Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CBLavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DERon 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, QB Brandon Peters.
|Rockford, MI – 6'2", 200|
|Scout||4*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#1 K , #22 MI
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#9 K, #19 MI
|24/7||3*, #1456 overall
#1 K, #36 MI
|Other Suitors||PSU, USC, Baylor, Iowa|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
Senior (I think?):
Doin' thangs at PSU camp:
Quinn Nordin is a kicker. He's the best kicker in the country according to three of the four recruiting services. And, uh, he might be. He's a kicker. Michigan brought in a kicker last year and he was so far out of the picture for the placekicking job that he was behind a guy who quit the team as soon as Kenny Allen consolidated his hold on the starting spot. Meanwhile everyone was panicked about how bad the situation was; Allen hit 82% of his attempts. I dunno, and they dunno.
In addition to the usual specialist uncertainty, data is bizarrely thin on the ground for Nordin. Per MGoBlue this was his field goal output a year ago:
• Converted 2-3 field goal attempts with a long of 51 during senior year
I have questions about this. Was his team so bad they never approached field goal range? So good that they never needed to attempt one? Enthralled by that one school in Arkansas that always goes for it on fourth down? So filled with hatred of soccer that any sort of kicking motion resulted in a pie in the face?
Anyway. Nordin's reputation has been built in the same way most kicker prospects get built up: attending various specialist camps run by old kickers. In Nordin's case that camp is former Michigan kicker Brandon Kornblue's. Kornblue also ranks Nordin #1 in the country—and did so when he was a PSU commit Michigan couldn't take because of Andrew David—and provides some detail on his site. While we don't know much yet we do know Nordin has a big, big leg:
— Brandon Kornblue (@KornblueKicking) April 5, 2016
He is one of the strongest placekickers in the nation and continues to make gains with his consistency and accuracy. Quinn has trained exclusively with Kornblue Kicking since middle school. He spent four days of private training in January 2015 with Coach Kornblue in Naples, FL. During the training, he drilled a 65 yard FG off the ground (can be seen on our Twitter page). His ability to get great height, ball rotation, and distance on FG’s as a high school junior sparked national recruiting interest. At our Ohio Fab 50 Camp (July 2014), Quinn charted four monster kickoffs (with a 5-10 mph wind): 81/3.91, 75/3.97, 75/3.75, 77/3.8. His worst charted kickoff traveled 64 yards. He also continues to improve as a punter. Best punt at that camp charted 4.66/41 yards.
Chris Partridge's scouting report on MGoBlue sounds like Kirk Herbstreit on NCAA football back in the day, noting Nordin's "powerful leg" and that he can "bring a lot of power to our kicking game." He just used POWER, you guys.
ESPN is the only site that'll bother to scout a kicker, and despite ranking him ninth instead of first they have another one of those profiles that doesn't match the rankings:
…impressive coordination. Can easily hit the ball 75 yards …ball jumps off of his foot, fast leg, and great lift on his FG's. … Ball striking is impressive, repeatable steps on FG's, clean rotation on the ball, good lift on his kicks, strong athlete. …Smooth and repeatable swing up and through the ball. …one of the best kicking prospects in the country.
"Repeatable" is the best thing to hear in these evaluations. Big difference between a camp and a field goal to win in front of 100k, and from this are kicker manias born.
• Punted 10 times as a senior, with seven going for 50+ yards, including a 67-yard career long (52.9 avg.); had six punts downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line
• Punted the ball 26 times for 1,020 yards (39.2 avg.) with a long of 55 as a junior
• Totaled 12 kicks inside the opposition's 20-yard line and had five kicks of 50+ yards junior year
Again we have to ask what was going on with his high school team when he has a total of 13 kicks and punts on the year. I couldn't find any mentions of suspension or injury.
As the Kornblue profile above mentions, Nordin's had a ton of coaching and should be a better bet than most specialists; I wouldn't be surprised if he continued to get intensive training in the offseason. His family seem to be able to afford it and it's pretty clear he's got NFL upside at this point. That's important in college since there's no room for a kicking coach.
Etc.: Uproxx had a profile on him. Because of the high profile nature of Nordin's first commit, which was one of those video things, and the Harbaugh sleepover he had to defend himself and his coach when people interviewed him. A couple insights into the recruiting process, then:
“It’s been a long, long process,” he said. “Coach Harbaugh has never really pressured me. He never put on the pressure, unlike other schools. So it was kind of unique. I kept thinking, ‘Maybe this is right.’ After my official visit, my mom was really big in deciding. She loves him, as you can tell.
Mom's in Michigan's corner:
“People don’t understand how good of a guy he really is,” Nordin said. “He respects everyone. He never talks bad about any school. He just wants the best players on his team and he’s going to do what it takes, within the rules, to get those players. As you can tell, he slept over my house and I’m going to Michigan, so it’s really exciting stuff.”
Heidi Nordin was emotional when she told everyone gathered around her what Harbaugh meant to the family.
“Obviously, you all know coach Harbaugh is an awesome man,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “You have no idea. I know he gets a bad rap, but he is an awesome, awesome man.”
Why a kicker? Is kicker.
Guru Reliability: Low-plus. Is kicker. Is at least consistently evaluated as the top guy available.
Variance: High. Is kicker. Had three FG attempts senior year.
Ceiling: High. Nordin has a monster leg and could be a rare multi-phase difference-maker specialist.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Kickers are crapshoots but Nordin's at least a weighted die with big-time upside.
Projection: Michigan will probably find a role for Nordin this year. Kenny Allen was very accurate to about 40 yards but didn't attempt much of anything longer than that. Nordin has the leg to give Michigan an option on longer field goals. They may also want him to kick off since Allen figures to get the bulk of the punting and placekicking work.
Once Allen departs after this year he's a heavy favorite to be the placekicker for the next three years. Punting is also a possibility since Michigan doesn't have a scholarship guy unless David makes a successful conversion, and Michigan doesn't appear to be looking for a specialist in this recruiting class.
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.