THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE I DEMAND TEN-STAR CENTERS AND THE FINEST CUTS OF BEEF ONLY
Hello: Christian Pace, Take II
|#36 OG, 3*||#5 C, 3*||150 watch list|
The "150 watch list" was a much more exiting designation early last year, before it became clear that ESPN was putting almost 500 kids on it. Still, with a variety of Michigan prospects already evaluated and shoved outside of the list the implication is Pace will probably acquire the ESPN equivalent of four stars. Their reasoning for this:
Comes off the ball like a locomotive and derails the defensive lineman on run blocks. Really dominates the defender on base and drive blocks. Fires out low and hard with a flat back and strikes the defensive lineman across with a jarring first punch. Follows the initial blow delivery with great leg drive; churns legs like pistons. Impressive reach and zone blocker; uses excellent footwork in gaining position on the edge defender.
There are some concerns about pass protection, but the final words are "aggressiveness," "nastiness," and "pit bull." It's a very positive assessment.
Though Scout and Rivals are not as enthused, interior linemen often get short shrift—name a position other than kicker where the #5 player in the country doesn't get a fourth star—and as we'll see Pace has a solid offer list. I'm considerably less concerned with his ranking than I was for the various Michigan commits who play sexier spots and didn't have a lot of other schools clamoring for his attention.
Touch The Banner provides a more reserved scouting report:
Pace does an excellent job of finishing his blocks; the running back is sometimes seven or eight yards downfield and Pace is still latched onto his man. When he gets a pancake block, he often just lies on top of his man, which is demoralizing for a defensive player. He drives his legs and doesn't just use his mass to move smaller defenders.
When releasing to the second level, Pace plays a little high. He can probably outmuscle players on the second level, but the problem lies in a lack of agility when linemen get out in open space and play too high. Playing lower will give him more power, but it will also give him a better opportunity to stay in front of those smaller, quicker linebackers. He also needs to work on lower body strength, as he gets stalemated by smaller players at times.
And Ohio Varsity took a look($); it's premium so I'll quote sparingly:
His agility is what sets him apart from most linemen, as he has the ability to get out in space and execute blocks against smaller, faster defenders. Pace thrives as a pulling guard and his film features numerous plays where he rockets out of his stance and immediately becomes a dangerous 265-pound lead blocker.
…eh, not going to see a lot of pulling at Michigan but that agility and ability to operate on the second level will come in handy.
It's worth noting that Pace's size is up for debate. Some places have him as big as 6'4", 270, but Scout's profile lists him at a comparatively shrimpy 6'2", 252, and that's backed up by the weight of a combine appearance. If the latter is accurate—and I tend to believe it is, since, you know, they measured—that would push him more towards center and make this David Molk comparison stronger.
The full dossier as of a month and a half ago:
Pace' offer list also includes Michigan, Michigan State, Pitt, Louisville, North Carolina State, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Colorado, Wake Forest and a host of MAC schools.
Offensive linemen don't have stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Pace is credited with a 5.22 from that combine, which gets zero FAKE out of three.
There is also Scouting Ohio video, and if you loved "Christian Cullen" jumping over stuff and sort of running places, you'll love the Pace Christian edition. Yeah, I watched it. It was 33 seconds of pure bliss.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
As mentioned above I'm far less concerned about the three stars here because of Pace's offers and position; also he sounds like the kind of guy who's a good fit for the reach-heavy zone read game but not likely to blow collegiate linemen off the ball, which potentially makes him more valuable to Michigan than Random College Football Program.
Pace's size all but guarantees a redshirt. From there he'll have the opportunity to compete for Steve Schilling's vacated guard slot, but with Washington and Barnum and so forth and so on the most likely scenario in which Pace finds a starting job is by winning the center melee after Molk's departure.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Pace is the first offensive lineman in the class and won't have much of an effect on Michigan's strategy going forward. Keeping the numbers level would require another three players (McAvoy, Moosman, and Ortmann graduate and Wermers have transferred), at least one of whom should be a tackle. They'd obviously like to add MN OL Seantrel Henderson and FL OL Torrian Wilson; past that there are a couple of Ohioans, Andrew Donnal and Skyler Schoefner, and a vast sea of undifferentiated offerees that will likely develop into a few serious targets.
It's sort of odd to read words like locomotive, aggressive, nastiness, pit bull, and demoralizing and then listen to him speak in the video. Definitely one of the most soft-spoken and articulate linemen I've ever heard.
Offensive linemen are often some of the smarter guys on the team. Reading the defense, anticipating, and deciding who to block and how to block them, plus adjusting after the snap is not easy. A good, smart line makes a good football team.
FWIW, I never get too excited whether it's in a positive or negative way. "Subdued" is a good way to describe me.
seems like he could be a good player down the road in this system. Maybe by his junior year or so. Anyways, the growing depth chart at OL continues to please me such that transfer rumors wouldn't worry me at this point.
The one thing that struck me about Pace was his high school football program under HC Dave Dlugosz. A long history of football program success over there. Must be in the water or something (Lake Erie).
As far as all the talk about Pace the "new breed" of Michigan offensive lineman, Rodriguez's best offensive lines were crafted by Rick Trickett, who left in 2007 to coach at Florida St. Trickett helped develop Rimington Trophy winner Dan Mozes (WVU 6-3, 293) in 2006, as well as WVU greats Ryan Stanchek (6-3,305) and Greg Isdaner (6-4, 322).
Frey is an oustanding OL coach and is very experienced with coaching OL for spread offenses since 2000 (SFU).
But from a size and weight point of view, Rodriguez/Frey/Trickett appeared to LOVE huge lineman...as long as they could "move somethin'".
Other than Isdaner, I don't really consider the others to be "huge." I also looked at their OL's average size from a couple years ago (on a post from long ago), and the average weight was around 289 or 290. That's not abnormally big.
I like this pick up, this guy is a great fit for our zone blocking scheme.
This kid looks like a pancake wizard. I coach linemen and I used to be one and I really like how he lowers his center of gravity. He does a good job of making contact in space. I loved the blocks on his video where he would get into the second and third levels of the defense. Really great pickup.
Sweet RR found some bigger ninjas for the slot, no one will be able to tackle this guy on a swing pass.