so much for that
This year Tim and Paul went on journeys across the state in search of anyone willing to sign a letter of intent for a program that went 3-9 the year before but still had wings on their helmets. They even went into Ohio to find asylum-seeking young men. Sometimes their quarry was injured or irrelevant or playing a game at the same time as another player of interest, but they persisted.
When they returned it was with stunning high definition video invariably set to Explosions in the Sky, which makes some sense because they tend to write ten minute songs. In other ways, it makes no sense. But it makes sense for the site.
Paul put together a recap:
I realize it's just high school football highlights but I was strangely moved by it. Most highlight reels are just highlights. They give you the impression that if a player gets tackled, it's at least twenty yards downfield and after he kicked a guy's head off. Then they show up and usually they are just people. Here they're just people.
BONUS of a literal variety. Paul and Tim and Tom did a lot of work on original content this year and I told them that I'd set aside some time on the beveled guilt button to your right for them. This is a good time. All donations this week go directly to them.
Latwan on the Table
Aside from MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the most notable 2010 prospect to not sign a letter of intent so far is OH S Latwan Anderson. The message boards are all abuzz with the final list of schools he's considering: USC, West Virginia, Ohio State, and... Michigan?
He doesn't currently hold a committable offer, and wouldn't get one unless he were to visit campus. Even then, it's a question of whether there is room in the class for another prospect, and whether Rich Rodriguez is willing to take a second behavioral risk after last week's Dorsey-gate.
Anderson is visiting USC soon, and we'll se if Michigan makes an effort to get him on campus. Until he takes a visit, Michigan's chance with him is holding steady at zero.
Though the 2010 class is wrapped up (barring any late surprises like Anderson), news about preferred walkons is just starting to come to the forefront.
MI WR Baquer Sayed will join the Wolverines as preferred walkon, despite garnering offers from MAC schools and interest from some BCS programs. Last winter, the Detroit News profiled him, and here's a breakdown of his game from Scout.com's Allen Trieu:
“I think, as a high school receiver, Sayed could be the best in the state. [College] Prospect wise, [Jeremy] Jackson brings a little more size and Banks brings a little more explosiveness. However, I think Sayed has the best ball skills of the three.”
Sayed is the crown jewel of the walkon class so far, garnering three stars from Rivals.
MI K Jeremy Ross will walk on in Ann Arbor:
Two Pioneer players also plan to walk-on college programs in the fall. Jeremy Ross, a first-team AP Division 1 kicker, at Michigan and Omari Robinson, an offensive lineman, at Grand Valley State.
MI TE Dylan Esterline from Blissfield (pictured at right) will join Michigan in the fall, as either a tight end or defensive end:
“(Being a walk-on) will make me go up there with a little bit of an extra fire,” said Esterline, who had 21 catches for 384 yards and four touchdowns last fall for Blissfield. “I know it’s going to be a challenge. The coaches are really good with walk-ons. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez was a walk-on at West Virginia and has a place in his heart for them.”
That quote also gives a pretty good indication of the importance Rich Rodriguez puts on the walkon program.
Tate Forcier's former teammate, CA LB Quintin Tucker, has been planning to walk on in Ann Arbor for quite some time now, and made it official ($, info in header) shortly after Signing Day. Like Sayed, he held some small-time offers, but chose to pay his own way in Ann Arbor instead. He played DE in high school, but has size more suited to the linebacker position. If he can get a little faster, that's probably where he'll play in Ann Arbor. Highlights:
This is definitely not a comprehensive list of preferred walkons, and we'll continue bringing updates as they become available.
This should be a somewhat-hectic update, since 2011 prospects were neglected last week due to Signing Day 2010. Things should calm down again in the next couple weeks, and the 2011 recruiting primer is coming soon.
OH QB Braxton Miller does not have Michigan in his top 5:
In addition to Ohio State, Alabama and Florida, Miller said he was also seriously considering Georgia and Notre Dame right now.
The Wolverines are a longshot for him, but he'll remain on the board until he starts trimming down the list. In the 2011 recruiting prospectus, I'll give a little more clarity on Michigan's needs at QB in the class.
I removed SC QB Everett Golson, who committed to North Carolina.
The Wolverines have offered MI RB Justice Hayes ($, info in header). Though he grew up a Spartans fan, the Michigan offensive system is a better fit for his skill set. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in his recruitment.
Michigan is showing interest in FL WR Sammy Watkins, from South Fort Myers high school. Other schools that have been in to see Watkins include Ohio State, USC, Florida, LSU and a number of other high-profile schools. The 6-2, 190-pounder runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, and will be a top prospect nationally.
Michigan has offered IL WR DaVaris Daniels, the son of former NFLer Phillip Daniels.
Though he's been thought of as a Michigan lean for quite some time, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has the Wolverines outside his top 3. USC, Notre Dame, and State lead, with the Wolverines in a group of 5 following that top group. Tom says not to read too much into it yet.
Midnight Maize, perhaps best known for their photoshop work on MGoBoard, recently interviewed AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena (hell of a name, that), who holds a Michigan offer. Yrure… Yrureta… that guy attends Chapparal, the same school that provided Michigan with Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan last year. Greatest hits:
I'm planning on taking a visit to Michigan ASAP and Taylor said he'd be my host or whatever. I'm really looking forward to it because Michigan is my favorite school with Oregon.
Nastyness, finishes blocks, fast, technically sound, good pass blocking, strong punch, wide base. Everyone can always improve but I'd like to get a lot stronger, and faster. I didn't let up a sack this season but I'd still like to get better at pass blocking, and keeping a wider base when I run block."
Yruretagoyena (That's going to be fun to type all the time...) plans to decide after his season. Craig Roh's dad posted a little info on the Scout free board:
Talked to a chaparral parent who saw him play all last year and said he is a stud. Started playing late and the light bulb "went on" during the season. Expect great things from him....and this guy knows how to evaluate players. We should have a good shot at him with Craig and Taylor both knowing him. the Chaparral to Michigan pipeline for the top kids should be pretty strong.
Take it FWIW.
OH OL Aundrey Walker, a product of Ted Ginn Sr.'s Glenville program, now holds an offer from the Wolverines. As per usual, it will be tough to break the scarlet fence around that high school.
Rivals is high on MI OL Anthony Zettel after he impressed at the BadgerSports Lineman Challenge. They also mention that the Wolverines are the team to beat for Anthony. Check out the link for a breakdown of his performance; Zettel is in Rivals's initial 250 watch list.
FL DT Tim Jernigan (pictured at right) is among the top prospects nationally, and though he's almost certainly ticketed for Gainesville, Michigan is in his top 5:
Michigan — "I met some of the coaches. It seems like a pretty good program. It's a place I'd like to look into more."
It sounds like he wants to visit, and anytime the coaches can get a kid on campus, there's a chance. The monstrous defensive line haul the Gators brought in last year might help challengers with Jernugan, as well.
Michigan (and Boston College and Nebraska) offered OH DT Kevin Williams from Toledo:
"I'm very interested in all three," Williams said. "I'm also interested in Notre Dame, Florida State and Ohio State. At this time I really don't have a favorite. All the schools are great."
MGoBlog's own TomVH interviewed Williams, who will make an early decision, and is currently high on the Wolverines. Check out the interview for all the details.
According to MGoBlog's own TomVH, Michigan leads for OH DE Robert Mincey, even though he hasn't received an offer yet.
Michigan offered MI DE Brennen Beyer. This is sort of old news, but I've been focusing on the 2010 class over the past couple weeks, so it hasn't found its way into a recruiting update yet. Beyer is expected at Michigan's junior day on the 20th, and may make an early decision.
TX DE Nathan Hughes is also holding an offer from the Wolverines, though he'll be a tough pull. Texas is expected to offer this weekend, which could result in a commitment. Hughes does come from the same high school as Terrence Robinson and Mark Ortmann.
Rich Rodriguez traveled to Springfield High School a couple weeks ago to drop in on OH LB Trey DePriest:
The business of football recruiting — and don’t be fooled, this is a business — is in full swing, and high-profile college coaches from across the country wanted to make sure Trey DePriest knew they were in town.
Trey is a huge priority in the class of 2011, and I believe he's planning to attend the next Michigan junior day (more on that as the February 20th date approaches). A little additional fluffy stuff and a troubling development in his recruitment from the same article:
DePriest is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior linebacker with terrific football instincts, natural speed and strength and a handshake that rivals the strongest grip. He’s 16 years old and he bench-pressed 185 pounds 28 times at a recent combine.
That’s not all these colleges see, though. His grades are good, and he’s kept a level head throughout this process. He’s visiting Alabama this weekend with assistant coach John Cupps.
That was a couple weekends ago.
When Michigan dropped in to Boyd Anderson High School before Signing Day, they were looking not only at Demar Dorsey, but also his 2011 teammate, FL LB Kent Turene. I've added him to the recruiting board, and you can check out his film from SoFlaFootball at the link. Tom has an interview with Turene coming up today.
Though Tyler Moore holds a Michigan offer, he has committed to Nebraska, where his father played (and where he'll enroll early). However, that hasn't stopped Michigan from showing interest in his teammate, FL S Alex Dixon.
The headlines make it pretty obvious, but Michigan is at or near the top of the list for two Ohio prospects. OL Brandon Jackson "has Michigan high," and Michigan might lead for ATH Rico Butler, given that headlines asking questions on recruiting sites are almost always answered with "yes." Both articles are $, but the money shots are in the titles.
TN QB/slot/DB/ATH Jabriel Washington holds a Michigan offer, according to Tom. No word on what position Michigan's coaches would like to see him play, but his film is impressive on both sides of the ball:
I don't even know where to put the kid on the recruiting board for now. I guess QB, until we get further clarity where the coaches want him.
I'll be embarking on a project similar to last year's recruit profiles in the near future, but that effort will last into the summer—the final profile last year (Tate Forcier) didn't go up until June 25th—and some words about how Michigan did will be far less timely then.
First, highlights of all but three incoming Wolverines:
And an updated chart from StinkyP1nky with Michigan's rank relative to everyone else:
As always, a caution that recruiting services tend to favor large classes* and Michigan has just signed its biggest ever; these may be slightly optimistic. Also, the final locations of Latwan Anderson (here assumed to be WVU) and Seantrel Henderson (USC) could shift things a bit.
Caveats aside, Michigan is a consensus 12th after the year they just had. Take it and run.
With these items, we have set the table. Preposterously hasty letter grades ahoy.
*(Potentially unnecessary digression: all things being equal, they probably should favor large classes. If Team A has 25 kids who are on average equal to Team B's 20 kids, Team A has a better class. It's an article of faith around here, however, that recruiting sites don't do enough division when putting together their team rankings.)
The Gentlemen Of Leisure
Devin Gardner and Conelius Jones. Gardner you may have heard about. MGoBlog sent its MGoCreeperVan out several times this year to follow Gardner's progression throughout the season and documented his throwing motion's regression in impressive HD. That caused a dip in ratings late; despite that Gardner ended up somewhere between the #1 and #3 dual-threat quarterback nationally. Michigan targeted him above all others and landed him despite offers and interest from many sources; he was the best-case scenario.
Jones was a weird, super early offer for a guy who hadn't even played varsity football at the time of his offer but he did manage three stars to both sites and is a developmental prospect who won't mind redshirting and waiting. He'll bring stability to a backup spot at first and possibly move to wide receiver or defensive back down the road, either of which he is fine with.
Preposterously Early Letter Grade
A. Gardner was a critical recruit for Rich Rodriguez. Michigan could not have done better.
Impact This Year?
The Great Devin Gardner Redshirt Debate will rage on until the fateful decision is made clear. This guy is on the pro-redshirt side and will slay the infidels who dare oppose his viewpoint. Coner 3000 is a redshirt lock.
The Gentlemen Of Leisure
True freshmen Austin White and Stephen Hopkins have enrolled early and will get their shots as well. White is a slot/tailback who might be reminiscent of a Dorrell Jalloh or Darius Reynaud; he comes with less hype than Toussaint and I assume he will redshirt. Hopkins is the lowest-rated back of anyone on the roster but at 6-foot and 230-240 pounds there is a distinctly vacant role on the roster he might be the man to fill. Michigan needs a short-yardage moose.
White's excellent out of the backfield and has the flexibility to move from slot to tailback, something that was a frequent feature of West Virginia's offense but is yet to be seen at Michigan. That's where he'll find a role… eventually. Hopkins is just a horse, highly unlikely to be a star but a guy who will fill a role on the Michigan offense.
Preposterously Early Letter Grade
C+. Both of these guys have a shot to be starters but it's unlikely either ends up a star. Michigan swung and missed on a host of blue-chip backs this year and ended up with good, not great prospects. White's versatility and Hopkins's clear utility are worth a plus.
Impact This Year?
Hopkins is a big bruiser the likes of which is now almost wholly absent from the Michigan roster. He's 50-50 to be Michigan's short yardage back, with Mike Cox the other reasonable option. White's versatility would help him get on the field… if slot receiver and tailback didn't have three players each obviously in front of him. He'll probably get a redshirt.
The Gentlemen Of Leisure
- Dileo is a little pale kid from a Catholic school in Louisiana who is basically Wes Welker unless he moves to defensive back, in which case he'll be basically Jason Sehorn. He was a jack of all trades in high school and will
- Williamson is a total flier who won the Ohio state championship in the 100 meters as a junior and suffered through an assortment of minor injuries as a senior.
- Jackson is Fred Jackson's kid, a lanky receiver with a good frame and poor speed who seems extremely likely to be a reliable, if uninspiring, possession option.
- Robinson had a disappointing senior year due to injury but tore up Michigan's camp, apparently, and hovers on the 3/4 star borderline.
- Miller was supposed to be a hot ninja after his junior year at Dr. Phillips in Orlando but fell off the map after a bad camp and his move to Michigan. He's built like Jason Avant but doesn't have his ridiculous hands yet; he may be faster.
Preposterously Early Letter Grade
C+. Again, most of these recruits have obvious limitations or are fliers, with Ricardo Miller the possible exception. The rest of the players could be good, functional Big Ten players but unless Williamson is a crazy sleeper the only one who could be a star is Miller.
Impact This Year?
Williamson is a holy lock to redshirt, but each of the others could find themselves on the field. If Dileo ends up playing it's because he's the starting punt returner, in which case the gamble on him will have worked out as long as he HOLDS ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL. If he's not returning punts, he's waiting for Roundtree and Odoms to clear out.
Miller, Jackson, and Robinson will battle to be the fourth and fifth wide receivers. (Given Rodriguez's statements on signing day, the assumption here is that Cam Gordon moves to linebacker, where bodies are badly needed.) Past the starters there is only sophomore Je'Ron Stokes, so a couple of the freshmen are going to get on the field. All are enrolled early.
N/A. Michigan did not sign any. They went after Alex Smith from Cincinnati but that was all.
The Gentlemen Of Leisure
Gentleman, actually, as there's just one: center Christian Pace. Pace is the player I think is most likely to outperform his recruiting rankings, a heady center from Avon Lake in Ohio who's somewhat undersized but very agile. Florida State, current home of former Rodriguez offensive line coach Rick Trickett, was after him hard as well.
Preposterously Early Letter Grade
D+. Let this not reflect on Pace, who I believe is the Molk apparent unless he's just too small. Since he's got two and a half years to become not too small that's probably not going to be a problem. But just one offensive lineman is a major issue, especially when the class before it was just three guys. If there are additional transfers or guys who wash out due to injury, things could be scarily thin on the OL.
Impact This Year?
None. Pace obviously redshirts.
All Things Collected And Told
Acquiring Garner overshadows everything else. Michigan needed quarterback depth in a huge way and managed to pick up an OMG SHIRTLESS prospect despite starting a true freshman. That's a major win. On the other hand, offensive line has to be a major priority next year because of the one-man class and there's a paucity of guys who look like true gamebreakers at the skill spots unless Miller was done a major disservice by the gurus after his move.
A grade for this side of the ball? B-.
Now that the 2010 classes are wrapped up in the Big Ten (pending final decisions from OH S Latwan Anderson and MN OL Seantrel Henderson), it's time to take the next natural step and decide who acquitted themselves well in college football's second season.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals Average*||Scout Average||ESPN Average|
Yes, I'm well aware that Notre Dame isn't in the Big Ten, but there's enough interest in them as a regional rival that Michigan pays every year, that it's worthwhile to include them.
*(Rivals uses a five star system but also grades players on a finer scale that ranges from 6.1 to 5.2.)
The full data after the jump.
Despite the fact that Michigan is only waiting on a couple more guys, recruiting will probably still be a little hectic for the next 7 days. Bear with us, and I'll have details on Signing Day coverage later this week.
Recruiting Boards of Note:
Jibreel Black Goes Blue
As reported on this here e-blog Sunday, OH DE/DT Jibreel Black has committed to Michigan (after decommitting from Cincinnati, after decommitting from Indiana). Black is a 3.67-star player according to the average of the three main recruiting site, and he will probably end up playing the Brandon Graham position—strongside defensive end—at Michigan. Black's senior highlights:
For more on Black, including another highlight video, visit the Hello: Jibreel Black post. Also, brace yourself for 4-5 years of "Black and Blue" puns.
One of the items giving hope to Michigan fans in the recruitment of FL S Demar Dorsey was the rumor that Florida had threatened to pull his offer if he continued taking visits to other schools. He did indeed continue taking visits, including one to Michigan last week, and another to Florida State over the weekend, and has reportedly switched his commitment to the 'Noles.
With so little time left in the 2010 recruiting cycle (Signing Day is 1 week from today), I'll leave him on the board for now, and we'll see whether the Florida State commitment has indeed happened, and if Michigan's coaches can convince him to suit up as a Wolverine with his cousin, Denard Robinson (who does things like this).
As for TX RB Tony Drake, he's been out of the class for a couple weeks now, and he recently switched his commitment to Colorado State ($, info in header). It's a shame it didn't work out with Michigan, because he seems like a pretty good player. Best of luck to Tony in Fort Collins. I've officially removed him from the recruiting board.
The Ohio tandem of DT Terry Talbott and CB Terrence Talbott has come into question lately as Terry visited North Carolina last weekend. They are still expected to sign with Michigan in the class of 2010, as they want to attend the same school.
The Final Few
Aside from backup options (Is FL CB Tre Boston an option or Joe McKnight's little bro, LA CB Jonathan McKnight? Probably no on both) and maaaybe a surprise blue-chip, CA S Sean Parker and FL S/CB Rashad Knight are the last two men standing as realistic possibilities. Parker received an in-home visit from Rich Rodriguez Monday, after taking his final visit to Washington over the weekend. He's shut down his talking to the media and will announce on Signing Day (10 AM, ESPN).
Knight recently narrowed his list to Rutgers and Michigan ($, info in header). Speculation was that he committed to Rutgers yesterday, but MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Knight, who says that isn't the case. Optimism has waned since Knight's Michigan visit. Knight now seems like a tossup.
Note: more on current commits after Signing Day. There simply isn't enough space to cover all the info with time winding down).
The North-South Ohio All-Star Game has revealed its rosters, and there are a few guys of note:
Courtney Avery, DB, 5-10, 170, Lexington, Michigan
Antonio Kinard, LB, 6-3, 220, Young. Liberty, Michigan
Jake Ryan, LB, 6-3, 225, Clev. St. Ignatius, Michigan
Terrance Talbott, DB, 5-10, 175, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Terry Talbott, DL, 6-4, 265, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Carey Spear, K, 5-11, 175, Mayfield, Michigan
Wait, who is that last guy? Rivals lists Carey Spear as a 2-star kicker from Highland Heights, holding offers from Ball State, Miami (NTM) and Air Force. False alarm though, as he's accepted a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt over a preferred wakon offer from the Wolverines (H/T Big House Blog).
In other All-Star games, the Big 33 Ohio-Pennsylvania game has selected PA CB Commit Cullen Christian on the Pennsylvania side, and the Ohio roster hasn't been announced yet (either that, or I just can't find it anywhere).
Adam Rittenberg runs down Big Ten recruiting. Tom Lemming likes the athletes in Michigan's class. Michigan will bring in a number of preferred walkon candidates this weekend, to get them to join the Wolverines. PA DE Jordan Paskorz gets profiled by AnnArbor.com.
A little more on Lemming's opinion of Michigan's class. His top 100 is more Scout than Rivals in its optimism:
9. Devin Gardner
42. Marvin Robinson
50. (Hypothetically) Sean Parker
92. Cullen Christian
News from the future: a look to the 2011 class. We'll be jumping in with both feet as soon as the 2010 class signs. There should be another Michigan Junior Day coming up in February.
FL WR Chris Gallon has been hearing from Michigan. He is transferring to Dr. Phillips High School from Oviedo, and the Wolverines would like to add him as another piece in a package deal including RB Demetrius Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix. Michigan is the leader for Hart, and has offered Clinton-Dix, though Alabama and Florida State lead. Be forewarned though, as Nick Saban is on the trail in Orlando.
The Wolverines extended an offer to WV RB Allan Wasonga. The Wolverines are his second offer, joining the Ohio RAWRCATZ of the MAC. As you can see in the picture to the right, Wasonga appears to be a very serious fellow.
Michigan has offered TX OL Garrett Greenlea.
The Wolverines join Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Baylor, Texas Tech, Houston and Duke in offering the two time all-district pick.
Greenlea looks like he'll be a big-time prospect (Oklahoma is reportedly soon to offer), so he might be a tough pull. Michigan is definitely in the market for some offensive linemen in this class, so top recruits are obviously the goal.
OH LB Trey DePriest, an mgoblog favorite, talks with Sam Webb about his recruitment in the Detroit News:
"I can't lie, I've been a fan of Michigan growing up, but that doesn't mean that they are my school of choice at this time," DePriest told Scout.com. "I'm going into this with open eyes. I want to go where I can play early and go to a school that has a winning tradition. I like to win. I'm going to treat them just like all the rest of the schools. I have to go through the process with eyes wide open. I'm just looking at everything. Another school might have something that Michigan doesn't."
"The main thing is if they've got what I want academically," he explained. "One of my coaches told me something and I got to thinking about it. Knock on wood, if I got hurt would it be somewhere that I'd want to stay for four years?"
Michigan certainly passes all those tests: Play early? Check. Winning tradition? Check. Good academics? Check. As long as Michigan can turn it around on the field in 2010, they'll have a great shot at Trey. Just for the record (since these Detroit News articles disappear behind a paywall), here were DePriest's testing numbers from the Under Armor Combine:
DePriest lived up to that billing at the recent Under Armour All American combine in Orlando, Fla. He measured in at 6 foot 2 and 225 pounds, vertical jumped 32 inches and did 28 reps of 185 pounds. In one-on-one drills, his 4.55 speed in the 40 and outstanding quickness allowed him to cover the nimblest of backs like a blanket.
He has been offered a position in the 2011 Under Armour Game, which he has already accepted. Caution, though: He hit up Ohio State's Junior Day a couple weeks ago instead of the Wolverines'.
DePriest's buddy, OH QB Braxton Miller, is considered a mortal lock to Ohio State, but even if he wasn't, it doesn't sound like the Wolverines have a great shot at him. Eleven Warriors caught up with Miller at a basketball tournament in Columbus, and the dual-threat expressed interest in a few schools, not including the one in Ann Arbor:
Assuming the Talbott brothers stick in Michigan's 2010 class, they'll give the Wolverines a familiar face to Miller, their high school teammate, which at least gives them a chance to land him.
In more bad QB recruiting news for the Class of 2011, we're quarterback-centric. NC QB Christian LeMay (pictured at right) has narrowed to a top 10, and the Wolverines ain't in it:
Stacey LeMay said his son's list of 10 potential college choices are: Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Miami, Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
Note: All are in the Southeast except for Oklahoma. I'll leave him on the board for now (though downgrade to a nefarious Eduardo) since Rich Rodriguez was in his school this week, and teammate LB Kris Frost loves Michigan. He plans to decide and enroll early, so we should know very quickly if MIchigan's chance is indeed 0%.
Informative update coming later.
|4*, #15 DT||3*, #25 DE||3*, 78, #44 DE|
The gurus are all over the map with this kid, with Scout calling him a 4* tackle while Rivals and ESPN both think of him as a 3* d-end. At Michigan, he'll probably end up on the interior of the line, as the Wolverines need much more help on the inside than they do out. ESPN even points out in their evaluation:
He is a good example of why not to judge a book by its cover. On film, he has kind of a thick and squatty build with less-than-ideal height. He almost looks like a defensive tackle, but plays the end position well.
So, if he plays like a tackle, and most schools that he has committed to (Michigan is #3 behind Indiana and Cincinnati) have considered him a tackle, why not grade him as a tackle? Anyway, ESPN's judgment of his game:
There are more naturally athletic ends, but he can get it done. He is a good wrap-up tackler and plays with a good motor. As a pass-rusher, he can bring some heat off the edge. He works to attack that outside shoulder and use his weapons to knock the blockers hands down and turn the corner. He does not look like a dangerous edge rusher, but he can cause some problems.
Again, it seems as though they're "meh"-ish on him as a defensive end, but his upside as a tackle seems much higher. Scout's brief evaluation of him falls in line with that:
Black is a player who could line up as a defensive end or at the tackle position. He's got great burst and will give all out effort on each play. Does a good job going lateral and shows great strength and toughness. With good size and speed, Black is still learning techniques and moves that will take his game to another level. Special player who doesn't get the credit he deserves.
(Sidetrack: I never understood people whose job it is to rate players calling a particular player is underrated. If you think that, just raise his rating, no? That's on you, man). An athletic defensive tackle who is still a little raw, as Scout lists his only weakness as technique, but strengths of body control, explosion, and effort. From a local article when he committed to the Hoosiers, Black gives a short breakdown of his skills:
Black brings a combination of speed, strength, and technique to IU. “I’m a very physical player, and my footwork and handwork separates me. I use my hands a lot to get free, and that allows me to get to the running back and quarterback. And I’m pretty fast for being 295 lbs, 4.9 speed right there.”
He's probably overstating his footwork and hand technique, since those attributes are listed by others a the ones he needs the most work on. Also: 295 pounds is a huge difference from what the recruiting site list his weight, in the 260-pound range. Did the writer just make a typographical error of 259? That has to be the case.
As a guy who is considered. a tweener between defensive end and tackle, he probably won't develop into the big 1-tech space-eater that MIchigan is lacking in this class, but the 3-tech Ryan Van Bergen position may be a better option, with Richard Ash given time to grow into a 1-tech.
Black had previously been committed to both Indiana and Cincinnati, so he obviously held offers from them. Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan State, Bowling Green, Purdue, Syracuse, South Florida, Kansas, Wake Forest, Minnesota, South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan offered him in March, so it's not like he was some fall-back plan: the Wolverines really liked this guy.
Following his junior season, he also picked up some interest from Alabama, as well as Tennessee back when they had the all-star recruiting staff. He also received interest (but no offer) from the in-state Buckeyes.
As a junior, Black racked up 76 tackles and 8 sacks, along with 3 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries, with one going all the way to the end zone. That was his first season playing defensive end, as he had previously been a tackle. His senior year, he had 10 sacks and 61 total tackles along with 2 forced fumbles, as Wyoming made it to the State Finals.
FAKE 40 TIME
His self-reported time is 4.9, though Rivals gives him credit for a 4.8-second 40-yard dash. I'll take his word for it, since he would be more likely to exaggerate how fast he is, and didn't do so. That gets a mere one FAKE out of five.
He has a highlight video up on Youtube, but Black's ScoutingOhio video is longer (and therefore better, of course):
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Black is Michigan's third defensive tackle in the class of 2010 (more if you count someone like Jordan Paskorz as a future possibility), but all three seem to be 3-technique guys. Black is one of the smaller, at just 250ish pounds, right around the same size as Terry Talbott. Michigan currently has good talent starting, with limited depth behind.
The plan is probably to have all three guys redshirt, with Ash, the biggest of the three, aiming to bulk up enough to become a true nose tackle. Michigan's starters at DT are good, but there is limited depth, so these guys could get a little bit of playing time as redshirt freshmen, and move into key backup roles as sophomores.
Black seems to have some pretty high potential, and as a possible multi-position guy (he could play RVB's DE/DT spot or even Brandon Graham's DE position), he's tough to predict too specifically for the future.
[Editor's Note: I think maybe we might be thinking about this all wrong by attempting to file the DEs and DTs in different piles. RVB and Graham both played inside and out during their careers at Michigan and the sort of body types M is looking for at the three-tech and strongside defensive end are similar enough that I'm looking at the big glob of defensive linemen like so:
Quick: everyone apparently but Paskorz, Rogers, and possibly Ryan or Kinard most prominently.
SDE or DT: Ash, Talbott, Wilkins, Black
Once Michigan gets these guys in for a year or two they'll have a better idea of who fits in what spot and if any of them are NT material. They probably won't be and Michigan will bring in a couple different mounds of humanity next year.]
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The final numbers are all very muddled. Black's spot could be the last one in the class, or there could be as many as two spots left depending on the academic status of a couple kids and if a couple players are willing to grayshirt.
Any remaining spots are probably being reserved for safeties (Sean Parker, Demar Dorsey, Rashad Knight) unless a surprise blue-chip falls into Michigan's lap.