"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."
MI OL Jake Fisher has committed to Michigan. As he told Tom, this was basically a done deal as far back as a couple weeks ago:
"The last visit was just to make sure really. I basically already knew, but my dad didn't get to really see the campus (at Michigan), so I showed him around." "He really liked it as much as I did. The coaches are really awesome, and I just knew that's where I wanted to go."
And with that, let's skip to the...
4*, #25 OT #6 Michigan
3*, 5.6, NR OT, #18 Michigan
Fisher is currently under-the-radar, not receiving a position ranking from Rivals, and no rating or ranking of any sort from ESPN. The main reason for that is his future position. He played tight end for Traverse City West last year, but is expected to fill out and become an offensive tackle in college.
High school tight end growing into a tackle. Is already strong, considering he still has room to fill out, and he uses that strength to drive and finish defenders. Sets up with a good base in pass protection and does well against the bull rush. Is a high effort, high intensity tough guy who looks to bury his man. Has a great frame, is a good athlete for his size, and really only needs to learn the position.
The Scout profile also lists "flexibility," "nasty streak," and "size" as his strengths (I imagine size doesn't include his weight, which is is only around 260 at this point), and only "technique" as a weakness. Local fluff:
Fisher plays tight end for TC West last year, but has grown from 6-4 to 6-7 and gained more than 60 pounds. He'll return to the end position for his senior year of high school, but will move to tackle at college.
Note that he's still playing a different position his senior year of high school than he will in college. That will keep his ranking low, as scouts won't have the opportunities to evaluate him. His coach notes that his speed has improved over the summer, allowing him to become a BCS-level prospect:
"Jake worked hard on his speed training," Wooer said. "I told the kids the proof is in the pudding. Here's a kid that went from playing at a MAC school in front of 20,000 to playing in front of 100,000 because of his efforts in the weight room."
"He's an athlete," Wooer said. "In his highlight video we threw in some of his dunks on the basketball court. People like to see that. They don't want to see a guy that's 6-7, 300 pounds and can't move. They realize if he's an athlete, they can teach him how to play tackle and teach him how to get stronger in the weight room."
That athleticism is so exceptional that, despite clocking in at over 260 pounds before his senior year of high school, Central Michigan is still looking at him as a tight end:
Most schools have looked at Fisher as an offensive tackle. But Central has expressed interest in keeping him at tight end while Western has considered putting him on the defensive line.
"That's kind of the dream to play tight end in college football," Fisher said. "(But) I would play anything. I just like football that much."
He's also motivated to show off a strong work ethic:
For Fisher, a motivating force has been following scouting reports on fellow recruits — such as Ogemaw Heights' Anthony Zettel.
"I look at their stats and try to compare myself to them," Fisher said. "I try to make sure I'm doing everything I can because they're working hard every day, but I'm working hard, too. I want to make sure I'm doing the same things, or even more."
Should Zettel ultimately choose the Wolverines, the pair will be able to compare each other side-by-side. With so little information on Fisher from sources other than his coach, we're left to sort through the tea leaves to pick apart his game. He has a good frame, and considering he's grown nearly three inches since October, there's a good chance he's still got more room to go. He's earned his BCS offers at camps, so the coaches (including Michigan's) had a chance to evaluate him in person.
Fisher started the year far under-the-radar, but has been impressive in just about every camp he's attended, and has built up a decent offer list for a mid-level prospect. He has offers from most MAC schools, along with Cincinnati and Sparty.
Typically, offensive linemen have no stats to speak of (at least at the high school level). However, since Fisher was a tight end and defensive end (and punter!) last year, he probably put up a little production. I couldn't find evidence of it though, so speak up if you come across it.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals pegs him at 5.17, and neither of the other sites have a time for him. He ran a 4.97-second time at Michigan's camp, impressive for a player his size. For now, I'll give it two FAKEs out of five. I imagine he won't be running times like that by the time he's the size of a college offensive lineman.
Junior highlights at TE and DE:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Fisher, like Taylor Lewan before him, joins Michigan as a shoe-in to end up at the left tackle position. With Lewan just a couple classes ahead of him, he'll have time to develop at the position, as well. Switching from tight end won't be easy, as it will require a serious reshaping of his body, and learning a lot of new technique. After a redshirt year to take care of those factors, Fisher may be thrust into the action.
Taylor Lewan will be a redshirt junior coming off Fisher's redshirt year (as will Michael Schofield), and with no tackles in the recruiting class of 2010, a backup role right off the bat is possible. In fact, with the departure of Dann O'Neill from the class of 2008, and the eventual settling of Patrick Omameh and Kurt Wermers at guard and center, respectively, there are no tackles left from the class of 2008, either.
After playing a backup role for his first two years on the active roster, Fisher should be settled in at the position, and ready to perform at a high level in his junior and senior years. He has the prototypical frame, and as long as he puts in the hard work, he should be able to contend for All-Conference honors.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Weeeeee an offensive lineman! Fisher is the second of what should be several offensive linemen in this class, anywhere from 4-6. Michigan has been light on OL recruiting over the past few years (one in 2010, three in 2009, and four left on the roster from 2008), so this is looking like a serious makeup year.
At least one more tackle, and a couple more interior guys (in addition to center commit Jack Miller) are on the docket. The Wolverines have options like Anthony Zettel, Chris Bryant, Tony Posada, and several others, so they're in good shape to fill in where they need to.
A possible explanation for the Scout love is that Allen Trieu is the Midwest scout guy and he is from Michigan (and a UM fan IIRC) so he will probably tend to be a little biased towards Michigan prospects much like Bob Lichtenfels is toward Pennsylvania recruits.
Again, I suggest this as a POSSIBLE explanation. This is not meant to disparage Jake Fisher at all. I am happy to welcome him to the Wolverine family.
They've seen his athleticism form his junior tape at TE, they've seen how he's grown since his junior year, and most importantly, they've seen him in person against top competition at the Michigan and MSU camps, playing the position he'll play in college.
I'm no great defender of Scout on the whole, but to say they don't know what they're talking about is a pretty huge stretch when they, unlike most people, have seen him actually play offensive line.
Big mgoblog fan but first time commenting. Jr year stats are available on the TC West website (http://www.tcwestfootball.com/). 10 catches for 185 yards and 1TD on offense. As a team they only completed 38 passes for 3 TDs so not much of a passing attack. The only stat that will really be interesting is the weight he can put on between now and the time he hits campus. As a TC grad I wish him the best and hope we can pull some recruits from up there to go along with Khoury and Fisher.
Why not move him to tackle for his senior year to help him get ready for college? I am trying to think of reasons- such as having someone better at tackle in front of him, or a great need for tight ends- but they just don't make sense to me. Any insight is appreciated.
"It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things"
Honestly, moving from tight end to tackle (especially in a run-oriented offense like theirs) wouldn't really make a difference. He'll learn how to run block either way. The thing he's really going to have to work on is his pass protection . . . but he wouldn't be doing much pass protection at tackle for Traverse City West, either.
So it's really not a big deal, IMO, and he's a beast of a tight end.
I think it's odd that you wouldn't get your bigger guys on the inside to smash away at opposing defensive lines. Like you say, he's going to be run-blocking whichever position he plays, why not put your bigger guys (I assume TC West doesn't have 5 guys bigger than him) in a position to move the line of scrimmage.
Like you say though, it doesn't really have an effect on his preparation for college either way.
If you put your mauler on the interior, he has to expend effort to root out one guy (typically a DT).
If you put your mauler on the edge (whether at TE or OT), he can not only root out the DE but also collapse down and force the DT and maybe an ILB to get caught up in the wash. A good down block from a TE can take out 2 or 3 defenders.
Also, when your TE has the athleticism to not only block linebackers, but also make plays in the passing game, then it makes sense to put these guys at TE rather than making them one-dimensional players at OT or OG.
Comparatively, if your tight end could block like Jake Long and catch/run like Kevin Koger, wouldn't you rather play him at TE and put another, less athletic fatty in there at OT?
You're kidding about Google, right? That the words "shoe in" appear together far more commonly than "shoo in" (Google does not recognize the dash) is meaningless. Did you even look at the first page of your Google search for "shoe-in"? Of the top 10 hits I get, 4 of them (including the first three) explain that "shoo-in" is the correct way to write/understand the expression, 2 are puns that reference shoes, and 2 are actual shoes. Only 2 are examples of the use of "shoe-in" (and one of those is a joke in reference to the "barefoot bandit," so it may also be a pun). That's using Google's best algorithms for finding its use as a term. Go to the tenth page of the results, and it's all sentences that use the word shoe in them! In reality, the Google results are astronomically in favor of "shoo-in" being correct.
Anyhow, American Heritage Dictionary doesn't give "shoe-in" as an alternate, neither does the New Oxford American Dictionary, nor does Merriam-Webster.
I don't know what is the correct term for what "shoe-in" is -- malapropism, maybe, but that's not right, because shoo and shoe are true homonyms, yet the meaning of "shoe-in" doesn't make perfect sense (it's "foot in the door" not "shoe in the door") -- maybe we can call it a logical malapropism or something like that. I don't know at what point a widespread but mistaken understanding of an expression becomes common usage, but shoe-in for shoo-in still falls easily into the category of a mistake.
Hopefully he's inherited his dad's work ethic and nasty streak. His father graduated from a Class D school in Northern Michigan (graduated about 35-40 people per class), went to Saginaw Valley and made all-conference as a linebacker. Hope he has a chip on his shoulder like that.
From Allen Trieu at Scout just a few weeks ago (not behind the paywall):
"This may sound crazy, but if we had a draft, and the pool of players was just kids from Michigan, I can't say I wouldn't take Fisher in the top three, simply because of his upside and the position that he plays. He has made tremendous strides this summer, and I think he will have an outstanding college career, not only because of his physical tools, but the toughness and work ethic he has shown this summer."
Also on his profile at #6 in state: "Could move up even further. Has great upside and summer performance was incredible considering he hadn't played tackle before."
For those of you still playing the "star rating game"
This kid is going to gain weight for sure. He is atheletic, with good feet and has a nasty streak. The weight is easy to gain, especially in a year and a half.
Remember RR's lineman must block in space. They do not clump to make walls flesh all the time. This kid is a perfect fit for the spread. Stop thinking about Michigan getting typical "pro" style lineman or players. That is why star ratings are not as high for them. The ratings are based on pro style weights and measures.
Get your head around it. Michigan is a Spread Team now!
Go Blue Jake!
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" --Alfred Lord Tennyson/ John Sheridan B5