If you missed it, the hello post for GA CB/S Myles "Spider" Sims is up as Michigan continues its march to the sea. Sims is a lanky defensive back who could be a Jeremy Clark-esque corner or a safety with some man to man chops, a la Delano Hill. His coach:
"Obviously he’s a long kid and he brings a lot of size to the cornerback position, which allows him to play aggressively, and that makes it hard for guys to get the ball over his head," Reid said. "He’s a very heady player to go along with his ability. He’s very smart and has an extremely high football IQ."
Any time you have a guy with his frame people wonder if he can stick at corner; early returns are St-Justian in their shuttle-y goodness:
It will be tough to find a defensive back with a similar frame to the 6-foot-2 1/2, 173-pound Sims that has the same amount of quickness and length in the 2018 class.
The young man is nicknamed spider because of his outstanding wingspan. Sims has some unique qualities when you talk about the four-star's frame and ability to move, highlighted by a 4.00 shuttle at the recent Nike Football The Opening Regional in Atlanta.
I'd almost rather have him at safety since Michigan has recruited corners exceptionally well the last few years and it was a tremendous luxury for last year's #1 defense to be able to slide Hill down over a slot receiver when opponents would use motion in an attempt to unbalance them.
And don't put that keyboard down yet, Ace: Michigan might be getting another Georgian in short order. GA RB Christian Turner just took a Midwest swing through ND, Michigan, MSU, and Wisconsin. The swing promises to be decisive in his recruitment:
“I think I’d like to be committed by the end of the summer,” said Turner, who will have a better idea of things after this trip. “It’s not like it has to be that way, but if I feel comfortable with the school, I’ll make it this summer and shut it down.”
Given the radical shift in his crystal ball from Notre Dame to Michigan that happened shortly after his visit, that decision might be coming sooner rather than later. Knocking Tom Loy off an ND crystal ball is usually the sign of an imminent decision in someone else's favor.
Turner seems underrated; at about 500th on the composite he's out of even 3.5* range despite a heated Michigan-ND recruiting battle. The Mathlete has a rankings-by-offers system that has Turner 161st nationally, FWIW. Offers are inherently amorphous and this should be taken lightly; still an indication that recruiting sites might be doing a bit of catching up on him.
Quarterback board goes from two to three
Michigan's offered 3.5* AZ QB Tyler Shough, a 3* type with one top-250 vote from 247. Shough immediately fielded three crystal ball picks to M, and says he and his family are Michigan fans:
"Huge opportunity, I am very excited," Shough said. "Grew up a Wolverines fan."
Shough's father was born in Michigan.
"We have always loved them," he said.
Michigan is Shough's first big offer. This does mean that Michigan is at least uncertain about their shot at 4* NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson; it probably doesn't mean much more than that because DTRs recruitment is going to wrap up in the next few weeks. Shough won't have an opportunity to jump the line since he's unlikely to get to campus before that happens.
If Michigan hits the proverbial dinger on the visit, as they often do these days, they get DTR and no problem. If not, they'll take a shot at 3.5* FL QB Joe Milton, who will also be on campus this weekend. If Milton is not swayed from Florida, his currently projected destination, Shough is now a heavy favorite to be the QB in this class.
Instate OL class is loaded
MI OL Jalen Mayfield got a huge bump from 247 after they took in the local Opening camp at which Mayfield performed. He went from a generic three star to the #105 kid in the country:
He's only 255 pounds but Jalen Mayfield has a big future in front of him. At 6-foot-5.5, we're betting he grows into that frame and maintains his athleticism and more importantly his toughness and mean streak. He's now got a 93 rating and is ranked as the No. 105 player in the country. Michigan is considered the favorite.
Greg Frey's favorite thing to do is to take 255 pound dudes and make them into Dan Feeney or Taylor Lewan, so Mayfield is a terrific fit for Michigan's new OT/TE coach. A recent visit to MSU probably won't matter; Mayfield will return to campus for the spring game. He recently reiterated to Josh Newkirk that he plans on deciding at the end of the summer; he's got a loose top four of M, MSU, PSU, and Iowa.
Mayfield (and instate #1 Ryan Hayes) might end up squeezing out MI OL Antwan Reed, who recently told Rivals that he had a top three of Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Penn State. That's despite a relative lack of contact between Michigan and Reed:
“I haven’t really been in contact with the Michigan coaches since I’ve been back from IMG,” he said. “I might be heading there in a couple of weeks for a visit so I can reconnect with everybody – maybe over spring break."
Reed is a high upside prospect because he's super young:
Ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 19 offensive tackle, Reed is just 16 years old and won’t see his birthday till October. He’s just a pup with tremendous upside.
If Michigan isn't involved with him much they must feel very good about the rest of their OL board.
That sentence applies equally to MI OL Tyrone Sampson Jr, who continues to impress mightily:
1. Tyrone Sampson Jr., center – This is the second consecutive event that Sampson has not just impressed but dominated. He won't need to attend anymore because he earned his ticket to The Opening Finals on Sunday. Sampson is a making an argument as the best center in the country.
Many ominous things have been happening to the Michigan State football program over the last year, but #2 has to be guys like Donovan Johnson, Sampson, and Reed apparently escaping state borders without even token resistance from MSU. Or maybe #3. Or #4. Definitely top five. Somewhere between #3 and #9, surely.
More 2019 ratings, related grudgingly
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) April 9, 2017
247 came out with a full set of top 250 rankings for the 2019 class, causing the inevitable waves of panic as guys who were identified really early drop, sometimes dramatically. This is not because anyone changed their opinion; it's because a bunch more guys were IDed. Like MI CB Marvin Grant, for instance. He ended up #100, shoving everyone below him down a notch.
Anyway, the 2019 in-state crop looks like it will be a bumper one on par with the 2017 class, and Michigan is an early favorite to lock it down like they did DPJ and company. Members of the top 247:
- #55 OL Devontae Dobbs
- #88 OL Logan Brown
- #98 WR Julian Barnett
- #100 CB Marvin Grant
- #159 DT Mazi Smith
- #167 RB Jaren Mangham
While the class lacks a five star headliner at the moment that might not last much longer than it takes 247 to update Dobbs's rating:
2. Devontae Dobbs, offensive tackle – In Dobbs, I think we're looking at a potential five-star offensive tackle in the class of 2019. He has some reactive quickness that most tackles lack and his feet are outstanding. He's on his way to becoming a premier name in the rising junior class.
Another 2019 at that camp, albeit not an instate one, was IN DT Jacob Lacey:
1. Jacob Lacey, defensive tackle – He may not turn any heads walking in the door but when the ball is snapped, Lacy shows some really unique athleticism, powerful hands and the ability to flip his hips to beat offensive linemen. He was probably the most consistently effective defender of the day and he's only a class of 2019 prospect.
Lacey has a crystal ball heavily leaning to ND but recently told 247 that he'll be in Ann Arbor on Thursday despite not having an offer.
Also amongst instate guys of interest: MI CB MJ Griffin will visit this weekend. Early Indiana and Iowa State offers may indicate a gentleman whose recruitment will take off.
In not at all grudgingly related 2019 news, "Litchfield Ajavon" is either a crazy Orange Is The New Black/Wire mashup or a 40 year old man given magic powers to play high school football.
Either way dude is a high priority for name aficionados. He says he's got "very high" interest in Michigan, his first offer. He's probably a DB. Or a prison? I need to be able to say someone has been sent to Litchfield after a particularly salty pass breakup. Memories of Leviticus Payne still linger, mournfully.
Side note: dude was teammates with Luiji Vilain, which offers Michigan a link with him and holy God the names on that team.
3* OH LB Brian Asamoah took a visit to Michgian, said it "opened his eyes." May be upwardly mobile after a standout Opening combine in Cleveland; probably has to wait on Dallas Gant's decision before he'll be a take.
The aforementioned Logan Brown will make a spring game visit.
4* MD OL Rasheed Walker lands an offer.
3 sports things you'd change if you could go back in time. (Non-death division.)
— Please Grab a Sprite (@eric_time) April 6, 2017
Brian: nope nope nope!
Seth: Got a better one?
Brian: this is me participating
Ace: This Week’s Obsession Reveals Intra-Office Dynamics
Seth: That's every TWO
We should probably just get the Shawn Crable incident out of the way. After thinking for a moment, I’m actually terrified at how much competition that has for this top three.
Adam: JT Barrett and a certain spot come to mind as well. There's solid competition even if this was limited to solely The Game.
Brian: /giphy nope octopus
Okay. Points for obscurity. No Crable, no spot, no Horror, no 2-point conversion. Weird little things.
[We don’t hate you, dear readers, so it’s all after THE JUMP]
Hello. Here are some spring practice items. Please read responsibly: these are impressions from a couple of practices, not even a whole spring session. The latter is notoriously unreliable; the former is even more so. Even if everything in here is the gospel truth the rest of spring and fall camp will change the picture considerably.
BTW: more rumblings at Touch The Banner.
Not a lot of intrigue: Wilton Speight is an unchallenged #1. John O'Korn is still a nose ahead of Brandon Peters for second-team snaps. Peters is flashing talent but is still behind the veterans with his command of the offense. He will offer a little dual threat if and when he ascends to the starting job. Speight's been up and down early.
Similar situation here: Chris Evans is the guy. He's added a little muscle—up to 212 at the latest—and has full command of the offense. He knows why he's doing the things he's doing, and occasionally makes spooky jukes based on his anticipation of the situation. Breakout year is likely.
Because it's running back Michigan will rotate a bunch. Various reports note that Ty Isaac is looking good and Kareem Walker is coming on, which continues a theme from Michigan's bowl practices. Higdon has been limited with a minor injury.
Kingston Davis's decision to transfer was his alone—Michigan was already at 85 before his departure—and is likely because he was fifth on the depth chart with more guys arriving this fall and it was fullback or nothing for him. This should be a very deep and good platoon.
Wide receiver & tight end
One of the biggest questions entering spring: who is the #1 receiver? Early returns are very encouraging about Donovan Peoples-Jones. Top five receivers are immediate impact guys about 33% of the time, and Peoples-Jones looks to be in that group. It took him just a few practices to establish himself. He's also got a minor injury and hasn't been in pads for a few days but that hasn't stopped the rumbles.
Kekoa Crawford lacks DPJ's explosiveness—as do most humans—and looks about like he did when he got on the field this year: very good blocker, big target, good routes. Strong belief he can be a quality #2 receiver this year, and an okay #1 if necessary.
With Grant Perry still being held out, Eddie McDoom is getting a long look in the slot and "doing McDoom things," which I interpret to mean breaking tackles on end-arounds. A surprise name is Nate Schoenle, a redshirt freshman walk-on from Ann Arbor. Schoenle has good size—listed at 6'2" on the roster—for a slot and when he committed his coach thought he had a shot:
“Nate’s a late bloomer but his upside is pretty steep, so they’re getting a pretty good preferred walk-on candidate,” said Gabriel Richard coach Mike Girskis. “He’s got fantastic speed, decent size and he’s working really hard in the weight room. His potential is exceptionally high from what I can see; I think he’s going to start as a project and wind up a steal.”
Girskis has called Schoenle the best receiver Gabriel Richard has had, citing his 40-yard dash time of below 4.5 as proof of his ability to excel at the college level. He also said his high academic scores are evidence of his capabilities as a quick learner.
Those academic scores were enough to get him pre-admitted to Ross. He's making the most of his opportunity. Slot is a place where 'Bama's running out Oregon State and BGSU transfers, so Schoenle's in the right spot to make an impact as a walk-on. There's one report that's not sure who #29 is; a dollar says it's Schoenle.
Folks who have been intermittently available include Drake Harris and Moe Ways. Tarik Black has also sat out some; when he's in he's a tough cover with his size and physicality. He's a contested-ball guy at worst with some long speed upside.
At tight end (or maybe wide receiver), Zach Gentry has been making a ton of catches early with the second unit. Nate Eubanks is getting a significant amount of run, some problem with drops. With Asiasi gone, TJ Wheatley is getting first team reps—Bunting's been held out some. Wheatley looks like a terrific receiver but his blocking remains a work in progress.
Ruiz is key
As always, difficult for sideline observers to discern much about the most complicated spot on the field but one thing seems clear: Mason Cole is going to move back outside. Michigan is running Patrick Kugler, Cesar Ruiz, and redshirt freshman walk-on Andrew Vastardis at center, and while Cole has probably taken some reps there all the reports I have talk about him on the outside with various mentions of the other three guys at center.
Kugler is leading right now but the Ruiz hype is real. Like Mike Onwenu he's shed a significant amount of weight and is still stunningly large for an underclassman: he's at 320, down from 340, and people expect him to push his way into the starting lineup sooner or later.
Onwenu, meanwhile looks the part, "bullying" various folks lined across from him. You can mark his name down in pencil as a starter.
Right tackle is currently Juwann Bushell-Beatty, with Bredeson sticking inside at guard. I assume they'll look at Bredeson on the outside if they think Ruiz and Kugler can play together; this is not based on any practice reports but rather your author's charting of last year's OL.
OL numbers are currently very low with a couple of guys not in pads, with a significant number of walk-ons on the second unit. Michigan of course tried to recruit a bazillion OL last year, and until the rest of the folks arrive in fall it's going to be patchwork.
Four-star Atlanta (GA) Westlake CB Myles "Spider" Sims announced his commitment to Michigan today, less than a month removed from an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor. Sims is a Michigan transplant—his parents worked for GM—so this is a homecoming of sorts.
— SPIDER (@simsmyles) April 7, 2017
One of Michigan's top 2018 targets, Sims is the fourth commit in the class, joining IN OG Emil Ekiyor, MI DE Aidan Hutchinson, and GA OLB Otis Reese. All are four-star prospects.
4*, #11 CB,
4*, #8 CB,
4*, 80, #17 S,
3*, 88, #38 CB,
4*, #17 CB,
There's a significant split in Sims' rankings, though if his offer sheet is any indication, that gap is going to close in the direction of the bullish Scout/Rivals rankings.
A major reason so many top programs want Sims is his size. At 6'3", 173 lbs. (Scout and 247 list him at a more specific 6'2.5"), he projects as either a corner in the Stribling/Clark mold or a rangy safety.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, offers, video, and more.]
Silent no more! Michigan has pulled a long, very well regarded defensive back out of Georgia.
— SPIDER (@simsmyles) April 7, 2017
4*, 5.9, #8 CB
4*, 80, #17 CB,
3*, 88, #38 CB,
4*, #17 CB,
Informative update cometh.
Your initial impressions of Wilton?
“I’ve been very impressed with Wilton. Wilton is a conceptual learner, and so some of the things that we’ve put on his plate up until this point in the spring, I mean, he’s a quick study. And football’s important to Wilton. Winning is important to Wilton. So, very impressed with him.”
I don’t want to say you’re inheriting a quarterback, but he was here before you got here. What are the challenges of that, because he was actually here before Jim got here as well—what are the challenges of stepping in and having a guy who’s already been tabbed the starter and going from there?
“I wouldn’t say that it’s a challenge for me. I think it’s probably more of a challenge for Wilton to adjust to a different style of coaching than what he was used to, than what he had in years past. We haven’t had any issues. I think Wilton understands that, as the quarterback for the University of Michigan, the expectations
You’ve moved back to the college game from the pro game. Do you have to change how you coach or your expectation level when you’re dealing with a college kid as opposed to who you’re dealing with in the pros?
“No, you don’t have to change how you coach, but you have less time with your players. I think it’s more of a challenge when you’re trying to put a lot of volume or put a lot on their plate to get them to the point where they can handle all of the information and all of the strategy that you try to implement at times. But the kids here at the University of Michigan, they’re tough and they’re smart so they’re able to adjust and adapt to some of the concepts, for example, that we’re going to use this upcoming season.”
Why come back to the college level?
“I want to win a national championship.”
[After THE JUMP: working with Wilton, rotating centers, and Don Brown’s headache-inducing defense]