landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton is coming off an extremely impressive junior season, and his recruitment is beginning to gain steam as a result. Standing at 6'2", 290 pounds, Crayton currently holds offers from Arizona, Auburn, FAU, Louisville, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Penn State, and Washington State. He's one of several top-flight visitors who will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, and he's expecting to get some big news when he's on campus:
ACE: First of all, what schools have been showing interest in you lately?
ROD: LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, FAU, Memphis, Louisville, Michigan, Penn State, Washington State, and Arizona, and also Auburn and Alabama.
ACE: Talking about Michigan specifically, have they offered you, and do you have any plans to come up and visit?
ROD: I'm visiting Michigan on Sunday. They tell me they have some good news for me when I come up there, so I'm expecting an offer.
ACE: Who are you talking to from Michigan?
ROD: Coach Montgomery.
ACE: When you come up to visit, what are you going to be looking for in terms of checking out the school?
ROD: I'm just going to see how it is. See the campus, see the coaches and get to know them a little bit. See how everything is up there.
ACE: Going back to your junior season, how do you think you performed on the field, and what kind of numbers did you put up?
ROD: I did pretty good. I had 162 tackles and 11 sacks.
ACE: If you had to scout yourself as a player, what would you say are your biggest strengths and what are you looking to improve for your senior season and the next level?
ROD: To improve, I have to stay low. My strengths are working with my hands, pushing back the pocket, and making plays down the line of scrimmage.
ACE: Do you know what schools you'd like to check out over the offseason?
ROD: I'm actually going to Penn State on Saturday, then Michigan on Sunday.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline of when you'd like to make a commitment?
ROD: That's not gonna be any time soon. I'm trying to [take some visits first].
ACE: What are going to be the main factors that you're looking for when it comes down to picking a school?
ROD: Somewhere where I feel comfortable at, where I've got a good relationship with the coach, and where I can play at—I want to go somewhere that best fits me.
Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep CB Tre Bell has seen his recruitment take off recently, seeing his offer list hit double digits after Michigan, Florida, Nebraska, and West Virginia all offered in a 24-hour span. The 5'11", 170-pound junior also holds offers from UConn, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, UCF, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin, and he's also hearing from schools like LSU, Maryland, and Notre Dame. I caught up with Tre shortly after he received his Wolverine offer to talk about his recruitment and his thoughts on Michigan:
ACE: How's everything going with your recruitment and what schools have been in contact with you the most right now?
TRE: Recruiting is going well. I've picked up a lot in the past few weeks, I've picked up ten offers. I've been talking to Florida a lot— they offered me—Michigan, Nebraska, West Virginia—I just went down there as well. Pretty much all the schools that offered me, they've been showing me a lot of interest.
ACE: Getting ten offers in two weeks, have you been able to sort through which schools are standing out to you as favorites right now or are you still waiting to see what comes in?
TRE: I'm waiting to see what comes in, just talking every night with my family.
ACE: You mentioned Michigan offered recently. How'd you hear about the offer and what coach has been your recruiting contact there?
TRE: Me and Coach Mallory have been talking a lot. He told me to call him last night, so I gave him a call and he let me know that they wanted to offer.
ACE: What are your thoughts on Michigan as a school and a program, what do you know about them?
TRE: Oh, man, Michigan speaks for itself. Just the history alone is just great. That's really what brings a lot of the recruits in, so I can't wait to get down there and check it out.
ACE: Going back to your junior year, how did you play and what kind of numbers did you put up?
TRE: I had 36 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and ten pass breakups.
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are your biggest strengths on the field and what are you trying to work on to improve for the next level?
TRE: I definitely want to improve on my speed and my strength for the next level and just bring my game higher. Right now I think what I'm best at is my ability to make a play on the ball, my athleticism, I'll come up and hit you, I think my tackling is pretty good, but all that stuff has to increase up ten notches going into college.
ACE: Looking ahead to this offseason and the summer, do you have any visits planned or do you have any schools specifically that you'd like to go see?
TRE: Certainly I would like to go see Florida and Michigan. That's just about it right now.
ACE: Do you have a timeline in mind for when you'd like to get your recruitment wrapped up?
TRE: Maybe before my senior season.
ACE: When it comes down to whenever you decide to make your decision, what are you looking for in a school?
TRE: First is academics. Academics is always first. I want to stay all four years and get my degree. After that would be the coaches and my bond with them, campus lifestyle, and after that early playing time.
ACE: What's something that you enjoy doing away from sports or something that you'd like people to know about you that doesn't have anything to do with the football field?
TRE: I was a basketball player all my life, but I had to stop playing for football, to concentrate on that. It's going pretty good so far, but I'm really into basketball. I like just hanging out with my friends and chilling with my family.
As you probably know, Peoria (IL) Manual OT Logan Tuley-Tillman visited Michigan last weekend, bringing his mom along with him for the trip. I checked in with Logan today to get his impressions from the visit and talk about his recruitment, so here's a quick update on how things are going with him:
ACE: Take me through what you did on the visit. What stood out to you on this particular trip to Ann Arbor?
LOGAN: Well it was like my fifth time there. It was my mom's first time, and I know she pretty much had fun. I went through the whole thing, just the regular academic thing, then seeing the Big House. It was snowing, snowed out, but they had marked out the 'M', so it was nice seeing it like that.
ACE: I know it was important for you to bring your mom up and have her see the school and meet the coaches. What was her impression of the visit and what was her reaction?
LOGAN: She really loved it. She really liked the climate up there and with my aunt being up there, she really like that, too, so she gave that a plus.
ACE: Having your aunt up here, how does that factor in terms of looking at Michigan as a potential destination?
LOGAN: It really does a lot, so that will be something that I will have to look into.
ACE: The last time we talked you were getting ready to visit Alabama. Where does Michigan stand in terms of your favorite teams right now, and how do the other schools stack up?
LOGAN: They're definitely up there with Alabama. I really want to get out to all of these places and see what things are like.
ACE: Do you have any other trips planned? I know you've mentioned the possibility of visiting Michigan this weekend. Do you have that nailed down?
LOGAN: Yeah, I'm probably going to do that. Also USC, I'm going to go down there and go to a Clippers game, that should be fun.
ACE: I know you've been working out at Core 6, and there's obviously a lot of talented players in Illinois in your class. Have you been talking to any of the other prospects in your class and what do you guys talk about?
LOGAN: Yeah, I talk to [2013 Peoria Richwoods RB] Kendrick [Foster] on the regular. We talk about just basic football and stuff. It's not really individual schools and all that. Also Ty [Isaac] and Ethan [Pocic] and Kyle [Bosch].
ACE: You were up with another Illinois prospect, Laquon Treadwell. Did you come across paths with him at all while you were on your visit?
LOGAN: Yeah, we talked for a little bit. He's a real funny guy, he's fun to be around.
ACE: You mentioned not talking about specific schools, but is there any talk among you guys about ending up at the same school, or is that something where you're leaving it up to everyone to make an individual choice?
LOGAN: It's about everyone's individual choices.
ACE: Do you have any idea when you'd like to make a decision? I know with so many schools offering that you pushed your original date back, but do you have a timeline in mind?
LOGAN: Yeah. I'm probably still going to make after all my officials.
ACE: Do you have an idea of where you'd like to take those official visits?
LOGAN: No, not yet, there's not anything set in stone. I know [I'll probably use them] for the very far visits, probably like Oregon and some other ones.
ACE: Have there been any other recent offers to come in during the last couple of weeks? I know the last time I checked you were at 23 or so.
LOGAN: Yeah, I'm at 26 or 27 now. The very last were Texas A&M, North Carolina, and Vanderbilt.
ACE: Obviously having your mom up in Ann Arbor was a big deal. Was there anything else specific about this trip that stood out to you compared to your other visits to Michigan?
LOGAN: No, this was pretty much it, it was pretty much the same thing. It was a lot of fun, though.
ACE: Did you enjoy the basketball game?
LOGAN: Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
ACE: Being up here so often, have you reached the point where people are starting to recognize you?
LOGAN: (laughs) Yeah, it actually happens a lot.
ACE: What do people say to you? Is it all good or does it ever get to the point where it's a little awkward?
LOGAN: No, it's never really been awkward, they're just always yelling "Go Blue" and "Tuley-Tillman," stuff like that.
ACE: Do you like that? Is that a positive to have that kind of fan support?
LOGAN: Yeah, it's really a big plus. I really like talking to them, especially the hard-working fans that work five days a week and bust their tails to be able to come to a Michigan sporting event. I really feel it's an obligation to talk to the fans like that, because I really like doing it and just getting that perspective and views on things.
ACE: Other than taking trips, what else is going on? Are you still doing Core 6?
LOGAN: Yeah, just trying to keep developing, that's one of the biggest things. I'm still doing Core 6. I'm adding weight, too. I'm up to about 304 but I really don't even feel like it.
ACE: Any other stuff you're working on specifically to try to get better right now?
LOGAN: No, it's just really broad.
The Dantonio/Bielema temper tantrums about Urban Meyer’s recruiting tactics got me thinking: they’re just scared. For the past few years, these programs have been making moves towards the elite level of the Big 10. You know, the territory traditionally reserved for Michigan and Ohio. We helped them do that, thanks to our little flirtation with the bottom half of the conference. Ohio too, what with the vacated wins, departing coach and imminent postseason ban. Unfortunately for the nouveau riche of the conference, though, the old money has reasserted itself in a big way, with the traditional powers of the conference absolutely dominating the 2012 recruiting cycle. It was if, from subterranean offices near playing fields in East Lansing and Madison, the newcomers looked to Ann Arbor and Columbus and heard the words: “I’m sorry, sir, but the this is an exclusive country club. Perhaps you’d be happier with a more…local option?”
Whether there’s any truth to this is another story, but you can feel the paranoia emanating from those who think their window of opportunity may be closing. So how accurate are they? What kind of opportunities do exist for the various schools in the conference, with their current rosters, recruits and coaching staffs? I decided to take this question on with a bit of qualitative analysis, by grading the performance of each team in 2011 and its recruiting class for 2012. Then I predict what the near future holds for these schools, with a brief outlook and then a predicted average wins (in the regular season) over the next 3-5 years, given the current coaching staff and their likely performance in recruiting, training and coaching. Finally, I choose the 2012 model car that I believe best encapsulates all this information. Why? Because I like cars, that’s why.
But let me run through a quick example to show you why it’s appropriate. For Brady Hoke, I chose the 2012 BMW M5. That would be the F10 model, for all you gearheads out there, an efficient-and-deadly speedster powered by a V8 biturbo engine. His predecessor Rich Rodriguez, by extension, is the now defunct E60 version, which broke from long-standing tradition by installing a naturally aspirated V10 instead of the traditional V8. This model was, and remains, the favorite of a core of enthusiasts who fell in love with its raw power and pure, unadultered speed. Problem was, it didn’t handle so well in some pretty basic conditions, and ran through gas like nobody’s business. The 2012 M5, then, is something of a return to what M5s are traditionally good at—delivering high performance consistently and efficiently—if, in the process, it loses a dab of peak performance in a straight-ahead race. Channel Fred Jackson and think Carr-level success, only turbocharged!
So with that said, here’s your conference for you…
Big 10 Programs/Coaches
Coach: Tim Beckman
2011 Season Grade: C-
2012 Recruiting Grade: F
Outlook: Zook dropped the FAIL grenade on the Illini after the sixth game of the season, and so the AD went searching for a new coach. Wait…and they hired that guy?? Maybe Beckman surprises us all, but it doesn’t look good for the Illini. Sure Zook was the class clown of the conference, but he did actually get some actually good players to play for Illinois, and he did actually get Illinois to a Rose Bowl back in 2007. Beckman? There’s nothing in his resume that suggests he’ll turn Illinois from mediocre to good, and a lot to suggest they’ll stay on the low end of mediocre.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 5
As a 2012 model car: Fiat 500. Underneath the shiny new exterior, it’s still a very small Chrysler.
Coach: Kevin Wilson
2011 Season Grade: F
2012 Recruiting Grade: F
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 3
As a 2012 model car: Smart ForTwo, which appears to have been dreamed up by people who know nothing about cars, care nothing about cars and wish they were working in the gift card and/or baby stroller manufacturing industries. Oh, and it’s basically ready-made to get crushed to death in a dustup with any other vehicle imaginable, including bicycles, pedicabs and actual baby strollers.
Coach: Kirk Ferentz
2011 Season Grade: B-
2012 Recruiting Grade: B
Outlook: More, more, more of the same, which of course means disciplined, sure-tackling vanilla defenses coupled with bruising but unimaginative MANBALL offenses. Fine, generally, when you get them at home, but a pain-in-the-ass to play away.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 7
As a 2012 model car: Ford F-150. Bulky, cumbersome and can’t really corner, but rugged, efficient and lasts forever.
Coach: Brady Hoke
2011 Season Grade: A
2012 Recruiting Grade: A
Outlook: Rosy. Hoke and his staff got 11 wins with spotty talent, an offense built for a system his coordinator didn’t really know that well, close to zero depth and what was, just a year ago, Michigan’s worst defense ever. If he can do this with that, imagine what he can do when he has all his pieces in place? We’re going to be really good for a while, though I expect 2012 and 2013 to be a little more difficult than 2011 was. We’re back, though. We’re ****ing back.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 10
As a 2012 model car: BMW M5. A classy return to traditional form, while capturing a lot of what people liked about the last variant. German efficiency all sported up.
Coach: Mark Dantonio
2011 Season Grade: A (as much as it pains me to say it)
2012 Recruiting Grade: B
Outlook: Dantonio has put together the best back-to-back Sparty seasons probably since the 1960s. A classic WWF-style heel, this is the kind of guy who cuts assistant coaches off during presentations and allegedly doesn’t like well-wishers who work at rival teams’ stadiums. But the heel can coach, having taken advantage of our brief recruiting emphasis on small/fast dudes from outside the state to put together a genuinely good, prototypical Big 10 squad. Now that we’re back, and splitting basically 90% of their top recruiting targets with Ohio, expect some regression to the mean.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 8
As a 2012 model car: Chevrolet Camaro SS. It’s got a big block engine and can go pretty fast, but it’s fairly simplistic at the end of the day. Might look flash peeling out on the straights, but it’s bound to let you down on the corners. Plus it’s going to look really embarrassing in a few years.
Coach: Jerry Kill
2011 Season Grade: D-
2012 Recruiting Grade: D-
Outlook: It can’t get much worse than the beatdown we put on these guys, and luckily for them, it did get a little better towards the end. Kill is a pretty good coach, but he’s drinking from a poisoned chalice. If they give him the chance, I expect him to improve things over the long haul, but perhaps not enough in the short-term for that chance to be granted.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 4
As a 2012 model car: Hyundai Azera. No one cares about this car, but it’s supposed to have good resale value. So that's something...
Coach: Bo Pelini
2011 Season Grade: B
2012 Recruiting Grade: C+
Outlook: Hard to say, because Nebraska is both the new guy and the odd duck in the Big 10. I’d say based on flimsy evidence that it looks pretty good, but not that good. Everyone expected them to contend for the conference title this year, but they weren’t really all that impressive. On the other hand, they’ve won 9+ games each of the last four seasons…though three of those were in the Big 12 North.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 8
As a 2012 model car: Nissan 370Z. Weird looking, the 370Z still manages respectable numbers, like a 4.7 second 0-60, provided you’re going straight ahead with no complications. That’s good for 8 wins, right?
Coach: Pat Fitzgerald
2011 Season Grade: C+
2012 Recruiting Grade: B+
Outlook: It’s never really clear how the Wildcats are going to do. Some years they beat expectations, whereas in others (like 2011), they fail to meet them. Souped-up mediocrity.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years:
As a 2012 model car: Mazda RX-8, the kind of low cost sports car kids like to paint neon green.
Coach: Urban Meyer
2011 Season Grade: C-
2012 Recruiting Grade: A
Outlook: Detention for 2012, but mostly blue skies after that, provided Ohio can solve three problems. The first one is the little issue of probation. Neither Ohio nor Meyer can be said to have run a tight ship over the past few years, and unlike pre-tats Columbus or pre-retirement Gainesville, all NCAA and journalistic eyes are trained on every Ohio player’s every move. Meyer’s going to have to run a squeaky clean problem, and that may very well entail letting go of players he wants to keep—not just the ones who free up scholarships for more promising recruits. The second problem concerns Meyer himself. He’s not exactly one to stay in the same place for long—he was at Bowling Green for 2 years, Utah for another 2, and at Florida for 5.5 (if you indeed count the last one at all). Maybe that’s trending in the right direction for Ohio, but smart money says he doesn’t stay forever, or even as long as Jimbob did. Finally, there are the fans. Not all of Urban’s Florida teams were good, but he had the benefit of following Ron Zook’s Travelling Underachiever Freakshow. Now he answers to a fickle fanbase that has come to expect a Tresselesque (10+wins including Michigan)/year, only with moar national championships plz. Expect one, but not more than one. Cue Tressel-stalgia at the first sign of trouble.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 10
As a 2012 model car: Ferrari FF. This new model is slick, bold, fast and it immediately catches your eye, but you just don’t know how long it’s going to last. And you know it’s a question of when, not if, it breaks down on you.
10. Penn State
Coach: Bill O’Brien
2011 Season Grade: F
2012 Recruiting Grade: F
Outlook: How does a 9-win season end up with an F? When a grand jury reveals that your former-DC was allegedly molesting children on your campus and, when confronted with this information, your once-legendary coach passes the buck to two guys who allegedly covered it up and let the guy keep coming to campus, resulting in 3 indictments and a summary termination of services for said ex-legend. Add in Paterno’s death, the unexpected and uninspiring hire of NFL OC Bill O’Brien to replace him and Urban Meyer’s vampire-like feast on the blood of the schools’ 2012 recruiting class, and it’s clear that the Sandusky bomb has reduced Penn State to an irradiated, mutant-filled post-apocalyptic nightmare. That isn’t to say O’Brien can’t turn things around, but if people thought Lloyd Carr left a mess for Rich Rodriguez, then Penn State redefines the parameters of what a mess can be. And Rodriguez went in with a lot of experience running college programs. Thankfully for Happy Valley, the rich recruiting fields of Central Pennsylvania act as a plucky postal service for the survivors, and some meager existence is eked out.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 6
As a 2012 model car: Lincoln MKT. At one point, this was a respected luxury brand (at least in some corners). Now you can plausibly ask if it will still be with us 2 years from now. Oh, and this one's a minivan.
Coach: Danny Hope
2011 Season Grade: D+
2012 Recruiting Grade: C-
Outlook: Danny Hope just got a contract extension, though he’s done little to prove he deserved it. I guess I could say that he isn’t terrible, and it would be true, but he’s no Joe Tiller either. I don’t imagine Purdue will change much in the next few years.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 5
As a 2012 model car: Kia Forte. Barely serviceable, thoroughly uninspiring, and already mostly forgotten.
Coach: Bret Bielema
2011 Season Grade: A-
2012 Recruiting Grade: B+
Outlook: Bielema’s quietly taken the nest egg Barry Alvarez left him and turned Wisconsin into the class of the Big 10. Of course, a lot of this success stems from the offense, and it isn’t clear how much losing Chryst and Wilson will hurt the Badgers. Expect a lot of Monte Ball, and whoever the next Monte Ball is, as well as some regression to the mean as the coordinators take their services elsewhere and the competition for the big guys heats up on the recruiting trail.
Predicted avg. wins over next 3-5 years: 9
As a 2012 model car: Dodge Charger SRT8. Another Big 10 muscle car, only this one’s bigger and uglier than the others. Seats four, though, so it’s kinda practical.
This week we look at the scoring from our weekend series verses MSU. This will look a little different because none of our goals came on a powerplay and we really had nothing from a set offense. This is also going to be much longer than the previous breakdowns.
We start out with Di Giuseppe on the right boards and Treais coming over the blueline on a transition opportunity.
PDG and Treais fan out keeping the trailer out of the play.
Because Di Giuseppe is left handed the Spartans have to respect his shot. The defensemen has his stick in his left hand to block the shooting lane, but not the passing lane. Yanakeff is so far over that any kind of one timer is going in.
Deblois goes down fighting for a puck near the corner boards, it's collected by the blueliner and sent back down.
Kevin Lynch gathers in the corner and sends a pass towards a pinching Lee Moffie
Although the pass is broken up Travis Lynch fights through three Spartans and gets to the net.
Yanakeff is in position to make a save but Lynch gives the extra handle and makes him stand up.
Here we have Crandle fighting with Glendening in the corner, Buttery is coming across the crease and Berry is pinching down.
With all three defenders near the corner the cutting lane is perfect for Treais, Berry is too close to the puck and Reimer is too far away.
It's a nice shot but Yanakeff makes a great save, because the Spartans are falling over trying to catch A.J. n oone is there for rebound control.
Here is where we use our wise oldtimer hockey player phrases. This is for all you young hockey players out there who are watching. Good things happen when you go to the net. Deblois sends it in from the side boards and takes a check from Chelios.
Kevin Lynch is still skating into Spartan ice, while Chelios and the other Spartan have stopped.
Crandle tries to block the puck with his body but he takes a bad angle on the puck and it goes right between his legs. Kevin Lynch, who had not given up on the play gets an early Christmas present.
Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep WR Devon Allen has garnered some major recruiting buzz after stellar sophomore and junior seasons. The 6'1", 190-pound junior had 60 catches for 915 yards and six TDs in 2010 and followed that up with 44 catches for 844 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2011; his performance earned him the #110 overall slot in the Rivals250, a three-star ranking on 24/7, and a spot on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. After picking one up from Michigan a week before signing day, Allen now holds offers from the Wolverines, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado State, Duke, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Purdue, Stanford, and Washington, and he's garnered interest from the heavy-hitters on the West Coast. I caught up with Devon last week to talk about his recruitment:
ACE: How's everything going with your recruitment and which teams are pursuing you the hardest right now?
DEVON: It's going pretty well. I've got a couple offers here and there. The schools talking to me the most right now are probably Washington, Ohio State, and a little bit of Notre Dame and Oregon.
ACE: I know you picked up an offer from Michigan recently. Who is the coach who's been in contact with you and what was your reaction to getting the offer?
DEVON: Coach Don Ferrigno. It was kind of surprising because I haven't really been in contact with Michigan, so when they just showed up I thought it was going to be just another coach coming to meet me and talking to me. I guess they had some interest and saw my highlight tape and they liked what they saw.
ACE: What are your thoughts on Michigan as a school?
DEVON: I know for sure that it's a great school. I've heard that it has a great campus, a beautiful campus. I know it's a big powerhouse football school, it's always been since a long time ago, so it would be a great place to maybe look at going, maybe attending Michigan.
ACE: Do you have any favorites early on in the process or is it too soon to say right now?
DEVON: Not really. I've only visited two schools, Stanford and ASU [ed. note: he's since visited USC for their junior day], so I kind of know what they're about right now. I'm originally from Washington, so I know the weather and the environment up at the University of Washington; those are the schools I know the most about. I'm trying to get around, maybe take some unofficial visits, go to some junior days here in the near future, just see what some of the other schools have to offer.
ACE: Do you have any of those junior day visits planned out yet?
DEVON: I think so. I should be attending the USC junior day this weekend on Sunday.
ACE: Going back to your junior year, how do you think you performed and what kind of numbers did you put up?
DEVON: I don't know exactly, I know it's a little over 800 [yards] and I know I scored 17 touchdowns, but that's about it. The season went pretty well. As a team we were young, so we have some growing to do still. We all wanted to win state, that was the main goal, so we were disappointed, but other than that I think if you ask my team we overall had a good year and we got to know each other. We'll just keep growing over this next year and we should be in contention for a state championship in Arizona.
ACE: If you had to scout yourself on the field, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player and what are you working on to improve for your senior year and the next level?
DEVON: I'd say [my strengths are] definitely my speed and my route-running, my ability to make plays, my size—I'm a little over 6'1". I've been gaining some weight here lately because I've been working out, so I'm getting kind of on the heavier side, I'm 190 right now. Something I can improve on is definitely blocking, that's what all the coaches are looking at so I definitely take pride in that. I can always get better at route-running, learning the game and knowing what to do in certain situations—you know, a cover 2, how to beat that, if there's a press, how to beat that, learn all the receiver positions so I can play anywhere on the field.
ACE: Looking ahead in your recruitment, what do you think it's going to come down to when you make a decision, what are going to be the deciding factors for you?
DEVON: I really don't know 100% yet, but I think they'll be the environment, the program, and what they have to offer education-wise. But really it's up in the air right now, I have to get to know all the coaches, all the staff, and figure out what I want to be when I grow up, see what major I want to major in. It will be a tough process, but it should be a fun one.
ACE: In terms of a timeline, do you have any idea when you'd like to get things wrapped up?
DEVON: I think I definitely want to commit just right after football season. I'm not really into that whole hat-picking thing that all the players do, it'd be nice, but I think that's kind of disrespecting the other coaches, leaving it up to the final day to pick your school so if you don't pick their school the other team has to go and find a recruit to fill the spot. I'll probably commit maybe a month, a month or two before signing day and then I'll just sign.
ACE: Going away from football, what's one thing that you like to do away from the field that's something you think people would like to know about you?
DEVON: I run track, that's a big thing for me, I'll probably run track in college also. Also, I like to play music. I'm learning the piano right now and I'm getting pretty good at it. That's a hobby of mine. Then at track, I got second in the state at the 200 [meter dash], second in the 110 hurdles last year as a sophomore, so this year I'm hopefully going to be in contention for winning it.
ACE: What kind of music do you like playing on the piano?
DEVON: I like classical, it always sounds cool, but for my generation it's more the modern music, the music that's on the radio all the time. I'll just get some sheet music for that, look it up on the internet, and just play with it and see how it sounds and manipulate it to see if it sounds good the way you play it. It's fun to me to be able to play and people are impressed by it, so I always like to do that.