Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
Shown: players recruited 2009-2013. Blue=expected to be on 2013 team.
When you change coaches there's always a transition cost. Some programs pay more of it than others of course but in general players across college football are less likely to stick it out through the bad times if playing for a coach who didn't recruit them. I've covered how attrition to the 2005 and 2006 classes had profound effects on later defenses. This time I thought I'd zoom out and show what we might expect from the latest round.
How bad was it really?
(Now with Teric Jones and Tamani Carter)
Surprisingly bad. I have recruiting data going back to 1993 but can only really start gauging the quality of each class back to '96.* What I did is look at attrition not just from who didn't make it to their senior years but how much of their careers were missed. Figuring four years of eligibility per recruit, here's attrition from each class expressed in percentage of lost years.
|Class||Players||Graduated or On Team
|Retention Expressed in Seasons||Key Losses|
|1993||22||6 (27%)||60/88 (68%)||Biakabutuka to NFL, lots of playing time transfers|
|1994||19||15 (79%)||65/76 (86%)||T. Laws went to MSU after a yr|
|1995||19||12 (63%)||63/76 (83%)||Woodson (NFL), Daydrion and Moltane to injury, Bowens transferred|
|1996||18||9 (50%)||51/72 (71%)||Depth transfers.|
|1997||18||12 (67%)||59/72 (82%)||McCall (lost to A-Train). Four guys kicked off the team|
|1998||18||14 (78%)||68/72 (94%)||Terrell to NFL, Henson to AAA, Fargas to USC|
|1999||23||17 (74%)||80/92 (87%)||Ryan Beard transfer, Shantee Orr to NFL, unrenewed Brackins|
|2000||18||13 (72%)||62/72 (86%)||Zia Combs, Kolby Wells injuries. Benton DNQ.|
|2001||21||12 (57%)||66/84 (79%)||Shazor/Ofili to NFL, Reid/Simelis injuries. Sanderson and Baraka dismissals.|
|2002||20||15 (75%)||74/80 (93%)||Rembert & Gutierrez for PT. Berishaj medical. Harrison that whole thing.|
|2003||16||9 (56%)||47/64 (73%)||Sharrow/Zuttah medicals. Mundy transfer. Presley dismissed. McCoy DNQ. C.Richard to MLB.|
|2004||22||11 (50%)||66/88 (75%)||Branch/Arrington to NFL, Allison injury, PT transfers and lots of unrenewed 5ths in '08|
|2005||22||8 (36%)||63/88 (72%)||Mario and Manbearfreak to NFL. Sears, Richards, McKinney, Germany, & FCK LION dismissed. Schifano, Zirbel, Criswell, McLaurin and Bass to injury|
|2006||18||12 (67%)||58/72 (81%)||Boren. Also Cobrani Mixon.|
|2007||21||12 (57%)||63/84 (75%)||Warren to NFL. Mallett, Clemons, Babb, guys transferred.|
|2008||24||12 (50%)||65/96 (68%)||B.Smith, Wermers, O'Neill, Hill, McGuffie transferred; Cissoko, Feagin, Stonum dismissed; Spoon DNQ; Khoury, T-Rob, Cox no 5th.|
|2009||21||13 (68%)||61/84 (73%)||Forcier, I.Bell dismissed; Witty DNQ; T.Jones medicaled; Stokes, Turner, LaLota, Emilien transfers|
|2010||26||11 (42%)||56/104 (54%)||[Takes breath] DNQ: D.Rogers, Kinard, Conelius, Dorsey. Transfers: Cullen, Vinopal, Talbot22, Carvin, J-Rob, R.Miller, Hopkins. Dismissed: A.White. Injuries: Talbott, Pace. Tried football, didn't like it: Williamson|
|2011||19||13 (68%)||53/76 (70%)||T.Posada, K.Jones, C.Barnett, G.Brown, C.Rock, T.Carter|
|2012||25||25 (100%)||C/C (100%)||--so far so good--|
|Average||410||251 (61%)||1,280 yrs of eligibility out of 1,640 yrs recruited (78%)|
(Specialists & walk-ons removed, redshirting accounted for)
That high attrition from the RR classes is worrisome and kind, since it doesn't include things like All-American tackles likely headed to the NFL, or an expected unrenewed 5th next year, or the fate of several injured and/or not highly recruited guys looking up at increasingly un-scalable depth charts in the defensive front seven, or a punter on his fourth strike.
It's also appreciably different from the kind of stuff Michigan weathered okay in the early Carr years, which was mostly playing time transfers of guys later in their careers who weren't going to contribute much and wanted a shot to play college football before they couldn't anymore. When Michigan got into depth chart trouble prior to the defensive back crisis of 2009-'10, it was because Henson took off leaving sophomore Navarre to man it too early, and because a generation of offensive linemen were wiped out by injuries in the early aughts.
Losing a star to the NFL hurts but it means having a star for a few years first. This is why I didn't want to just show the finish line stat that DeSimone keeps updated on his site, because it makes what happened to the 1993 class look like what happened to the 2010 class.
[After the jump it's a lineup of the usual attrition suspects, also verbs.]
Tracking what Michigan's opponents are doing.
The Big Ten took some hits this week and Michigan's expected RPI rank falls to about 10th. Michigan drops to third in current numbers behind Butler; they remain eighth on Kenpom and move up to fifth in Sagarin.
I'm still calling the seed a two here, as it will take more than an overtime loss against the #2 team in RPI to seriously dent Indiana. They've still got an edge on a Michigan team that may have beaten good teams in Pitt and NC State… or may have run through a meh nonconference schedule. The conference will tell the tale.
you will probably not be surprised to find out that BJ Young shot did not go in
I'm dropping Slippery Rock since their season won't impact how anyone looks at Michigan.
IUPUI beat a non-D-I team named "Indiana East" by six and then lost to Indiana State by 14. Binghamton enters this category now; they have not played since Michigan beat them 67-39.
Filler that's not painful
Cleveland State got blown out by St. Bonaventure by 32 and are in danger of slipping into the dreck category now. Western Michigan scraped by High Point by six. On the road, though. They have an interesting game against Duquesne Wednesday.
Bradley plays Georgia Southern tonight.
Bethune Cookman: W 89-40.
The Panthers continued annihilating overmatched opponents, shooting 74% from two and acquiring a stunning 75% of their misses. Bethune Cookman had a total of five defensive rebounds, two of which were credited to the team after the ball went out of bounds. Pitt moved up a spot in Kenpom. They've got two more blowouts on the docket before the Big East schedule kicks in on New Year's Eve.
Kansas State (7-2)
@ Gonzaga (in Seattle): L 68-52
Kansas State just could not maintain contact with the Zags thanks to excessive turnovers (18), poor defensive rebounding, and horrendous shooting from two—33%. They've got a walkover Tuesday and then take on Florida in Kansas City.
North Carolina State (6-2)
Norfolk State: W 84-62.
Typical MEAC blowout, and now the Wolfpack have a couple of interesting games. Tuesday night they take on 7-3 Stanford at home, which Kenpom has on the tourney bubble as a 20-11 Pac-12 team. On Saturday they get a home game against St. Bonaventure; they should win but the Bonnies provide at least some upset threat.
Alcorn State: W 97-59
Blew out SWAC team. Four more home snackycakes await before the SEC. Robert Morris is up next; they could be a threat. They've already beaten OHIO and lost a narrow one to Xavier. They have also lost to Savannah State and got blown out by Rider and Lehigh, so let's not get too excited.
West Virginia (4-5)
Duquesne: L 60-56, Michigan: L 81-66.
You know what happened Saturday. WVU went stone cold from the floor, as teams that rely on tough running jumpers often do, against Duquesne. They've got three more home games against bad teams before the Big 12 schedule opens. They are not a tourney team.
The Future (Nonconference)
Dreck. Michigan's only got Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan left before the Big Ten schedule opens with a hugely depleted Northwestern. Eastern momentarily popped into the filler category after a win against Purdue; they drop back after losing to UIC 74-48. Eastern has not topped 48 points in the last 3 games, it's just that 47 was enough against a horrible Purdue team.
Central beat Pepperdine, which would have been impressive about a decade ago.
CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER
LAST WEEK did not win against Butler, by two, in OT.
THING On the deciding possession, well, Kenpom already said it:
Alex Barlow got the game winner for Butler. It’s probably a major indictment on Jordan Hulls’ defense when the opposing coach is willing to isolate a guy against you who has taken fewer than 8% of his teams shots when he’s on the floor.
The game winner was Barlow's 9th attempt of the year from two. Hulls is shooting exactly 50% from three after hitting 49% last year, so you've got to play him lots. Just maybe not then.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Enormous cobra-armed killer robot with big red button on the side that reads "DO NOT PUSH."
DEFENSIVE SECTION They remain #1 here because win over UNC is still more impressive than anything else that has happened this year and OT loss to Butler is like something that can happen.
LAST WEEK beat up on Binghamton, beat WVU in Brooklyn by 15.
THING Swag indicators reached nominal maximums when six-foot point guard got rim-hanging technical against Arkansas. Swag indicators started getting nervous when Jordan Morgan turned into Rasheed "BALL DON'T LIE" Wallace on missed WVU free throw in second half. Swag indicators gave up, went home, and looked for something to hide under after a freshman Canadian picked up a woofing technical foul.
Swag is at critical levels. Jalen Rose has been called in to help consult.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Gordon Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip and swaggiest Canadian ever.
LAST WEEK celebration of perfection against UNC-Ashville and Savannah State.
THING Sophomore PG Shannon Scott, to date mostly infamous for not being Trey Burke, is rounding into a good player after all: he's steadily adding minutes as the season progresses and has extremely high assist and steal numbers—11th and 4th nationally, respectively. Low turnovers and infrequent shooting give him a shiny ORtg.
Thad Matta may know what he's doing after all. That was in sarcasm font, Buckeyes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Gluttony.
4. Minnesota (10-1)
LAST WEEK did not play basketball for some reason
THING They have a man named Maverick Ahanmisi on their team, which is Cincinnati-football-worthy.
THING THEY ARE LIKE John McCain?
LAST WEEK continued tradition of looking like they could lose to just about anyone other than USC by beating Norfolk State by 10 and EKU by 13, because of course playing those teams at home is about as hard as playing Gonzaga on the road.
THING NNANNA EGWU WATCH: DREB rate of 11.3 is still seventh on the team. 6'3" DJ Richardson has a 13.9. Spike Albrecht has an 11.2 DREB rate.
THING THEY ARE LIKE they are like a team of pogo stick gazelle men who play the same basketball game against everyone in the world
6. Michigan State (9-2)
LAST WEEK Had a Mark Hollis Creates The Future thing at their old stadium against D-II Tuskegee, struggled to seven-point halftime lead, blew doors off after. "An absolute stink bomb of a game," declareth The Only Colors.
THING Might be a concern that the only efficient offensive player for MSU against Tuskegee was Keith Appling and that MSU turned it over 22 times. Branden Dawson continues to chuck the ball anywhere that is not on the floor: six turnovers bring his TORate to 28, a ten-point increase over last year.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Tom Izzo's face after Dawson's sixth turnover.
LAST WEEK became Iowa state champs with 80-73 win over Northern Iowa, which might not sound like much but UNI almost got Louisville and Memphis and is a top 100 team on Kenpom so it's something.
THING Iowa's three point shooting picked up significantly, which was good because they were 9 for 24 from two. Roy Devyn Marble was 14 of 19 from the free throw line.
THING 2 Melsahn Basabe continues to regress. For the second straight year his minutes and ORtg are down.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Michigan under Beilein until this year.
8. Wisconsin (7-4)
LAST WEEK had reasonable win over UW-Green Bay, which dropped them three spots on Kenpom.
THING SERIOUSLY GO AWAY
THING THEY ARE LIKE i don't even want to talk about it
LAST WEEK didn't play but still managed to have something devastating happen to them when Drew Crawford was shut down for the year with an injury. He should get a medical redshirt, at least, and return for a fifth year.
THING At least you won't be heartbroken this year, Wildcats, except in a total universe-spanning sense.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Henri The Otter Of Ennui's favorite basketball team.
10. Nebraska (6-3)
LAST WEEK Oregon reclaimed the Pac-12's honor with a 22-point win in Eugene.
THING Nebraska plays Central Michigan this Saturday… in El Paso. This is part of the "Sun Bowl Invitational," which must be the lowest nonconference tourney on the planet. Other participants are UTEP (obviously) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and there does not appear to be any television.
THING THEY ARE LIKE A man headed into Juarez against his will.
LAST WEEK Followed up rousing loss to EMU with 13-point loss to ND on a neutral court. Scored four points over the course of 13 minutes during this game.
THING Ronnie Johnson three pointers holding steady at 2/23. He was 6/14 from inside the arc against ND en route to an ORtg of 86, which is actually a large improvement on his season numbers.
THING THEY ARE LIKE The real life version of that Larry Bird-Magic Johnson HORSE commercial.
LAST WEEK Beat Baby Seal U by four, in overtime. Delaware State was down 21-5 after ten minutes and recovered to force OT. This caused Black Shoe Diaries to say… "things seem to be changing for the better around here."
THING Penn State has a three point specialist shooting 29%. Introducing Nick Colella, who shot 24% last year(!) on 70 attempts and has seen his minutes go from 30% to 57%. He has no free throws and four two point attempts on the year.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Delaware State. And still better than Rutgers.
Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion
projected seeds included
#1 Indiana, #2 Ohio State, #2 MICHIGAN, #4 Minnesota, #5 Illinois
#8 Michigan State (down from lock/7-seed)
#11 Iowa (up from 12-seed)
Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award
Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award
Northwestern (down from wrong side of bubble), Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue
Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes.
It's a thin week what with finals going on. Things pick up on Saturday… sort of.
Michigan State at Bowling Green, 7PM, ESPNU
Stanford at NC State, 9 PM, ESPN2
Western Michigan at Duquesne, 7 PM, NBC Sports
Eastern Michigan at MICHIGAN, 8:30 PM, BTN
Stanford at Northwestern, 9 PM, BTN
Texas at Michigan State, 2 PM, ESPN2
St Bonaventure at NC State, 3PM, ESPN3
Kansas at Ohio State, 4PM, CBS
Illinois vs Missouri, 6PM, ESPN2
Florida at-ish Kansas State (in KC), 8 PM, ESPN2
New Hampshire at Penn State, 11 AM, BTN
Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's visitors, Laquon Treadwell's top three, and more.
More To Come?
Michigan's big recruiting weekend delivered as expected, with Cass Tech teammates David Dawson and Delano Hill becoming the 23rd and 24th members of the class of 2013. Dawson is very much a known commodity, Hill less so—Josh Helmholdt caught up to the latter to get some clarity on his future position ($):
"Their plans for me are I am going to start off playing corner," Hill said. "If I don't like playing corner, I can always go back to playing safety. I think I can play all positions in the secondary, so it doesn't matter to me."
Hill played safety in high school but has also displayed impressive cover skills on the camp circuit; at 6'1", he'd give Michigan a bigger corner to line up on the outside.
The Wolverines hosted a surprise visitor last weekend in IN OL Dan Samuelson, a Nebraska commit who recently received a Michigan offer, per Allen Trieu ($). While Samuelson played it coy about his interest in Michigan, a Scout article from last week indicates that he took a big step by making this visit ($) [emphasis mine]:
“I truly didn’t go and look for another offer though. [Michigan] came to me. There is very little interest from me to Michigan. I really don’t think that I will take a visit there. Nebraska said that they would view that as a decommitment. I don’t want to do that. I believe that is where that will stay.”
I doubt the situation changed from Nebraska's end in the span of a few days; it seems likely that Samuelson has given up his spot in their class to see Ann Arbor. And now, 247's Todd Worly reported today that Samuelson's situation could be resolved imminently ($):
Looks like the Wolverines have made an impression and Samuelson plans on having everything figured out by Monday evening.
"I'm going to start calling everyone around 5 (p.m. EST), after I talk to Nebraska and figure things out with them," Samuelson said.
With the recent rumblings that Michigan could take a sixth offensive lineman, plus the above chronology, well... stay tuned.
Michigan also made an impression on another visitor committed to a Big Ten school, linebacker recruit and Wisconsin pledge Marcus Ball. Ball told Todd Worly that Michigan is "a great place," though he's waiting to see who the Badgers hire to replace Bret Bielema before making any decisions about his status with the Badgers ($). For what it's worth, Dymonte Thomas—one of many Michigan commits taking his official visit last weekend—tells Sam Webb that he thinks Ball will make the switch ($):
“I just met [Ball] this weekend, but I think he is going to commit to Michigan too,” said Thomas. “I’m not 100% sure, but I think he really liked us. We’ll see what happens.”
Man, Bielema is going to flip out about that gentleman's agree-- oh, right.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Laquon Treadwell and more.]
Goodbye beard. Also the rest of Elliott Mealer at winter graduation:
Goodbye to you sir. Michigan suspends Hawthorne, Floyd, and Will Hagerup for the bowl game. A couple people told me this a couple days ago, and they both seemed to think Hagerup would not return. After a dramatically-timed suspension against Ohio State and another for the first four games of 2011, it would be surprising to find out Hagerup had a fourth strike.
But the AD didn't announce Hagerup was gone, so there's probably a last-ditch straight-and-narrow chance he can get back a la Stonum, except hopefully not a la Stonum. Michigan will be fine with Matt Wile for the bowl anyway.
Cornerback, on the other hand… yeah, Floyd spent the year tempting fate but the alternatives there are… uh. Moving Courtney Avery to the outside—probably to field corner since he's a lot smaller than Raymon Taylor—is probably your best one, and then your nickel guy is either Delonte Holowell or Terry Richardson. I'm still not sure that corner environment is any worse than Michigan's options at tailback, but at least the Norfleet-to-corner move makes some sense now. Hopefully it's temporary.
Hawthorne had been limited to special teams this year; his loss isn't impactful.
Now has more time for dancing. MGoVideo caught this oddly-timed dance festival just posted on youtube featuring Floyd:
I rate it an 0.8 Mike Cox.
And so it does not begin. Presenting Michigan's secret weapon in their recruitment of Derrick Green:
Dead period for football begins today and runs through January 3. No on- or off-campus contacts/evals permitted. Calls/email permissible.
Green plans on enrolling early; if he sticks to that plan he should be announcing at the Army game on January 5th, leaving virtually no time for anyone to catch up with announced leader Michigan. Does yoga, is huge.
This trend will probably stop soon. Will Leitch on the way the cable bundling model is going:
Not that many people are going through all the trouble to do this yet, but as cable fees keep going up, and more workarounds can be found (and we haven’t even gotten into pirated feeds), more people will cut the cord. We live in an information-wants-to-be-free age, and we’re still being held down by these media-company gatekeepers. In the real world it’s 2012; in the cable universe, it might as well be 1988. Eventually, this will have to change. It’s too insane and rigged-against-the-consumer for it not to. The problem, of course, is that, like so many capitalists before them, leagues and teams and sports networks are all assuming that it’ll always be like this, that these revenue will keep growing forever and ever, that this golden goose will always keep laying eggs. There are decades upon decades of Darwinian consumer trends that contradict that. In 30 years, we may have all unplugged our cable bundles and be paying a la carte. This is the nightmare situation, but I’m not the first person to suggest we’re living in a cable sports television bubble. Someday it’ll pop. Then, suddenly, we’ll look and think: Why in the world is Maryland in the Big Ten?
Rutgers is even more of an outlier but the point is a good one. At some point the rickety dam keeping all of these channels unnecessarily bundled is going to break, and then having teams that can't fill not-very-big stadiums is not going to be an asset.
Bacon. He considers the PSL increase:
Former Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham sold the experience – and we bought it. Canham was a great marketer, but what impressed me most was what he would not do for money: solicit donors, put advertising on the uniforms or in the stadium, host night games, charge for tours – or ask for a raise. He had already made millions in business, and didn’t feel the need to squeeze more from his alma mater.
The current athletic department now aggressively seeks donors and corporate sponsors. It has brought advertising back to Crisler, in a big way, and has started sneaking advertising into the once-pristine Big House, too. They now charge to host corporate events, wedding receptions, and even school tours, which had been free since the Big House opened in 1927. Heck, until a few years ago, they didn’t even lock the gates during the week.
Michigan’s not alone, of course, and they will tell you it’s the cost of doing business – but what business, exactly? When current Athletic Director Dave Brandon said on “60 Minutes” that the “business model is broken” – what he failed to grasp was that it’s “broken” because it was never intended to be a business in the first place. After all, what business doesn’t have to pay shareholders, partners, owners, taxes, or the star attractions, the players and the band?
Raise your hand if you're sick of being told you can rent out the Big House for a wedding. That is everyone except the guy who emailed me pictures of his Michigan Stadium wedding over the summer in case I wanted to post them, which seemed like an awfully mean thing to do to a guy.
Brandon clearly sees the lack of advertising in the stadium as an annoyance, and has put it in anyway: just because the blaring thing trying to market something is a wedding or Michigan's facebook page doesn't mean it's not advertising. By pushing the boundaries wherever he can, Brandon indicates where he'd like to take the Big House experience if not faced with a potential fan revolt.
Bacon makes a great point: it's to the point that whenever you're putting down your money you feel like kind of an idiot for spending it. Thus the multiple "I bet I can scalp for cheap" projects on the internet and the regular stories about how you can get into most Michigan State games for two dollars or the Big Ten Championship for ten.
Speaking of: College Football Is This Other Thing post using Wall Street as the other thing is creepily accurate.
The Guys Running The Big Ten are Bain Capital
Step 1: Take over asset. Step 2: Exploit that asset with no regard for long-term consequences. Step 3: Laugh, buy a bigger summer house or a dressage horse or something.
In the Big Ten's case the dressage horse is a fancy building for a sport that brings in no revenue.
Yes please return. This will help the floundering hockey team:
Michigan coach Billy Powers on WTKA: "There's a good chance we could see (Merrill) immediately following the holidays."
I'm not holding out much hope for the GLI with Trouba at the World Juniors, and by the time Merrill makes it back Michigan's fate may already be sealed. Michigan is currently 36th in the RPI and would have to win 75% of their remaining games to get into the top 20, where a bid is vaguely possible. Either they rip off a streak for the ages starting right now or it's conference tourney or bust.
Etc.: can Rob Parker please stop existing now? On TV, I mean. He can remain in existence as long as he is not given a platform to express his thought-type-substances to the masses.
With Michigan picking up two commits—and jumping back into first place—the recruiting rankings are front-paged this week. Also of note: Indiana and Wisconsin essentially changing places in the standings. Changes since the last rankings:
12-6-12: Rutgers picks up Dean Crozier.
12-9-12: Illinois picks up Marchie Murdock. Penn State picks up DaeSean Hamilton. Minnesota picks up De'Niro Laster.
12-10-12: Illinois picks up Dallas Hinkhouse. Indiana picks up Kristopher Smith.
12-11-12: Rutgers picks up Skai Moore. Indiana picks up Steven Funderburk.
12-12-12: Tiquention Coleman decommits from Wisconsin. Minnesota picks up Damien Wilson.
12-14-12: Penn State picks up Tyler Ferguson. Iowa picks up LeShun Daniels.
12-15-12: Delano Hill decommits from Iowa. Michigan picks up David Dawson and Delano Hill. Jonathan Cook decommits from Nebraska. Nebraska picks up D.J Singleton. Indiana picks up Noel Padmore.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^||POINTS*|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
*The product of number of Commits and Average Average
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Cass Tech S Delano Hill joined his teammate David Dawson in pledging to Michigan today, giving the Wolverines 24 commits in the class of 2013. Hill, previously committed to Iowa, is the fifth Wolverine commit slated to play in the defensive backfield, joining (Cass Tech teammate) Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Ross Douglas, and Dymonte Thomas.
4*, #24 S,
|4*, #23 S||3*, 79, #23 S||4*, 90, #22 S|
Though ESPN has HIll at three stars as opposed to four, there's a remarkable consensus as to Hill's standing among 2013 safeties, as he's ranked between #22 and #24 at the position on all four sites. He's listed at either 6'0" or 6'1" and between 185 and 200 pounds; having seen him several times in person, I tend to believe the latter figures—Hill is pretty filled out for a high school safety.
Scout lists Hill's strengths as Instincts, Jamming Ability, and Tackling Ability, with Hip Flexibility as an area for improvement; Allen Trieu provides their free scouting report:
A good sized safety and a sure tackler in the open field. Does a good job of diagnosing plays, finding the football and coming in under control when attacking ball carriers. In coverage, he can play over the tight end and slot and cover man to man or in zone. Continuing to improve his footwork and quickness will allow him to cover faster slot receivers in the future. Good overall ball skills and athleticism to go with his size. - Allen Trieu
ESPN's evaluation is especially positive about his run support ($):
This guy is a tough customer who demonstrates the open field tackling skills which not only limits yards after contact but should prove beneficial as a special teams coverage defender. We see the flexibility, agility and balance needed to play in space; does a good job coming out of his pedal and flipping the hips when covering inside receivers. This prospect plays smart showing good instincts along with the ability to get to the football and make big plays. Has very good route awareness when in zone coverage ... Demonstrates the ability to play man coverage; displays good foot transition with the ability to turn and run with receivers; gets his head around to locate the ball while flashing a makeup burst. We like his ball skills; shows he can leap and play the ball at the high point. His run support is outstanding; will come up and force off the edge while demonstrating quickness filling the ally; is a very aggressive downhill run defender with the ability to move through traffic; displays very good long pursuit ability.
Though Hill is primarily lauded for his play against the run, he impressed with his coverage ability on the summer camp circuit. Here's Josh Helmholdt on Hill after the Columbus NFTC in May ($):
The defensive back MVP, Hill made a lot of plays in one-on-one and 7-on-7 play. He sees the field extremely well from his safety position, and closes passing lanes quickly. In each of the events we have covered Hill at in recent months he has come down with a number of interceptions, and that was the case again on Saturday. Usually cornerbacks take home MVP awards from the defensive back group because a lot of the work is in man coverage. Hill's win as a safety attests to his abilities in pass coverage.
From Sam Webb, we get Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher's opinion on Hill, as well as some insight into where he could end up playing ($):
“They want to play him at safety or at corner,” Wilcher explained. “Delano runs 4.4 and at worst a 4.49. He runs between 21-something and a 22 flat in the 200. He has good recovery speed and good footwork. Great feet. He can play anything. He is tall, he is strong, and he is physical. He is going to be able to go out there and lock up people (at corner) or he can drop back and play safety. He has got it going on.”
While I did watch Cass Tech in person three times this fall, I wasn't particularly focused on Hill—since he was an Iowa commit and there were several Michigan commits and targets on the field, my focus was usually elsewhere. That said, a few things about him stood out to me from seeing him play, especially his closing speed and tackling ability—Hill is the rare prospect that's both aggressive and controlled, able to close the gap quickly and still form up for a proper tackle. His coverage skills weren't often put to the test in games I watched, but Cass Tech rarely got beat over the top with him manning the middle.
Hill's early commitment to Iowa likely limited the number of offers he received; his offer list includes Illinois, Pitt, and Syracuse in addition to the Wolverines and Hawkeyes.
According to 247, Hill recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions as a senior, including a pick-six in the state title game.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 4.44 seconds, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five; Hill is fast, but that's elite speed.
Game film from Cass Tech's matchups against Birmingham Brother Rice and Saline, courtesy of Maize & Blue News:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Hill could wind up at corner or safety depending on the team's needs—if Jourdan Lewis winds up on offense, Hill could very well play corner. In my opinion, however, Hill's best position is safety, where he can really utilize that ability in run support while still making plays in coverage.
Where Hill could make an immediate impact is on special teams, where his speed and tackling ability translate nicely. Down the road, he should find a role somewhere in the secondary, whether it be at free safety or cornerback.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
C&P'd from the Dawson post:
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).
Hill's commitment shouldn't preclude Michigan from continuing to pursue McQuay and Dawson. No matter what, the Wolverines will likely take a running back—they're in great position with Green and I still like Northwestern commit Godwin Igwebuike as a backup plan—as well as one more defensive back and probably a linebacker, given the recent spate of offers.