alternate headline: man does job
Last one before we take a few weeks off so we’ll try to get to more callers this time.
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More On Jordan Elliott's Commitment
Sam Webb caught up with four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott in the wake of his commitment to Michigan; the former Baylor and Houston pledge assured Webb that Ann Arbor is his final destination ($):
That’s yet another reason why he insists his commitment to Michigan is firm. So firm that he answered the question what other schools he’d be visiting before it was done being asked.
“None at all,” he said. “I’m done. No more.”
And how will he respond when other schools persist in recruiting him?
“I won’t respond,” said Elliott.
Elliott mentioned that the coaches plan to play him "all over the line," but initially he'll get the most snaps at defensive end. He's enrolling for the spring semester in April, which means he won't make it in time for spring practice but he'll get a jump start on academics and conditioning.
For more on Elliott, read his commitment post here.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Man, Rudock is a different guy. Legit top shelf passing offense already. Now, about the ground game…
A rather thorough debacle.
A lot of complaining about how dumb preseason tournaments are. Michigan played three games in an ill-lit ballroom in front of 500 people. This does not make me want to go to the Bahamas. It makes me dislike the Bahamas.
Also, basketball talk.
"Across 110th Street"
THE USUAL LINKS
11/28/2015 – Michigan 42, Ohio State 13 – 9-3, 6-2 Big Ten
I did not make a list of the things I was hoping to avoid thinking on Saturday, but if I had "This reminds me of Greg Robinson" would have been near the top of the list. It probably doesn't beat out "I hope I can find that limb again" or "so that's what a velociraptor looks like", but it's a close thing.
But there I was, watching 225-pound James Ross line up just behind a nose tackle and thinking about Kenny Demens. Poor damn Kenny Demens.
The last time Michigan installed a 3-3-5 on short notice that didn't look like the way other teams run a 3-3-5 it looked like that. Michigan gave up 41 points on just nine drives to Matt McGloin. I'm sure someone has run this at some point in the history of football and had it work, but I'm still at a loss to explain how that might happen. Whenever it's raised its head at Michigan it's been a debacle.
This was a debacle.
The 3-3-5 wasn't a constant and may have been a misguided attempt to save the DL's legs since they had been whittled down to the starters over the course of the year, but as potential game-changing responses to the Ohio State approach to footballin' go… well, it did change the game.
Michigan did need to have something in their back pocket. I spent big chunks of the preview speculating about what might happen if and when Michigan was forced to abandon the defense it has played for much of the season. Playing man coverage with a deep safety against a team with a heavy QB run game and a superior tailback is only viable if you can win one-on-one battles up front.
Michigan has won those all year, but when Ryan Glasgow got knocked out of the lineup, Indiana exposed the remaining guys with tempo and a bunch of stretch plays, but they were still individually dominant against inside zone. Ohio State runs a lot of inside zone. Michigan got ripped on it.
Since OSU uses their quarterback as a runner extensively, Michigan spent most of he day with one fewer guy in the box than Ohio State had blockers. Often they lined up with one DL between Ohio State's tackles. After a reasonable start they got gashed towards the end of the first half, just in time for adjustments.
There were no adjustments. Michigan got its face caved in. When Michigan put three DL out there they got locked on the field; when OSU faced a third and short they went tempo and ran inside zone. Michigan had no response for this OSU tactic that dates back to the dawn of the Urban Meyer era.
The overall narrative of this season is still a highly encouraging one, but here Michigan has a choice: wake up like OSU did after their own debacle a week ago, or keep showing up in the most important game of the year completely incapable of holding the opposition under 300 yards a game.
DJ Durkin is indeed a promising defensive coordinator but the failure to respond when Indiana was ripping Michigan late and during this entire game should have us pumping our brakes on just how good he is. This is a punch in the mouth. We'll have to wait a year before a response, if Durkin hasn't already left town for a head job elsewhere.
But hey, we're disappointed about 9-3 that isn't 10-2 because of a galactically unlikely outcome at the end of the Michigan State game. Since 99% of Michigan fans predicted 8-4 or worse, that's something. Turning Jake Rudock into a killer quarterback is something. Three consecutive shutouts are something, and Michigan goes into the offseason with a lot of anger to fuel improvement.
Forward, and never look back at this one.
Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week
you're the man now, dog
#1 Jehu Chesson had 111 receiving yards and Michigan's touchdown on a series of catches ranging routine to excellent. Darboh struggled to get separation; Chesson was generally open. That's a great sign for his ability to shake anybody and hopefully presages a big-time senior year.
#2 Jake Rudock completed his incredible in-season turnaround with an 8.2 YPA day against one of the best pass defenses in the country, and that was without a whole lot of help after the catch. Rudock placed a bunch of throws just in front of the safeties, didn't throw anything approximating an interception, and dealt with a lot of pressure heroically. Just a stunning reversal, and a tribute to Harbaugh's QB coaching ability.
#3 Jake Butt caught five passes and further separated himself from the Big Ten tight end pack; he has still dropped just one vaguely reasonable pass all year. You might notice that all of these things are related to Michigan's passing battery, because that was the only good bit from the game.
Honorable mention: the refs for not calling holding a half-dozen times against whoever was trying to block Bosa. Peppers, I suppose.
10: Jake Rudock (#3 Northwestern, #1 Rutgers, #1 Indiana, #3 Penn State, #2 OSU)
9: Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV, #1 Northwestern, #1 MSU), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU, #2 Northwestern, #2 MSU, #1 Minnesota)
8: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State, #3 Rutgers, #2 Penn State)
6: Jake Butt(#1 Utah, #2 Rutgers, #3 OSU)
5: Jehu Chesson(#2 Indiana, #1 OSU)
4: Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland, #2 Minnesota),
3: De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU), Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland), Amara Darboh(#1 PSU)
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Willie Henry(#3 Utah, #3 MSU), 1: AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland), Drake Johnson(#3 Minnesota), Delano Hill(#3 Indiana).
Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week
This week's best thing ever.
Jehu Chesson scored a touchdown, so that was cool.
Honorable mention: Michigan was pretty competitive for 30 minutes.
Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.
Northwestern: Chesson opening KO TD.
MSU: the bit where they won until they didn't.
Minnesota: form a f-ing wall.
Rutgers: Peppers as Denard.
Indiana: Delano Hill seals it with a PBU.
PSU: Jourdan Lewis breaks their back on a kickoff.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
This week's worst thing ever.
The second half.
Honorable mention: The first half.
Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.
Northwestern: KLINSMANN OUT
Minnesota: The bit where the lost it until they didn't.
Rutgers: KO return given up.
Indiana: run run run run run run run run run run run run.
PSU: OSU's WHAT ARE THOOOOOOSE gameplan against MSU.
OSU: the second half
[After THE JUMP: Rudock exponential improvement path, box numbers, sad things.]
Jake Butt and Amara Darboh
Jake, I know you guys put a lot into this and you were down only four at the half. What happened, and what’s the feeling after that one?
“Uh, we just didn’t execute. I think we only got the ball once or twice in the third quarter. In a game like this you’ve got to be able to run the ball and play defense, and we weren’t running the ball very well. We weren’t getting stops on defense. We just didn’t execute. In terms of how it feels, it hurts.”
9-3 is obviously a big turnaround season, but losing two of those to your rivals- does that sour the season at all for you?
AD: “Yeah. That’s obviously not something that we wanted to do. We went into both of those games planning to win, but in both of those games we didn’t execute until the end and the end result shows it.”
The improvements in the passing game that we’ve seen throughout the year- can you talk about those a little bit or detail those. Obviously maybe not today, but through the season the marked improvement in passing.
JB: “Again, it’s come a long way and each week you’re going to get more comfortable with each other and with the quarterbacks, the quarterbacks are going to get more comfortable with you running your routes, the timing, the ball placement, and all that. I mean, we had a good gameplan. We thought we’d be able to execute. We had some good plays downfield today, but it wasn’t enough. You know, you gotta get back in the film and see what you did well, see what you did wrong, make some corrections, and continue to do the things that are working.”
What was the hang-up with the passing game today?
“I don’t know. I actually didn’t think- we weren’t too bad in the passing game today. We left some plays out there that needed to be made, but we weren’t too bad. But again, in a game like this you need to be damn near perfect and we weren’t.”
What was the message from your head coach after the game?
AD: “Just focus on the season. We still have one more game, and no matter what bowl game we go to and what team we play we’re going to learn from this game and go out ready to play.”
[After THE JUMP: Wormley and Chesson]
While Michigan fans were drowning their sorrows in the aftermath of the OSU loss, the coaches landed a big-time commitment from four-star Houston (TX) Westside DT Jordan Elliott, who was in Ann Arbor on an official visit. After prior commitments to Baylor and Houston didn't stick for long, Elliott slowed his recruitment and eventually narrowed his focus to Michigan and Texas; this weekend's visit sealed it for the Wolverines.
Go Blue pic.twitter.com/3N0JsIQ9nq
— Its Lit (@XCV____) November 28, 2015
Elliott is the 22nd commit in the class and the second at defensive tackle, joining Rashad Weaver.
4*, #13 DT,
|3*, #28 DT||
4*, 85, #11 DT,
4*, 96, #7 DT,
4*, #14 DT,
There's a significant gap between Rivals and the other three recruiting sites, which all have Elliott as not just a four-star but a borderline top-100 prospect or better. When asked on The Fort to explain Elliott's ranking, The Wolverine's Brandon Brown gave some insight ($):
He didn't do any Rivals camps....unfortunately that's where a lot of guys get evaluated against other big time prospects by Rivals staffers.
I understand wanting to evaluate a prospect in person, but if this is really their methodology, that's a rather huge conflict of interest.
Elliott has college-ready size; he's generally listed at 6'4", 300 pounds, with Rivals adding an extra inch and 247 tacking on five pounds. He could conceivably play the nose, three-tech, or even SDE in Michigan's defense.
Scout's free evaluation talks up Elliott's athleticism and versatility:
EvaluationAthletic enough to play defensive end and powerful enough to play inside and take on the double team as a defensive tackle. Very quick off the ball, and you often forget that he is a legit 300-pounder moving around the way he is. Very smooth and plays with a low center of gravity making it tough for offensive linemen to outposition him. Could be scheme versatile in college and play in many defenses, and that is why offers poured in for him. - GP
- Body Control and Balance
- Quickness off Ball
Areas to Improve
- Hand Quickness
ESPN is very high on Elliott's potential, calling him a potential early contributor. They see his potential to develop into a "disruptive interior rusher" against the pass, and with some technical refinements he should also be a major plus stuffing the run ($):
Demonstrates ability to fire out low and uncoil at contact and when he plays with leverage can be very tough at point of attack. At times can knock blockers back and flashes powerful upper body to separate and shed from blockers. Does need to watch pad level as it can quickly rise at times and needs to continue to refine hand usage and work getting off blocks little quicker at times. Displays adequate lateral mobility to be active between the tackles.
After Elliott committed to Michigan, ESPN analyst Craig Haubert compared him to one of the better Big Ten interior linemen of the last half-decade ($):
A bit fitting that the talented 2016 defender eventually landed in the Big Ten as in some ways he reminds us of former Iowa defensive lineman Carl Davis. Like the former Hawkeyes lineman, Elliott brings nice size and can move well and offer some versatility to a front. Like Davis, he also possesses the tools to be a very good and productive three-down-type player.
Davis anchored some very good Iowa defenses, recorded nine TFLs as a senior, and went in the third round of this year's NFL Draft. A similar career arc would be more than acceptable.
247's Clint Brewster added his analysis of Elliott's film in the aftermath of his commitment:
Elliott has the chippy demeanor you want on the defensive line and he's in the mold of a brawler in the trenches. He's a guy you can keep on the field for all three downs because he can help collapse the pocket against the pass. Elliott has a raw upside to him that coaches love to the get their hands on. He has the exclusive power combined with agility elite defensive lineman possess.
Brewster thinks Elliott can provide depth early in his career, which is really saying something considering the returning talent on the D-line.
Elliott holds offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (YTM), Minnesota, Mississippi State, Mizzou, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Utah, and Washington, among others. That's a heck of a list with elite programs from just about every area of the country.
Westside is part of Texas' largest classification (6A). They're not among the elite programs in that group—they lost to powerhouse Katy 77-0 in this year's playoffs—but they've produced 16 D-I signees since 2002, with most of them sticking in Big 12 country.
As a junior, Elliott accumulated 41 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles.
MaxPreps has incomplete senior stats that credit Elliott with ten TFLs and four sacks in eight games.
FAKE 40 TIME
Elliott's Hudl page lists a 4.86 unverified 40 that gets four FAKEs out of five; for a 300-pound high school lineman, that'd be a remarkable electronic time.
Half-season senior highlights:
Full junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Elliott should eventually make his way to nose tackle, where he's got the potential to be a star. He's already got the size to contribute early as a three- or five-tech, but that just happens to be where Michigan boasts the most depth next season. Elliott should be able to either redshirt and preserve some eligibility or, if the coaches expect him to be a major contributor as a sophomore, ease his way into some rotation snaps as a freshman.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
I'll have much more on this in the recruiting roundup tomorrow. For now, I'll note Michigan has 22 spots filled in a class Steve Lorenz reports will have 27 players. With some in-class attrition still expected, the coaches should be able to fit in several of the big-time prospects they're still recruiting, first and foremost among them Rashan Gary—Elliott's commitment by no means takes away his spot.
The recruitments of two other five-stars, Mecole Hardman and Isaac Nauta, just got a whole lot more interesting with today's news that Georgia fired Mark Richt, as well.