"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
future blue originals
Previously: Bryan Mone
This edition of Future Blue Originals features my first attempt at using screen capture software with streaming video; I'm still working out the kinks, so video quality should be better in future posts.
2015 commit Shaun Crawford, who's projected to play cornerback for Michigan but lines up at safety, running back, and slot receiver for Lakewood St. Edward, one of Ohio's powerhouse programs. Crawford is universally regarded as a top-150 overall prospect, listed as high as #49 overall (ESPN) and coming in at #79 (#8 CB) in the 247 Composite. The quick take on Crawford is that he's got everything you'd want in a corner except ideal size—he's listed at 5'9", 173, though he certainly doesn't play small.
St. Edward defeated Erie McDowell 56-7 in this game, which occurred two weekends ago. Crawford had 98 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, three receptions for 56 yards, a long punt return for a touchdown, a blocked field goal, and eight tackles in about three quarters of action.
Edited by yours truly, taken from full game video courtesy of iHigh.com.
Soundtrack: "Have Mercy On Me" — The Black Keys
[Hit THE JUMP for my evaluation of Crawford. SPOILER: he's pretty good, you guys.]
In case you haven't noticed, FBO has taken a back seat this year while I've focused more on other work (FFFF, GIFs, the hoops preview mag, etc.) and attempted to save my body the wear and tear that led to me barely hanging on through basketball season. Instead of spending my Fridays heading out to games, I've been looking for online streams of Michigan commits and other available film to break down. In that vein, if you're in the area of a U-M commit or target and are interested in filming a game for me to analyze, please email me.
Highland vs. East Overview
This game did not got well from Highland's standpoint, as the Rams coughed up seven(!) turnovers and managed just 128 yards of offense in a 29-7 loss. The defense barely had time to breathe between possessions and the turnovers repeatedly put them in tough situations:
Four of Highland’s six first-half possessions resulted in turnovers — two fumbles, two interceptions — and East’s average starting field position on those four drives was Highland’s 31-yard line.
Good teams make a living punishing mistakes, and East did just that.
After missing a field goal following their first takeaway, the Leopards punched the next three into the end zone to open up a 22-0 halftime lead.
East's triple-option attack allowed them to largely avoid Mone on the interior while hitting the edge or utilizing play-action to move the ball down the field—the star of the game was one of East's wing-backs, Malakai Solovi, who rushed 104 yards and a pair of TDs as Highland repeatedly lost contain. The Rams offense was unable to generate anything even when they weren't giving away possessions, leading to a rote blowout.
Bryan Mone Film
Film courtesy of WATCHit Network, which has the whole game available on YouTube.
This is just about every snap of Mone on defense (he also played several snaps at offensive guard, and a couple late cuts to the action made it impossible to see him on a couple defensive snaps). As you'll see, the plays are broken down into categories. This is when I note that I'm not a coach or even a former player, so if I've filed something as good that's actually bad, or vice versa, please point out my error in the comments.
Apologies for some of the quick cuts and hard-to-read descriptions; next time I'll leave more room between snaps so it's easier to point out a player and add commentary. If you have any suggestions for the format, as always, let me know in the comments.
[Further impressions from the film can be found below THE JUMP.]
Wyatt Shallman was the only in-state commit I hadn't had a chance to see so far this season, so last Friday I ventured back to Orchard Lake St. Mary's for a Catholic League tilt against his Detroit Catholic Central squad. Needing a victory to stay alive for a playoff berth, CC came away with a decisive 35-13 upset victory on the strength of their defense and a big rushing day from senior back Anthony Darkangelo.
Shallman, who's been nursing a hamstring injury that's kept him from playing on offense, spent the entire game at strongside defensive end. While St. Mary's ran almost entirely away from Shallman, he still managed to make an impact, recording two solo tackles, a pair of assists, and the pass breakup pictured above. 2014 defensive end Dylan Roney saw a lot more action from his weakside spot and acquitted himself well, recording eight tackles, including a couple impressive stops near the line of scrimmage. Here are some highlights of Shallman and Roney from Friday's game (apologies for the sometimes shaky camera-work; in order to get a good shot, I had to stand and go sans tripod):
Soundtrack: (Don't Be Comin' With No) Weak Sauce — Stanton Moore
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting reports on the defensive end duo plus an interview with Shallman.]
When current New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles played pee-wee football, he was so unfairly fast that his league instituted the "Darren Sproles Rule", which barred him from running sweeps—otherwise, he would score on every play.
Given Malik McDowell's dominance at the Class C (enrollment limits: 217-448 students) level of MHSAA football, I'd have to assume that a hypothetical "Malik McDowell Rule" would prevent him from playing entirely.
McDowell is listed at 6'7", 290 pounds, and that does not appear to be an exaggeration despite the fact that he's not playing with any bad weight. On Friday, I watched him lead Detroit Loyola against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, a team featuring players with names like Zach Beans, Vinny Puma(!), Clay Senerius, and McLane Burtrum.
It went as you'd expect.
By my count, in four very short possessions' worth of work, McDowell amassed 11 tackles, five TFLs, a sack, and a forced fumble, while also adding a few thunderous hits on a justifiably terrified Our Lady quarterback. This week's video highlights are short and sweet; these include less than half of McDowell's tackles thanks to rain and a brief period when the camera refused to focus:
Soundtrack: "Saw Myself Today" — Oddisee
It's tough to break down McDowell from a technical standpoint when he's so physically dominant over his competition; on most plays, he simply bowled over an interior lineman and moved on to wrecking whomever possessed the football. However, you can see him display a very effective swim move in the first two clips of the above video; despite it probably being unnecessary, McDowell regularly switches up his attack between that swim move and a simple bull rush.
Our Lady of the Lakes lacked a downfield passing game—or even the ability to go into the shotgun—which made it impossible for them to call plays that avoided McDowell. He swallowed up interior runs, at least contacted the quarterback on all but a couple dropbacks, and chased down both attempted toss sweeps for big losses. McDowell proved very adept at reading plays, staying home when runs came at him and reacting quickly when the play went outside.
McDowell's athleticism speaks for itself; he covers the field sideline-to-sideline from defensive tackle, gets a great burst off the snap, and has the strength to match his size. He's all the more impressive when it's noted that he's currently dealing with nagging injuries to both his shoulder—which caused him to exit the game on two occasions—and hip. Despite having to gingerly peel himself off the turf after tackles, he brought full effort on every play.
Caveats apply due to the low level of competition, of course. That said, McDowell is the most physically impressive and dominant prospect I've seen in these last two years; he deserves every bit of the hype coming his way. While I'd like to see what he can do against viable competition, the praise accompanying his camp appearances suggests that he is by no means a mirage produced by lower-division football.
If I had to rank the best players from the 2014 in-state class, it's McDowell first, then Damon Webb, then a large gap before getting to the Cass Tech linebacker trio and Detroit MLK's Carl Fuller (though I haven't seen Drake Harris in action, and rankings suggest that he's right around Webb in terms of potential, nor have I seen Chance Stewart).
A brief note: Our Lady of the Lakes junior kicker Spencer Howell showed off a strong leg on kickoffs, booming one completely through the end zone, and drilled a ~35-yard field goal. I can't find much information on him online but he's a guy to keep an eye on for a potential walk-on spot down the road.
This Week: Speaking of Cass Tech and Fuller, the Technicians take on King on Friday at 7pm. I'll either head there or check out Wyatt Shallman and Catholic Central take on Orchard Lake St. Mary's, also kicking off at 7 on Friday.
My latest foray into the world of high school football took me deep into the heart of Buckeye country to see the cross-town rivalry between Pickerington North and Pickerington Central. Before I get into the game recap and scouting, a few words on the atmosphere: this was the most enjoyable experience I've had at a high school game, and it isn't particularly close.
It started at the church next to the football stadium, where I got paid a dollar to park. The stands at Central were packed on both sides well before kickoff, everyone decked out in their school colors. The game ball was flown in via skydiver (seriously—I have photographic proof). It was louder than a lot of college venues. Best of all, despite this being a heated rivalry, the fans were civil—there was trash talk, to be sure, but nothing that went beyond that. At one point, the Central mascot walked up to me on the sideline and asked if I was enjoying the game.
The game itself wasn't the expected tight contest, as North—0-5 to that point against Central, including a playoff loss—broke it open in the second half and ran away with a 37-0 victory. It was a very emotional experience for both Michigan commits. North's Jake Butt embraced teammate and Northwestern commit Godwin Igwebuike in the waning minutes, triumphant in a long-awaited victory. On the opposite sideline, Central's Taco Charlton sat alone, head buried in his hands, barely acknowledging those that came up to console him.
This is how rivalry games should be, and it was a pleasure to be there to witness it.
[Video, photos, and scouting report after THE JUMP.]
In a game that matched the weather, Orchard Lake St. Mary's ground out a 13-6 victory over Cass Tech in a driving rainstorm on Friday, handing the Technicians their first loss of the season. OLSM dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for over 200 yards, and Cass Tech couldn't overcome a third-quarter muffed punt by Jourdan Lewis that led to the final St. Mary's score.
Due to the constant rain, I wasn't able to take video last weekend, so unfortunately there are no highlights in this post. I did, however, spend the game talking to a Detroit-area high school coach who's been coaching in the region for over 40 years. He unequivocally stated that Cass Tech junior CB/WR Damon Webb was the best player on the field for either team—overall, not just in that single game—and in fact he'd tried to get Webb to transfer to his school when he left U-D Jesuit last year. I also asked him about RB commit Wyatt Shallman; the coach is convinced Shallman's best position is running back and compared his combination of size and athleticism to NFL Hall of Fame back John Riggins.
[After THE JUMP, full scouting reports on the Michigan commits, Webb, and more.]