"Tonight we were reminded that Michigan is five years further down the road. Which means we have a long road ahead. The State Farm Center renovations start in a few hours and will run for three years. Let’s hope that when they’re complete, we’re Michigan."
Hudl film is also available. Stick around to 1:45 to see a crazy kick return.
Welcome to episode two in "Michigan just wants you to be 6'2", cornerback." In this case, they want you to be that so badly that they'll offer you at camp even though your offer list currently reads "Charlotte and the SWAC." That's Channing Stribling's story.
Virtually the first articles most sites wrote about Stribling came at Michigan's camp. I mean:
Q: When you came up for camp, did you even consider this a possibility?
No sir, to be honest, I didn’t think so at all. Me and my friends, we came up here mainly to visit Ball State and some of the MAC schools. I didn’t think Michigan would even look at me. I went to N.C. State’s camp two weeks ago and Kentucky’s camp right before I went to Michigan.
Then the first day of one-on-ones, they told me they liked me, but I thought they were just trying to be nice. But they were really interested.
And Michigan already had Conley, Thomas and Lewis committed. I don't think they expected to offer the kid either. Ball State did offer, by the way. He still picked Michigan.
How this kid is such a relatively obscure prospect while playing for such a powerhouse program is a mystery. Standing 6-2 and maybe 165-pounds, this Tar Heel State product is extremely fluid (despite his length), and possesses quickness that belies his size. Though not a blazer, he has good football speed. Furthermore, he has really good leaping ability and ball schools. Some schools might be scared away by his slender frame and lack of elite top end speed. Others, meanwhile, might see pure potential… a youngster that could become more explosive once he adds more muscle to his slender frame.
Michigan got lucky in one particular way; Stribling was a recent convert to defensive back and had performed at the other camps he hit up as a wideout, not a defender. It's possible if he'd played corner at NC State or wherever he would have picked up an offer and possibly taken himself off the board.
When the sites got around to ranking him, they were relatively enthusiastic. Rivals moved him up to their highest three-star ranking. He's only a few spots away from four stars (their safety cutoff is 24). Scout has him three spots away from a fourth star at CB. The other two sites gave him perfunctory you-committed-to-Michigan three star rankings, but we're talking about a guy who had offers from Charlotte, Howard, and Hampton before he hit Michigan's camp. (He might have had an NC State offer, too, but there's conflicting information on that.)
The main reason he popped up those rankings is… well, he got a Michigan offer and committed. But a strong #2 is a bust-out senior season. He kicked it off($) against Tennessee commit and top 50-ish WR Marquez North. Stribling(1) had more receptions than North(0) in that matchup. IE, Stribling picked off the first pass of the game and helped shut North out the rest of the way.
Through nine months, more than 70 programs have come through Butler High School in Matthews -- and with good reason. … The fact that all of those coaches missed on Channing Stribling is remarkable. …
In this humble writer’s opinion, Brady Hoke and his staff should be wearing ski masks when discussing Stribling on signing day, as they have stolen a gem from the Tar Heel State.
Scout's Chad Simmons named Stribling his "top performer($)" of that week of the season, saying it "looks like [Michigan] got a steal" and "has great length, plays the ball well, and has the body to really add significant weight." Simmons wrote a separate article on the kid as a result:
You have to love the size right away. He is a long and rangy corner with potential to add significant weight to his frame. He can work on his footwork, making his back peddle more smooth, and his explosiveness out of his breaks, but he showed he could play the ball, he turn and ran with receivers well, and he did a nice job of keeping his eyes on the quarterback and receiver.
Stribling has a lot of upside on the next level. He juggles multiple sports, so once he begins to focus on football and football only, he is going to get better fundamentally and physically.
As a result, everyone and their uncle named Stribling a potential sleeper. Tom went with him on a Wolverine Nation roundtable; Rivals's Mike Farrell named him as a guy who would be getting a bump (albeit apparently not a huge one) after just a couple weeks of season; 247 picked him as a class sleeper for Michigan, noting his senior stats:
Michigan signed four other defensive backs that were tabbed as four-star recruits, however Stribling has the size at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, and athleticism, 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, to be the best of the bunch. …he registered 37 tackles, 14 pass breakups and six interceptions while also being a playmaker on offense with 37 catches for 636 yards and eight touchdowns.
So there you go. Stribling showed up in a big way as a senior. He's got pounds to pack on, and when people ask him about his strengths he says this:
“Not having to totally guess [anymore], but knowing how and when [my opponent] is going to break. I know what he’s going to do before he does it.”
Raw upside length, upside length raw, raw raw length upside. You get the idea. Compounding that upside business is the Copp factor, in which a kid who plays a bunch of sports in high school can get a lot better once he focuses on just one. Stribling plays basketball and runs track as well.
A few more details on what Michigan's won from ESPN:
…a tall, rangy athlete with very good ball skills and long striding speed. Talented prospect with big play potential on both sides of the ball. Could be a late bloomer with his physical upside. While high-cut without overly smooth transitional skills, this is still a prospect we feel can play on the perimeter at the college level and have success. Lacks elite initial burst and explosion but brings a lot of quickness, speed and range to the position and can turn and run with most receivers with his good acceleration and top-end speed. … Can stick to the hip in-phase and while his high-cut frame makes it difficult to sink out of breaks, his length and range also make it difficult for receivers to create separation. Has the height and high-point skills that are coveted on the outside to matchup with today's taller receivers. Can turn and run with most wide outs but we question if he has the hips to transition smoothly without wasted motion versus faster vertical receivers at the BCS level.
Does that sound like the #33 player in North Carolina? His coach:
“Long arms. He controls his body very well. You see a lot of kids in high school that size, they have a tough time managing where everything is going, but Channing does a great job with body control.”
Finally, Stribling brings the sort of personality Michigan is looking for. He spent the full week at camp, giving Curt Mallory an opportunity to get the know the guy's talent and coachability…
"Channing came to our camp (in the summer) not only for a day, but for the whole week, I got a chance to be around Channing all week long," Mallory said. "I really got to work with him more than just once. You see his height, you see his range and you see his competitiveness.
"The more you were around him, the more you fell in love with him -- he really brings a lot of length to the position."
“With his competitiveness it rubs off on his teammates he raises the level of play among his teammates. He is a great kid the teachers love to have him in class; Channing has a great personality and a great respect for those in authority. He is mature kid but still a kid who interacts well with adults and kids."
Michigan's swinging for the fences here, and so far so good.
"A lot of other schools were talking to me about offering me later after they see what type of stars I had and where I was ranked, but Michigan was different," Channing Stribling told Scout.
"They saw me at their camp and they did not care that I didn't have all the stars and that I wasn't ranked high. They liked me and they offered me. That is what really stood out to me when I committed to them."
Why Morgan Trent? Trent is pretty much the only tall-skinny-long corner in recent Michigan history unless you want to count Troy Woolfolk, who was constantly injured, and James Rogers, who was not very good.
Trent was a bit faster, Stribling is a good amount longer. Trent couldn't change direction very well, and when people talk about a 'high cut' athlete that's one of the things that comes in that package of worry jargon. That's basically Stribling's limiting factor: how fast can he change direction?
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Stribling was virtually unknown until his Michigan commitment and while the sites did check him out as a senior, they are still working from a relatively slight knowledge base. It seems tough for the sites to shoot someone way up unless they see a guy in person at one of their camps, for a lot of reasons.
Variance: High. Raw upside length.
Ceiling: High-minus. Frame excellent, lacks that top-end speed.
General Excitement Level: Aw, crap. I don't like doing this so early in the profile series when I haven't dug deep on most of the class, but…
Sleeper of the year
The last three years of SotY: Jake Ryan, Desmond Morgan, and last year's co-award to Ben Braden and Jehu Chesson. I think that's a pretty good track record right there.
This determination is made easier by the fact that traditionally I hand this out to a guy with no four-star rankings and there are only a few guys who meet those criteria this year: Stribling, Csont'e York, Khalid Hill, Dawson, and Da'Mario Jones. Soon this award will be "the guy who doesn't have four stars somewhere."
Projection: Almost certain redshirt. He's got another year to work his way into the lineup slowly behind Countess/Taylor before Taylor's graduation throws the boundary corner job open. If you're asking me right now to pick who wins that battle, I say Stribling. Tentative, obviously.
Sure, less 3*'s means best of a small pool to pick
But it also increases the odds that none of them "overachieve", and gives you less guys to choose from that the services might have overlooked. So don't sell your track record short.
I'm still claming having called Braden, so you certainly can take credit for 3 of 4 in a row (with the 4th still very much TBD since he might still be a year away from getting playing time. Doesn't mean he's not going to be really good.)
I don't understand why people say that James Rogers wasn't very good. He had 3 career receptions for 64 yards while playing receiver. He returned 1 kickoff for 24 yards. And when he finally became a starter (as a senior at cornerback), he had 40 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. The kid did a pretty decent job wherever the coaching staff put him. I won't suggest that he was an all-conference player or anything, but people were all over J.T. Floyd's nuts when I was criticizing him; Rogers had as many picks in one year as a starter as Floyd had in 34 career starts. Rogers also was an upperclassman during the Rodriguez years, so if he had played under Mattison/Mallory, who knows how good he could have been?
Personally, I think Rogers is one of the most underrated players of the past decade or so. He made mistakes, but he was a good athlete who made some nice plays in limited time.
I don't recall anyone defending JT Floyd until RichRod left town at which point James Rogers was also gone.
Everyone hated pretty much everyone on the 2010 defense. I felt like Rogers at least got some slack because he was expected to be terrible. Then he turned out to not even be the most terrible. Just check the coverage of JT from the PSU game that year.
You're probably right - I think people defended him more once Hoke/Mattison/Mallory arrived. However, I still find it odd that people defended a less productive J.T. Floyd with better coaching and bash a more productive James Rogers with terrible coaching.
I think it depends what you're saying. Was J.T. Floyd a great cornerback on par with the chain of next-Woodsons? No. Was he better than Morgan Trent? No. Better than Troy Woolfolk? No. Better than James Rogers? Yes.
For my part I was very happy with Floyd because he played his ass off, and because he did a great job covering the man beast receivers we faced, and most of all because most of Floyd's cornerback contemporaries I wouldn't put in Buffalo's backfield.. Floyd had a bit more athleticism than Rogers, but he played smarter i thought. Rogers was, to me, a "oh thank god he's not a steaming pile" starter, but he had to be covered for because his skills were so limited, and that opened up all the freshman corners to getting picked on.
I see Floyd as the kind of corner Michigan State or Iowa typically plays with: a guy who's alright and can actually do a great job against a certain type of player, but has holes in his game and won't be an NFL guy. Rogers is more like that occasionally decent senior cornerback on Indiana who can do one thing well and some things not well at all, but looks better because of the tire fire around him.
Rogers did all he was asked to do and I don't think you'll find a single Michigan fan who'd ever be upset he earned that camp offer, since the option after him was basically Cullen Christian. I also don't think it's a personal knock on him to say he didn't have nearly kind of ability that Michigan wants out of its starters.
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A lot of other schools were talking to me about offering me later after they see what type of stars I had and where I was ranked
Are coaches really a) that bad at scouting or b) that lazy? You're watching the guy play in front of you, and you need to wait to see what Rivals thinks of him before you'll offer? Wow. I thought these guys were football coaches
Sounds awesome. I admit I haven't been paying enough attention to the development after he committed but this staff's ability to spot sleepers seems pretty remarkable.
At the risk of asking a dumb question - why would you project him to boundary corner? it seems like field would be a better place for a long, rangy player. Is the idea that the boundary corner gets more help from the linebackers in run support?