Houston linebacker Kellen Jones has just committed to Michigan. Tim's taken to writing up Hello posts before the kids even commit—dangerous!—so I'll let him get online to give you the rundown, but in brief: Jones is a 6'2", 230-pound middle linebacker, a four star ranked #195 overall by Scout. ESPN has him as a 79 and Rivals a generic three-star.
Sorry for the delay, I'm out of town for a cousin's wedding. -
|4*, #11 MLB, #47 Texas||3*, 5.6, #32 ILB, #80 Texas||3*, 79, #33 OLB|
First things first, the measureables: All three sites are in agreement on his height and weight, at 6-1, 210 (ok, Rivals says 209). Rivals and Scout call him a middle linebacker, but ESPN says he's more of an outside guy. Let's see why:
Flashes "shoot the gap", downhill ability vs. the inside run but not the big tough inside linebacker type who consistently stacks at the point.
That's something that can certainly be improved upon, and Scout also lists "size" as one of his areas to improve. The other is "pass coverage skills," though his strengths of "athleticism" and "speed" mean that, once he earns a bit of technique and play-recognition, he should be OK in that department. Let's finish up with the Scout profile:
Amazing on the blitz, he is as instinctual as you can find. He has a feel for getting through blocking and getting in to attack the quarterback, also good at blocking kicks. His size is okay but it is not above average. Good speed he uses it to his advantage on blitzes and coverage. Does a great job of working through blocks... Jones says he can bench 315-pounds and squat 515, earning him the nickname “Superman.”
Jones: “I’m able to read the play and can react fast. I’m a great blitzer and run stopper. I can also tackle and don’t let the guy get away.
“I’m working on my change of direction speed. I want to improve my hip flexibility and get better at pass coverage.”
Instincts and athleticism are at a premium for defenses under Rich Rodriguez, even if it means giving up a little size. He'll fit right in as that goes. Back to the ESPN profile for a more comprehensive breakdown of his game:
Note: although Rivals ranks him #80 in Texas, AggieYell.com pegs him all the way up at #35 in the Lone Star State.
Jones had tons of offers, and was as high-profile as any 3-star prospect (Rivals and ESPN) can be. Hometown Houston, Wyoming, and Boise State were his only non-BCS conference offers, but he also had 15 from auto-qualifying schools. From the PAC-10, Arizona, Stanford, and future member Colorado offered, SEC schools Arkansas and Vanderbilt offered, Virginia was the lone ACC offeree, and Illinois, and Purdue joined Michigan as Big Ten offers. In his home turf the Big 12, Baylor, departing Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, and Texas A&M all sent him offers.
The Michigan offer was the Big One, and as soon as he got on campus, he was convinced that Ann Arbor was the place for him.
His Scout profile gives an idea of 2009 stats:
Last season Kellen Jones finished with 75 tackles in nine games played. He also had 22 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovered, an interception, a safety, and six sacks. Also getting the attention of college coaches are his six blocked kicks, four punts and two field goals.
Junior Honors: First Team All-District; First Team All-State
Very nice stats, especially considering "OMG TEXAS FOOTBAW." The ability to force action with turnovers and sacks is especially encouraging.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals says 4.6, which is reasonable, all things considered. He plays fast on film, but as for laser-timed, verified times, that's still pretty fast. I'll say two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Jones is a little below optimal size, but Obi Ezeh exits after 2010, and no other middle linebacker has proven himself yet. He'll have a chance to contribute early, especially if JB Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens don't displace Ezeh this year.
I don't see a redshirt for Jones, as he'll spend his freshman year on special teams and in some backup situations. Hopefully, he'll be physically prepared to contribute right off the bat (an early enrollment would be excellent, though I haven't seen indications that he's planning to do so). Within a couple years, Jones should challenge for a starting role at inside linebacker, even if he starts on the outside to get acclimated to the college game. If he can stay healthy, All-conference honors are a possibility...
But there are past injury issues, including concussions. When it comes to an issue of "kid's future" v. "football team's success," everyone should side with the kid.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Sadly, I can no longer copy and paste the "hey we still need offensive linemen and linebackers" portion from previous Hello: X posts. Jones looks like a good fit at middle linebacker, and Michigan has nabbed a couple OL recently as well. Those are still the main positions of need in the class, but no longer the top priorities.
Michigan can stand to wait on a few kids they want (Zettel, Hart, and hopefully a few big-timers down the road), while accepting commitments that seem to be in the near future (Posada). The class is at or around half-full now, so the coaches can hold off and hope a good season generates interest from some top guys.
MI OL Jake Fisher has committed to Michigan. As he told Tom, this was basically a done deal as far back as a couple weeks ago:
"The last visit was just to make sure really. I basically already knew, but my dad didn't get to really see the campus (at Michigan), so I showed him around." "He really liked it as much as I did. The coaches are really awesome, and I just knew that's where I wanted to go."
And with that, let's skip to the...
|4*, #25 OT #6 Michigan||3*, 5.6, NR OT, #18 Michigan||NR OT|
Fisher is currently under-the-radar, not receiving a position ranking from Rivals, and no rating or ranking of any sort from ESPN. The main reason for that is his future position. He played tight end for Traverse City West last year, but is expected to fill out and become an offensive tackle in college.
High school tight end growing into a tackle. Is already strong, considering he still has room to fill out, and he uses that strength to drive and finish defenders. Sets up with a good base in pass protection and does well against the bull rush. Is a high effort, high intensity tough guy who looks to bury his man. Has a great frame, is a good athlete for his size, and really only needs to learn the position.
The Scout profile also lists "flexibility," "nasty streak," and "size" as his strengths (I imagine size doesn't include his weight, which is is only around 260 at this point), and only "technique" as a weakness. Local fluff:
Fisher plays tight end for TC West last year, but has grown from 6-4 to 6-7 and gained more than 60 pounds. He'll return to the end position for his senior year of high school, but will move to tackle at college.
Note that he's still playing a different position his senior year of high school than he will in college. That will keep his ranking low, as scouts won't have the opportunities to evaluate him. His coach notes that his speed has improved over the summer, allowing him to become a BCS-level prospect:
"Jake worked hard on his speed training," Wooer said. "I told the kids the proof is in the pudding. Here's a kid that went from playing at a MAC school in front of 20,000 to playing in front of 100,000 because of his efforts in the weight room."
Wooer also talked to the local paper about Fisher in May:
"He's an athlete," Wooer said. "In his highlight video we threw in some of his dunks on the basketball court. People like to see that. They don't want to see a guy that's 6-7, 300 pounds and can't move. They realize if he's an athlete, they can teach him how to play tackle and teach him how to get stronger in the weight room."
That athleticism is so exceptional that, despite clocking in at over 260 pounds before his senior year of high school, Central Michigan is still looking at him as a tight end:
Most schools have looked at Fisher as an offensive tackle. But Central has expressed interest in keeping him at tight end while Western has considered putting him on the defensive line.
"That's kind of the dream to play tight end in college football," Fisher said. "(But) I would play anything. I just like football that much."
He's also motivated to show off a strong work ethic:
For Fisher, a motivating force has been following scouting reports on fellow recruits — such as Ogemaw Heights' Anthony Zettel.
"I look at their stats and try to compare myself to them," Fisher said. "I try to make sure I'm doing everything I can because they're working hard every day, but I'm working hard, too. I want to make sure I'm doing the same things, or even more."
Should Zettel ultimately choose the Wolverines, the pair will be able to compare each other side-by-side. With so little information on Fisher from sources other than his coach, we're left to sort through the tea leaves to pick apart his game. He has a good frame, and considering he's grown nearly three inches since October, there's a good chance he's still got more room to go. He's earned his BCS offers at camps, so the coaches (including Michigan's) had a chance to evaluate him in person.
Fisher started the year far under-the-radar, but has been impressive in just about every camp he's attended, and has built up a decent offer list for a mid-level prospect. He has offers from most MAC schools, along with Cincinnati and Sparty.
Typically, offensive linemen have no stats to speak of (at least at the high school level). However, since Fisher was a tight end and defensive end (and punter!) last year, he probably put up a little production. I couldn't find evidence of it though, so speak up if you come across it.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals pegs him at 5.17, and neither of the other sites have a time for him. He ran a 4.97-second time at Michigan's camp, impressive for a player his size. For now, I'll give it two FAKEs out of five. I imagine he won't be running times like that by the time he's the size of a college offensive lineman.
Junior highlights at TE and DE:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Fisher, like Taylor Lewan before him, joins Michigan as a shoe-in to end up at the left tackle position. With Lewan just a couple classes ahead of him, he'll have time to develop at the position, as well. Switching from tight end won't be easy, as it will require a serious reshaping of his body, and learning a lot of new technique. After a redshirt year to take care of those factors, Fisher may be thrust into the action.
Taylor Lewan will be a redshirt junior coming off Fisher's redshirt year (as will Michael Schofield), and with no tackles in the recruiting class of 2010, a backup role right off the bat is possible. In fact, with the departure of Dann O'Neill from the class of 2008, and the eventual settling of Patrick Omameh and Kurt Wermers at guard and center, respectively, there are no tackles left from the class of 2008, either.
After playing a backup role for his first two years on the active roster, Fisher should be settled in at the position, and ready to perform at a high level in his junior and senior years. He has the prototypical frame, and as long as he puts in the hard work, he should be able to contend for All-Conference honors.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Weeeeee an offensive lineman! Fisher is the second of what should be several offensive linemen in this class, anywhere from 4-6. Michigan has been light on OL recruiting over the past few years (one in 2010, three in 2009, and four left on the roster from 2008), so this is looking like a serious makeup year.
At least one more tackle, and a couple more interior guys (in addition to center commit Jack Miller) are on the docket. The Wolverines have options like Anthony Zettel, Chris Bryant, Tony Posada, and several others, so they're in good shape to fill in where they need to.
FL QB Kevin Sousa has become Michigan's quarterback for the 2011 class. His last name is pronounced like the home run-hitting Sammy Sosa, not "The Victors is the greatest college fight song ever written"-sayin' composer John Phillip Sousa.
|3*, #31 QB||3*, #21 Dual QB||3*, 78, #22 QB|
In addition to the above national rankings, the Orlando Sentinel calls him the #14 overall prospect in Central Florida. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's talk about his build. Heights on the three recruiting sites range from 6-2 to 6-4, and weights from 207 all the way up to 235. I would guess right in the middle on height, at a solid 6-3. The weights were actually skewed slightly towards the lower end, so I think 215-220 is probably about right. With a college weight training program, he should reach prototypical measureables.
Keep in mind when reading the descriptions of his game, that the majority of them basically say: "He is a prospect with tons of potential as a QB, but he is really raw." That is understandable, as Sousa didn't start playing football until his sophomore year of high school:
"He's an unbelievable, gifted talent and he just needed someone to pull it out of him. I tell everybody he's just getting his feet wet," says [Lake Nona assistant coach Anthony] Paradiso. "I found him roaming the halls (at Cypress Creek) when I first met him and he was just a soccer player.
"He never played football. I got him to buy into something, buy into the fact that he could be great."
In the age where kids are trained from the womb to be roboQBs, Sousa was a soccer player up until the past two years. This means upside galore. Now, on to the evaluations. First, from his ESPN profile:
He can make all the throws due to strength and when his feet are set he flashes a powerful downfield arm... Has very good feet and pocket awareness to buy second chances and is an accomplished scrambler that is adept at making things happen when the play breaks down. He has strength and elusiveness as a runner and can not only make people miss, but can also lower his shoulder and initiate contact in the open field to fight for extra yards.
And now, the negatives:
He is also very mechanical and not always a smooth passer with consistent fundamental delivery mechanics... Feet are not always in concert with his arm and as a result he will throw off balance and can miss the strikezone at times... Must learn to change ball speeds and touch depending on the throw and consistently lead receivers within a reasonable catch radius.
So, there's quite a bit to work on. The upshot:
There is no doubt that Sousa can remain at QB [though he could also play tight end or another position], but he will need to focus on the passing game, footwork, patience and settling in to being a passer that is a great athlete and not an athlete playing QB. Drill work, coaching and scheme familiarity will enhance his chances.
As expected: lots of potential, but raw. Coach Paradiso thinks that, as the rawness goes away with experience, Kevin could be something special:
"This is the best high school quarterback I have ever seen," Paradiso says, "and I've seen a bunch. I saw John Brantley (next year's UF starter) when he was at Ocala Trinity and Kevin has a much stronger arm. Now John was a lot more accurate, but that'll come."
On top of improving his accuracy, Kevin is (understandably) novice at reading coverages, something else that will come with more experience and coaching. At an Under Armour combine in Jacksonville, he told ESPN's Craig Haubert that accuracy is the biggest thing he's working on. He has plenty of time to polish that release, as football and weightlifting are the only high school sports he participates in. The Orlando Sentinel talks about how he performed at that event:
He did 20 reps on the bench press, almost unheard of for a quarterback, and his 4.8 laser time in the 40-yard dash was equally impressive considering Sousa's size -- 6-4, 220 -- and the fact that he had stretched his hamstring a bit during the run.
"Big Sousa, man .. I tell ya. He looked like a big stud out there," Waseem said.
The weightlifting thing is doing him right, it appears. He's been hitting up seemingly every combine in the nation, so here's a later performance, as told by Tom Luginbill:
Once again, Kevin Sousa (Lake Nona, Fla./Lake Nona) shows up to an Elite 11 regional camp and each time he gets better. In fact, this was by far his best outing and he is starting to really iron out some kinks in his delivery and become more smooth and fluid as a passer. Athletically he is ultra impressive, but there were times on Friday when he got his feet, timing and delivery to sync up and for that moment, was the best guy in the camp. He can do some things that are very impressive and with a redshirt year, some program is going to get a nice little gem.
This is about as ringing an endorsement you can get for an under-the-radar prospect. With college coaching, he'll develop some consistency, and hopefully get "feet timing, and delivery to sync up" all the time. Luginbill's colleague Billy Tucker echoes the sentiment, though giving special attention to arm strength and Kevin's ability to spin the ball.
He displays an excellent work ethic, according to Coach Paradiso, and has lofty goals for the near future:
"I plan on winning the Golden Gun for Elite 11 (accuracy) and being the top QB at Nike camp (Gainesville) and the Under Armour in Atlanta, as well," he said.
If he can continue to improve day-to-day as he has been, that just may happen. In that case, Michigan will have a serious, serious sleeper prospect in the fold - though he might not be a sleeper anymore by that time.
Sousa is also a good student, amassing a 3.5 GPA as a junior. He's interested in studying mechanical engineering, so he's made a good choice in the academic department as well.
Despite his production early in his football career, and the fact that he drew raves seemingly every time he set foot in a camp, offers were slow in coming for Kevin. By the time he committed to the Wolverines, he had offers from the likes of FIU, Middle Tennessee, and UCF in the lesser conferences, and BCS-level tenders from Illinois, Louisville, South Florida, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. He also held a verbal offer from Miami (YTM). Colorado State was his most recent (non-Michigan) offer.
Sousa had been waiting for the Michigan offer for quite some time, so when it came, he immediately booked a flight to Ann Arbor, and made the commitment. He has been picking up momentum over the summer as he's impressed on the camp circuit. If he weren't an early commit, there's a good chance he could have ended up with several other solid offers.
Per his Scout profile:
Dual threat QB who threw for 1,346 yards and eight TDs, he ran another 916 yards [and 5 TDs -t]. Honorable Mention All State for 3A classification. Second Team All Central Florida by Orlando Sentinel.
That was but Sousa's second year ever playing football. The program being in its first year also means it's unlikely he had very much help. As both Lake Nona and Sousa himself get more football experience and coaching, he could explode in his senior year. In his first year, according to the Orlando Sentinel, he racked up some gaudy numbers in only seven games:
He certainly looked the part last year for first-year program Lake Nona. Sousa passed for 1,290 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for another 859 yards and five scores in the first seven games, but injured his knee in the eighth game and was done for the season. Not too shabby for seven games.
He did that at Cypress Creek High School before Lake Nona opened.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals pegs him for a 4.69-second 40 time. As noted above, the floor here is a combine-verified 4.8-second (laser-timed) 40. MGoUser Swenet1111 reports that his 40 times have been reported as 4.48, 4.56, 4.69, and 4.9, outside of that combine time.
As a dual-threat quarterback, those aren't unrealistic, and with a combine-verified time, it's hard to dole out the FAKEness. I give him one FAKE out of five. I fully expect to hear about him running 4.2-second laser-timed 40s sometime soon.
You can see how he performed in Lake Nona's spring game (which was reportedly impressive enough to solidify the offer), but a more comprehensive look comes from his junior highlights. Part 1:
...and Part 2:
Those interested can see how he's improved since his sophomore year.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Sousa has exceptional physical tools, but has yet to become a true quarterback. This is unsurprising for a kids who exclusively played soccer just a couple years ago (by the way, condolences on his mother's national side, Ivory Coast, being eliminated in group play at the World Cup). Fortunately for Kevin, he's stepped into what seems to be the perfect situation. Michigan has a pair of QBs that are two years ahead of him, and Devin Gardner one year up. That means he is a near-holy lock to redshirt and work on his skills for a year before he'll even sniff the field.
Assuming Gardner stays four years (which is likely at this point), Sousa will be behind all three quarterbacks as a redshirt freshman, then things get a little fuzzy. Does Denard switch positions, or get used only as a part-time QB if he's not the #1 guy? Does Tate keep up the family tradition of transferring if he doesn't win the job? Either way, Sousa's redshirt, at the very least puts him two years behind Gardner (assuming no redshirt for Devin this fall), meaning he could have mopup/backup duty as a redshirt sophomore, and come into his own as a redshirt junior.
With his physical tools and potential, as long as Sousa gets good coaching (we already know he has great work ethic), the sky is the limit. In his senior season, there's the chance he could compete for national awards and All-American status.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has their quarterback for the 2011 class. That means they're looking for very few skill players at this point. One running back (hopefully Demetrius Hart), one more outside wideout (likely AJ Jordan, or the Wolverines could hold out for Sammy Watkins, since a second wideout isn't a necessity), and a tight end (Ray Hamilton?) are still on the menu.
Once Michigan gets those skill players locked down, offensive line and defense become the highest priorities. 3-4 OL in addition to Jack Miller, along with an emphasis on linebackers should fill out the remainder of the class.
|3*, #84 DE||3* DE||78, #44 DT|
Naturally, none of the gurus have Miller ranked at the position he's going to play in college - offensive line. As recently as last summer, he was a 6-4, 230lb tight end (that also seems to be when his father passed away, for which we offer our condolences). Notre Dame looked at him as a 3-4 DE, and he seems to be very versatile:
After transferring from St. Edward's High School in Lakewood, Ohio, where he started at defensive end his sophomore season, the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder started at both defensive end and offensive right tackle during his junior season at St. John's High School.
"Cincinnati offered me to play defensive end. Illinois, North Carolina and Pitt offered me to play center or guard. Northwestern and Boston College want me to play defensive tackle," said Miller. "I'd say I have about 17 or 18 offers."
When he talked to TomVH, he confirmed that Michigan wants him on OL, and divulged his measureables:
TOM: Where does Michigan see you fitting in?
JACK: They'r recruiting me for offensive guard, or center. I'm comfortable on the offensive side, and I really like the idea of playing offensive line for them.
TOM: Oh, wow. What is your height and weight right now, then? I think there's some varying numbers out there.
JACK: Yeah, I'm at 6-foot-4, and I weigh 270-pounds right now.
There's precious little about his actual game available, so here's ESPN's breakdown:
Offensive tackle is an option, but he seems like a better fit on defense. While he is solid at the end position it is hard to believe that he will not grow into a defensive tackle. He already is a fairly big kid and displays the frame to pack on more good size and will likely grow into a fulltime interior player sooner then later.
Most of the talk is about his defensive abilities (fairly polished, a number of pass-rush moves, but limited top-end speed), but we'll skip to the offensive part:
Offense is an option. He is a physical run blocker who gets hands on, but needs to watch his pad level. Miller is a good sized and physical kid who offers some versatility. He needs to keep developing aspects of his game, but we feel he should settle in well as a defensive lineman.
So I guess they really don't like him on the offensive line, though they only looked at him as a tackle, not a guard.
He evaluated his game (defensively only) in a free Scout article (H/T: UMGoBlog):
“Defensively, I bring a lot to the table,” Miller told Scout.com. “My technique is really what helps me. I can rush the pass real well, and I can stop the run. I’m a bigger, heavier defensive end which helps stopping the run. I can apply a lot of pressure to the quarterback.”
He also decided to quit basketball in order to focus on football.
His first offer didn't come until, February from Ball State (that's also when he visited Ann Arbor for Michigan's first Junior Day of the year). By the time he committed to Michigan, however, he had racked up enough offers to prove that he's no MAC-level prospect. Boston College was his other finalist, and he also turned down offers from most of the Big East, and Michigan's Big Ten brethren Illinois, Michigan State, and Northwestern, along with Stanford.
Aside from his self-reported 12 sacks, I couldn't find any junior stats on Miller. A common name mixed with a non-glamour position makes him tough to research.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists his 40 time at 4.78 seconds, which is pretty FAKE, especially if he's truly at 270 pounds. I'll give it four FAKEs out of five.
Ohio prospect = Scouting Ohio Video reel. I wish they'd improve their site design, though.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Since other schools seemed to be primarily recruiting him for defense, it's obvious that Miller has yet to specialize on the offensive side of the ball. That means, on top of the obligatory redshirt year for offensive linemen, it'll probably take him a little longer to settle in.
If he can focus on his work in the weightroom in the years that he doesn't see the field, he could develop into a very solid offensive lineman at the next level. By his redshirt junior year, the potential is there for him to become a regular contributor at guard or center, though I don't think he'll ever really challenge for top all-conference honors. He has the potential to be a solid, though never spectacular, Big Ten lineman.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Yay! Michigan finally landed an offensive lineman in a class that has a dire need for them! Miller should be just the first of four or five OL in this class. A couple more inside guys, and a couple outside guys are all likely to end up in the class.
At this time, Anthony Zettel and Tony Posada are looking like the most likely options that are already holding offers, but there are several other realistic prospects for the Wolverines. There's still a long way to signing day, so we'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
Michigan is clearly pursuing a tight end in the class of 2011, with a number of offers out. Miller told Tom that he just so happens to be good friends with one of the Wolverines' top targets at the position, OH TE Ray Hamilton. Could Miller help bring his buddy into the fold?
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.