Well... this one caught me by surprise. The Wolverine is reporting that OH CB Tamani Carter (a recent commit to Minnesota) has switched his commitment to the Wolverines. Carter hails from Pickerington Central, the Columbus suburb that gave us the likes of Justin Boren (who attended North).
|3*, #104 CB||3*, 5.5, NR CB||2*, 74, #151 CB|
The recruiting sites are in sliiiight disagreement on his height, with the majority coming to a consensus of about 5-11. All three sites list his weight as 175 pounds. We'll start with ESPN's evaluation:
Carter is a quick-footed skill prospect with very good athleticism... On defense, he transitions and closes the cushion quickly. Shows good underneath burst jumping routes in zone schemes... Has good extension, timing and leaping skills making him a very effective defender on the jump-ball. While fluid with good footwork, we do feel like he will be challenged in man-to-man coverage at the major college level. Appears quicker than fast and lacks great explosiveness and top-end speed needed to recover vertically. May struggle to press and set the edge on run support until he builds up his upper-body... Overall, Carter is a fluid athlete with great ball skills. Lacks game-changing attributes when projecting for major college level but will add good versatility and athleticism to a future roster.
They also evaluate him as a slot receiver on offense, but believe me, Michigan doesn't need more of those. Their overall evaluation seems to be "solid, BCS-level talent, but not a difference-maker at the BCS level." This is an odd evaluation considering their rankings of "hey, maybe this guy can play D-1 football." I imagine the lower end of their rankings are still being updated (the new 150 came out yesterday).
Scout has comments from the kid himself:
“I cover really well. I have great hips and closing speed. I also play offense and I’m very explosive. I want to improve my speed. And I’m still working on my feet. Overall, I’d like to get bigger and stronger.”
That's right in line with ESPN's evaluation, right down to saying he's quicker than he is fast.
Tamani also has his own website, praising mostly his work ethic, intensity, and academics. It also clips a few reviews of his game:
He's quick, changes directions well and showed good ball skills, making the breaks without drawing interference... He's a guy who we may have underrated some...
Carter may be one to watch in the future.
Yay for that. GopherHole's interview states that he also runs track.
Carter was committed to Minnesota before switching to Michigan, so he obviously held an offer from Jerry Kill's Gophers. Rivals also lists Air Force, Arizona, Iowa, Kent State, Stanford, and 1-AA Youngstown State.
A couple schools on that list (most notably Iowa and Stanford) have a recent history of developing under-the-radar prospects into stars, particularly in the defensive backfield in Iowa's case.
Scout has senior stats:
Tamani Carter finished his senior season (11-1) with 55 tackles and three interceptions. Two of those were returned for touchdowns (one of 96 yards and the other for 34 yards). He also caught 25 balls for over 300 yards.
Those are solid numbers, but it's hard to evaluate the stats of high school defensive backs, since there is such a wide variety of offenses faced.
ESPN says he had 5 picks, including one returned for a touchdown, as a junior.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals and Scout both list him with a precise 4.48 40-yard dash time. That's quite good, but not exceptional, for a defensive back. Considering the book on Carter (very quick) and the level of agreement between the sites, I'm forced to give a mere one FAKE out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan started several freshman defensive backs last season, and Carter's scouting reports say that he needs to bulk up before being ready to contribute at the next level. That screams "redshirt," and I think that's a likely outcome for Carter's freshman year.
Even as a redshirt freshman, I think Michigan has enough athletic guys that even time on special teams will be hard to come by. As a redshirt sophomore, however, he might start getting serious special teams time, and as a redshirt junior and redshirt senior, he should work into the rotation on defense.
He's a solid player who will probably never be a star, but rather a role player.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
As Tom tweeted, this is an odd commitment, considering Michigan has multiple DBs visiting in the next couple weeks. Those guys are more ready to contribute immediately, and unlike Carter, are not similar body types to several of Michigan's DBs already on the roster (Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery are both average-to-small corners that are pretty thin).
This likely means that Michigan only feels good about their chances with, say, one of those defensive backs, and that somebody we haven't been expecting to play safety - either somebody on the roster (Cullen Christian) or a commit (Greg Brown) - will do so. Remaining DB commits in this class are likely to be looked at for safety as well.
With the wheels seemingly falling off the Class of 2011, it's going to take one heck of a finish for the Wolverines to end with a respectable commitment list. For current targets, commits, etc., check out the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have recruiting tips or questions, tweet @varsityblue or e-mail [email protected].
With only two weekends before Signing Day left for official visits, each one carries a lot of importance for Michigan's new coaching staff. Here's this weekend's roster:
- OH TE/LB Frank Clark (pictured at right). The Cleveland Glenville product was also a target under the former staff. Rivals got a reaction to the hiring of Greg Mattison ($, info in header), so it's safe to say the Wolverines want him on defense.
- MI CB Raymon Taylor. He's an Indiana decommit who has already visited once this winter, for a bowl practice. Former teammate of Devin Gardner.
- CA CB Stefan McClure. Offered by Michigan (see below). He is a friend of former Michigan DB Leon Hall, and was a target of San Diego State. He speaks highly of Hoke and it sounds like he may have even committed to the Aztecs if they had played in a more prestigious conference.
- FL OL Tony Posada. Visiting Michigan this weekend, and plans to remain committed to the Wolverines, despite listening to what other schools have to say. He took an official visit to Mississippi State last weekend, but still says he's a Wolverine if they'll have him (and use his talents properly).
- CA K Matt Wile. Michigan has offered Wile, and the Army All-American is a strong possibility - who Michigan saw in-home the other night. With Matt Goudis out of the class, Michigan is looking for replacements. Derrick Mitchell, currently a minor leaguer in the Philadelphia Phillies system, considered walking on, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.
As always, things are liable to change as the week progresses.
Commits, Kinda Commits, Ex-Commits
"I think it will have to be a really rare circumstance for Kellen to not be a Michigan Wolverine, but we have to be prepared.”
That article was published the day before Hoke was named, and after the naming of Greg Mattison as DC, Jones is excited about Michigan, canceling his upcoming visits to other schools.
MD CB Blake Countess seemed only a little iffy, but took an official visit to Penn State last weekend, and enjoyed himself enough to tweet about how it was better than expected, and "making this decision a lot harder." Michigan is in-home today, and Penn State tomorrow. By the end of the week, we should have a much better idea of Countess' ultimate plans.
MI OL decommit Jake Fisher visited Michigan State last weekend, and has Florida this weekend, and Oregon the weekend following that. If Brady Hoke wants to get him on campus before Signing Day, it will have to be on a midweek unofficial. Fisher has officially decommitted from Michigan, but the Wolverines are hopeful to re-secure him. According to his high school coach, he's still considering Michigan, but will take his remaining visits. Tom says it's not looking good for the Wolverines.
The next trio of former Michigan commits, on the other hand, are not going to come back to the maize-and-blue, as all have decided to take their talents to South Beach:
- OH LB Antonio Kinard probably wasn't going to be accepted as a class of 2011 commit.
- FL CB Dallas Crawford eliminated Michigan last week, and now he'll be a Cane.
- CA K Matt Goudis officially visited Coral Gables along with Crawford, and has also pledged to join Miami's class of 2011.
Finishing the Class
It sounds like Michigan is the favorite to land SC WR Hakeem Flowers. He announces on Sunday.
IL OL Chris Bryant was waiting to hear from Brady Hoke, and took matters into his own hands over the weekend. On his way home from a visit to Pittsburgh (where former Michigan assistants...), he talked with Coach Hoke, and things went well:
My parents are both comfortable, and so am I. They asked their questions and said it was a great conversation overall. I feel comfortable with him too. He was a funny guy, he's a player's coach. He's someone that you would want to coach you... I had a good relationship with the coaches there before, but coaching is a business. It's just an adjustment and you need to go on with it. Michigan is Michigan, and they're not going to just bring anyone in. I still really like Michigan.
Michigan may have extended an offer to Minnesota commit KS QB Max Shortell, but the kid says he's only interested in Minnesota. Sounds like a similar situation to FL DT Travarris Saulsberry and his teammate, DE Jordan Williams, both of whom are committed to Tennessee.
Among other new players on the radar, CA DB Stefan McClure and IL OL Pat Flavin (an Illinois commit) are now getting Michigan attention - with McClure already netting an offer.
Peace Out, Ya'll
Happy Trails, NJ TE Jack Tabb. He committed to North Carolina ($, info in header) after being unable to get in touch with Brady Hoke.
Auburn has accepted a commitment from NC WR/LB Kris Frost. Michigan might continue pursuing him ("hey, that other school doesn't even want you"), but he seems set on being a Tiger.
Last week, Tom said Michigan had "a great chance" with CA WR Devin Lucien, but Michigan now intends to recruit him only for defense, so it seems unlikely he'll end up a Wolverine. Lucien announces January 30th.
PA DE Deion Barnes will announce tomorrow between Georgia and Penn State. He crossed Michigan off his list with the coaching change.
Without knowing what Brady Hoke's coaching staff is going to look like, it's hard to say exactly what will happen with Michigan's recruiting. I'll maintain the status quo from last week for now, assuming most of Michigan's non-Florida recruits are going to stick. Hoke has already said he'll honor their commitments.
So I'm not redundantly linking the same article over and over, AnnArbor.com article is here.
MI RB Justice Hayes took to Twitter to say he'd stay a Wolverine no matter what. The AnnArbor.com article confirms it.
MI OL Jake Fisher is "rethinking" his commitment. Though Fisher had previously said he picked Michigan for the total package, not just a coach, he'll make sure he doesn't like Michigan State, Oregon, or Notre Dame better.
FL OL Tony Posada, per AnnArbor.com, planned to stay with Michigan before the hiring.
MI DE Brennen Beyer's coach told AnnArbor.com that he'd consider opening his commitment.
MI LB Desmond Morgan is "definitely solid" to Michigan:
“It was more than just the coaching situation,” Morgan said of deciding to accept a scholarship at U-M. “It was the school, it was the atmosphere, the education and the history, the tradition.”
TX LB Kellen Jones said, pre-hiring, that his commitment was firm (AnnArbor.com). He told Tom that he's still a Wolverine as long as the staff still wants him. There had been rumors of a decommitment in favor of Florida. He's still planning to take a couple visits, so keep an eye on him.
OH S/CB Greg Brown is already a student in Ann Arbor.
FL S/CB Dallas Crawford probably shouldn't even be considered a Michigan commit anymore, and he now favors Miami (YTM). It would be a surprise to see him end up in Michigan's class. I'll remove him from the commitment list, but leave him on the board.
CA K Matt Goudis has been replaced in Boise State's recruiting class by Jake Van Ginkel, but he'll visit Miami (YTM), and it sounds like he's looking to give the Canes his commitment "no matter what the Michigan coaches have to say."
It looks like Fisher, Jones, and Goudis are the only current commits (Crawford not included, of course), that are serious flight risks.
Finishing The Class
Hoke has said there will be no recruiting visits this weekend (though a couple unofficials may be a possibility), so there should be a pair of huge visit rosters over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned for those.
Sam Webb talks Hoke's recruiting in the Detroit News. A few new prospects to keep an eye on with the change in coaching staff: CA DT Christian Heyward and CA DT Mustafa Jalil. With Michigan's need at defensive tackle and Hoke's background, they could see opportunity. Also mentioned in Sam's article is CA WR Devin Lucien, who Hoke recruited at SDSU. He plans to visit Ann Arbor, and Michigan has a good chance at him.
Aside from defensive tackle, losing Tate Forcier makes quarterback a huge area of need in this class - especially with Denard Robinson mum on whether he definitely plans to stick around. San Diego State has one quarterback commit, 3-star Californian Chad Jeffries. The 6-3 pocket slinger is SDSU's highest-rated commit to Rivals, and if Al Borges plans to continue with pocket guys after Denard leaves town, rather than adapting scheme somewhat, Jeffries could be a possibility.
IL OL Chris Bryant has pushed back his announcement ($, info in header). He'll now decide the 28th instead of the 21st, giving him time to get to know Michigan's new staff. Tom says Michigan still leads.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost committed to Auburn last week, but the Tigers still haven't accepted his commitment. If they can't find room for him in their class, he'll consider Michigan again.
Mini Happy Trails
NJ S Sheldon Royster has eliminated Michigan ($, info in header).
Happy Trails to FL RB DeVondrick Nealy, an Iowa State commit. The new staff likely would not have pursued Nealy.
MD DT Darian Cooper removed Michigan from his list, but with a defensive line-oriented head coach, it'll be interesting to see whether Michigan can get back in on a kid like him.
Happy Trails moments should be coming fast and furious as Signing Day approaches.
Reminder: 2012 updates are on hold until after Signing Day.
CA K Matt Goudis, though he said he wouldn't be decommitting from Boise State, has done just that and pledge to Michigan.
|3*, #5 K||2*, 5.4, #12 K/P||3*, 77, #16 K/P|
The sites are unanimous: Goudis is 6-0, 165 (however relevant that is for a kicker). They're in semi-agreement on his ability, too, ranking him anywhere from the #5 to #16 kicker in the nation (though Scout is the only service that ranks them independently from punters). If you separate punters, he's Rivals' #7 pure kicker, and #9 to ESPN, bringing the rankings much closer in line.
ESPN's breakdown is way more brief than we're used to:
Matt Goudis is a refined ball striker. The ball jumps off his foot and he in great control of his rhythm and follow-through. His motion is very repeatable... Matt's hang-times on his kick-offs are solid and he should be able to compete early in college on both field goals and kick offs. Matt gets good height on his FG off the ground and should not have a difficult transition to the college game. Matt has a solid high school resume and has game experience making big field goals for his high school team.
It also mentions that he's a good punter, with the athleticism to run the fake punt, but with Will Hagerup in town, that's likely to be irrelevant at Michigan. Scout hears from his kicking coach Chris Sailer:
Matt is an oustanding kicker. He has a good leg and makes kicks consistently with great height. He is the top field goal kicker in the nation in the Class of 2011. Hard working young man with a great attitude. Big time D1 scholarship prospect.
The the commitment post ($), Sailer says he's the "best pure field goal kicker in the nation." He was in Sailer's national Top 12 this summer, but Chris Sailer himself ranks Matt #2 in the country, saying:
He has a huge leg, makes FG's with ease off the ground, and kickoffs with the best of them. Mentally he is very strong showing great maturity to kick at the next level.
Matt himself tells Scout his power will improve when he gets into the weight room, so there's that to look forward to. His long this season was 54 yards (though I assume that's off a tee).
Goudis decommitted from Boise State (to whom he committed in October) to join the Wolverines. According to the premium sites, his only other offers came from Cal and Fresno State.
Scout has partial senior stats:
6-of-10 field goals this year – his longest a 54-yard boot and another 52 yarder for good measure; averaging 43 yards per punt.
Those numbers don't jump off the page to you (especially if he's kicking off a tee), but without knowing the distances on the attempts he missed, it's hard to be too concerned about it - aside from the general panic we've grown accustomed to feeling.
Full game-by-game breakdown in the next edition of Friday Night Lights.
FAKE 40 TIME
The premium sites don't list a 40 time for Goudis, and since he's a kicker it's probably irrelevant. Five FAKEs out of five.
There are several other videos on Youtube, including nailing a 54-yarder.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Goudis is a pretty good kicker prospect, but we've seen that in recent years without much success at the college level. However, the coaching staff feels he's good enough to spend a scholarship on, so he'll get every chance in the world to win the job for next fall.
Recruiting kickers is something of a crapshoot, so it's hard to project too much one way or the other. For a guy who's likely to be a four-year starter, he could be a moderate improvement over the 2010 kicking situation (gulp), or he could eentually become an All-American type.
I prefer to believe in the latter.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has been actively recruiting a kicker for the better part of the 2010 recruiting season, so this comes as no surprise. It takes up one of those 18-20 spots - Michigan currently has about 15 commits, with Anthony Zettel, Chris Bryant, and Kris Frost likely leaning toward going Blue - leaving just a couple more to fill spots.
That means Michigan has to go hard after a defensive tackle (I'm now considering OH DE Commit Chris Rock a definite DT) and a safety, and then if they have another couple spots - for example if Antonio Kinard is not a part of the class - they can fill them as they see fit.
This should be the last regular edition of Friday Night Lights for the 2011 recruiting class, but there's more to come with new commits and all-star games, etc. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
New Commit MD CB Blake Countess
As a defensive back at a program with lots of talent, Countess didn't have to spend much time on offense, and defensive stats go unreported in high school ball. Interpret the numbers below as a small part of his production this season.
Game 1. Preview. Good Counsel defeated Cincinnati St. Xavier 21-6. Article 2. Another article. None of the articles mention Countess, but his junior teammate Stefon Diggs stole the show (more on him in tomorrow's recruitin' post). Blake had 1 rush for 3 yards and 2 receptions for 22 yards.
Game 4. Good Counsel smashed Bishop O'Connell 53-7. Blake didn't accrue any offensive stats.
Game 5. Good Counsel pasted Bishop McNamara 48-0. Blake came up big on special teams:
The only score in the first quarter followed an excellent punt return by Blake Countess of 52 yards to the Mustang 17 yard line...
Then the "Play of the Game" ensued. With McNamara kicking from deep in their own territory, Blake Countess received the punt at the Mustang 39. He headed straight up field and then, behind some solid blocking, broke left and scampered to the end zone...
The Mustangs kicked off to open the second half and Blake Countess, the Gameday Player of the Game, took the kick at the 13 and raced 87 yards for another touchdown.
He also had a 16-yard touchdown reception. The kickoff return:
Game 7. Paul VI. Blake had 3 catches for 39 yards and a score.
Game 8. Good Counsel beat St. John's 27-14. I don't think Blake played in the game.
Game 9. Good Counsel beat Gonzaga 50-38. Blake didn't accrue any offensive stats, but had a 9-ayrd kickoff return.
The official website for Good Counsel Football is a little more... complete. I encourage you to check it out, because it links to a lot of 1-play highlights that aren't feasible to embed here. It credits Blake with the following stats on the year:
|Blake Countess 2010|
|St. Xavier||W 21-6||1||3||1||9||0||9.00||1||0||0||0.00||2||2|
|State College||W 35-13||0||0||3||46||0||15.33||2||34||0||17.00||4||3|
|Paul VI||W 42-0||0||0||3||39||1||13.00||0||0||0||-||1||0|
|St. John's||W 27-14||DNP|
FL RB Demetrius Hart
Dee is the class 6A Player of the Year, which makes him a finalist for the Mr. Football award for the state of Florida. More Dee fluff. He got to attend the Heisman banquet as a candidate for Army Player of the Year.
Last Week: Opponent perspective. Game preview. Previews galore more . Dr. Phillips fell to Miami Central 27-42 in the State Championship Game, and Dee was kept out of the endzone for the first time all year. Video:
Stats below from the DP Website.
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
|Oak Ridge||W 56-28||21||126||3||6.00||4||37||1||9.25||1||5||0||5.00|
|West Orange||W 49-6||11||121||4||11.00||4||24||0||6.00||2||69||1||34.50|
|Oak Ridge||W 45-0||18||129||4||7.17||2||71||1||35.50||2||86||1||43.00|
|Seminole Ridge||W 38-28||21||218||2||10.38||2||40||0||20.00||3||66||0||22.00|
|Miami Central||L 27-42||20||39||0||1.95||0||0||0||-||6||105||0||17.50|
This week: Dr. Phillips season has ended at 14-1 as the State Runners-up.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant's season has ended at 13-3 as State Runners-up.
FL CB Dallas Crawford
Crawford participated in an area All-Star game last week, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass.
South Fort Myers' season ended in the State semifinals. Dallas finished 126/181 passing for 2349 yards and 26 TDs to only 6 interceptions. He ran 112 times for 450 yards and 17 touchdowns, and also had 4+ interceptions, a pair of them returned for scores. He's the career record holder for passing yardage in his county.
Seasons Complete After the Jump
MI RB/Slot Justice Hayes
Hayes missed most of his senior season with a broken wrist. Grand Blanc finished 7-4 and lost in the second round of the State Playoffs to Lake Orion.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Traverse City West's season is over, with a 6-4 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Fisher was 1st-Team All-District as a defensive end. Postseason fluff. Jake was named All-Divisions First-Team All-State (Dream Team).
OH OL Jack Miller
St. John's finished the season 11-2 with both losses to Toledo Whitmer (in the second in Round 3 of the State Playoffs). Miller was also named 1st-Team All-District, and the District Lineman of the Year. Also 1st-Team All-State.
OH DE Chris Rock
DeSales's season ended at 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
TX LB Kellen Jones
St. Pius X's season finished with a 10-3 record and a loss in the second round of the TAPPS playoffs. Jones finished with 110 tackles, 25 for loss, and 7 sacks, to go along with 3 fumbles forced, 2 recovered, and a punt block. He was named TAPPS first-team All-State.
MI LB Desmond Morgan
West Ottawa went 8-3 on the season, with a loss in the second round of the playoffs. Desmon was named the captain of the All-Area Defensive First Team, despite spending most of his time as a quarterback.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Tom reports that Maryland DB Blake Countess has committed to Michigan, the fourth defensive back in the Wolverines' class of 2011.
|4*, #18 CB, #228 Overall||4*, 5.8, #13 CB, #156 Overall||4*, 80, #14 CB|
Countess is another little guy joining the defensive backfield, as all three sites list him at 5-10, and within a couple pounds of 175. He's also a participant in the US Army All-American Bowl, which gives a brief breakdown of his game:
Countess has the smooth hips and backpedal ability to be the prototypical cover corner. Despite his size, he loves to hit and is strong enough to jam a receiver at the line or come up and assist in run support. Countess has the speed to stay with receivers in man-to-man coverage and has an advanced understanding of zone defenses. Countess’ speed is also an asset in the return game.
Countess is steady and heady cornerback prospect with natural cover corner skills. Very fluid through his hips and transitions in and out of his pedal smoothly. Aggressive with receivers off the line and plays bigger. Shows good coverage awareness skills; reading routes and the quarterback accurately.
As with most shorter guys, the evaluation determines whether he plays "bigger than his size," and decides he does:
Lacks ideal height but is a real competitor for the football in the contested jump-ball matchup. Soundly times his jump, displays good leaping skills and appears very comfortable around the ball in coverage.
He's an okay tackler, which you'd expect from a smaller guy (ask Courtney Avery). Overall, ESPN, says he's a good-not-great prospect:
Countess is not elite in one particular area but is very well-rounded, reliable and consistent. Brings some intangibles to the position and should fit into a number of defensive schemes at the next level.
Scout seems to be enamored with him, which is odd, considering they rank him the lowest of any service:
A strong, hard hitting defensive back, Countess does a good job of jamming his receiver at the line of scrimmage. Flips his hips well to run with a receiver. An asset in the run game because of his willingness to make a hit. Size and skill set of a cornerback with the mentality of a safety. Comes out of his breaks and closes on the ball very well. Not the biggest DB on the field, but usually one of the toughest - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com.
The only area for improvement they list is "size," which he can only do so much about. He'll spend a lot of time adding muscle in the weight room, but isn't going to get a whole lot taller. He tells Scout that he didn't have any interceptions his junior year, sorta making him the opposite of Dallas Crawford.
Countess is a "riser," with Rivals bumping him from #245 nationally to #156 on the basis of a strong senior season:
"Countess showed real physical toughness and a willingness to come up and hit in game action, something we questioned based on his size," Farrell said. "He's as fluid as we thought, very smooth and an all-around terrific cornerback."
Rivals also says something that sounds a lot like Rich Rodriguez's famous "loves football" line:
He is a classic overachiever that should outperform and outwork his opponents.
He certainly does love to compete, as his frequent showings at camps and combines demonstrate. Blake's athleticism won't come into question, as he posted the eighth-best SPARQ rating at the Nike Baltimore Combine - as a sophomore. He also proved his status as a combine star by excelling at the Under Armour Combine last winter.
If you're an East Coast school, you probably offered this kid. Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, UVa, Wake Forest, and Duke are among the many offers for this Maryland product. Clemson and South Carolina also showed interest.
However, some non-Eastern schools also offered him a scholarship. Arkansas, Louisville, Purdue, Stanford, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin (before his junior season), Cincinnati, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Pitt were among them.
This was a highly coveted recruit, as the offer sheet shows. He ultimately picked Michigan over Georgia Tech and Maryland, a final group that belies his strong offer sheet.
His Scout profile has some (imprecise) junior year stats:
Blake Countess finished his junior season with over 50 tackles and returned one kick for a touchdown.
Senior year... there's not a ton of info out there. I'll update in next week's Friday Night Lights.
He struggled against Cincinnati St. Xavier, dropping a punt, but was good in coverage.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals are in agreement on his speed, almost to the hundredth of a second. Scout says 4.47, while Rivals credits him with a 4.48. That level of specificity leads me to believe the time is combine-verified and reliable. His highlight video (embedded below) mentions that it's electronically-timed.
I'm left with no choice but to give a mere one FAKE out of five.
Here's the first half of his final high school season:
You can see his junior and sophomore combined highlights here.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
When player evaluations can focus on little other than a player's diminutive size, the first thing that comes to mind is a sure redshirt. For Countess, that's no different, especially since Michigan has had big defensive hauls in 2010 and so far in 2011. He needs to get in the weight room before he can play at this level.
After a redshirt year (or a year spending time almost exclusively on special teams), he'll slowly work his way into the lineup over the course of a couple years. He probably won't have a chance to be one of the starting corners until he's an upperclassman, but there are so many variables between now and then that it's hard to project.
As an upperclassman starter, he has the potential to be a fringe All-Conference candidate, but I don't think he's likely to contend for All-American honors unless he can develop quite a bit under good coaching.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Countess becomes the fourth defensive back to commit to Michigan for this season, meaning there may be some shuffling in positions of players currently on the roster or in the class. Dallas Crawford is a high school safety, for example, and Greg Brown could fill a hybrid role if he keeps growing.
Despite the abundance of players back there, Michigan's coaches are likely to look for at least one more DB, a top free safety like Wayne Lyons - though other options are thin on the ground. Beyond that, defensive tackle, linebacker, and one more offensive lineman remain the focuses for filling the class.