i refuse to even consider this a possibility
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Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway three-star Joel Honigford became Michigan's second offensive tackle commit in the span of a week when he pledged to the Wolverines this afternoon. Honigford is just two days removed from narrowing his recruitment to a top four of Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, and Oregon; his Crystal Ball was 100% for MSU when he made his decision.
Honigford is Michigan's 17th commit in the 2017 class and the third at OT, joining JaRaymond Hall and Andrew Stueber. His commitment bumped Michigan back up to fourth in the 247 Composite team rankings.
|3*, #47 OT||3*, #46 OT||
4*, 82, #26 OT,
3*, 86, #73 OT,
3*, #48 OT,
Scouting reports on Honigford almost universally mention that he's a big upside prospect with plenty of work to do to reach his potential, so it's not a surprise to see that his rankings contain a couple outliers. Scout and Rivals both have him about ten spots in the position rankings away from four-star status; ESPN is easily the most bullish, putting him in their top 200 overall; 247 swings pretty far in the other direction.
Honigford's size is a major part of his appeal. Every site but Rivals (6'5") lists him at 6'6" and in the 275-pound range, and he carries that weight well—he looks (relatively) skinny and has the frame to add plenty of weight.
About that size: Honigford has added quite a bit of weight just in the last year or so. This blurb from Scout's Dave Berk after the Elite Big Man Camp in February 2015 sets the tone for most of Honigford's evaluations:
Only a sophomore, Joel Honigford has a great frame at 6-foot-6, 241-pounds. During drills we came away impressed with his agility and quickness. Must get physically stronger and add bulk going forward but has a bright looking future.
Honigford has packed on about 35 pounds since then and still looks like he can add a lot more. Berk's evaluation also falls in line with everyone else's take on Honigford: good size and athleticism, big upside, needs to bulk up and refine his technique. Scout's free evaluation:
EvaluationHas the desired frame for offensive tackle at the next level. Long, lean, and has continued to fill out through his high school career. Solid athlete. Moves with coordination and balance. Can still improve technique, particularly in pass protection while adding strength and more size to his frame but he has good upside.
- Body Control and Balance
Areas to Improve
- Pass Protection
- Power And Strength
Rivals doesn't have much on Honigford despite hosting him at one of their RCS camps. Josh Helmholdt helped explain why in a board post after Honigford's commitment today when asked why the ratings and offers didn't quite line up:
Upside. His offers are about who he can be, not who he is right now as a player. At the Rivals Camp in Columbus he had a so-so performance, and he's had some so-so performances at other camps I've heard. Needs to improve at the point of attack, needs to improve his fundamentals at the position, but does not lack for any physical tools. We measured him 6-5, 277 at that RCS, and he has the frame to add more weight. He plays light on his feet and certainly has the quicks to catch the outside speed rush. Again, this is a development project, but the tools are there.
While we've documented ESPN's habit of posting scouting reports that don't match their rankings, in this case the split makes sense—while there's a lot of technical nitpicks to make, they like his ceiling:
Displays adequate initial quickness and shows good patience and balance in set, though at times can lunge and get top heavy. Needs to continue to refine, but flashes good punch. Needs to watch pad level, but displays good knee bend with enough lateral mobility to mirror rushers when gets hands on. "Bigger fish in smaller pond" to handle himself [ed-Ace: no idea], but needs to add more mass to help him anchor against power.
Demonstrates ability to get into defenders with good quickness and can come off with pad level, roll hips at contact and gain physical leverage. When gains positioning displays good knee drive to generate push, but still needs to improve size and strength as he faces bigger competition. Displays good balance and body control when asked to pull and work to second level and can locate and get a piece of targets.
It's encouraging to read that he's already able to play with good pad level, even if not consistently, and he possesses the balance and flexibility to develop into an excellent lineman. ESPN concludes that he has "promising upside" and could be either a tackle or a guard, and while he's unlikely to contribute early he can be a "good starter at the Power-5 level."
The running story of Honigford's recruitment was his pursuit of an Ohio State offer. The Buckeyes landed two blue-chip linemen early in the class, and with a small group projected for this cycle they may take as little as one more. As recently as February, Scout's main Ohio guy, Bill Greene, expected Honigford to land that coveted offer:
Joel Honigford. Offensive tackle. Garaway. This just might be a guy with so much potential that forces Ohio State to offer. Has great size and athletic ability. Plays against weak competition, but he could be the next Taylor Decker on the college level. The national offers are starting to roll in. I think he is close to landing the Buckeye offer.
247's Alex Gleitman also expected Honigford to get the call if OSU missed out on a couple top-50 targets. Honigford no longer needed to wait after the Buckeyes picked up a five-star last week:
It was a little bit of surprising news when Ohio State decided to completely move on from recruiting in-state talent Joel Honigford on Monday, rather than just telling the in-state product with 29 offers to wait a little longer for them to figure out their numbers situation.
Well, today, it became very clear as to why the Buckeyes did what they did, as the program landed a commitment from Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco 2017 OL Wyatt Davis, seemingly out of nowhere.
While Honigford isn't far enough along in his development to fit into OSU's small, five-star-laden class, that's not much of a knock—it's impressive that he was even considered given the circumstances. Michigan has a lot more room to take on a high-ceiling developmental prospect.
Honigford holds offers from Auburn, Boston College, Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami (NTM), Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, TCU, Tennessee, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Western Michigan. While not quite an elite offer sheet, there are some very good programs on there—that list indicates he could move up from his current three-star ranking.
Rivals is now useless, and a quick Bentley database search doesn't show any former Wolverines hailing from Garaway High. Greene's eval above indicates Honigford doesn't play against high-level competition.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Honigford tested at one of the Opening regionals and posted solid combine numbers:
In the meantime, the slender tackle put up pretty solid numbers at The Opening, including a 5.35 40-yard dash, 4.71 shuttle, 38-foot power ball, and 25.8-inch vertical leap.
While one doesn't normally associate jumping with O-line play, Honigford's vertical is one of the better marks for a lineman, and that kind of explosion plays well at the position.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Honigford is a dead lock to redshirt given both his position and scouting profile, as well as the fact that Hall and Stueber (and the top-level targets on OL that haven't committed yet) will be more ready to play early. He should have at least a couple years of apprenticeship ahead of him before competing for a starting job, and he has some positional versatility—there are some indications he's athletic enough to be a left tackle, and he could also be a Braden-style guard, especially if he's closer to 6'5" than the 6'6" at which he's listed. Honigford is an upside guy: Michigan will be patient with him in the hopes that he'll break out in his final two or three years of eligibility.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is now at 17 commits in a class that should read the mid-to-upper 20s. The addition of Honigford means they can probably only take three of their four main targets on the O-line, which are Kai-Leon Herbert, TJ Slaton, Cesar Ruiz, and Isaiah Wilson. That's a sacrifice, but one that isn't unreasonable; going 4-for-4 on blue-chip targets isn't an easy proposition, and you never know when a spot may open up anyway.
Other major needs in the class include WR, TE, OLB, CB, and S. Here's the class as it currently stands:
Fuller – MGoBlog
When Michigan took a flier on a 3* Ohio (yes, that Ohio) commit late in the 2012 recruiting cycle, few could have predicted that he’d grow into such a great player at the college level. Despite being as skinny as humanly possible, Caris played so well in practice that they burned his redshirt; a few months later he was getting valuable rotation minutes on a Final Four team. As a sophomore, he had a breakout season alongside Nik Stauskas as Michigan ran roughshod over the rest of the Big Ten.
With his classmates – Stauskas, GRIII, and Mitch McGary – in the NBA, LeVert’s last two seasons in Ann Arbor were derailed by injury and the Wolverines acutely felt his absence. Through the first two months of his senior year, LeVert was playing at a very high level and it appeared as if his decision to return to Michigan would help him in the draft, perhaps even giving him a shot to be a lottery pick. And then he got hurt again.
In the run-up to the draft, Caris wasn’t projected by anyone to go in the first round. His injury history was his defining characteristic characteristic as a prospect, and he wrote an open letter to GMs on the Players’ Tribune essentially to explain how many obstacles he’s already overcome and what kind of player he can be when he’s healthy. Pretty much everyone agreed that he’d be a perfectly fine second round pick – which gives a player far less certainty than being selected in the first round does – that could outperform his draft slot if healthy enough to play.
I really liked him as a prospect: it’s rare to see someone with such obvious 3-and-D potential at both ends of the floor in college, plus his passing ability and handle could allow him to play as an oversized point guard. By his senior year, he’d shown it all: 45% from three on more than four attempts per game, 32.9 to 11.8 assist to turnover rate ratio, a free throw rate of 44.0 – an offensive blend of efficiency and usage along with the most active, disruptive perimeter defense he’d ever played. The big if will always linger until he strings together a few healthy seasons, but he’s definitely an NBA player if he can stay on the floor.
In last week's draft, Caris was selected 20th overall – 2/3 of the way through the first round – by the Brooklyn Nets, a team who traded Thad Young, an established veteran, to get into the draft (as their extremely valuable first-round picks are held by the Boston Celtics for a few years as the aftereffect of a disastrous trade). The Nets were evidently comfortable with his medical reports, as LeVert’s most recent surgery was done by someone who works for the franchise.
Based on the consensus of the pre-draft hivemind, it might have been considered a reach, but most considered it to be a worthwhile gamble based on the dire future in Brooklyn and LeVert’s potential to grow into an impact player down the line. The Nets – projected to finish in the bottom three of the NBA again next season – need to gamble on upside and they did exactly that. That they were willing to essentially give up their second-best player (granted, on a terrible team) for a player who’d just suffered consecutive season-ending injuries indicates how much they see in LeVert.
There will be plenty of opportunity for him. Aside from their fluid and effective low post scoring center, Brook Lopez, the roster is really bad. After buying out Joe Johnson’s hideous contract, the backcourt rotation was miserable – Shane Larkin, Donald Sloan, Jarrett Jack, Wayne Ellington, Markel Brown. Much like the situation Stauskas stepped into in Philadelphia last summer, there will be plenty of available playing time for Caris if he’s ready to go by the start of the season.
It would be shocking if LeVert didn’t get significant rotation minutes, based on their willingness to concede Young and trade in to the draft. That LeVert is an older prospect is helpful in that regard, though there’s obviously a massive jump in quality from mostly small-conference college opposition in the last few years to facing other NBA players every night. If the transition is easier for him than for other recent Michigan draftees, he could start as a rookie and put up a lot of empty stats on a bad team – consider taking Caris as a sleeper if you play fantasy basketball.
I think Brooklyn is a pretty good landing spot for him, and – on the chance that he greatly exceeds even optimistic projections – it’s somewhere where he could quickly become a foundational asset. I’m surprised that they took him in the first round, though perhaps they were unwilling to find out if one of those excellently-run late, late first round franchises liked him a lot too.
As someone who’s closely followed LeVert’s college basketball career, it’s really hard not to root for him – that his decision to return for his senior season, a risk that didn’t work out, eventually didn’t wind up hurting him in the long run is a relief. Frequently seeing him in street clothes on the sidelines was a significant dimension of the past two years of Michigan hoops, and it’s hard not to consider him as one of the most snakebitten UM athletes in recent memory. To now see him on the cusp of a promising pro career, degree in hand, ready to sign a contract that could very well wind up paying out around six million dollars – it’s a happy ending for a career marked with such misfortune. We’ll be rooting for you, Caris.
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CBLavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi.
|Winter Garden, FL – 5'11", 175|
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
#75 WR, #69 FL
4*, #184 overall
#23 WR, #35 FL
3*, #421 overall
#67 WR, #57 FL
|Other Suitors||UO, UF, OSU, Bama, UK, Texas, Clemson|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. UA game.|
Let me state first off that this is a gentleman with the last name "McDoom". Therefore as a writer and person who looks at names I have a strong desire for this guy to succeed.
That said, hot damn I love this guy's skills. McDoom looks like a nightmare to cover. He's not that big; he is very fast and very quick. On top of that his route running is lethal. This Vine from the UA game is evidence of such; the video above has about ten minutes more of it:
That guy lookin' like Indiana's secondary is composite top 50 corner Chauncey Gardner.
McDoom's film has a ton of that stuff on it. His movements are abrupt; he times those movements excellently, breaking to his true destination after the defensive back commits his hips elsewhere. In the above clip he sells his route by looking back to the quarterback long enough for the CB to bite. He gets on top of defensive backs in a hurry and then one false step, or even a moment of hesitation, and McDoom is gone. He's not an insane burner, but he's plenty fast enough…
...clocked with an official time of 10.85 seconds in the 100-meter dash as a junior. Jabrill Peppers ran a 10.52 as a senior. Jehu Chesson was a 10.7-second 100-meter sprinter. McDoom's 21.72 time in the 200-meter last spring is faster than the 21.98 Peppers ran in his final state title race as a senior.
…to make his route chops count. (Jedd Fisch asserts on MGoBlue that McDoom ran "a 10.5 hundred meter dash, a sub-21 two hundred, a sub-47 four hundred," which I can find zero evidence for anywhere; some of that seems pretty dang implausible.)
Unlike some receiving prospects his highlight film has just about the entire route tree on it. He looks good whether he's hand-fighting through contact and high-pointing a fade, decelerating for a curl, or selling a deeper route before coming back for a tunnel screen. You can't get much of a read on hands from a highlight reel with drops excised; everything else looks pretty good.
ESPN, which named him a late replacement in the UA game, is unsurprisingly the most enthused about McDoom's potential:
…both quick and elusive at the same time with quality acceleration traits. … Displays quality to shake and wiggle and change-of-direction when attacking a defenders alignment. …very decisive route runner both as an inside slot and on the outside one-on-one. Wins with quickness and avoiding getting held up at the line. Can win deep due to technical prowess. … will elevate, extend away from his frame and compete in contested match-ups … sneaky good in his ability to create separation … polished and versatile target. …already a fairly precise route runner.
You may remember this scouting reports from Mario Manningham, who ruined people with his precision and quickness despite not being huge and not having elite top end speed. (Manningham ran a 4.59 at the NFL combine.) Several end-arounds in McDoom's highlight reel are reminiscent of Manningham at the Citrus Bowl. So too is the shield-and-extend technique McDoom uses to separate on a couple fade routes.
Tim Sullivan had a similar report upon his commitment:
…slippery, quick-twitch inside receiver… not a juke-inside-a-phonebooth slot, but has adequate moves to get past one tackler … solid understanding of how to get open against zone and man coverage, and uses his feel for the game to set himself up for that yardage after the catch. …doesn't have elite long speed, but he's plenty fast to stretch the field … At times, he has difficulty making natural catches with his hands, letting the ball get into his body, or double-catching it after initially bobbling.
As did Scout's Greg Biggins after taking him in at the UA game:
…definitely belonged with the best of the best in nearby Orlando. He's a quick-twitch athlete that consistently created separation off the line of scrimmage and kept defenders on their toes. McDoom has battled drops at times in the past, but he was consistent and made the most out of his opportunities. Really did a good job of sticking his foot in the grass and running crisp routes.
And Touch The Banner concurs:
…very agile, speedy, and dangerous in open space. The 4.65 forty does not sound very impressive, but he plays faster than that. The reason he looks faster is because of his acceleration and quick feet, even though his long speed is not out of this world. …very disciplined, crisp route-runner who shows some nuance in running fades, deep curls, dig routes, square outs, posts, etc.
Scout's Corey Bender:
“…McDoom's nimble feet and burst of quickness allows him to create good separation when breaking off the line of scrimmage. He has the speed to get behind defenses.”
247's Clint Brewster:
…really comfortable running all the patterns in the route tree … savvy player with a nice feel for coverage and he knows how to stem his routes and set up opposing cornerbacks to think he’s running a different pattern. There's some nice subtleties to his game that stand out on film. … the route running and innate feel for the position to be productive in college.
247's national analysts weren't rapturous but came around on McDoom after a first day at UA where he "looked good at times and average at others"; day two he "continued to impress with his top-end speed" and day three was "another solid day" thanks to his speed and route-running.
So these evaluations don't seem to match the rankings save ESPN's—must be opposite day. There is one that does, a skeptical take from Rivals analyst Rob Cassidy, who emphasizes McDoom's need to add weight and then says some stuff diametrically opposed to everything above:
“He’ll need to be a better route runner. He’s got some good speed and some good length but I don’t think he’s ever going to lead Michigan in receptions or yards. I think he can definitely contribute in the Big Ten sometime down the road. … good football speed and he looks plenty fast on tape. I don’t know if he’s going to be a guy who stands out as the fastest guy in the Big Ten conference but he’s got enough speed to make things happen in space once he catches the ball.”
That is a three-star evaluation and Rivals offers up a middling three stars. I don't know where Cassidy's bit about McDoom's route running comes from since everyone else is like "A+++++ would watch this man make toast again," but it's a coherent opinion, albeit one that's low on discussion of his skills and high on hand-waving generalities.
McDoom's recruitment was a weird one. He is the third player in this class that UF thought was headed for their class until an abrupt change in his recruitment, although in this case this was Florida apparently backing off. He fielded a bunch of Kentucky crystal balls during the fall, and then Oregon stepped in. Like Nick Eubanks, McDoom has a ton of offers that are difficult to evaluate for sincerity. He got a Bama offer and said they led after a visit; Clemson was his first offer; Ohio State apparently threw their hat in the ring. After his decommit the other three schools he was nominally considering were Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Georgia. Visits are telling, though, and Oregon was his only other official. Oregon is a pretty pretty good WR offer. The rest is unknown.
Michigan's coaches don't care. Both Steve Lorenz and Sam Webb have mentioned that McDoom was at or near the top of Michigan's board at WR; Lorenz has repeatedly stated a belief that it's McDoom who will break through earliest amongst Michigan's six-man recruiting class at WR. This was still the case as of May, after the coaches got a look at Ahmir Mitchell through spring practice:
We’re told that he excels in some of the areas that you can’t really coach or teach and that it may give him a head start compared to the others.
I assume that stuff is his general feel for the game.
At 6' or just a hair under, McDoom could play inside or out; with a number of other slot types in the class he appears destined for the outside. He told MLive he would be starting out at Amara Darboh's "Z" spot. Like a couple other guys in the class I assume that they'll get acclimated to one position early and branch out from there.
"I can't have a place that is too cold too 24/7 because I am a Florida boy."
Meanwhile this is so very Harbaugh:
During one of Harbaugh's visits to McDoom at his high school, Michigan's coach arrived just as the receiver was supposed to head to his team's banquet. Harbaugh being Harbaugh, he told McDoom he'd just come with him as a guest. But -- Harbaugh being Harbaugh -- he didn't stop there.
"He spoke to the whole team (afterward), that was pretty awesome," McDoom recalled. "He was telling stories from when he played, telling us about himself a bit. It was just really cool."
ESPN had two entirely different commit posts describing McDoom's game separated by just a few weeks; entertainingly these posts come up with different player comparisons. (Bryce Treggs of Cal and Steven Mitchell of USC, if you're interested and those names mean anything to you.)
Why Mario Manningham? Six foot quicks merchant with B+ long speed and the ability to wreck you with his routes. Manningham was much more hyped as a recruit, a universal top-100 player. McDoom was lost in the shuffle in Florida.
Freddy Canteen is another recent comparable, and one rated more in McDoom's range. Canteen was barely scouted by the time he committed to Michigan because his high school spent his junior year in prep-school limbo. His career has been hampered by both position switches and injury.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. A lot of consensus when it comes to the scouting reports, with Rivals the main outlier. Only ESPN follows through on the positive evaluations with a high ranking.
Variance: Moderate. McDoom's probably going to be a contributor but has a wide range of possible outcomes. Manningham 2.0, or useful but not amazing slot type. Take your pick.
Ceiling: High. Love his potential as an inside/outside guy who can be that cover-four-wrecking slot you need these days, and then do some Chesson-vs-Hargreaves things on the outside.
General Excitement Level: Very high. Surprise: McDoom is co-Sleeper of the Year with Josh Uche. I thought the second SotY was going to be Nate Johnson, but after going over both of them I'm more enthused about McDoom's ability.
Projection: McDoom is ready to go, give or take 15 pounds, and was really high on the coaches' board as a recruit; he will play. He'll be in apprentice mode as a freshman. In 2017 he'll battle Ways, Harris, Perry and his classmates for the two and a half starting jobs. I think he gets one. I won't be shocked if he doesn't, but the bet is on McDoom.
I expect McDoom to stick as an outside WR. Michigan has a couple other guys who are potential slot receivers in the class and three more years of Grant Perry; McDoom will get every shot to be a deep threat. As he gets more experience under his belt Michigan, he'll play more and more as a slot, especially against the MSUs of the world. The number of safeties who can get drafted into man coverage against him without being left in the dirt is small indeed, but to make that work at maximum efficiency McDoom will have to be an outside WR who occasionally shows up in the slot, possibly with a guy like Bunting or Gentry flanked outside of him.
Nico Collins gets Friday Night Lights'd
This is from AL.com and thus rather AL centric, but it's well done all the same:
Michigan doesn't get a mention except at the very tail end when he's listing his top schools, but I believe this is the second workout that Collins has been taped at where a certain Maize and Blue item features:
We'll see if that matters long term. Better than nothing.
Package or no
MI CB Ambry Thomas talks to Kyle Bogenschutz and says 1) that he's "more than open to leaving the state" and 2) that playing with MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is kind of a big deal:
"It's very important, that's like blood," he said. "It is very important. 10 (out of 10)."
Also MSU is "real smooth." These things don't go together, but when someone asks you about school X it's not like you say "those guys suck and their coach is an eggplant." Thomas currently plans a Signing Day decision.
California camp folk
CA RB Najee Harris, the #1 prospect in the country depending on who you listen to, came out to Michigan's LA camp and actually worked out, which is a rarity for big-timers. Isaiah Hole got some video of Harris getting coached by Ty Wheatley, and reports that Michigan seemed to help themselves out:
Pretty much the entire staff -- save for Jim Harbaugh, who spent his time interacting with all the campers -- got some face time with Harris. It was something of a cacophony in the way the staff moved from station to station, working with the bulk of the camp and then spending a little time with Najee himself. Harris seemed to really enjoy himself, especially his time with Wheatley.
Harris is a nominal Alabama commitment but showed up at the camp in USC gear and what does commitment even mean, you know?
CA TE Josh Falo seems like he's had a bad experience or two during his recruiting process:
“It's pretty up there because they use the tight end a lot,” Falo said. “[Coach Jay Harbaugh is] a relaxing dude, he's straight forward with you and he doesn't lie to you.”
Falo is one of this year's mystery recruits. I haven't seen any indication where he might be leaning. That might be good for Michigan in the long run, as they don't have a slam dunk second TE target in the class. M and Falo could circle back around late and find something mutually appealing. FWIW, Falo is on Team Hypercool, AKA team Michigan Targets And Commits Except Jaylen Kelly-Powell For Some Reason, at the Opening.
CA DE DJ Johnson is similarly mysterious; it's not often you get a California kid whose crystal ball consists of four picks split evenly between Ole Miss and Miami. Johnson has a murky top four of Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Miami. He showed at Michigan's camp as an observer and talked to Isaiah Hole:
“They told me they're going to have an attack defense,” Johnson said. “It's going to be a great one. I like what I'm hearing from them and stuff like that. It should be a great experience, hanging out with them and watching them play live when I go out there and watch them play."
He'll take an official to Michigan in the fall. Nothing would surprise in his recruitment.
CA OL Jalen McKenzie says he'll take an official visit after hitting up a satellite camp. McKenzie has a brother at Tennessee and they're the tentative leader.
Peppers 3.0, Hudson 2.0, And Other Reasonable Coach Scouting
2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese's coach talks with Brandon Brown about his game:
"We play Otis all over the place because of how multi-faceted he is," Fabrizio said. "We’ll bring him off the edge because he’s a mismatch for anyone trying to block him. We’ll roll him down into the box to help against the run and we’ll also split him out to cover the other team’s best receiver. We ask a lot of him and we try to take advantage of the wide range of abilities he has."
That gentleman is destined to be a SAM linebacker a la Peppers. I love the fact that Michigan's defense now has a dedicated slot for a hybrid space player. I'm excited to see Michigan finally deploy a modern anti-spread D.
Brown also talked to CT OL commit Andrew Stueber's coach:
"What sets him apart is that, although he’s 6-6 and around 300 pounds, is the way he moves. I know the Michigan coaches saw that in person. He won a bunch of the speed and agility tests out at the camp. Coach Brown called me up and told me how impressive he was and I said, ‘Yup! I told you so.’”
Stueber isn't even 17 yet, which means he might add another inch or two of height and is far away from his physical ceiling. His coach thinks he's a left tackle all the way. If he ends up at 6'8"—he's already measured in at 6'6.5" at an Opening regional—and able to move he'll certainly be groomed as one.
OH OL Joel Honigford released a top four of M, MSU, Auburn, and Oregon. Michigan was a hot name for him for a minute but Andrew Stueber's commitment probably means that Michigan focuses on the big fish they've got on the hook.
Michigan's offered TN OL Obinna Eze, who is another left tackle type at 6'7" or 6'8" depending on who you listen too. Wingspaaaaaan:
Anyway, Brown reports that Eze was shocked at a Michigan offer because it shows "people on the other side of the country" know about him. (Please do not get out your maps and #wellactually a recruit.) We're big in Nigeria:
"Michigan is a big institution. My mom in Nigeria knows what school Michigan is. I’m just grateful for it."
Eze worked out at Michigan's Tennessee satellite camp; his recruitment has zero shape right now. There's one Bama crystal ball in for him; meanwhile his 247 profile lists Kentucky and only Kentucky as "warm." I seriously doubt he ends up at either place. As of about ten days ago Eze was trying to get his recruitment wrapped up relatively quickly, so Michigan will have to get an unofficial real soon or an early-season official to stay involved.
VA OL Mekhi Becton is expected to stay close to home but he will visit Michigan and various other Midwest schools in the near future:
“I have my best relationships with Michigan, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Penn State and Michigan State,” Becton said. “I’m still talking to a lot.”
At 6'7", 345 he is a massive human being.
CA OL Drew Dalman visited last week. He's a three-star center and could be a Plan B if Michigan doesn't end up getting Cesar Ruiz.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Grudging 2018 items
— D-ROB. (@DoriansTweets) June 27, 2016
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit up Michigan's LA camp. He's got his offer in hand now and continues to display a dual threat aspect to his game that is pretty enticing:
Thompson-Robinson won approximately half -- if not more -- of the drills that he participated in, including fastest man in camp and the backpedal drill. Jim Harbaugh openly acknowledged, "This is a first! We haven't had a quarterback win these drills!" The Michigan legacy was fast and showed a lot of composure in every drill he competed in.
You may remember that Thompson-Robinson had some contradictory thoughts about Michigan and Ohio State after a Midwest visit sweep a few months ago. That appears to be a moot point with OSU focused on another QB prospect. Thompson-Robinson told Sam Webb that UCLA, Michigan, and Arizona State were sticking out and that mom, an alum, was a little excited with the Michigan offer:
"I was actually in the car with my mom when I got it," Thompson-Robinson said. "She was so happy she almost crashed the car. It was a really fun time. I was really happy I got that one."
I think she's in our corner. Brandon Brown reports that Thompson-Robinson is thinking about coming up for the BBQ in August and doesn't have any other unofficials on the docket.
CA WR Jalen Hall also worked out at Michigan's camp, and is really good. This is a pretty crootin quote right here:
“I would say that (they stick out) as well as the other schools,” Hall said.
Hall's already been out to Ann Arbor with his team.
OH RB Jaelen Gill released a top 9 including M. Also now I know that Gill goes by "Squizzy Squirt" on twitter, which is really something.
MI LB Ovie Oghoufo picks up a Michigan offer. Oghoufo is Mario Ojemudia's cousin and Mario's all like cumong man:
"With Rio he has a great relationship with them so he can fill me in a lot about what they’re all about. I talked to him right after I got offered and he was like, ‘Hurry up and commit.’ He was very excited for me — it was a great moment."
Oghoufo just picked up a Notre Dame offer on his visit and has been up to MSU multiple times.
CA OL Wyatt Davis committed to OSU; FL WR Michael Harley committed to WVU; FL WR Jhamon Ausbon committed to LSU. 2018 NJ DE and LB Jayson and Justin Ademilola both committed to ND, which sucks mostly because we had crystal balls for them to Michigan.
VA DT Darnell Ewell hasn't committed yet, but after an OSU/M/ND swing this was his mom's reaction…
"Notre Dame is one of a kind … Michigan was nice too."
…so that's not happening. Also nevermind all the Baylor defectors, who were split up by Texas and Oklahoma like the jerks they are.
The first rule of Draftageddon is "you must complain about Draftageddon." The second is "the four people drafting assemble teams of Big Ten players in an effort to seem the best at drafting."
Previously on Draftageddon:
Two Michigan guys go before the one good quarterback and our tight end goes 5th overall. Homers much?
ACE: Round 3, Pick 1: Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
OFFENSE: RB Saquon Barkley, WEAPON Jabrill Peppers, WR Jehu Chesson
DEFENSE: OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers
SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers, PR Jabrill Peppers
Chesson, as you’re well aware, had more close-but-not-quite moments than I care to recall in the first nine games of his junior year as he incrementally improved while waiting for Jake Rudock to calibrate his deep ball. The final four games, post-calibration, were a Wow Experience.
Indiana is bad and should feel bad, but those last two games came against a pair of first-round cornerbacks in Eli Apple and Vernon Hargreaves—the latter is still waiting for that hitch:
I’d be more wary of basing this pick on a small-sample breakout if it hadn’t been so easy to see coming in the first place. CBSSports agrees: Chesson is their top-ranked senior receiver in the country.
In addition to his downfield receiving prowess, he also provides big-play ability on end-arounds (8 rushes for 155 yards and 2 TDs last year) and kickoff returns, as well as great blocking for a receiver. Again, this pick is also a reflection of the other available talent; the next-best receiver on the board is probably one of PSU’s Chris Godwin, Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp, or Amara Darboh.
[After THE JUMP: We take the linemen Pro Football Focus tells us to. Not our fault if their helmets have wings]
ADAM: Round 3, Pick 2: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
Offense: Pat Elflein (C/OG-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana)
Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan)
I'm taking Feeney here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the drop off from him to the next best guard in the conference. Seth talked to Indiana HC Kevin Wilson at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp and Wilson said Feeney's the best player he's ever coached. If what Wilson, the man who coached Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma, said is true then Feeney should be a consensus All American this season.
Feeney stymied both Chris Wormley and Willie Henry last season; I watched the every-snap film again and not only did I not see him lose a rep, but more often than not he enveloped and disposed of the guy across from him. This isn't a guard who just holds his ground, he demolishes people. It's like watching Michael Onwenu's hudl tape but at the college level. Pro Football Focus helps quantify my hyperbole:
Feeney boasts the highest pass-blocking grade of FBS guards back for 2016, and has yielded just one sack and 13 other pressures in 900 pass blocking snaps the past two season. His one hit and five hurries allowed in 2015 placed him number one in the country in Pass Blocking Efficiency for all guards.
Seth: Dammit Adam, NOW you learn how to draft? Ed Davis is still ELIGIBLE man!
Adam: Just wait until you see my linebacking corps comprised entirely of guards.
SETH: Round 3, Pick 3: Mason Cole, OC, Michigan
OFFENSE: QB J.T. Barrett (OSU), OL Mason Cole (M)
DEFENSE: CB Desmond King (IA)
This is not where I wanted to pick him but since you guys seem bent on reuniting my 2015 Draftageddon-winning team in the first few rounds I'd better get in on the lineman All American pool while it exists. Of all the really good OL returning Cole is the only one with a ceiling for this year that's way higher than what he's achieved so far, and that's because he's been out at left tackle since he was a true freshman.
Now finally of an age when you might expect an offensive lineman to be ready to play, Cole is moving to center, where his intelligence and downfield blocking will be a greater asset, and his limited length less of a problem; if an "interior Joey Bosa" exists in this conference or anywhere, he's a) a true freshman, and b) plays for Cole's team.
The most valuable information we got in the spring game was Cole at center against Mone, and that played out exactly how Michigan fans would want: with Mone looking rampant, and Cole battling him to a draw.
Brian summarized that:
"Cole drew the massively hyped Bryan Mone for much of the spring game, and Mone was quiet. He got bashed off the line on one of Isaac's big runs, in fact. Various projections, including this space's, that Cole would be an A+ center appear to be accurate."
Among those projections was PFF:
"The move inside makes sense from an athletic standpoint for Cole, as he struggled to change directions efficiently on the edge, in particular showing an inability to redirect inside on rushers working back to the “B” gap. Where he did excel was pulling out into space as well as working to the second level—a trait that will be a heavier element to his game now that he is moving inside."
If things get dire later in the draft, like Michigan I can put Cole anywhere on the line and he can hack it. In fact I have just taken the conference's most proven left tackle off the board.
Brian: On the one hand all these interior linemen going off the board are fine players indeed. On the other, our philistine readers have consistently ignored my mastery of the less sexy and more complicated positions on the football field and are sure to punish you for not having whiz bang when FINAL JUDGMENT arrives.
Seth: Ace drafted Peppers so it's already over but the pedantry.
Ace: I’ll admit Brian’s point played into my last couple picks.
Seth: Mmm Penn State's running game.
Ace: I’d have to try pretty hard to put together a worse line than theirs, so I’d say the Barkley selection is still justified. Dude averaged 6 YPC with that line last year.
Seth: Sure. But if we're rating on troglodyte comprehension they'll see a guy who gets 62 yards on 10 carries, not a guy who got 60 yards on one spectacular run, got swarmed 9 times, then sat on the bench the second half while they threw screens from 5-wide.
Ace: Not sure how that’s the expectation since he was better than that with, again, last year’s horrible offense, and now they have an offensive coordinator who isn’t completely incompetent.
Seth: It's not. It's a fine pick. I happen to enjoy making fun of Franklin.
Adam: I just don't want to draft a guy with a 33% chance of starting or Ed Davis again. So far things are going swimmingly.
Seth: /giphy is Ed Davis eligible?
Slam dunk, Schnepp.
Adam: Giphy's never led us astray so I guess I know what I have to do.
BRIAN: Round 3, Pick 4: Chris Wormley, DE/DT, M
Offense: TE Jake Butt(M)
Defense: DE Chris Wormley(M), DT Malik McDowell(MSU)
Before anyone gets in our grills about Wolverine homerdom please let the record state that last year the first 50 picks were Buckeyes. It just so happens that Michigan has some dudes this year.
Chris Wormley projects to be one of the most dudelike. He's not an outstanding edge rusher, but he's got everything else you could want in a SDE/3TECH. As of late last season he was having the best interior DL pass-rush season in two years. Even before the hammering of Florida in the bowl PFF had him at +35.8.
His conventional stats match that, with 14.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks, many of them as a three-tech. Dane Brugler praises his "tremendous balance" and smarts, declaring him an "athletic mover" at 300+, and thinks he might land in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.
More locally, UFR was gonzo about Wormley last year. I spent it watching him obliterate tight ends hilariously; by MSU I was noting that he had not picked up a negative mark in five weeks(!). I'm not the Gospel but over the years I've got a very good track record, and Wormley killed it week-in week-out. A second year under Harbaugh should provide another burst of improvement, at which point he goes from very good to re-dang-diculous.
BRIAN: Round 4, Pick 1: Jordan Westerkamp, WR, Nebraska
(This was a catch)
O: TE Jake Butt(M), WR Jordan Westerkamp (NEB)
D: DE Chris Wormley(M), DT Malik McDowell(MSU)
brian [1:44 PM]
Ace already pointed out the dearth of top-level receiving options and other sure things at WR in the league. Westerkamp is the surest thing on the board, a slot extraordinaire with crazy good hands who managed to bring in 918 yards of Tommy Armstrong passes last year. Armstrong's back and should be a bit better; ditto Westerkamp.
PFF lists him as the top returning wideout in college football based on their grading. While that's likely an artifact of being on the receiving end of a lot of high-difficulty passes, he brings in an inordinately high number of them. He was fourth in the country in percentage of deep balls caught, and he ain't workin' with a Harbaugh QB here.
Westerkamp is a good bet to crest 1000 yards receiving at a high rate of efficiency, something that you can't say about anyone else in the conference--although in various Michigan targets' cases that's because of a diversity of options rather than skill level.
SETH: Round 4, Pick 2: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
Offense: JT Barrett (QB-OSU), Chris Godwin (WR-PSU), Mason Cole (OL-Mich)
Defense: Desmond King (CB-Iowa)
Special Teams: KR/PR Des King
Speaking of receivers who put up good numbers on awful passing offenses, Chris Godwin had 1,101 yards last year, 51 against Jourdan Lewis on three catches. One non-catch Godwin shucked Lewis down the sideline on 3rd and 19 only for Hackenberg to put it too long and out of bounds.
In fact chucking bad ideas in the direction of a bracketed Godwin was a regular feature of Penn State's offense, and usually the most effective one.
Because he's 208 and physical he gets the Avant/Darboh treatment, but that is incorrect, since Godwin plies his trade deep. The Michigan receiver he brought to mind for me is Amani Toomer (minus 2 inches; there's a reason Toomer is an all-timer). Like Toomer, Godwin is smart with his routes, collects a lot of targets in tight windows, works the middle of the field, and has the speed to be a threat over the top or to break it long after the catch.
The comparison might be closer if PSU knew they're allowed to throw a curl, but when they tried quick slants to Godwin those almost invariably cashed in for 5 yards. From the press box I also noted Godwin making those subtle changes in his route that NFL WRs do, like slowing up if he's beat over the top. Not that PSU's QBs could process such a thing while getting swallowed by Wormley & co.
Then there was that one time Hackenberg did throw a good one:
PFF is becoming our go-to here and again Godwin checks out; they had him 2nd team All-B1G with all three higher scores (Burbridge, Carroo, Thomas) not returning (Westercamp was counted as a slot). Less meaningfully, the Big Ten voted him 2nd team all-conference.
JT Barrett is at his most effective when he has a true deep threat to keep the safeties back, and all the proven receivers hence are possession dudes or slots, so this is the right spot to take one. And since Godwin's just a junior there's good reason to believe his ceiling goes higher.
ADAM: Round 4, Pick 3: Dawuane Smoot, defensive end, Illinois
Offense: Pat Elflein (C/OG-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana)
Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan), Dawuane Smoot (DE-Illinois)
I'm as nervous as the next guy taking an Illinois player this high but Smoot's legitimately the best returning pass rusher in the conference. If there was an elite tackle in the Big Ten I probably would've taken him and continued building my Offensive Line of Doom but there isn't; this bodes especially well for Smoot, who had 15 TFLs and 8 sacks last season despite lacking freakish size for the position at just 6'3 and 268 pounds.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports recently published a balanced scouting report on Smoot, noting that he needs to work on his technique and learn to better maintain his edge. There's plenty of NFL coaching experience to help Smoot further develop; Mike Phair served as defensive line coach for the Seahawks, Bears, and Bucs before landing at Illinois in 2015.
The positive portion of the scouting report is tantalizing:
He pairs an explosive first step with arc speed to threaten the corner and keep offensive tackles on their toes. Smoot bends well and is able to convert his initial quickness to power, driving blockers backwards toward the pocket. He also shows much improved block recognition from his sophomore season, quickly reading and identifying the quickest route to the backfield.
Checking in once again with PFF, they have him ranked as the number one returning player in the nation in pass rush productivity, which they define as pressures per pass rush. As if I wasn't already convinced that I shouldn't pass up that kind of potential, watching this play is watching Brugler's scouting report in motion:
Top NFL Draft Prospects: Talent and coaching has Dawuane Smoot on the rise
A former hurdler, Smoot brings athleticism to the defensive end position and has room to grow under a top-notch coaching staff.
Ace: Damn, Adam learned quick. [returns to drawing board]
Seth: PFF has changed the game.
Brian: Another couple rounds and it'll be the wilderness though. I will swoop in with brilliant picks our philistine readers fail to comprehend. Seth will pick a 6'9" guy from Nigeria who thinks you're supposed to dribble footballs.
Seth: /giphy Michael Rose in the wilderness
Brian: Ace picks random names from OSU's roster
Ace: Hey man that 6’9” Nigerian has really impressed the BSD bloggers.
ACE: Round 4, Pick 4: Ryan Glasgow, NT, Michigan
Round 5, Pick 1: CJ Beathard, QB, Iowa
OFFENSE: QB CJ Beathard (IA), RB Saquon Barkley (PSU), WR Jehu Chesson (M), WEAPON Jabrill Peppers (M)
DEFENSE: NT Ryan Glasgow (M), OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers (M)
SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers (M), PR Jabrill Peppers (M)
I’m don’t even have to bother looking up Ryan Glasgow’s 2015 stats because the only one you need is provided by Brian in HTTV:
Glasgow became the linchpin of an outstanding run defense, and then he was hewn down. When he exited, Michigan had given up 864 rushing yards in the first nine games. They gave up 725 in the next four, plunging from third nationally in yards per carry to 26th. Competition level and DJ Durkin’s terrible OSU gameplan disclaimers apply; that is still absolutely stark.
By virtue of his position, Glasgow won’t put up the gaudy numbers usually required to get postseason hardware, but his impact goes well beyond the box score—and after last year, we know his impact is considerable.
According to PFF, Glasgow graded out among the top 16 interior lineman in the country even though he only played eight full games. His UFR grades ranged from “solidly positive” to “Brian openly feels bad for the opposing center”:
Losing him right after the Minnesota game was a bummer for many reasons. Among them was that Glasgow was coming off arguably the best game of his career, one that spawned a “ryan glasgow robot viking” tag on this here website. The interview he gave to Adam in the aftermath showed that he’s not just impressive physically: he also has a remarkable feel for the game. The only thing that gave me pause about this pick is the presence of Bryan Mone, and since NT is a heavy-rotation spot anyway, that doesn’t worry me.
Beathard, meanwhile, is the clear-cut #2 quarterback in the conference no matter what Todd McShay has to say. He’s also not going to put up huge numbers, in this case because of the conservative nature of Iowa’s offense. I’ll go back to the PFF well for evidence of his efficiency and productivity:
Considering Beathard was carrying a groin injury since early October, his +16.7 overall grade (+10.5 passing, +6.7 rushing) was more than respectable, and the best mark among returning Big Ten QBs. Beathard showed an ability to take care of the football, with just five picks in 2015 and seven in his last 454 pass attempts. That’s partly because Beathard didn’t force the ball down the field often — only 13.4 percent of his pass attempts went 20+ yards downfield in the air, ranking 94th out of 128 qualifying QBs.
That’s not a reflection on Beathard’s ability to throw deep — he can — it’s rather a schematic choice. Former Iowa QB Jake Rudock posted an almost identical 13.2 percent in 2014. Beathard is also relatively mobile, and capable of hurting opponents with his feet. Playing injured curtailed that dynamism somewhat in 2015, but he still managed 8.7 yards per scramble, averaged four yards after contact, and 13 missed tackles on just 40 scrambles.
There are better players left on the board, but there’s a big drop-off at quarterback after Beathard, who at the very least is going to post a good TD:INT ratio. The same can’t be said for Tommy Armstrong Jr. or First Round NFL Draft Prospect™ Mitch Leidner, and taking a Michigan QB is a huge gamble since we legitimately have no idea who’s going to start. I like the value here.
Adam: I'm very curious to see in what order the UM defensive linemen go off the board. Because there are so many good ones.
Ace: It’s really insane that I hesitated on the Glasgow pick because of the nonzero chance he’s not a starter. But NTs rotate so much it’s whatever.
Brian: That's why I took Wormley first. He's the guy who is definitely playing the most snaps.
Ace: Considered Taco for that reason. Also I am an unabashed Taco stan.
Seth: /checks calendar again. STILL JUNE ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Alex: Man our DL is gonna annihilate people
Ace: It was legit news that the #1 player in the country is going to start.
Adam: Also what a great position group to have an elite one.
HOW THINGS NOW STAND
Inclusions and omissions. PFF lists its top 101 players going into 2016 and Michigan's defense is well represented:
- #7 Jourdan Lewis
- #16 Jabrill Peppers
- #27 Maurice Hurst
- #31 Chris Wormley
- #72 Ryan Glasgow
We knew most of this already since Hurst was projected as a first round pick by PFF and Glasgow came in for mention as a top-20 DL a year ago. This is some more detail on Glasgow:
Another standout performer on the Michigan defensive line, Glasgow played only 332 snaps before going down to injury in Week 10. He posted a dominant +17.6 grade against the run to go with a +9.0 pass rush grade and his overall grade ranked 19th in the nation at the time of the injury.
Losing him was a crushing blow to the run D.
PFFs omissions are illuminating and one jumps out: Jake Butt. This might point to a hole in PFF's methodology. Their list doesn't have a single TE on it. IIRC when they mentioned Butt in the past they had negative grades for his blocking, which is reasonable since he was very much a finesse guy a year ago. It seems like TE blocking should probably be graded on a curve since a guy like Butt helps out the run game in other ways due to his threat as a pass catcher.
Anyway, there are three Michigan DL amongst the best in the country… and one of them probably isn't going to start. Add in Charlton, Mone, and Gary and this line is set to be an all-timer.
Speaking of Glasgow. He tells Nick Baumgardner he's almost all the way back:
Glasgow -- who posted 25 tackles (5 for a loss) -- says about 95 percent of his shoulder strength has returned. And if Michigan were to start fall camp tomorrow -- it'll begin Aug. 8 -- then Glasgow would be full-go without any limitations.
"There might be some rust with technique and stuff. But (I'd be healthy and ready)," Glasgow added. "Being out on the field is amazing. I definitely took it for granted before and I never will ever again now. That injury definitely sobers you up to the fact that football does have an end date. Which is unfortunate.
"But it makes you appreciate the game."
If Glasgow does get displaced by Mone I'll be shocked. Not lemon-eating shocked. But shocked.
Oakland is not in play. "Off to NFL in three years" futures are cratering:
“Happy, happy—10 out of 10 happy,” he says. He juggles a pair of camps and time with a number of recruits here on unofficial visits. “And then I get to walk over to the stadium and do the offensive and defensive linemen too! You’re like a pig in slop out here. That’s how I feel. Drawing the long straw today.”
Purdue 1980. Via Dr. Sap:
Better than nothing. John O'Korn hit up the Manning passing camp and came away with a prestigious award:
Southern Mississippi’s Nick Mullens and Michigan’s John O’Korn were crowned co-champions of the Air-it-Out Quarterback Challenge after neither could separate themselves after five rounds of competition at Nicholls State University's stadium. …
During the passing challenge, the quarterbacks had to hit three golf carts traveling across the field at 15 yards, 25 yards and up the sidelines. This was a change from previous years, when the first two carts traveled 10 and 20 yards. Quarterbacks needed to hit all three carts to advance.
A prestigious award based on approximately a dozen throws, so don't print up your O'HEISMAN 2016 t-shirts just yet. Like the increasingly farcical Elite 11—which had 24 QBs at it this year—the more QBs that get thrown in a passing camp bucket, the less reliable the outcomes are. Still, as the bold bit says, better than nothing.
Fulton on OSU. You won't find a better primer on the Buckeyes than that delivered by Ross Fulton. This part is especially relevant to Michigan fans because M will run the same style of front-seven defense:
Ohio State features a Mike, Will, and Sam linebacker. But what does that mean? It is helpful to think of Ohio State using two inside linebacker and one outside linebackers.
The Mike and Will are the inside linebackers. They are primarily responsible for an inside run gap to their side of the formation. The Mike plays to the field, with the Will to the boundary. There are slight differences. The Will must be rangier because he more often has boundary flat coverage responsibilities. The Mike is a more traditional downhill inside linebacker.
But the Mike and Will are more interchangeable than the Sam. The Sam – or Walkout –linebacker is a hybrid linebacker/safety. As the name suggests, the walkout linebacker often plays outside the tackle box, generally aligning over the number 2 or slot receiver. Playing in space, he is responsible for setting the edge to the field, meaning he must be able to defeat blocks and force the football inside.
Practically speaking, this means the position is responsible for limiting the horizontal screen and run game that feature prominently in spread offenses. But he must also be comfortable playing in the tackle box against pro-style formations. In short, the position requires perhaps the most versatile player in the Ohio State defense.
The SAM is obviously Peppers and the stuff he'll be asked to do isn't too much different than his job last year. Brown will incorporate a lot more blitzing and zone coverage into the Peppers role; he'll still be Michigan's screen obliterator.
Got some guys this year. NFL.com is releasing lists of the top ten players to watch at various positions. Michigan guys are popping up with frequency. Jehu Chesson is the #2(!) WR:
2. Jehu Chesson, Michigan
Some receivers just carry themselves like a natural-born WR1 and Chesson is one of those guys. There is a level of confidence and toughness that comes through when you watch him play, and he is as fearless a wide receiver when working in traffic as any you will find, taking shot after shot while securing the catch. Stat scouts won't fall in love with Chesson based on his production last season (50 catches for 764 yards and 9 TDs), but NFL scouts love his ability to adjust to throws and work all three levels of the field. He won't have many "Wow!" highlights that have you jumping out of your seat, but his size, toughness and consistency put him near the top of this list.
MSU gets a sixth year. OL Brandon Clemons got his sixth year:
Michigan State OL Brandon Clemons got his sixth year approved by the NCAA today. Expected, but needed boost of experience nonetheless.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) June 21, 2016
Some guy on the internet went back and checked dress lists, finding that Clemons was in street clothes by the end of the year and may actually have a case. Ed Davis almost certainly does not:
He dressed in every game, including road games where the travel team is limited. There's no way he didn't take a voluntary redshirt.
Next year's NHL draft prospects. Michigan didn't have a player selected in the first round despite a banner year for NCAA hockey, especially a BU team that will be loaded when it comes to Yost this fall. That should change next year. Chris Dilks's initial rankings for 2017 feature three Wolverines-to-be: #15 Michael Pastujov, #25 Josh Norris, and #28 Luke Martin. Martin is arriving this fall, so Michigan kind of sort of maybe has a first rounder in this recruiting class.
What are you doing, MSU hockey? They just don't care.
Also on the agenda are the renewals/extensions of contracts for Athletic Director Mark Hollis through the 2020-21 school year and three of his major-sport coaches – men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo (2022-23), women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant (2020-21) and hockey coach Tom Anastos (2019-20).
A hockey coach's buyout is chump change for a Big Ten athletic department but I'm just like… why? Why are you the way you are?
Etc.: Basketball recruiting is ridiculous.