this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
|Trenton, NJ – 6'7", 295|
4*, NR overall
4*, #191 overall
#12 OT, #6 NJ
4*, #253 overall
#27 OT, #9 NJ
4*, #220 overall
#23 OT, #4 NJ
|Other Suitors||PSU, Bama, LSU, MSU, OSU, UGA, Ark, WI|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
Brady Hoke recruited a lot of offensive linemen, but had trouble finding tackles. Some of that was just bad luck—a few months after he acquired top 100 tackle Chris Fox his knee turned into jello. Some of it was a reliance on developing guys like Logan Tuley-Tillman. Hoke's player development was… let's say subpar.
As a result, Grant Newsome walks into a depth chart where he may already be on the two-deep, depending on where exactly Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson end up. That's because he is very much a tackle, and probably that rarest of man-mountain: the natural left tackle. After Newsome played in the Semper Fi game, Tim Sullivan tracked down his coach for an extensive article:
"First of all, you can't teach 6-7," Hansen said. "I think it's a frame that coach is going to be enthralled with. Knowing Coach Harbaugh like I do, I know that he likes big dudes who can move. His work ethic is great, his understanding of offensive concepts is great, he'll learn quickly.
"It's not that I was not expecting it, but I think his pass protection was something that was ahead of his run blocking at this stage of the game," Hansen said. "A lot of times, you get the opposite for a high school kid, where they're more comfortable run blocking. He was more versed in protection part of it."
247's Barton Simmons calls him a "future left tackle" with "outstanding" size, echoing the implication that he's got great feet but needs to work on pad level/leverage/run blocking. Colleague Steve Wiltfong had a similar take after seeing him at an Opening regional:
…could have easily won offensive line MVP honors and … Perhaps he still will. Has the ideal frame one wants in a left tackle, has nice length, he can bend, he keeps defensive linemen off him, not letting them get their hands on him.
And so it goes.
- Clint Brewster, 247: "Newsome is a long, athletic offensive tackle that has the body frame and range to play on the left side. … reminds me of current Michigan offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman, who has a similar body type and playing style. Newsome does a great job in pass protection because of his long arms and quick feet. … could be more physical in the running game and but dominates at the high school level with his size and technique. Keeps his hands inside and has an excellent base- always staying in his hips and driving through."
- ESPN: "Displays good bend and flexibility in his stance. … his big, lengthy frame can present a detour for rushers. … doesn't consistently deliver a good initial pop and roll hips and can get stalemated. … Newsome has good size and ability to work with and develop. Little raw and inconsistent in areas and needs to continue to fill out."
- Adam Friedman, Rivals: "definitely lived up to the hype. He's a huge offensive lineman with great feet and excellent patience. It was also impressive to see how much of a leader he was. Even in warm-ups, he was talking to his players making sure they were ready. Overall strength is an issue for Newsome."
- Brian Dohn, Scout: "long and athletic, and he has a good initial punch. …doesa very good job of getting to the second level, and he also understands how to sit in pass protection and not reach."
There is not much dissension in the ranks here, though ESPN turns in another evaluation that doesn't seem to fit their ranking. Some previous recruits in this class had highly encouraging reports coupled with generic three-star rankings; in this case they give a four-star guy a tepid review with a lot of "flashes ability X."
The general impression is that Newsome is an ideal left tackle who doesn't seem likely to become the kind of donkey-hating asset in the run game that a Taylor Lewan or a Jake Long was.
One caveat: Dohn notes that Newsome attends an "exclusive boarding school," which in retrospect yeah, it's called "The Lawrenceville School," of course. This means he hasn't gone up against quality competition. Most of the defensive ends he's faced aspire to be C-blank-Os instead of face-mashing NFL players. That seems to have put a hard ceiling on his rankings since recruiting analysts don't have much, if any, opportunity to see him against top competition.
That's a negative, but it's one that helped Michigan retain a much-needed asset. Newsome never wavered despite everything. The boarding school plays into that. On top of his physical qualities, Newsome is also an excellent student, carrying a 3.65 GPA at a serious school. He has an unusual background for anyone other than that dude with a ponytail from Good Will Hunting:
Academics are huge to Newsome, who plans on majoring in history. Both of his parents, and one of his grandfathers, graduated from Princeton with degrees in history.
“I guess it’s something that just runs in the family,” the 6-foot-7, 295-pound Newsome said. “I’m really interested in the Civil War reconstruction period.
Newsome and Lloyd Carr are going to be best buds.
This is good for any player since it means they'll probably be coachable, stick around, and help out the APR; for OL it's even more important since OL is extraordinarily complicated. OL consistently score the highest on the NFL's wonderlic test. Newsome should be able to handle the mental aspect of the game, and relatively quickly.
The question here is whether Harbaugh can make him mean.
Etc.: Specifically asked for 77.
Why Adam Stenavich? Stenavich was not quite the level of prospect Lewan and Long were but he was a quality left tackle who was first team All Big Ten for two consecutive years and kicked around NFL practice squads for five years after he graduated. Stenavich was a high quality pass protector in college but only decent as a run blocker.
One important difference: Stenavich was only 6'4". Newsome has higher upside.
Guru Reliability: High-minus. High profile player with approximate rankings consensus. Did do a few camps, but not many.
Variance: Moderate-plus. Newsome's close to the correct size already, has no academic question marks, and has a definite spot he projects to. Still needs all of the OL stuff, and level of competition is in question.
Ceiling: High. Not elite since he doesn't seem to be the kind of mean, mashing run blocker that Long and Lewan were.
General Excitement Level: High-minus. Excellent package at a very important position, but is OL.
Projection: Is OL, redshirt.
After, Michigan doesn't need him right away unless injury strikes. He probably has another year as a backup waiting for him since Mason Cole isn't going anywhere and whoever locks down the right tackle job this year should maintain it. If that's Erik Magnuson—my current guess—then Newsome will be one of the prime candidates to replace him 2017.
Cole's job could also come open then if he's good enough to leave for the draft, but since he's not one of those 6'8" Lewan-shaped guys that's not particularly likely. So in 2018 a redshirt junior Newsome is probably going to be the top option at left tackle to replace a four-year starter.
I changed up the format this week since the question was a seven-parter. A reminder of who everyone is:
- Brian: Blogger of mighty repute.
- Ace: Lead reporter, recruiting/basketball guy.
- Seth: Associate editor/site business guy
- BiSB: A funny person.
- Adam Schnepp: Press correspondent (Heiko's old job) and hockey guy.
- Alex Cook: Basketball correspondent
- Dave Nasternak: J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Lead Backend Logistics Strategist and Associate Vice President of Name Day Nittany Lion Taunting and Corporate Titlery (i.e. a responsible adult)
The Question Seven Questions:
Brian: Best recruit? Most important? Most likely to outperform ranking? Best name (nationally)? Guy who got away who will haunt you? Guy you are most irrationally enthusiastic about? Overall class hot take? Harbaugh?
BiSB: Brian Cole. He's a fantastic athlete, but more importantly Cole is a guy with speed in a position where, despite the assertions of some, SPEED IS A GOOD THING THAT CANNOT BE TAUGHT AND IS A GOOD THING. One caveat: Roquan Smith takes this category if he picks Michigan.
|Five votes for the superlative in-stater. [Allen Trieu/Scout]|
Seth: Brian Cole. In a terribly weak in-state class, this player this year was the perfect opportunity for Dantonio to flip the in-state script—no weird families or MSU connections or coaches who lock players in their cars during their Michigan visits or questionable transcripts.
AND he's a great player at two positions of need. Other than Borgesian leapers at receiver there's Canteen and Drake Harris's un-Dude hamstrings. Safety is an even greater need; if by some holy luck Peppers stays through 2018, Michigan would have two safeties in 2018. I'd gladly take Cole and four more just like him.
Adam Schnepp: Zach Gentry. I am an unabashed fan of gun-slinging giants who causes Physics and Anatomy to get into a fight over who left THAT loophole open. I think about fitting him into a Harbaugh-ffense and find myself chortling under my breath. If you're a commit who makes me chortle when thinking about your fit with Michigan's system then you too could be a contender for next year's Best Recruit.
Dave Nasternak: Probably Brian Cole. I can see arguments for Gentry, but I think that Cole is the best overall player, right now. And I think (hope?) he is the only member from this class who will not see a 2015 redshirt...if for no other reason than they just will not be able to keep him off of the field. There are a handful of places that he should be able to contribute early -WR, Returner, ST coverage, etc.
Ace: Another vote for Cole. He's such a good athlete that it's hard to imagine he won't end up contributing somewhere, and he's especially impactful with the ball in his hands.
Alex Cook: Brian Cole. The whole "the best players from Michigan go to Michigan" thing is, um, patently false, but there's a good chance that Cole will be the best homegrown recruit in this cycle. Oh, and he was a presumed State lean before committing to Michigan - and he stuck through the coaching change? Great. I'm sold.
Brian: I'm going with Zach Gentry. You do not get guys flying past safeties 50 yards downfield at 6'8" anywhere, and Gentry improved considerably over the course of his career. John Navarre running Buffalo 100 Meter Dash? I'll take it. Gentry has higher bust potential, yeah, but that upside. Yooooooo.
[Hit the jump for most important, sleeper, best names, the one that got away, and bloggers going squeeee]
Second 2015 QB In Play?
Even with Alex Malzone already on campus, quarterback is a major question mark for Michigan not just for 2015, but moving forward, and it appears Jim Harbaugh is going the extra mile to make sure he gives the program as many options as possible at the position:
Jim Harbaugh coming to Gilmer to see McLane Carter. He has a pretty good eye for qb's. Florida and Texas Tech just called as well.#Winner
— Jeff Traylor (@CoachTraylor) January 11, 2015
Carter has a very interesting profile, in part because he doesn't really have one; he's unranked on Rivals and Scout, while ESPN and 247 don't even have pages for him. Carter is picking up major school interest, however, after a senior year in which he led Gilmer to an undefeated state title season in Texas' 4A Division 2 (a medium-sized classification) while posting this stat line: 220-297 (74.1%), 3969 yards (13.4 YPA), 47 TDs, 2 INTs. Pretty good stats, I say.
There are a couple reasons Carter may have flown under the radar. He transferred back to Gilmer this season after spending his junior year at Salado, where he put up less impressive stats for a worse program. It also doesn't look like he hit the camp circuit much at all; the only camp eval I can find is, oddly, from last spring's RCS Detroit camp, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):
It was a long trip up to Michigan from northeast Texas for Carter, and he made the trip worthwhile by having a solid showing. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound left-handed passer spun the ball very well on Sunday. His tight spirals cut through the wind when it was blowing hard later in the day. Overall Carter showed good arm strength and decent accuracy on his passes.
There's also a free scouting report from Scout after one of his playoff games:
Carter has a good frame (6-2 1/2, 190) and very smooth, left-handed delivery. His delivery isn't completely overhead, but it's close. He has a deceptively strong arm. That's probably because his southpaw delivery looks so smooth and effortless. He awaits his first FBS offer, but should start getting more attention as signing day approaches.
His senior tape, embedded at the top of the post, is pretty impressive; while his arm strength doesn't jump off the page, his accuracy sure does, especially on his deep throws. He also displays decent mobility, and based on both the film and his stats, his decision-making is excellent. He may not be a five-star talent, but he certainly looks like a guy who should at least have some sort of recruiting profile; with interest from the likes of BYU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and now Michigan and Florida of late, that should happen soon.
Whether or not Michigan makes a serious run at Carter (something I now hope they do given the length of this section), it's encouraging that Harbaugh might take a run at another quarterback in this class. That's no knock on Malzone, who I believe is a quality prospect; it'd just be nice to add some depth to the position, especially after what we've witnessed the last couple seasons. Any attrition at that position in the next couple years, given the current construction of the roster, could be really tough to handle.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Goodbye: Mike Weber
As for his visit plans, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt, we'll have to wait:
Since Detroit Cass Tech four-star running back Mike Weber de-committed from Michigan earlier this month, the question has been which schools will receive his official visits.
"Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan State is all I really know right now. I haven't decided on the other two," Weber said. "I haven't set them up yet. I still have to sit down with my parents and see which ones I should take and when. I think I will take at least two in December."
Michigan is still under consideration. Alabama, Georgia, and Notre Dame didn't wait long to offer Weber after his decommitment.
Tyree Kinnel Waits
["]So I’m not too worried about if it Hoke is fired, what I’ll have to do. I know I’ve got other scholarships to schools that said they would take me. At the end the day I know I’ll be fine, so I’m just focused on the state championship right now with my team.”
That isn’t meant to suggest that the longtime Wolverine pledge is definitely headed elsewhere if the current coaching staff is removed.
“They would still be a school I consider,” he said.
Kinnel has no visits planned, yet.
Cole and Clark Wait
From Webb's latest in the Detroit News:
"As [Brian Cole's] daddy I'm telling you we're still evaluating everything. We're looking around, but we're still committed to Michigan."
"I'm just trying to get some other options in case the coaches I have a really good relationship with at Michigan end up going," [Chris Clark] told Scout.com. "And then I'll just have other options.
"I want to see what new coach they get -- if they get a new coach. I just really like my tight end coach at Michigan, Coach (Dan) Ferrigno. He's been with Coach Hoke for a while. If Coach Hoke goes, then he's going to go too."
Grant Newsome, Andrew David, Jon Runyan Jr., and Alex Malzone are solid, at least.
John Kelly, Uncommitted, Waits
"I'm not really worried about that stuff," he said. "They will probably find a good replacement with whatever they do. I've heard about Jim Harbaugh. That would be a really big hire if they could get him. That would help a lot. Besides that, I'm just waiting and seeing. I'm in no hurry to make a decision right now and I'm not favoring any certain schools over another at this point."
Michigan State and Minnesota are also under serious consideration; Kelly has also fielded recent offers from Iowa and Tennessee.
Auden Tate, After A "Great" Visit, Waits
“I’m a solid commit to FSU still,” Tate insisted. “I’m just taking some visits… just making sure.”
That begs the question, did Michigan give him something to think about?
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Kind of.”
Tate also visited Florida last weekend. They're waiting, too, but in a much different way.
Not Waiting: KLS, Garrett Taylor
Happy trails to Keisean Lucier-South, who committed to UCLA, and former M commit Garrett Taylor, who committed to Penn State.
I unwittingly glutened myself this week, so between that, basketball season getting underway, recruiting staying in a holding pattern, and the football team remaining rather uninspiring, there's no full recruiting roundup or FFFF today. Instead, I'm mashing the two together before I head into town for the Detroit game.
Michigan will receive an official visit this weekend from a highly touted prospect not committed to the Wolverines. Yes, this is probably a surprise to you. This may even be a surprise to the coaches. It's probably not going to amount to a whole lot. But, hey, it's happening, and that's nice.
The recruit in question is four-star receiver Auden Tate, currently a Florida State commit, who's following through on his long-held plan to officially visit Ann Arbor after he got a Michigan offer way back in April. Tate grew up a fan of the program and he's kept in touch with QB commit Alex Malzone throughout the recruiting process. It'd be a surprise if Tate flipped his commitment, but heck, it's a surprise he's taking this trip in the first place.
Three-star Oak Park ATH John Kelly will also be in attendance as an unofficial visitor. The other 2015 recruits set to be at the game are current commits: Malzone and Grant Newsome, both of whom have remained steadfast in their pledges throughout this tumultuous season. Malzone may be joined by his Brother Rice teammate and primary target, 2015 WR Grant Perry, though Perry may choose to visit Northwestern instead.
[Hit THE JUMP for commit updates, Iman Marshall's very interesting visit plans, a couple more recruiting nuggets, and Seth's lineup diagrams for the Maryland game.]
Things Fall Apart
Is Darrin Kirkland the next to go?
Since last week's roundup, Darian Roseboro officially decommitted from Michigan, bringing the 2015 class down to just ten players. In distressing, but by no means surprising, news, that class is likely to get smaller before it gets any bigger, as several other commits are now looking around.
Four-star LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. took an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend, and he told TomVH that Michigan's coaching staff is now taking a different approach to commits taking visits ($):
In the past, the Michigan coaches have held a no-visit policy, but Kirkland had a different conversation when he told the staff of his intentions.
"They said take the time that you need to make the best decision," he said.
If the coaches hope to keep any semblance of a class together, I don't think they have a choice here. So, Kirkland visited Notre Dame with Hoke's approval, and in a rather painful twist took in the game with former M commit Shaun Crawford; Kirkland told Rivals' Josh Helmholdt he came away impressed with ND ($):
Saturday's visit to Notre Dame has given Kirkland plenty to think about as he enters the final four months of his recruitment.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time," Kirkland said. "I'm staying close with my family and hopefully we can make the best decision for me. At the end of the day I'll sign my letter of intent where I feel most comfortable at."
Kirkland remains committed to Michigan and is not sure what schools he could visit in the future, but he is keeping his options open.
I'd be surprised if M held on to Kirkland through a coaching change.
Of course, Kirkland isn't the only one looking around. 247's Steve Lorenz posted an overview of where the commits stand at the moment, and only four appear to be locks to stay committed ($):
- Quarterback Alex Malzone, who's still been recruiting other prospects like Marcus Lewis and Auden Tate, per Sam Webb ($). Malzone is also working hard to try to keep the class together.
- Offensive tackle Grant Newsome, who doubled down on his "I didn't not commit to the University of Brady Hoke" statement from last week by telling GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz he's "fully committed" to Michigan.
- Offensive guard Jon Runyan Jr.—as a legacy commit, it'd be quite surprising if he even looked around.
- Kicker Andrew David, who received a scholarship as a kicker at an early juncture, so he's also quite solid in all likelihood.
Everyone else—including RB Mike Weber, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown($)—is at least considering other options, and among that group of six only Tyree Kinnel seems like he's still leaning heavily towards remaining in the class. As TE commit Chris Clark told MLive last week, coaches from around the country know an opportunity when they see one:
"I think they see an opening," Clark said. "They smell the blood in the water."
Clark recently added a USC offer and is fielding heavy interest from Alabama and UNC, among many others. He also seems like a longshot to stay in the class for much longer.
Meanwhile, in the 2016 class, four-star QB Messiah deWeaver maintains he's still "100 percent to Michigan," per Helmholdt ($). I haven't seen word on M's other 2016 commit, four-star OT Erik Swenson, but his commitment seemed rock-solid; hopefully that doesn't change.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on this weekend's visitors, Keisean Lucier-South, Auden Tate, Thiyo Lukusa, and more.]