the season has truly begun now
Ht/Wt: 6'2" / 180 lbs.
Location: Athens Drive High School – Raleigh, NC
Michigan has only offered two prospects from the 2016 class but many current high school sophomores are being evaluated by the coaches as the young high school football season gets ramped up. ATH Teryn Savage was a potential visitor for the Akron game, but luckily for the coaching staff he decided to visit Kentucky instead.
Savage is a long, lean athlete who is being looked at by several FBS schools at multiple positions including running back, wide receiver, and safety. Michigan has started building a relationship with Savage, specifically via running backs coach Fred Jackson, and while Savage doesn’t have the typical build the staff usually targets for a running back, Jackson is his main contact at this time.
I asked Savage to tell me how he saw himself as a player and he had this to say.
“I’m 6’2 and about 180 lbs. right now and the first 40 I ever ran was a barefoot 4.62. If I got timed tomorrow I’m sure I’d be in the 4.5’s. I think when coaches and fans watch me play the main thing they will see from me is my physicality. I will smack you in the mouth the whole entire game and talk smack to you while I’m doing it. (laughs) I go hard every single snap. I really think that’s what separates me from other wide receivers or safeties.”
Savage has been compared to Vernon Davis by his coaches because of his ability to stretch the field but also catch the ball in traffic. His body type is much different from Davis’s but he is utilized in many ways in the passing game for his high school team.
Savage has a top 5 that currently consists of Kentucky, Clemson, Miami, Florida and Florida State, but was quick to tell me that Michigan will be in there once he visits for a gameday experience. He also consistently hears from Nebraska, USF, Ole Miss and Georgia, along with some smaller division one schools. He specifically mentioned Michigan saying, “Man, I like Michigan a lot. Coach Jackson is a real cool dude. As soon as I met him we clicked and I also speak to Coach Hoke on certain occasions. Beside the coaching staff, the stadium is just unbelievable. I can’t believe fans pack it every weekend.”
When I asked Teryn if there were any offers he coveted more than others he mentioned Kentucky, Clemson and Michigan. He grew up a Florida fan but when he was about 10 years old he really started liking Michigan because of the legendary winged helmets. He plans to check the helmets out in person for the Minnesota game and was in Lexington this past weekend to scope out the Wildcats.
Being a North Carolina kid Savage doesn’t have a serious connection to Michigan necessarily but his step dad is childhood best friends with Jabrill Peppers’ father from where they grew up in East Orange, NJ. Savage said that he and Peppers weren’t all that close, but they do message on Twitter occasionally, although recruiting is never a topic of discussion. Savage and his family are planning on flying up to New Jersey to catch one of Jabrill’s games within the next few weeks.
Teryn and I finished our conversation with a discussion about his father who was tragically killed by a drunk driver almost a year ago. For such a young kid I was incredibly impressed with his attitude toward such an unfortunate event. This is how he spoke of the situation. “It motivated me more than it hurt. Every since it happened I’ve just busted my behind in the weight room and on the field. I’ve had to realize there’s nothing I can do about it now. He’s in a better place now and I’m just going to ball out like he always told me to and I know he will be pleased.”
It’s hard to say if Savage will ever receive a scholarship offer from the Wolverines but a relationship is being built and Michigan has been a presence in North Carolina in recent years. His interest in Michigan seems legitimate and he had good knowledge of the school, program, and history for an out of region prospect. He will be one to watch moving in to the next two recruiting cycles.
- Boo boo watch: Courtney Avery and AJ Williams are back at practice. This is not a drill.
- Boo boo watch part 2: Taylor Lewan didn't practice yesterday but will today. He's fine. Mario Ojemudia will be the most limited of the boo boo watchees. I don't know if he'll play.
- The offensive line is in an introspective phase. Changes might occur as early as this week. However, the bye week presents a much better opportunity to shake things up.
"Good practice yesterday. Thought we came out and competed very hard, which you expect every day. But I thought we physically were getting after each other, and we'll do the same thing today. We've got to play the run better, run the ball better, same old stuff you always hear, but it's the truth and it is what it is. I liked how we came out and competed with each other."
Noticeably different from last week?
"On a Tuesday? Probably a little bit."
A lot players said last Tuesday was lackluster. Can you tell that?
"They would know best if they felt that way. Maybe it's an individual thing, too."
Can you talk about UConn's defensive front?
"Yeah they're a big front. Not quite Notre Dame big in some ways, but they're a big front. Active in the linebackers. I think Smallwood is a guy who is their main bellcow when it comes to tackling and getting the ball on the ground. Just reading some of the comments Paul has made, I know they want to play better against the run also. I'm sure they've worked their tails off like we are."
Did Taylor Lewan practice?
"He didn't do anything yesterday. He did some alternate conditioning stuff, but he'll practice today. He's fine."
"Okay. Anybody? Heiko, you don't have a question? You always have a question."
MGoIAmAboutToLookReallyStupidIn321: I do. I was just waiting for someone else to break the ice. Anyway, regarding the offensive line, a couple times during the game Akron lined up both of their defensive tackles in the A-gaps, and that sort of screwed up Jack Miller's blocking -- [MGoContext: Someone mentioned during the game that this happened. As it turns out, this may not have actually happened. MGoFail.]
"Well first of all, they didn't do that. They lined up in a double-eagle defense. Every time he blocks one direction he's covered the other direction, so the decision never should be bad, but it's all a matter of technique and fundamentals. On the first play of the game, he was lined up at nose guard and we just didn't get it covered. He stepped one direction and there was too much space between him and the left guard, and a guy leaked through. What they did in the game, they had done in other games. They didn't do it as much. They walked up on our weakside guard and was in essence a double-eagle or bear type defense, which wasn't anything new, it just wasn't run as often as we had seen on video. So we made some adjustments at halftime, handled it pretty good in the second half. We ran a little more directly at them the second half, a little less sideways, and that helped. That helped our running game."
[I recover! Eventually. Hit the jump.]
"Well, here we are again. I might as well answer it before you ask. What about the pass rush? You're going to ask that question and the answer I'm going to give you is one, they kept backs in a little bit more in passing situations than we expected. And the other thing I’m going to tell you is I have to coach it better. Our guys are working hard at it, and I’ll put that on me. We just have to get better at it. And we know that. We started working on it on Sunday already but we will be able to rush, and we’re going to do that.”
MGoQuestion: We haven't seen a lot of the nose tackles the last couple weeks. What's the reasoning behind that?
"Well we were in sub a lot. Some guys are better at playing the run and some guys are maybe better at playing able to play the run as well as rush the passer. We feel like those two guys are 300-and-some pound guys that might not give us quite the movement we’re looking for in pass rush.”
Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 215 lbs.
Location: Lutheran High School – Orange, CA
Offers: Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Miami (FL), Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington
It’s pretty clear that Plan A for the coaches at defensive end in the 2015 class is Jashon Cornell out of Cretin-Derham Hall, unfortunately CDH has traditionally been a Notre Dame pipeline and many believe that’s where Cornell will end up. Michigan has offered two other defensive ends in the 2015 class, Anthony Wheeler out of Texas and Terry Beckner Jr. from Illinois. Neither of them are being recruited as hard as Cornell is by the Wolverine coaching staff and it’s safe to say they are far from being Michigan leans. In fact, I exchanged a few texts with Wheeler and he informed me that he hasn’t been in contact with the coaches in a long time and has virtually no interest in Michigan at this point in time. That being said Keisean Lucier-South is a young man that if offered could be considered a Michigan lean.
Lucier-South hails from California and as evidenced by his offer list is quite a talent. He has that long, athletic body type that scouts drool over at defensive end in terms of potential. Lucier-South has been compared to long-time NFL star Jason Taylor because of his length and athleticism. He stars on the gridiron and the basketball court, yet another testament to his versatility and coordination.
He told me that his recruitment is really starting to pick up lately in terms of mail and flyers being constantly sent to his house with Arizona and Texas sending him the most. He ranked Michigan at about 4th when it came to pieces of mail being sent to him but he puts Michigan atop his list of who he wants an offer from. I congratulated him on his USC offer at the end of August and he said that while it was an honor to receive the offer from the Trojans, one from Michigan would “just be more insane” with a laugh. In fact, when I asked him which schools he’d like to receive an offer from he answered, “Just Michigan.”
For a California kid his interest and knowledge in Michigan was quite impressive as well. He rattled this off like he grew up somewhere in the middle of the mitten. “Michigan is just amazing and some of the best talent goes there to play football. I know that Michigan has the most wins in college football, their main rival is Ohio State, and a lot of great players have played there like Tom Brady, Braylon Edwards, and Charles Woodson. They also have the largest stadium in the country. Honestly I don’t really have a favorite, but Michigan would be high high if they offered.”
Keisean doesn’t plan on committing until sometime during his senior season so there is still plenty of time for the Wolverines to evaluate him to see if he is worthy of an offer. When you watch his highlight tape his athleticism is undeniable and his frame could easily add 50 lbs. in college, but with the 2015 class more than likely being on the small side, and already containing several members, the coaches will have to be picky moving forward with offers.
- Boo boo watch: Courtney Avery and AJ Williams are improving. Devin Funchess had a cramp. Mario Ojemudia will be fine. Taylor Lewan is in a boot because it's fashionable.
- Jake Ryan is getting closer every day. Hoke is more scared about bringing him back than he is.
- Practice in full pads was held yesterday. Needed a kick in the pants.
- Hoke thought about putting in Kenny Allen. Didn't end up doing it because he didn't want to crush Matt Wile's psyche.
- Jake Butt's pancake got called for a hold.
"Obviously there's some things that are pretty obvious. It's good to win the game. That's always important, and that's why you play. Didn't play our best football. We need to get that straightened out. You have to give Akron some credit. They came in and played very good. We didn't play as well as we can. We have to for the goals that we set for our program. That being said, we'll improve. We went back to work yesterday. Pointed out a lot of things we have to coach better and a lot of things we have to do playing better."
Seems like a lot of Devin's turnovers came from third and long. Do you have to stay out of those --
"Well yeah. Any time you get into those situations, people can make life hard on you, either by bringing pressure or dropping eight or spying a guy because of Devin's athleticism and all that. When they do drop eight, various things [happen], and we have to not self-destruct protection-wise, not self-destruct route-running wise, not self-destruct decision-making-wise."