to play football, not to play trumpet
Thursday, January 21, 2016
#6 Michigan 5, US NTDP U18 2 (Exhibition)
Suthers goal, NTDP
M 0 U18 1 EV 03:54 Assists: Pastujov & Walker
Walker gains possession at the top of the NTDP’s defensive zone and threads a perfect pass through traffic to Pastujov in the neutral zone. With the puck now ahead of the rest of Michigan’s defense, the US is suddenly on a 2-on-2 rush.
Pastujov does a nice job of feigning toward the center of the ice before pulling the puck across his body and skating around Cecconi. Cecconi knows there’s an open skater to his right and tries to communicate that to Piazza, as he’s decided he’ll carry Pastujov.
Piazza has his stick down in an attempt to take away the passing lane; the only problem is that his stick isn’t in the passing lane. He doesn’t switch defenders, and Pastujov’s pass hits an open Suthers.
All’s not lost, however, as Nagelvoort’s read this well and is prepared for the shot. Then he misses it. It looks like he’s square to the shooter and isn’t sunk back too far in the crease, so this one’s a little ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
[After THE JUMP: Motte does Motte things, and a scouting report of sorts]
FL DE Rashad Weaver has decommitted. He's upset after Harbaugh told him there was only a 50/50 shot they'd have a slot for him on Signing Day and will take one of the other D-I offers he received. Weaver visited Temple recently and will be at USF and Illinois in the near future.
Weaver was one of the players we were assuming would not be in the class. Setting a visit to a non power-5 school is almost always a sign that a player committed to Michigan isn't going to get to Signing Day as a commit, and Weaver set that visit way back in November. He clearly had an idea of his status and moved to do something about it.
Still, you'd hope the past couple weeks inform the staff that in the twitter era you'd better do something a little more explicit than not calling for months if you don't want unpleasant public relations flare-ups on the regular.
1 hour 2 minutes
Nebrasketball is defeated, as was Minnesotaketball. The vagaries of shooting. Zak Irvin, all-around player. Derrick Walton, strange player. Andrew Donnal, serviceable. We play with forces we do not understand and barely come out unscathed.
ACE'S HOCKEY PODCAST
Starts at 19:38. U18 scouting reports from yours truly. Some schedule talk.
INSIDE THE CROOKED BLUE LINE WITH STEVE LORENZ
Starts at 31:41. This segment got outdated somewhat more quickly than we thought it would with three guys dropping between taping and publishing.
"Across 110th Street"
uh... some other stuff
THE USUAL LINKS
Blessed to be Committed to the UofM pic.twitter.com/H4oelVMY5K
— Michael DwumFour (@mike_dwumfour) January 25, 2016
On the same day he announced his decommitment from Penn State, three-star Wayne (NJ) DePaul Catholic DT Michael Dwumfour committed to Michigan, a move many expected after Dwumfour's recent official visit.
Dwumfour is the 25th commit in the 2016 class and the third at defensive tackle, joining Jordan Elliott and Rashad Weaver, both of whom are decent bets to end up elsewhere by NSD. Dwumfour is high school teammates with RB commit Kareem Walker and close friends with #1 overall recruit Rashan Gary; he's the fifth New Jersey native to join the class, and it's highly unlikely he'll be the last.
|3*, #68 DT||3*, NR DT||3*, 78, #48 DT||
3*, 84, #75 DT,
3*, #58 DT,
Dwumfour is a nondescript three-star across the board, and unlike Michigan's two other recent pickups, his offer list mostly fits that profile as well.
All four sites list his size in the same range: 6'2" (6'1.5" on Scout) and 282-286 pounds; his commitment article on Scout lists him at 6'2", 295. He's got the build of a true nose tackle and will easily get above 300 pounds.
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]
RIP to da servers
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michigan was set to have a Signing Day unlike any they'd experienced since Signing Day became a thing. There are usually a smattering of commits and maybe a flip or two. This year was looking to maybe double that level of activity even before Michigan got it in their head to pull the ol' Bobby Bowden out:
Because of the Signing of the Stars event on National Signing Day, I am expecting most (if not all) of Michigan's remaining pledges to be silently committed to the staff until February 3rd. If they don't, it's either because Michigan believes it's their only chance to publicly secure said kid or the kid just doesn't want to wait to make it public.
Obviously that's not 100% with three commits in the last day. In Uche and Mbem-Bosse's case they had officials scheduled so the commits eliminate those schools as threats unless the recruits take the Nate Johnson path.
We have a plan for Signing Day, but if Michigan gets ten commits all bets are off. Let's hope RAILGUN™lives up to its badass name. In lieu of flowers please donate to a fund to investigate Ole Miss recruiting.
Visit weekend fallout other than three commits
— Donald Stewart (@Donald_Stewart8) January 23, 2016
NJ WR Donald Stewart declared Michigan his leader. With Nate Johnson trending to Notre Dame and the rest of the WR class comprised of smaller guys, the 6'4" Stewart brings a unique skillset and should definitely be a take. He just visited his two finalists, so Stanford has little ammo left to catch up with.
Status quo with NJ DE Rashan Gary but we have a little section on him below for the clicks.
Ditto FL WR Eddie McDoom. He did not commit publicly; he did tell various people things were going really well after saying that he would commit if things went, you know, well.
AZ DE Connor Murphy hasn't talked to anyone yet about his visit. Michigan is generally regarded the favorite; his mom came up with him.
We project all of the above in the class in addition to Uche and Mbem-Bosse. On to guys who are still relatively open…
NJ CB Jordan Fuller doesn't say much, and when he does say stuff it's carefully calibrated to not give anything away. He did tell Scout's Brian Dohn that Don Brown showed him "really cool stuff" and that Michigan's defense looked "really fun to play," but for insight you have to go to second-hand stuff.
So let's do that. Dohn says he "knows the job Michigan did with Jabrill Peppers" and "loves" Michigan's academics but that ND and OSU were ahead pre-visit. He cancelled his trip to PSU and is thus down to three; Wiltfong doesn't think ND is much of a threat.
Tim Sullivan notes that rumbles from both ends of Fuller's recruitment seemed positive:
The Michigan staff is feeling good, and perhaps just as telling, we've heard rumblings that the Ohio State coaches are worried about the progress Michigan has made there.
And Rivals mid-Atlantic analyst Adam Friedman on Gary and Fuller:
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) January 25, 2016
The Buckeyes have limited slots and just flipped a DB recruit from Louisville. They would likely still take Fuller. OSU 247 guy Alex Gleitman still thinks it's OSU but offers considerable uncertainty as he says that. Fuller is very much in play.
— Devin Asiasi ⛅️ (@asibo_) January 23, 2016
Finally, reports from CA TE Devin Asiasi and CA DT Boss Tagaloa and people close to them were highly positive, as they usually are. ESPN's Erik McKinney caught up with them. Tagaloa:
"It was much more than I expected. This visit was by far one of the best I've taken. They are really high on my offer list right now and there's a good possibility I could be going there, too."
Asiasi had similarly positive but not definitive statements. UCLA, Washington, and USC are all in play for both. The duo took trips together to the former two and have USC set for next weekend; Asiasi cancelled a midweek visit to Alabama. Lorenz reports that Michigan believes this is one package deal with a high chance of coming to fruition. I believe it. When you're taking all your officials as a pair, that means something.
Whether that's good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. West Coast folk tend to think Asiasi is much more open to departing than Tagaloa. Scout's Greg Biggins:
"…with Boss, it would still be a surprise if he left the state but not as much with Devin, he's very open to everyone right now and fits that Michigan offense really well."
Wiltfong also thinks Tagaloa will stay in the west, with Asiasi an option.
If this is indeed a package Michigan is hoping that Asiasi is the guy driving the bus here, as Michigan is school on his list most likely to let him play tight end for the duration of his career. At this point all of the finalists seem like they're in play.
[After THE JUMP: nothing at all has changed with Rashan Gary but you are still going to click through to confirm this]
Equipped with death stare. [Photo: 247Sports]
Michigan added two commits recruited by new defensive coordinator Don Brown last night. Miami (FL) Columbus OLB/DE Josh Uche joined ILB Elysee Mbem-Bosse (written up yesterday) in a dual Twitter announcement to become the 23rd and 24th commits in the 2016 class.
Uche is a one-time Miami (YTM) commit with an impressive offer sheet for a three-star prospect. He projects as a hybrid pass-rusher, and in that role he has a ceiling much higher than his rankings suggest.
|3*, #53 DE||3*, #22 WDE||3*, 76, #44 OLB||3*, 85, #59 WDE||
3*, #46 WDE,
Uche is regarded as a three-star on all four recruiting sites, though Rivals has him only one position rank away from a fourth star.
His size is likely a big factor in his rankings; he's listed anywhere from 6'1" to 6'3" and 212-217 pounds. He's going to have to add quite a bit of bulk, which always makes a player more difficult to project. Making projection more difficult—and more promising, in this case—is that Uche is a year younger than most of his classmates:
Uche took up football in sixth grade, and age-wise he's a sophomore - he skipped kindergarden.
"I was so big for my age, they couldn't keep me with those other little kids," Uche said.
247's Steve Lorenz notes Brown holds Uche in very high regard, and because he's pegged for a very specific role, the rankings might mean less than normal in this instance:
When we reported last month that Don Brown was very high on Levi Onwuzurike, the idea was that he is going to focus almost fully on guys who show extreme explosion and can get to the quarterback with ease. Uche fits that bill to a tee, and we see him as an outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid eventually that will be used primarily to get to and hit the quarterback. It's why he was identified, evaluated and offered almost immediately by Brown.
For that reason, Uche is a player whose ranking I would completely ignore as far as him being a middling three-star type player. We've talked about Don Brown getting the keys to a Ferrari after driving (insert solid, dependable sedan) at BC for the last three years, and Uche is the kind of player he would have never had a chance with at any of his last stops. Instead, he's been the catalyst behind a nice pull straight out of SEC country.
Uche will come in as a pass-rushing specialist and look to round out his game from there.
The trait that stands out in both Uche's film and scouting reports is his explosiveness. Uche committed early to hometown Miami, and while Rivals still had him listed as a three-star wide receiver, he won D-line MVP honors at Al Golden's camp last June. Uche opened up his recruitment when Golden was fired and found no shortage of quality programs in pursuit.
While still at Boston College, Don Brown came calling with an offer last fall, which spurred Rivals' BC site to evaluate Uche's fit in Brown's defense:
There's no doubt he'd be considered an undersized defensive end. The good thing is that Uche's certainly fast enough to play as an outside linebacker that can either set the edge or get after the passer.
Boston College's coaches have demonstrated that they're not so much worried about players with the 'tweener label. While that might worry some schools and coaches, that's added versatility and a higher likelihood of a player contributing, at least in the eyes of the Eagle coaching staff -- and Don Brown in particular.
Brown made Uche a priority once he got to Michigan; it's clear he still feels the same way even at a program with a much higher talent level.
Scout's Corey Bender gave Sam Webb a quick evaluation after Uche's commitment:
“Uche, who's boasts a time of 4.59 in the 40-yard dash, is explosive off the line of scrimmage and certainly utilizes his speed and quickness to his advantage against bigger, heavy-footed lineman,” said Bender.
“He played his first full season of high school football just last year and is a high-character young man who's just tapping into what he can become over the next four to five years. He's a hybrid that can stand up or shift down and put a hand in the dirt at defensive end. There's no doubting his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield.”
“His best football has yet to come for him.”
That is a SQARQ-verified 4.59 40 (spoiler alert, I guess), which is a phenomenal time for an OLB/DE.
247's Clint Brewster came away very impressed with Uche's pass-rushing ability after waching his senior film:
Uche is a explosive speed rusher coming off the edge. Really productive getting to the quarterback with 14 sacks last season. He’s got the ability to dip around offensive tackles and beat them to the quarterback. Gets his shoulders turned when he rounds corner as pass rusher, gaining the leverage advantage. Uche has some toughness and physicality to him when he finishes and makes contact. Uche isn’t the biggest or the longest defensive end but he’s got outstanding agility and the strength of a much bigger prospect. He doesn’t miss tackles. Uche really plays well out in space. His ability to close on ball carriers is special. I like how physical he is with his hands and he’s got a really good motor. Uche doesn’t get tired and he will get everything out of opposing offensive tackles with his speed and aggressiveness coming off the edge. Not a player that is going to really hold the edge and anchor down against the run.
That bend around the corner is tough to teach. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan noted Uche has the frame to add 50 pounds, called him a "terror off the edge," and said he likes Uche's potential ability to play in space:
Uche will have to improve his technique and variety of pass-rush moves to be a more well-rounded player in college. As long as he can do that and add weight without reducing the speed that makes him so dangerous, he can be an outstanding defensive lineman.
He's also athletic moving side-to-side, and more comfortable playing in space than many high school linebackers - to say nothing of defensive linemen. While he'll have to add levels of complexity to his knowledge of the game in order to maintain that level of success in college, he has the ability to do it.
Speed-rushing around the edge was enough for him to be very productive at the high school level; if he develops a full pass-rushing arsenal then he could be special.
Uche held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, Bowling Green, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, Marshall, Miami (YTM), Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Florida, and Syracuse.
Columbus has produced six four-star prospects since 2002, including two 2017 four-star with Michigan offers, CB Trajan Bandy and DE Guy Thomas. They made the Florida 8A state title game in Uche's junior season before falling to Flanagan, home of three Michigan commits (Devin Bush Jr., Devin Gil, and Josh Metellus).
Per 247, Uche had 34 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles as a junior, then followed that up with a 14-sack campaign as a senior.
FAKE 40 TIME
Uche has a verified, zero-FAKE 40 time of 4.59 seconds. His speed is his most outstanding trait for his position.
Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Uche is a lock to redshirt at his size. His deployment after that will depend on his physical development—he has to bulk up while maintaining that speed/quickness, which can be tricky—and how often Michigan utilizes a hybrid pass-rusher in Brown's defense. He's explosive enough in that role to potentially see the field on passing downs early in his career, though it's more likely he takes a couple years of seasoning before he's ready to make a significant impact. When he's ready, he's got a ton of potential.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan sits at 24 commits in a class that looks increasingly likely to include 30 players. From Mbem-Bosse's post:
Top remaining targets include DT Rashan Gary, ATH Jordan Fuller, CB Lavert Hill, DT Boss Tagaloa, TE Devin Asiasi, WDE Connor Murphy, S Khaleke Hudson, TE Chase Allen, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Donald Stewart, NT Michael Dwumfour, WR/DB Pie Young, and K Quinn Nordin. It looks very likely DT commit Jordan Elliott ends up at Texas, and with other attrition still expected, Michigan could have as many as 10-11 spots to fill to wrap up the class.
Michigan coaches are visiting Elliott today, so that battle is far from over.
Here's the class as it currently stands: