers, all of whom are pointing to the other end of the floor theatrically; the offender is grasping the basketball disdainfully and trying to murder the entire arena with his eyes. Duke ruined them for everybody, but now that there's a restricted circle their preferred tactic is no longer valid.
My suggestion on charges is to make the rule as simple as possible. If a player is moving parallel to the basket, outside of the circle, and gets plowed in the chest by an opponent who still has the ball, it's a charge. Glancing contact is a block. Taking a charge-type substance when the player in question has already released the ball is a no-call. Maybe it would need some tweaks, but the current regime is as close to completely random as possible.
6. No timeouts on out-of-bounds plays.
The final proposal here is the best plan I have to stop the scourge of timeouts, but if people continue to insist on having a break for tea and scones every ten seconds in the waning moments of a close game there are still some improvements that can be made. Number one is eliminating timeouts that come one nanosecond before a five-second call on inbounds plays. In all cases these timeouts reduce the drama of a game, because they prevent the team that's pressing from their shot at a critical turnover. Infuriatingly, they almost always come in the immediate aftermath of another timeout.
Say no to timeouts, in all their forms. But especially this one.
5. Adopt a draft and follow system.
This is discussed in more detail in a previous post. The upshot is that the NBA should move to a style of drafting closer to the NHL model, where everyone is automatically eligible for the draft. This allows drafted players to retain NCAA eligibility and prevents a lot of the consequences of bad draft entry decisions. I also suggest that NBA teams should have to offer longer contracts when they want to sign younger prospects—five year right out of high school, four after one year of college, etc.—and that drafted college players should be able to participate in NBA summer league.
4. Promotion and relegation for the NBA.
People keep talking about this in MLS, where it is dubiously viable and could lead to teams folding. The NBA's situation is vastly different, with an enormous new TV contract and the ability to support teams in Sacramento, Oklahoma City, and the like. The NBA also has an enormous tanking problem. Way too many NBA games are functionally exhibitions. Promotion and relegation fixes that.
Existing team owners looking to protect their franchise value could be a hurdle, but adding, say, ten expansion franchises and gradually splitting into two leagues of 20 teams would bring in enormous expansion fees, enough to offset the possibility of ending up in NBA 2.
3. Okay if you don't want to do that, something else to fix tanking.
First picks in the draft go to the winners of a post-season competition between teams that missed the playoffs. There are 14. The three best and three worst teams are omitted from an eight-team single-elimination tournament that gets played in the latter stages of the NBA playoffs. There is a third place game; top three get the top three slots in the draft.
This is more content to get money from. It turns the bottom three slots in the league into poison to be avoided, instantly upping the drama for the 8 teams at the bottom who are otherwise trying to lose games.
2. Goaltending is legal if you're 5'9" or shorter.
THIS WOULD BE AWESOME.
Sorry, Tom, you've got way too many fingers to call timeout [Bryan Fuller]
1. Coaches can only call timeout by cutting off one of their digits and handing it to the referee.
I admit my previous no-timeouts-ever stance was too radical. In the spirit of compromise, let us allow for timeouts if coaches are willing to take garden shears to their toes and fingers. If the situation truly calls for a little huddle on the sideline where the coach can remind his players to "play good" and "show effort", all it requires is one sickening moment of shredding flesh and cracking bone that forever alters a man. Should a long-time coach be so mutilated that he can no longer operate a pair of garden shears, a Make-a-Wish child can execute the act for him.
It is in this way timeouts can be responsibly managed.
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.
|Prattville, AL – 6'1", 225|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#2 FB, #17 AL
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#77 RB, #31 AL
|24/7||3*, #907 overall
#2 FB, #32 AL
|Other Suitors||Neb, UF, LSU, UL, MissSt, Miss|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. Early enrollee. Prattville (Keith Washington, Bam Richards).|
Sam Webb was taking in Michigan's satellite camp in Prattville, Alabama, last year when an older gentleman came up to him and started asking about Kingston Davis. "I hear Michigan's recruiting him as a fullback," the man said. Michigan was not recruiting Davis as a fullback. Webb said as much to the man, who then introduced himself as Davis's father. When Sam related this story to me he more or less made it sound like this:
Sam left with his head. Kingston Davis, who is not a fullback, committed shortly thereafter. Kingston Davis knows which recruiting sites had the audacity to declare him a fullback…
…"All of (the schools) recruited me at running back. Rivals and 247, I didn't know what happened," Davis said. "They just put me down as a fullback, so everyone started thinking I was a fullback. But that's not my game."
…and he is not pleased. Beware, oh sites that ranked him thusly, for you know not the hour when a moose/human hybrid will find his revenge. You only know he will be carrying a football at the time of your doom.
Anyway. Davis was highly productive at Prattville, setting a school record with 1656 yards in his final season despite Prattville's failure to make the playoffs and going over 100 yards in 17 of his 23 starts. He operated like a high school Brandon Minor as a straight-ahead plowhorse in a spread offense. Five-star Alabama LB commit Lyndell Wilson is a fan after seeing Davis's thighs up close and personal 25 or so times:
"Kingston is an outstanding back and a bruiser. He's explosive for his size and makes big time plays when his team needs him to. … He's very underrated. I don't know much about what he does at camps, but when he puts the pads on and we're playing 11 on 11, he's definitely a beast."
Davis's scouting reports are in line with expectations for a guy who has to strenuously proclaim that he's not a fullback. His attendance at a Rivals camp in Atlanta saw him declared "one of the biggest backs in attendance"—not a surprise—and a guy who had "a ton of success during one-on-ones." That latter is a surprise. Unpadded camps are the worst possible showcase for a guy like Davis.
Tim Sullivan caught him in person, when he was an even bigger load that he seems to be now:
… thick trunk and legs … not slow, but the added weight seems to have cost him a half-step of his quickness.… tough load for opposing defenders to bring down. … if a player doesn't hit him low, he's shrugging off the tackle attempt and continuing on his merry way (often into the endzone). He has good balance, and his feet are quicker than you'd expect for a player of his mass - though they can be even better when he's in excellent shape.
…compact and impressive looking frame. Fullback bulk. …enough speed to break and finish runs, good anticipation in space to feel traffic and change his course to finish. … Will set up blocks … Power style, gap scheme back who runs with good box acceleration. Not a back with high end agility. … true strengths are his size and power. Uses these attributes well working downhill on a consistent basis. Will run high losing some of his power and balance at times. …will punish tacklers consistently. … Understands his strengths and works to use them on each play.
….big bruiser …tough runner that can also make subtle cuts in the open field to extend runs ..Not great maneuverability through the hole or change of direction …good power to run through tackles when he keeps his pad level low. He's a patient but decisive runner with a forward lean and a physical style… productive as a short yardage runner and should be a nice red-zone running back. Should fit will as a power runner in Harbaugh's downhill scheme.
…. runs with his shoulders square to the line at all times and has good body lean. He runs behind his pads and will lower his shoulder to power through tackles from linebackers and defensive backs. He also has a good feel for seeing the hole, sliding laterally to get there, and pressing upfield. Davis also shows a couple nifty spin moves in the hole, rolls out of the grasp of defenders, and even displays an occasional stiff-arm. He falls forward after contact and should gain an extra yard or two while being tackled.
Tyrone Wheatley echoed TTB's evaluation, calling him a "big guy with great vision, great lateral movement and great ball skills" on MGoBlue and telling Webb on WTKA the following:
"This young man is a very, very good runner in terms of vision. His lateral movement is exceptional. Ninety percent of the game is played in traffic and he's able to slide to the next hole. He's sneaky fast. He's a ground-churning, move the chains type of back. A guy we need."
"Able to slide to the next hole" is key when you run a ton of power, because defenses will seek to redirect you with various slants and games and the like; both fullback and tailback have to be aware of the shifting situation in front of their faces and adapt. While Davis is never going to be the kind of guy you want to bounce the ball outside, having the agility and vision to make a course correction is the difference between Kevin Grady and Jerome Bettis. Davis's ability to do that is his main asset outside of the fact that he's borrowing various body parts from dinosaurs.
247 notes that Michigan pursued "bulldozer" Davis with "an aggression reserved for some of the country's top prospects." In this Davis is like tight end Sean McKeon, another guy with bleah rankings who Michigan clearly believes in enough to not only reserve a slot in the class but also an early enrollment spot. As I said in the McKeon profile, while I'd like Michigan to pick up the phone earlier with recruits they aren't going to take, a silver lining to their approach is that when a generic three star does get to Signing Day without incident that's a good indication Michigan likes him a lot better than their ranking.
Davis is the kind of guy who might have been a bigger recruit in 1970, when virtually every program was looking for guys to blow through arm tackles and run over folks when they ran power for the 40th time. While his recruiting rankings are mediocre all around, there was a flurry of interest from other schools even after he committed to Michigan. SEC powers Florida and LSU came in with offer-type substances. LSU's was… interesting:
“They told (my coach) that they wanted to offer me,” said Davis. “(The offer is for) tailback/athlete. Running back… (maybe) slot receiver.”
You'll note that the Gators and Tigers are both manball outfits. Mike Riley's Nebraska is headed that direction and also offered. Davis talked about visiting all these schools but only got out to Nebraska. Davis carries an appeal to a certain type of coach. One of those coaches is Tyrone Wheatley, who morphed from a lightning bolt at Michigan to a pounding NFL running back in one of the most dramatic playing-style makeovers I can remember. When Wheatley appeared on WTKA to discuss Davis and was just as adamant as his new protege that he was a tailback:
"Sometimes people just look on paper and (look at your measurables) and say 'you're a fullback.' Well, I'm not a fullback. If you watched me in college, I never iso blocked anyone. That's a different lifestyle," Wheatley said last week on WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor. "I spent my time avoiding people, not running into them. Kingston's the same way. People would look at his measurables and websites would list him as a fullback. He'd get upset, he'd call me 'coach Wheat, I'm not a fullback. ... I know you're not a fullback, relax.'
Davis has a head coach and running backs coach uniquely disposed to see him as the man with the ball.
Still, Davis's size will make or break his ability to stick at running back, and there are shades of Derrick Green in there. Just shades, mind you. Going into his junior year, Davis weighed in at 228 at a South Carolina camp; at the same time Green was trying to prove he wasn't a DL. However, Sullivan thought he was a big big dude during his senior year:
…we last saw Davis play in the spring, he was planning to shed a few pounds (he was 242 at the time) by the start of his season, but if anything, he looks even bigger now.
He's listed anywhere from 225 to that 242-or-bigger. MGoBlue has him at the lower number, but you take spring roster weights at your peril. Anywhere up to 235 and Davis is good to go as a bashing tailback; once he starts edging above that the ability to get to that second gap in the line gets compromised and the dread specter of fullback rises once more.
Why Sione Houma? This is not necessarily a fullback comparison, as Houma played more and more tailback as the year went on and Michigan discovered he was not only capable of ripping through the line on a dive but juking the occasional DL in the backfield. Houma got up to 243 over the course of his career at Michigan and Davis may end up there given the fact he already hit that number in high school. Also he just looks Houma-sized even now; I wonder if the 225 he's listed at is fact or aspiration.
Derrick Green is another comparable if Davis can't keep his weight down and falls over way too easily for a guy his size. Touch the Banner suggested former Wisconsin tailback PJ Hill, and that's a pretty good one. Hill was only 5'10" but played at 220; he was a clubber with surprisingly deft feet. FWIW, Davis compares himself to Eddie Lacy. Lorenz brings up Chris Floyd.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Everyone agrees, and Davis was healthy on a high-profile team. I do think that Davis may have gotten short shrift as a couple sites filed him as a fullback and forgot about him, because fullback.
Variance: Low. College size already, not a ton of upside, not much positional projection, comes from a military family.
Ceiling: Moderate. Won't ever be a home run hitter and there's a reason backs like him are a little bit out of style.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Most likely outcome is that Davis is the thunder in a "thunder and slightly less thunder" RB platoon; there is a slim chance he's Toby Gerhart again.
Projection: 50/50 on a redshirt. Davis has the kind of body that is useful on special teams and running back is a spot where you generally have it or you don't; he's also physically ready to go and enrolled early. He could get some run this year, especially if there are injury issues. Even a redshirt zealot like your author would shrug at Davis playing this year.
In 2017 Smith is gone and a lot of carries will open up; Michigan fans are currently hoping that Ty Isaac is an obvious choice as his successor. Davis will still have an opportunity since with Smith's graduation he's a solid bet to be the best short-yardage back on the roster. He could graduate from that as an upperclassman, but even if he pans out I think he's still platooning with Walker or one of the guys who comes in this year.
Yes, fullback—hybrid fullback—is a possibility. While Davis is dead set against it at the moment, a Houma role might be appealing if he feels that he's the #3 or #4 tailback and is facing a choice between getting 50 extra carries on dives or watching from the bench.
Per press release the University of Michigan re-upped with CBS and in the process got at least some Michigan content back on the biggest sports radio station in the State of Michigan's biggest metro area.
The press release:
CBS RADIO DETROIT
SIGNS A MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT TO BROADCAST
U OF M FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL AND HOCKEY
DETROIT – CBS RADIO Detroit’s WWJ Newsradio 950 (WWJ-AM), 97.1 The Ticket (WXYT-FM) and CBS Sports Radio 1270 (WXYT-AM) in association with IMG, announced today a long-term alliance to air University of Michigan football, basketball and hockey. The multi-year agreement is an extension of a partnership that began more than twenty years ago.
WWJ-AM is the flagship station for U of M Football and 97.1 The Ticket will simulcast select games. U of M Basketball will air on WWJ-AM and U of M Hockey will air on Sports Radio 1270. In addition, 97.1 The Ticket will carry a weekly interview with U of M Football Coach Jim Harbaugh.
“We are excited that IMG renewed our great partnership with the CBS RADIO Detroit family. This will continue to provide a consistent flagship home for Michigan football and basketball broadcasts in southeast Michigan and will place our hockey games on a regular channel in the market. We look forward to another multi-year partnership on game broadcasts and coaches radio shows,” said Warde Manuel, Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics.
Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President/Market Manager, CBS RADIO Detroit said, “WWJ Newsradio 950, CBS Sports Radio 1270 and 97.1 The Ticket are thrilled to renew our partnership with IMG and the University of Michigan. IMG and U of M are truly one of the best sports partners in the business.”
“It’s an honor to continue our relationship with the university and be the flagship station for University of Michigan football and basketball. It’s a perfect partnership between two traditional organizations WWJ Newsradio 950 and the UM” said Rob Davidek, WWJ Program Director.
Getting Michigan more content back on 97.1 is good news for us metro-Detroiters who've spent the intervening dark years trying to follow the bits of 1050 WTKA's signal that make it here from Ann Arbor. The simulcast on the header stations fixes a Dave Brandonism that had all the good stuff disappearing to the AM station that usually runs basic news and traffic updates (950).
A Short History: Michigan's radio presence in Detroit has been a sore spot since 2005, when Michigan State made a deal with WJR that included dropping Michigan (legend has it a WJR media bus stopped that moment and left Brandstatter et al. stranded on the side of the road). Martin turned to CBS, who squeezed various sports into weird spots across all their stations. If you got in your car in the tri-county area the last 10 years you wouldn't know if Michigan's on AM or FM, the oldies station or the place you listen for traffic updates.
Meanwhile the big local FM station you leave your car tuned to for Tigers/Red Wings/Pistons would have Valenti and Foster exploring the cosmological extremity of take temperature. Brandon signed the last deal in 2011 which put most of the content on 950 AM and none of it on 97.1. Accidents where the driver knocked themselves out by slamming their foreheads on steering wheels increased 84 percent. We rarely got a hockey game, and basketball games were interrupted by other stuff so frequently that my best bet here in West Bloomfield was to tune to 1050 and plan my route to get West toward Ann Arbor as soon as possible.
A few years ago ESPN tried to get into the Detroit sports market with 105.1 and had an opportunity to brand themselves as the M/somewhat-intelligent alternative to the 97.1/astoundingly-dumb-even-for-sports-talk-radio option we were living with. Instead ESPN tried to out-hot-take Terry Foster, and as of last month the station is back to music. Michigan's deal with 97.1 doesn't include any content shifts (97.1 was already airing the Pizza House show as of last year) but it may be a good opportunity to explore the market for listeners who can speak in complete sentences.
Lions games were also on 97.1 through last year, but they are switching to WJR to join what is now basically MSU, Mitch Albom, and, um, "news talk."
Good lord. Rashan Gary runs a 4.7 and is already stronger than half the NFL combine:
— Need nobody but God (@ElyseeBoss) July 12, 2016
Per 247 that's more than Graham Glasgow, Joey Bosa, and Jack Conklin managed at the combine this year. Impressive! Less impressive than this, though:
Did 225 25 times 〽️ . First day went smooth ‼️
— Khaleke Hudson (@KhalekeHudson) July 12, 2016
Shorter arms have an easier time with the bench press but that's still crazy. I'm anticipating Hudson's on-field impact almost as much as Gary's.
Football was different in 1977. Then-DC Bill McCartney on Michigan's philosophy:
These days waiting for a mistake is something that'll get you killed against the best offenses, and while teams like Iowa continue to keep everything in front of them their defenses top out at pretty good.
#disrespekt makes an arrest report. Draymond Green falls victim to the proverbial chip on the shoulder:
— Zack Pohl (@ZackPohl) July 12, 2016
Per reports, the player in question is defensive back Jermaine Edmondson, who has zero career starts.
Early lines. Per the Golden Nugget, Michigan is an 11.5-point favorite over Wisconsin, a four point favorite over MSU, a 4.5-point favorite over Iowa, and a 3 point underdog to Ohio State. That Wisconsin number is surprisingly big even though they had a rough season last year; injury and inexperience on the OL was particularly harmful to their chances. Being solid road favorites against MSU and Iowa is nice.
These are all the wrong answers. Mississippi State put Jeffery Simmons, who was caught on film hammering on a prone woman, back on their team just before a month-long period with no press for Dan Mullen. They spent that month reviewing Dave Brandon's Big Book Of Real Good PR, resulting in some unbelievably ham-handed and offensive responses to the berating they had to know they were in for:
Dan Mullen on Jeffrey Simmons' 1-game suspension: "I wasn't involved much. It was a university decision."
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 12, 2016
Finally got to ask Mullen: What if your wife or daughter? "I don't think my family would be in that situation." WHAT?!
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) July 12, 2016
I hate the "your wife or daughter" angle that always gets brought up when this happens. It is explicitly asking the responder to be irrational, to pass judgment in a situation when they should recuse themselves. But holy shit, that is the dumbest possible answer for that dumb (and very, very common) question. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since the athletic director cited the fact that Simmons could end up at another SEC school if MSU cut him loose when the decision was actually made. People in charge of things are just in charge of them for no reason, part infinity.
You knew this but now there are numbers. Out of 321 coaches in a Kenpom autobench study, John Beilein is 308th in his willingness to play guys with two fouls in the first half. The last four years Michigan has been 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 17th in free throw attempts per FGA. Nothing about this is rational.
You can put the statue back up but he has to be wearing a blindfold. Penn State got in a fight with its insurance company, because someone had a very bad idea at one point, and today various court records were released to the public. They're as bad as you might expect:
Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley show up in a Mike McQueary deposition and -- surprise! -- it's not good. pic.twitter.com/7XkemiDXEu
— Larry Jawnson, Sr. (@PancakeCatapult) July 12, 2016
Per the deposition, Paterno knew as early as 1976 and responded to an allegation with "I don't want to hear about any of that kind of stuff." A deposition is not a conviction; it is a thoroughly damning document all the same. There are many of them:
That is but one of the multiple depositions from the documents illustrating claims of abuse that spanned more than two decades before it was brought to the attention of law enforcement. The documents stem from an insurance lawsuit over allegations that a boy told Paterno that Sandusky was abusing young boys.
It seems likely that both Bradley and Schiano knew about it and did nothing. McQueary has no reason to lie about any of this. There are probably many more who had less direct knowledge but heard dark rumors. It takes a village to enable a predator.
Etc.: Michigan and Michigan State revenue. Gap in ticket revenue is pretty astounding. Odd things going down at Scout. Never take money from Russians. Drew Henson is now a Yankees scout. Angelique on Jack Harbaugh.
Winter Is Coming
I posted most of the post-Opening evaluations of Michigan commits yesterday, but these highlights of Benjamin St-Juste were published after that went up, and they make it clear why he's almost certainly headed for a ratings bump. St-Juste didn't just test well—though he certainly did that, posting the second-best shuttle time at the combine—he also made a lot of plays on the ball in the 7-on-7 portion, and his quickness is on full display in the drills at the end of the video. 247's Barton Simmons:
"(St-Juste) may have been the best big cornerback at the event," Simmons told Wolverine247. "He moves so well for a guy of his size and was the most impressive cornerback physically as well. He was challenged a lot but was rarely beaten. He was really impressive and really stood out throughout the weekend."
247 hasn't updated their rankings yet; when they do, I'll be surprised if St-Juste is still a three-star. There aren't many 6'3" corners that move like that.
Simmons also went into more detail on Dylan McCaffrey's performance for Steve Lorenz's latest post at the Freep:
"He was an upper-tier quarterback at the event," Simmons said. "The biggest reason for that is the mental grasp he has on the position. He's a guy that was so decisive with his reads. He knows where the ball needs to go and gets it there quickly. In that setting, knowing where the open man is and connecting with him quickly should be routine and he was able to do it all day.
"He has some slight mechanical issues he has to correct, but he has a coaching staff at Michigan that is obviously fully capable of getting him where he needs to be. The coaches at the event raved about his ability to take coaching and wanting to learn about the game. He's far beyond your average quarterback in that regard."
Still no word on the specifics of those mechanical issues, unfortunately, but Simmons clearly isn't too concerned, especially once Harbaugh gets involved—he called the Harbaugh/McCaffrey pairing "a perfect match."
File this away for later: Bleacher Report's Michael Felder, who helps coach at The Opening, had an enlightening exhange with Jaylen Kelly-Powell:
Jaylen Kelly-Powell worked inside CB and S, is strong in his man coverage & is working to feel comfortable in multiple zone looks
— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) July 12, 2016
@InTheBleachers Real talk. Have to master my weaknesses
— Jaylen Kelly-Powell™ (@JKellypowell) July 12, 2016
@InTheBleachers Yeah. I'm switching to the up FR this year so I can get use to it. Just used to playing man press/off from the SS and nickel
— Jaylen Kelly-Powell™ (@JKellypowell) July 12, 2016
Playing more free safety should help Kelly-Powell improve on his zone coverage. He's clearly a coachable kid—something that was noticeable at SMSB, too.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]