"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
"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."
Chandler Park Academy wide receiver Csont'e York has largely flown under the radar during the recruiting process, and as a three-star he's one of Michigan's lesser-heralded commits. The Charter School Conference isn't heavily scouted, so I was curious to see how York performed over the course of a full game. On Friday, he caught two passes for 33 yards and a touchdown and added a two-point conversion as CPA fell in double overtime to Old Redford Academy, 26-20.
To discuss York's performance, it's best to add some context. This was lower-division football, and it showed; I lost count of pre-snap procedure penalties when they hit double-digits, both teams put the ball on the ground, officials missed spots by ten yards, and quarterback play was... not stellar. Chandler Park's strategy also left something to be desired—despite having York, the lone BCS-level prospect on the field, facing corners eight inches shorter than him, CPA only targeted him five times during the game, three of those coming on the same drive at the goal line.
As a result, York spent much of the game run-blocking, acting as a decoy, or running routes downfield without much hope of seeing the ball. These highlights reflect that, and trust me, I could've added a solid five minutes of York jogging downfield to this reel. York is easy to spot—he's the one with the maize arm sleeve, maize gloves, maize shoelaces, maize stripes on his socks, and maize mouthguard:
[Hit THE JUMP for the full scouting report and photo gallery.]
Let's start with the good: York capitalized on the few opportunities he had to make an impact, and all three of his catches—including one two-point conversion—featured his excellent ball skills and body positioning. York knows just where to put himself to shield the defender from the ball, and once he does that it's over—he catches the ball away from his body and reels in anything close. Only once did York have a remote shot at the ball and not bring it in, and on that play he almost made a spectacular one-handed grab on a fade (no video, unfortunately). One play later, CPA ran the same play and he came down with a touchdown.
While two of York's punt returns went for little gain, he did break one for a 60-yard touchdown in the second half, though it was called back on a hold. He's not a burner, and he won't be a returner at the next level—he waited until the ball practically rolled dead to pick it up and run—but he showed that he can break through tackles when he reaches open space.
York is also a fluid athlete, coming out of his breaks well when he actually ran a route, though that didn't happen often. While he doesn't have great straight-ahead speed, he's got an easy running style and body control that gives him the potential to be a great route-runner with some more coaching.
York has got a long way to go with the more technical aspects of the position, however. On most plays York simply jogged downfield if the ball wasn't coming his way, in one instance completely failing to block on the edge (second clip above) and allowing his running back to get tackled for little gain. On two occasions he ran directly into another receiver on downfield routes—part of that may be poor play design or a mistake by the other player, but York's routes weren't exactly precise.
When York did make an effort to block, it was pretty obvious that he was holding, and I'm frankly surprised he didn't draw a flag. When he wasn't able to latch on to a defender's shoulder pads, he was thrown aside with relative ease. It looks like he's never been taught how to properly block—in this league, that's entirely possible. Regardless of technique issues, he needs to step up his effort level, both in blocking and running good routes when he's not the primary target.
While York appeared to be the leader of his team and a very encouraging sideline presence, he did pick up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his two-point conversion—I'm not sure whether he got it for saying something to an opposing defender or the official, but either way the ref didn't hesitate to throw a flag. He wasn't the only player to pick up a personal foul—one CPA defender ripped off his helmet after a big tackle, causing a mini-flurry of flags—but discipline may be something to monitor for York.
The physical tools are there for York to be a solid red zone threat and possession receiver; he's exceptional with the ball in the air and has good hands. It's obvious that he needs a lot of coaching, and that will come at the next level—he's going to need a year or two before he makes an impact at Michigan. He's well behind where most other BCS-level receivers are in their development, especially with route-running and blocking, and the big question will be how much ground he can cover when he arrives on campus.
As you'll see, Csont'e is very fond of dancing.
I'll be checking out Cass Tech—yes, again—on Friday night when Technicians head to Orchard Lake St. Mary's. Depending on the timing of my return from South Bend, I'll also see De La Salle vs. Catholic Central on Sunday.
So from the type of receivers/TEs we're recruting, it really seems like Borges' deep passing game is going to be the 'out-leap' opposing DBs style as opposed to the 'run-by' them style, or the 'out-scheme' air raid style. Either can work I suppose if you recruit the right people, and York really seems to fit that; very good body control in the air.
First thing that stands out is his lack-luster effort. I don't care if it's lower division football or not. You play hard. There are several running plays where he doesn't even attempt to block. Several where he half-arse blocks, when he should be able to bowl over those little kids. He gives up way too early on a lot of balls thrown to him. Makes very little effort to make tackles after picks, instead appearing to whine. And, he seems to be a bit of a dick too. His teammates don't seem to eager to celebrate him. And that unsportsmanlike conduct after the TD was deplorable.
Secondly, doesn't seem that fast, doesn't seem to have the best hands, very unpolished.
Seems like a wasted scholarship out of desperation if you ask me. Coaches could work wonders, of course. But I'll be surprised if he pans out.
based on a 2 minute video from 1 game. I'm not ready to label a future Wolverine as anything, especially a wasted scholarship or bust, before I've got to see him play against Big Ten competition. If the coaches feel he deserved a scholarship, I'm going to give the professionals the benefit of the doubt.
The effort may be a coaching thing. Like Ace said, you can tell he is playing in a lower division for football. The talent level is pretty much zero compared to what some other players go up against. I would agree that some of the blocks, or plays where he is relied upon to block on, could have been given a little more effort. Again though, that may come down to coaching.
Not sure where you are seeing him giving up on balls. He was only thrown to a handful of times in the video and several were uncatchable, even if he continued to chase the ball.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was dumb on his part, but he is a high school football player. If you think that is bad, then you need to watch more football period. Not trying to sound like a dick, but most football players act like that, especially if their coaches don't instill the correct respectable attitude in their players.
I agree that he doesn't seem that fast. He is more of a possession type receiver. However, to me he seems to have above average hands. The balls he caught were ones that were not thrown very well and he adjusted to them to grab them. His route running needs some major work, though.
I disagree with your last part. He is not a wasted scholarship. You can see the potential to be a reliable target. No, he may not be the next star receiver at Michigan, but the coaches could have done much worse.
“What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve and those who stay will be champions.” - Bo
I'm not sure what we have here is an accurate depiction of York's skills. In camps and 7-on-7s, he showed the ability to get separation and make catches against elite competition. Grading him on that video and performance, I can't fault Ace for his conclusions, but I don't feel it's representative of York's abilities.
While it sounds like the blocking has a long way to go, my guess is that his route running is a lot better than it looked in that game. After a redshirt, I can see him making an impact. Take a look at this video:
Not everyone turns out to match the hype. If hoke had a100% success rate, it would be amazing. But from his targeting and focusing on particular recruits, sometimes before the recruiting sites find out about them...
Pipkins was being heavily recruited when he was ameh recruit to the services and Frank Clark was never anything better than a3 star most places, i believe. Maybe don't accept everything blindly, but maybe accept Hoke's not an idiot.
Wasting away in Ohio, a Wolverine in a sea of red and grey
Yes, there was probably a two-foot difference in elevation between the middle of the field and the sideline at certain points on the field. Running off tackle worked well because the back would be going downhill to get to the outside.