“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's high school action, bids farewell to a couple wide receiver targets, and looks forward to a big visit weekend for... basketball?
Get That Man A Square-Toed Shoe
Michigan commits Jaron Dukes (Marion-Franklin) and Taco Charlton (Pickerington Central) faced off against each other this past weekend; Central came away with a 45-24 victory, and MGoUser Dubs was there to take in the action. If you're looking to submit a scouting report for Future Blue Originals, this is how it's done:
DE/LB Taco Charlton, 2013: Despite Marion-Frankin running away from Taco (about 80% of the time), he managed to rack up 8 tackles, and a tackle for loss (zero sacks). It was about 50/50 as to whether he had his hand down as a DE, or whether he was lined up as an OLB. Pickerington Central did show multiple fronts, ranging from a 3-3-5(!), 3-4, and a 4-3 (with Taco as DE). He even saw around 5 snaps on offense, and caught a nice PA-pass for a 15 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter. He did leave early in the 4th quarter after an apparent shoulder injury (possibly a stinger). But after being checked with a trainer, Taco was out there after a couple of plays, only to be banned to the sideline for the rest of the game after the game was well in hand. Pickerington Central won 45-24.
As far as the "eyeball test," I must admit I was a little disappointed at Taco's lack of aggression. There were moments when a sure passing down approached, and I expected to see that pass-rushing prowess we all read about in 7 on 7's this summer, but I did not see it. The tackle guarding him was very large (some may say "fat," but I don't want to personally attack a kid), and VERY slow, so I was expecting Taco to beat him off the line, lower his shoulder, and destroy the QB. Instead, he relied more on his inside spin more than anything. I will suspect that perhaps, it was because the QB was a very good athlete, Taco was in charge of contain more than anything. Marion-Franklin sent a back to chip Taco's outside pass-rush, as well, which also would limit his opportunities. However, I feel there were times where Taco could have taken over the game but did not. I do not know if it is a motor issue, or the coaches playing him conservatively against a dual threat QB.
WR Jaron Dukes, 2013: It was very difficult for Dukes to get involved, mostly because the Marion-Franklin QB relied more on his feet than anything. The throws the QB did make were hitches, outs, slants, and screens of all sorts. That being said, Dukes still managed to haul in 5 passes (out of 8 targets) for about 42 yards. He was targeted for a TD jump-ball thrown to him early in the 1st quarter, in which he had a height advantage of at least 6 inches over the opposing defender, however, the ball was vastly under-thrown, and was broken up. Dukes also dropped a possible TD pass (at least a very large gain) during the hurry-up in the waning seconds of the 2nd. Dukes also handled the kickoff duties, which, if Michigan is looking for some sort of "Tom Dempsey style" kicker/WR hybrid, they got their man.
As far as the eyeball test goes, Dukes did not seem to show a lot of explosiveness, either off the line or to create separation against the defenders (it was kind of a soggy/muggy night, so the field may have been less-than-pristine). There were many times in which the QB was scrambling and, rather than hit that extra gear, he seemed to simply jog. Perhaps he is not used to getting much "love," as most of the passing offense derived from the slot receivers (which if true, why not put Dukes in slot?). I will say this, he did look strong after the catch, breaking a few arm tackles and showing of a pretty solid stiff-arm.
Overall, I felt that these two looked the part of a D-1 prospect. However, it is hard to tell their true potential based on their supporting cast: obviously you'll run away from Taco because his supporting DE looked half his size. And it's hard to get any love as an outside receiver when your QB cannot make the throws. So, I had to remind myself: these kids are prospects. And with that, I have great faith in the Michigan coaches that they can mold these kids into serviceable players or, hopefully, even stars.
A huge thanks to Dubs for sending this in, as well as bringing up the possibility of a Michigan wide receiver also handling kicks "Tom Dempsey style."
[Hit THE JUMP for the full recruiting roundup, including info on what could be a huge visit weekend for the basketball program.]
Several other commits were in action over the weekend. Here's a roundup of some of the standout performances:
Henry Poggi recorded eight tackles (three TFL) in Gilman's 35-14 loss to powerhouse Cincinnati Moeller, according to Tim Sullivan ($). Poggi overcame a slow start to make an impact from all over the defensive line, but Tim says he looks like a three-tech all the way:
With his body type and quickness, Poggi is best suited for 3-technique tackle at the next level. Playing alongside a big space-filler like Ondre Pipkins, he can use his quickness to get into the backfield and make plays. A penetrating three-technique tackle is something Michigan didn't get enough of against the Crimson Tide last night, and though there are players older than Poggi who will likely develop into full-time players before he does, he has the skills to make an impact. His hand technique and quickness stood out as huge positive aspects of his game.
The Wolverine's Andy Reid was on hand to check out Csont'e York and reports that he caught seven passes for 67 yards, a touchdown, and two two-point conversions, while also chipping in a 60-yard punt return TD in his first time playing that role ($). Video highlights of York above come courtesy of Matt Pargoff; York look very impressive at adjusting to the ball in the air and his hands look good, as well.
Jourdan Lewis didn't make a huge impact on offense or defense as Detroit Northwestern largely avoided him in the passing game, but he still gave Cass Tech a huge boost by returning a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown on the only two times he touched the ball, according to Tim ($). The Technicians cruised to a 57-0 victory.
Gareon Conley continues to impress at both wide receiver and cornerback, though his Massillon squad lost a close one to Canton GlenOak, 26-24. A quick scouting report from Bill Greene ($):
Gareon Conley. Senior cornerback. Did all he could do on both sides of the football. Caught two bombs in the fourth quarter, including a 40-yarder for a score, that nearly brought his team all the way back. Was lock-down from his cornerback spot, and tackled well. Also had a long kickoff return during Massillon's fourth quarter rally. The Michigan commit's play was ultra-impressive throughout the game, but especially when the chips were down late in the game.
Shane Morris's Warren De La Salle squad faced one of the top teams in the country, St. Ignatius, falling 49-13. He finished 9-of-22 for 104 yards and an interception that was ripped out of the hands of his wide receiver. I'll say it again: Morris doesn't have the surrounding talent that will make his numbers look good when playing elite high school teams. He's still a five-star caliber quarterback.
Wyatt Shallman rushed for a three-yard touchdown in Catholic Central's 19-7 loss at Toledo Whitmer. UPDATE: Wyatt's father tells me that he also recorded seven tackles and two TFLs on defense.
There's no FBO this week from my end due to my trip to Dallas. It'll be back next week; I'm planning to check out Khalid Hill's East Village Prep squad as well as Cass Tech on Friday.
Five-star basketball visitors, that is. John Beilein continues to surprise on the recruiting trail, and now the Wolverines could host not one, but two 2014 five-stars for the Air Force game, as well as a top 2014 target. 2015 #1 overall recruit Karl Towns, a 6'11" center out of New Jersey, is tentatively set to visit, and five-star Indiana point guard Hyron Edwards tells Tremendous he also plans to come up for the game. Jae'Sean Tate, a 2014 four-star who may be atop Michigan's board for that class, should be there as well; the Wolverines are already in his top four and could push to be his leader with a good visit.
The two visits to watch closely will come later. Allen will take his official to Texas on Oct. 6. Another trip to Stanford is also being planned. If the mood is right on either of those weekends, he'll have no problem pulling the commitment trigger.
It's a simple plan, really. It's also one that could put a bow on his recruitment in the near future.
"If I see what I want on these visits, I might just commit then and there," Allen said. "That's what's going to happen. If I go to a school and I really like it, there isn't much more thinking to do.
Michigan isn't mentioned and doesn't appear to be a factor in his recruitment going forward. If the Wolverines are going to land an elite receiver in the class, it'll be Laquon Treadwell.
That last pattern and catch in Csont'e's video is really nice. The db was playing inside, as is taught in goaline situations, Csont'e faked the fade and got wide open with the diving catch on a slant. Definitely like what I saw there.
If your going to put facts out about Taco Charlton get it right. Taco Charlton ended the game this weekend with 14 tackles on defense, on offense he was on the more than 12 times opening wholes. He had a fumble recovery and 15 yard TD. If you dont know football dont write about it. He dominated the game. They didnt run to his side of the field. He had relentless pursuit of the ball. The film is on Michigan Scout.Thats all I heard was Taco Charlton all night for making tackles.Hes very aggresive. When your playing a mobile QB you have to contain so that he dont get on the outside. You do not know football. I drove from Michigan to see this kid. He is a beast. Please dont put wrong info on him. Every scouting service was impressed. If your going to Blog, blog right.