Carter Dunaway (R) with his brother, 2015 walk-on Jack Dunaway.
Michigan picked up its first commitment of the 2017 class last week in Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice tight end Carter Dunaway, who was offered while visiting for the spring game and didn't wait long to make his decision.
It's not surprising Dunaway jumped at the chance to play for Michigan. His father, Craig, played tight end under Bo Schembechler. His brother, Jack, is a preferred walk-on defensive end in the 2015 class. With former high school teammates Alex Malzone and Grant Perry also joining the program, Dunaway had plenty of motivation to make a commitment, and he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown he didn't see any reason to wait ($):
"Obviously when I got the offer it was a big shock," Dunaway said. "I wanted to talk about it with my family and go over everything with them. After I was able to do that, I realized that I'm going to end up at Michigan anyway. Why prolong the whole recruiting process? I wanted to get it over with right now and focus on my high school season and get my goals straight. It was just a good time for me to get that done and go down there and talk to Coach [Jim] Harbaugh.
"I actually went to his office to tell him in person. He was actually at the Tigers game before I got there but he was just hanging out, talking with a couple of coaches. I went into his office and talked to him and that's when I committed."
Dunaway plans to do some recruiting of his own, especially in-state, now that he's made his decision.
|NR TE||NR TE||NR TE||NR TE||NR TE|
Dunaway isn't ranked by any of the four sites, and there are very apparent reasons for this: he played a backup role on a senior-laden Brother Rice squad last season, to the point that there isn't any sophomore film freely available on him—it'd be short, anyway, as Dunaway had one reception in 2014. It's safe to say there's a lot of projection in this offer from Jim Harbaugh's end, with Dunaway's 6'6", 230-pound frame playing a significant role.
As mentioned above, Dunaway wasn't a significant part of the Brother Rice offense last season, as he was stuck behind a pair of productive senior tight ends; Michael Roney and Dylan Fortin combined for 40 catches from that spot, and with Alex Malzone's favorite wide receiver, Grant Perry, accounting for another 105 receptions, there were only so many targets to go around.
Dunaway hasn't made a significant mark on the camp circuit, either. There's only a short video of him going through drills at last May's Midwest Elite Camp...
I have no idea what to make of this.
...and him giving a self-evaluation to GBW's Josh Newkirk afterwards ($):
Only a freshman, Dunaway put his talents on display this past Saturday in the Midwest Elite Camp. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was impressive, as he showcased good coordination and catching ability throughout the camp.
"I think I am doing okay," Dunaway said. "I have made a couple good catches. I'm working hard out here. I am going as fast as I can in every drill. So I think I am doing pretty well."
Right now, we have a frame and a legacy. We'll know a lot more this fall, when Dunaway projects to be a major part of a Brother Rice offense replacing six of its top seven receivers.
Michigan was the only school to offer Dunaway before his commitment. The Wolverine reported he had interest from Boston College, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and some Ivy League schools. Dunaway expressed interest in exploring the Ivy League; he should be just fine academically.
I probably don't need to tell you much about Brother Rice, which won three straight state titles from 2011-2013 and has a long history of success, mostly under legendary former coach Al Fracassa. A trio of 2015 freshmen—Malzone, Perry, and Jack Dunaway—all come from the program.
Dunaway had one reception for nine yards in 2014.
FAKE 40 TIME
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I mean, your guess is as good as mine here. Dunaway has the frame to be a solid in-line tight end who can handle the physical aspect of the position from an early juncture—he's already at 230 pounds with two full years of high school remaining. There's nothing to glean from his very limited on-field resumé except he wasn't such a precocious talent that he could jump a pair of trusty seniors, one of whom (Michael Fortin) landed a scholarship from Eastern Michigan.
It's still too early to even project the depth chart at tight end for 2017. Michigan will have a redshirt senior Khalid Hill, a redshirt junior Ian Bunting, and either a true junior or redshirt sophomore Tyrone Wheatley Jr. at the position, plus any 2016 tight end recruits that they bring in—Michigan will add at least one in this cycle. Here's an early guess at a redshirt for Dunaway, with any other projection not worth making based on the lack of available evidence.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan will have a 2017 class, and Carter Dunaway will be in it.
Last night Michigan picked up a commit from in-state 2016 C Austin Davis, a guy I don't think many people knew Michigan was even tracking. That, his currently-thin recruiting profile, and, frankly, his ears, have a certain brand of Michigan fan headed to Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork about this development.
…stop it. If there is a place where any Michigan coach has earned public opinion leeway, it is John Beilein recruiting three-star basketballists.
|3*, UR||3*, UR||3*, #27 C, #5 MI||NR||--|
Davis is on the sites' radars as a generic three star center, but only just.
Davis is consistently listed at 6'10" and depending on when you get the article, at anywhere from 240 to 260—he'll come in looking more like Ricky Doyle than DJ Wilson.
He is consistently among the FG% leaders at AAU tournaments, hitting 62% at "Unrivaled" in Chicago and 65% at the "Gauntlet" in Dallas just last week. There he impressed a number of observers. SpartanMag's Paul Konyndyk after Davis put up 16 and 10 (on ten shots) against Ike Anigbogu, who was just offered by UCLA:
That performance was among the best of the weekend for Davis, who outplayed rising Corona (CA) Centennial center Ike Anigbogu, who scored just seven points against the Mustangs. …
Davis is a skilled big man with good footwork, solid post moves, and the ability to finish with either hand. It is only a matter of time before the small school standout begins pilling up major conference offers.
That performance was just a couple days ago and got a lot of major schools' attention. Vandy's 247 site said to keep an eye on him as a "highly skilled post" who was "highly effective" and that the Commodores were intrigued. A Northwestern writer also highlighted him:
“He just gets [stuff] done,” said one assistant coach who watched Davis’ 16-point, 10-rebound, three-block game against the Compton Magic.
Davis isn’t the most athletic player or elite in any one area, but he’s a productive all-around player. He showed soft hands with the ball, and good touch on his hook shots. A handful of his points against the Magic came in 1-on-1 battles against Ike Anigbogu, one of the best post defenders on the Adidas circuit. Davis flashed good footwork on a hook shot against Anigbogu, and also beat him on the block a couple times.
On multiple occasions during the weekend’s games, Davis got the ball just outside the paint and patiently worked around a defender into the paint to score. He also scored several times in in back-to-the-basket situations, putting the ball on the floor and finishing nicely.
He was just 2 of 9 from the free throw line at the Gauntlet, so that's a thing to work on.
Davis is a pound-it-inside, power-dribble, finish from the block kind of guy. Sam Webb($):
Davis is a 6-10, 245 lb. throwback big. He is a true back-to-the-basket big man. On the in-state basketball scene he has earned the nickname “Big Country” after former Oklahoma State and then Vancouver Grizzlies standout Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Davis lives in the paint, is best scoring over his left shoulder but has occasionally shown the ability to score over his right, can beat opponents with a good drop step as well, and has good hands in the post.
Davis himself on his proficiency down low:
What they saw was a guy that was really comfortable down on the blocks, where he showed he could finish well with either hand.
"My low post game has always been my major strength," said Davis. "I'm trying to improve my shooting. To be able step up and shoot threes a little bit. I've gotten better with high post jumpers."
He's working and working and working and putting things on the internet. He's also pretty aware of his deficiencies and what he has to do to remedy them:
“I definitely need to improve speed,” Davis said. “My foot quickness, stuff like that. I need to get into better shape. Those are a lot of the main areas, and just continuing to progress and getting stronger.”
Davis also spoke with Balanis about similarities he shares with Irish forward Zach Auguste and the strengths of his game.
“I’d consider myself very strong with my back to the basket and in the low post,” Davis said. “We’ve worked on expanding my game to be able to face up and my jump shot.”
Davis is also young. He is currently 16 and won't turn 17 until the end of the summer, so he'll arrive on campus days after hitting 18.
Michigan was the first major school to offer Davis; before that he had MAC offers and interest from big chunks of the Big Ten and Notre Dame. He took unofficials to Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa in addition to the in-state schools. Perusing various 247 content gives the impression that Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard was a major proponent of the guy. Gard is a good guy to have in your corner if you're a gawky high school post.
Davis is Class B Shaq:
The junior scored 45 points in a game on two occasions, and even had a triple-double with 33 points, 27 rebounds and 10 blocks. His averages of 26.2 points, 17.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game earned him AP Class B Player of the Year honors in Michigan, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Davis also had a 3.95 GPA as of last year.
There's a ton, from workouts when he was a freshman to Davis being high school Shaq at 6'2" guys going pro in something other than sports to full Onsted Wildcats games. In the Class B regional finals against Milan he opens the game with a missed dunk on an alley-oop.
This went up in January and is amongst the most recent:
This is from last summer:
As is this:
This went up in November:
The video shows a mostly below-the-rim big, and while this is highlight tape you can get some hints of things he does well. He makes a number of tough catches in these videos; he finishes with both hands from in a variety of situations; he seems to have good footwork with which to reposition for layups after a power dribble.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Posts are tough to project and Davis is tougher than most because of the level of competition he generally goes against. He'll probably take a redshirt and hit Camp Sanderson, whereupon the sluggishness that does show up on film (and is something Davis himself points out as his most pressing issue) should be mitigated. How much? I don't know. I do like bigs with good hands and the ability to finish with either.
With Doyle and Donnal in front of him plus Teske, Michigan can let Davis develop until he's a redshirt sophmore, whereupon he should have a productive, Jordan-Morgan-esque career.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's going to have a lot of fouls to give at the five, I guess? They are currently scheduled to have this setup at center in 2016-17:
- Doyle, Jr.
- Donnal, Jr.*
- Teske, Fr.
- Davis, Fr.
And that's not even counting DJ Wilson, who could well be skrong like bull by then. So this is a weird commitment given the composition of Michigan's roster. I do like the prospect of a parade of upper-class bigs. It's likely that one of Teske or Davis ends up redshirting, which is a good thing for a project big who isn't likely to be on NBA radars. See: Jordan Morgan.
They have two scholarships definitely opening up (Albrecht and LeVert) from guards; they have filled those slots with posts. If they thought someone was transferring—which Beilein has explicitly said isn't happening and Webb re-asserted just today($)—they probably would have taken a swing at 2015 big Mike Edwards. Instead Edwards committed to Georgia after Michigan got Moritz Wagner.
There's almost certainly going to be some additional attrition that opens up a slot or two (Hatch, Irvin to the NBA, maybe guys who get lost in the shuffle this year) with which Michigan pursues a point guard and one of their 6'6" SG/SF archetypes. I would imagine post recruiting is done until 2018.
— Matt Falcon (@mfalcon21) April 8, 2015
Southfield (MI) RB Matt Falcon committed to Michigan tonight. Falcon had named Tennessee as his leader as recently as a couple weeks ago, but he's visited campus several times since Jim Harbaugh was hired, and with Kingston Davis committing over the weekend time was of the essence if he wanted to secure a spot in the class. Falcon is Michigan's sixth commitment of the 2016 class.
Michigan may not be done with commitments in the near future, either. Scout's Allen Trieu put us on commit watch this afternoon, and he posted on The Victors Board that he wasn't referring to Falcon.
4*, #8 RB,
|4*, #13 RB||3*, NR RB||
4*, 90, #10 RB,
4*, #13 RB,
Every recruiting outlet save ESPN—which hasn't updated Falcon's evaluation since the summer before his junior season—considers Falcon a solid four-star; Rivals has him just a hair outside their top 250, as their #12 RB is #220 overall. Scout is especially bullish on him.
At 6'1", and listed between 200-215 pounds, Falcon has nice size for a high school back and the frame to add plenty of weight.
Falcon turned heads on the camp circuit in 2013 before suffering a torn ACL prior to his sophomore season. It didn't take him long to reestablish himself as a top prospect, as he stood out to Scout's Allen Trieu at Ohio State's camp last June ($):
Southfield High's Matt Falcon is an extremely impressive prospect. He has good size and excellent shiftiness and burst for a kid of that size. He also caught the ball very naturally out of the backfield. The question on him was the health of his knee which was injured last year but he looked to be 100% at camp and he has a chance to be a very highly recruited national prospect.
Shortly thereafter, Falcon made a significant move up the Scout rankings, with Trieu citing his "immense physical talent."
Falcon's Southfield squad hosted a four-team scrimmage with Ann Arbor Skyline, Cass Tech, and East English Village prior to the 2014 season; with several Division I prospects on the field, Falcon had the best performance, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown ($):
Falcon was the star of the day among all four squads. The No. 21 running back in the country and No. 7 player in the state of Michigan is entering his junior season after missing his entire sophomore campaign with a torn ACL. He appears to be in top form and didn't show any signs of physical ailment from the injury. Falcon showed great speed, terrific balance, and power behind his pads on every run. He scampered for a touchdown of more than 40 yards against Cass Tech's No. 1's twice. He also punched in a short touchdown run later in the day.
I caught Southfield's matchup with Orchard Lake St. Mary's at the season-opening Prep Kickoff Classic; while Falcon was limited by his team's overmatched blockers and a balky ankle, his physical talent was evident:
After missing all of his sophomore year with a knee injury, Falcon didn't get many opportunities to show off his ability, due to both the failings of his offensive line and a dinged-up ankle that held him out of a large chunk of the game. He finished with five yards on five carries—and that could've been worse considering the blocking—while doing most of his damage on swing passes, catching four for 29 yards.
Even though Falcon had no room to run, I thought he looked quite impressive, with nice speed and agility for a 6'1", 215-pound back. On those swing passes, he planted hard and got upfield in a hurry, and once he got a head of steam it wasn't easy to bring him down. He managed to get out of the backfield on one run (1:01 mark in the video), making a couple very nice cuts to make two men miss, then powering forward for some decent YAC. The next two plays on the reel are very representative of the blocking he got on Friday; on the second, he still manages to elude two free hitters in the backfield, then impressively bowl over another before the cavalry arrived. Whether on runs or receptions, Falcon finished with power; he refused to go down at first contact and made sure he fell forward.
That ankle would cause Falcon to miss part of his junior season, though I think worries about his injury history are overblown; he hasn't suffered multiple knee injuries or anything like that. Rivals moved him up to a four-star following the season:
Falcon missed part of the season with injury, but in the games he did play, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound back showed unusual speed and agility for a running back his size. Falcon can be a 20-25-carry back in college and wear down a defense between the tackles, but he also is quick to the edge and can be an asset in the passing game. We'll see if injuries continue to be an issue, but from a talent standpoint, he is one of the best backs in the Midwest. -- Helmholdt
In February, 247's Clint Brewster broke down his junior film ($):
Falcon is a bigger/stronger running back that can put his foot in the ground and get north. He an explosive back that can run through defenders and has good downfield speed once he gets going. He can cover ground as a long stride type of running back. He's got a high ceiling because of his size mixed with his speed. Falcon's got raw strength to pick up the tough yards. He's a downhill runner. Falcon displays an excellent stiff arm and the ability to get past defenders. He's got a strong plant foot to burst through creases. Tough to bring down once he's got a head of steam. Falcon is a running back that can play all three downs and block or catch passes out of the backfield.
If Falcon gets through his senior season healthy, he's a good bet to move up in the rankings; trepidation about his injury history seems to be the main thing holding him back. Otherwise, he's got a great size/speed combo with plenty of power and versatility.
The injuries haven't scared off top programs. Falcon named a top five of Michigan, Tennessee (his leader as recently as late March), Oregon, Arkansas, and Arizona State recently, and he also held offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and West Virginia, among others.
Southfield hadn't been a major talent producer during the Rivals era (2002-) until it's recent run of Big Ten signees, including Michigan DE Lawrence Marshall, MSU DT Malik McDowell, and Minnesota athletes Dior Johnson and Ray Buford, all of whom came from the 2014 or 2015 classes.
According to his Rivals profile, Falcon rushed for 1109 yards and seven TDs in just six games during his junior season.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the four sites lists a 40 time.
There are no sophomore highlights for what should be obvious reasons.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Since it's been all of two days since I wrote up the running back situation, I can safely copy-and-paste this from Kingston Davis' commitment post, with a couple minor alterations:
Michigan doesn't have any senior running backs on the roster, so unless [Falcon] proves he's better than much more experienced players, he should take a redshirt in 2016, even though he's got college-ready size. After that, he'll compete with Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon, and [Kingston Davis] for carries.
Falcon's ability to make an impact in the passing game could get him on the field earlier, either as the every-down back or in a situational role. There's some serious thunder-and-lightning-with-a-side-of-thunder potential with Davis and Falcon in the same class, and each has an obvious situational role if they're getting the lion's share of the carries—short-yardage back (Davis) and third-down back (Falcon). I really like this pickup; Falcon's injury concerns are mitigated by the presence of another back in the class, and if he fulfills his physical potential he's going to be really good.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan should be set at running back with two in the class plus a potential fullback in Farmington FB/ILB David Reese. There are now six total members of the 2016 class, which we have projected to 14, a number that will surely rise before the end of the cycle. Michigan still has needs to fill pretty much everywhere except the offensive backfield.
Falcon's commitment also adds to the optimism Michigan can clean up on the in-state recruiting trail. Reese is already in the fold, and the Wolverines are right in the mix for Farmington WR Des Fitzpatrick, Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem, Detroit King WR Donnie Corley, Plymouth OT Michael Jordan, and Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu; all but Fitzpatrick, who's just off the pace, are considered composite four-star prospects.
Michigan is now up to three commits from the spring game weekend visitors, as Prattville (AL) running back Kingston Davis announced his decision this morning:
I AM NOW COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN!! #GoBlue
— KingDavis™ (@_King_LD) April 6, 2015
Davis is a former high school teammate of 2015 signee Keith Washington, and Michigan will hold one of their satellite camps at Prattville in June. Davis is the fifth commit in the 2016 class and the first at running back.
|3*, #100 RB||3*, NR RB||NR RB||3*, 82, #3 FB||
3*, #3 FB,
Davis isn't yet regarded as a big-time recruit, though he looks like a player who could move up quickly upon further evaluation. He played behind four-star 2014 Auburn signee Kamryn Pettway as a sophomore, and last season he earned the plurality of carries in a talented three-back rotation while also playing in an offense that featured Washington utilizing his legs quite a bit as a dual-threat quarterback. Rivals currently lists him as the #24 prospect in Alabama, but their AlabamaVarsity outlet ranked him as the #16 recruit in the state in February.
The four sites are in general agreement regarding Davis' size, and he's a bruiser at 6'1", 230-ish pounds. Michigan is recruiting him as a running back, not a fullback, which gives you an idea of the type of size Jim Harbaugh envisions his offense having in a couple years.
There isn't a ton out there on Davis yet, and what has been written usually focuses on his size. At the RCS Atlanta a couple weeks ago, Rivals' Woody Wommack took notice of the big back ($):
Davis stood out physically as one of the biggest backs in attendance. At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, he's as big as some of the linebackers he faced, and had a ton of success during one-on-ones. Depending on where he plays his college ball, it looks like Davis could play any number of positions.
Power backs aren't usually the type to stand out in a camp setting, when they're running routes, not smashing between the tackles, so that's an encouraging sign for Davis' potential as an every-down back.
Scout analyst John Garcia Jr. has the most complete scouting report, which he posted on The Victors Club after Davis committed ($):
Davis (PROFILE) is a bruiser of a back at 6-foot, 215-plus, but he's consistent with carrying the load as well. While he's a one-cut guy by nature, he is also a willing blocker and has better hands out of the backfield than given credit for. In the state of Alabama, which is RB heavy in 2016, I have Davis as a top 5 back because of how he consistently gets chunk yardage. He can get low with his pads and run with the power everyone expects him to, but has solid feet in the open field as well, making many miss without too much wasted motion. At the next level, I can see him as a hybrid RB/FB/H-back type depending on how his body continues to develop. Of course, he has ties to UM through his teammate Keith Washington, who signed with UM after playing QB for Prattville in 2014. The two were one of the best one-two punches in the state.
As you'll see in his film, Davis has some wiggle when he breaks into the secondary, and while he's not a pure burner, he's got good burst when he hits the line.
247's Clint Brewster broke down the tape in the wake of the commitment, and it sounds like Davis will fit in well in Harbaugh's system, which rewards patient runners:
He's a tough runner that can also make subtle cuts in the open field to extend runs and take advantage of creases. He has good vision behind the line of scrimmage as to where to hit the hole and explode. Not great maneuverability through the hole or change of direction agility but he's got deceptive straight line speed. He's got a knack for getting to the second level and outrunning guys. Shows good power to run through tackles when he keeps his pad level low. He's a patient but decisive runner with a forward lean and a physical style that makes him a tough guy to slow down once he gains steam.
Davis told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz an encouraging high school stat ($):
“My junior year we just got a new running backs coach and had to learn to work with each other,” Davis said. “Blocking was a key factor this year and I led my team with 1,400-yards and 15 touchdowns.
“I’ve fumbled only one time in my high school career so that’s a big plus.”
Indeed. Davis also told Garcia what he'd like to work on as a senior:
"I want to maintain, maybe add a little more weight, work on some speed and get a lot faster," Davis said. "I'm more comfortable this year, I'm hitting the hole hard, blocking my tail off and doing the best I can do."
Tyrone Wheatley was Michigan's primary recruiter for Davis, and the youngster apparently reminded Wheatley of a running back with whom he's quite familiar, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"They want me to get up there, and they want me to play right away. That was a big part of it for me. I'll fit right into their system, and he really wants me up there. He said that I reminded me of himself, of Tyrone Wheatley. He was a big back, but fast and quick. I can run people over, and he said he really needs one of those guys up there."
While he doesn't quite have Wheatley's world-class speed yet (the former Michigan standout ran a 10.46-second 100-meter dash as a Wolverine), he's capable of sub-11-second times in the sprint event, and has put down an 11.5-second time this spring.
I'm okay with a Wheatley-approved Wheatley-type.
Davis also held offers from Louisville, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Georgia Southern, Texas State, and Troy. Rivals reports he had interest, but no offers, from Alabama and Auburn.
In addition to Michigan freshman-to-be Washington, Prattville has produced several FBS-caliber recruits in the Rivals era, most notably 2010 four-star Nick Perry, who started for the Tide at safety in 2014, and four-star 2012 athlete Justin Thomas, last year's starting quarterback in Georgia Tech's option offense.
Per MaxPreps, Davis rushed for 1432 yards and eight touchdowns on 192 carries (7.5 YPC) as a junior, adding 114 yards and another score on seven receptions. He carried the ball 70 times for 537 yards (7.7 YPC) and six TDs as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Davis' Hudl page lists a 4.50, 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
Michigan doesn't have any senior running backs on the roster, so unless Davis proves he's better than much more experienced players, he should take a redshirt in 2016, even though he's got college-ready size. After that, he'll compete with Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon, and likely another 2016 back for carries.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Davis is the fifth commit in a class that currently projects to just 14 recruits by our count, though the coaches clearly expect that number to rise significantly given the #Fab25 hashtag being bandied about by recent commits. Michigan is very likely to pursue another running back, and a few current prospects holding offers stand out as decent possibilities to join the class: four-star Southfield RB Matt Falcon, who has Tennessee edging out Michigan at the moment; four-star NC RB Robert Washington recently named Michigan to his top five; and three-star IN RB Toks Akinribade responded positively to a recent offer.
Taking a broader view, this provides further evidence Harbaugh's staff is going to pull in a lot more players from SEC country than their predecessors:
Harbaugh's had five commitments from the southeastern part of the country since January. Hoke had 3 in the last three years
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 6, 2015
Add in the renewed focus on California and Texas, and it's clear Harbaugh's recruiting is going to take on a more national flavor than Hoke's did.
John Beilein picked up his first commit of the 2015 class today when German forward Moritz Wagner announced he'll attend Michigan:
Proud that I gonna be a Wolverine and a part of ichigan next year. Damn grateful for what Alba did for me! This is my club &always will be
— Moe Wagner (@moritz_weasley) April 5, 2015
Wagner chose the college route over playing professionally in Germany for Alba Berlin. Beilein traveled to watch Wagner play for his club team last year, and Michigan jumped to the forefront of Wagner's recruitment when they offered him last month during a campus visit.
|NR PF||NR PF||--||--||--|
The recruiting services don't evaluate overseas players, so Wagner is unranked across the board. He's listed at 6'9", 210 on Rivals, which fits with reports that he isn't quite a full 6'10", which he was listed at on several sites. When Wagner visited Ann Arbor, Rivals' Eric Bossi found a scout to give his thoughts on where Wagner would be ranked if he were an American prospect:
So, exactly what type of player is Wagner? Rivals.com spoke with an NBA scout over the weekend and the scout said Moritz isn't likely as tall as the 6-foot-10 he's being listed at, but he is plenty big to play as a college four man. The scout said Wagner has good touch, is clever with the ball and that he competes on both ends of the floor.
"He's not a guy that is on our radar as somebody who is going to be a pro right away," said the scout. "He's somebody that we see going to college and then we'll see from there. I'd look at him as a top-20 to top-40 type recruit if he were in the States."
That would put him towards the tail end of the five-stars or among the top four-stars, which... yeah, that sounds nice.
Scout's Evan Daniels caught up with an NBA Scout to get his take on Wagner's game:
From the video I’ve been able to get my hands on, Wagner’s all around skill set is what immediately stands out. He has impressive hands, good touch around the basket and can score both facing the rim and with his back to it.
“He’s a versatile kid who knows how to play ball,” a NBA scout that has evaluated him multiple times told Scout. “He’s not an athlete, but with his length and coordination he manages to deceive his opponents and get to the rack quiet easily. Once he becomes a more consistent shooter he will be a nightmare on the wing.”
“He reads the game well, gets his teammates involved and is unselfish player,” the NBA scout added. “The most impressive thing about him is his passion for the game and the will to win. He legitimately cares for the game.”
This scouting report from European Prospects comes from last May:
The young Moritz Wagner is a really interesting prospect for the future. Used as a PF on multiple occasions, Wagner showed that he has an outside game and that his future should be on the SF position. He can shoot from outside, either on catch-and-shoot situations or in the Pick and Pop when being the screener. Wagner can also put the ball on the floor which works particularly well when used against taller power forwards. He is also able to drive with direction changes and finish against stronger or taller players in the paint. Athletically, he is looking good and with his overall length, he is a good vertical presence on both sides of the court. Wagner really needs to be used on the wing positions in the future as he has the tools to become an interesting long small forward in the future.
Wagner still needs to hone his outside shot, but he's got great length for a Beilein wing, and he should be able to create offense off the dribble. While he isn't regarded as a one-and-done talent, his German team very much wanted to sign him to a pro contract, but Wagner reportedly wants to make it to the NBA and believes Michigan provides him the best path to get there.
Wagner's narrow focus on Michigan didn't allow for many other schools to come under serious consideration. When he was planning his visit, he'd also heard from Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Duke, Providence, Virginia, and UNLV. That's a pretty impressive list of suitors for an overseas prospect making a late decision.
In the NBBL (German youth league), Wagner is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, two assists and two steals per game while shooting 61% on twos and 30% on threes. He also averaged 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds during the Adidas Next Generation U18 Tournament, helping Alba Berlin to a third-place finish.
Playing with Germany’s U18 team in the FIBA Euro Championships, Wagner averaged 5.2 points and three rebounds in 10 minutes a game.
The outside shot needs some work, but that's some impressive efficiency inside the arc.
Going from most to least recent:
While his athleticism doesn't jump off the screen, his skill level is apparent.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Wagner is going to need some time adding bulk at Camp Sanderson, and his slight physique—and still-developing shot—may limit his minutes as a freshman, especially if Caris LeVert comes back and a logjam results on the wings. He'll most likely be competing with Duncan Robinson and Kameron Chatman for a spot in the rotation, and of the three we've only been able to see Chatman play at this level.
Down the road, he's a very intriguing prospect. Michigan really missed having a player at the four who could create off the dribble, and while Aubrey Dawkins made some progress in that regard late in the season, Wagner looks like the most polished slasher among the guys who could play at that spot. If his outside shot comes along, he could be a very impactful stretch four.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Wagner's commitment means Michigan is currently at the scholarship limit for 2015-16, and that's assuming Max Bielfeldt will move on to another program for his fifth year, as expected. If LeVert departed for the NBA, that'd open up a spot. Michigan is still in pursuit of five-star 2015 forward Jaylen Brown, and should he decide he wants to attend, it's hard to imagine Michigan wouldn't have a spot for him, perhaps by putting Austin Hatch on medical scholarship; there have been some positive indicators for Brown since his visit, but he's still expected to end up elsewhere.
Unless Brown makes a surprise choice to come to Michigan, this should be the conclusion of the program's 2015 recruiting.
— REES April 4, 2015
It didn't take long for Michigan to land their second pledge of the weekend, as 2016 Farmington (MI) FB/ILB David Reese flipped his commitment from Louisville prior to the spring game, per multiple outlets. Reese was being recruited by most schools as an inside linebacker, but has committed to Michigan as a fullback. He'll immediately get to work trying to get more in-state prospects into the fold, including his Farmington teammate, WR Desmond Fitzpatrick:
Reese planned to commit to Michigan heading into the weekend. Said he'll recruit Desmond Fitzpatrick, Donnie Corley, Khalid Kareem
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 4, 2015
Reese is the fourth commit in the 2016 class, and the first at fullback; he'd be the second linebacker in the class, joining Dele' Harding, should he end up on defense.
This post has been updated.
|3*, #9 MLB||3*, #17 ILB||3*, NR ILB||
3*, 87, #14 ILB,
3*, #18 ILB,
All four sites peg Reese as a three-star inside linebacker. At 6'1", 235 pounds, he certainly has the build of a inside 'backer or a fullback.
While Reese is being recruited by Michigan as a fullback, nobody's really evaluated him there, and it's not like there's too much to say about a fullback recruit aside from "he's big enough and likes hitting people, so that should work out." Reese fits that mold. Given Jim Harbaugh's proclivity for testing out players on both sides of the ball, it's worth exploring how he measures up as an inside linebacker; he should at least get a chance to make an impact on defense.
Despite not being the type of player that would normally thrive in a camp setting, Reese has been impressive on the camp circuit. Tim Sullivan named him one of the top linebackers at last May's RCS Detroit ($):
Reese looks like a tweener between defensive end and linebacker, and in fact he played both positions during the course of the day (whereas most of the other defenders who played multiple positions were linebacker/safety types). A true middle linebacker type is expected to struggle in a passing camp, and though Reese wasn't flawless, he lived up to expectations, at the very least.
Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt slotted him as the #3 overall performer at December's Adidas Showcase in Pontiac ($):
You can count on Reese showing up wherever there is an opportunity to compete. He is constantly working to elevate his game and always gives 100 percent. Camps should not be ideal settings for the stout 6-foot-1, 225-pound Reese. He is a run-stuffing, head-knocking middle linebacker, yet he consistently surprises by how well he plays in space and his ability to stick with running backs and tight ends in pass coverage.
Scout's Allen Trieu provides an evaluation of Reese's play when there's actual 11-on-11 football to be played, and as you'd expect, his run-stuffing ability comes to the forefront ($):
Reese is a big, powerful kid who is built like a college linebacker already. He has a nose for the ball, as evidenced by his high tackle numbers each of the last two seasons. He's come-forward kid who reads his keys and is not afraid to take on and absorb contact from lead blockers. Physicality is not an issue. He's a big hitter who plays aggressively. He has good tackling technique. You rarely see him take on ball carriers or blockers too high. Where he can continue to improve is in space. He has worked on that and we've seen the strides he's made in coverage.
Finally, here's an excerpt from 247's Clint Brewster's free film breakdown:
Reese doesn't have the biggest frame at around 6-foot, and 230-pounds but he packs a punch. He's got the tenacity you like inside the box and wins in tight spaces. His timing when he shoots the gap is outstanding on run plays and when he's blitzing. He makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Reese doesn't have great agility but he takes great angles in the open field to make a tackle and he's got good straight line speed. Reese tackles low and wins the leverage battle because he's built low to the ground with good strength overall. Reese has strong and active hands and his leverage and lower body strength frees him from blocks. Highly aggressive player you want on the inside. Solid in coverage but not great.
It certainly sounds like Michigan should at least give him a shot on defense; at the very least, his ability to utilize leverage and willingness to hit people should make him a solid fullback.
Reese held offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Pitt, and most of the MAC.
Farmington High School hadn't produced a Power Five commit during the Rivals era (2002-present) until Reese and Fitzpatrick pledged to Louisville.
Per Scout, Reese had 117 tackles and six sacks as a junior, and recorded 108 tackles as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Despite the multiple camp appearances, none listed.
Sophomore highlights, freshman highlights, and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
If Reese starts his Michigan career on offense, he should get a chance to play right away; fullbacks Joe Kerridge and Sione Houma are both in their final season of eligibility.
Should Reese get a crack at defense, he'd likely either take a redshirt year or moonlight as a fullback, then work his way into the rotation for a year before completing to replace Mike McCray at middle linebacker.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan should be set at fullback, at the very least.