The Saline Police Department arrested University of Michigan starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in Ann Arbor Saturday night on charges of operating a vehicle while impaired, according to Detective Don Lupi.
Details are still forthcoming. DUI is usually a suspension-level offense even for a first-timer, so Michigan may have just lost its starting tailback for a slightly important game. A reminder: Stonum's enforced redshirt was after two DUIs and repeated failure to do what the court told him to. Toussaint's not in the same boat.
last time: irrelevant. this time: apt metaphor
The bomb. Mark Emmert dropped it, and dropped it with unprecedented speed. The actual penalties are harsh but along the same lines as they usually are: bowl bans, scholarship reductions, and fines. Penn State's ban is four years, their scholarship reductions are 10 a year for four years, their roster limit is 65, and their fine is staggering. Penn State also vacates all its wins from 1998 to 2011, erasing Paterno's name from many record books.
This is all very terrible, and let's think of the victims.
Now let's think about football with our reptile brains.
Can we poach Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? A standard corollary to any bowl ban is to waive transfer restrictions on players whose eligibility expires before the ban does. This makes the entire Penn State roster fair game. Furthermore, John Infante says the NCAA is "considering waiving [the] scholarship limit" for schools that accept PSU transfers, something they have officially declared now. The catch is they'd have to pay that scholarship back the next year. In any case, that doesn't apply to Michigan, which is still trying to get up to a full complement of 85 after the Rodriguez attrition fiesta. Right now they've got 78 on scholarship.
The last remaining catch is the Big Ten's intra-conference transfer rule, which was recently nerfed from not being able to offer a scholarship at all to this:
The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference, starting with the 2011-12 season. The new rule allows transfers to receive a grant-in-aid from their new school, but reduces their remaining athletic eligibility by a year. That penalty could have been waived if Wisconsin did not block him [Jared Uthoff] from Big Ten schools.
Penn State has lost the power to block transfers at all, so it may be a free for all not only for various Big East schools but also Michigan itself. Delany has taken some time out from crushing coaches' heads, Kids in the Hall style, to mention the Big Ten is likely to throw the floodgates open:
Both current Penn State players and incoming recruits will be able to transfer and be eligible immediately. Although a transfer within the Big Ten could result in some penalties, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday that the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors are leaning toward allowing such transfers with no penalties.
The answer here appears to be "yes."
Would we even want to poach any Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? And maybe a tight end? A quick glance at the roster reveals a few guys who could shore up weak spots: DT Jordan Hill was honorable mention All Big Ten and Michigan could really use him at either NT or 3-tech. Anthony Zettel is a touted recruit from Michigan coming off a redshirt… but taking Zettel complicates Michigan's efforts to get 24 guys into its 2013 class since his eligibility does not expire after this year. In general, Michigan's looking for the equivalent of fifth-year transfers in basketball. Guys who might be of interest:
- WR Justin Brown, a senior who was PSU's second-leading receiver with 35 catches last year.
- DT James Terry, Devon Still's backup last year and a guy who will probably move into the starting lineup if he doesn't flee the blast radius.
- DT DaQuan Jones, another backup last year. He's entering his junior season and would require taking the 2013 class down to 23.
- Maybe some tight end but it's tough to say who. PSU's most experienced returner is Kevin Haplea, who had three catches last year and is listed at 248 pounds.
- While it's hypothetically possible an OL could transfer, no one's coming in to play backup tackle, so what's the point?
PSU's very good LBs are seniors but with Michigan returning three starters and grooming an army of youngsters behind them it's doubtful M is the most attractive place should any of them want to transfer.
Would any of these guys even want to leave? When this happened to USC, the Trojans suffered a half-dozen transfers, but the guys who left were universally backups. (That link also includes Seantrel Henderson, but he was a recruit let out of his LOI, so that's maybe not the best example.) It's doubtful any of the PSU seniors will abandon a sure starting gig for uncertainty elsewhere with coaches who haven't thought about you since you were a recruit. They're weighing certainty and loyalty over a one-year cameo somewhere else. Anyone expecting PSU's starting 22 to defect en masse is going to be surprised.
The carnage will be greater with younger kids, who haven't had as much time to develop a fondness for PSU and State College and are staring down the prospect of never going to a bowl again. This doesn't help Michigan much since they want a quick-fix quasi JUCO thing that won't force a player out of the next recruiting class. Few of the players PSU has brought in over the past few years seem worthy of sacrificing that spot. Maybe Zettel, maybe CJ Olaniyan. Past that you're looking at a legion of three-stars and two-stars, guys who don't fit Michigan's positional needs, etc.
Would Michigan even pursue these guys? Probably not. Brady Hoke was recruiting in California or the MAC when these guys were on the market. It would be a surprise if any were on his radar. They might also feel icky about raiding PSU, and they are very confident in their recruiting and evaluation.
On the other hand, you've got an honorable mention All Big Ten DL out there who might enjoy a Rose Bowl…
What about poaching guys who haven't showed up on campus yet? PSU's 2012 LOIs have been invalidated but Urban Meyer already picked PSU's bones clean before signing day. PSU's got one Rivals 250 guy, WR Eugene Lewis. Do you want him or LaQuon Treadwell? Right.
Meanwhile, PSU's 2013 class has the nation's top TE, but Adam Breneman just blew out his ACL. They've also got a touted SDE type in Garrett Sickels who briefly listed Michigan before committing to PSU. Michigan is not the team who will take advantage of the explosion.
Michigan is unlikely to go after anyone who would have eligibility after 2012 but could be interested in one-and-done transfers. Their most obvious needs are WR, TE, and DL, and Penn State has one third-WR type and a couple of starting-ish DTs available. Michigan may look into acquiring Jordan Hill or James Terry. More likely is that the trail of refugees heads to Big East schools.
With the talk of a potentially impending commitment from Laquon Treadwell, Tremendous noted that he might be the most highly touted receiver recruit in Michigan history (extending only to the modern recruiting era, of course).
The prompted me to look at the actual recruiting history of Michigan and fill out a Hall of
Fame Highly Touted roster, ie the most highly regarded players to sign Letters of Intent to Michigan from 2002-2012. Players are ranked only on their recruiting stature. If a player was ranked at different positions by multiple sites, I tried to go with the site that ranked them highest. Without further ado, your Michigan 5-Star Recruiting Hall of Highly Touted.
Michigan’s newest members of the Hall of Highly Touted
Quarterback - Ryan Mallet-(90 points)
Was ranked behind Jimmy Clausen as the number 2 QB in the 2007 class and top 20 overall on three sites. Saw action for an injured Chad Henne during his true freshman season before transferring to Arkansas after Lloyd Carr retired. Was a third round draft choice of the Patriots.
Running Back - Kevin Grady (80)
A consensus five star and top 5 RB in 2005. Showed signs his freshman year after becoming Michigan’s first early enrollee but injuries, legal trouble and the presence of Mike Hart all restricted him from matching his on field results to his profile.
Wide Receivers - Mario Manningham (71) and Antonio Bass (69)
Manningham was Michigan’s most productive wide receiver to come after the 2002 class, twice earning all Big Ten and was a 2nd Team All American in 2007. Was drafted in the third round and made a crucial catch in the Giants Super Bowl win last February.
Antonio Bass saw limited action as a true freshman in 2005 before blowing out his knee in the spring of 2006. Was never able to play again.
Tight End - Will Paul (68)
Scout considered him the #2 Tight End in 2003. Played defensive tackle and fullback at Michigan.
Other skill position - Darryl Stonum (67)
Consensus Top 75 player and Top 15 wide receiver in the 2008 class. Set the single season kickoff return yardage record in 2009 and had a decent 2010 season before a fourth alcohol related incident ended his Michigan career last year.
Offensive Line - Stephen Schilling (73), Justin Boren (72), Kyle Kalis (69), Brett Gallimore (61), Dann O’Neill (58)
Schilling was a sixth round pick in the NFL draft. Boren took his plow and his family values to Ohio. Kalis pulled a reverse Boren and abandoned the Buckeyes and will be a freshman this season. Gallimore switched to defensive line without making much of an impact on either side. O’Neill transferred to Western Michigan after a redshirt season.
Defensive End - LaMarr Woodley (85) and Tim Jamison (69)
Woodley finished his Michigan career with a consensus first team All-American season in 2006 followed by a second round pick in the NFL draft. He was Scout’s #1 ranked defensive end in 2003 and Rivals’ #3 inside linebacker.
Tim Jamison was a top eight defensive end to both services in 2004 but had an under-the-radar career at Michigan. Despite not winning any major postseason awards and going undrafted, Jamison posted the two highest EV season for a Michigan defensive lineman not named Brandon Graham, and has spent three years in the NFL with the Houston Texans.
Defensive Tackle - Marques Slocum (78) and Ondre Pipkins (69)
Marques Slocum only spent a season in Ann Arbor after earning a five star rating from Scout in 2005 but his internet legend will live on forever.
Pipkins comes to Michigan with high expectations of replacing Mike Martin as a true freshman. Hopefully his football career is as great as Slocum’s answers to the quiz.
Linebacker - Brandon Graham (83), Jim Presley (69) and Joe Bolden (61)
Brandon Graham may have suffered through some of the worst defenses Michigan has ever fielded but he did his part to live up to recruiting expectations. Despite ending up on the line, Graham was rated by all the services as a five star linebacker in 2006. Graham was the only player on this list that was ultimately selected in the first round of the draft.
Jim Presley was a four star Top 75 linebacker recruit in 2003 who never was able to cut it academically at Michigan.
Joe Bolden enters his freshman season with Michigan as a consensus four star.
Safety - Prescott Burgess (90) and Jonas Mouton (68)
No Michigan recruit has come with higher ratings than Prescott Burgess. Rivals saw him as the #1 safety in the country in 2003 and Scout saw him as the #3 linebacker. Burgess wasn’t a total bust but never earned more than Honorable Mention All Big Ten and was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
Like Burgess, Mouton ultimately saw his career at Michigan come at the linebacker position. Mouton was up and down at Michigan but was selected in the second round of the draft.
Cornerback - Donovan Warren (74) and Boubacar Cissoko (59)
Warren had three solid seasons before going undrafted as a surprise early entry. Coming out of high school, Warren was considered one of top five corner backs to both Scout and Rivals.
Cissoko paired with Warren to start the 2009 season before legal issues saw him kicked off of the team. His legacy lives on as Teric Jones, Delonte Hollowell and Terry Richardson all committed to come from Cass Tech to Michigan, none of which cracked 5’10.
Defensive line was easily the most competitive position with seven players missing the cut that were rated higher than peers who made it other positions. Chad Henne, Gabe Watson, Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Shawn Crable and Devin Gardner were notable names who were higher than other but not high enough at their position.
Of the 22 players on the list, seven went on to get drafted by the NFL, eight failed to finish their career at Michigan, five finished their career at Michigan without being drafted and Kyle Kalis, Joe Bolden and Ondre Pipkins are yet to begin their careers.
Lloyd Carr brought in nearly all of those players, with between 2 and 4 players from each class from 2002-2007. The 2008 hybrid class had three players on it, none of whom ultimately contributed substantially. In his first full class, Brady Hoke has three new additions to the list and Kyle Bosch and Patrick Kugler are all poised to knock Gallimore and O’Neill from the list once they ink their names in February. If Treadwell ultimately signs then he will knock off Antonio Bass and potentially move in front of Manningham depending on where the final ratings land.
Boubacar Cissoko is far and away the lowest rated player on the list (once the 2013 players join). His consensus value is 59 points. After his spot the two 2013 lineman and Joe Bolden are the lowest rated players, in the low 60s. Everyone else on the list is at least 67 points. Overall Most Touted Recruits are Prescott Burgess for the defense and Ryan Mallett for the offense.
Yes. They still. Even though the Michigan Hall of Highly Touted is a mixed bag tilted more towards busts than wins, I am a still a firm believer that recruiting ratings matter. The important distinction is that recruiting is a volume game, not an individual game. There is still a low rate of individuals living up to their recruiting hype, but if your team is deep with talented players, you should do pretty well.
The recruiting rankings return this week with Northwestern(!) making a big move up the board. Also, the fallout begins from the Freeh Report and the teams at the bottom begin to fill in their classes. Changes since the last rankings:
7-8-12: Notre Dame picks up Alex Anzalone. Minnesota picks up Chris Wipson.
7-9-12: Nebraska picks up Johnny Stanton.
7-12-12: Iowa picks up Jon Wisnieski. Northwestern picks up Matt Harris. Minnesota picks up Jordan Hinojosa. Indiana picks up Danny Friend.
7-13-12: Tre'vell Dixon decommits from Nebraska. Northwestern picks up Jayme Taylor.
7-17-12: Northwestern picks up Anthony Walker Jr. and Brett Walsh. Purdue picks up Parker Cothren and Myles Norwood.
7-19-12: Ohio State picks up Taivon Jacobs.
7-20-12: Purdue picks up Johnny Thompson.
7-21-12: Greg Webb decommits from Penn State.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^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.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses early returns on Shane Morris at the Elite 11 finals, 7-on-7 highlights of Khalid Hill and Csont'e York, and a few happy trails in both the '13 and '14 classes. Also included is an interview with 2014 TX CB Nick Watkins.
Arm Cannon: Engaged
Embedded again, both for informative purposes and so I can make a "Tom Luginbill got his watch from a Happy Meal" joke.
The Elite 11 finals are under way in California, and naturally they feature Shane Morris throwing a football a very long distance:
So the QBs are throwing 55 yards at a target, Shane Morris dropped back to the 35 and hit the End line, 75 yards
— Scott Kennedy (@ScoutKennedy) July 19, 2012
Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris clearly has the biggest arm at the event and loves to show it off. But this is even more encouraging: He is improving his touch and the ball didn't sail on him nearly as frequently as it has in past showcases. His long ball wobbled a bit, but it wasn't too concerning. Morris' ceiling is very, very high.
And his Day 2 performance even moreso, as he landed atop Farrell's list of standouts ($):
1. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle - Morris earned the gold jersey for the afternoon after winning the accuracy contest in the morning and he continued his fine play in 7-on-7 situations. While all of the quarterbacks have been encouraged to check down quickly, Morris keeps his eyes downfield more than others, has a cannon arm and fit the ball into some tight windows. He still clearly prefers to throw to his left so he needs to work on field vision, but he has shown the most overall tools through two days.
The lefty's tendency to focus on only half of the field appears to be the area he must work on the most, as it also cropped up in Scout's rundown of the second day's top performers ($):
4. Shane Morris - There shouldn't be much question of who has the strongest arm any more. Including the college players acting as counselors, the strongest arm at the Elite 11 Finals belongs to Morris. When push comes to shove, Morris has a laser-like focus on the left side of the field. That's a habit he'll need to outgrow.
That arm, though; counselors at the event include Georgia's Aaron Murray and Clemson's Tajh Boyd, and if Scout is to be believed Morris already has more arm strength than those two.
With the event still ongoing, I'll have more on Morris's Elite 11 performance in Tuesday's roundup. Other early standouts include Miami commit Kevin Olsen, USC commit Max Browne, and Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire.
Khalid Hill And Csont'e York 7-on-7 Highlights
GBW's Josh Newkirk recently uploaded Maximum Exposure player highlights from the IMG 7-on-7 National Championships, giving us a close look at tight end commit Khalid Hill...
...as well as wide receiver commit Csont'e York:
Hill's more extensive highlight reel suggests that he was a more frequent target of Morris at the event, and you can see why: he does a nice job working underneath the coverage as well as finding space up the seam. York gives defenders trouble with his length, but the brief clip doesn't tell us a whole lot more about him as you can't see him run most of the routes.
Speaking of MaxEx, 247's Steve Wiltfong recapped their summer performances thus far, including blurbs on Morris, York, Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Damon Webb, and Malik McDowell.
Not much news on the 2013 recruiting front this week, but we do have a few happy trails, unfortunately.
It should come as no surprise that TN RB Jordan Wilkins pledged to Auburn after previously eliminating the Wolverines from contention. VA RB Derrick Green is now the lone remaining running back target in the class.
There had been some talk of five-star FL CB Vernon Hargreaves III putting Michigan back into the mix in his recruitment, but he tweeted yesterday that he won't be able to visit Ann Arbor; he's releasing a top five momentarily, and the Wolverines won't be on it.
HI DT Scott Pagano named a top four of LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Clemson, and will name his choice on August 10th ($). He hasn't visited Michigan and I don't believe the coaches are taking another defensive tackle regardless.
OH LB Michael Ferns has already narrowed his list down to a final three of Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame. ESPN's Jared Shanker reveals he's also ahead of the game when it comes to academics:
Ferns will return to the Red Devils basketball team after taking his sophomore year off. His head coach at St. Clairsville, Brett McLean, said Ferns will be in the running for valedictorian in 2014, and to top it off the imposing, hard-hitting linebacker is preparing to go pre-med when he gets to college.
"As soon as I got into high school science and math stuck out for me," Ferns said. "From a social aspect, I feel like I could make (football and pre-med) work. Every college at this level is going to have a great education. I'm focusing on going to school but also the opportunities I'll have after my four years and what it takes to finish up pre-med."
[ed-S: Med School rankings by USN&WR, just sayin': Michigan-10th; Penn State-unranked, at least worse than 110th; Notre Dame-doesn't have one]
Matt Pargoff recently caught up with Ferns, who says he's looking to make a decision by the end of his junior year, and he plans on graduating early. Ferns made trips with his whole family to Notre Dame and Penn State, but on his prior visit to Ann Arbor was accompanied only by his father; he plans to rectify that situation for next weekend's BBQ at the Big House.
Those hoping Cass Tech CB Damon Webb would make an early decision to Michigan might want to temper those expectations after Webb camped at LSU and came away with an offer ($). Webb's father told Allen Trieu that a decision won't come until "probably this time next year," and they'll make a return trip to Baton Rouge before then. He's also quoted by Steve Wiltfong($) as saying that "LSU is right up there with Michigan." Webb is looking like a top-100 player who will garner attention from a who's-who list of national powers, which gives me the feeling his recruitment is far from over, even though Michigan holds home-field advantage.
Here's a fun example of why I don't often post links here when recruits say they want to visit a school but don't set a date. Two days ago, 247's Todd Worly posted an article on FL ATH Javon Harrison containing this quote($):
“I’ll try to visit [Michigan],” Harrison said. “I’ll try to go this fall during the week, and I probably could make it for a game. Probably both.”
On the same day as the article was posted, Harrison announced his commitment to Virginia Tech. It's always a good idea to take any quote like the above with a grain of salt when it's given to a reporter from a team-specific site.
Joining Harrison in the happy trails category are AZ OT Casey Tucker, who pledged to USC this week, and SC LB K.C. Crosby, who will choose on Sunday between a final five that doesn't include Michigan ($).
An Interview With Nick Watkins
TX CB Nick Watkins has already garnered offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. He's also ranked as the #36 overall prospect in the class of 2014 by 247. At 6'0", 180 pounds, he has frame to be an elite cornerback, and with those early offers it's easy to see him maintaining his blue-chip status through the recruiting process. I had the chance to briefly chat with Nick earlier this week, and here's the transcript of our interview:
ACE: First of all, which schools have been in contact with you the most so far, and how many offers are you up to?
NICK: I am up to I think 13, and all of the schools have been in contact with my coaches about me.
ACE: Do you have any favorites or a top list right now?
NICK: Nah, not really, all of them are at the top right now.
ACE: What do you know about Michigan, and what was your reaction to getting an offer from them?
NICK: I know that they're a winning program, with great tradition. My reaction was surprised because they hadn't sent me any mail or been in contact with my coaches until the last week of spring football.
ACE: Now that they've offered have you been in touch with the coaches more? If so, which coach or coaches do you talk to?
NICK: Yes, I have been. I talk to Coach Mallory and Coach Funk.
ACE: What schools have you visited so far, and do you have plans to take any visits during the rest of the summer?
NICK: I only visited Texas. And nah, not right now.
ACE: I know it's a long way away, but what factors will determine where you want to go to school?
NICK: The education [is] first. So a good business major! Also, where I can compete and get on the field early, a good school atmosphere and a good coaching staff!
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say is your biggest strength and what do you want to improve before you get to the next level?
NICK: My biggest strength would be my length. I have great hips for a tall corner, and I can make plays! I want to improve my strength right now.
|Toledo, OH – 6'5", 270|
||Scout||4*, #21 DE, #164 overall|
|Rivals||3*, #21 SDE, #22 OH|
|ESPN||4*, #17 DE, #6 OH|
|24/7||4*, #4 SDE, #4 OH, #72 overall|
|Other Suitors||Ohio State|
|YMRMFSPA||A bigger RVB|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Tim. Ace checks out Whitmer games against Central Catholic and AB Lucas Secondary School.|
|Notes||Toledo Whitmer (Kevin Koger)|
Wormley doesn't have an extensive reel from either his junior or senior years, just brief clips:
Ace did get out to see him twice, though. Once he annihilated some overmatched Canadians, so it's probably better to check him out against Central Catholic:
Chris Wormley was a classic Michigan-Ohio State battle from the start, albeit one slanted heavily in Michigan's favor due to a combination of family circumstances. He is also the subject of one of the Michigan recruiting world's most persistent ongoing unhinged rants: WHY DOES JOSH HELMHOLDT HATE CHRIS WORMLEY? If you have a Rivals subscription, you've read that dozens of times. I don't know. Don't ask me. Leave it alone, man.
There is a clear split in analyst opinion, starting of course with Helmholdt's stubborn adherence to his opinion in the face of people on the internet being mad at him. This is a requirement for having a credible opinion, but he didn't explain why on paper much. A single report from the road is the clearest expression of Helmholdt's opinion that didn't get tossed off the deck of a message board months ago. He starts by calling him an "enigma" and noting his "great size and frame," then gets into the negatives($):
He is a solid, muscular kid and opposing offensive linemen rave about his strength. With those physical attributes we have been looking for Wormley to make more of an impact, but again on Friday night he finished with just a couple of assisted tackles and one tackle for loss. He is a big target and has trouble playing small; offensive tackles have no problem getting into him quickly. Wormley shows great speed when he gets out and runs in the open field, but he lacks the quick-twitch explosiveness you like to see out of college defensive ends. With his size and potential for future growth, he may be best suited to bump down to the defensive tackle position in college where his strength should allow him to be an effective gap plugger.
Meanwhile, ESPN's evaluation($) is heavy on words like "solid" and "good":
He has a good get-off and quickly gets moving on the snap of the ball. With his size you would hope can be tough against the run and he delivers. His good burst coupled with his ability to maintain good pad level and bring his hands allows him to take on blockers and hold his ground. He displays the ability to not only take on a block and maintain position, but also locate the ball and shed. He runs well for his size and has good range…. He is a solid tackler. Wormley is also a good pass rusher. His quickness off the ball helps him, but once in motion he displays a good feel for getting to the quarterback. He is not a kid that will run by blockers, but displays the ability and arsenal to make blockers pay for making a mistake and should only get better with further development.
So you're getting the idea: a large dude who is not going to be a terror in the backfield. This is the negative-ish side of the split. It's a split that… ACE ANBENDER is a member of?
Wormley's best way to get penetration was to simply run right around his blocker, and while this was nice to see in terms of evaluating his quickness, it brings up another point of concern—how is a 6'6", 270-pound Michigan-bound DE not completely flattening the 6'2", 225-pound offensive tackle across from him with malicious regularity? Again, motor wasn't the issue, but instead pad level; Wormley can get low on occasion, but several times he stood right up off the snap and let the tackle get right into him, turning him into a non-factor. This is more disconcerting to me than the questions about his motor, especially if Wormley ends up moving inside at the next level. Anyone who's watched Will Campbell knows the importance of pad level, and also how difficult it can be for a big, tall lineman to correct that issue.
I don't want to sound down on Wormley, as I really think he could turn into a star if he fixes his pad level and improves on his technique (the play diagnosis I think comes down to coaching—Chris is a bright kid), but I'm not sure he'll be able to come in and be a big contributor right off the bat, as many have hoped. I think it's more realistic to expect Wormley to take a year or two to work his way into the rotation as he learns to get low and figures out where he best fits along the defensive line. From there, just about anything can happen—Wormley looks like a boom-or-bust type, and I honestly can't say which way I think it'll go.
Son of a gun. That's from Ace scouting one of the same games Helmholdt took in, FWIW, and one that saw him rack up just a couple of solo tackles and some hurries.
On the other side are some of the local folk. Bucknuts ranked Wormley the top player in Ohio all year despite having plenty of plausible OSU-bound defensive linemen to choose from. Mark Porter's comments help explain why. This from Mark Porter is from before the season…
“Wormley may have the best frame in this class. His wingspan is like a 747 jumbo jet and he runs around like an athlete, not a big man. Once he gets to college and fills out his frame, the NFL should come calling on him. He just has too much upside to ignore.”
…and this one is even more tantalizing:
“If you get a chance to see Wormley in person, he already has the look of half the defensive linemen in the NFL. Sometimes you don't have to know much about football to see that a prospect was given a little bit more talent than everyone else. Wormley literally makes playing high school football easy. Blessed with long arms and great leverage, he is unblockable because people can't get into his body to attack him.
“Wormley has such great feet and speed, he can avoid blockers and run around them when needed. … If Wormley reaches his potential in college, he could be an NFL first-round pick with the skill set he possesses.”
Wormley held his rankings from Bucknuts to Signing Day in a loaded field of Ohio DL, and this trickled up to 247 in general. That service ranked him far higher than anyone else and kept on with the NFL stuff:
Chris Wormley could become an un-blockable defensive end for the Wolverines with his combination of size, strength, and athleticism. Wormley reminds me a little of former NFL all-pro Jason Taylor.
Scout wasn't quite as enthusiastic but they were still high on Wormley relative to the skeptic-types above. When he committed Allen Trieu and Bill Greene both agreed($) that he was a large human with some consistency issues but excellent upside. Greene:
At the Ohio State camp, he was paired with Pittman, McMullen, Washington, LaTroy Lewis and they were all impressive. He definitely belongs in the top group of ends in Ohio. He's a big, quick athlete. I don't think he's as refined as he needs to be, and he has to make sure he doesn't get too bottom heavy, but talent wise and physically, he's a ten.
Production complaints from the haterz don't seem to be backed up by the numbers. Wormley had 90 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior; this year he had 85 tackles, 24 TFL, and 13 sacks. High school numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially when some of them are racked up against terrified Canadians trying to find the blue line, but those look like properly ludicrous numbers for a touted recruit.
Where exactly Wormley ends up is not yet known—and may not matter that much. Insert usual bit about how the SDE and three-tech DT aren't that different in Mattison's system. All the same, we guess. The guess here is SDE. Amongst Michigan's incoming DL who aren't exclusively ticketed for WDE (Mario Ojemudia) or nose tackle (Ondre Pipkins), he's probably third of four in the "most likely to be a tackle" competition. As I see it from most to least tackle-like:
- Willie Henry (NT or 3-tech)
- Matt Godin (pure 3-tech)
- Chris Wormley (3-tech or SDE)
- Tom Strobel (pure SDE)
This may be changing as time does Things to People. Wormley seems to be getting bigger all the time. When Rivals hit a Nike camp in 2010, Wormley was 6'4", 235, which is plausible WDE territory. He spent some time listed at 6'5", 250, then moved up to 260, and is now being listed at 6'6" or even 6'7" some places, and at 270. FWIW, he says he's 6'5"/6'6" and 270.
He may be approaching college-ready size by the time fall rolls around, and it seems like his playing weight is going to be around 300 when all is said and done. This is plausible for SDE—RVB was 295—but some people think he'll outgrow it:
* Wiltfong Comment: “With Wormley, he’s pretty much going to be a defensive tackle when all is said and done at Michigan. He will be a massive human being once he gets into a college weight room. He is like Spence and Washington, but he is a bigger guy that still is pretty explosive off the snap. He has good burst and plays with good pad level. He is well coached. He can take an offensive lineman, get off of him quickly and go make a play.”
I think Wiltfong is kind of right in that he would not be able to stick at DE in a 4-3 even, but may not be taking Michigan's system and needs into account there. Still, he is a big dude right now…
…even if 6'7" is probably an exaggeration. He will only get bigger.
Given the roster context, Wormley is likely to stick at SDE. He'll moonlight at three-tech on passing downs when Michigan (presumably) lifts its battleship nose tackle and doubles up on the edge rushers.
"He was acting all cool and everything," Wormley said, laughing. "I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but you have to kind of put on the Ravens fan mask when he shows up."
Magnus was pretty meh.
Why Ryan Van Bergen? Wormley figures to be a guy who can play either of the two positions RVB manned capably for years…
"I think the biggest thing with him will be, is he an inside or an outside guy? I think he ends up as a combo guy, a la Ryan Van Bergen. I think he just needs to be consistent, but he has elite tools."
…and he's got the size to be an excellent run defender. RVB was good-not-great at getting into the backfield, and Wormley will probably be the same. Wormley has more size and thus more upside—RVB did not get a whole lot of NFL interest. It is yet to be seen whether Wormley will have RVB's all-out motor and terrific balance.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. A highly scouted guy but the differences in opinion are wide, so it's not easy to get a clear picture.
Variance: Moderate. Size and strength should see him at least be a solid contributor and okay upperclassman starter barring the usual things that prevent that (legal stuff, injury). Floor is high. Ceiling is also high.
Ceiling: Very high. A lot of local observers see an NFL frame walking around waiting to be tapped.
General Excitement Level: High. This is short of MASSIVE WOO because there's a side of bust potential (or at least disappointment potential) in the above evaluations. Yeah, mostly from one guy but that guy does have a lot of experience and can't be dismissed out of hand, but even the guys who are saying nice things about him provide a side serving of caution.
Ace brought up the leverage thing, and that's a salient point. If Wormley doesn't get there the ghosts of Pat Massey and Will Campbell, large men too tall for their position, will loom. Unless the ghost of Will Campbell is hanging out in the we-killed-the-Death-Star shot with Chris Perry and Bennie Joppru as exemplars of guys who had unexpectedly great senior years. Then it will just be Massey. This would be preferable. I digress.
Projection: With depth at SDE painfully low—walk-on Nate Brink is essentially the only non-freshman option—and Wormley coming in at a hefty 270 or 280, a redshirt is unlikely. Wormley wants this…
“Hopefully I’ll play right away,” Wormley said. “I’ll work hard and when I get there we’ll see what happens. My goal is to play as a true freshman - get in a few series – and hopefully start.”
…and he might get it. Wormley will battle Brink to be the rotation guy behind Roh; both are likely to get meaningful snaps. Redshirt freshman Keith Heitzman will also figure in.
In 2013 it'll be a three-way battle for the starting job between Brink, Wormley, and Heitzman. I'd guess Brink gets the job, but there's a strong chance Wormley is a four-year contributor and multi-year starter.