The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Huber Heights (OH) Wayne defensive back Tyree Kinnel waited a while for Michigan offer; though the Wolverines began looking at him during his freshman season, Kinnel went without one through several campus visits and even Michigan's technique camp this summer. After an outstanding performance at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp last month, Kinnel finally received the offer he coveted, and today he became Michigan's sixth commit in the 2015 class and their second in two days following Shaun Crawford's pledge yesterday.
4*, #24 CB,
|NR CB||3*, NR S||4*, 90, #18 S||
4*, #20 S,
Rivals still hasn't released 2015 rankings; the other three sites are split on both Kinnel's talent and his future position. Scout likes him as a cornerback and puts him well within their top 300; 247 pegs him as a safety and has him just outside their Top 247 (the #16 safety is #241 overall); ESPN also has him as a safety and gives him a three-star rating.
Scout lists Kinnel at 5'11", 170 lbs., ESPN at 5'11", 183, and both Rivals and 247 have him pegged at 6'0", 190; he's got the size to play either safety or corner. According to multiple reports, Michigan recruited Kinnel as a safety; Ohio State was looking at him as a bigger corner, and with the Wolverines looking for similar attributes from their cornerbacks it's possible he could end up there as well.
Although Kinnel has started at Wayne since his freshman year, there's surprisingly little scouting material on him from anything aside from last month's Friday Night Lights camp. Since that's the most recent look at him, we might as well start there; here's Scout's Dave Berk on Kinnel's FNL performance ($):
Damon Webb would be hard to knock as the top defensive back at Friday Night Lights, but Kinnel was extremely impressive in coverage. Much like he stated, I agree that he can play either safety or cornerback at the next level, and that will all sort itself out over the next two years of high school football. Kinnel is a bigger corner, and college programs love this size out on an island. He is one of Ohio's top 2015 prospects, and he certainly raised his stock with his performance at Friday Night Lights.
Rivals's Josh Helmholdt delves into more detail about Kinnel's coverage skills ($):
The 6-foot, 190-pound Kinnel appears headed for the safety position in college, but he has excelled this summer in camp settings where he is asked to cover like a cornerback. His best attribute at this stage is his break on the football, but the rising junior also shows fluid hips and the speed to cover downfield. He is thickly built and has the frame of a future college safety, but his coverage skills may allow him to play anywhere in the defensive backfield at the next level.
Like Berk, Helmholdt had Kinnel behind only Damon Webb among defensive backs at FNL.
One more bit from FNL from Rivals Ohio analyst Marc Givler ($):
Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne defensive back Tyree Kinnel continues to turn in special performances on the camp circuit and was outstanding once again showing the size and strength of a free safety but the cover skills of a corner. It won't be long until Kinnel is a 20 offer kid.
Kinnel's excellent performance in one-on-one WR/DB drills at FNL—a true test of a defensive back's man coverage ability in a drill that favors the receiver—negates the only negative from ESPN's evaluation that isn't the usual call to add bulk that applies to just about every high school prospect:
STRENGTHS: A savvy player with good instincts and vision. Shows good playing speed and strength. A playmaker in defending both the run and pass. Excellent in zone coverage reading the QB's eyes and making a break on the football. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will benefit from adding bulk to his frame. Lacks experience in laying [sic] man to man coverage. ... BOTTOM LINE: Kinnel is a solid all-around safety that does many things well. Shows the potential to be productive in man coverage with good physical tools.
ESPN gave Kinnel a three-star rating and has yet to give a specific grade or include him in their position ratings, so I don't think they're done evaluating him; then again, this is fire-and-forget ESPN we're talking about, so who knows.
Here's Berk again from a Sam Webb feature in the Detroit News pointing out an important area for improvement:
“I project him as a safety with solid ball skills,” said Berk. “At the same time he is aggressive, has good strength, and is able to support the run extremely well. He needs to work on better tackling technique, but overall he has got all the skills that you’d see in a top level safety at the next level.”
Considering Kinnel has shown a willingness to come up in run support and be effective in doing so, and he's got two more season of high school ball before he gets to Michigan—where he'll be coached up even more on technique—this isn't something I find particularly concerning.
Steve Lorenz caught up with Kinnel's high school position coach after his commitment to get a few more details about his game, specifically his advanced knowledge of football for a rising junior ($):
"He's a person who is still learning the game, but you don't get a player like Tyree very often," Powell said. "He has the size and speed, but he has something that you can't teach a lot of players: he has the instincts to see things before or as they are happening. This gives him the ability to make reads quicker and make plays. He knows how to disguise coverages and he knows how to read opposing offenses. As his position coach, I've given Tyree the permission to call audibles on our coverage. This off-season he really improved in that aspect and can pick up the tendencies of a quarterback with relative ease. He's ahead of his age in terms of understanding the game. The other intangible he has that I really admire about him is his passion and love for the game itself. He's a young man who goes out every day and works his tail off."
Powell also said he expects Kinnel to be named captain, a high honor for a junior, and relayed a story from a recent intrasquad scrimmage in which Kinnel, disappointed with the play of the defense, actually ordered the first team off the field and brought the second team on with the full approval of the coaching staff. Again, The Pattern™ emerges.
Kinnel had offers from Arkansas and Kentucky when he made his commitment, as well as interest from Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Huber Heights Wayne is a solid program in Ohio's Division I, making it to the state championship game (and losing, unfortunately) in 1999 and 2010. Their most notable football prospect is current Ohio State QB Braxton Miller; the school also produced former Wolverines Terrence and Terry Talbott, both of whom had injuries cut their college careers short.
Cincinnati.com has a game-by-game breakdown of Kinnel's sophomore season, in which he recorded 30 solo tackles, a fumble recovery, and two interceptions.
FAKE 40 TIME
247 lists a 40 time of 4.40; this has the look of a self-reported time and I can't find any electronically-timed combine figures, so this gets a solid four FAKEs out of five. While I don't doubt Kinnel's speed, 4.4-flat is an elite time for a college player, let alone a high school junior.
As usual, more highlights and individual game cut-ups are available at Kinnel's Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
If Kinnel, as expected, ends up at safety he'll have the opportunity to compete for playing time at a relatively early juncture. When he arrives in 2015, Michigan will have a senior Jarrod Wilson and juniors Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill, and Jeremy Clark on the roster, plus a 2014 recruit (Montae Nicholson is currently the top candidate to fill the open safety spot in the class; Erick Smith and JuJu Smith are other, less likely options). That should afford Kinnel a redshirt year and then a one-year apprenticeship as a backup before he competes for a starting job; unless Michigan decides to move one of their young corners to safety, he's got a relatively clear path to playing time.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Slightly edited from yesterday's Hello post:
With a very small projected class and plenty of depth in place, the Wolverines would likely take just one more defensive back—NJ CB Minkah Fitzpatrick is a top national target who's shown some interest in Michigan, and five-star CA CB Iman Marshall has an offer in hand, though he's a longshot. [EDIT: I should also mention four-star MI ATH Brian Cole, who projects to corner and is strongly considering both Michigan and Michigan State—the Spartans may actually be the team to beat for him; he's still a more realistic option than Fitzpatrick or Marshall at this juncture.]
Kinnel is Michigan's sixth commit in the '15 class (seventh if you count grayshirt DT Brady Pallante); that group may only expand to 15-17 signees, so Michigan will be very selective about whom they offer. Top priorities include quarterback, at least one more offensive lineman, defensive end, and outside linebacker.
Welcome to the team and Go Blue.
FWIW - and I have no insider info on this what-so-ever, it's simply based on his film - but I think he starts out at CB. He's that fluid of a player. Size is the primary concern (don't think he's really 6') at the safety position and my guess as why he isn't rated higher. It's quite the nifty pickup.
Interesting that after 2 years of heavily focusing on 6'+ CBs they offer and accept two shorter CBs in the 2015 cycle. Is it just because they have their bigger CBs on the roster now that they want some field corners?
Note that they may be "shorter CBs" because they are sophomores in high school.
The difference in an inch or two (which probably grows to abotu 4 inches when you take arm length) still isn't all that much. Get player that is fluid and can make plays, if he has height, it's a plus. But if Kinnel ends up being 5'11 (he'll still be listed at least at 6' on Michigan's roster) that's fine, as long as he's athletic, physical, and smart enough to play football, then a couple inches is relatively minor at the DB position.
Get the guys that are the best players there.
He may be 5'9, but in run support he plays like he's 6'2" and 200 lbs.
Or right and left if the coaches are going that way. Just to extend on my point, I do think Kinnel ends up as a safety, but he has versatility, and will likely start off as a NB and can come down and match up over a slot from the safety position if he has to. That kind of versatility allows the defensive coaches to do a lot of things.
Tyree Kinnel and Shaun Crawford are both 16-17 years old. They're still growing. They won't be playing in the Big House for another two years. Save your comments about their size for summerl 2015. Same thing for Jon Runyan Jr.
I think Crawford just turned 16 so he could be 5'11" 185 by the time he hits campus...and Kinnel is very likely to at least hit that 6 foot mark that some already give him credit for.
As for Runyan, Hoke & Co look at the body types for linemen to see how they are likely to develop, so he must have passed the eye test.
It's funny that size is the primary concern for someone who seems to be consistently described as a bigger corner.
You can't have one without the other.
"He's also the fifth different position (WR, RB, CB, K) to be the first player in his cycle offered by the Wolverines that eventually committed to them."
That's f'n awesome.
At this rate we could very well have our contender for next years #1 overall class wrapped up before most schools have this years class signed. Is this real life?? This is incredible. I almost take it for granted that the countries top recruits will commit to us now.
I'm all for our coaches doing whatever suits them... however, I feel like common sense says there is a huge risk in taking commitments from kids who haven't even played a game of their junior year yet.
Kids grow. Some kids work hard and become better, other kids become complacent, or maybe just plateau or peak when they are younger...
I don't have much more to say than this at the moment but in five to six years from now when all of college football is filling their recruiting classes long before kids play their senior years we will be talking about it...
To segue further - the focus on kids younger and younger seems to be the norm. It's not where I thought I'd be ten years ago as a football fan. Seeing the posts of HS scrimmages is odd. The fact that I read them is consternating. I have no idea what we will be doing in five to six years... but it's not going to be good...it could get weird.
this particular kid is already a two year starter on a good team and has a "football mind" about him. He wants to get better and will do so (IMHO).
about new future Wolverines is the write-ups about Michigan's depth.
Such a change from the last several years.
I think the third (and last) DB in the 2015 class will be Brian Cole from Saginaw. I know some people (Ace?) still see him as a WR, but 247 shows him as a corner and he has said that he would prefer to play defense.
You're right — leaving him off that list was an oversight on my part; he's definitely a more realistic option than Iman Marshall and probably Minkah Fitzpatrick, too.
That audibles thing is huge. I was a little lukewarm on Kinnel, but if he's a high school junior who is reading offenses, disguising coverages, and calling audibles that is a guy I want at safety. Kovacs, man, Kovacs.
He may not be the biggest for a CB, but he plays big, takes great angles to the ball, sheds blockers...really looks like a smart football player. Seems to know how to sniff out a play as good as you'd want to have in the defensive backfield.
What injury ended Terrence talbotts career? That is not why I have heard he left the team so suddenly last fall.
the rest of us, lets leave it at an injury rather the hearsay or speculaton.
We love Ohio kids that grow up Michigan fans.
I like the story of him kicking the starters off the field, it fits nicely with the Peppers story about getting heated in the weight room. Leaders that demand effort from everyone around them. Yes please! I'm on board
So . . . I just got back from doing some chores. I said to myself "I think I'll check out MgoBlog. Maybe we got a comittment since I last checked it out this morning. The way Hoke & Co. are recruiting, you just never know."
the odds are ALWAYS better than "maybe"
Welcome to the Maize and Blue family, Tyree!
a heady and hard nosed player like Kovac, only bigger and more athletic
Nothing better than talent that commits early and displays early leadership qualities. He will fit in nicely with our program and I completely trust this staff and their evaluation. Folks...can we just stop amd think about what Hoke is doing. I dont think that I have ever admired a football coach with the exception of the great coach Bowden , as much as I do Hoke. (Too young to remember Bo) Hoke just gets it...his teams get it. As a die hard Michigan fan with family ties to the program its truly awesome to see a man who cares for the program like I do and like many of you do. His passion for Michigan is resonating in the recruiting world and we are picking up top kids out of Jersey...Ohio...Florida and you name it. These kids are feeling the Michigan difference and that is because of coach Hoke. He might not be the best x and o guy...but dammit ill send any one of my kids up to Ann Arbor from Sarasota in a heartbeat to play for that man and to play for this Michigan program. Tyree welcome and Michigan is proud to have you. Buckeyes have Satan....Sparty has the Grinch...we have Brady Jesus. Go f'n Blue. 6 days.....
Was Jon Runyan the only player from '15 to earn an offer at camp this summer?