"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
Hello: Chris Fox
ALL OF THE PAIRS. ALL OF THE FOUR-STARS. ALL OF THE HELLO POSTS.
Sorry, the meth hasn't quite worn off yet. In the aftermath of Michigan's program-defining victory over Ohio State last night, the Wolverines picked up their fifth and sixth commitments of the day in Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox and Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton. Fox becomes the third offensive lineman to commit in the 2013 class; all did so yesterday, and all are four-star prospects. The explosion of commitments helped Fox come to his decision even though he wasn't on campus this weekend, according to Sam Webb:
“Honestly, it’s been Michigan pretty much the whole way,” said Fox. “I’m excited. Coach Funk was definitely excited. I just called my grandma (who lives in Michigan) and she’s super excited about it too.”
That Fox joined the class this evening came as a bit of surprise since he wasn’t a part of the commitment frenzy on campus today. But just because he wasn’t on the ground in Ann Arbor doesn’t mean he didn’t take notice.
“I saw that and I was just like, ‘dang, and I’ve known that’s where I wanted to go.’ I thought, ‘why not do it?’ “
Yes, Fox be like dang. Rest easy, Shane Morris; you're going to have more time in the pocket than you know what to do with.
|4*, NR OG||
# 46 Ovr
4* OT, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 95, #8 OT,
Fox is a consensus four-star and a top-50 player to the two sites that have actually released extensive lists; he made the ESPN top-100 list as well and is one of a handful of players to get a rating from Scout. The general consensus is that he's one of the top linemen—and players—in the country. The four sites are split between him being 6'5" or 6'6", and all but Scout (285) agree that he weighs in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Scout is the only site to list him as a guard, but Fox has the versatility to play either guard or tackle at the collegiate level.
Fox actually didn't play offensive line until the summer before his junior year, having been a standout defensive tackle for Ponderosa in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Right away, however, scouts took notice of his massive potential, as you can see from this Rivals article dating back to the summer he started playing offense ($):
...he's an athlete for a big man his age and his size--moves well, flexible, is a big time knee bender, and he is a mauler - loves contact - not afraid to mix it up but athletic enough to shut down Stephen Gibson when he tried some moves and speed rushes at CU's camp. Fox plays with a level of violence and passion you don't see very often in high school offensive linemen. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
Fox is one of those guys who just overwhelms defenders with his sheer size and power. His technique is very raw right now but that's to be expected since he never played offensive line until this summer. But that will improve, and watching him at the CU camp and at a Ponderosa practice he clearly learns quickly and is one of those kids who can pick something up the first time he tries it. Even with raw technique it is still clear that he uses his hands very well, and seems to have already become very good at one of the harder things to master as an offensive lineman - timing the initial punch with the hands.
The player William Gartner compares to Fox in the article? Jake Long. This is not done lightly, as Gartner worked with Long at a Michigan camp before Long's senior year of high school. When violence becomes beauty, Long is an apt comparison. By September of his junior year, Fox's game tape was already circulating among scouts, and he continued to impress ($):
Some are already calling Fox the top prospect in the state of Colorado for the 2013 class and while that might be a bit presumptuous, there is definitely a good chance he'll be among the best players just because of his dominance and versatility. Fox played on the defensive line during his freshman and sophomore seasons and now moved over to offense for his junior year and simply dominates with his power, drive and toughness.
Fox has since solidified himself as the top player in Colorado, and his effort and strength have been repeatedly praised. He also reportedly is still growing and has the room to pack on a lot of good weight, as you'll see in Tom Lemming's evaluation:
Has the length, long arms, and quick feet the college scouts love to see in a LT. Needs to get stronger in the lower body but has the frame to weigh 320 in college. Shows the grit and determination needed to play the LT position at the next level. Shows all the tools for future stardom.
It sounds like Fox should mature into a bona-fide tackle prospect, and I'm guessing Michigan sees much the same, as they've already taken two players—Kyle Bosch and David Dawson—who project best to the interior of the line. Fox's high school coach can't find a bad thing to say about him after his first year as an offensive lineman ($):
Ponderosa High School coach Randy Huff can't say enough good things about the star of his team, Christopher Fox.
"The thing that most people have told me that stands out the most is how physical he is," Huff said. "He really is trying to destroy people when he hits them. He's not just a big body. He's a real football player for sure."
So Michigan just picked up a big (and still growing), versatile mauler in the mold of Jake Long, and he's only been playing on offense for a year-and-a-half. Yup, I'm totally okay with this pickup.
Fox chose Michigan over offers from Colorado, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Mizzou, Ohio State, and Purdue. Chew on that, bitter rivals.
No stats for O-linemen.
FAKE 40 TIME
24/7 lists a 5.50 40 time, which I'll give a two FAKEs out of five since he's an enormous offensive lineman.
There's no junior highlights of Fox available yet, so most of the available film is of him playing defense, though you get a couple snaps of him blocking in the following highlight reel:
You can get a good sense of his athleticism, strength, and general enjoyment of contact from that video. He's certainly not afraid to hit people. Hard.
[UPDATE: Thanks to user jbibiza for pointing out that Fox's junior offensive highlights are posted for free on Rivals.]
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Without any junior film available, I can't say with much specificity where I think Fox will end up, but given the above evaluations I expect he'll land at tackle. If Fox really is still growing at 6'6", 300 pounds, he seems like a perfect fit for either tackle spot, especially if Michigan is bringing in both Bosch and Dawson at guard.
Fox's potential is probably the most exciting thing about him; again, the guy didn't start playing on the offensive line until last summer and he's already a top-50 prospect in his class regardless of position. While there will likely be some kinks to work out with his technique, he appears to be a very quick study, and his ceiling is extremely high.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Just like that, Michigan goes from three commits and zero offensive lineman in the 2013 class to nine and three, respectively. As stated above, I think Bosch and Dawson are destined for guard while Fox projects to tackle, and I'd have to think with players like Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman still out there that the Wolverines will try to fit another tackle prospect into the class. The big question is whether or not they'll take five offensive linemen and grab a pure center, though they haven't offered one yet; it's possible they see Bosch or Dawson (more likely Dawson, IMO) filling that role, but somebody in this class needs to come in at center and stay there.
As for the rest of the class, Michigan has now filled nearly half of the 20-22 spots expected to be available by the end of the recruiting cycle. February isn't over. Just, um, wow.