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future blue originals
While we still have some time left to kill before football, there's some leftover football sitting right there on the YouTubes, and some of that leftover football features future Michigan players. With more high school games being uploaded in full these days, we're going to be doing more single-game film breakdowns here, starting today with last year's game between DePaul Catholic, featuring 2016 signees Kareem Walker and Michael Dwumfour, and Bergen Catholic.
DePaul fell 15-13 in a tightly contested game, and they may have pulled out the win if Walker hadn't sat out most of the first quarter for undisclosed reasons. He managed to break the 100-yard barrier anyway. Here are all of his carries from the game edited into one video:
As we learned during his late-cycle rankings plunge, Walker isn't a no-doubt prospect like Leonard Fournette—the eye-popping runs are largely absent from his highlight tape. Seeing him work over the course of a full game, however, improved my perception of Walker. His vision was very good, and he does subtle things that will become more apparent on the next level; I love the way he patiently set up his blocks like he did at the 0:55 mark.
Walker's acceleration is solid when he picks his spot to go. While he runs upright in the open field, he does a good job of getting behind his pads to get through tackles at the point of attack, and he uses his off-arm well to shed arm-tackles from defensive backs. When it gets down to it, he finds a way to get upfield. He's not the most explosive back, nor is he the most powerful—he could definitely add some muscle in his lower half—but I like his potential to be a productive college back; the instincts that Michigan's backs have often lacked of late are present in Walker.
As for Dwumfour, he mostly played right defensive tackle, and he's relatively easy to pick out in these clips—he's the only DePaul D-lineman wearing white gloves and white cleats/spats. Before posting this video, a caveat: this is every snap I could get a clear view from Dwumfour (all but 6-8 snaps he was out there, best I could tell), so don't look at this the same way you'd look at a highlight reel—a highlight reel would contain maybe three or four of these plays.
Let's start here: this was a rough game. Dwumfour has a bad habit of bolting upright after the snap, and in this game his opponents capitalized by stonewalling him again and again—there are a couple plays on which he literally gets turned around 180 degrees after the snap (and one more that didn't make the video because ESPN cut to the play too late). On a down-to-down basis, he wasn't very good—he didn't have the strength or motor to overcome his obvious lack of technique.
Of course, Michigan isn't recruiting Dwumfour to be the player he was in high school, and you can see flashes of why they took him that aren't "is best friends with Rashan Gary." Dwumfour has a quick first step and a couple of moves that can get him into the backfield in a hurry. When he does fire out low, he moves people, but he doesn't appear to have much technique that would allow him to disengage—something that can be corrected.
It's not surprising to me that Dwumfour was a generic three-star. He's a big body with athleticism, but there's a lot of work to do to get him to the point where he can contribute at the Power 5 level. Michigan shouldn't need him to be an instant-impact guy, and that's for the best; I'm not sure he'll be ready to play more than scattered snaps for a couple years.
2017 Ann Arbor Pioneer OLB Antjuan Simmons is one of the hottest prospects on the recruting trail. In the last few weeks he's added offers from Arizona State, LSU, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, to name a few. While Michigan hasn't yet joined that group, they hosted Simmons for an unofficial visit during the UNLV game, and you can bet they're keeping a close eye on the local kid.
In a matchup of undefeated teams, Pioneer fell to Saline 37-21 on Friday in a game that frankly wasn't that close; it was 28-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Simmons made a big impact on both sides of the ball, however, making plays all over the field at outside linebacker while proving to be Pioneer's most effective means of moving the ball on offense. He finished with double-digit tackles, a sack, a fumble return for a touchdown, and a rushing touchdown (though he also fumbled a goal-line carry).
The fumble return, which occurred after we'd packed up (via The Saline Post):
[Hit THE JUMP for the scouting report.]
KJ Hamler warms up. [Dave Nasternak/MGoBlog]
For this week's scouting post, Dave and I went out to Orchard Lake St. Mary's and their blood-red field to see four-star 2017 prospects KJ Hamler and Josh Ross, both of whom hold Michigan offers. OLSM took on Warren De La Salle in a matchup of defending state champions, though unfortunately DLS RB/CB Allen Stritzinger sat out due to injury.
Despite the absence of Stritzinger and standout linebacker Eric Rogers, De La Salle dominated; we exited the scene before the 31-8 score went final. While Hamler and Ross couldn't lead their team to victory, both showed flashes of their potential; in Hamler's case, one flash was especially bright:
We call him "Speedy Eaglet" for a reason.
[Hit THE JUMP for more video and scouting reports on Hamler and Ross.]
Michigan linebacker commit David Reese is the focus of this week's FBO. While his Farmington squad fell short against a talented Southfield team, 45-22, he had a productive game—12 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble he returned for a TD, a blocked extra point, and a rushing touchdown. Reese lined up at middle linebacker, fullback, and H-back; he'll come to Michigan as an inside linebacker but I also pulled some clips of him on offense in case he switches sides of the ball—he looks viable on either side.
David Reese Highlights
Reese is #3 in blue. Thanks to Dave Nasternak for filming this one.
[Hit THE JUMP for a breakdown of Reese.]
Michael Onwenu: large, strong [Dave Nasternak/MGoBlog]
Yes, I'm still catching up on film from the Prep Kickoff Classic. This time around the focus is on Cass Tech and Southfield; more specifically, four-star Cass Tech left tackle Michael Onwenu, who's committed to Michigan as a guard.
The Technicians won this game with ease, 27-0, due to their domination on the ground. Onwenu and left guard Ostell Martin were too big and strong for Southfield's line to handle; running back Tim Cheatham had plenty of huge holes to run through on his way to 99 rushing yards and a pair of scores. Southfield couldn't get moving on offense, going nowhere in the running game and finding only inconsistent success through the air.
Michael Onwenu Highlights
The final play comes highly recommended.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting reports on Onwenu, a couple Cass Tech juniors, and Southfield's promising freshman quarterback.]
KJ Hamler looked strong in all three phases [Dave Nasternak]
Orchard Lake St. Mary's was a heavy favorite against Detroit Loyola in Saturday's first game of the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State. While they won 24-12 and generally controlled the proceedings, they weren't as dominant as expected.
The same was the case for 2017 linebacker Josh Ross, the younger brother of Michigan linebacker James Ross. He had an up-and-down performance, but 2017 ATH KJ Hamler lived up to the billing, showing out in all three phases of the game—Hamler's big-play threat at receiver combined with a strong OLSM run game to give them the win.
Split into sections for Hamler and Ross. Thanks to Dave Nasternak for manning the camera.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting breakdowns on Hamler and Ross.]