[Photo via The Star Press]
It didn't take long for Michigan's satellite camp tour to pay dividends. This afternoon, three-star Winchester (IN) Community ATH Kiante Enis committed to the Wolverines after participating in the Indianapolis camp, as first reported by 247's Steve Wiltfong. Enis becomes the eighth commit in the 2016 class and Michigan's third at running back, joining Kingston Davis and Matt Falcon.
We'll see if Enis actually ends up there; 247's Steve Lorenz tells me Michigan is taking Enis as a pure athlete, and he could end up at running back, slot receiver, or even safety at Michigan; for now, they're taking the athlete they want and seeing how it'll play out.
|3*, #26 ATH||3*, #54 ATH||NR ATH||
3*, 87, #36 RB,
3*, #53 RB,
Despite posting some eye-popping statistics last year (more on that later), Enis currently is stuck in the middling three-star range. Much of that may be due to his high school and the quality of competition; he's the first Division I prospect to come out of Winchester Community in the Rivals era. As Enis hits the camp circuit, not to mention adds the exposure of being a Michigan commit, we'll see if his rankings begin to rise.
The four sites are in general agreement about his size, pegging him at 6'1" or 6'2" and 190-200 pounds; a solid frame for a player with his elite speed.
There's very little scouting out there on Enis. What we have are tantalizing track numbers and absurd high school statistics. On the latter: Enis rushed for 3,189 yards and 49 touchdowns on 299 carries (10.7 YPC) as a junior; his yardage and touchdowns were both among the top figures nationally. On the former: he is faaaaaaaaaast:
Enis is also a mid-major basketball recruit. That athleticism on the hardwood still didn’t do a whole to attract more recruiters on the gridiron.
But now, college coaches can’t ignore the electronically timed 10.53 second 100-meter dash Enis posted at the recent Randolph County track meet, which according to his football coach Mike Jones, is currently the top time in the state of Indiana.
Enis added his Michigan offer shortly after that blazing run. Later in that article, Enis claims a 4.35 40-yard dash time; that figure would get a lot of FAKEs in normal situations, but not after seeing his elite sprinting times.
Enis is the nephew of former Penn State and NFL running back Curtis Enis. His high school coach sees him as much more than just a speedster, per 247's Steve Wiltfong:
“He’s tough,” Jones said. “All the stuff we do, everybody talks about the speed, and obviously speed is the unteachable factor, but he’s so good in between the tackles right now. We had a drive last week, it was a third-quarter drive that put the nail in the coffin. We ran trap, ice, read, just over and over and over, all inside stuff. He carried it 28 times and wanted it more.”
Enis is “by far, by far,” the best player to ever suit up in Winchester. He owns the school’s career rushing record, career touchdown record and he’s one interception away from that record as well.
“He’s explosive, dominant, the speed helps so much,” Jones said. “The thing I like about him, he’s so tough with the ball. He never gets tackled by one guy. The film shows it over and over. He doesn’t go down.”
That's about it as far as scouting reports go; ESPN hasn't ranked him or posted an evaluation, Rivals has just two articles about him (both focused on recruiting), and Scout doesn't have much more than that.
What's clear from the film and the numbers is that Enis is an explosive, versatile athlete; it's not a surprise that Michigan is willing to take an athlete of his caliber now and figure out the positional details later.
Enis holds offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Miami (NTM), Michigan State, Ohio, and Western Michigan. His bigger offers have come this spring, including MSU extending one within a week of Michigan doing so last month. Enis backing up the speed apparent on his film with top-notch times on the track has clearly helped his recruitment.
Winchester Community is a small school (enrollment: 459, per IHSAA) that participates in Indiana's second-smallest classification (2A) for football. Enis is the first major prospect to come from the school; in fact, he's the only recruit from WC to hold a Division I offer in the Rivals database, which extends back to 2002.
If you're wondering why major offers have been slow to come in, that helps clear up the picture.
In addition to the rushing stats mentioned above, Enis recorded four interceptions during his junior season, and he also had four receptions for 104 yards and a score, per MaxPreps. More complete stats, as well as sophomore stats, are available at that link.
FAKE 40 TIME
Enis' self-reported 4.35 gets one FAKE out of five because of his track exploits. Speed is not an issue, to say the least.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I... have no idea. Enis has the size and athleticism to play running back, receiver, or defensive back; safety seems to be a legitimate possibility given the number of guys already committed as running backs, though Enis also mentioned a desire to have the ball in his hands during his recruitment, and after watching the film it's hard to blame him. Wherever he ends up, he's a good bet to compete for a spot as a return man, and his speed will make him a player to watch on either side of the ball.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is up to eight commits in the class, and they look poised to hit nine when fellow Indiana athlete Chris Evans announces his decision on Saturday. Unless something changed in the last week, Michigan will happily take both Enis and Evans, who has similar positional flexibility.
It's still far too early to take a stab at the final numbers for this class; it's clear the coaches are eyeing a class in the neighborhood of 20-25 prospects, which would require a decent but not unreasonable amount of attrition before Signing Day. Wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, and—depending on where Enis and maybe Evans end up—defensive back remain areas of need.
Michigan fans have been hankering for a big commitment, and they got one this evening in both figurative and literal fashion. Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu became the seventh commitment for the class of 2016; he'll either be M's second offensive line commit, as most expect, or their first in the trenches on defense.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the post.]
2016 five-star wing Tyus Battle just committed to Michigan:
Excited to say that I am going to be a Wolverine!!?????????? pic.twitter.com/xdEUC5o9ol
— tyus battle (@kidmamba23) May 11, 2015
This should help you salve your Jaylen Brown wounds even if he is using the split M. Informative update coming.
|5*, #10 overall
|5*, #14 overall||5*, #14 overall
|5*, #11 overall
|5*, #12 overall
The 247 composite didn't have to work too hard to average those rankings: the world has Battle just outside the top ten in the 2016 rankings, the #4 shooting guard in the country behind (former?) Michigan target Josh Langford, Malik Monk, and Terrance Ferguson.
Battle is high on everyone's wish list because he brings NBA size and athleticism. Then there's a lot of conflicting information. ESPN says Battle may be "most gifted on the defensive end of the floor," praises his maturity, and says he's got "good size, long arms, speed, quickness, and leaping ability." They then say his three point shooting is the "most glaring weakness he has." With ESPN evaluations it's always tough to know when and how they saw the kid, and that'll play a role as we hit a bunch of scouting reports that say he's a great shooter.
There isn't a lot of recent scouting since Battle missed about five months with an ankle injury likely sustained as he helped the USA U17s to a gold medal in Dubai. Before that he was in a bit of a funk but recovered from it…
The No. 11 player in the class of 2016, Battle has struggled a bit for much of the spring. He's grown to 6-foot-5, gotten much stronger and has been in the process of adjusting his game. Sunday, he mixed jump shots, transition finishes and drives to the hoop nicely and as a result he played the best he has this spring. Battle said that he feels like he's started to get things going in the right direction and he's excited for the summer ahead now that he has his confidence going.
…to re-establish himself one of the top prospects in the 2016 class:
Tyus Battle, 6-foot-5 SG (No. 25 2016): It was not a great spring for the wing from New Jersey. It was, however, a great summer. Starting around Memorial Day, Battle broke out of a funk he had been in through the early stages of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League. Battle looks to be much more comfortable with the size that he added in the last year, and he was shooting very well during July. He looks like he will be moving up to five-star status.
His early stats on the AAU circuit weren't great, largely because he took a ton of three pointers and not much else. I can't figure out why, but it seems like his team wasn't particularly well organized.
As for the upside:
Obviously, he’s an effective perimeter shooter, but he also possesses lean athleticism and a frame that should enable him to become legitimately strong as he progresses.
I also like his defensive potential at 6-6, with the spidery athleticism to defend wing forwards and many shooting guards as well.
As mentioned above, there’s a very high likelihood that Battle will become a successful high-major performer. The things he does well, at 6-6 and athletic, typically enjoy a very high translation level to college and beyond. There aren’t enough shooters and scorers in college basketball — but don’t take my word for it, just ask your nearest college coach — and Battle will supply that as early as his freshman season.
Scout's Brian Snow caught him when he was playing with Team USA:
He attacked the rim well with the dribble and was excellent finishing in the mid-range. Battle was shooting it well from deep, though at times he was a bit streaky mostly due to his footwork being inconsistent. Still he is one of the best shot makers and athletes on the wing in the class and showed his impressive scoring ability all day long.
He hit a few deep jumpers, and then began really turning it up. Battle got on the glass and converted a few offensive rebounds for buckets, slashed to the rim, and then scored in the mid-range. It was a good finish to a strong day for Battle.
And Sam Webb had a take from Michigan's camp:
Sam’s Take: If there was a better shooter in attendance I didn’t see him. In one of the shooting drills Battle didn’t have a single miss. In another he only missed one. He can drill jumpers coming off screens with the ball or without, and he can also knock them down pulling up off the dribble. It game action he was streakier from distance, but his stroke is undeniable. When it came to getting to the rim he did so with relative ease thanks to his quick first step and strong handle. One of his best moves was a blow-by off a hesitation, but in that move he also put on display the next stage of development.
Battle sounds a lot like LeVert: a lanky 6'6" guy who's an excellent shooter with long arms and passing ability. He may or may not be able to get to explosive dunkland on the regular, a la Jaylen Brown. Battle:
“I think knocking down jump shots and creating my own shot, I’m pretty good at,” Battle told Scout.com.
“I’m probably better from mid-range,” he added. “That’s more of my game. When they go to man-to-man I like to get the mid-range jump shot.”
Battle is already as big as rising senior LeVert, which helps explain the disparity in their rankings. (Also, LeVert was criminally underrated even after winning the Ohio POY award that has been a ticket to the NBA for a decade.) The hope you have is that Battle can add the posterizations as he gets older—the ranking implies he's got the athleticism for it.
A who's who as you might expect. His final seven schools were Michigan, UConn, Duke, Syracuse, OSU, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, and Villanova also offered.
I couldn't find anything that seemed reliable.
From last summer's Peach Jam, when he was a rising junior:
And at another tourney:
An SNY profile:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take your pick between a meatier Caris LeVert or a quicker Zak Irvin. Battle seems to split the difference between Michigan's two wing stars. If that three point shot is currently erratic, it's close enough to where it needs to be for Beilein to put him in the 40%+ range, and then you've got a six-foot-six guy with long arms and at least B+ athleticism.
So more of the same, maybe with a little more oomph.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has at least three spots for next year's class: Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht graduate and they currently have an open slot. Those slots would appear to be full with Battle, Jon Teske, and Austin Davis, but 1) Michigan would very much like a point guard with Spike's departure and 2) it appears that Michigan offered Davis with the idea that he might prep and arrive in 2017 depending on how the 2016 roster develops.
That would leave them with room for a point guard. Michigan is pushing hard for in-stater Cassius Winston and has opened up their horizons after Derryck Thornton accelerated and committed to Duke. Currently rising 6'6" NY PG Kevin Huerter is currently the name with the most juice if they can't get Winston, but after plan A things are fuzzy.
Michigan will likely wait and see what kind of unexpected attrition they have, if any, after the year before looking for additional players. Irvin reaching NBA range and a playing time transfer from someone frozen out this year are possibilities; I'd guess they grab a point guard as soon as they can and continue recruiting wing types with the expectation they will have a slot.
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.