at least it's not just us?
GBW is reporting a commitment($) from Columbus DeSales defensive end Chris Rock. Rock visited for the BBQ and was widely regarded a possible commit going in; it took a little longer but he did indeed sign up. Rock has the offer list of a solid four star, with Nebraska, Michigan, Oregon, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Pitt, and West Virginia among his suitors.
More later after we sift through a thousand links about that other guy named Chris Rock. This is going to be worse than Michael Schofield's commitment.
[Ed: Tim's update below.]
Michigan has gained a commitment from OH DE Chris Rock. Not that Chris Rock.
|3*, #49 DE||250 Watchlist DE||46, NR DE|
Scout says that, although he's a talented DE/TE in high school, there's a chance he could play defensive tackle at the next level:
Rock had another fine season at DeSales. He plays defensive end and tight end currently, but could possibly be a defensive tackle at the next level. Needs to continue to add strength, but has good size and plays with intensity...
As a sophomore he projects as a TE/DE but he's got the physical build to become a OT/DT in the coming years. Very good player who will have played and started at the varsity level for four seasons.
They list his strengths as "Body Control and Balance" and "Intensity/Effort," while saying he needs to improve "Lateral Range" and "Strength." He also describes his own game:
“I work really hard and have a great motor. I’m not the strongest kid, so I use my quickness to my advantage. I’m very disciplined.
“I definitely want to get stronger. I’m also working on my passing rushing moves and learn more moves.”
He's listed consistently at 6-5, and reports on his weight fall in the 235-260 range. GBMW took in a DeSales game, and gave a quick rundown of his physical appearance:
Chris stated his size at 6”5 and 250 pounds. His father appears to be marginally taller than Chris, leading to the possibility that Chris may not be finished in his vertical ascension. There is clear room for Chris to put 20 plus pounds on his frame. Chris does not appear to have much interest in the usual measurements of 40 time and bench press figures. But around 4.9 seemed to be the likely 40-time number.
The usual groaning about the quality of writing on that site applies, but it's still informative. From his next game:
Chris does not mind mixing it up, a trait that is an absolute necessity for a college defensive lineman, where the environment is one of survival of the fittest with no mercy asked or given. Chris contained pretty well all night and several times tackled guys outside the pocket area. He did not get locked up often. Chris also applied good pressure and used those long arms to knock down several passes. Chris rushes the pocket reasonably well, but as of yet is not the rare lightning fast edge rusher every university craves.
So: he's a pass rusher, but not an elite physical specimen like, say Brandon Graham or Craig Roh. That hasn't stopped him from being the most disruptive player on a DeSales defense that has featured several D-1 recruits.
Ohio State recruiting guru Duane Long has had him pegged as high as the third best player in Ohio(!). In any class, that position would be a lock for 4-star status, and potential for 5-star. Not sure where Long currently slots Rock, though certainly lower than he did before. How much of that is on the basis of reduced production due to illness or injury his senior year?OFFERS
At the beginning of his junior season, he already held offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Pitt, Cincinnati, and Duke. He followed up with most of the non-Ohio State Big Ten, Nebraska, Stanford, West Virginia, and others. He wasn't getting the attention of the USC/Florida/Alabamas of the world, but a solid BCS-level offer sheet is nothing to sneeze at. Nebraska's offer, given Bo Pelini's eye for talent, is also a big deal.
Michigan and Notre Dame were his long-standing top two, until the Irish filled up at defensive end and pulled his offer. He recently told Tom he would be deciding soon, and the BBQ at the Big House may have help push him even closer. A late Oregon offer slowed down the decision process very slightly, but he chose the Wolverines this afternoon.
His ESPN profile says he notched 64 tackles and 15 sacks as a sophomore. As a junior, he was fighting through either illness or injury through most of his football season, and his production dropped off considerably. My estimates based on game articles are in the 50-tackle range, and he had 11.5 sacks including a three-sack outing against Cincinnati Wyoming and future teammate Jibreel Black:
"We definitely harp about our defense being the heart of the team," [Rock] said. "All week, our coaches kept telling me to stay low and get pressure on the quarterback. I knew their quarterback was quite a runner. We had to control him..."
"Chris was sort of in a zone," coach Ryan Wiggins said.
In his next game, DeSales lost to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney and another of Rock's future teammates, Ray Vinopal. That ended DeSales's playoff run.
He showed off some athleticism with a 55-yard interception return against New Albany, and a punt block against Findlay. There's significantly less talk about his performances on offense, but a 33-yard TD catch in a playoff game was notable. From the sounds of things, DeSales had a ground-oriented attack.
He was named 2nd-Team All-State on the defensive line, the only 2011 prospect so honored.
FAKE 40 TIME
JJHuddle provides a nice FAKE 40 time:
The 6-foot-5 and 255-pound Rock is a talented athlete in a big body. Rock runs the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds and is also a key reserve on a very good DeSales basketball team.
That's slightly FAKE for a guy whose scouting reports unanimously indicate he doesn't have great speed - even for a defensive end. I'll give it four FAKEs out of five.
Junior year highlights from ScoutingOhio:
You can also see a highlight video of DeSales's loss to Cincinnati Anderson, in which Rock alternates good pressure with giving up contain. There are a couple more individual game and highlight videos available on Youtube.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
From the sounds of things, Rock is something of a tweener between a big strongside defensive end, and a potential defensive tackle down the line. That'll actually work out well at Michigan, where he can play defensive end in a 3-man front, or tackle on passing downs. His athleticism and size combination probably means he won't be an elite pass rusher, but can still get into the backfield a little bit.
He can be penciled in at Ryan Van Bergen's defensive end position. When Rock arrives on campus, Van Bergen will be a redshirt senior, with a number of prospects from the classes of 2010 (Jibreel Black and Terry Talbott) and 2009 (Anthony LaLota) littering the roster, he's a near-lock to redshirt to add weight and strength under Mike Barwis's program.
Following his redshirt season, it will probably take Rock a couple years to earn significant playing time in the rotation, considering all the guys ahead of him. By the time he's a redshirt junior and senior, he could become a starter, with potential All-Conference (but not likely All-American) potential in his final season.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Rock is the first true big guy in a 2011 class that should be pretty heavy on them. At least one more defensive lineman, a nose tackle, is guaranteed to end up in this class, and there's potential for even more than that. Either another nose tackle, or potentially another big-ish defensive end could join the fold as well.
Michigan continues to pick up commitments from prospects who play positions other than those considered to the most important: offensive line and linebacker. With each commitment at a different position, it reduces the number of spots available for non-OL/LBs. A couple more spots will go to offensive skill players and defensive backs, but expect the focus to be on those two positions of need.
Hopefully Rock's commitment is a sign that Michigan is going back in the "defenders with badass names" direction, peaking in the mid-90s with the likes of Foote, Steele, Sword, et al.
St. Francis DeSales pumps out talent each year, including Travis Jackson of Michigan State, Chi Chi Ariguzo of Northwestern, and Adam Griffin of Ohio state in last year's class alone. The class of 2008 brought Patrick Omameh to Michigan, and it never hurts to develop pipelines at talent factories.
2011 MI DE Brennen Beyer received his Michigan offer in January, and didn't seem like it would be long before the lifelong Wolverine fan would commit to Rich Rodriguez. At long last, he is Blue! On that note, apologies if anything in here is slightly out of date...
|4*, #15 DE||NR DE||45, NR DE|
With 2011 prospects, there is a very limited amount of information available, especially for the guys who are a little more under-the-radar. Rivals's MichiganPreps has a brief breakdown of Beyer's game in the lead-in to a highlight package:
Brennen has excellent size at 6-foot-4 215 lbs. He has unbelievable hands as a TE and is a tough physical blocker. On defense Brennen plays D-End and was in opposing backfields most of the season recording 9 sacks and 9 tackles for loss.
On top of that brief breakdown, there is also indication from Scout.com's Allen Trieu that Beyer will probably be ranked third in the state in the class of 2011:
Detroit Renaissance linebacker Lawrence Thomas is definitely the top kid in the state. I think Saginaw wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett is pretty locked in at No. 2. Then there is some debate between three through six. We're supposed to submit our rankings this weekend for the Midwest. I think it'll go Thomas, Arnett, Plymouth DE/TE Brennen Beyer, Grand Blanc RB Justice Hayes, and then I'm not sure after that. Ogemaw Heights guard Anthony Zettel and Cass Tech corner Delonte Hollowell are certainly in the running for No. 5.
The third prospect in the state for 2010, for the sake of a reference, is 4* QB Robert Bolden on Rivals (the top 7 are all 4* or better) and 4* CB Mylan Hicks on Scout (the top 9 are all 4* or better). PlymouthCantonSports.com also has a profile on Beyer:
"There have been a number of times this season when the other team will run away from Brennen's side, but he'll make the play any way," said Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk. "His effort is amazing. He squeezes as hard as he can and makes plays, no matter if the play is coming at him or away from him."
"The thing about Brennen that stands out is that he is so athletic, he can play any position out here. He's proven he can play wide out, but he could also play center, tackle -- he could even play quarterback if he wanted to. He's just that athletic.
"Brennen is just a great, all-around kid. He's great academically and he has awesome morales [?, sic] and values."
Beyer excels in the classroom, having earned a stellar 3.9 grade-point average so far. "I'd love to play college football someday," he said. "I don't really care where right now, but the Big 10 would be nice."
High effort player with good academics and character, sounds great. Opposing basketball coaches say, "He's a man." From watching Beyer's video, I'd say he's reminiscent of a less-explosive Craig Roh type defensive end, right down to that low crab-stance. One issue I see with his game defensively is that he often doesn't hit the ball carrier as much as he grabs with his hands as he goes by, and drags the guy down. Offensively, he's a good pass-catching tight end.
Michigan was Beyer's first offer. He grew up a lifelong Wolverine fan, just 15 minutes away from Ann Arbor, and wasted little time in accepting it. He then grabbed three more offers ($, info in header) from the likes of MSU, Northwestern, and Stanford, and followed those up with UCLA and Texas Tech.
Notre Dame also offered, and he visited for their March 20th Junior Day. According to Tom, they were the other finalist along with the Wolverines. However, with all the time he spent on campus, Michigan was his clear winner. Syracuse and Vanderbilt were his other BCS-level offers.
As noted above, Beyer finished his junior season with 9 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. Offensively, he had at least 6 touchdowns, but PlymouthCantonSports.com isn't exactly the pinnacle of great sportswriting, so there's always the possibility he had even more than that.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists his 40 time as 4.78, and ESPN credits him at 5.07. As a pass-rushing defensive end, those hardly sounds FAKE at all, and I'll give it just one FAKE out of five. I expect to see several articles with 4.2 40-yard dash times for him, so I can get my fill on FAKEness.
Beyer has both offensive and defensive highlights available on Youtube. Since I think he's being looked at as a defensive prospect, I'll embed his highlights from that side of the ball:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Beyer is so far from campus that it's nearly impossible to predict exactly what he'll do in Ann Arbor. He could bulk up over the course of his senior year and be ready to contribute immediately. As a high school junior, there's also a chance he's still growing and could get taller. Not even taking into account how members of the classes of 2009 and 2010 end up contributing, there are so many variable to take into account that it's an exercise in futility.
So of course I have to try anyway, right? He has a very good frame, and he will probably redshirt as a freshman to add sufficient bulk to it. He's one of Michigan's only true speed rushers in the past couple classes (Craig Roh being the other, depending on how some guys develop), so he should be able to contribute early in his career if he can get up to the right weight. He should play Craig Roh's position (either blitzing OLB in the 3-3-5, or the Quick DE if Michigan's defense goes back to last year's scheme).
For such an early commit, there's also a chance that he can work to enroll early (there has been no talk of this that I've seen; I'm just speculating), which would get him into a college weight program quicker, and let him tackle the playbook sooner, getting him on the field as a true freshman.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is looking at a small class of 2011, and with four spots already taken, they'll be very careful about who they allow to commit. Offensive line and linebacker are big priorities, along with at least one true defensive tackle.
Michigan has gained a basketball commitment from MI PF Jon Horford. He's a 2010 prospect, and the younger brother of erstwhile Michigan commit, former Florida Gator, and current Atlanta Hawk Al Horford.
|3*, #42 PF||3*, NR PF||88, #76 PF|
ESPN has two evaluations of him, just over two years apart:
December, 2007: He's a good low post scorer that really works the glass. He has great hands and keeps working hard to improve. He's a good, but not great athlete that seems to grow an inch every 4-5 months. He has a long wing span which helps him be a very good shot blocker. His range extends to 15 feet at this point, but he has a thin frame and he must add strength. His brother Al was solid at the same stage and with hard work, ended up a two-time National Champ and NBA Lottery pick. Jon is on the same path.
The note that Al Horford was similarly limited in high school is very encouraging. And...
February, 2010: Jon is a multi dimensional power forward. He can operate in the paint or score from the high post. That is probably one of his best attributes, his versatility. Inside Jon is solid on the block. He has decent post moves and is a good rebounder inside due to his solid basketball IQ. He understands blocking out and using his body inside. He scores mostly off garbage inside (dump offs and put backs) he is best facing the basket. He can shoot with range out to 16 or 17 feet. He is a solid defender inside though not an avid shot blocker. He is not quite the athlete that his brother was at the same stage. He will be a very solid player at the collegiate level.
The more recent evaluation is significantly less "OMG HE RULZ" than the first, but it is still highly positive. That doesn't jibe with various reports that Horford's something of a project. Another recurring theme in Horford evaluations: he's thin:
Jon Horford. He definitely looked like a player -- and the Gators were all over him. He's about 6-9, but thinner than his older brother.
Dylan checked him out in person:
He moves well for a big man and looks very comfortable in the post. Despite being double teamed he had a couple nice spin moves when he got the ball cleanly on the box. He also showed very nice touch finishing around the hoop. He also did a very good job passing out of double teams and finding open shooters (even if they weren’t making shots)...
But at the end of the day he just doesn’t “wow” you like you would expect a high-major big man to. He got ripped of several rebounds and doesn’t appear to be a tremendous shot blocker, despite being the tallest player on the court. He is very slender from the mid-section down and had to pull up his shorts after about every play. Horford’s shooting form is also screwy and will certainly get some attention once he is playing for a division 1 coach.
So did Calvin, also of UMHoops:
The first thing you have to say about Horford, and something Dylan mentioned, is that there isn’t much of a “wow” factor. He’s extremely skinny (think a taller Manny Harris, but with slimmer shoulders), which means there aren’t any points in the game when he can just move somebody out of his way. Every offensive move is a finesse move–which isn’t to say they’re bad moves, that’s just the kind of player he is. He has a nice quick drop step and he knows how to use his pivot foot in that way that seems like it should be traveling but definitely isn’t and it’s just a good move. He has great touch around the basket and is an exceptional finisher given his frame. He is also a very, very good passer. Horford was double-teamed almost every time he touched the ball, and he almost always found the open man. Very good instincts on offense.
Rivals evaluated him:
Horford is long (a legit 6-8 plus) but skinny, and will need some hours in the weight room before he moves on to the next level. He's got great hands, however, a nice touch around the basket and outstanding work ethic on both ends of the floor. Henton took advantage of Horford's lack of strength to bully his way to the rim a few times, getting Horford into early foul trouble (two fouls in the first half).
He went to his right hand on all three occasions - twice he'd have had it easier if he could have used his left, and probably would have finished despite being fouled.
Where he was most impressive was passing out of the post... He runs the floor well... Horford's young supporting cast isn't all that talented, making him the obvious focus of defenses, but he's supportive and doesn't try to force it...
I've heard his height is a little overstated, and he might be closer to 6-7 than 6-9. He's just a high schooler though, so he might still be growing (especially with his NBA bloodlines). The positives: he's skilled, an exceptional passer, and assuming he can put on some weight, a legit post prospect.
As recently as last summer, he wasn't really on Michigan's radar, but he got an offer around December ($), and named Michigan his leader shortly thereafter. But then, like, actually got offered at the beginning of this month (made official when he visited this week). At that time, it was "almost sure" he would pick the Wolverines ($, info in header). He picked the Wolverines over Cal and Providence. Alabama showed some interest, but no word on if they offered. Michigan State showed some interest, especially late, but I'm not sure if they ever offered.
So what do the offers mean? He's certainly not a top-top prospect (which the recruiting rankings show as well), nor is he an instant-impact type. The Kentuckys of the world were coming a-callin'.
As mentioned above, Horford was by far the best player on Grand Ledge, which meant that he got the ball a lot, but also drew the attention of opposing defenses.
He averaged about 21 points and 13 rebounds per game, according to umgoblog.com.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Though he's not an instant-impact player, Horford may be forced into a bit of action as a true freshman, since he, Jordan Morgan, Blake McLimans, and fellow freshman Evan "Metrics" Smotrycz will be the only Wolverines taller than 6-4. With Morgan coming off yet another injury and surgery, Horford might have to be ready to go. With his noted lack of strength, that doesn't bode well for a big freshman season. He'll likely get spot minutes to give a rest to Michigan's other options in the post (of which Blake McLimans might be the only healthy bigman - and eve he is more of a power forward), if he plays at all.
Assuming he's able to put his body together in the weight room, he'll be able to contribute in subsequent years. If he grows a little more (his dad, Tito, is 7-1, and brother Al is 6-10), that goes double. He's a skilled big man who just needs to develop a bit before he can be a major contributor to a Big Ten squad. Unless he makes huge strides, he probably is a 4-5 year player.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Scholarship breakdown time:
|2010-11 Michigan Roster|
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||1-2|
** Cronin's basketball career is likely over. I've included him on the chart in the event of a miracle recovery.
That's 12 guys, which means if Cronin gets healthy and Manny stays, Michigan has room for one more prospect, and would have one scholarship to give out for the 2011 recruiting class. That scholarship would go to Trey Zeigler, or if Michigan can't reel him in, Isaiah Sykes.
More likely, Cronin is no longer a factor, opening up an additional scholarship, and pushing the number to two. Would Michigan take both Zeigler and Sykes, or bank on of the spots for next year's class? I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan took both, assuming they could land them.
Manny is on the fence about his senior year, and most reports have him likely leaving. The Wolverines probably don't have three more prospects on the table that they'd want to take in this class, so they would bank Manny's scholarship for the 2011 class. If they filled all three hypothetical slots in this scenario, they would have a grand total of zero scholarships for 2011.
Most likely scenario: Cronin and Manny are both gone, Michigan takes however many of Zeigler and Sykes they can land, and has two scholarships available for 2011. For next season, those scholarships will go to a couple walkons.
Now that all the hand-wringing is out of the way, let's give this kid the treatment he deserves as a Michigan commit...
|NR, Not in Database||NR WR||NR, Not in Database|
Conway has flown very far under the radar thus far. The national sites hardly knew who he was before tonight, but the local writers have been on him for a while. I'll caution you, nearly every link in this section is going to come from Scott M. Burnstein of the Oakland Press:
That all said, when the curtain finally does come down on Conway's HS football career in the fall of 2010, he could wind up being one of the best players in the county, not to mention the state, certain to earn offers to play at the next level. Maples head coach, Chris Fahr, believes right now, even minus the experience and exposure factor, Conway is one of the ten best players at his position in Michigan... he can go deep or across the middle. he's not afraid of contact like some other finesse wideouts his size/caliber and he's said to have big hands, a big heart, and a true passion for the game... Playing on defense, Conway has the potential to be a lockdown corner, already slated to take on the opposing team's best receiver.
He doesn't look fast on his highlight video, but Burnstein insists that he's got some speed:
Watch for a big game from Seaholm's Shawn Conway, a wiry and wicked speedy wide out that tore up a scrimmage against Divine Child last week
In fact, his speed can be compared to a fast animal! HIs jumping can be compared to an NBA Hall-of-Famer! His hand size can be compared to a notable ape of cinema legend! His reality can be compared to a guy with half an ear!:
I was out at Seaholm practice this morning and let me tell you, junior wide receiver Shawn Conway is the real deal holyfield. This kid runs like a gazelle, has hops like Kobe Bryant, and hands the size of King Kong.
Conway has not only outstanding physical skills (especially great hands), but also the ability to inspire others around him to greatness:
His breath-taking skill was evident during the practice session as he caught almost every ball that came his way, a lot of them in traffic, and displayed a magnetic leadership ability that drew the best out of the players around him.
Burnstein even has a great idea for a Christmas gift for Conway:
To Birmingham Seaholm's Shawn Conway, I would give a deadly-accurate quarterback to play with for his senior season on the gridiron next fall – this kid is the genuine article on the football field, not to mention the basketball court, and is undervalued because most of his surrounding Maples teammates have trouble competing at anywhere near his level of play
Christian Davis of CandGnews.com talked to Seaholm's coach, who singled out Conway as the key offensive player for the Maples. Side note - per the quotes above, I'm fairly certain coach Fahr's actual quote was "inexperienced." He had to sit most of his sophomore year after transferring from Cass Tech.
“He’s one of the most experienced players I’ve ever coached,” coach Chris Fahr said. “He’s tall, fast and very athletic, and makes a lot of great plays on the field.”
Conway also contributes on the basketball court, where he's known as an "athletic and wiry forward" who plays the wing and is an accomplished dunker. The message boards say he's an AAU teammate of 2011 Michigan Hoops commit Carlton Brundidge, but I can't find any confirmation.
True to his sleeper status, Conway had only one offer. He accepted the scholarship from Michigan as soon as he received it.
According to mgoMember m83econ, Conway didn't have a whole lot of production as a junior:
Conway had 11 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 games last year.
For those curious why a seemingly (or "allegedly" for those among you who still don't believe it) talented player didn't rack up some more impressive accomplishments on the field, I'll leave it to recruiting guru Jim Stefani:
Conway is a fine talent who also happened to have the misfortune of not having a QB who could consistently get him the ball this season.
Stefani is one of the best at identifying high school prospects, so trust this guy's opinion. Seaholm's quarterback was a noodle-armed sophomore who was forced into the lineup by injury. He'll return in 2010, hopefully much improved from the experience.
FAKE 40 TIME
Jim Stefani credits Conway with a 4.5-second 40-yard dash time. As you'll see in the video below, that's... questionable. I'll give it three FAKES out of five. (Update: see below).
Junior year highlights, complete with horrid QB play.
(Note: look at those hands!)
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
People are quick to bag on this kid because he's an unknown with a junior highlight reel that doesn't exactly wow your socks off. Still, I think we're too quick to write him off (just as we're quick to deify every 5-star prospect we hear about with a short highlight video). That's not to say "hurr star system sux because braylon edwards," but we should allow him to at the very least be evaluated before condemning him.
Still, based on that video, the speed thing looks like it might be an issue, and makes me wonder if he'll move to tight end down the line (or even a defensive position). He doesn't have a whole lot of weight on his frame, so if he can do that without losing any more of his speed, he could end up being the next TE/H-Back/WR hybrid-type substance, a la Kevin Koger.
Unless he spends his senior year running past DBs and proving that he's ready to play immediately, Conway is almost sure to end up redshirting as a freshman, whether he ends up as a tight end or wideout. Under Barwis, he'll either get bigger or improve his speed for a year, while also learning the playbook. After that, he'll slowly work his way into the lineup, and is a serious "boom or bust"-type prospect.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan won't be taking any more sleepers in the receiving corps (assuming they look at this kid as a sleeper, of course). They have had a couple wideout-heavy classes in a row now, so they'll probably hold another outside receiver spot only for a top prospect, such as DeAnthony Arnett or DaVaris Daniels.
The class is now up to 3 commits in 14 spots. Though the total number is certain to grow with normal attrition, scholarships are at a premium in the class of 2011. Offensive line and the defensive front seven will probably (hopefully) be the main focus for a while now.
Tom talked to Shawn, so here's their conversation:
Tom: Were you at Michigan today for the junior day when you committed?
SHAWN: Yes, and they just offered today. Coach Rod offered me as an outside receiver. They saw me in the 7 on 7 last summer, and they watched my film, and they really liked it. They told me that they were offering two players at outside wide receiver, and that I was one of them.
TOM: Did you expect the offer was coming, or was it a surprise?
SHAWN: I had no idea I was getting an offer. I knew that if they offered I would take it. My dad was there, and he said let’s do it; so we took it.
TOM: Not a lot of people really know about you, how would you describe yourself?
SHAWN: I’m a hard worker, and I’m 6’4 with a 38 inch vertical. I tell my quarterback, if you feel pressure, just throw the ball up, and I’ll go get it. I’ll go up and make a play. My best 40 time was a 4.49, but on average it’s a 4.56
TOM: When will you be up at Michigan next?
SHAWN: I think I’ll be there next weekend. My team is going to play in the 7 on 7.
TOM: I know you play basketball, too. Is that going to be an option at Michigan?
SHAWN: Coach Rod said he wouldn’t mind if I tried to walk on the basketball team, so I will definitely try to do that. Carlton (Brundidge) plays on my AAU basketball team, he was the first one I called when it happened. He was just really excited, and he said we should room together. We’ll see, I’m just excited about all this.
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.
Yesterday the Wolverines gained a commitment from OH LB Jake Ryan from Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, a traditional power in Ohio's largest high school division.
|2*, #113 OLB||3*, NR OLB||NR, not in database|
Before everyone starts freaking out, I'm going to go ahead and warn you: this kid is a sleeper. Like, a deep, deep sleeper. He barely even exists in the eyes of many talent evaluators, though some have been quick to admit they simply missed the boat on him. Now, let's dive into the evaluations.
We start with Rivals, whose Greg Ladky caught him in a scrimmage against Twinsburg (alma mater of Sapce Emperor Zoltan Mesko) this fall:
LB-Jake Ryan- St. Ignatius- Ryan may end up being a defensive end at the next level. His 6-foot-3 listing may be a actually be a bit short. He looks like he is in tremendous shape, and made a few nice tackles on defense. He has the size and range to be a force for St. Ignatius this year, teaming with McVey to form a strong and mean linebacker corps.
The general scuttlebutt is that Ryan may be a bit taller than 6-3. Ladky seems to think so. Interesting to see that he may be considered a potential defensive end even if Michigan's coaches aren't likely to share that opinion. Good range is a plus in coverage, but the Wolverines' linebacker commits over the past couple years have had plenty of range, it's the size that's new and exciting. The McVey in question there is OH LB Scott McVey, an Ohio State commit who was in and out of the lineup with injuries this year.
Ryan managed to make 1st-Team All-State as a linebacker, and he's listed at 6-5 on that list. On the Scout message boards (take with a grain of salt, of course), "CatFan93" who says he's been involved with Ignatius football for more than 30 years, says the following about Ryan:
Ryan was Ignatius' best defensive player this year by a wide margin. Jake had a great year and has an excellent frame at 6'3 225#, he is a big strong kid that can run in the high 4.5s, he is a very athletic kid. Versatile athlete that played FB this year, some TE in the past and also excelled on KO and PR coverage
To this point, I have been perplexed by his offer sheet, which is essentially every team in the MAC conference. He is far better than a MAc player, I would have expected his offer sheet would read something like Boston College, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Virginia, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Louisville, etc at this point.
That said, i think this is a stretch offer for UM. Jake is a B10 talent, just but not a Big 4 [UM, OSU, ND, PSU] talent IMO. While he possesses good speed, he doesnt possess the lateral sideline to sideline speed that I would want to see at an elite BCS school. Watch his film, when he is making plays near the sidelines, often times it is after someone has already turned the play back inside.
That's not a exactly ringing endorsement, but it's pretty positive. Maybe you can see some Ohio State fandom bleed into the assessment in the contradictions: a 225 pound, 6'3" high school kid running in the high 4.5s has plenty of speed to play middle linebacker, and the youtube highlight reel shows him tracking down guys from Glenville wide. In any case, at this point in the recruiting cycle it's good to pick up a guy who would fit in just fine at Iowa at a position of need. He doesn't have to be a four star to be a much better option than Michigan's other underclass middle linebackers: air and walk-ons.
CatFan also sheds a little light on Jake's sleeper status:
One need only look at junior year tape to compare McVey v Ryan. Jake was a starter for 6-7 games his junior season before he got injured. Not a rap on Jake's abilities, but McVey was just head/shoulder above...It has been a long time since I have seen a LB have the kind of season that McVey did last year.
The recruiting types could look at Ryan and see a higher ceiling because of the better frame, maybe they are right...but as long as Scott's shoulder heals - and everything I hear is positive in that regard, there is no question which one I would rather have on my football team...
So, I guess the cliff notes version is that Scott McVey is an amazing high school prospect, and Jake Ryan is just OK. The junior injury helps explain Ryan's low profile, and McVey's senior injury might explain why Ryan was named St. Ignatius's best linebacker at the team banquet.
Again with the sleeper talk. Ryan had scholarship offers from mostly MAC-type schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Central and Eastern Michigans, Ohio, and Toledo. He took visits to Ball State, OU (not that OU), and Toledo prior to this weekend's Ann Arbor visit.
On that visit, Rich Rodriguez and company decided that his film was good enough to warrant an offer, which he accepted today. There have been rumors that he's a Patrick Omameh-style sleeper, with Ohio State coming on strong very late. In that case, it's a heck of a steal.
St. Ignatius finished the 2009 season 11-1 with wins over talented teams like Glenville, Massillon Washington, St Xavier, and Inkster, whose quarterback is some guy you may have heard of. The lone loss was a 13-30 defeat in a playoff rematch with the Tarblooders of Glenville.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells us his stats for the year (and also provide the picture up top):
Ryan used his outstanding pass-rushing technique to register a team-leading 104 tackles for the Wildcats with 62 solos, 26 tackles for loss, eight sacks, eight quarterback hurries, four deflected passes and two fumble recoveries.
For those who disagreed with my assessment from his video the other day, it's "used his outstanding pass-rush technique" that bothers me: as a middle linebacker, he's going to have to do a whole lot more than rush the QB. Maybe he has another highlight video that shows him doing other stuff, but I haven't seen it.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists his 40 time as 4.6. That's your average linebacker time (listed, perhaps not accurately), and his highlight videos show that he has good closing speed. With very little to suggest he's not a very good athlete, I would give this 40 time just two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan is thin, thin, thin at middle linebacker. The synopsis for this guy is that he's in good shape, and would be accurately listed somewhere around 6-4 and 210 pounds. That's a little on the smallish side but with the depth chart, he will be forced into spot duty as a freshman as a backup and on special teams. The company line on traditionally-powerful Catholic schools is that their players come out well-coached, so he won't be overwhelmed. Ryan actually, you know, played linebacker in high school—a rarity on Michigan's roster—and that should help ease his transition.
During that year, he'll hopefully be able to develop physically, adding muscle without any bad weight, and be the primary backup to JB Fitzgerald or Kevin Leach(!) as a true sophomore. After that, he won't put on more bulk unless he is just too slow for linebacker.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Ryan takes the second-to-last slot in the recruiting class assuming no further attrition. That leaves just one spot left, and it would take a serious upset for that spot to go to anyone other than a safety. The remaining options at that position are CA S Sean Parker, FL S Rashad Knight, and longshot FL S Demar Dorsey (a soft Florida commit) in order from most to least likely.
Michigan may also grayshirt an incoming prospect, and there could be another kid or two who leaves the recruiting class for some reason or another. In that instance, Michigan would try to grab two of the safeties, or the best option at safety and one lineman if they can find a good one.