Michigan has only recruited late-rising Thompson's Station (TN) Independence WR Nate Johnson for a few weeks. Among the flurry of recent scholarship offers to Johnson, however, the Wolverines' stood out the most, and he committed yesterday while on his official visit.
Johnson had previously committed to Purdue over the summer, but as he accrued major offers during a breakout senior season—one that culminated in a state title—he opened his recruitment back up. Johnson is the 21st commit in Michigan's 2016 class and the third at receiver, joining Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell.
|NR WR||3*, #98 WR||3*, 72, #170 WR||
4*, 92, #40 WR,
3*, #88 WR,
Johnson's rankings cover quite a spread; he goes from unranked on Scout to a top-250 four-star on 247. That'll happen with prospects who break out late in the process; we'll see where he winds up as the recruiting services take a harder look at him following his Michigan commitment and strong senior year.
Johnson should be destined for the slot at Michigan. He's listed at 5'11", 170-175 pounds on three of the four sites; ESPN gives him an extra inch.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) December 13, 2015
Michigan gained their second commitment of the weekend in the form of 2017 WR Jeremiah Holloman, a Covington (GA) Newton teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Holloman, who's currently unranked on the recruiting services, is the fifth Michigan pledge in the 2017 class and the first at receiver.
I'll have a complete update on Holloman tomorrow; the full commitment post for Nate Johnson will be up early this afternoon.
Michigan has acquired a commitment from TN WR Nate Johnson. Johnson came out of nowhere, as it was just two days ago that he set up a visit. Johnson is the definition of a late-rising prospect: after decommitting from Purdue in November, he picked up offers from Miami, Tennessee, Penn State, and Michigan.
Johnson's a four star on 247; the other sites have him a three star save Scout, which hasn't ranked him yet. More after the basketball game.
Michigan added their second commitment from a "Pipeline 9" in-state junior today, as Scout's Allen Trieu reports 2017 Oak Park OT Ja'Raymond Hall will stay close to home for college. Hall has been a fixture on campus along with his highly regarded 2018 teammate, OL Marquan McCall. He becomes the fourth Michigan commit in the 2017 class, joining Brother Rice TE Carter Dunaway, Georgia RB Kurt Taylor, and Canadian DB Benjamin St-Juste.
4*, #21 OR,
|3*, #33 OT||
4*, 80, #25 OT,
4*, 94, #15 OT,
4*, #30 OT,
This is where the composite rating only tells you so much. Scout and ESPN are right in the same range, while 247 is a significant positive outlier and Rivals a negative one. Before you ask: yes, Hall has attended a Rivals camp.
The four sites are in general agreement on his size. Three of the four list him at 6'5" (ESPN says 6'4") with weights ranging from 255 to 272—he's probably closer to the high end of that range at this point. Hall is most likely a tackle prospect; with that frame he could also play inside.
Get ready for many slight variations on a constant theme: Hall has a great frame, quick feet, and plenty of work to do on the technical side and in the weight room. Here's ESPN's underclassman evaluation ($):
STRENGTHS:Possesses excellent height at this stage with good strength. Flashes ability to come off ball and gain physical leverage and when he does can drive defenders back. Displays good mirror and balance when stays low....AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Good frame, but needs to continue to develop and add good mass and further improve strength. Too inconsistent at this stage and needs to continue to work on pad level. Can improve angles.
Josh Helmholdt named Hall as one of the ten best performers at the RCS Cleveland camp in April, saying he flashed quite a bit of potential ($):
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Hall has a tall, lean and athletic build that suggests a future at the offensive tackle position. Hall is still learning the fundamentals of the position, but the potential that has earned him two early offers certainly was evident. When Hall did get beat in one-on-one reps it was due to technique, not physical abilities. The rising junior showed excellent feet and does a good job when locked on, and staying between the quarterback and the defender. Added weight on his frame will certainly benefit Hall's overall game, and all that should come easily as he matures.
Scout's Dave Berk considered Hall one of the best O-linemen at last summer's Opening regional in Columbus:
Jaraymond Hall is a player to watch in the 2017. Against bigger and strong players at The Opening, Hall used his athletic ability and quick feet to battle. Must get stronger physically in the coming months but has the making to be a top prospect.
Allen Trieu called him one of the best underclassmen at any position at that event and specified that he most needs to add strength in his upper body.
247's Steve Wiltfong got straight to the point after seeing Hall at June's Sound Mind Sound Body camp:
When Oak Park (Mich.) High Top100 2017 offensive tackle JaRaymond Hall adds mass and strength to his long frame, he’s going to be a flat stud at left tackle. His feet are really good.
After seeing him in person against a quality Southfield squad, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan gave a detailed analysis of the areas Hall can improve ($):
Hall shows the athleticism and punch to protect the quarterback on the edge. He'll have to clean up his technique, however. He's too prone to crossing over his feet against a speed rush, which will doom him when he faces top-level talent. He also keeps his hands too far outside, and although he wasn't called for holding Friday, there were a few instances where he could have been. Most importantly, he will have to add upper-body strength to complement what is already a good base to build upon.
While everyone else pegs Hall as a future tackle, 247's Clint Brewster broke down his junior film and suggested he could better fit on the interior:
Hall plays offensive tackle for Oak Park because of his ability top move and slide laterally but his frame probably fits guard better at the next level, depending on how much length and height he adds. Hall has a nasty streak that would correlate well to the interior line spots, especially with his ability to get out and move on pulls and screens. He blocks extremely well out in space and on the move. Hall is still raw from technical standpoint with his hand placement but he's coordinated and understands leverage and pad level. He's got a solid foundation to work with.
Last but certainly not least, we have ourselves a potential Piesman candidate:
But that doesn’t mean that Hall wouldn’t love to be the guy with the ball – even just one time – to relive his years as a youth football running back. Growing up playing in the West Seven Rams program, he was a hard-charging ball carrier who couldn’t be stopped.
While Hall said he embraced his move to the offensive line in eighth grade, he – like virtually every lineman – still has dreams of glory.
“It’s every lineman’s dream to score a touchdown,” he said. “I miss that part. I love being a lineman, but I’ll always be a running back at heart.”
The upshot: Hall has the frame, feet, base, and nasty streak to be an excellent lineman, either at tackle or as an agile guard; how close he comes to his ceiling depends on how much strength he can add and how much he develops from a technical standpoint. Given that's the norm for any high school lineman, it's hard not to like Hall's potential.
Hall's list isn't particularly long—perhaps in part because he's looked like a Michigan lock for a while, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if there are unreported offers—but it contains a few other high-level programs, namely Ole Miss, Penn State, and Tennessee. Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (NTM), and Western Michigan round out his offer sheet.
Oak Park hasn't produced an extensive list of D-I prospects, but they've got a couple notable ones: former MSU RB Edwin Baker and Tennessee freshman John Kelly. Michigan is heavily involved—probably the early favorite—for OL Marquan McCall, who'd be a great pickup for 2018.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hall ran an electronically timed 5.82 40-yard dash according to his ESPN profile, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. His Hudl page lists an unverified 5.03 time that merits a few FAKEs. Hall's plenty quick for a lineman; straight-line speed is far less important.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Projecting a two-deep when Michigan isn't done recruiting linemen in the 2016 class is a pointless endeavor. It's safe to say Hall is going to take a redshirt since (1) he's an offensive lineman, and (2) even for a line prospect, he's got a lot of physical and technical development to do before he's college-ready. As he fills out his frame and settles into a position—I can see him at tackle or guard, but more likely tackle—he'll get his chance to crack the lineup a couple years into his time in Ann Arbor.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's 2017 class stands at four commitments. They will take several more.
While Michigan fans were drowning their sorrows in the aftermath of the OSU loss, the coaches landed a big-time commitment from four-star Houston (TX) Westside DT Jordan Elliott, who was in Ann Arbor on an official visit. After prior commitments to Baylor and Houston didn't stick for long, Elliott slowed his recruitment and eventually narrowed his focus to Michigan and Texas; this weekend's visit sealed it for the Wolverines.
Go Blue pic.twitter.com/3N0JsIQ9nq
— Its Lit (@XCV____) November 28, 2015
Elliott is the 22nd commit in the class and the second at defensive tackle, joining Rashad Weaver.
4*, #13 DT,
|3*, #28 DT||
4*, 85, #11 DT,
4*, 96, #7 DT,
4*, #14 DT,
There's a significant gap between Rivals and the other three recruiting sites, which all have Elliott as not just a four-star but a borderline top-100 prospect or better. When asked on The Fort to explain Elliott's ranking, The Wolverine's Brandon Brown gave some insight ($):
He didn't do any Rivals camps....unfortunately that's where a lot of guys get evaluated against other big time prospects by Rivals staffers.
I understand wanting to evaluate a prospect in person, but if this is really their methodology, that's a rather huge conflict of interest.
Elliott has college-ready size; he's generally listed at 6'4", 300 pounds, with Rivals adding an extra inch and 247 tacking on five pounds. He could conceivably play the nose, three-tech, or even SDE in Michigan's defense.
Scout's free evaluation talks up Elliott's athleticism and versatility:
EvaluationAthletic enough to play defensive end and powerful enough to play inside and take on the double team as a defensive tackle. Very quick off the ball, and you often forget that he is a legit 300-pounder moving around the way he is. Very smooth and plays with a low center of gravity making it tough for offensive linemen to outposition him. Could be scheme versatile in college and play in many defenses, and that is why offers poured in for him. - GP
- Body Control and Balance
- Quickness off Ball
Areas to Improve
- Hand Quickness
ESPN is very high on Elliott's potential, calling him a potential early contributor. They see his potential to develop into a "disruptive interior rusher" against the pass, and with some technical refinements he should also be a major plus stuffing the run ($):
Demonstrates ability to fire out low and uncoil at contact and when he plays with leverage can be very tough at point of attack. At times can knock blockers back and flashes powerful upper body to separate and shed from blockers. Does need to watch pad level as it can quickly rise at times and needs to continue to refine hand usage and work getting off blocks little quicker at times. Displays adequate lateral mobility to be active between the tackles.
After Elliott committed to Michigan, ESPN analyst Craig Haubert compared him to one of the better Big Ten interior linemen of the last half-decade ($):
A bit fitting that the talented 2016 defender eventually landed in the Big Ten as in some ways he reminds us of former Iowa defensive lineman Carl Davis. Like the former Hawkeyes lineman, Elliott brings nice size and can move well and offer some versatility to a front. Like Davis, he also possesses the tools to be a very good and productive three-down-type player.
Davis anchored some very good Iowa defenses, recorded nine TFLs as a senior, and went in the third round of this year's NFL Draft. A similar career arc would be more than acceptable.
247's Clint Brewster added his analysis of Elliott's film in the aftermath of his commitment:
Elliott has the chippy demeanor you want on the defensive line and he's in the mold of a brawler in the trenches. He's a guy you can keep on the field for all three downs because he can help collapse the pocket against the pass. Elliott has a raw upside to him that coaches love to the get their hands on. He has the exclusive power combined with agility elite defensive lineman possess.
Brewster thinks Elliott can provide depth early in his career, which is really saying something considering the returning talent on the D-line.
Elliott holds offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (YTM), Minnesota, Mississippi State, Mizzou, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Utah, and Washington, among others. That's a heck of a list with elite programs from just about every area of the country.
Westside is part of Texas' largest classification (6A). They're not among the elite programs in that group—they lost to powerhouse Katy 77-0 in this year's playoffs—but they've produced 16 D-I signees since 2002, with most of them sticking in Big 12 country.
As a junior, Elliott accumulated 41 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles.
MaxPreps has incomplete senior stats that credit Elliott with ten TFLs and four sacks in eight games.
FAKE 40 TIME
Elliott's Hudl page lists a 4.86 unverified 40 that gets four FAKEs out of five; for a 300-pound high school lineman, that'd be a remarkable electronic time.
Half-season senior highlights:
Full junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Elliott should eventually make his way to nose tackle, where he's got the potential to be a star. He's already got the size to contribute early as a three- or five-tech, but that just happens to be where Michigan boasts the most depth next season. Elliott should be able to either redshirt and preserve some eligibility or, if the coaches expect him to be a major contributor as a sophomore, ease his way into some rotation snaps as a freshman.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
I'll have much more on this in the recruiting roundup tomorrow. For now, I'll note Michigan has 22 spots filled in a class Steve Lorenz reports will have 27 players. With some in-class attrition still expected, the coaches should be able to fit in several of the big-time prospects they're still recruiting, first and foremost among them Rashan Gary—Elliott's commitment by no means takes away his spot.
The recruitments of two other five-stars, Mecole Hardman and Isaac Nauta, just got a whole lot more interesting with today's news that Georgia fired Mark Richt, as well.
Photo: Isaiah Hole/247
Michigan has filled one of their most significant remaining needs in the 2016 class after four-star Boulder (CO) Fairview DE Carlo Kemp chose the Wolverines over Notre Dame this afternoon. Kemp projects to the WDE/BUCK spot currently occupied by Royce Jenkins-Stone, a position in great need of reninforcement.
Kemp is the 21st commit in the class and the third along the defensive line, joining SDE Ron Johnson and DT Rashad Weaver.
|4*, #37 DE||
4*, #9 WDE,
|4*, 80, #42 DE||3*, 87, #30 SDE||
4*, #14 SDE,
Kemp is mostly hanging around the lower end of the top x lists, falling inside the Rivals250, barely missing the Scout300 (the #36 DE is #292 overall), and coming within six spots in the position rankings of making the ESPN300; 247 stands as the outlier.
All four sites are in close agreement on Kemp's size, listing him at 6'3" (or, in Scout's case, 6'2.5") and 250-262 pounds, mostly falling on the higher end of that range. He's right around the size that DJ Durkin prefers for that BUCK spot; Dante Fowler is 6'3" and around 265 pounds, for comparison.
Kemp is a bit of an odd case scouting-wise. He's got very strong family ties to the game of football:
There are few prospects in the country that have been around the game of football like Kemp. He lives with his grandfather, Sam Pagano, who is one of the best high school coaches in Colorado football history. Then, there are his two uncles, Chuck and John Pagano, two of the most respected coaches in the NFL.
"I'm blessed with such a supportive family," Kemp shared. "I live with my grandpa, who is my greatest fan and also my best critic. He is always pushing me to be better and offering me great coaching advice. Uncle Chuck and John are always a text or phone call away and have been great mentors to me. That's my motivation right there. I want to play for one of my uncles in the NFL. I know to get there, I can never stop working to get better."
One might think a prospect like that would hit a ton of camps, but Kemp hasn't done so, and as a prospect in a state not known for producing a lot of football talent there's not a whole lot of scouting on him. His Scout and ESPN profiles both lack the usual evaluation, unusual for a player with his rankings.
The only camp writeup I could find on Kemp comes from back in the summer of 2013, when the sophomore-to-be stood out at an NFL 7-on-7 camp in Cleveland that featured the likes of Leonard Fournette (playing safety, terrifyingly) and Brian Cole; Scout's Bill Greene listed Kemp among the top performers ($):
A 2016 prospect to watch, Kemp started as a freshman last season. He moved exceptionally well for a sophomore-to-be, and has great size at 6-foot-2, 220-pounds. The nephew of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, and a player that has a chance to be a star in the future. Impressive size/speed combination. Listed Notre Dame and Ohio State as favorite schools at this time.
This spring, Scout bumped Kemp into their top 300—he's still at the same spot in their position rankings but was passed by some non-DEs—because of his versatility:
Kemp is a versatile player who moves all over the defense. He put his hand down as a rush end, stand up as an outside 'backer and even plays some middle 'backer as well. We think with his frame, he'll end up as a full time defensive end and could even grow in to a tackle but he'll be a very good college player no matter where he lines up.
That shows up in Kemp's junior film, in which he moves all over the defensive front. Irish247's Evan Sharpley did an in-depth breakdown of that film after Notre Dame offered Kemp and found a lot to like ($):
Kemp flashes brilliant athleticism, the versatility to play multiple positions, and potential to be developed into an elite collegiate player. Kemp shows ample speed as an edge rushers, the physicality to play inside, and coverage skills to matchup with hybrid tight ends. Kemp has the body type that will allow him to trend toward a number of different positions based on need and/or development. Exciting talent that seems to have the snack for creating turnovers and batting down balls. Kemp is a smart pass rusher. Impeccable ability to read the quarterback’s eyes will moving upfield. WIll become more dangerous as he becomes more consistent in creating space with his hands versus edge and interior linemen. Has shown fantastic growth from sophomore to junior year, mainly in terms of technique, motor, and physical play.
That's the strengths section; the areas for improvement boiled down to him finding a position so he can develop physically for a specific spot on the field.
Finally, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught Kemp in August in a practice setting and also saw him as more than just a pass-rusher ($):
He has the big, thick build of a prospect who will grow into a true defensive lineman, and while he's adjusting to life away from the line of scrimmage, he has the athleticism to cover players in space, too. He'll be a pass-rush specialist in college, even if he's playing from a two-point stance, but he's more versatile than previously known - without losing the mentality to plant opposing skill players into the turf.
If it looks like a BUCK and sounds like a BUCK...
Kemp boasts offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington, and Wisconsin, a very solid list for a prospect from his region, albeit one lacking too many elite programs.
Fairview has only produced one Power 5 commit in the Rivals era (2002-), though it's one you're likely familar with: former Nebraska wideout Kenny Bell.
Impressive junior stats via Scout ($):
Over the past two years, Fairview is 23-2 and Kemp has been the driving force. This past season, Kemp had 66 tackles, 20 TFLs, 8 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles, despite a constant double team and occasional triple. He also chipped in 11 rushing touchdowns, proving to be a viable goal line back. Kemp has forced 13 turnovers and blocked 5 field goals in his last 20 games.
I'm sure John Baxter has taken note of that last bit.
FAKE 40 TIME
Kemp's Scout profile lists an estimated 40 time of 4.80, which gets four FAKEs out of five.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
You've probably gathered that I think Kemp will end up at the BUCK, where there's quite a bit of uncertainty with Mario Ojemudia and Royce Jenkins-Stone out of eligibility after this season. Lawrence Marshall is the only other BUCK on the roster who's seen playing time, and after he was expected to take on a big role this year, he's barely seen the field. Unless another lineman—probably Taco Charlton—moves the position next year, Kemp should compete for immediate time with Marshall and freshman Reuben Jones. Kemp has the size to see the field right away and there's a good chance he'll do just that.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The class as it currently stands:
Kemp fills a huge hole in the class, and Michigan is in on several big-time prospects to finish it out—the part that's most difficult to project isn't the size of the class, which should get to or near 28, but which current commits will stick and which will flip commitments or come in as grayshirts.
That's enough for a whole post, so for now I'll note that main positions the coaches are recruiting are defensive tackle (Rashan Gary, Chris Daniels, Jordan Elliott), tight end (Isaac Nauta, Jacob Mathis), receiver (Dylan Crawford, Pie Young, Donnie Corley), inside linebacker (Devin Bush, Dontavious Jackson) and defensive back (Lavert Hill, David Long, Chris Brown).