I did not make this headline up
Sophomore Thomas Rawls is making a push for more carries this fall.
This Saturday marks the Spring Game, when we all watch a glorified scrimmage and make snap judgments like "Mark Moundros is going to start at middle linebacker," and "Tate Forcier has the Heisman in his future." (Okay, I admit, I said both of those things, but luckily the evidence has been wiped from the internet.) Nevertheless, it's the only semi-competitive football we'll see until the fall, providing us our lone peek into the progress of the team and the various position battles.
Here's what I'll be hoping to see from the offense on Saturday:
Mediocrity. I know, right? This is actually more of a defensive point, but I want to put this here: in the spring, the defense should be ahead of the offense in terms of installing their schemes and playing cohesively. It's no coincidence that we saw the offense absolutely wreck the defense in the 2009 and 2010 games, then look downright ugly at times in last year's edition. I don't need to tell you how those respective seasons turned out. After just two weeks of practice, the offensive line won't have gelled like they will in the fall, the timing between quarterback and receiver is often a little off, and the playbook is still very much in the installation phase. This plea may fall on deaf ears, but don't freak out if the offense isn't marching up and down the field; in fact, feel free to be a bit encouraged.
Gardner Gardner Gardner. All eyes will be on Devin Gardner, though the odds of the coaches trotting him out at receiver for a nationally-televised scrimmage are somewhere between zero and zero. He will be playing quarterback, however, and it's time to see a big step forward from him in the passing game. Practice accounts have been positive in that regard and it sounds like he's the clear-cut #2 QB ahead of Russell Bellomy, though we'll see how big of a gap there is between those two. If Bellomy looks like a passable second-stringer, you can keep hope alive for some Denard-to-Devin connections in the fall. If not, the coaches may find it too risky to split Gardner out wide.
Bowling Ball Rawls. I was pretty high on Thomas Rawls when he came out of high school, and after a freshman year spent mostly on the bench, he's impressed practice observers with his power as a running back and is making a strong push for the backup job. Vincent Smith will inevitably see snaps on third down, but there's still room for a back to spell Fitzgerald Toussaint on occasion and provide a different look in the backfield. Though Rawls won't make many people miss, he can knock them over, and if he shows that against the first team defense we can start thinking of him as a change-of-pace/short-yardage back. Redshirt freshman Justice Hayes has also drawn praise in the spring, though he'll have to prove he's either a more effective runner than Rawls or a more explosive receiving option than Smith to carve out a role; neither is out of the question given his athleticism.
Number One Target? The general assumption is that Roy Roundtree will be the top receiver this year, but I'm not sold on that. His production dropped dramatically last season as he played more on the outside and was no longer the beneficiary of numerous QB OH NOES as a RichRod slot receiver. Jeremy Gallon flashed a lot of talent last season, and I think he'll be a very capable second option, but he's 5'8". Hope may come in the form of redshirt sophomore Jerald Robinson, who's been lauded as a potential go-to guy this spring despite never recording a collegiate catch. This may be your standard Johnny Sears-type spring hype, but let's withhold judgment until we see him on the field. If nobody looks like a solid #1 option, there's going to be a lot of pressure on Amara Darboh come fall.
My Kingdom for a Tight End. This is the scariest position group on the roster, and that's taking into account the fact that the offensive line has almost no depth. Redshirt senior Brandon Moore is the starter by default; he's had issues with drops in the past, so hope he holds onto the ball if it comes his way. Converted wideout Ricardo Miller will get time as an H-back (the "U" tight end in this offense), and he must prove he can hold up as a blocker if he wants to see much time. Behind them are redshirt senior walk-on Mike Kwiatkowski and converted DE Jordan Paskorz. If this unit isn't a total liability, I'll take it, especially with A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess providing reinforcements in the fall. If they are, Al Borges is going to have to get very creative with his schemes.
O-line Depth: Do We Have Any? The first-team offensive line should be just fine, with projected left guard starter Elliott Mealer the only unknown quantity. Mealer is a redshirt senior who's currently beating out a highly-touted (and massive) redshirt freshman in Chris Bryant, so I'm not too concerned about his ability to fit in. Ricky Barnum has reportedly adjusted well to his new role as starting center; again, I'm optimistic about the first team's ability. PANIC! will set in, however, if a starting lineman goes down, especially a tackle. The second-team line this spring features three(!) walk-ons, and while redshirt sophomore guard Joey Burzynski has impressed practice observers, color me skeptical of any 6'1", 284-pound walk-on being anything but a frightening liability in a game situation. The backup tackles are all walk-ons, at least until Kyle Kalis hits campus for the fall, so expect Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield to be encased in bubble wrap until September.
Kickers. Make your field goals, please and thank you. That is all.
Walker, Gardner, Avant (L to R)
After yesterday's one-two gut punch of basketball news, let's talk football, shall we? The story that will likely dominate the spring is the potential move of quarterback Devin Gardner to wide receiver, at least part-time. Gardner, in case you didn't see Brian's UV yesterday, showed some pretty serious skills at receiver when camping as a high schooler. He's also 6'5", athletic, blessed with hands large enough to make the catch above, and familiar with the offense. Meanwhile, Michigan's two known quantities at receiver are Roy Roundtree, whose production plummeted last year when QB OH NOES wasn't a regular part of the playbook, and Jeremy Gallon, who looks quite promising but is also listed at 5'8".
Gardner taking some snaps at receiver is a good idea then, right? I certainly think so, but I've heard several arguments to the contrary. Allow me to present them, then do my best to crush them.
Argument 1—Gardner shouldn't play receiver because if he's hurt at wideout and Denard gets inevitably dinged (or hurt himself, God forbid) we're totally screwed.
This is the argument I've seen the most, and the mentality behind it is one I absolutely hate. Yes, I'm aware that Michigan has just three scholarship QBs on the roster. That is the reality for this year and it's not an optimal one. Denard Robinson has been known to get knocked around on occasion, sometimes requiring a backup cameo. He's a running quarterback. Injuries happen.
But it takes a large leap from "Michigan is thin at QB" to "Gardner can't play wideout because injury doomsday scenario." First of all, if Denard gets hurt, that's a doomsday scenario in and of itself. If Gardner is hurt at the same time, well, the football gods hate Michigan. Does the slim chance of this worst-case scenario happening mean Michigan shouldn't play one of their best athletes at a position in dire need of help when he otherwise wouldn't see the field? No.
Simply put, college coaches cannot operate under the assumption that the worst will happen. That's the same line of thinking that made coaches doubt the viability of the forward pass (remember, only three things can happen when you throw, and two of them are bad) and causes the Zooks of the coaching world to punt on 4th-and-3 from the opponent's 38. Brady Hoke has proven that he's got some serious cajones, and that's generally regarded as a fantastic trait in a head coach. This is not how he operates.
Also, redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy may very well be an equally viable backup option as Gardner, or at least at the point where the dropoff between the two backups isn't large enough to justify keeping Gardner on the bench when he could be contributing at wideout. Which brings me to the next argument...
Argument 2—Gardner shouldn't play receiver because it'll take away from his practice reps at quarterback and he won't develop.
This one holds more water than the first argument, but I still don't agree with it. Gardner is already splitting backup reps at QB with Bellomy, and unless you think Gardner needs a ton of "mental reps," I don't think it hurts to have him spending his non-throwing practice time running routes and catching passes.
It's not like Gardner is switching sides of the ball. In fact, playing receiver can help with his quarterback play; running routes can hone timing, understanding of schemes, and keep him sharp and ready to see the field.
This year's NFL draft will provide a great example of a player who went through a very similar mid-career situation. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill was a three-star dual-threat QB in the 2007 class, redshirting in his first season. As a redshirt freshman, he battled for the starting QB job but ultimately fell behind two other players. At 6'4", 220 pounds, Tannehill was moved to receiver in fall camp by head coach Mike Sherman. All he did was catch 55 passes for 844 yards and five TDs.
The next year, Tannehill again competed to start at quarterback, but lost out to Jerrod Johnson. As the primary backup, A&M could've handed him a headset, but instead they threw him back out there at receiver. Tannehill had 46 receptions for 609 yards and four TDs while also appearing in three games at QB in mop-up duty. As a junior, Tannehill started the season as a receiver but earned the starting nod as a quarterback partway through the year, completing 65% of his passes and throwing 13 TDs to just six interceptions. After a strong senior season as the full-time starter at QB, Tannehill is expected to go in the top 12 in this year's NFL draft. If playing receiver stunted his development as a quarterback, it wasn't enough to merit keeping the team's best receiver off the field.
Argument 3—The dumbest argument ever.
Sorry to put you on blast, Eric Lloyd, but I can't let this just slide on by:
@AceAnbender Why would you try this without trying Denard at WR first? That's for sure his NFL future and Gardner is better QB.
— Eric Lloyd (@EricLloyd) March 21, 2012
Just no. If I seriously have to argue this point, and I hope I don't for 99.9% of you out there, I'll keep it short. Denard Robinson is about to be a senior in his second year under the current system, coming off an All-Big Ten season that followed up one of the most productive years by a quarterback in the history of college football. Whether or not he's going to be a quarterback at the next level, it's by far the most optimal position to play him at in college.
Devin Gardner has attempted 17 career passes—10 against Bowling Green in a 2010 curb-stomping—and has spent his entire career as a backup quarterback. If he's better at this point in his career than Denard, he hasn't made that apparent to anyone who would have the best idea about whether or not that was the case. End of argument that hopefully never needed to be made.
Michigan can explore the opportunity of sticking a 6'5" playmaker on the field at a position of huge need, or they can keep Devin Gardner on the bench for fear that the worst thing ever will happen. Unless you're the type to keep a fully-stocked bunker in case of the nuclear holocaust, the choice here is rather apparent.
News bullets and other important things:
- Vincent Smith is starting at RB.
- Thomas Rawls is second or third on RB depth chart.
- Russell Bellomy is scout team QB to simulate Ryan Lindley.
- Matt Wile hit a 59-yard field goal in practice.
Greg said yesterday that he’s asking the Michigan defense to play perfect. What does that mean? “I think perfect means perfect, and it’s a part of what you want to be. You’d like to go out and play a perfect game. When you say that, you have high expectations for each individual out there for a specific position and for the defense itself. Whether it’s playing your base package, your sub packages, whatever -- if they’re doing exactly what thye’re supposed to do with the best of their abilities with great effort and toughness.”
Will Vincent Smith be the starting running back? “Yeah, I would think so. And Fitz had a good day yesterday, too. Both those guys ran the ball hard. Rawls ran the ball hard. He had some snaps in there. I think we’re still trying to find what the magic combination is.”
Don’t want to be running back by committee, but is there a point where you want to see just one guy to establish rhythm? “I think there’s a point, but I can’t tell you on the 21st of September that we know when that point’s going to happen. I think there’s good things that they all do, but at the same time, we want that guy who’s going to play a perfect game.”
Where does Rawls fit into the depth chart right now? Would he be second or third? “Probably somewhere in there.”
Mike Shaw has gotten fewer carries. What’s going on with him? “He has to be a little more consistent in everything that we do. He’ll have his time in there. There’s a lot that goes along with being a back besides running the football, and we’ve got to be a little more consistent in those areas. He’s working his tail off. That’s the encouraging thing.”
How important is running back pass protection in a week like this? “It will be very important. This is unique. You never know what Rocky Long’s going to have in store for you. Working for him for six years on the defensive side of the ball, he’s going to have something you haven’t see and something a little different.”
Rocky Long does funky things with defense. As his head coach did you talk about those things with him? “We ran it at Oregon State. Believe me I still have playbooks from that, not that it helps, because he’s evolved quite a bit from the basics. Number one, the personality of that team and the quickness of that team -- the thing that you equate it to from a defensive standpoint, when you play midline option to use a true triple option, your defense has to catch up a little bit with the tempo and the speed. I think it’s the same way offensively three or four possessions in, trying to have a clear understanding of what the defense is doing and catching up to that speed.”
What do you do for the scout team? “Well they’ve been working like heck. They gave them a great look yesterday. Roy Manning, the GA who runs it, did a great job of preparing them for it. Credit to those kids on the look teams -- they did a nice job.”
You have a quarterback still in his first year getting used to the offense. How difficult is it to prepare for such a unique defensive set? “When you look at your schedule, I think there’s a uniqueness to every defense. Some of that may be if you’re going to be a man team, a man free team, a tampa 2 team … He did a nice job yesterday. What we ask a quarterback to do, getting in and out of things, that’s a good start.”
Is it a problem that you don’t have anyone on the scout team who can throw the ball as well as Lindley? “Well, Russell Bellomy throws the ball pretty well. So that’s a plus. I really think the pride that those guys are really getting when it comes to giving you great looks. We reward those guys who do the best job every week. We’ve had two guys a lot of the time, which is good. I think they’re doing a daggone good job. In fact one guy came up to me and apologized after practice because he didn’t think he did a good enough job. That tells you a little bit about their consciousness of helping the football team.”
How would you assess tight end play up to this point? “I think we’re doing okay. Kevin’s a really good tight end to do both -- blocks at the point of attack well, runs good routes, catches the ball well. Brandon’s coming along well. Steve we’ve used both at fullback and tight end. Ricardo hadn’t gotten any playing time yet, but he gets some good work with them. He’s escobar for us this week and doing a nice job of running the routes and the speed and those things. I think they’ve been pretty good.”
You looked a little mad when team when over to student section after the Eastern Game. How come? “I wanted to score a touchdown at the end instead of a field goal.” Is that something you’re going to allow the team to do? “Yeah it’s fine. I mean, the students are important. I hope they will get there early. We need a lot of noise.”
Greg said that he’s been very hard on Craig Roh, and about a week ago he saw a different player. “I think if you’d ask Craig, he’ll tell you his best week of practice was last week. It’s amazing -- how you practice is how you play. That’s always a battle, Angelique. Angelique, is it your birthday? Are you 39? 29?” I’m still younger than the head football coach at Michigan. “So is everybody else! But, uh, no, that’s something that you always push and you always want. You’re going to play like you practice, and that’s what he did.”
How has he practiced this week? “Good. He’s been good. He’s got a lot of pride and ownership of you are, and pride and ownership of who you represent.”
Is part of that breaking bad habits and rebuilding them? “We all have habits, good or bad. I think the expectations that we have for the kids and what they have for themsleves are always different. We’re coaching pretty hard but fair. We love them and kiss them on the cheek when they do things the right way, and kick them in the butt -- not literally, please understand that.” So you do kiss them on the cheek? “I do. Yeah.”
Is there a lot of emphasis on special teams coverage? “Yeah. Part of that’s placing the ball. Part of that is doing a good job of lane recognition and the block recognition at full speed. Wasn’t as bad as you think, and I hate saying that. I think the kids have a lot of pride, and they don’t like if we think they didn’t do as well as they could.”
Wile hit a 59-yarder in practice. Would you try such a long field goal? “Yeah. Yup.”
You want defense to be perfect. At what point would you say they were perfect or had a perfect game? “Hm. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Have you ever said that about any of your defenses? “Nope.”
Previously: CB Greg Brown, CB/S Tamani Carter, CB Blake Countess, CB Delonte Hollowell, CB Raymon Taylor, LB Antonio Poole, LB Desmond Morgan, LB Frank Clark,
LB Kellen Jones, DE Keith Heitzman, DE Chris Rock, DE Brennen Beyer, OL Jack Miller, OL Tony Posada, OL Chris Bryant, RB Justice Hayes, and RB Thomas Rawls.
|Arlington, TX - 6'3" 190|
um… that number's taken, Russell
|Scout||3*, #39 QB|
|ESPN||3*, 78, #35 QB, #87 TX|
247: 3*, 85, NR
DMN: #61 in TX
|Other Suitors||Purdue, Boise State, USF, Minnesota, Michigan State|
|YMRMFSPA||Pick a Forcier|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post from Tim.|
|Notes||Has a twitter. LIKES MATH!|
Russell Bellomy continues Michigan's newest tradition: yoinking a Purdue commit whenever they change coaches. Bellomy isn't quite as touted as Roy Roundtree, who grabbed a fourth star here and there, but that didn't stop Brady Hoke from channeling his inner Nutt:
"He was away recruiting when I was up there, but when I called him and committed he took the phone away from his mouth and let out a 'yee haw,'" Bellomy said. "He was fired up."
Both Michigan and Purdue fans are hoping this is the last time this particular meme gets dug up for a while.
So what have they won? A developmental prospect. Bellomy's a bit like Justice Hayes in that he seems like a better fit for the offense Michigan just dumped. That might not be a big deal long term—unlike Hayes, Michigan actually got interested in Bellomy after the transition—but Bellomy is not Chad Henne. He's described as an "efficient spread offense QB" and completed only 58% of his passes on a run-heavy team. He rarely broke the 20 attempt barrier. Opposing coaches($) say stuff like "he was much more effective in the pocket than we expected" and "you have to respect his passing ability as well." He needs work.
But he's got excellent size and athleticism and Michigan has the luxury of turning his next two years into a montage video. This is what happens at programs that are not whipsawing from one thing to another in the midst of an epic recruiting funk.
Bellomy's recruitment started with a half-dozen okay BCS offers highlighted by Michigan State, Purdue, USF, and Boise State before camp season began in earnest. When Bellomy hit those up he consistently featured in the recap sections. Not so consistent were his evaluations. When he camped at his local Elite 11 feeder they said he was a bomber($) who needed to work on his throwing on the run:
DQB, Arlington (Texas) Martin
This tall, lean, athletic quarterback displayed a live arm and quick release. He will need to add some muscle mass and work on squaring up his shoulders while throwing on the run. Bellomy actually looked better throwing deep out routes than he did shorter passes. He has the height and the tools but needs to be more consistent with his mechanics. You can definitely see why interest in him is starting to pick up.
Later that summer he hit up that 7 on 7 competition during which we were all panting for Demetrius Hart. There they said he could really throw on the run but needed to work on his deep ball($):
… maybe the most exciting player to watch on that team was quarterback Russell Bellomy, a Purdue commit, who made the short and long throws and also threw well on the run but sometimes struggled with his consistency on the deep passes.
So there you go.
When Rivals tracked him down during the season($) they praised his touch ("often placing the ball over the shoulder of the receiver") and height while criticizing his mechanics and sackalicious pocket presence.
ESPN($) says he's "much better on tape" than in camp settings:
… gangly frame that has a ton of room to fill out and develop strength. While his mechanics can be a bit wild and inconsistent, Bellomy displays toughness, grit [ed: yessss] and a competitive demeanor. Is a riverboat gambler that looks like a pocket passer, but is a deceptively good overall athlete with good foot speed and quickness for the position. Gets the ball out quickly and with good zip to short and intermediate areas of the field. Gets set quickly, shows very good feet in his drop and can anticipate routes and throws to a spot very well. … a very good runner and improviser. Shows quickness, elusiveness and top end speed to be a guy that you have to contend with as a runner on the perimeter or the zone-read keep…. delivery can be long and awkward at times. He has a good arm, but not great power or the ability to consistently stretch the field vertically.
Like the man said: developmental. Bellomy has a great athletic and academic package and just needs time to see whether or not he can fix his whack mechanics. Speaking of whack mechanics, here's a Cade McNown reference from Touch The Banner:
Bellomy has some serious wheels and escapability. … Interestingly, Bellomy is a bit like offensive coordinator Al Borges' old protege, Cade McNown. Bellomy is a little bit taller than McNown, but he's mobile, has somewhat erratic mechanics, and lacks great arm strength. He shares those qualities with McNown, although the former UCLA quarterback also lacked some leadership qualities. Judging by a couple interviews I've seen of Bellomy, he seems to be a very grounded, respectful, humble young man.
Bellomy has numbers to back those interview impressions up, namely a 4.0 GPA and a decent SAT. Coach quote:
“Anytime you’re talking about a student who’s a 4.0 GPA, and I think the best indicator of that is the past couple of years, just throwing the ball, he’s upwards of 30 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He takes care of the ball and has a great understanding of not only what he’s doing but what everyone else is doing around him.
"Should that all break down he has the athleticism to not only outrun you, but also the ability to make you miss. Especially at 6’4”, he’s surprisingly elusive and you have that aspect from an athletic standpoint. ... Early on in his career he was predominantly under center in two and three back sets. I think that created a toughness in Russell so he’s just as happy to throw a block as he is a touchdown.”
That last bit isn't just hype. I know, you don't believe me. I didn't believe me. When you're scouring for Bellomy information and you come across his coach saying…
"We give a hammer award after games that we win, a brand new sledgehammer, for the game's hardest hit," Martin coach Bob Wager said Wednesday. "Russell won it twice -- from the quarterback position. He's not afraid to throw his body around. He enjoys the physical aspect of the game."
…you file it under Rapturous Coach Quote and forget about it until Bellomy pops up and says this:
"The QB position at Martin High School was not the average QB position. I was used as a blocker a lot in the wildcat. I'd be in the slot as a QB, and I'm not going to block the person in front of me. I look for the hammer shot." ... I have two videos on my phone. That's what I like to brag about.
Russell Bellomy has forked over precious phone space for two videos of himself crushing an unsuspecting high school kid. That rapturous coach quote is on the money. Bellomy's the only quarterback I've ever come across who brags on his blocking. Hoke brought this up in a press conference: "toughness" (of course) was a major draw when Michigan was figuring out which quarterback to go after. He's got that in spades.
Now he just has to figure out when he's going to get sacked and how to throw the ball consistently. We need a montage.
Etc.: Boiled Sports was not so happy about the decommit. I love the guy in the comments who says Bellomy bailed because he "wasn't seeing the field until about 2013" if he became a Boiler. Also love this ND fan who thinks his commit is a "signal to Denard Robinson." Andrew interviews him on TTB. Went viral when he committed to M. Interviewed by some extra from Twilight.
Why Pick a Forcier? It's not a particularly tight comparison but one of the Forciers is the best Michigan comparable in recent history. Jason never played so we'll stick with Tate. Both are mobile quarterbacks with good athletic ability who no one will confuse with Denard; neither has NFL-level arm strength. When ESPN describes someone as a "riverboat gambler," visions of Tate Forcier wheeling around doing something you're either going to love or hate dance around your head like sugarplums.
Differences: Forcier was vastly more polished than Bellomy is coming out of high school. Bellomy spent his summers playing baseball; Forcier spent his hanging with Marv Marinovich. At 6'3" Bellomy has more long term upside; he's also more likely to hit that upside because he is not an ultra-flake.
Guru Reliability: Very high. Except for that flip on whether it's his deep ball or his short stuff that needs work the assessments are all in line both in terms of rating and subjective attributes.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-minus. Bellomy is a boom or bust sort who could completely wash out because he never improves his accuracy or could get it and then become a legit pro-style quarterback with Henson-level wheels. He's got a tough route to playing time; if he gets it he'll be close to the latter.
Projection: Obvious redshirt unless there is an injury calamity. Will compete with Shane Morris and Devin Gardner to replace Robinson in 2013. Probably will not win the job. Gardner has a year on him and brings a lot more recruiting oomph. Never know, though.
If Bellomy doesn't start and Shane Morris passes him for the backup spot we could see him move to tight end, wide receiver, or even linebacker. He's got the frame to get up to 230 or more and enough athletic ability to give it a shot.
Expect a sight delay in getting this post 100% uploaded, as the malware issue is giving me all types of trouble - UPDATE: Images should be good now.
Suck it, Purdue. Brady Hoke has extended the recently-established Michigan tradition of yanking commits from the Boilermakers by landing TX QB Russell Bellomy, according to both premium sites.
|3*, #39 QB||3*, 5.5||3*, 78, #35 QB|
Rivals is the least optimistic on Bellomy, as they rank 30 pro-style and 30 dual-threat QBs, with Bellomy nowhere to be found. The other two sites have him ranked in their top 40 combined QBs.
As for size, Rivals says he's 6-3, 178, Scout says 6-3, 185, and ESPN credits him with 6-3, 180. That's some consistency, right there. ESPN's evaluation:
He is a very good athlete with a tall, but gangly frame that has a ton of room to fill out and develop strength... Is a riverboat gambler that looks like a pocket passer, but is a deceptively good overall athlete with good foot speed and quickness for the position... Shows the ability to keep a play alive, evade within the pocket and make plays on the move. This is the area that surprises you the most about him-- he is a very good runner and improviser. Shows quickness, elusiveness and top end speed to be a guy that you have to contend with as a runner on the perimeter or the zone-read keep...
So that's his athletic ability, but how about his passing?
While his mechanics can be a bit wild and inconsistent, Bellomy displays toughness, grit and a competitive demeanor... Gets the ball out quickly and with good zip to short and intermediate areas of the field. Gets set quickly, shows very good feet in his drop and can anticipate routes and throws to a spot very well... Throws a soft, catchable ball that has the necessary zip to fit into tight windows when he has to... He has a good arm, but not great power or the ability to consistently stretch the field vertically.
The National Underclassmen Combine has an uninformative update:
Bellomy is a very versatile QB who does far more than throw the ball accurately. He's a terrific rusher and plays the game at a fast pace, making him perfect for today's style of play.
There's precious little else out there on his game, and the subpages on RussellBellomy.com seem to be busted. A horribly coiffed columnist from the Dallas Examiner caught up with Bellomy and asked him a few questions:
I have played baseball since I was little. I kept with it and played on select teams. Here at Martin, we have a big school and I made varsity as a sophomore which was pretty cool. I also played for a Kansas City Royals scout team. In the end, I gave up baseball for football so I could focus all of my attention on it.
That definitely speaks to his athleticism. Continuing with his style of play:
Some people say I look a little like Tom Brady. I'd like to think I play similar to him too. He doesn't run much so we are different in that aspect, but some of the throws he makes are crazy.
Nice Michigan connection.
No offense to the Boilermakers, but I had assumed that as a Purdue commit, Bellomy didn't have many other options prior to his senior year (he committed in June), but that's not the case. According to Scout, Boise State, Colorado, Michigan State, Minnesota, and South Florida had all offered scholarships, along with a host of MAC/CUSA-level offers.
That's no murderer's row, but Boise State and Michigan State have recent history of QB success, and have done so by developing under-the-radar recruits. This guy could be a serious steal.
ESPN has junior stats:
Completed 121 of 202 attempts (59.9-percent) for 1,546 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Rushed for 438 yards and six more scores
Thanks to our pals at Hammer and Rails, we have periodic updates from Bellomy's senior season:
So far he has Martin high off to a 1-2 start, but he is 26 of 49 for 281 yards and a touchdown against an interception. He has also rushed for 253 yards and four touchdowns in the run based offense. 210 of those yards came in Friday's 58-48 win over Flower Mound.
Bellomy has led Martin High to a 6-2 overall record and, more importantly, is actually healthy. He has thrown 994 yards and nine touchdowns against two picks, while running for 533 yards and seven scores. He has even caught a touchdown pass. Martin is on a 6-game winning streak and should make the state playoffs.
In addition to a link to the Martin High School football website, which has season-long stats. Russell finished 114/194 passing for 1584 yards (58.8%, 8.16 YPA) 15 touchdowns and 3 picks. He also rushed 120 times for 805 yards and 9 TDs. He made the All-District First Team.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the only premium site with a listed 40 time for Bellomy, crediting him with a 4.63. Though he's expected to be mostly a pocket guy in college, he's a pretty good runner at the high school level, so that's not unrealistic. A mere two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So. Bellomy is far from a polished prospect, but Michigan only has two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for next year. I would guess that the staff does whatever they can to redshirt him, unless they need him to play a bit. That gives him a year of separation from Devin Gardner, and provides a good start to QB depth going forward.
HOWEVA, if Bellomy will agree to being primarily a depth player throughout his career, the staff will give him a bit of playing time as a true freshman. Michigan needs three quarterbacks with game experience - plus walkons.
So Bellomy's career arc, then, depends on the fates of Michigan's current quarterbacks. Either Denard Robinson or Devin Gardner may leave Michigan early for the NFL, and there's not even a guarantee Robinson sticks around after spring practices this year. Michigan will target top quarterbacks for next year, so unless there are extenuating circumstances, Bellomy should be a backup who occasionally plays significant minutes.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The Wolverines desperately needed a quarterback in this class, and they have their man. He's skilled enough that he can contribute - possibly even as a freshman - but not highly-touted enough to scare off bigtime prospects in the next couple classes.
Now that the Wolverines have filled the majority of their needs for the 2011 class, defensive line, linebacker, offensive line and tight end are the only remaining positions that must see more commitments. Any prospects in addition to those are icing on the cake.