So with Jordan Payton's announcement coming soon (supposed to be expected at latest on Tuesday last I have read) I figured I would head out last night to Thousand Oaks to watch his team, Oaks Christian, play Thousand Oaks. I figured I would try to provide a little bit of information/impression that I gained from watching the game.
Sadly, Payton got hurt on the second offensive drive of the game and missed most of the rest of the game, only coming in on defense for the couple final drives.
I tried to get some video and pictures, but it is with my phone, and sadly I could not zoom for video so sorry in advance if it is not the best quality.
First some notes:
Oaks Christian on offense mostly ran the ball and combined it with screens. They didn't attack downfield much, especially when Payton was out of the lineup.
Oaks Christian on defense played with 10 guys all close to the line, with Payton as the only deep man at safety about 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Ocasionally he came up to press a reciever and a teammate would step back into the safety spot.
As a result Thousand Oaks ran the ball most of the time, and rarely attacked downfield because they respected Payton's abilities deep.
The other highly rated prospect out of Oaks Christian, Ishmael Adams (a 4 star CB and 5.8 rating on Rivals, same as Payton) did not suit up but was on the sideline. Not sure what his injury status was.
Payton just being on the field was able to attract most of the attention freeing up his teammates. As such Oaks Christian spread the ball around a fair amount, although they were most effective when they got the ball to Payton. On the first drive he caught two screens that didn't go for much as Thousand Oaks seemed to be playing to shut down the screens because they expected them. However this burned them as later on the drive Payton caught a fade at the 1. Three plays later he showed good hands in easily defeating a press from the cornerback on a quick slant for a touchdown.
On the second drive he had a quick screen where he juked two defenders and gained 15 yards but it was negated by a holding by an offensive lineman on the other side of the field. Sadly soon after Oaks Christian threw a screen to him and he was tackled awkwardly and injured his ankle. He did not return to the game on offense.
He caught the ball well (by my count he didn't have a single drop) and he looked like he knew how to use his size to his advantage. There were a couple times he was able to get open by beating his defender but his quarterback just didn't see him. Payton has some quickness and moves, but he won't get by anyone with burning speed. His run blocking was ok, but Oaks didn't run the ball towards his side of the field. The quick burst and moves he possesses reminds me of when Hemingway was able to juke a couple defenders against Illinois for the touchdown last year.
I have him finishing the day (in very limited playing time) with the following line:
5 catches, 43 yards, 1 touchdown.
Here is video of his fade catch (sorry I fail at youtube imbedding so if someone could help on that I would appreciate it). He is lined up on the far right.
Payton didn't see much action deep as Thousand Oaks seemed afraid to throw near him. He made a couple tackles in run support and looked like one of the better tacklers on his team, as he used his arms to wrap up ball carriers rather than just trying to run into them.
When he left the game due to injury, he was limping around with a brace on his ankle before halftime. After halftime, he followed his coach around with his helmet on and seemed able to go back into the game if needed. Coming out of halftime, Thousand Oaks started throwing deep with him gone, and after two touchdown drives his coach put him back in for a couple final drives and that shut down Thousand Oaks' deep passing game.
He seemed to follow the play well and I never saw him out of position. He took good angles to tackles and even if a teammate was making a tackle he would hustle to the area. Lastly when he was put back in defensively he huddled his teammates all up and got in their faces to fire them up. This worked as Thousand Oaks did not score once he came back in. He also stopped a running back who broke through all of his teammates and saved a touchdown on one of the final drives that would have tied the game up.
I have him finishing with 4.5 tackles in his limited time.
Here is a video of one of his tackles. He is the deep man.
The only two pictures I was able to grab: (he is #4)
I tried to maybe grab a couple pics of him to show his height, because he does look like all of the 6'2" that he is listed as. Sadly I pretty much failed at this part.
Impressions of his teammates:
Three of his teammates stood out to me during the game.
First was #5 who played as a reciever and punt returner. He was a smaller guy but he was very shifty and had good speed, so he was used often on screens. However he did not have the best catching ability as his only two deep routes he juggled and drop the ball despite being open and not hit on the catch. His name is Chris Davis, and he is a sophomore.
Second was #7. He is a 3 star LB commit to ASU, but to me he stood out on offense playing as a RB. He finished with 150+ yards, including a 73 yard td run and a 77 yard td run. For fun, he also hurdled a defender which drew some applause from the crowd. When Payton left the game Oaks Christian fed #7 the ball more and kept it on the ground and he responded well. His name is Carlos Mendoza, and he probably will play LB in college for ASU as he is listed as 6'2" and 215.
Lastly was #55. He was playing DE and he seemed to just live in the backfield constantly harassing Thousand Oaks' QB. His name is Ben Johnson and he is a senior, but I can't find him on any recruiting sites.
Though I saw very little of Payton, I was impressed and have high hopes for him. I think in college he could probably play WR or CB. If he were to choose Michigan, I think he would play WR for us as he would give us a big target for the quarterbacks, especially downfield on those fades. Though I hope he chooses Michigan, I wish him the best of luck during his college career and can't wait to see him play on Saturdays and see what he can do.
Per Tim Sullivan, who posted this info on The Fort ($, also front-paged on The Wolverine, but still behind a paywall), Oaks Christian (CA) WR Jordan Payton will announce his college decision on Tuesday. He's visiting Notre Dame for the USC game this weekend, but has maintained throughout the last several weeks that Michigan is his leader, and there has been no indication his stance has changed. Barring a last-minute change of heart, it looks like the Wolverines will finally have a wide receiver in this class, and a very good one at that.
Brian gave me a heads up on this, and I haven't seen it posted on the board yet—Oaks Christian's game was televised last night, and before it started the announcing crew said that Payton told them he would be announcing his decision in two weeks, after his visit to Notre Dame on the weekend of October 21st. His final choices are Michigan, ND, Cal, and Arizona State, and this one looks good for the Wolverines barring a game-changing visit to South Bend.
Just fired up the DVR to watch Payton, and an intrepid MGoReader is capping some highlights for me, so by the end of the weekend (or Monday at the latest) those should be posted along with my general impressions of his game.
Hi, it's me, putting on my TomVH/Ace hat.
Got a tip from someone close to Jordan Payton that he is "thinking about committing to M" and that the only realistic competition at this point is Oklahoma. Not certain, but if I had to guess I'd say he ends up in a winged helmet. This does not qualify as surprising news--premium sites have had M in the lead for Payton for a while--but it is independent confirmation.
This was posted as a comment in another thread but I thought this deserved its own thread. There's also an paywall article on The Wolverine:
Hopefully sometime shortly after the Notre Dame (or sooner) we'll be posting a "Hello: Jordan Payton" thread.
Michigan technically now has 18 commitments for the 2012 class, if you include S Jeremy Clark who accepted a greyshirt role. Outside of the commitments the coaching staff also secured Illinois WR Bo Dever (6'2", 195 lbs) as a preferred walk on. You know you're doing well on the recruiting trail when you have kids accepting greyshirts and walk on roles and you're not even half way through summer.
That's just how things are going, and it looks like things could wrap up sooner than later for the coaching staff. Here's a look at recent happenings and what could be in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH, or email me with any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'5", 290 lbs.
Garnett has been expressing strong interest in Michigan for some time now. He has stated that he would like to take an official visit, and recently included Michigan in his top list.
I cut my list to eleven. They're Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Auburn, Nebraska, Stanford, Oklahoma, and Cal. I thought it would be easier just to focus on a top eleven rather than all the schools involved.
As for summer visits, it doesn't look like any more unofficials will be in the cards for Garnett.
I don't know if I'm going to take any visits to any other schools. I know I'll take official visits. I've already seen Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington, Cal, and Stanford. I feel good about Michigan, taking an official out there and seeing the Big House.
Ganett is one of the 150 elite athletes that will be attending "The Opening" in Oregon this week. The event will be televised on ESPNU and will include a good number of Michigan recruits and commitments.
There's going to be a lot of skilled players there. A lot of the guys I've made friendships with are going to be there. I talk to Erik Magnuson and we've talked about schools, where we see each other fitting. It definitely helps to get together with those guys and see who else is being recruiting and who else will be on their team. It makes you feel more comfortable with potential teammates.
Garnett has been very impressed with what Michigan brings to the table and is excited to learn more.
It's just the atmosphere around Michigan, the legacy, the fan support, and the great academics. It's a top notch academic program, and all the games are packed. You don't get that feel on the west coast or anywhere in the nation. Michigan is rolling out NFL linemen and they all have great NFL careers. I think I get a bad stigma being from Washington. You don't think nasty guys come from Washington, but I'm 6-foot-5, and 290-pounds right now. I'm very athletic and I know that's the kind of guys Michigan likes.
It will be interesting to see how offensive line recruiting plays out. Depending on what happens in the near future with other prospects Michigan could be out of spots depending on when Garnett would like to visit.
6'3", 275 lbs.
The five star defensive tackle has been making noise ever since he decommitted from Stanford. Rivals ranks him as the number three best defensive tackle overall in the country, and he told me he has list down to ten.
I don't think I'll be taking any other summer visits. I'm focused on my team more than recruiting right now. I have it narrowed to ten schools though with Arizona, Stanford, Auburn, Cal, Washington, USC, Michigan, UCLA, Florida, and Nebraska.
Shittu is another prospect that has maintained he would like to take an official visit to Michigan. He too will be at The Opening this weekend, and as mentioned will be with Michigan recruits and commitments.
I haven't figured out a specific date yet, but it could possibly be for the Notre Dame night game. I'll be at The Opening this week and I talk recruiting everywhere I go, but I'm mostly going there to have a good time. It's cool to hang out with the committed players to see if your personalities match up.
Defensive tackle is another position that will likely start to fill up soon. The coaching staff have told recruits that they will likely take one interior linemen, but I have to imagine that they will take two at the end of the day. Either way, Shittu says that doesn't bother him.
It's 50% that I'll sign on signing day and 50% that I'll do it at the Army game. Nothing sooner, and if their class fills up then it fills up. I'm making my decision on one of those dates.
The scenario could get interesting with Ondre Pipkins' visit coming up, and instate DT Danny O'Brien saying that he would like to take official visits. If Pipkins decides to make an early decision and the coaches decide to take two defensive tackles it looks like it could be down to Shittu and O'Brien for the last spot. A lot of ifs, but they're in a good place.
6'2", 199 lbs.
Westlake Village, California
I recently reported that Payton had decommitted from USC this past week. He had been feeling uncomfortable with his commitment for awhile, so this wasn't anything that was surprising. He has a lot of interest in Michigan and plans on taking an official visit if things go as planned.
My coach wants me to make a decision relatively soon, but no matter what I want to take an official out to Michigan. We can take official visits during our season as long as we don't miss any Oaks time, miss any class or anything with our teams.
There was recently a CBS Sports article published that quoted Payton as saying, "I'm going to tell you this, it's going to be interesting the next couple of weeks in recruiting…You're going to see a lot of changes. Just think Fab Five." Naturally people began to tie that to Michigan. He clarified what he meant there.
When I said that the reporter, he was just like oh so you're going to Michigan? I told him that I just meant I've been talking to some other recruits and trying to get a fab five group to go to the same school, not necessarily Michigan.
Interesting comments to say the least. The article did clarify what he meant as well, I just thought I'd get him in his own words. If you look at what he said though it sounds like his decision could come soon. We'll see.
Ohio S Jarrod Wilson is announcing his decision on Friday July 8th at 2:30pm EST. He's kept everything close to the vest, but it seems like it will be worthwhile to monitor the announcement.
DT Ondre Pipkins named his top six of Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Florida. He will be visiting Michigan at the end of July or beginning of August. That visit will be big for Michigan to get him on campus.
Offensive line recruiting is starting to get tight, as I mentioned above. I've said this before, but I don't expect Ohio OL Kyle Kalis to take too much longer with his decision. I have been in contact with him this entire time. His decision could likely have an effect on what other prospects decide to do and when they do it. We'll see what happens.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley will be making his decision relatively soon, sometime before the end of the summer.
The Michigan recruits and commitments to watch in The Opening this week are OL Adam Bisnowaty (who Michigan really likes), RB Bri'onte Dunn, OL Erik Magnuson, DT Danny O'Brien, DB Terry Richardson, LB James Ross, DT Aziz Shittu, DB Anthony Standifer, WR Dwayne Stanford, TE Ron Thompson, DE Adolphus Washington, OL Zach Banner, DE Mario Ojemudia, and OL Joshua Garnett. You can watch it on ESPNU on July 7th, 8th, and 9th, at 9pm EST.
The Big House BBQ is July 31st, I will confirm names for that as it gets closer. It looks like it was by invitation.