It just needed to be said.
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
|Gibsonia, PA - 6'3" 235|
|Scout||3*, #74 DE|
|Rivals||3*, #41 WDE, #23 PA|
|ESPN||3*, 78, #52 DE|
|Other Suitors||Pitt, Virginia, Minnesota|
|YMRMFSPA||Jeremy Van Alstyne|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post|
"Workmanlike" was the watchword of Paskorz's commitment post and that tepid word still rules after his senior season. At the time there was little to go on outside of a hastily-assembled ESPN profile in the aftermath of Paskorz's commit; after 14 months there has been additional information added to the pile.
Paskorz is still the younger brother of Notre Dame fullback Steve Paskorz and the Irish took a brief look early in the recruiting year but ended up taking a pass. This will be brought up during the next three M-ND games. He's still not a big recruit in the eyes of the sites. Scout interviewed him after his January official in which he discloses a 11.6 100 meter dash time—pretty impressive for a defensive lineman. He finished his senior year with 13 sacks and 85 tackles, ending up first team all-state on a team that made the state semis.
At Michigan, Paskorz is one of the few players told he will play at the LB/DE hybrid "quick" position currently inhabited by Craig Roh who has a high probability of sticking there. At 235 pounds currently but lacking the 6'4-6'5" frame Michigan prefers for its out-and-out linemen, Paskorz is a classic tweener who might fit in Michigan's defense better than he does elsewhere. That's the impression provided by his ESPN evaluation($), anyway:
Paskorz will offer some versatility as a defender at the college level. At the high school level, he plays from a two-point stance and could be considered as an outside linebacker/defensive end prospect in the right fit. Overall, we feel he will fit best more as a traditional defensive end. He could be asked to play from a two-point stance, but seems best suited to play near the line of scrimmage in an attacking fashion.
The rest of the evaluation is a series of sentences that go "he does this okay, but needs to work on this, too." The overall impression is that he's one of Michigan's less exciting recruits. Scout and Rivals actually think a little less of him (Rivals breaks DEs down into strongside and weakside spots, meaning he'd be about 80th on a unified list), but they all put him in the wide swath of generic three stars. What difference of opinion there happens to be is minor.
Paskorzs's offers echoed those evaluations, with a few middling-to-bad BCS teams hopping in and notable powers staying away. Pitt, Virginia, and Minnesota were the schools Paskorz picked Michigan over. He might have gotten more interest if he extended his recruitment past late May, but his offers are right in line with his rankings.
This lack of recruiting acclaim and the corresponding skepticism from the Michigan internets (possibly including this Michigan internet if the author of the following piece knows the distinction between blogs and message boards, a 50-50 proposition) spurs the haters-gonna-hate article:
Hampton's Jordan Paskorz has heard the whispers. The senior standout football player has read that he's overrated and that his scholarship offer to Michigan was helped by bloodlines. But the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Paskorz brushes it off like he has so many offensive tackles.
Once you get past the defensiveness, though, that piece has some useful quotes from Paskorz's coach:
"…it's hard to find a player of his caliber. He worked hard, he devoted time early in the morning and he didn't miss workouts. Jordan has been a quiet leader, and at least to me, he's exemplified what a Division I player should be."
"He's a physical specimen," DeMatteo said. "You look at him sometimes, and you forget he's just an 18-year-old kid."
There is also further confirmation that Paskorz is going to be behind Roh:
DeMatteo knows Paskorz likely will play a nearly identical position in the Michigan system.
"It's really based on what the offenses are doing. It's not any more complicated than that," DeMatteo said. "He has some things you can't coach.
"With all that being said, I can tell you right now, people aren't going to be afraid to run towards him. People aren't going to back down from him, and I hope he expects that."
And that's basically it when it comes to information floating out there. I've done a lot of these with an eye towards looking a little deeper than the recruiting sites do on the vast mass of three-star prospects that haven't leapt out at Scout or Rivals, often finding reasons for optimism. See Carvin Johnson for a canonical example. Here, though, there isn't much to go on. All recruits are lottery tickets that have a chance to hit big, but that doesn't mean you can't get a rough sense of the chances from surveying google. This is all a long way of saying I'm not expecting immediate contributions from Paskorz and think he's got a relatively low chance of being anything other than a functional rotation player a la Greg Banks. At this time, Pittsburgh-area newspaper cranks are invited to view this animated gif if it will make them feel better.
Why Jeremy Van Alstyne? It's really hard to find a Michigan player in the last decade who was a 230-ish pound LB/DE coming out of high school who did not have a ton of hype (Tim Jamison, Roh). I was going to go for Brandon Herron, but he was 6'2" and under 200 pounds as a high school kid. Van Alstyne was 240, listed at LB, and expected to play DE. He was always supposed to be breaking through but suffered a series of injuries and then didn't play that well even when he saw the field. He ended up a rotation player and erratic starter.
Etc.: State runner-up in the shot put. Fluffy article previewing Hampton's season last year with a couple quotes. Signing Day interview on WTKA. Paskorz's coach in an AA.com article on something he won't do at Michigan:
“I’m sure all the computer breakdowns would say that we were so right-handed because he played as our tight end to the right side,” Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “And he just mauled people. It was fun to watch. It was really nice to be able to coach something like that.”
Guru Reliability: High. Unified opinion about a healthy kid and nothing in the offers to contest the assessment.
General Excitement Level: Insert the usual disclaimers about how I don't want to be rude to a kid but have to maintain some air of objectivity: low. There's obviously some chance that Paskorz develops more than his classmates but his ceiling seems pretty average and he's got a ways to go to get there.
Projection: Redshirt, then spends another two years behind Roh before challenging for the starting job as a redshirt junior.
It just needed to be said.
Even if the kid doesn't turn out to be a superstar, I'm happy with any player who can provide some of that badly needed depth on defense. Our team could have used a couple more Jeremy Van Alstynes the last two years.
Restoring the numbers on the D side of the ball and building depth is what's key here. Couple of years with Barwis and development and Paskorz can be an upperclassman contributor, for sure.
This is the type of dude whom Wisconsin or Iowa routinely turns into a solid linebacker. And exactly the type of dude who, for a long time now, has been seldom-seen around these parts.
I agree wholeheartly. Paskorz will be solid for years to come at Michigan.
Everyone is looking for the next Woodson, Steele, or Irons. Those players will come on their own time. Michigan also needs solid players through out the program. I hate cliches, but "You are only as good as your weakest link". Paskorz will be a strong player.
Besides you never know, Paskorz could become the next great one at Michigan.
I like this kid. I read somewhere he wants to major in business. As stated above, I hope he comes in, leverages his dedication and leadership, spends a few years on Barwis Beach, and becomes one of those solid contributors and leaders.
look like Adam Sandler or have I been at happy hour to long?
a thicker Steve Young. Is there such thing as too long of a happy hour?
Kinda harsh on the assessment of Van Alstyne. I look for him to be solid this year, like a lot of upperclassmen Michigan D-lineman from in-state who have very little NFL potential but a lot of heart and experience.
Are you confusing Jeremy Van Alstyne with Ryan Van Bergen?
Totally, good catch. It must be summer.
I can tell you right now, that Jordan is decidedly faster than RVB was at that time in high school. Ryan was bigger - 6'6" and about 260 I'd guess, and he did manhandle people, earning a fourth star in his senior year. Although he played at a relatively small high school, no conference in that division has produced more state champions. It's difficult to tell a lot from highlight tapes, but this kid seemed to have a lot more freedom to just bull rush and disrupt the play whereas RVB seemed to be coached more to contain and hurt anyone trying to get around his end. This kid is going to push someone at some point. His tape just indicates a kid that really enjoys getting after it.
I'd hope, and won't be totally surprised if, like RVB, he lines up somewhere starting when he's a RS soph. Also, I wouldn't totally rule out RVB not going to the NFL. It's a fact he put some much more highly sought after DEs on the bench. And we're hoping one of those gives us some serious substitution minutes this year.
needs a number of hard working, character guys and natural born leaders, in addition to the stud athletes. Paskorz sounds like he could be one of them. I give RR credit for recruiting both types of players.
Paskorz is a gift to Barwis and the work hard play on Saturday ethic that RR is selling.
This is all a long way of saying I'm not expecting immediate contributions from Paskorz and think he's got a relatively low chance of being anything other than a functional rotation player a la Greg Banks.
I think GB will surprise this year. The DL is a big question mark largely due to GBs progress (and Campbell's pad level). GB has put it out there that maybe Martin should stay put at Nose if we really want our best 11 to start the game.
Paskorz could easily start at some point. I see him starting as an upperclassman. Much could happen in that time...it's good to have a player like this ready to contribute when it does.
Describing Jeremy Van Alstyne as erratic, inconsistent or "gritty white guy adjective here" is misleading and comparing him to a barely 3* prospect is also not accurate. I'm not mad at Brian or anything, I just want to set the record straight because this is personal to me. I understand if this gets negbanged or fisked, but Jeremy is my brother and I saw what he went through to play football. He doesn't deserve to be labeled as erratic/inconsistent or have his ability marginalized because of the ligaments he tore trying to win football games for Michigan.
Jeremy was 220-225 coming out of HS as a linebacker and was a four star (or its basic equivalent) recruit on every site I knew of, including rivals. Some projected him as an LB, some as a DE with varying takes on what his upside would be at both positions (some thought he should stay at MLB, others thought his frame was big enough to add 50 lbs and become a rush end). He also was an Indiana state wrestling champion in the heavyweight division (275 lbs) despite never weighing in at more than 225 (which is why I know the 240 rivals reported is bullshit).
Jeremy was firmly entrenched in the starting spot in the spring of his redshirt sophomore (2004) season, mostly because it was the first season he had gained enough weight (around 35-40 lbs) for coaches to seriously consider using him on the D-Line. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL during a practice right before the spring game. He worked his ass off to return in time for the Oct. 9 Minnesota game. That might not seem like a big deal if you've never torn an ACL before, but this occured in March and he was supposed to have an 8-12 month recovery which should have resulted in him missing the entire 2004 season. He was available to PLAY in under 7 months. I've heard Gittleson say a number of times it was the fastest recovery he's ever seen from an ACL tear, mostly due to Jeremy's work ethic and how badly he wanted to get back to help UM's depleted D-Line. I don't think I can over emphasize the guts he showed during those 6-7 months and how much he went through to come back.
Four games later, when the knee was finally starting to feel close to 100%, he tore ligaments in his foot against OSU and the doctors, again, gave him a recovery time that would have had him missing almost all of 2005. That alone would have broken me, but Jeremy has a much stronger will than I do. So again, he worked his balls off to come back, but he was never the same physically. He couldn't play more than 10-12 plays a game without the pins holding his foot together causing a significant amount of pain that necessitated some strong anti-inflammatory meds, excessive amounts of pain pills and constant, futile therapy. In the end, he tore 4 major ligaments in three parts of his body in 3 years and didn't even miss a full season due to injury.
So to say he was "inconsistent" is misleading. When he was actually healthy, he was a great football player and one of the most naturally gifted athletes I've ever seen. He was never some sort of "gritty" or "insert under talented white guy adjective here" recruit. He had offers from every Big Ten school and Notre Dame (as well as others I can't remember) and was a top 10-15 recruit at his position, depening on who you talked to. His only problem was that he was healthy for one year at Michigan: his redshirt freshman year. Every year after that, he played through an immense amout of pain and his reduced playing time was largely because he couldn't physically go more than 10-12 plays a game.
If you think I'm over-stating this, go ask anyone who played or coached '02-'06 what they think about Jeremy Van Alstyne and whether they would describe him as "erratic" "inconsistent" or "insert white guy pseudo-athlete adjective here".
I have no doubt that your brother gave a ton of effort in playing for Michigan. I remember the hype around him but always hearing that he was recovering from injury. Hopefully you didn't take offense, because I don't think Brian meant any. If it makes you feel any better, there have been plenty of other guys (Donovan Warren, Brandon Minor, etc.) who have been deemed "inconsistent" in part due to injuries.
And its not like he didn't get anything from Michigan for his effort. He got a great education, friends that will last him a lifetime and a wonderful wife. He's a rabid UM fan to this day and most of his friends are guys from the team.
In all honesty, fighting back from those injuries made him a better person and much stonger mentally. The only reason I said anything is because he risked his own long-term well being multiple times to get back on the field after injuries that would have ended the careers of less determined players. Every time there was a setback, he went back to rehab with the same tenacity he attacked the first injury, only concerned with getting back on the field. He wasn't an inconsistent or erratic player; he just couldn't play more than 10-12 snaps a game (and he was playing those snaps at a great deal less than 100%, if you're using his pre-injury self as the baseline) without risking the ligaments in his foot being ripped out again.
There are many critical comments made about players on this site, and we tend to forget that we never really know the whole story. (Several in the last few days about Tate, and Sam, and Obi.)
It is somewhat of a third rail topic on this site, but I also get your underlying suggestion about how white football athletes seem to be stereotyped in a lesser light, believe I have seen it in youth sports, and understand the frustration. (Though I doubt this was in Brian's mind.)
Me personally, I would like to see all of the young men on our football team succeed no matter their race or background: especially the ones who work hard to overcome obstacles, be they injuries, stereotypes, illnesses, family tragedies, or even checkered pasts.
I was pretty disappointed when JVA got hurt. If memory serves, he got into the DL rotation his RS-Freshman year and I took a liking to him. He was undersized at that point, but I thought he had good quickness and was good at getting off of blocks. Definitely more potential than the typical "high-motor" player. I played DE at the small college level and never was really good with my hands, so a seeing a young player who sheds blockers well always jumps out at me. UM could have used JVA as an upperclassman and I think he would have turned into a solid UM starter w/o the injuries.