“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
I'M RUNNING OUT OF CAKE
Also, I'm typing this post with my forehead, so you'll have to excuse any typos. Michigan has now pulled in seven (SEVEN!!!!!!!) recruits in less than 36 hours, as Pickerington (OH) North TE Jake Butt just announced his pledge to the Wolverines after visiting Ann Arbor yesterday. Michigan now has ten total recruits in the class of 2013—nine of them consensus four-star types—and their last two both came from Pickerington (Central's Taco Charlton being the other).
4* DE, ESPNU
150 Watch List
|4*, 90, #10 TE|
Butt is a highly-regarded prospect as both a tight end and defensive end, but the coaches have told him he'll be a TE at Michigan. He's a four-star to every site but Scout, who hasn't released extensive rankings yet, and a top-100 prospect on Rivals. The general consensus on Butt is that he stands at 6'6" and around 220-230 pounds, giving him a great frame for tight end.
Most evaluations of Butt, especially from his sophomore year and last summer, focus on his ability as a defensive end, but I did dig up a few that looked at his ability on offense. Here's Josh Helmholdt breaking down Butt's game tape ($):
The first thing you notice when turning on the tape is his frame. He is a lean 6-6 and 220 pounds and very athletic for his size. The Pickerington North staff uses him all over the field. On defense he'll play with his hand in the ground, or drop back and cover a slot receiver. On offense he can be tight to the formation and used to block or split out as a wide receiver ... he is a natural pass catcher and his speed is above average for the tight end position. He also shows great competency and willingness as a blocker. Butt is an outstanding defender and could be a big-time rush end in college, but at this stage I like his upside at tight end a little better. He has the size to block in the run game and the athleticism to be a major threat in the passing game.
Butt has the versatility to line up as a tradition tight end, H-back, or split wide, and he told me last week that the coaches plan on using him in multiple roles. With Khalid Hill committed in the class as more of an H-back, expect Butt to be the more traditional tight end in this class, playing down on the line. Allen Trieu had this to say about Butt in a Sam Webb profile at the Detroit News:
"Jake is an athletic kid with a great frame," Trieu said. "He still has to add more weight and strength to his game, but he runs well for a kid of that size and is a very coordinated athlete. On offense he catches the ball well, his height makes him a matchup problem, and his athleticism allows him to create separation. At the same time, Jake is one of those rare kids who I think projects very well to both sides of the ball. I think he's a BCS prospect on both sides of the ball. For most schools it sounds like he's a defensive end right now, but a handful see him as a tight end too."
Tim Sullivan (YTTS) says that Butt's "6-6, 230-pound frame is more than adequate for the position, and he has good hands and the ability to make plays after the catch." Jake gave his own self-assessment in the above Webb article:
"I have my size, athleticism, and I don't take a single play for granted," Butt said, confidently. "You're going to get the best from me every single play. You can't teach height, so I'm going to give that to the team. As a tight end, if the ball's thrown to me and it hits my hands, it's not touching the ground. It's a catch! On defense if it's third and long and it's a pass rush situation, I'm not going to get blocked by my opponent."
Like his Pickerington counterpart Charlton, Butt is a standout basketball player; as we've seen with NFL tight ends like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham, having a hoops background helps with athleticism, body control, and hands. Combine those qualities with a relentless motor and a willingness to mix it up in the trenches, and you've got a very good tight end prospect.
Butt chose Michigan over offers from Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA, Wisconsin, and a host of MAC schools. He also had interest from Ohio State—the school he grew up supporting—and Notre Dame, where his grandfather played football.
Butt had 27 catches for 427 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, while also amassing ten sacks and 17.5 TFLs as a defensive end.
FAKE 40 TIME
24/7 lists him at a 4.70, which I'll give a two FAKEs out of five.
This short reel from ScoutingOhio is the only embeddable junior highlight video right now, but you get to see Jake make a couple nice catches and lower the boom while blocking:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Butt is the type of impact, all-around tight end that Michigan couldn't land in the 2012 class, when they brought in a pair of (quite different) tweeners in Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams. Given his well-rounded skill set and the fact that he has over a year to add weight before getting on campus, Butt should compete for immediate playing time at tight end. He can fill multiple roles—Michigan has both a "U" tight end (off the ball) and a "Y" tight end (on the line), and Butt could conceivably play either spot, though I expect he'll spend more time on the line if he's paired with Funchess or Hill.
Butt's potential is probably the highest of any of Michigan's tight end recruits from the past couple of classes, and in an offense that plans to use the position more extensively moving forward, he has the chance to compete for postseason honors down the road. Given the lack of depth at tight end, Butt could easily be a three-year starter at the position.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
With Butt and Hill in the fold, Michigan is likely done recruiting tight ends for 2013 unless a player like Adam Breneman—who seems to be more focused on Penn State and Ohio State—decides to come calling. Even then, it could be tough to fit in a third TE to a class that should have 20-22 players, especially with ten spots already accounted for.
Also, wow. That is all.
Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton is a DE/OLB out of Pickerington (OH) Central, and last night during his unofficial visit to Ann Arbor he became the sixth player to commit to the Wolverines in one day. Charlton is one of the top defensive players in the state of Ohio for the class of 2013, and we all know how fun it is to snag elite prospects out of that particular state.
4* DE, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 93, #9 OLB,
Charlton was the sixth four-star prospect to commit yesterday, and all but one recruiting service expects him to wind up as a defensive end, though he plays outside linebacker as well at Pickerington Central. All four sites agree that he stands at an impressive 6'6" and weighs between 235-245 pounds. Unless Charlton doesn't add weight at all before he gets to Michigan, I think he'll play weakside defensive end for the Wolverines.
Charlton began to see his offer list grow after being named one of the top performers at last summer's Columbus Nike camp; here's Rivals.com's Brian Perroni after that event ($):
Strengths: Charlton has the prototypical frame for a weakside rush end. He is tall and has long arms that allow him to get separation from the offensive lineman on the pass rush. He is a basketball player as well so he definitely has very good athleticism.
Weaknesses: Charlton is very raw at this point. He plays too high and allows himself to get locked up by inferior offensive linemen. He needs to concentrate a little more on football.
Conclusion: Charlton is only a sophomore in high school so he has plenty of time to mature as a player. Should he make football a priority he has all the physical tools to be one of the top defensive ends next year. Many defensive ends in the Midwest seem to be shorter 'tweeners so he will garner a lot of attention because of his length.
Charlton is a standout basketball player for Central, so the praise for his size and athleticism should come as no surprise. He is a bit of a project at this point from a technical standpoint, though he's got great potential; both sentiments are echoed by Duane Long:
I continue to be very impressed with Centrals Taco Charlton. He is such an athletic kid for his size. He actually plays linebacker for Central. I saw him in coverage several times. He has a great first step and a top drawer burst. I doubt we ever see the big numbers out of Charlton because of how he fits in the Central scheme but this is one special athlete. He needs to work on using his hands better. He showed strength, standing up blockers and holding up to double teams but he got too tied up sometimes despite stuffing the blockers. His potential is unlimited.
Again, his athleticism is his biggest strength, and it allows him great versatility in terms of his role in a defense. You don't hear about many 6'6", 240-pound high school linebackers fluidly dropping into coverage. Bucknuts recently unveiled their top prospects list for Ohio's class of 2013, and Charlton comes in at #17 ($):
He is as physically a good looking player as there is in Ohio. He passes the eyeball test. He has no fat, he’s athletic and he’s long. Now, he is still growing and he is learning the game. He is freakish at times, but may need to develop some consistency in his game. He makes some flashes at times.
I'll never complain when a recruit is described as "freakish," and given Charlton's basketball background it's not surprising that he's got some work to do to polish up his game on the football field. Charlton, to his credit, is aware that he has a good deal of room to improve on his game:
"Right now I'm real good at pass rushing," Charlton said confidently. "I can get on the quarterback fast. My run (defense) is coming along. I'm starting to do good against that, too. … Whatever I can do to get better, I'm going to do it. I'm just trying to be a great player and do the best I can."
That was from a Sam Webb profile, and Charlton said something quite similar to me last September. He's very much a high-upside player, with his physical talents providing tantalizing potential, though he's clearly got a little work to do before he's ready to see the field in college.
Charlton held offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA. He also had interest from the home-state Buckeyes as well as LSU, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and others.
Charlton had 60 tackles, seven TFLs, seven deflected passes, and two forced fumbles as a junior while helping lead Central to an appearance in the state title game.
FAKE 40 TIME
Both Rivals and 24/7 list Charlton as running a 4.8 40-yard dash. Given his superior athleticism and the fact that the same time is listed on two sites, I'll give that just two FAKEs out of five.
Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio; it's a promo video, unfortunately, so the last couple minutes are just a photo montage:
Despite the lack of extensive film, you can see Charlton's signature athleticism, and he's clearly gaining experience playing with his hand on the ground. His initial burst upfield is quite impressive.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Charlton seems like a player who will likely need a redshirt year as a freshman, but I expect him to compete for a spot on the two-deep at weakside DE after that. There's a solid amount of depth at the position, with Frank Clark and Mario Ojemudia both slotted there for the moment, but it's distinctly possible that either Ojemudia or Charlton ends up as a strongside linebacker if both are pushing for playing time.
Charlton is athletic enough to play either position, though he could outgrow linebacker by the time he gets on campus; there's even a chance, with his 6'6" frame, that he bulks up enough to play on the strong side, though the depth is quite good there as well after the influx of defensive recruits in the 2012 class.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Nine recruits. 20-22 spots. You know the deal. A breakdown of the positions in the 2013 class: 1 QB (Morris), 1 RB (Shallman), 1 TE (Hill), 3 OL (Bosch, Dawson, Fox), 1 DE (Charlton), 1 CB (Lewis), 1 S (Thomas). Michigan's main priorities moving forward will be adding at least one more offensive lineman, a pair of playmaking wide receivers, an all-around running back to complement Shallman, depth at defensive tackle, and more generally depth across the board. With nearly half the class accounted for, the coaches have the luxury of picking their spots and going after elite prospects to fill out the class.
ALL OF THE PAIRS. ALL OF THE FOUR-STARS. ALL OF THE HELLO POSTS.
Sorry, the meth hasn't quite worn off yet. In the aftermath of Michigan's program-defining victory over Ohio State last night, the Wolverines picked up their fifth and sixth commitments of the day in Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox and Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton. Fox becomes the third offensive lineman to commit in the 2013 class; all did so yesterday, and all are four-star prospects. The explosion of commitments helped Fox come to his decision even though he wasn't on campus this weekend, according to Sam Webb:
“Honestly, it’s been Michigan pretty much the whole way,” said Fox. “I’m excited. Coach Funk was definitely excited. I just called my grandma (who lives in Michigan) and she’s super excited about it too.”
That Fox joined the class this evening came as a bit of surprise since he wasn’t a part of the commitment frenzy on campus today. But just because he wasn’t on the ground in Ann Arbor doesn’t mean he didn’t take notice.
“I saw that and I was just like, ‘dang, and I’ve known that’s where I wanted to go.’ I thought, ‘why not do it?’ “
Yes, Fox be like dang. Rest easy, Shane Morris; you're going to have more time in the pocket than you know what to do with.
|4*, NR OG||
# 46 Ovr
4* OT, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 95, #8 OT,
Fox is a consensus four-star and a top-50 player to the two sites that have actually released extensive lists; he made the ESPN top-100 list as well and is one of a handful of players to get a rating from Scout. The general consensus is that he's one of the top linemen—and players—in the country. The four sites are split between him being 6'5" or 6'6", and all but Scout (285) agree that he weighs in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Scout is the only site to list him as a guard, but Fox has the versatility to play either guard or tackle at the collegiate level.
Fox actually didn't play offensive line until the summer before his junior year, having been a standout defensive tackle for Ponderosa in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Right away, however, scouts took notice of his massive potential, as you can see from this Rivals article dating back to the summer he started playing offense ($):
...he's an athlete for a big man his age and his size--moves well, flexible, is a big time knee bender, and he is a mauler - loves contact - not afraid to mix it up but athletic enough to shut down Stephen Gibson when he tried some moves and speed rushes at CU's camp. Fox plays with a level of violence and passion you don't see very often in high school offensive linemen. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
Fox is one of those guys who just overwhelms defenders with his sheer size and power. His technique is very raw right now but that's to be expected since he never played offensive line until this summer. But that will improve, and watching him at the CU camp and at a Ponderosa practice he clearly learns quickly and is one of those kids who can pick something up the first time he tries it. Even with raw technique it is still clear that he uses his hands very well, and seems to have already become very good at one of the harder things to master as an offensive lineman - timing the initial punch with the hands.
The player William Gartner compares to Fox in the article? Jake Long. This is not done lightly, as Gartner worked with Long at a Michigan camp before Long's senior year of high school. When violence becomes beauty, Long is an apt comparison. By September of his junior year, Fox's game tape was already circulating among scouts, and he continued to impress ($):
Some are already calling Fox the top prospect in the state of Colorado for the 2013 class and while that might be a bit presumptuous, there is definitely a good chance he'll be among the best players just because of his dominance and versatility. Fox played on the defensive line during his freshman and sophomore seasons and now moved over to offense for his junior year and simply dominates with his power, drive and toughness.
Fox has since solidified himself as the top player in Colorado, and his effort and strength have been repeatedly praised. He also reportedly is still growing and has the room to pack on a lot of good weight, as you'll see in Tom Lemming's evaluation:
Has the length, long arms, and quick feet the college scouts love to see in a LT. Needs to get stronger in the lower body but has the frame to weigh 320 in college. Shows the grit and determination needed to play the LT position at the next level. Shows all the tools for future stardom.
It sounds like Fox should mature into a bona-fide tackle prospect, and I'm guessing Michigan sees much the same, as they've already taken two players—Kyle Bosch and David Dawson—who project best to the interior of the line. Fox's high school coach can't find a bad thing to say about him after his first year as an offensive lineman ($):
Ponderosa High School coach Randy Huff can't say enough good things about the star of his team, Christopher Fox.
"The thing that most people have told me that stands out the most is how physical he is," Huff said. "He really is trying to destroy people when he hits them. He's not just a big body. He's a real football player for sure."
So Michigan just picked up a big (and still growing), versatile mauler in the mold of Jake Long, and he's only been playing on offense for a year-and-a-half. Yup, I'm totally okay with this pickup.
Fox chose Michigan over offers from Colorado, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Mizzou, Ohio State, and Purdue. Chew on that, bitter rivals.
No stats for O-linemen.
FAKE 40 TIME
24/7 lists a 5.50 40 time, which I'll give a two FAKEs out of five since he's an enormous offensive lineman.
There's no junior highlights of Fox available yet, so most of the available film is of him playing defense, though you get a couple snaps of him blocking in the following highlight reel:
You can get a good sense of his athleticism, strength, and general enjoyment of contact from that video. He's certainly not afraid to hit people. Hard.
[UPDATE: Thanks to user jbibiza for pointing out that Fox's junior offensive highlights are posted for free on Rivals.]
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Without any junior film available, I can't say with much specificity where I think Fox will end up, but given the above evaluations I expect he'll land at tackle. If Fox really is still growing at 6'6", 300 pounds, he seems like a perfect fit for either tackle spot, especially if Michigan is bringing in both Bosch and Dawson at guard.
Fox's potential is probably the most exciting thing about him; again, the guy didn't start playing on the offensive line until last summer and he's already a top-50 prospect in his class regardless of position. While there will likely be some kinks to work out with his technique, he appears to be a very quick study, and his ceiling is extremely high.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Just like that, Michigan goes from three commits and zero offensive lineman in the 2013 class to nine and three, respectively. As stated above, I think Bosch and Dawson are destined for guard while Fox projects to tackle, and I'd have to think with players like Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman still out there that the Wolverines will try to fit another tackle prospect into the class. The big question is whether or not they'll take five offensive linemen and grab a pure center, though they haven't offered one yet; it's possible they see Bosch or Dawson (more likely Dawson, IMO) filling that role, but somebody in this class needs to come in at center and stay there.
As for the rest of the class, Michigan has now filled nearly half of the 20-22 spots expected to be available by the end of the recruiting cycle. February isn't over. Just, um, wow.
Ace is currently on the street trying to score some icepacks for his fingers and methamphetamine for everything else, because by this time tomorrow the Hello post backlog will be 62.
Meanwhile, in the MGoBlog executive suite* the rumbling basso laughter of world domination. Via Tim Sullivan:
Michigan's 2013 recruiting is on a roll today. Pickerington (Ohio) Central defensive end Taco Charlton confirms that as the sixth commitment of the day, and No. 9 overall for the class.
So… today went well. Charlton is the sixth consensus four star to commit today. I'm going to high five this wall now.
*[no, it's not a basement.]
By the way, Michigan picked up CO OL Chris Fox sometime in the second half of the Ohio State game—he probably felt an impulse to run out on the floor and tackle Ted Valentine and knew his destiny at that point. That makes February 18th, 2012 the Best February Michigan Sports Day In Living Memory.
- Football picks up five(!) consensus four-star recruits: IL OL Kyle Bosch, CO OL Chris Fox, MI OL David Dawson, MI CB Jourdan Lewis, and MI RB/H-back/TE/DE Wyatt Shallman. They now have 4 of the top five in Michigan according to Rivals, four top 100 recruits, and 7 consensus four stars.
- For the second consecutive year, Michigan hockey's senior day ends with an OT winner. They rise to #2 in the PWR, at least at this instant.
- Basketball beats Big Ten leader OSU 56-51 and now has a real chance at its first Big Ten title since 1986.
Muppets? Damn right muppets.
And you can't have one without the other…
ALL OF THE THINGS.