"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
The only thing larger than Ondre Pipkins himself may be his personality. I mean, the Hoke impression. It's right above these words. Click it. Again, if necessary. There's that, and then there's Pipkins running his mouth about OSU commit Tommy Schutt…
"Tommy Schutt ate turf," Pipkins said. "He ate turf the whole time."
…OSU commit Kyle Dodson…
"I gave a little bit to what's his name, Dodson," Pipkins said. "He ran away from me. That's what they do. They run their mouth, and then when they meet up with the belly of the beast -- I call myself that because I am -- then they run away. When it comes to reality, they want to run away."
…and OSU itself:
"Are you talking about those people down south? I don't want to give them the time of day."
The reason Pipkins gets to demonstrate that personality at place like the Army All-American game is that a person his size should not be able to move in the way that he does. One of many scouting reports emphasizing this, this one from Allen Trieu:
"Pipkins is a big-bodied space-eater that can command double teams, but he's quick enough and light enough on his feet to penetrate and disrupt," said Trieu. "Once he learns to really use his hands and consistently play under people, he's going to be an even tougher guy to move and block. Right now he's rated the No. 16 defensive tackle nationally, but he does have a chance to move up higher. Big kids like him that are 320 pounds and move the way he does are very rare."
A little later in that Sam Webb article, Pipkins says Michigan State was recruiting him for three tech. Yeah.
Appropriately, then, Pipkins's main highlights in the Army game were a pair of sideline-to-sideline track-and-tackles, one of them on five star jitterbug WR Stephon Diggs. While those were aided by a goofy defensive scheme that saw Pipkins looping outside the tackle on almost every play, his ability to trundle at speed made him probably the breakout star in San Antonio. Everyone raved.
Pipkins is a monster physically - he already looks like B.J. Raji or Vince Wilfork. He is one of the most physically imposing defensive tackles we have seen in awhile. At the point of attack, he is impossible to get on his heels and he penetrates quickly and athletically for a big man. Pipkins is going to be a load for the East offensive line to handle; he was simply dominating a good group of West lineman in the early session of practice.
…Pipkins had the best case for top performer honors. He is a wide-bodied, stout defensive lineman that is much more than a bull-rusher or space eater. When engaged with offensive linemen, Pipkins usually dictates the movement. He also beats interior linemen with his quickness on plenty of occasions.
… Pipkins was as disruptive as anybody in his ability to get in the backfield and blowup blockers and diagnose plays. Physically he's a very stout defender and he uses that frame to take up a lot of space while still showing quickness that is really rare in interior guys. He is a tough kid to block.
“The Ondre Pipkins kid in the middle has really been impressive but all of those kids have really done a good job of reading blocks and picking up what we’re trying to do. He’s the one guy that I think has been the most impressive of the group.”
That's unprompted, and suggests that Pipkins is The Ondre Pipkins. As in, there are no more Ondre Pipkinses around here. There is The Ondre. There are no other Ondres.
After all that, 247 and the rest of the services slid him up significantly. ESPN didn't bother because ESPN is a fire-and-forget service unless you go to the UA game; in situations where a kid surges on all the other sites I tend to ignore the static evaluation provided by the WWL. ESPN did bump him a bit; when he committed he was a generic three star to them.
There's a ton of additional stuff out there from the various camps Pipkins hit up before his senior year, all of it in the same vein as the stuff above:
Pipkins on what college coaches are telling him: "At 320 (pounds) you move. What I've been told is, 'I've never seen a kid who is 320 pounds move like you do.' I run a 5.1 (seconds) 40 (yard dash) and I bench 360 pounds. That's rare for a defensive tackle in his junior year. I'm very strong, very explosive and I have a lot of quickness and speed. It all ties into me being an athlete in the offseason and me working hard."
You get the idea, and hope it will fling opposing guards backwards for four years.
So what's the catch? There must be a catch. Even the bluest of blue chips flame out regularly. I think you might find it between the lines of this high praise from an opposing coach:
"That kid has great explosion and punch off the ball. When he's tuned into the flow of the game, it's impressive the plays he makes. He'll chase players from gap to gap. He had a nice play on Evan - here's this 300-pounder chasing down a 160-pound running back, diving for him, getting him by the back of his jersey and throwing him to the ground.
"There are times where he chooses to go, go go and he's pretty destructive in the middle of the field. Almost unblockable, even with two or three kids. I can understand why everybody in the country is so enamored with him."
I closed out one of my many many Ondre Pipkins tabs in a fit of "argh so much" that I wish I could locate again in which Pipkins's coach talks about how he had some frustrating times with the kid trying to get him to show effort.
That's the best I've got, and it goes hand in hand with the fact he's a massive defensive tackle. It is, however, something that I think all Michigan fans were frustrated with during the above-mentioned Watson's career. He was really good, but when he decided to be great, he was great. And that wasn't often enough to be GREAT.
If Pipkins ends up in the same fan memory bin as Watson, the ability to give effort on every play will be the main reason… and he'll probably still be a multiple-time All Conference performer.
Why Gabe Watson? Michigan nose tackles have not often been the run-clobbering battleship sorts who hover around 330 pounds and can play effectively at that weight. Gabe Watson is the only guy in program history who has. Terrance Taylor was a shorter fireplug sort, Alan Branch a 6'5" penetrator, Mike Martin a slab of quick-twitch muscle. Guys before Watson were never that big, either. He stands alone as a Michigan comparable.
People remember Watson as a disappointment but if he was one it wasn't much of one after being named first-team All Big Ten twice and getting drafted in the fourth round. His specialty was taking one on one blocks and depositing them on their ass many yards upfield, and that's what Pipkins will do if successful.
If you want to add a dash of Alan Branch, okay, since it seems Pipkins is a little smaller and more athletic than Watson.
Guru Reliability: High. All Star appearance.
Variance: Low-plus. With guys the size of Pipkins there's always a chance weight becomes a persistent issue. If that isn't a problem it's hard to see him not being a very good starter.
Ceiling: As massive as Pipkins himself. Potential NFL first rounder.
General Excitement Level: Very high. Obvs.
Projection: Won't redshirt with very little behind Campbell and Pipkins seemingly the obvious choice to replace him next year. Probably starts off a little slow due to conditioning issues and general freshmanhood, starts coming on midway through the year, and does some stuff towards the end of his freshman season that get everyone revved up about year two.
From there he's likely a three-year starter somewhere between pretty dang good and All-American.
Because we've been following the 2012 class for so long, I can't remember who is actually on campus now. I keep thinking a few people from the 2013 class are in camp. Like, isn't Shane Morris a Michigan sophomore / RS freshman by now?
And when will Ferns get into the rotation? Or, since we got 12 of them to commit the other day, is he the rotation?
Have there been other freshman DTs that get significant playing time their freshman year and play well? I remember Mike Martin playing some but he was a NT in a 3-3-5 that seemed ill-fated. Did Gabe Watson or Alan Branch play their freshman year and how did they fare?
Most lineman really need a year in the weight room to effectively compete at this level. That said, the kids these days are coming in bigger and more fit in many cases so they are closer to being ready to play.
20,000 folks at The Murph? For a second I thought you meant you played for the Chargers. USFL? XFL? Semi-Pro? Division III school?
Are you evaluating him by that one play? Are you comparing him to where a high school player's ability should be, or a Division I senior? I'm sure Mattison and company can mold him into a halfway decent player over the course of a couple years. Roh and Demens seem to think there is some potential.
Ending comments with "Go Blue" is a cheap ploy to distract someone from whatever bullshit you're typing.
If you're going to go all Al Bundy and "4 touchdowns in a single game" on the internet, you're going to get called out on it. In case you haven't figured it out yet, it makes you look like a gigantic dick bag.
I put up a tough front, but deep down I just want to be held.
The homophobic comments or the Internet tough guy "let's have a fight." But it's helping fulfill the stereotypes that you seem to like to throw around, like "I played the game, so I know more", or in this case "I'm an idiot who only got into Michigan because I was big and fat and wasn't smart enough to get in on merit, proven by the fact I can't win an argument with words so I have to resort to my fists." I don't think that's fair to the multitude of athletes who have brains as well as ability, and aren't living off their glory days in colege (because after that it sounds anything but glorious) of 40 years ago. Might be time to start acting your age, and not like you're still 16. I thought Michigan Football was supposed to turn boys into men, but it can't help everyone.
No one really minds the "I don't think he looks great there" comment. It's the dick waving that comes off as douchey.
M-Wolverine, I love your comment here!! I had literally posted almost the same thing, but edited it by cutting out what you said because I thought I might be going over the top. Glad I'm not alone in my opinion. I guess great minds think alike....and so do ours!!
I saw exactly one running play to his side of the formation, and they had him rushing off the edge for reasons passing understanding. I mean, he got burned once on the scramble, which of course he looked out of place trying to tackle a mobile quarterback in the open field.
I watched it one more time from your point of view. I seriously don't know what you're watching. There were a total of 2 maybe 3 plays out of 15 or so where he could have done more. On nearly every play he shows great athleticism, quickness, speed, etc. Showed a sick spin move twice, penetrated and caused pressure on the qb multiple times, ate space, took double teams and had the two impressive sideline rundowns. This is a one game highlight against other top players in the country.
that this year he'll impress but still at times look like a freshman, after a year under his belt and a year of collegiate weight training.....he'll by stomping the holy hell out of everyone. He is a beast!!!
Would be nice if he was good enough to start at the nose, and bump Campbell back over to the 3-tech where he is probably a better fit given his height and slimmer profile. Would boost the size of our starting D-line quite a bit. Probably asking a bit much of him, though.
Nothing new to see here. He comes in overweight and slow! Probably going to be really good in 2 to 4 years. But thanks for sharing common knowledge and a disappointing all American game "highlights" again. He was always in the backfield but you have to make plays to make an impact?
I really don't think YMRMFSPA works well in this instance. If I had to compare the potential ceiling of player with the size and speed of Pipkins, I'd look at Albert Haynesworth. A big guy who could stuff the run all day, but also has the explosion to get after the passer. Mental issues aside, one of the most talented D lineman I've ever seen. Chances of Pipkins being that good are obviously low, but I think he could be that kind of player.