a terrible blight on our fine country
Previously: Hello: David Dawson
Cass Tech OL David Dawson has re-committed to Michigan after a dalliance with Florida previously caused him and the Wolverines to go their separate ways. Dawson convinced Brady Hoke that he was worth re-offering a few weeks back, then committed today on his official visit. He's the fifth offensive lineman in Michigan's 2013 class, which has swelled to 24 overall commits today.
Dawson's previous commitment post is linked above; since he's played an entire summer camp circuit and senior season since then, it's worth taking another look at him.
4*, #8 OG,
4*, #6 OG,
4*, 84, #1 OG,
4*, 94, #6 OG,
The four recruiting sites are all in general agreement about Dawson—he's a consensus four-star and among the top eight guards in the country and 200 players overall. All four list him at 6'4" and between 280 and 290 pounds.
My first time seeing Dawson was at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in June, where he was clearly the best offensive lineman in a field that included Logan Tuley-Tillman and MSU commit Dennis Finley:
Dawson was easily the most impressive lineman present, both from a physical and technical standpoint. He looks like he's in the 280-290 pound range but doesn't appear to be carrying much bad weight at all. He shows an advanced understanding of technique for a high school player; Coach Funk was presiding over the offensive line drills, and when he needed to give an example of what he was looking for, he had Dawson give the demonstration. Dawson displayed very quick feet, shuffled well in pass protection while keeping a solid base, and showed a very strong initial punch.
In one-on-ones, Dawson excelled in a drill that gives a clear edge to the pass-rusher. He got great depth with his initial step and had three or four pancakes (not all of his reps are on my film above). When Dawson did get beat, it was usually when he let the defender get into his body instead of keeping the rusher at bay with his arm punch. The proverbial mean streak was also on full display. On one rep, Dawson got beat off the edge, and the defender went back to his side screaming "Let's go!" and "I'm hungry!"* Dawson didn't appreciate the woofing, asked for an immediate rematch, and buried the guy into the turf.
Dawson has reached the point where I almost assume that he'll dominate. While the Cass Tech line as a whole struggled, Dawson was a bright spot, getting huge push in the run game and holding up well on the edge in pass protection. His mean streak was once again on full display as he consistently played to—and through—the whistle, and it was obvious that OLSM defenders were frustrated going up against him.
There are times where Dawson relies too much on his hand punch in pass protection and stops moving his feet, which is something he'll need to work on, though shouldn't be as much of a concern at guard than if he was slated to play tackle at the next level. Otherwise, I still see a rock-solid lineman who should be a multi-year starter down the road.
While Dawson could get by on size and strength alone at the high school level, he's a very coachable player who's got very advanced technique for his age. Here's Josh Helmholdt on Dawson ($):
1. David Dawson, OL, Detroit Cass Tech: No one jumped out and ran away with the overall top performer nod from the games I saw this weekend, but Dawson played up to his four-star and Rivals250 billing, earning the top spot. Cass Tech destroyed Detroit Northwestern 57-0 Friday afternoon and Dawson only got a half of work, but despite his team running away with the game the 6-foot-4, 282-pound lineman went 100 percent every snap he played. Northwestern had some good size along their defensive line, but Dawson's strength, quickness and especially his technique overwhelmed the opposition.
ESPN updated their evaluation of Dawson($) in December [emphasis mine]:
He possesses very good size, looks to have a thick lower body and the room to potentially add some more good mass in a college weight program. ... In the run game, he does a very good job with hand placement and will work to reroute his hands when he can't initially gain positioning. He maintains a good base and can generate good leg drive to create push. He does need to work to play lower as his pad level can get high. ... He displays good pull/trap ability and is able to stay under control, locate and get a hat on active second level targets. Displays good toughness. As a pass protector, you see a player trying to do the right thing and execute with good technique. He is able to set quickly and maintain good balance. Can deliver a good punch. He can, at times, abandon his technique and chase and lean, and he needs to learn to be patient and stick with his technique.
Well, this wouldn't be a Hello post for an offensive linemen if there wasn't a comment about pad level—Dawson could play lower, though as ESPN noted he played largely out of a two-point stance at tackle. When he's got his hand in the dirt at guard, it should be easier for him to keep leverage.
Overall, Dawson is an ideal fit at guard. He's especially adept at run blocking, gives full effort to—and through—the whistle, and is technically advanced for a high school lineman. I witnessed first-hand his ability to absorb coaching and apply it to his game at the SMSB camp, and I fully expect that he'll be a multi-year starter at guard down the road.
Dawson held offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, EMU, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Mizzou, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Several of the big-name offers—including Florida, Ohio State, and USC—came after his initial commitment.
No stats for offensive linemen.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.54 seconds, which sounds pretty real to me for a high school lineman. One FAKE out of five.
My film of Dawson from the one-on-one portion at SMSB:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I've said my piece on Dawson—he's a major talent at guard and should be a starter there down the road. In a pinch, he could also figure into the rotation at right tackle (or, with lefty Shane Morris at QB, left tackle). With Michigan looking to go MANBALL with their running game, he's a perfect fit up front.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan initially planned on taking five offensive linemen in the class and 24 players overall, but Sam Webb has hinted recently that Michigan could take up to 28 or even 29 players (backdating early enrollees to last year's class) and adding an additional lineman. The Wolverines are still pursuing CO OL Dan Skipper (Tennessee commit) and CA OL Cameron Hunt (Cal commit); Skipper is on campus this weekend and Hunt should visit in January.
Other major targets include VA RB Derrick Green, FL S Leon McQuay III, OH CB Reon Dawson, and newly-offered OH ATH Marcus Ball (Wisconsin commit being recruited as a linebacker).
Per Sam Webb, Michigan has picked up two commitments today in Cass Tech teammates David Dawson and Delano Hill. Dawson is a consensus four-star lineman whose commitment to and decommitment from Michigan have been well-covered. Hill is a four-star safety to all but ESPN (three stars) and had previously been committed to Iowa; the Wolverines offered him within the last week.
Informative updates forthcoming.
- Jerald Robinson has left the team.
- Craig Roh had a bit of a "sore shoulder." Me too, although mine is from pipetting too much. Probably the same thing.
- Royce Jenkins-Stone is playing middle linebacker, not SAM.
- Dennis Norfleet is playing corner, not safety.
- None of the redshirting freshmen OL have practiced at center. Right now the heir apparent to Elliott Mealer is Jack Miller, followed by Graham Glasgow.
“Before I get started talking about what we’re doing and everything, I think our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Connecticut, with that tragedy that happened. It’s unfortunate, and we just want to have them in our prayers, those families that were affected, and the senselessness of what happened.
“With that being said, we got back after today, we had a good practice. This time of year it gets a little dicey because you’re juggling some finals. There’s some guys who had finals but not very many of them that couldn’t be there, so you go through all those kinds of things, and find the times that we can. We’ll go tomorrow morning, and then we’ll go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I like how they’ve come out. I know they’ve had good weeks with lifting and running and technique work and those things, so it’s all be real positive.”
this was not a catch
Well, it finally happened: Jerald Robinson has left the team after two years of practice hype did not translate into playing time. Michigan returns Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon, but in non-short-guy receivers the only returning experience is Jeremy Jackson. Darboh, Chesson, and whichever freshmen come in will have to pick it up fast.
Robinson is now the 15th member of the 27-strong 2010 class to exit. The departed:
- Conelius Jones (never showed up, academics)
- Carvin Johnson (played a bit, but transferred midway through Hoke year one)
- Cullen Christian (torched as a freshman, followed Tony Gibson to Pitt)
- Demar Dorsey (academics)
- Terrence Talbott (left team before fall for mysterious reasons)
- Ray Vinopal (same as Christian)
- Terry Talbott (injury)
- Antonio Kinard (never showed up, academics)
- Davion Rogers (never showed up, academics)
- Christian Pace (injury)
- Stephen Hopkins (moved to FB, injured a bit, quit football)
- Austin White (booted off team almost before showing up)
- Ricardo Miller (gave up football after not finding PT)
- Jerald Robinson (presumed transfer after not finding PT)
- DJ Williamson (didn't like football, quit)
What a disaster. Jackson and Dileo are the only WRs left from the five Michigan brought in; Michigan has no other offensive recruits left from that class other than Devin Gardner. There's not much on defense, either: Jibreel Black, Courtney Avery, and Jake Ryan are the only contributors. You are permitted to go poke your Rodriguez voodoo dolls now.
As for the future: Michigan now has a full 25 spots in the current class without anyone else leaving. Lewan is headed to the draft and Michigan's sudden urgency to recruit an additional linebacker or two probably indicates attrition is on its way there, so expect this class to bulge up to 27-28 when all is said and done. Sam Webb suggested on the radio today that Michigan could take up to seven more players from their current total of 21/22, give or take the longsnapper.
I'd expect Green/Dawson/some LB/Delano Hill as four of them, with randoms making up the remainder.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. West Virginia|
|WHERE||Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York|
|WHEN||8 PM Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan –10 (Kenpom)|
Michigan's last high-major test before conference play begins comes against a struggling 4-4 West Virginia squad, which is coming off a four-point road loss to Duquesne. The Mountaineers have not fared well against tougher competition; they're 1-4 against KenPom top-100 teams, including a 44-point blowout loss at Gonzaga. Their lone win in that category came by a single point at home against #63 Virginia Tech.
West Virginia could pose some problems, however, especially up front. 6'10" center Aaric Murray is a very strong rebounder on both ends of the floor, hits 52.7% of his twos, and can even step out and knock down the occasional triple. Murray is also an strong defensive presence, boasting a 7.8% block rate.
Murray's counterpart up front, 6'9", 260-pound forward Deniz Kilicli, does two things well: pulling down offensive rebounds (12.4 OR%) and drawing fouls (6.5 fouls drawn/40 mins.). Unlike Murray, Kilicli is a bit of a mess offensively, hitting just 41.1% of his field goals (all twos) and 51.4% of his free throws, along with a high turnover rate. The fact that he's WVU's highest-usage player may explain some of their offensive woes.
6'1" guard Juwan Staten, the team's leading scorer at 10.6 points per game, is dangerous when he gets to the basket (65 FG% at the rim) but settles for a lot of two-point jumpers, of which he doesn't hit many—according to hoop-math.com, 65% of his shots are two-point jumpers, and he knocks down a paltry 22% of them. 5'11" point guard Jabarie Hinds is having a rough shooting year and doesn't have impressive assist numbers. 6'3" wing Terry Henderson gets a surprising number of offensive rebounds but also has awful shooting stats—14-43 from two and 6-22 from three this year.
The bench is led by 6'1" slasher Gary Browne, who boasts a solid O-rating of 111.9 despite an anemic 36.6 eFG%—like Kalicli, he gets to the line at a very high rate, and unlike Kalicli he actually takes advantage (81.8 FT%). 6'7" forward Keaton Miles is the team's defensive specialist, boasting high block and steal rates, and is a solid shooter inside the arc and at the line, though he's rarely used offensively.
Naturally, West Virginia's most efficient offensive player, backup big Kevin Noreen, also has the team's lowest usage rate.
Aside from Virginia Tech, victories have come against Marist, VMI, and Marshall. Losses have come at the hands of Gonzaga, Davidson, Oklahoma, and Duquesne. Interestingly, WVU has played only two home games, winning both; Saturday's game will be their fifth at a neutral site.
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||42.2 (316)||15.8 (10)||40.8 (20)||33.3 (213)|
|Defense||47.4 (145)||21.6 (145)||32.0 (168)||38.5 (217)|
In case you didn't gather this above, the Mountaineers are a horrendous shooting squad, hitting 43.2% of their twos and 26.4% of their threes. They take care of the basketball and pull down a bunch of their misses, however, bumping their offense into the top 100 efficiency-wise; if they're not getting second-shot opportunities, they're in trouble.
Defensively, WVU is mediocre in just about every aspect, which in totality actually makes them an above-average unit. If there's an area to attack, it may be the perimeter, where they're allowing a higher-than-average number of three-point attempts; that's more indicative of poor perimeter defense than three-point percentage against.
Box out. Blinding insight, I know. West Virginia has a very tough time putting the ball in the basket on their first attempt. They do manage to get a second attempt at a pretty high rate. Keep them from doing that and this could easily turn into a blowout.
Collapse inside. West Virginia doesn't have a single player with more than nine attempts who's shooting more than 27.3% from three. They do have a couple guys, most notably Staten, who can get to the rim. Given the option of helping out against their slashers or staying out on their shooters, the choice is obvious.
Attack the paint. Both Murray and Kalicli are prone to foul trouble. Getting those two off the floor—particularly Murray, the team's best inside scorer, rebounder, and interior defender—would go a long way towards securing victory. West Virginia's most common lineup actually features three players 6'1" or shorter, which means Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas can take advantage of mismatches; they'll have to resist the temptation to simply shoot over their defenders, however.
Actually, Stauskas can shoot whenever he wants. Do what you do, man.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by ten
No. 2 Alabama (12-1 overall, 8-1 SEC)
Last game: Beat Georgia 32-28 in the SEC Championship after Georgia futzed a last-second goal line play.
As frightening as: Rome, ca. 450 A.D. Currently idling between sacks. Fear level = 9 but waning.
Superlative: Best cry after a win.
If Michigan could play them now: The humanity would overwhelm.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not scheduled them.
Bowl game: Will play No. 1 Notre Dame in a battle of which team Michigan fans want to cheer for less.
Prediction: It’s Notre Dame.
Air Force (6-6 overall, 5-3 MWC)
Last game: Blown out by Fresno State 48-15. It’s like people know how to defend the triple option. Crazy.
As frightening as: Kryptonite. Ostensibly harmless, inert substance that glows green around Michigan players and makes them appear slow and weak. Fear level = 5.
Superlative: Most infuriating to root against due to nameplates bearing noble ideals.
If Michigan could play them now: Nobody needs that twice in one season.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Scheduled them later, as in not right after Alabama.
Bowl game: Will play Rice in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Prediction: The ratings will be higher overseas.
UMass (1-11, 1-7 MAC)
Last game: Lost to Central Michigan 42-41.
Mike Cox!: 17 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD.
As frightening as: A flap of a butterfly’s wings. Every once in a while it might trigger a tiny vortex that blows a nearby butterfly off course. In this case that other butterfly would be 1-11 Akron. Fear level = 0.
Superlative: Most likely to appear in highlight reels of other teams.
If Michigan could play them now: It would be a nice glamour photo shoot for Michigan’s tailbacks complete with dramatic lighting, airbrushing, and green space.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not scheduled them. This game didn’t do anything for Michigan other than show us that Denard can throw a pick-six to even the worst defenses.
Bowl game: There should be an anti-playoff to determine the worst team in Division I.
No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0 overall)
Last game: Failed to lose to USC, 22-13.
As frightening as: MRSA. Fear level = 8.
Superlative: Most referees on payroll.
If Michigan could play them now: Michigan would probably find another way to lose again, which is fine. This year, as they say, is Not Ours.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Run the ball more, which sounds crazy now, but back then people had luxuries like ulnar nerves and tibias. This kind of thing worked.
Bowl game: Notre Dame is 60 minutes away from Returning to Glory. Agasp.
Prediction: Either way Ohio State won't end up No. 1 in the AP.
Purdue (6-6 overall, 3-5 B1G)
Last game: Won rivalry game against Indiana 56-35, fired coach.
Arithmetic: WALRUS minus STACHE equals MANATEE.
If Michigan could play them now: It would be a semifinal match for the title of “B1G Team with most season-altering injuries.” In the other bracket of this hypothetical tournament is Iowa, which has a bye because of its self-explanatory No. 1 seed.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Savored this win more.
Bowl game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Oklahoma State.
Prediction: Oklahoma State is 7-5. All five of its losses have been to teams that were ranked at one point or another during the season; Purdue lost to Minnesota. In conference play, Oklahoma State beat TCU, No. 24 Iowa State, West Virginia, and No. 23 Texas Tech by multiple scores; in conference play, Purdue beat Indiana by multiple scores.
This should go real well.
Illinois (2-10 overall, 0-8 B1G)
Last game: Could not overcome five-score deficit; lost to Northwestern.
As frightening as: Someone else’s septic leak. Schadenfreude level = 4. It’s been a few years since they last beat Michigan, so it’s difficult to relish their misery.
Superlative: Most likely to develop oropharyngeal malignancy.
If Michigan could play them now: Be careful what you wish for, or Jim Delany might put them in Michigan’s division so Michigan can play them year after year after year until Fresno State joins the B1G and they have to redo the thing again. Playing Illinois every year doesn’t seem so bad, though. I just wish they could go back to being interesting rather than sad.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Not injured Denard’s arm, since the arm issue would turn out to be kind of disastrous two games later. This is foreshadowing, for those of you who suffered from alcohol-induced retrograde amnesia after the OSU game and are now trying to piece the events of the season back together.
Bowl game: Ha. (By the way, what is with people typing “ha” over text or gchat? I normally have a two-“ha” minimum when I laugh electronically, unless I’m feeling derisive. Is being stingy with the “ha’s” a Michigan thing? I only ever notice this when communicating with people from Michigan.)
Michigan State (6-6 overall, 3-5 B1G)
Last game: Beat Minnesota 26-10, avoided a losing record.
As frightening as: A rock.
Fear level = 5.
Superlative: Most likely to throw up on self en route to Disney World, ruining the trip for everyone.
If Michigan could play them now: Maybe Michigan could have some fake audibles. Like, okay, you don’t want to play chess with Narduzzi, but wouldn’t it be fun to pretend like you are? “Alert alert alert!” = base play. “Blue 42! Blue 42!” = base play. “We’re going to throw it to Dileo!” = We’re going to throw it to Dileo.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Anticipated the most obvious fake punt situation ever, which has only become more obvious in hindsight.
Bowl game: B-dubs vs. TCU. Should be fun to watch actually.
No. 16 Nebraska (10-3 overall, 7-2 B1G)
Last game: Lost 70-31 to Alabamasconsin.
As frightening as: A teenager who finally gets his license after failing twice. Fear level = 7, to others and self.
If Michigan could play them now: Oh if only.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: I hate them so much.
Bowl game: It’s more loathing than hate. It’s how you would feel about someone who you let copy your homework and then gets both of you in trouble.
Prediction: Nebraska plays Georgia. Good luck!
Minnesota (6-6 overall, 2-6 B1G)
Last game: Lost to Michigan State 26-10.
As frightening as: Anything that can be described as “scrappy.” Fear level = 3.
Superlative: Best tire fire mitigation effort.
If Michigan could play them now: Same story, different day.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Prepared Devin Gardner to play quarterback a week earlier. This is purely a hindsight thing, though.
Bowl game: Ritual gopher slaughter at Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas vs. Texas Tech.
Prediction: The gods will be pleased.
All the better to play Monopoly with.
No. 20 Northwestern (9-3 overall, 5-3 B1G)
Last game: Managed to hold onto a five-score lead, beat Illinois 50-14.
As frightening as: Receiving an email with the subject line “Remove Me From This List!” Fear level = 7.
Superlative: Worst utilization of Kyle Prater.
If Michigan could play them now: I liked the screw-with-their-reads plan Mattison used late against Northwestern and Ohio State. Mattison knows how to play chess.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Michigan had a good game plan. Northwestern put up a good fight. Not much to change.
Bowl game: Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi State.
Prediction: No idea actually. This will be a good match, oddly.
Iowa (4-8, 2-6 B1G)
Last game: Lost to Nebraska 13-7. What a tease.
As frightening as: Nomads indigenous to the Great Plains who believe most bright colors to be evil and think the best cure for a gangrenous running back situation is to sacrifice linemen to a deity named AIRBHG. Recently discovered fire and a vertical passing game, no idea how to use either. Fear level = 3.
Superlative: Most unexpectedly overrated. People thought I was being harsh when I predicted Iowa to go 6-6.
If Michigan could play them now: It would just be sad.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Saved some of the game plan for Ohio State. This was the annual “We wasted the good surprise on you” game.
Bowl game: Iowa is a proud people who do not believe in bowl games.
Ohio State (12-0 overall, 8-0 B1G)
Last game: 1,000 newborns in the state of Ohio were named “Urban.”
As frightening as: VRSA. Fear level = 9.
Superlative: Worst thing ever.
If Michigan could play them now: By the end of the game, Braxton Miller will have sustained his tenth concussion (but still play anyway). Michigan will employ Denard and Devin in the same formation but hand it off to Vincent Smith anyway, because Ohio State would never expect it.
In hindsight, Michigan should have: Scored some points in the second half.
Bowl game: Gator Bowl vs. Florida, last year.