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.
Yesterday the Wolverines gained a commitment from OH DE/LB Davion Rogers, a teammate of DJ Williamson at Warren G. Harding High School. Yes, that's where Mario Manningham went to high school.
Now it's time to drop the information on you:
|3*, #94 OLB||3*, #26 OLB||3*, 78, #29 OLB|
I'm a bit surprised that the recruiting sites list Rogers as an OLB, because it seems to be generally accepted to Michigan fans (and many analysts) that he'll primarily play with his hand down. Rivals's Greg Ladky took in a Harding scrimmage and evaluated Rogers like so:
Rogers is still pretty skinny, but is clearly athletic and very rangy. He showed some agility on a short catch a reaching up the field for a 10-yard gain. He needs to improve against the run and increase his aggressiveness in taking on blockers, but as he fills in his frame, he could be a monster off the edge. He will be fun to watch develop at the college level.
Ladky seems to think he's destined for defensive end as well, and ESPN thinks that, with some weight room work, he could be a special one:
Rogers has the chance to a very special player at the next level because of his natural tools. He has exceptional height for a safety or outside linebacker but could gain some weight and be a dominating rush end on defense. Flows, closes and has very good range for such a tall player.
"He'll run down things from behind," Harding Coach D.J. Dota said. "If it's run at him, he pretty much destroys it. He's probably our best defensive player and our defense is pretty good. He's just been all over the field. He has that knack to find the football. We've asked him to do a bunch of different things this year and he's done a great job understanding what he needs to do for us,'' Dota said. "He's made a lot of great plays for us.
"He's a great blitzer off the edge. Really, anything you ask him to do he does really well because of his athletic ability, which is really shocking because of his height. He plays really fast."
Dota said once Rogers fills out his frame in the weight room, the sky is the limit.
"I think he can play at the next level - the NFL,the Harding coach said. "I think his game will only improve. His game has improved some much in a year. The mental knowledge, he understands what's going on around him."
The Destruction of All Runs is a trait that the unbiased sources don't attribute to him, so at the very least, that part may be his coach blowing hot air. HIs versatility and athletic ability, on the other hand, are apparent to seemingly everyone. From the same article, Rogers describes his own game:
"I've got the feet of a safety, I hit like a linebacker and the size of a defensive end," said Rogers in summing up his talents. "I get to the ball. No matter what I'm going to get to the ball. I'm determined to get to that ball.
Those positive reviews, are mostly backed up by third-party evaluators. It seems as though his largest upside is at defensive end (or maybe hybrid OLB/DE), but for what it's worth when Rogers committed to West Virginia they planned on playing him somewhere in the back seven, maybe even in the secondary(!):
Despite being as tall as the average defensive lineman, the coaches at West Virginia have narrowed their options to put Rogers at linebacker, or possibly in the secondary with Dorsey.
"They like me at linebacker, but they might look into playing me as a strong safety," Rogers said. "I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I just want to be able represent myself the best way that I can. I'm looking forward to any opportunity that they give me to play. I'm very excited."
The main reason for his low rankings despite the potential is the fact that he's a tweener right now. He weighs as much as a safety but projects as a defensive end or outside linebacker, which means he won't contribute right away.
He is reminiscent of Shawn Crable, though he might [ed: must] have thicker legs and is starting out of high school at much lower weight (205 or less against Crable's 230ish). Buckeye Planet has a Harding insider named "Worm02" who cites Crable in his assessment of Rogers' talent:
Last year was Rogers' first year playing varsity and the only thing that he played was OLB. Obviously, when you're dealing with a kid that tall, you can imagine him playing DE at the next level, so there are a lot of possibilities, but I could see Rogers' current frame being suitable for OLB. At this point, I won't say that he is better than Shawn Crable was in HS (that dude was a BEAST at Massillon!), but that's another tall guy who played OLB in college. Then again, Lamarr Woodley was a LB in high school who bulked up and moved down to DE in college, and he wasn't nearly as tall. That's a big dude though (he came to Warren with Prescott Burgess a couple times). Speaking of Burgess, he was a standout at SS in HS who played OLB in college and does so now for the Baltimore Ravens, and he was 6'4 at Harding. Davion is 6'6, but Burgess had a much bigger frame.
Though all three recruiting services give him three stars, Scout is the outlier in terms of ranking, as both other sites have him in the top 30 OLBs, on the cusp of four stars. Rivals has him one slot above OLB/DE tweener, almost-commit, and future Seminole Holmes Onwukaife, FWIW, so any complaints about that recruitment have been effectively mooted.
Rogers had a very early offer from Michigan State and then got one from West Virginia that he immediately snapped up. As such, information on who has been recruiting Rogers is sparse. Articles about committed recruits don't really talk about other offers until that recruit is soft, and Rogers has only been soft for a couple weeks.
He also received interest from regional non-BCS teams, including offers from Ohio University, and Toledo. Pittsburgh showed him interest, but never offered.
From the same article as above, Rogers accrued the following stats through 8 games:
Rogers, who has earned a three-star rating (out of five) from Scout.com, has 55 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown this season for Warren G. Harding (5-3).
HOWEVA, Harding was never 5-3 on the year, as they tied their first game against East Cleveland Shaw, and finished the year before that article, with a record of 6-3-1 in 10 games. Take those stats as a rough approximation of his production this year.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists his 40 time as 4.6, and that's the only source I can find a reported time. For a future defensive end, that's pretty low, but as a guy who sounds like he could play safety if he wasn't so tall, it's not so ridiculous. I'll split the difference, and give it just two FAKEs out of five.
Rogers, like most Ohio prospects, has video available from ScoutingOhio:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Rogers has a lot of athletic potential but is not college-ready at this point. He has a lot of physical maturing to do. Even if he is to stay at linebacker, he needs to add 25 to 40 pounds. More likely, he'll be a pass-rushing DE, probably from the quick position, a la Craig Roh. That would require even more weight being added, but fortunately—and unlike Roh—he's not being called upon to contribute right away.
Rogers will definitely redshirt. In that year he'll hopefully be able to add tons and tons of muscle, possibly getting into the 230-pound range. As a redshirt freshman, he will probably contribute on some special teams, perhaps as the Brandon Graham-style Designated Punt Blocker. Unless more defensive ends emerge, he may be called upon for spot duty in pass-rush situations as well.
As a redshirt sophomore, he'll back up a senior Craig Roh, or even grow enough (remember, he's 6-6 and only 200 pounds) to move to the strongside defensive end position, where he would be a backup as well. As a redshirt junior and senior, he should be a full-time starter.
Given his coach's (and the scouts') evaluations of his talent, he could develop into an NFL player, so All-Conference distinctions when he reaches a starting role are not out of the question.
[Editor's note: I wouldn't put it past Rogers to stay at linebacker for a bit given the composition of the roster. Shawn Crable was an enormous chicken-legged linebacker for most of his time at Michigan and only moved down to defensive end permanently as a senior. Rogers seems like a good fit at the weakside linebacker spot currently occupied by Jonas Mouton, and that spot will be open when Rogers is presumably coming off his redshirt year. Long term, though, Shawn Crable was the world's most perfect fit for the deathbacker spot and this guy is Shawn Crable 2.0.]
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Rogers is technically commitment #25 for the class, but is more likely #24 given the likelihood that Tony Drake does not end up in Ann Arbor. OH LB Jake Ryan just committed and is #25. Rich Rodriguez said yesterday that they will be able to enroll 26 players in the fall, so that leaves one more slot assuming there's no further attrition from the recruiting class.
With a true pass-rusher (finally) in the fold, safety is most pressing concern. Sean Parker, Rashad Knight, and maybe even Demar Dorsey (who visited over the weekend) are the possibilities. Another possibility: Michigan could grab both Parker and Knight if there is a decommit or someone does not look likely to qualify.
EDITOR-APPENDED BIT AT THE END THAT ISN'T IRONIC BUT IS THE SORT OF THING YOU WANT TO CALL IRONIC DESPITE ITS LACK OF IRONY
Rogers grew up a huge Ohio State fan to the point where the first article on him from Bucknuts was summarized like so by Buckeye Planet:
Davion says that although he is friends with Mario Manningham and grew up next to Prescott Burgess, he is not at all interested in Michigan...only tOSU.
Per Go Blue Wolverine, Michigan has gained a class of 2011 commitment from MI CB Delonte Hollowell, which should come as no surprise to those who remember he said at the US Army Combine that he was planning on committing to Michigan soon. Informative portion below:
|3*, NR CB||NR DB||NR, 150 Watch List|
First things first, Hollowell is one little dude, bigger than Dior Mathis, but comparable in size to Boubacar Cissoko. Somewhere in Detroit, there is a factory producing tiny corners and sending them to Cass Tech. Delonte measured in at 5-8.125 at the Army Combine. There's always the chance he's still growing, as he's 16 or 17 years old, but I wouldn't count on it. The National Underclassmen Combine Blog evaluates him thusly:
PERFORMANCE: Kind of a quiet day, but not in a bad way, in a blowout loss to Detroit Southeastern.
STRENGTHS: Does a good job of turning and running with receivers down the field, and appears to be an aggressive tackler. He is quite strong for a kid his size.
WEAKNESSES: Not as quick as his teammate, Dior Mathis, but few are. But like Mathis, Hollowell will be vulnerable in covering taller receivers. - G.L.
Scouts Inc's Craig Haubert gives a (brief) take on Hollowell following the Army Combine:
A player who caught my eye this fall when I attended one of his games was Delonte Hollowell (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech). He lacks ideal size, but is a good athlete and once again put forth a good performance.
"Caught my eye" means that Haubert's impression is a good one. It seems that, outside of the height issue, he has good tools to become a productive player.
From his video (which you can see below), I would say he's a little slow in play recognition, but has good physical skills to play in the defensive backfield. It's often a little tough to judge high school DBs, as they're given the responsibility of "Stay back there, and don't ever let anything behind you. Ever." Hollowell is no exception, which may explain his hesitance to come up in run support.
It certainly isn't a physical attitude that's the problem. His highlights show a willingness to lay the wood as frequently as he can. He still has a lot of physical developing to do before he can actually lay big hits, but God bless him for trying now, as small as he is. As with all kids from Detroit's PSL, his technique is not at a college-ready level yet.
He made the Detroit News' All-Metro Second Team as a junior, though the first team only had 3 DBs. He's far from a lock, but his impressive performance at the Army Combine may get him an invite to next year's game.
Besides Michigan and Central Michigan, Hollowell is also receiving recruiting interest from Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, LSU and UCLA.
Through five games, Hollowell had three interceptions and more than 25 tackles. No word on how he finished the year. Cass Tech finished the season 6-4, including two losses to Detroit Southeastern.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hollowell ran a laser-timed 4.66 second 40 yard dash at the 2009 Army Combine. For a corner, this gets 0 FAKEs out of 5. Don't worry too much about speed, though, as the testing track in San Antonio is notoriously slow, and that time was as a mere sophomore. Times from this year's combine should be available soon. In track, he ran a 7.65 60-meter dash (to Dior Mathis's 6.95), one of the less impressive times at that meet.
Hollowell appears to be a highlight video producing fiend, an here's what he has uploaded to Youtube at this point:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
As mentioned above, Hollowell has some physical development to do, as well as a lot of technique to learn. Unlike Boubacar Cissoko before him, he'll have a chance to sit for a while and learn from the starters ahead of him, due to Michigan's big DB haul in 2010. Hollowell is basically a sure-shot redshirt for his freshman year.
Following the inevitable redshirt, Hollowell will probably play on some special teams for a season, as long as he's bulked up enough to not get handled in punt coverage, and if he's got the skill to do it, he could even be tabbed for return duty a bit. He might get a bit of work on defense in blowouts.
In year 3, he could get rotated into defenses, getting time in nickel packages, and potentially getting significant time as a substitute. Long-term, he'll always be a bit limited by his diminutive stature, and if he is able to nab a role as a starting corner, might get pulled off the field when he would otherwise face the Michael Floyds of the world.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hollowell is Michigan's second commitment in the class, joining fellow defensive back Greg Brown. Both play corner in high school, though Brown will play free safety as a high school senior, and there's a chance that will be his eventual position in college.
Still, Michigan projects to have a bunch of defensive backs in the class of 2010, so they won't be nearly as necessary in 2011. After getting these first two commits, Expect Michigan to hold off on defensive backs until later in the class, unless they are able to convince some more highly-rated ones (in their eyes, not necessarily the recruiting sites) to join the class.
Rivals is reporting that OH DE Davion Rogers, a teammate of DJ Williamson at Warren G. Harding High School, has committed to the Wolverines. Informative update coming later (perhaps tomorrow, what with the basketball game and all).
Michigan has gained a commitment from MD LB/S Josh Furman. There was much rejoicing. How about we move on to the informative portion?
|4*, #20 S||3*, #28 ATH||3*, 78, #38 OLB|
All three recruiting site rank Furman at different positions, but it's most likely that he'll play linebacker when he gets to Ann Arbor. ESPN evaluates him at that position:
Furman is a big, rangy and physical football player with good vertical speed for such a lengthy athlete. Tall and physically intimidating as an outside linebacker. This guy is a real threat rushing from the outside. Has enough quickness to accelerate by an offensive tackle setting back to pass protect....
Don't just take their word for it, however, as Scout asked Furman himself to break down his game:
“I have great vision and explosiveness. I’m very athletic (claims a 40-inch vertical jump) and have great closing speed to the ball. I’m also real smooth and like to play old school like Erik Dickerson or powerful like Jim Brown. I want to improve my coverage on defense and be a better pass rusher. On offense I’m just working on my hands and catching the ball better.”
The word on Furman is that he's very, very athletic (as you'll see below). So why the low rankings? It might be due to the fact that he does most of his work as a high school running back, and needs to learn quite a bit before becoming a high-level defender:
In terms of skill set, Furman was a bit less extraordinary. Still, he showed good footwork in mirroring backs in one-on-one passing drills and overall athleticism pursuing and matching up in space. We did feel he looked a bit straight-lined in certain drills and also showed some stiffness and inflexibility at times. He projects best in a heavy-pressure defense in which he can attack vertically -- similar to the one he currently creates havoc in on his high school team.
Even then, though, he's highly productive (again, as you'll see in a little bit), which translates to high rankings, especially if he's ranked as an athlete, which Rivals does. In the case that hype does not match up with ranking, I guess it's better for us to go to the...
Practically everyone in the East offered Furman, including Pitt, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, UConn and Syracuse. Outside of the East, he holds an Illinois offer, Of course he holds a Michigan offer (which he has accepted), and Oklahoma also extended him an offer.
As a senior, Furman ran wild on his team's way to the Maryland State Championship. He ran for a total of 2284 yards and 31 touchdowns in 14 games, averaging over 8 yards per carry (I can't find exact stats on his number of carries). Defensively, he racked up a few sacks and at least one interception, as well as a fumble returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
FAKE 40 TIME
The criteria for FAKEness needs to be explored a bit here, since Furman's 4.39 40-yard dash time is combine-verified. However, dude is a future linebacker, so that's a ridiculously fast time. The 4.39 was wind-aided, and we can probably assume it was on a pretty fast track. Laser-timed is laser-times though, so we'll give it 2 FAKEs out of 5.
There's a ton of video from individual games of Furman's senior year on the Youtube, as well as a number of highlight reels (this one from his junior year on defense):
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Furman is a bit of a project as a defensive player, but has the athleticism to be a useful player still. I would imagine he won't take a redshirt his freshman year, but will contribute on special teams in the "be-dreadlocked punt blocker" role that has been vacated by Brandon Smith, who is leaving the program.
After the first year, Furman will probably work his way into the rotation as a backup linebacker. The question is whether he will play in the Stevie Brown SAM spot, which seemingly has a logjam (Mike Jones, Brandin Hawthorne, et al), or in the WILL position, which will lose Jonas Mouton after next year (if he's even able to hold onto his starting spot in '10). My guess would be on the weakside, where there is more opportunity, and his skill set might fit a little better.
As a junior and senior, Furman will have a chance to become an important contributor, and eventually a starter/impact player. He's the type of athletic-yet-unpolished guy that Rich Rod and co. turned into stars time and again at West Virginia.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Furman has been written in pencil as a member of Michigan's 2010 class for a while now, so his official commitment doesn't change much. The Wolverines are down to just a couple spots available, with FL CB Tony Grimes and teammate DE Clarence Murphy expected to commit officially in February. Michigan will only take other commits if they're top prospects or at a position of need (or preferably both).