Cass Tech S Delano Hill joined his teammate David Dawson in pledging to Michigan today, giving the Wolverines 24 commits in the class of 2013. Hill, previously committed to Iowa, is the fifth Wolverine commit slated to play in the defensive backfield, joining (Cass Tech teammate) Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Ross Douglas, and Dymonte Thomas.
4*, #24 S,
4*, #23 S
3*, 79, #23 S
4*, 90, #22 S
Though ESPN has HIll at three stars as opposed to four, there's a remarkable consensus as to Hill's standing among 2013 safeties, as he's ranked between #22 and #24 at the position on all four sites. He's listed at either 6'0" or 6'1" and between 185 and 200 pounds; having seen him several times in person, I tend to believe the latter figures—Hill is pretty filled out for a high school safety.
Scout lists Hill's strengths as Instincts, Jamming Ability, and Tackling Ability, with Hip Flexibility as an area for improvement; Allen Trieu provides their free scouting report:
A good sized safety and a sure tackler in the open field. Does a good job of diagnosing plays, finding the football and coming in under control when attacking ball carriers. In coverage, he can play over the tight end and slot and cover man to man or in zone. Continuing to improve his footwork and quickness will allow him to cover faster slot receivers in the future. Good overall ball skills and athleticism to go with his size. - Allen Trieu
This guy is a tough customer who demonstrates the open field tackling skills which not only limits yards after contact but should prove beneficial as a special teams coverage defender. We see the flexibility, agility and balance needed to play in space; does a good job coming out of his pedal and flipping the hips when covering inside receivers. This prospect plays smart showing good instincts along with the ability to get to the football and make big plays. Has very good route awareness when in zone coverage ... Demonstrates the ability to play man coverage; displays good foot transition with the ability to turn and run with receivers; gets his head around to locate the ball while flashing a makeup burst. We like his ball skills; shows he can leap and play the ball at the high point. His run support is outstanding; will come up and force off the edge while demonstrating quickness filling the ally; is a very aggressive downhill run defender with the ability to move through traffic; displays very good long pursuit ability.
Though Hill is primarily lauded for his play against the run, he impressed with his coverage ability on the summer camp circuit. Here's Josh Helmholdt on Hill after the Columbus NFTC in May ($):
The defensive back MVP, Hill made a lot of plays in one-on-one and 7-on-7 play. He sees the field extremely well from his safety position, and closes passing lanes quickly. In each of the events we have covered Hill at in recent months he has come down with a number of interceptions, and that was the case again on Saturday. Usually cornerbacks take home MVP awards from the defensive back group because a lot of the work is in man coverage. Hill's win as a safety attests to his abilities in pass coverage.
“They want to play him at safety or at corner,” Wilcher explained. “Delano runs 4.4 and at worst a 4.49. He runs between 21-something and a 22 flat in the 200. He has good recovery speed and good footwork. Great feet. He can play anything. He is tall, he is strong, and he is physical. He is going to be able to go out there and lock up people (at corner) or he can drop back and play safety. He has got it going on.”
While I did watch Cass Tech in person three times this fall, I wasn't particularly focused on Hill—since he was an Iowa commit and there were several Michigan commits and targets on the field, my focus was usually elsewhere. That said, a few things about him stood out to me from seeing him play, especially his closing speed and tackling ability—Hill is the rare prospect that's both aggressive and controlled, able to close the gap quickly and still form up for a proper tackle. His coverage skills weren't often put to the test in games I watched, but Cass Tech rarely got beat over the top with him manning the middle.
Hill's early commitment to Iowa likely limited the number of offers he received; his offer list includes Illinois, Pitt, and Syracuse in addition to the Wolverines and Hawkeyes.
According to 247, Hill recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions as a senior, including a pick-six in the state title game.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 4.44 seconds, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five; Hill is fast, but that's elite speed.
Game film from Cass Tech's matchups against Birmingham Brother Rice and Saline, courtesy of Maize & Blue News:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Hill could wind up at corner or safety depending on the team's needs—if Jourdan Lewis winds up on offense, Hill could very well play corner. In my opinion, however, Hill's best position is safety, where he can really utilize that ability in run support while still making plays in coverage.
Where Hill could make an immediate impact is on special teams, where his speed and tackling ability translate nicely. Down the road, he should find a role somewhere in the secondary, whether it be at free safety or cornerback.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
C&P'd from the Dawson post:
Michigan initially planned on taking five offensive linemen in the class and 24 players overall, but Sam Webb has hinted recently that Michigan could take up to 28 or even 29 players (backdating early enrollees to last year's class) and adding an additional lineman. The Wolverines are still pursuing CO OL Dan Skipper (Tennessee commit) and CA OL Cameron Hunt (Cal commit); Skipper is on campus this weekend and Hunt should visit in January.
Other major targets include VA RB Derrick Green, FL S Leon McQuay III, OH CB Reon Dawson, and newly-offered OH ATH Marcus Ball (Wisconsin commit being recruited as a linebacker).
Hill's commitment shouldn't preclude Michigan from continuing to pursue McQuay and Dawson. No matter what, the Wolverines will likely take a running back—they're in great position with Green and I still like Northwestern commit Godwin Igwebuike as a backup plan—as well as one more defensive back and probably a linebacker, given the recent spate of offers.
It's extremely rare to get a class that fills all of a team's needs with superstar recruits. This class is probably closer to doing that than any Michigan class I remember. Sure, getting Treadwell would be great, but an assessment of this year's class as "Where's all the top flight wrs?" is a little ridiculous.
We need to finish strong with this class and today is a great step towards doing just that. I don't understand how Tredwell wouldn't want to be part of this class. We will have two excellent OL recruiting classes under our belt, a top rated QB (DG) for the next 2 yrs and another top rated QB (SM) for 3 yrs after that. Our D is going to be outstanding and if we can land that top RB talent, this team could challenge for a NC in the next couple years. GO BLUE!!
Nice pick up. He seems to have size, speed, and looks very mature for his age. Now we just need a couple of offensive weapons. One would think that a top notch WR would love to come to Michigan. It's been a long time since a five star caliber WR has committed. Isn't gorgeous Borges sexy enough to recruit these types?
He got that 4.44 time from the Opening, where they used actual NFL combine style timing methods to my knowledge (I apologize ahead of time if I'm wrong on this). I mean, if a guy getting timed with an electronically controlled finish line can't get 0 FAKES, who can?
I looked up if that 40 time was from the opening and I became even more convinced that this guy really does have elite speed. He finished 4th in the 40 at the entire event, an event featuring probably the best collection of talent of any camp/combine this year.
It's amazing that we're about to go from over a decade of generally unathletic safeties (except for Stevie Brown, but that didn't work out as planned) to having two of the fastest guys at the position in the country. Dymonte Thomas has reported run hand-timed 4.3s this off-season, so it's probably pretty safe to assume he's also a sub 4.5 guy if timed electronically (I also have seen stories mentioning that he ran an NFL combine-style electronically timed 4.57 when he was only a sophomore, so even more reason to believe so). This isn't even mentioning that Wilson isn't a slouch speed-wise either.
We're talking about the same event in which Derrick Green tested a 4.31. There's not OSU-UM recruit bias here on my side, I love Green as a RB, and I wish OSU was still recruiting him. That being said, a 40 time from a guy his size that's almost in the 4.2s is bullshit.
The relative speed is more important than hard times. Looking at the 40 results from The Opening, Hill beat a lot of top recruits (Burrows, Woodard, Lewis) by 0.10-0.25 seconds. Maybe Hill just got a good jump or had a good day.
At a minimum, he possesses equal speed of the top DBs. Conversely, his shuttle was average and indicates less agility and hip press. CB might be a stretch but he clearly has the potential to play a couple positions in the B1G.
"Everybody wants to be a hero, so to speak. But it takes everybody." - Charles Woodson
I definitely agree that he has top end speed, comparatively. But when I watch the tape, I don't see "elite" speed. I see a fast kid, but more importantly, I see someone that translates their speed to the football field, which means he has great feet and agility. You guys got yourself a good player.
But I don't think his footwork or hips translate to the corner position. I know Cass Tech has some really good talent, but there's a reason he played safety for them and not corner. Hill is a pure safety, plain and simple. And I really like him at that position (I said as much in my breakdown of him), but the talk of him potentially being a corner is completely misguided in my opinion.
I agree that his footwork and hips aren't great, but he's also not a great tackler. He's going to have to improve in one of those areas (agility OR tackling) or else he's not going to get on the field.
Considering JT Floyd locked onto a starting job for Mattison, I wouldn't be surprised if Hill sticks at corner.
It's not necessarily that he's unwilling to tackle, it's that he has crappy form. He reaches because he puts his head down and doesn't see what he hits. This also causes his feet to stop driving. In my opinion those are correctable problems at a college level, particularly from a team that has depth and can develope players.
I think he'll serve as a special teams player for a while, but his instincts at safety are too good, IMO, to move him to corner. Work on his tackling technique and I think he has the physicality and desire to hit people, which is why I really like him at safety and not corner.
I've seen a couple clips of him getting dragged by ball carriers. Yeah, he puts his head down, but it's not in an aggressive, heat-seeking missle type of way. There's one clip in particular from this year where he gets completely run over. I think it was against Saline. He's just not very physical, unless those highlights just haven't been published.
Maybe give Wilson a run for his money...a great addition!
“True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise — the other, loyalty.”
Two good players added to a solid class. But Jourdan Lewis on Offense? Nooooo. Let Dukes and York get some early playing time. Jourdan is too great of a cornerback. Probably will be the best one we've had since Morgan Trent left. He's a pure corner. Good feet, great man coverage, and makes plays. I can see him starting along side Channing Stribling in 2014. Stribling who can play as our deep covering corner because of his size. Sort of how Alabama used Dee Milliner. Maybe put Ross Douglas in the slot. Or better yet in a few years if we can get Damon Webb. He's OUTSTANDING at corner an I think he'll be the best corner out of Michigan the past 3 years. Did you guys watch his film when he hardly shut down Treadwell in one on ones?? It was crazy!!!
Better than a young mans knowledge is an old mans experience.
What a great weekend...two talented football players accepting their offers to the University of Michigan, and my nephew receiving his official accpetance letter from the Michigan Undergraduate Admissions office to be part of the entering 2013 class. His letter said, "How does it feel to be a Wolverine?"
So, the same question for Delano....How does it feel to be a Wolverine????