landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Where has the line improved from the first week?
“Oh, they’re getting better, you know. Really building a good brotherhood amongst each other, great communication, playing with better pad level, really paying attention to details of what we’re trying to teach them. So, it’s exciting.”
What about that forecast? Do you prepare differntly for heavy rain? Do you do drills?
“No, not really. I mean, you always take it into consideration. Everybody has the wet ball drill and different things like that like everybody practices. We’re keeping our eye on that, but you just plan. You don’t change your gameplan. You just go with your gameplan that you originally wanted to and stay with it. I’ve been in situations where you change everything because of the weather and it really messes with your mindset.”
Jay says you guys are a weatherproof team for the most part-
“Who said that?”
Jay said you were a weatherproof team for the most part. What does that- do you agree with that?
“What, weatherproof? Yeah, absolutely. Whatever Jay Harbaugh says, that’s what I agree with. Oh yeah, absolutely.”
Is that a testament to your versatility?
“I just think that what we do offensively, it’s- we can spread out, we can bring it in tight, we can throw the ball deep, we can throw it intermediate, we can run the toss play. We’ve got a lot of different things. We’re not one-dimensional, so we can adapt and change quickly for what people are giving us.”
Was it significant to have the BYU game when you did? A turnover-free, kind of smoothed out offensive game?
“Uh, it was positive. I think it’s something that you build on, and that’s what you want to be, turnover free. Absolutely. That’s what you’re striving every week to be, so that was good. Really good.”
[The rest after THE JUMP]
back back back back not back (but there's another guy also back) [Bryan Fuller]
|Mason Cole||So.||Ben Braden||Jr.*||Graham Glasgow||Sr.*||Kyle Kalis||Jr.*||Erik Magnuson||Jr.*|
|Logan Tuley-Tillman||So.*||David Dawson||So.*||Patrick Kugler||So.*||Blake Bars||Jr.*||Juwann Bushell-Beatty||Fr.*|
It got better. It really did. The OL nadir is in the past. We can come out of the bunker and rebuild society now.
By any reasonable metric it in fact got a lot better. Michigan's YPC leapt 1.3 yards, going from 11th in a 12-team league to 8th in a 14-team one. If you only look at Big Ten stats Michigan is still 8th, and that's in the division that had the MSU, OSU, and PSU defenses. Sacks allowed had a near-identical improvement, going from barely better than Purdue to a spot in the respectable midsection of the conference. Advanced stats saw something similar. Michigan finished 50th in adjusted line yards*, 32nd in power success rate, and 72nd in adjusted sack rate. And that's with the running backs going the wrong direction constantly.
None of these numbers stand out, but neither do they linger in the seedy parts of the list next to Temple and Penn State and Louisiana-Monroe. They were average-ish. Most of the time they felt average-ish.
That's not a bad place to be with zero seniors and just two upperclassmen. While the unexpected departure of Jack Miller puts a small dent in the front's depth, his likely replacement, Erik Magnuson, is a redshirt junior who came in as a touted recruit and has a season's worth of starts to his name already. If you're willing to fudge a bit, Michigan has five starters back from that okay line. They've replaced Brady Hoke with Jim Harbaugh and Darrell Funk with Tim Drevno.
Could they be… good?
*[A stat that weighs the first few yards you get heavily and discounts long runs in an attempt to get a feel for how the line is doing.]
Cole coped [Eric Upchurch]
Rating: 3 of 5
Last year I gave this a 1 because Michigan was staring down a starting lineup consisting of a true freshman and a third-year guy who didn't even get a sniff during the chaos of 2013. They seemed to acquire these positions almost by default since the only other tackles on the roster were freshmen (redshirt or true) regarded as huge projects. Or they were starting at guard.
The 2014 edition of this post took a quick gander at what happened when football teams started freshman tackles. It was almost universally ugly. The best case scenario was Ole Miss, which deployed ultra-blue-chip Laremy Tunsil as a true freshman and was middling in both YPC and sacks allowed. All others trundled their way to seasons that were more or less disastrous.
Michigan was not disastrous last year. In what is certainly a first for offensive line projections in recent history, that prediction was pessimistic. MASON COLE, the true freshman, just about hit the top end of reasonable projections, those being:
The occasional freshman tackle can cope. I think Cole is one of those guys. But is he going to blow a guy off the ball and provide a big ol' lane at 292 pounds? Probably not. Our hope here is that Cole is a solid, agile pass protector in year one who is a meh run blocker.
Mason Cole coped. This is what that looks like in the run game according to UFR:
|App St||9.5||2||7.5||A fine debut|
|Notre Dame||4||2||2||Didn't seem overwhelmed at all.|
|Miami||8||5||3||Okay; also had one very bad pass pro.|
|Utah||3||2.5||0.5||Nice seal block ignored.|
|Rutgers||5||5||0||I'll take it.|
|Penn State||1.5||5||-3.5||Hull and Zettel bad matchup.|
|Minnesota||4.5||2.5||2||Overpowered a little but still okay day.|
|Indiana||3||0.5||2.5||Didn't mess anything up.|
It was rougher in pass protection, where I have had him for 16 protection minuses in 8 games. Those are worth about half a QB pressure/sack each. Otherwise things were pretty okay against non-elite defenses. Cole's debut season was… eh.
When it didn't go well, the usual reason was that Cole got blown backwards because he was a true freshman. These were the kind of things that were happening against Zettel and company:
This was a game in which Cole's inexperience and lack of big skrongness really hurt. Here Butt gets an excellent shoulder spear on Zettel, knocking him off balance. This should provide ample opportunity for Cole to step around and wall Zettel off, creating a crease Smith will hit trying to beat a safety for a big gainer. Instead Zettel comprehensively wins:
Cole got whipped on the Norfleet catch that put Michigan in position for the winning field goal; Michigan was fortunate that ball went to the WR instead of getting knocked anywhere.
Ennui prevented me from charting him against Joey Bosa, but I've gone back and rewatched the OSU game. Cole was okay. By the second half of The Game Ohio State decided that they should either blitz outside of Bosa and send him against the interior line (which only kind of worked) or have him go at Ben Braden (which very much worked). Don't get me wrong, Cole did get beat. It was a struggle; it was not one in which he was completely overwhelmed.
All of that is terrific for a true freshman. Cole grabbed the job, held the job all season, and played reasonably well. There has been not a whisper that he would go anywhere except for a blip during spring practice when he was playing center, that because Glasgow was suspended and Michigan was figuring out if he could play there a la Barrett Jones. All practice reports have held that he is a sure thing, greatly improved, etc. 247 heard this from multiple people in a 24-hour window:
Mason Cole has unsurprisingly established himself as a rock at the left tackle spot, and is primed to be the next great four-year starter to play the position.
Cole's added 13 pounds and should make a major leap in year two, what with the rare true-freshman-to-true-sophomore OL transition coupled with the general HARBAUGH.
That will probably still leave him short of dominant. Michigan's most recent really good left tackle, Taylor Lewan, took off in his third year. In year two Cole should slash the protection issues considerably and do okay against the better defensive ends in the league. A year like early Graham Glasgow—reliable, somewhat short on raw power—would set Cole up to be excellent as an upperclassman.
[After THE JUMP: four-ish additional returning starters who happen to be upperclassmen already]
Previously: Last year's profiles, CB Brandon Watson, CB Jabrill Peppers, LB Jared Wangler, LB Chase Winovich, LB Noah Furbush, LB Michael Ferns, DL Brady Pallante, DL Bryan Mone, DL Lawrence Marshall, OL Mason Cole.
|Paramus, NJ – 6'6", 320|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#33 OT, #11 NJ
|ESPN||4*, #142 overall
#11 OT, #4 NJ
|24/7||4*, NR overall
#23 OT, #10 NJ
|Other Suitors||UF, FSU, Miami, MSU, BC|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Has outstanding "what you talkin' about Willis" face. Paramus Catholic (Peppers)|
Bushell-Beatty is always going to be The Other Paladin, what with being the high school teammate of one Jabrill Peppers. It's not out of the question that a couple of teams recruiting him did so with an eye on Woodson 2.0. But Bushell-Beatty is a quality prospect in his own right, a four star on two sites and the top tackle who isn't one on Rivals. And he did have offers from two of Florida's big three.
That's because he's an enormous gentleman. Most evaluations start with that fact. Clint Brewster:
First off, Bushell-Beatty has outstanding size at about 6-foot-7 and 310-pounds. He has long arms and doesn’t carry a whole lot of extra weight on his frame. Bushell-Beatty has good flexibility and can bend for a 6-foot-7 player.
Scout's Brian Dohn:
Bushell-Beatty is big and long, and just getting around him is a challenge for some defenders. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder does a good job blocking down the line of scrimmage and also spinning the defender to open holes in the running game, but he is most impressive in pass protection. …
His arm length made it even more difficult to try and get around him, and once he was able to engage the defender, he didn't get allow him to get loose again.
Elsewhere, his coach calls him plain "humongous," an Under Armor game evaluation praises his "outstanding size with a good frame," and Brewster pops up again to say he's an "NFL sized offensive tackle with great range and physicality in the run game." This is his main appeal: if it works out you've got a guy the NFL will be lusting after.
His assets other than size are a little fuzzy. Some guys praise his pass protection; some say he needs to work on it. He does seem to be quite good at plowing furrows into the ground in the run game:
Had a physical punch in the running game and is able to get his long arms on defenders and lock into them. … Bushell-Beatty’s strength is the running game, where he can use his size to overpower people but he has the foundation to develop into a better pass-protector.
Tim Sullivan took in a Paramus game in person:
He can move exceptionally well, and has the agility you'd expect out of a play with a much slimmer physique. He runs, does a good job blocking down, and keeps his feet moving in run blocking and against the pass rush.
Bushell-Beatty also has plenty of strength. Though his upper body is disproportionately small compared to the rest of him, he shows off a good punch, and drives well with his lower body to open cavernous holes for his running back.
That offhanded mention of a disproportionately small upper body is a large part of JBB's appeal. Line coaches of all varieties are the Sir Mix A Lot's of the college football world. Their ideal prospect is a weeble, but they'll take humans who have exceptionally low centers of gravity for 6'6" behemoths. JBB is a wide, wide human.
True tackle types look ineffably weird; JBB looks weird. Long arms, an enormous waist, and a bottom-heavy build: like Logan Tuley-Tillman before him, Bushell-Beatty is straight off the NFL tackle assembly line. Er… midway through the NFL tackle assembly line. Actually rather close to the start of it. But they've got the frame together, and it looks great.
Like a number of Michigan's recent tackle recruits, he comes with a series of question marks. His body isn't where you'd want it to be, and while this is often the case for high school OL he's a lot further away than, say, Mason Cole. This was true as late as the UA game:
Bushel-Beatty carries a little too much weight and could benefit by getting in better shape, as his foot-quickness started to lag in the passing game as the game went on.
Tim Sullivan noted something similar:
Physically, he possesses the size and attributes (arm length, athleticism in his feet) to develop into a bigtime college player down the road, but he also showed up as an unfinished product. He needs to work on re-shaping his body to trim fat and add muscle. That will help him in a variety of ways: he will be more flexible, more able to capitalize on his quickness, and much better in pass-blocking.
And his coach says he's got to drop around 20 pounds:
Sam Webb: What is the ideal playing weight?
Chris Partridge: “Those college coaches know a lot more than I do, but I would guess that he should be around 305 – between 300 and 310. He is probably heavy right now. He is around 325 and I think he has to cut down a little bit, but those guys will handle it. They’ll get him ready. That’s their livelihood.”
Given recent precedent that should only take a year with Wellman. Getting to the right weight is only part of the process though; once your there they continue adding strength and subtracting body fat until you're out the door.
Bushell-Beatty is also raw. He's only played football for four years, with his first two spent on JV, so you get a lot of items about consistency and pad level:
Bushell-Beatty can improve by being more consistently aggressive on every play. He can benefit by having better posture and a flat back in his stance. He can also improve by keeping a lower pad level, particularly against many of the shorter defenders he will face.
When Bushell-Beatty gets it right he tends to hilariously bury players as you see in the video above; off the highlight film he's much more variable. Think of him as Willie Henry, high school OL. I mean:
While run blocking, Bushell-Beatty has a tendency to stand up right and that will cost him in a big way in college. He needs to have better knee bend, and not reach for the defender, which compromises his balance and ability to finish off blocks.
Strength is also something that needs to develop, and that will make him more explosive and punishing as a run blocker.
That evaluation finishes with a statement that he's going to need a number of years before he approaches a finished product.
The good news is that JBB is coming along as quickly as you'd hope a relative newbie would. When Sam Webb caught up with his coach midseason, Bushell-Beatty was on the verge of being held out because of injury but still performing above his coaches' expectations:
" We elected to let him go and he is playing awesome ball. I can’t wait until he gets healthy over this bye week to see him play. We counted two games ago that he had 12 pancake blocks. That’s insane!”
It can't be stressed enough how much improvement Bushell-Beatty made in the last year, and if he continues to make those strides he will play a big role at Michigan. Bushell-Beatty is a work in progress, and his length, his work ethic and his size make him an intriguing prospect.
His coach at the UA game thought he picked things up quickly but also threw in a bit of a worrying not related to what's currently his other major drawback:
“I can tell where he’s gotten better from yesterday to today,” Hegamin said. “So what that does say, at least is he learns quicker, he learns very fast.” …
“Honestly its just effort,” Hegamin said. “I just want to see him constantly be better at how he goes about his business on a daily basis.”
That "at least" in there gives you an indication of his preparation level relative to the other guys at the game.
At Michigan he's slated to be a tackle. Michigan needs him there what with his predecessors also in the boom-or-bust mold and his frame is one of his major assets. He gets considerably less attractive as a prospect if he's not using those long arms to fend guys off on the edge.
With Cole immediately sliding into a backup left tackle spot, it looks like JBB will live and die with his ability to play right tackle. (As always, we're ignoring the Shane-is-a-lefty thing for simplicity.) Fortunately for him it seems like he's got the skills for that spot. His UA coach:
“Definitely, in my opinion, he’s a right tackle,” Hegamin said. “He’s got that big, thick right tackle build, I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him at guard some because he’s a pretty big, stout guy.”
Another UA evaluator noted that while he played left tackle in that week of practice, long term he seems like a better fit on the right. In general that means he's more of a road grader than a nimble pass protector. FWIW.
The last word from Sullivan:
In the end, Bushell-Beatty was about what we expected: a very high-ceiling player who has his work cut out for him to reach that potential.
Put him in a meat locker for three years and see what you've got.
Why Logan Tuley-Tillman? Not ideal to grab a guy who hasn't seen the field, I know, but Tuley-Tillman was another bottom-heavy monster tackle with technique and weight issues who a lot of folks rated highly because his upside is top-notch. Other folks looked at how far away from his upside he was and gave him the three-star-meh ranking.
Tuley-Tillman had a much more dramatic weight swing that saw him adding weight upon arrival whereas Bushell-Beatty is going to have to cut some; either way both guys are high-quality clay to mold. And they've got hyphenated names. Is that like comparing Nik Stauskas to a white guy?
Guru Reliability: High. Everyone's basically saying the same things, uber-scouted high school, all star appearance. The spread in the rankings is an eye of the beholder thing for a guy who is very much a boom-or-bust guy.
Variance: High. Two plus years away from any reasonable chance of seeing the field.
Ceiling: High. NFL first round pick upside.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Add another lottery ticket to the tackle spots. JBB is a good bet for Michigan's situation, as he should not have to play until he is an upperclassman and if he does not make it they're likely to have someone else who does.
Projection: Obvious redshirt.
After, he's likely to have a long wait. Michigan has Magnuson, Braden, Tuley-Tillman, and Fox for two years after his redshirt, plus Cole. Whoever breaks through at tackle this year should keep JBB in the on-deck circle for another two years.
His first real shot should be as a redshirt junior, when one or two tackle slots are likely to open up when Mags and Braden graduate. No one can tell you if he's going to be the obvious choice or obviously not yet. Ask again later.
Schembechler Hall will be buzzing all morning as National Letter’s of Intent arrive in the football offices via fax machine. Team 135 plans to add nine new members as the remaining verbal commits make it official and put pen to paper.
We checked in with each of them last night:
CB Jabrill Peppers – Paramus Catholic High School – Paramus, NJ
With coaches trying to persuade Peppers away from the Wolverines into the eve of National Signing Day I wasn’t surprised that Jabrill didn’t respond to me, but I think his tweet was enough to put Wolverine fans at ease about his final decision.
Y'all know what I say!! #GoBlizzyBlueManeeee
— Breez (@JabrillPeppers) February 5, 2014
Paramus Catholic is closed due to heavy snowfall but according to TomVH, Jabrill plans to sign his letter of intent anyway with the actual celebratory ceremony being moved to Thursday.
DE Lawrence Marshall – Southfield High School – Southfield, MI
Marshall’s recruitment was one of the more eventful processes in the class with an initial commitment to the Buckeyes followed by a decommitment and then a presumed new commitment to Michigan State which never happened, only to actually wind up a Wolverine.
Marshall had a simple yet heartfelt message about tomorrow, “Man, I just can’t wait to be a Wolverine.” Marshall will sign his letter of intent at Southfield High School at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 3 o’clock interview with Sam Webb, and finally another commitment ceremony at 6 p.m.
LB Chase Winovich – Thomas Jefferson High School – Clairton, PA
Long thought to be a Buckeye lean, Winovich decided to pledge to the Wolverines on the first day of June last summer. Last night Winovich sent some people into a frenzy when he cryptically tweeted, “Decisions, decisions, decisions.”
I asked Chase about that and he said with a laugh, “That was just to rouse everyone out. Figured I’d have some fun with a situation that is obviously very serious.” He confirmed that he was all Michigan shortly after that. “Just need to let the committee of sleep do the rest of the shoring up tonight.” Winovich is a different kind of cat and his comments didn’t change that perception.
TE Ian Bunting – Hinsdale Central High School – Hinsdale, IL
A lot of people are enamored with a 6’7” tight end who played mostly wide receiver in high school. Ian Bunting is just that and will be another big target for future Michigan quarterbacks to throw to. Ian could barely contain his excitement about tomorrow.
“I can’t wait! Today went by really slowly. I’m excited to start this new chapter and I’m proud to be a part of the Michigan family and Team 135.”
Bunting will sign his letter of intent at 7:15 a.m. and the plan is to fax them immediately after. Once the paperwork is done Bunting knows that he’s still several months away from being in Ann Arbor. “I plan to do a lot of lifting and yoga. I’m going to start lifting a lot once basketball is over and doing a lot of yoga to get in tip-top shape. Other than that, I’m just going to enjoy the rest of my senior year with all of my friends and family.”
OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty – Paramus Catholic High School – Paramus, NJ
While maybe not as famous as his Paramus teammate Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty reeled in some very solid offers before committing to Michigan almost a year ago. JBB expressed his readiness for National Signing Day.
“I’m excited! It’s been almost a year now waiting for this day. Being able to finally solidify this is going to be great. It just motivates me more to be great.” Juwann was actually the one who told me of Paramus being out of school due to the snowstorm and the rescheduling of his signing ceremony. Even with school being cancelled Juwann plans to sign his letter early and get it sent in around 8 or 9.
WR Moe Ways – Detroit Country Day School – Franklin, MI
Out of all of the prospects I’ve ever talked to, Moe Ways might’ve been the one who seemed to want to be a Michigan Man more than anyone else. He reinforced that notion when I asked him about signing his letter. “Man I’m just so blessed and excited to make everything official and officially become a Michigan Man and Wolverine.” Moe will sign his letter around noon and then will celebrate the rest of the day with his family.
LB Noah Furbush – Kenton High School – Kenton, OH
Furbush is one of the very few recruits I’ve never had any actual contact with. He has managed to stay under the radar and out of the spotlight throughout his entire recruitment and even when he committed there weren’t many fireworks involved. He comes in at almost 250 lbs. and people who have seen him play in person and know his body type suspect he’ll play with his hand in the dirt at some point in college.
S Jared Wangler – De La Salle Collegiate – Warren, MI
Son of legendary Michigan quarterback Johnny Wangler, Jared Wangler was once committed to Penn State but once the Wolverines came a’callin’ it was inevitable that he’d be part of this class. As you’d expect his final decision is one that holds a special place in his heart for obvious reasons. “It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s been my dream since I was a little kid. I’m excited to officially become a Michigan Wolverine.”
Wangler actually has a busy morning scheduled before his letter will be signed. He’s got a 5 a.m. wake-up planned in order to play in his intramural basketball game at 6 a.m. at DLS. After hoopin’ he’ll head home to clean up and prepare for his 9 a.m. signing ceremony. I asked Jared if anything noteworthy happened during his recruitment from other coaching staffs and he had a rather interesting reply. “It was pretty funny that Bill O’Brien swore to me that he’d be at Penn State for all of my four years.” Yeah…about that.
DT Brady Pallante – Barron Collier High School – Naples, FL
Not everyone was a fan of the Brady Pallante commitment, but when a guy is almost a clone size and story-wise of Mike Martin, I’d say let’s at least give him a chance first. Given the fact that Pallante was first thought of as a greyshirt commit, his emotion toward tomorrow was easily detected. “I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity. Not many people can say they’re going to college on a full ride. Honestly, I’m still amazed at the opportunity I was given.” Pallante will sign his letter first thing in the morning and plans to have it faxed by 7:30 a.m.
Of course the elephant in the room is the decision of DL Malik McDowell. I personally don’t think he’s choosing Michigan and I haven’t in a long time. It’s been made pretty clear that Malik himself wants to go to Michigan State, but his parents don’t want him in East Lansing. Does that mean they’ll keep him in-state and he’ll go Blue? I don’t think so, but I honestly don’t know. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised by him choosing any of his four finalists. McDowell will be a Wolverine, a Spartan, a Seminole, or a Buckeye and at this point your guess is as good as anyone’s.
Finally, will there be any Norfleet-like surprises on signing day this year? I haven’t heard anything but when I asked that exact question to one of the coaches, he replied with “You never know.” Coach speak? Really not knowing? Hoping? We shall see.
I Have To Praise You Like I Should
High School All-American week is officially over. Jabrill Peppers unofficially won the week. Just ask ESPN's Tom Luginbill, who wrote this in response to a question about the most impressive Under Armour practice performer [emphasis mine]:
[Peppers] is more than capable of playing both ways if needed, but as far as cover corners go, he is a more explosive version of Dee Milliner, and we love that he welcomes contact too. He is mature and knows that there are high expectations for him to perform.
Or ask his Team Nitro coach, former NFL head coach and defensive back Herm Edwards—and his friend, some guy named Deion:
"It’s not even close. He’s the best [UA All-American defensive back] I’ve coached. I called Deion [Sanders] over and said look at that guy, and Deion saw the same thing," Edwards said. "[Robert] Nkemdiche was really good last year, he was a big guy who could run and [Peppers] is comparable to that as far as skill level at the position he’s playing. I played that position and coached that position for a long time and he’s a special talent."
Or ask Scout, which named Peppers the top practice performer of the week on either team while noting that this year's crop of defensive backs was particularly strong.
Rivals stands as the least bullish outlet on Peppers after the UA game, and all they did was name him Sunday's #3 performer, Monday's #1 performer, and Tuesday's #5 performer, and the actual game's #9 performer for Team Nitro before giving him the third spot overall for Team Nitro on the week behind Da'Shawn Hand and Ermon Lane ($):
Playing in his first national-level event, Peppers was surrounded by intrigue from the moment he arrived in Florida. As it turned out, it didn't take him long to live up to his billing. Peppers, the No. 2 overall prospect in his class, was dominant in every practice and was as aggressive and spirited as any player on the field. He struggled a bit in Thursday's game but didn't allow a big play all week. Peppers also blocked a field goal that was ultimately negated because of an all-star-game specific rule.
In addition to the negated blocked field goal (above)—illegal because rushers on kicks weren't allowed to go inside their man in the UA Game, which... okay—Peppers had a couple passes defended, returned two kickoffs for 65 yards (one a 41-yard burst to midfield), and took a few snaps as a wildcat quarterback, though he couldn't break anything big offensively in a pretty ugly game overall, as high school all-star games tend to be.
Interestingly, Scout omitted both Hand and Lane from their top ten overall list, with neither cracking the top two of their respective position groups. It's safe to say Peppers made a strong argument that he deserves consideration for the top overall spot in the 2014 class.
[Hit THE JUMP for a whole lot of content from the All-American games, Michigan's latest 2014 offer, an update on George Campbell, a potential second quarterback in the '14 class, and more.]
Michigan Probably Leads For A Five-Star Dual-Threat QB. Wait, What?
Michigan's 2015 quarterback situation is the subject of much conjecture and little more, as the only prospect offered at the position—California five-star Josh Rosen—has stated that he's not interested in the Wolverines. Several names have been thrown out there as potential backup options, with player types ranging from pocket statues to Gardner-like dual threats. If Michigan wants to go the latter route—and Al Borges seems more open to the idea now that the NFL is heading in that direction—then a five-star option has emerged in CA ATH Kevin Dillman, per 247's Ryan Bartow [free article, also contains sources saying that JuJu Smith currently favors Notre Dame and Alabama over the field right now, and Michigan gets mentioned among the leaders of several 2015 prospects]:
3- Kevin Dillman, 5-star QB, La Mirada (Calif.)
Michigan and Nebraska are his Top 2. If Michigan offers, the Wolverines could likely land a commitment this winter or spring.
“I grew up watching Tom Brady. If there was one offer I could wish for it would be Michigan. I really like their coaching staff,” - 5-star QB Kevin Dillman, La Mirada
Please and thank you, right? Well, we'll see. Dillman's sophomore highlights (above) show a lot more of the athlete side—the first clip is a kick return—than the downfield passing aspect that Borges will focus on heavily when deciding whom to offer. Personally, I'd love to see Michigan go the dual-threat route, and if Dillman has enough to work with as a passer, he seems like the best available—and highly interested—option.
Nobody seems to have a clear picture of the 2015 QB pecking order after Rosen, though, and I'm assuming the coaches are hoping to evaluate several options more extensively once junior film starts rolling in. With room for just one QB in the class, this approach makes sense—the coaches can't afford to miss.
One such option is Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone, who's off to a strong start this season. He's the headlining visitor for Minnesota in a quiet weekend for uncommitted prospects and another prospect who's likely to commit if offered, though I think Dillman and a handful of other quarterbacks are higher priorities. Malzone is mentioned as one of five Midwest juniors "on the rise" this season—along with Cass Tech RB Mike Weber—by Allen Trieu.
[Hit THE JUMP to see which Michigan commit is nominated for Gatorade's national player of the year—yeah, you probably guessed it—plus evaluations of a few commits and more.]