i refuse to even consider this a possibility
Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway three-star Joel Honigford became Michigan's second offensive tackle commit in the span of a week when he pledged to the Wolverines this afternoon. Honigford is just two days removed from narrowing his recruitment to a top four of Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, and Oregon; his Crystal Ball was 100% for MSU when he made his decision.
Honigford is Michigan's 17th commit in the 2017 class and the third at OT, joining JaRaymond Hall and Andrew Stueber. His commitment bumped Michigan back up to fourth in the 247 Composite team rankings.
|3*, #47 OT||3*, #46 OT||
4*, 82, #26 OT,
3*, 86, #73 OT,
3*, #48 OT,
Scouting reports on Honigford almost universally mention that he's a big upside prospect with plenty of work to do to reach his potential, so it's not a surprise to see that his rankings contain a couple outliers. Scout and Rivals both have him about ten spots in the position rankings away from four-star status; ESPN is easily the most bullish, putting him in their top 200 overall; 247 swings pretty far in the other direction.
Honigford's size is a major part of his appeal. Every site but Rivals (6'5") lists him at 6'6" and in the 275-pound range, and he carries that weight well—he looks (relatively) skinny and has the frame to add plenty of weight.
About that size: Honigford has added quite a bit of weight just in the last year or so. This blurb from Scout's Dave Berk after the Elite Big Man Camp in February 2015 sets the tone for most of Honigford's evaluations:
Only a sophomore, Joel Honigford has a great frame at 6-foot-6, 241-pounds. During drills we came away impressed with his agility and quickness. Must get physically stronger and add bulk going forward but has a bright looking future.
Honigford has packed on about 35 pounds since then and still looks like he can add a lot more. Berk's evaluation also falls in line with everyone else's take on Honigford: good size and athleticism, big upside, needs to bulk up and refine his technique. Scout's free evaluation:
EvaluationHas the desired frame for offensive tackle at the next level. Long, lean, and has continued to fill out through his high school career. Solid athlete. Moves with coordination and balance. Can still improve technique, particularly in pass protection while adding strength and more size to his frame but he has good upside.
- Body Control and Balance
Areas to Improve
- Pass Protection
- Power And Strength
Rivals doesn't have much on Honigford despite hosting him at one of their RCS camps. Josh Helmholdt helped explain why in a board post after Honigford's commitment today when asked why the ratings and offers didn't quite line up:
Upside. His offers are about who he can be, not who he is right now as a player. At the Rivals Camp in Columbus he had a so-so performance, and he's had some so-so performances at other camps I've heard. Needs to improve at the point of attack, needs to improve his fundamentals at the position, but does not lack for any physical tools. We measured him 6-5, 277 at that RCS, and he has the frame to add more weight. He plays light on his feet and certainly has the quicks to catch the outside speed rush. Again, this is a development project, but the tools are there.
While we've documented ESPN's habit of posting scouting reports that don't match their rankings, in this case the split makes sense—while there's a lot of technical nitpicks to make, they like his ceiling:
Displays adequate initial quickness and shows good patience and balance in set, though at times can lunge and get top heavy. Needs to continue to refine, but flashes good punch. Needs to watch pad level, but displays good knee bend with enough lateral mobility to mirror rushers when gets hands on. "Bigger fish in smaller pond" to handle himself [ed-Ace: no idea], but needs to add more mass to help him anchor against power.
Demonstrates ability to get into defenders with good quickness and can come off with pad level, roll hips at contact and gain physical leverage. When gains positioning displays good knee drive to generate push, but still needs to improve size and strength as he faces bigger competition. Displays good balance and body control when asked to pull and work to second level and can locate and get a piece of targets.
It's encouraging to read that he's already able to play with good pad level, even if not consistently, and he possesses the balance and flexibility to develop into an excellent lineman. ESPN concludes that he has "promising upside" and could be either a tackle or a guard, and while he's unlikely to contribute early he can be a "good starter at the Power-5 level."
The running story of Honigford's recruitment was his pursuit of an Ohio State offer. The Buckeyes landed two blue-chip linemen early in the class, and with a small group projected for this cycle they may take as little as one more. As recently as February, Scout's main Ohio guy, Bill Greene, expected Honigford to land that coveted offer:
Joel Honigford. Offensive tackle. Garaway. This just might be a guy with so much potential that forces Ohio State to offer. Has great size and athletic ability. Plays against weak competition, but he could be the next Taylor Decker on the college level. The national offers are starting to roll in. I think he is close to landing the Buckeye offer.
247's Alex Gleitman also expected Honigford to get the call if OSU missed out on a couple top-50 targets. Honigford no longer needed to wait after the Buckeyes picked up a five-star last week:
It was a little bit of surprising news when Ohio State decided to completely move on from recruiting in-state talent Joel Honigford on Monday, rather than just telling the in-state product with 29 offers to wait a little longer for them to figure out their numbers situation.
Well, today, it became very clear as to why the Buckeyes did what they did, as the program landed a commitment from Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco 2017 OL Wyatt Davis, seemingly out of nowhere.
While Honigford isn't far enough along in his development to fit into OSU's small, five-star-laden class, that's not much of a knock—it's impressive that he was even considered given the circumstances. Michigan has a lot more room to take on a high-ceiling developmental prospect.
Honigford holds offers from Auburn, Boston College, Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami (NTM), Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, TCU, Tennessee, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Western Michigan. While not quite an elite offer sheet, there are some very good programs on there—that list indicates he could move up from his current three-star ranking.
Rivals is now useless, and a quick Bentley database search doesn't show any former Wolverines hailing from Garaway High. Greene's eval above indicates Honigford doesn't play against high-level competition.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Honigford tested at one of the Opening regionals and posted solid combine numbers:
In the meantime, the slender tackle put up pretty solid numbers at The Opening, including a 5.35 40-yard dash, 4.71 shuttle, 38-foot power ball, and 25.8-inch vertical leap.
While one doesn't normally associate jumping with O-line play, Honigford's vertical is one of the better marks for a lineman, and that kind of explosion plays well at the position.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Honigford is a dead lock to redshirt given both his position and scouting profile, as well as the fact that Hall and Stueber (and the top-level targets on OL that haven't committed yet) will be more ready to play early. He should have at least a couple years of apprenticeship ahead of him before competing for a starting job, and he has some positional versatility—there are some indications he's athletic enough to be a left tackle, and he could also be a Braden-style guard, especially if he's closer to 6'5" than the 6'6" at which he's listed. Honigford is an upside guy: Michigan will be patient with him in the hopes that he'll break out in his final two or three years of eligibility.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is now at 17 commits in a class that should read the mid-to-upper 20s. The addition of Honigford means they can probably only take three of their four main targets on the O-line, which are Kai-Leon Herbert, TJ Slaton, Cesar Ruiz, and Isaiah Wilson. That's a sacrifice, but one that isn't unreasonable; going 4-for-4 on blue-chip targets isn't an easy proposition, and you never know when a spot may open up anyway.
Other major needs in the class include WR, TE, OLB, CB, and S. Here's the class as it currently stands:
Fuller – MGoBlog
When Michigan took a flier on a 3* Ohio (yes, that Ohio) commit late in the 2012 recruiting cycle, few could have predicted that he’d grow into such a great player at the college level. Despite being as skinny as humanly possible, Caris played so well in practice that they burned his redshirt; a few months later he was getting valuable rotation minutes on a Final Four team. As a sophomore, he had a breakout season alongside Nik Stauskas as Michigan ran roughshod over the rest of the Big Ten.
With his classmates – Stauskas, GRIII, and Mitch McGary – in the NBA, LeVert’s last two seasons in Ann Arbor were derailed by injury and the Wolverines acutely felt his absence. Through the first two months of his senior year, LeVert was playing at a very high level and it appeared as if his decision to return to Michigan would help him in the draft, perhaps even giving him a shot to be a lottery pick. And then he got hurt again.
In the run-up to the draft, Caris wasn’t projected by anyone to go in the first round. His injury history was his defining characteristic characteristic as a prospect, and he wrote an open letter to GMs on the Players’ Tribune essentially to explain how many obstacles he’s already overcome and what kind of player he can be when he’s healthy. Pretty much everyone agreed that he’d be a perfectly fine second round pick – which gives a player far less certainty than being selected in the first round does – that could outperform his draft slot if healthy enough to play.
I really liked him as a prospect: it’s rare to see someone with such obvious 3-and-D potential at both ends of the floor in college, plus his passing ability and handle could allow him to play as an oversized point guard. By his senior year, he’d shown it all: 45% from three on more than four attempts per game, 32.9 to 11.8 assist to turnover rate ratio, a free throw rate of 44.0 – an offensive blend of efficiency and usage along with the most active, disruptive perimeter defense he’d ever played. The big if will always linger until he strings together a few healthy seasons, but he’s definitely an NBA player if he can stay on the floor.
In last week's draft, Caris was selected 20th overall – 2/3 of the way through the first round – by the Brooklyn Nets, a team who traded Thad Young, an established veteran, to get into the draft (as their extremely valuable first-round picks are held by the Boston Celtics for a few years as the aftereffect of a disastrous trade). The Nets were evidently comfortable with his medical reports, as LeVert’s most recent surgery was done by someone who works for the franchise.
Based on the consensus of the pre-draft hivemind, it might have been considered a reach, but most considered it to be a worthwhile gamble based on the dire future in Brooklyn and LeVert’s potential to grow into an impact player down the line. The Nets – projected to finish in the bottom three of the NBA again next season – need to gamble on upside and they did exactly that. That they were willing to essentially give up their second-best player (granted, on a terrible team) for a player who’d just suffered consecutive season-ending injuries indicates how much they see in LeVert.
There will be plenty of opportunity for him. Aside from their fluid and effective low post scoring center, Brook Lopez, the roster is really bad. After buying out Joe Johnson’s hideous contract, the backcourt rotation was miserable – Shane Larkin, Donald Sloan, Jarrett Jack, Wayne Ellington, Markel Brown. Much like the situation Stauskas stepped into in Philadelphia last summer, there will be plenty of available playing time for Caris if he’s ready to go by the start of the season.
It would be shocking if LeVert didn’t get significant rotation minutes, based on their willingness to concede Young and trade in to the draft. That LeVert is an older prospect is helpful in that regard, though there’s obviously a massive jump in quality from mostly small-conference college opposition in the last few years to facing other NBA players every night. If the transition is easier for him than for other recent Michigan draftees, he could start as a rookie and put up a lot of empty stats on a bad team – consider taking Caris as a sleeper if you play fantasy basketball.
I think Brooklyn is a pretty good landing spot for him, and – on the chance that he greatly exceeds even optimistic projections – it’s somewhere where he could quickly become a foundational asset. I’m surprised that they took him in the first round, though perhaps they were unwilling to find out if one of those excellently-run late, late first round franchises liked him a lot too.
As someone who’s closely followed LeVert’s college basketball career, it’s really hard not to root for him – that his decision to return for his senior season, a risk that didn’t work out, eventually didn’t wind up hurting him in the long run is a relief. Frequently seeing him in street clothes on the sidelines was a significant dimension of the past two years of Michigan hoops, and it’s hard not to consider him as one of the most snakebitten UM athletes in recent memory. To now see him on the cusp of a promising pro career, degree in hand, ready to sign a contract that could very well wind up paying out around six million dollars – it’s a happy ending for a career marked with such misfortune. We’ll be rooting for you, Caris.
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CBLavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi.
|Winter Garden, FL – 5'11", 175|
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
#75 WR, #69 FL
4*, #184 overall
#23 WR, #35 FL
3*, #421 overall
#67 WR, #57 FL
|Other Suitors||UO, UF, OSU, Bama, UK, Texas, Clemson|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. UA game.|
Let me state first off that this is a gentleman with the last name "McDoom". Therefore as a writer and person who looks at names I have a strong desire for this guy to succeed.
That said, hot damn I love this guy's skills. McDoom looks like a nightmare to cover. He's not that big; he is very fast and very quick. On top of that his route running is lethal. This Vine from the UA game is evidence of such; the video above has about ten minutes more of it:
That guy lookin' like Indiana's secondary is composite top 50 corner Chauncey Gardner.
McDoom's film has a ton of that stuff on it. His movements are abrupt; he times those movements excellently, breaking to his true destination after the defensive back commits his hips elsewhere. In the above clip he sells his route by looking back to the quarterback long enough for the CB to bite. He gets on top of defensive backs in a hurry and then one false step, or even a moment of hesitation, and McDoom is gone. He's not an insane burner, but he's plenty fast enough…
...clocked with an official time of 10.85 seconds in the 100-meter dash as a junior. Jabrill Peppers ran a 10.52 as a senior. Jehu Chesson was a 10.7-second 100-meter sprinter. McDoom's 21.72 time in the 200-meter last spring is faster than the 21.98 Peppers ran in his final state title race as a senior.
…to make his route chops count. (Jedd Fisch asserts on MGoBlue that McDoom ran "a 10.5 hundred meter dash, a sub-21 two hundred, a sub-47 four hundred," which I can find zero evidence for anywhere; some of that seems pretty dang implausible.)
Unlike some receiving prospects his highlight film has just about the entire route tree on it. He looks good whether he's hand-fighting through contact and high-pointing a fade, decelerating for a curl, or selling a deeper route before coming back for a tunnel screen. You can't get much of a read on hands from a highlight reel with drops excised; everything else looks pretty good.
ESPN, which named him a late replacement in the UA game, is unsurprisingly the most enthused about McDoom's potential:
…both quick and elusive at the same time with quality acceleration traits. … Displays quality to shake and wiggle and change-of-direction when attacking a defenders alignment. …very decisive route runner both as an inside slot and on the outside one-on-one. Wins with quickness and avoiding getting held up at the line. Can win deep due to technical prowess. … will elevate, extend away from his frame and compete in contested match-ups … sneaky good in his ability to create separation … polished and versatile target. …already a fairly precise route runner.
You may remember this scouting reports from Mario Manningham, who ruined people with his precision and quickness despite not being huge and not having elite top end speed. (Manningham ran a 4.59 at the NFL combine.) Several end-arounds in McDoom's highlight reel are reminiscent of Manningham at the Citrus Bowl. So too is the shield-and-extend technique McDoom uses to separate on a couple fade routes.
Tim Sullivan had a similar report upon his commitment:
…slippery, quick-twitch inside receiver… not a juke-inside-a-phonebooth slot, but has adequate moves to get past one tackler … solid understanding of how to get open against zone and man coverage, and uses his feel for the game to set himself up for that yardage after the catch. …doesn't have elite long speed, but he's plenty fast to stretch the field … At times, he has difficulty making natural catches with his hands, letting the ball get into his body, or double-catching it after initially bobbling.
As did Scout's Greg Biggins after taking him in at the UA game:
…definitely belonged with the best of the best in nearby Orlando. He's a quick-twitch athlete that consistently created separation off the line of scrimmage and kept defenders on their toes. McDoom has battled drops at times in the past, but he was consistent and made the most out of his opportunities. Really did a good job of sticking his foot in the grass and running crisp routes.
And Touch The Banner concurs:
…very agile, speedy, and dangerous in open space. The 4.65 forty does not sound very impressive, but he plays faster than that. The reason he looks faster is because of his acceleration and quick feet, even though his long speed is not out of this world. …very disciplined, crisp route-runner who shows some nuance in running fades, deep curls, dig routes, square outs, posts, etc.
Scout's Corey Bender:
“…McDoom's nimble feet and burst of quickness allows him to create good separation when breaking off the line of scrimmage. He has the speed to get behind defenses.”
247's Clint Brewster:
…really comfortable running all the patterns in the route tree … savvy player with a nice feel for coverage and he knows how to stem his routes and set up opposing cornerbacks to think he’s running a different pattern. There's some nice subtleties to his game that stand out on film. … the route running and innate feel for the position to be productive in college.
247's national analysts weren't rapturous but came around on McDoom after a first day at UA where he "looked good at times and average at others"; day two he "continued to impress with his top-end speed" and day three was "another solid day" thanks to his speed and route-running.
So these evaluations don't seem to match the rankings save ESPN's—must be opposite day. There is one that does, a skeptical take from Rivals analyst Rob Cassidy, who emphasizes McDoom's need to add weight and then says some stuff diametrically opposed to everything above:
“He’ll need to be a better route runner. He’s got some good speed and some good length but I don’t think he’s ever going to lead Michigan in receptions or yards. I think he can definitely contribute in the Big Ten sometime down the road. … good football speed and he looks plenty fast on tape. I don’t know if he’s going to be a guy who stands out as the fastest guy in the Big Ten conference but he’s got enough speed to make things happen in space once he catches the ball.”
That is a three-star evaluation and Rivals offers up a middling three stars. I don't know where Cassidy's bit about McDoom's route running comes from since everyone else is like "A+++++ would watch this man make toast again," but it's a coherent opinion, albeit one that's low on discussion of his skills and high on hand-waving generalities.
McDoom's recruitment was a weird one. He is the third player in this class that UF thought was headed for their class until an abrupt change in his recruitment, although in this case this was Florida apparently backing off. He fielded a bunch of Kentucky crystal balls during the fall, and then Oregon stepped in. Like Nick Eubanks, McDoom has a ton of offers that are difficult to evaluate for sincerity. He got a Bama offer and said they led after a visit; Clemson was his first offer; Ohio State apparently threw their hat in the ring. After his decommit the other three schools he was nominally considering were Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Georgia. Visits are telling, though, and Oregon was his only other official. Oregon is a pretty pretty good WR offer. The rest is unknown.
Michigan's coaches don't care. Both Steve Lorenz and Sam Webb have mentioned that McDoom was at or near the top of Michigan's board at WR; Lorenz has repeatedly stated a belief that it's McDoom who will break through earliest amongst Michigan's six-man recruiting class at WR. This was still the case as of May, after the coaches got a look at Ahmir Mitchell through spring practice:
We’re told that he excels in some of the areas that you can’t really coach or teach and that it may give him a head start compared to the others.
I assume that stuff is his general feel for the game.
At 6' or just a hair under, McDoom could play inside or out; with a number of other slot types in the class he appears destined for the outside. He told MLive he would be starting out at Amara Darboh's "Z" spot. Like a couple other guys in the class I assume that they'll get acclimated to one position early and branch out from there.
"I can't have a place that is too cold too 24/7 because I am a Florida boy."
Meanwhile this is so very Harbaugh:
During one of Harbaugh's visits to McDoom at his high school, Michigan's coach arrived just as the receiver was supposed to head to his team's banquet. Harbaugh being Harbaugh, he told McDoom he'd just come with him as a guest. But -- Harbaugh being Harbaugh -- he didn't stop there.
"He spoke to the whole team (afterward), that was pretty awesome," McDoom recalled. "He was telling stories from when he played, telling us about himself a bit. It was just really cool."
ESPN had two entirely different commit posts describing McDoom's game separated by just a few weeks; entertainingly these posts come up with different player comparisons. (Bryce Treggs of Cal and Steven Mitchell of USC, if you're interested and those names mean anything to you.)
Why Mario Manningham? Six foot quicks merchant with B+ long speed and the ability to wreck you with his routes. Manningham was much more hyped as a recruit, a universal top-100 player. McDoom was lost in the shuffle in Florida.
Freddy Canteen is another recent comparable, and one rated more in McDoom's range. Canteen was barely scouted by the time he committed to Michigan because his high school spent his junior year in prep-school limbo. His career has been hampered by both position switches and injury.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. A lot of consensus when it comes to the scouting reports, with Rivals the main outlier. Only ESPN follows through on the positive evaluations with a high ranking.
Variance: Moderate. McDoom's probably going to be a contributor but has a wide range of possible outcomes. Manningham 2.0, or useful but not amazing slot type. Take your pick.
Ceiling: High. Love his potential as an inside/outside guy who can be that cover-four-wrecking slot you need these days, and then do some Chesson-vs-Hargreaves things on the outside.
General Excitement Level: Very high. Surprise: McDoom is co-Sleeper of the Year with Josh Uche. I thought the second SotY was going to be Nate Johnson, but after going over both of them I'm more enthused about McDoom's ability.
Projection: McDoom is ready to go, give or take 15 pounds, and was really high on the coaches' board as a recruit; he will play. He'll be in apprentice mode as a freshman. In 2017 he'll battle Ways, Harris, Perry and his classmates for the two and a half starting jobs. I think he gets one. I won't be shocked if he doesn't, but the bet is on McDoom.
I expect McDoom to stick as an outside WR. Michigan has a couple other guys who are potential slot receivers in the class and three more years of Grant Perry; McDoom will get every shot to be a deep threat. As he gets more experience under his belt Michigan, he'll play more and more as a slot, especially against the MSUs of the world. The number of safeties who can get drafted into man coverage against him without being left in the dirt is small indeed, but to make that work at maximum efficiency McDoom will have to be an outside WR who occasionally shows up in the slot, possibly with a guy like Bunting or Gentry flanked outside of him.
Nico Collins gets Friday Night Lights'd
This is from AL.com and thus rather AL centric, but it's well done all the same:
Michigan doesn't get a mention except at the very tail end when he's listing his top schools, but I believe this is the second workout that Collins has been taped at where a certain Maize and Blue item features:
We'll see if that matters long term. Better than nothing.
Package or no
MI CB Ambry Thomas talks to Kyle Bogenschutz and says 1) that he's "more than open to leaving the state" and 2) that playing with MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is kind of a big deal:
"It's very important, that's like blood," he said. "It is very important. 10 (out of 10)."
Also MSU is "real smooth." These things don't go together, but when someone asks you about school X it's not like you say "those guys suck and their coach is an eggplant." Thomas currently plans a Signing Day decision.
California camp folk
CA RB Najee Harris, the #1 prospect in the country depending on who you listen to, came out to Michigan's LA camp and actually worked out, which is a rarity for big-timers. Isaiah Hole got some video of Harris getting coached by Ty Wheatley, and reports that Michigan seemed to help themselves out:
Pretty much the entire staff -- save for Jim Harbaugh, who spent his time interacting with all the campers -- got some face time with Harris. It was something of a cacophony in the way the staff moved from station to station, working with the bulk of the camp and then spending a little time with Najee himself. Harris seemed to really enjoy himself, especially his time with Wheatley.
Harris is a nominal Alabama commitment but showed up at the camp in USC gear and what does commitment even mean, you know?
CA TE Josh Falo seems like he's had a bad experience or two during his recruiting process:
“It's pretty up there because they use the tight end a lot,” Falo said. “[Coach Jay Harbaugh is] a relaxing dude, he's straight forward with you and he doesn't lie to you.”
Falo is one of this year's mystery recruits. I haven't seen any indication where he might be leaning. That might be good for Michigan in the long run, as they don't have a slam dunk second TE target in the class. M and Falo could circle back around late and find something mutually appealing. FWIW, Falo is on Team Hypercool, AKA team Michigan Targets And Commits Except Jaylen Kelly-Powell For Some Reason, at the Opening.
CA DE DJ Johnson is similarly mysterious; it's not often you get a California kid whose crystal ball consists of four picks split evenly between Ole Miss and Miami. Johnson has a murky top four of Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Miami. He showed at Michigan's camp as an observer and talked to Isaiah Hole:
“They told me they're going to have an attack defense,” Johnson said. “It's going to be a great one. I like what I'm hearing from them and stuff like that. It should be a great experience, hanging out with them and watching them play live when I go out there and watch them play."
He'll take an official to Michigan in the fall. Nothing would surprise in his recruitment.
CA OL Jalen McKenzie says he'll take an official visit after hitting up a satellite camp. McKenzie has a brother at Tennessee and they're the tentative leader.
Peppers 3.0, Hudson 2.0, And Other Reasonable Coach Scouting
2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese's coach talks with Brandon Brown about his game:
"We play Otis all over the place because of how multi-faceted he is," Fabrizio said. "We’ll bring him off the edge because he’s a mismatch for anyone trying to block him. We’ll roll him down into the box to help against the run and we’ll also split him out to cover the other team’s best receiver. We ask a lot of him and we try to take advantage of the wide range of abilities he has."
That gentleman is destined to be a SAM linebacker a la Peppers. I love the fact that Michigan's defense now has a dedicated slot for a hybrid space player. I'm excited to see Michigan finally deploy a modern anti-spread D.
Brown also talked to CT OL commit Andrew Stueber's coach:
"What sets him apart is that, although he’s 6-6 and around 300 pounds, is the way he moves. I know the Michigan coaches saw that in person. He won a bunch of the speed and agility tests out at the camp. Coach Brown called me up and told me how impressive he was and I said, ‘Yup! I told you so.’”
Stueber isn't even 17 yet, which means he might add another inch or two of height and is far away from his physical ceiling. His coach thinks he's a left tackle all the way. If he ends up at 6'8"—he's already measured in at 6'6.5" at an Opening regional—and able to move he'll certainly be groomed as one.
OH OL Joel Honigford released a top four of M, MSU, Auburn, and Oregon. Michigan was a hot name for him for a minute but Andrew Stueber's commitment probably means that Michigan focuses on the big fish they've got on the hook.
Michigan's offered TN OL Obinna Eze, who is another left tackle type at 6'7" or 6'8" depending on who you listen too. Wingspaaaaaan:
Anyway, Brown reports that Eze was shocked at a Michigan offer because it shows "people on the other side of the country" know about him. (Please do not get out your maps and #wellactually a recruit.) We're big in Nigeria:
"Michigan is a big institution. My mom in Nigeria knows what school Michigan is. I’m just grateful for it."
Eze worked out at Michigan's Tennessee satellite camp; his recruitment has zero shape right now. There's one Bama crystal ball in for him; meanwhile his 247 profile lists Kentucky and only Kentucky as "warm." I seriously doubt he ends up at either place. As of about ten days ago Eze was trying to get his recruitment wrapped up relatively quickly, so Michigan will have to get an unofficial real soon or an early-season official to stay involved.
VA OL Mekhi Becton is expected to stay close to home but he will visit Michigan and various other Midwest schools in the near future:
“I have my best relationships with Michigan, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Penn State and Michigan State,” Becton said. “I’m still talking to a lot.”
At 6'7", 345 he is a massive human being.
CA OL Drew Dalman visited last week. He's a three-star center and could be a Plan B if Michigan doesn't end up getting Cesar Ruiz.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Grudging 2018 items
— D-ROB. (@DoriansTweets) June 27, 2016
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit up Michigan's LA camp. He's got his offer in hand now and continues to display a dual threat aspect to his game that is pretty enticing:
Thompson-Robinson won approximately half -- if not more -- of the drills that he participated in, including fastest man in camp and the backpedal drill. Jim Harbaugh openly acknowledged, "This is a first! We haven't had a quarterback win these drills!" The Michigan legacy was fast and showed a lot of composure in every drill he competed in.
You may remember that Thompson-Robinson had some contradictory thoughts about Michigan and Ohio State after a Midwest visit sweep a few months ago. That appears to be a moot point with OSU focused on another QB prospect. Thompson-Robinson told Sam Webb that UCLA, Michigan, and Arizona State were sticking out and that mom, an alum, was a little excited with the Michigan offer:
"I was actually in the car with my mom when I got it," Thompson-Robinson said. "She was so happy she almost crashed the car. It was a really fun time. I was really happy I got that one."
I think she's in our corner. Brandon Brown reports that Thompson-Robinson is thinking about coming up for the BBQ in August and doesn't have any other unofficials on the docket.
CA WR Jalen Hall also worked out at Michigan's camp, and is really good. This is a pretty crootin quote right here:
“I would say that (they stick out) as well as the other schools,” Hall said.
Hall's already been out to Ann Arbor with his team.
OH RB Jaelen Gill released a top 9 including M. Also now I know that Gill goes by "Squizzy Squirt" on twitter, which is really something.
MI LB Ovie Oghoufo picks up a Michigan offer. Oghoufo is Mario Ojemudia's cousin and Mario's all like cumong man:
"With Rio he has a great relationship with them so he can fill me in a lot about what they’re all about. I talked to him right after I got offered and he was like, ‘Hurry up and commit.’ He was very excited for me — it was a great moment."
Oghoufo just picked up a Notre Dame offer on his visit and has been up to MSU multiple times.
CA OL Wyatt Davis committed to OSU; FL WR Michael Harley committed to WVU; FL WR Jhamon Ausbon committed to LSU. 2018 NJ DE and LB Jayson and Justin Ademilola both committed to ND, which sucks mostly because we had crystal balls for them to Michigan.
VA DT Darnell Ewell hasn't committed yet, but after an OSU/M/ND swing this was his mom's reaction…
"Notre Dame is one of a kind … Michigan was nice too."
…so that's not happening. Also nevermind all the Baylor defectors, who were split up by Texas and Oklahoma like the jerks they are.
The first rule of Draftageddon is "you must complain about Draftageddon." The second is "the four people drafting assemble teams of Big Ten players in an effort to seem the best at drafting."
Previously on Draftageddon:
Two Michigan guys go before the one good quarterback and our tight end goes 5th overall. Homers much?
ACE: Round 3, Pick 1: Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
OFFENSE: RB Saquon Barkley, WEAPON Jabrill Peppers, WR Jehu Chesson
DEFENSE: OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers
SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers, PR Jabrill Peppers
Chesson, as you’re well aware, had more close-but-not-quite moments than I care to recall in the first nine games of his junior year as he incrementally improved while waiting for Jake Rudock to calibrate his deep ball. The final four games, post-calibration, were a Wow Experience.
Indiana is bad and should feel bad, but those last two games came against a pair of first-round cornerbacks in Eli Apple and Vernon Hargreaves—the latter is still waiting for that hitch:
I’d be more wary of basing this pick on a small-sample breakout if it hadn’t been so easy to see coming in the first place. CBSSports agrees: Chesson is their top-ranked senior receiver in the country.
In addition to his downfield receiving prowess, he also provides big-play ability on end-arounds (8 rushes for 155 yards and 2 TDs last year) and kickoff returns, as well as great blocking for a receiver. Again, this pick is also a reflection of the other available talent; the next-best receiver on the board is probably one of PSU’s Chris Godwin, Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp, or Amara Darboh.
[After THE JUMP: We take the linemen Pro Football Focus tells us to. Not our fault if their helmets have wings]
Inclusions and omissions. PFF lists its top 101 players going into 2016 and Michigan's defense is well represented:
- #7 Jourdan Lewis
- #16 Jabrill Peppers
- #27 Maurice Hurst
- #31 Chris Wormley
- #72 Ryan Glasgow
We knew most of this already since Hurst was projected as a first round pick by PFF and Glasgow came in for mention as a top-20 DL a year ago. This is some more detail on Glasgow:
Another standout performer on the Michigan defensive line, Glasgow played only 332 snaps before going down to injury in Week 10. He posted a dominant +17.6 grade against the run to go with a +9.0 pass rush grade and his overall grade ranked 19th in the nation at the time of the injury.
Losing him was a crushing blow to the run D.
PFFs omissions are illuminating and one jumps out: Jake Butt. This might point to a hole in PFF's methodology. Their list doesn't have a single TE on it. IIRC when they mentioned Butt in the past they had negative grades for his blocking, which is reasonable since he was very much a finesse guy a year ago. It seems like TE blocking should probably be graded on a curve since a guy like Butt helps out the run game in other ways due to his threat as a pass catcher.
Anyway, there are three Michigan DL amongst the best in the country… and one of them probably isn't going to start. Add in Charlton, Mone, and Gary and this line is set to be an all-timer.
Speaking of Glasgow. He tells Nick Baumgardner he's almost all the way back:
Glasgow -- who posted 25 tackles (5 for a loss) -- says about 95 percent of his shoulder strength has returned. And if Michigan were to start fall camp tomorrow -- it'll begin Aug. 8 -- then Glasgow would be full-go without any limitations.
"There might be some rust with technique and stuff. But (I'd be healthy and ready)," Glasgow added. "Being out on the field is amazing. I definitely took it for granted before and I never will ever again now. That injury definitely sobers you up to the fact that football does have an end date. Which is unfortunate.
"But it makes you appreciate the game."
If Glasgow does get displaced by Mone I'll be shocked. Not lemon-eating shocked. But shocked.
Oakland is not in play. "Off to NFL in three years" futures are cratering:
“Happy, happy—10 out of 10 happy,” he says. He juggles a pair of camps and time with a number of recruits here on unofficial visits. “And then I get to walk over to the stadium and do the offensive and defensive linemen too! You’re like a pig in slop out here. That’s how I feel. Drawing the long straw today.”
Purdue 1980. Via Dr. Sap:
Better than nothing. John O'Korn hit up the Manning passing camp and came away with a prestigious award:
Southern Mississippi’s Nick Mullens and Michigan’s John O’Korn were crowned co-champions of the Air-it-Out Quarterback Challenge after neither could separate themselves after five rounds of competition at Nicholls State University's stadium. …
During the passing challenge, the quarterbacks had to hit three golf carts traveling across the field at 15 yards, 25 yards and up the sidelines. This was a change from previous years, when the first two carts traveled 10 and 20 yards. Quarterbacks needed to hit all three carts to advance.
A prestigious award based on approximately a dozen throws, so don't print up your O'HEISMAN 2016 t-shirts just yet. Like the increasingly farcical Elite 11—which had 24 QBs at it this year—the more QBs that get thrown in a passing camp bucket, the less reliable the outcomes are. Still, as the bold bit says, better than nothing.
Fulton on OSU. You won't find a better primer on the Buckeyes than that delivered by Ross Fulton. This part is especially relevant to Michigan fans because M will run the same style of front-seven defense:
Ohio State features a Mike, Will, and Sam linebacker. But what does that mean? It is helpful to think of Ohio State using two inside linebacker and one outside linebackers.
The Mike and Will are the inside linebackers. They are primarily responsible for an inside run gap to their side of the formation. The Mike plays to the field, with the Will to the boundary. There are slight differences. The Will must be rangier because he more often has boundary flat coverage responsibilities. The Mike is a more traditional downhill inside linebacker.
But the Mike and Will are more interchangeable than the Sam. The Sam – or Walkout –linebacker is a hybrid linebacker/safety. As the name suggests, the walkout linebacker often plays outside the tackle box, generally aligning over the number 2 or slot receiver. Playing in space, he is responsible for setting the edge to the field, meaning he must be able to defeat blocks and force the football inside.
Practically speaking, this means the position is responsible for limiting the horizontal screen and run game that feature prominently in spread offenses. But he must also be comfortable playing in the tackle box against pro-style formations. In short, the position requires perhaps the most versatile player in the Ohio State defense.
The SAM is obviously Peppers and the stuff he'll be asked to do isn't too much different than his job last year. Brown will incorporate a lot more blitzing and zone coverage into the Peppers role; he'll still be Michigan's screen obliterator.
Got some guys this year. NFL.com is releasing lists of the top ten players to watch at various positions. Michigan guys are popping up with frequency. Jehu Chesson is the #2(!) WR:
2. Jehu Chesson, Michigan
Some receivers just carry themselves like a natural-born WR1 and Chesson is one of those guys. There is a level of confidence and toughness that comes through when you watch him play, and he is as fearless a wide receiver when working in traffic as any you will find, taking shot after shot while securing the catch. Stat scouts won't fall in love with Chesson based on his production last season (50 catches for 764 yards and 9 TDs), but NFL scouts love his ability to adjust to throws and work all three levels of the field. He won't have many "Wow!" highlights that have you jumping out of your seat, but his size, toughness and consistency put him near the top of this list.
MSU gets a sixth year. OL Brandon Clemons got his sixth year:
Michigan State OL Brandon Clemons got his sixth year approved by the NCAA today. Expected, but needed boost of experience nonetheless.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) June 21, 2016
Some guy on the internet went back and checked dress lists, finding that Clemons was in street clothes by the end of the year and may actually have a case. Ed Davis almost certainly does not:
He dressed in every game, including road games where the travel team is limited. There's no way he didn't take a voluntary redshirt.
Next year's NHL draft prospects. Michigan didn't have a player selected in the first round despite a banner year for NCAA hockey, especially a BU team that will be loaded when it comes to Yost this fall. That should change next year. Chris Dilks's initial rankings for 2017 feature three Wolverines-to-be: #15 Michael Pastujov, #25 Josh Norris, and #28 Luke Martin. Martin is arriving this fall, so Michigan kind of sort of maybe has a first rounder in this recruiting class.
What are you doing, MSU hockey? They just don't care.
Also on the agenda are the renewals/extensions of contracts for Athletic Director Mark Hollis through the 2020-21 school year and three of his major-sport coaches – men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo (2022-23), women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant (2020-21) and hockey coach Tom Anastos (2019-20).
A hockey coach's buyout is chump change for a Big Ten athletic department but I'm just like… why? Why are you the way you are?
Etc.: Basketball recruiting is ridiculous.
it was one or the other this weekend for Michigan's 18-to-20-year-old hockey prospects
An eight-man recruiting class will enter Michigan this fall ready to patch some of the holes left by this spring's exodus. Though there are no players the caliber of Kyle Connor or Dylan Larkin in this class, it seemed almost certain that five of the eight would be drafted in this past weekend's NHL Draft.
Almost, but not quite. Only three of Michigan's eight incoming freshmen (and an addition 2017 prospect) were selected in the draft despite projections that had the two who went undrafted, Griffin Luce and James Sanchez, safely above the bottom of the draft.
Scouting reports for hockey prospects are typically short and published irregularly, so I thought I'd use the boom in available scouting materials to look at what you can expect from Michigan's newest draftees' games, as well as where they're likely to fit when they suit up for their first game in a Michigan sweater this fall.
Will Lockwood, RW
Third round, 64th overall- Vancouver Canucks
Lockwood's 13-20-33 scoring line in 59 games with the USNTDP is fine, I suppose. He's not going to be a revelation, but he should put up a fair but not-at-all sterling stat line in his first season. SB Nation College Hockey's Chris Dilks hints at that toward the end of his scouting report while also making him sound a lot like a third- or fourth-liner:
What I Like:
Lockwood plays with a lot of energy and effort. He's a very consistent player that always gives 100%. He creates opportunities for himself by taking away time and space from the opposition and forcing mistakes
Speed is Lockwood's best asset. He's got light feet which gives him a very quick first step and above average straight-line speed. He doesn't always use that speed to his greatest advantage, but it could be a pro-level tool if he learns how to use it better.
Lockwood wasn't a huge scorer for the NTDP this year, but when he got opportunities, he showed a nice ability to finish off plays. He'll have to show he can do that more consistently, but matched with the right linemate that can set him up, he could be a much bigger scorer.
Dilks goes on to mention Lockwood's inability to create with his hands and win puck battles; you can work on winning puck battles, but relying completely on speed is a bit of a red flag in terms of NCAA point production.
Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst agrees with Dilks' assessment while also noting that Lockwood played against good competition and shouldn't have much of a learning curve at Michigan:
Lockwood is near the top of a decent list of draft-eligible sandpaper forwards thanks to excellent straight-line speed and a fearless mindset when engaging opposing skaters. He gets most of his points from a crash-and-bang style that would normally compliment line mates of the finesse variety. Lockwood, however, played most of the season with similar players, yet he was easily one of the NTDP’s most reliable and consistent in that regard.
Hockey Prospectus' Ryan Wagman sees something in Lockwood's physical game that other scouts did not and has a generally less optimistic take:
He is a good penalty killer with a decent wall game. Although well undersized, he is generally a pretty physical player and a frequent hitter. Committed to the University of Michigan, he has low upside, but plays a coach friendly game.
Elite Prospects does a nice job collecting player rankings from around the internet, and you can see Lockwood's all over the place. A few sites had him in the 70s, but others had him as low as #197. Most sites that don't rank expected him to be a mid-fourth round pick; no matter which site's rankings you prefer, he was taken higher than expected.
There's going to be plenty of room to move up with Michigan losing five of their top six forwards. I'd keep the Warren-Marody-Calderone line intact and make that the top line; Lockwood could play on the second line with Alex Kile on the opposite wing and centered by…uh, someone's going to have to learn how to play center in a hurry. Lockwood plays a similar style to Warren and could hit 15-20 points as a freshman.
[After THE JUMP: two more commits get picked]
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CB Lavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon.
|Concord, CA – 6'4", 270|
|Scout||4*, #67 overall
|Rivals||4*, #46 overall
#2 TE, #10 CA
|ESPN||4*, #44 overall
#3 TE-Y, #5 CA
|24/7||4*, #220 overall
#8 TE, #31 CA
|Other Suitors||USC, UCLA, UW, Bama, ND|
|YMRMFSPA||AJ Williams, Harbaugh Edition|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
Junior film, notable because he plays a reasonable amount of QB in it:
This is a useful Sports Stars of Tomorrow profile:
Devin Asiasi is an archetypical "jumbo athlete." He is a huge person who moves uncommonly fast and could fit at either tight end or somewhere along the defensive line. For most of the cycle there was disagreement amongst the services where he would end up, and many articles reported that school X was recruiting Asiasi for defense.
This was to Michigan's advantage. A big reason he's in Ann Arbor is because he wants to play tight end:
“A lot of people are saying defense, but I’m trying to focus on tight end right now,” Asiasi said. “That’s really where my heart is right now. That’s really where I’m trying to focus my game on.”
There are zero programs in the country more convincing when they tell a kid like Asiasi he'll play offense. If there's a program that values this take from his high school coach…
"…if there’s a better blocking tight end in the country I’d be really surprised. What he did for us blocking was incredible. He’s the best blocking tight end we’ve ever had. … Then when you throw the ball out to him and you see how big, long, and athletic he is, it’s unmistakable."
…it is Jim Harbaugh's Michigan.
Asiasi is a rare guy these days. In an era when top tight end prospects are 6'6" converted power forwards liable to snap in half if you breathe on 'em, Asiasi delivers a thump. Jay Harbaugh says Asiasi is "tenacious, violent and physically bludgeons his opponents," and this is not mere puffery. Rivals caught him during his junior year, when he was around 250. He had "some fierce blocks" and there was "no doubt he's super powerful now"; he weighed in at a college-ready and even more powerful 270 at the Army game. Scout notes that he's "more than just a big receiver" because he can "block and engage in the physical side of the game" and that he's "as complete a tight end to come from the West in some time." ESPN:
…excellent bulk. Has a powerful base with room for further development through his upper body. … a big, physical short-to-intermediate underneath target. … good hands with ability to extend for the ball and catch away from his frame…very good body control to be able to adjust to passes off target….very strong [as a blocker], with size, strength, toughness and experience. … good ability to come off with pad level, deliver a pop, roll hips and push defenders off the ball. Physical player that can play with some nastiness.
huge lower half and actually could potentially be in danger of growing out of being a tight end. …very agile for his size, but isn’t an explosive athlete. …. dominant in-line blocker that shows great pop on contact and does well getting to linebackers at the second level. My only small complaint is that he sometimes will only get the pop and not fit his block as well as he should, but he will latch on and drive an opponent into the ground … brings violence when he hits a defender.
Scout named him an "instant impact" freshman:
… special talent with a college body right now. … advanced technique as a blocker, has the size to be physical in the run game but the hands and the athleticism to be a factor in the passing game as well. …looks like a future NFL player.
Asiasi is the kind of guy that will allow Harbaugh to line up in a goal line formation on his own 30. He's not just rare because he's a mean TE, he's rare for the same reason Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is: that man should not get to move like that. Tim Drevno knows a tight end when he sees one and told MGoBlue that "we have had a great string of tight ends at Stanford and now here at Michigan and he’s right that at the top"; Touch The Banner compares his athleticism favorably to Jake Butt.
Data on Asiasi's hands is necessarily thin given the nature of his high school's offense—his coach says De La Salle is "90-95% run"—but what exists is mostly encouraging. For one, in the highlight films above he makes a number of tough catches; even on the simple ones he flashes his hands out and secures the ball without bobbles. I just watched Nick Eubanks's tape, and the contrast jumped out. For two, in various camp situations he excelled. Both Rivals and 247 praised him after a massive 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas; both placed him on the All-Tournament team because he showed "good mobility and athleticism," "very strong hands," and was "just too strong for defenders and too nimble."
The most extensive reports come from his appearance at the Army game. Scout:
…can absolutely run and catch like a lighter tight end. He's a smooth pass-catcher with a big catch radius, has soft hands, runs tremendous routes and looks natural playing the position. … already a good blocker but this game, and today in particular, showed what he can do when used as an offensive weapon.
…did a nice job of getting open and gaining separation against some linebackers and safeties. He also showed soft hands and was a nice weapon in the redzone.
… one of the biggest players on the roster yet he moves remarkably well down field and through his routes. Asiasi has been a favorite for the West quarterbacks throughout the week and that continued Thursday, especially in the red zone.
…impressed all week during Army practices … Weighing in at almost 275 pounds, Asiasi wowed onlookers with how well he moved for such a big target. He has soft hands, is a tremendous blocker and is that rare every down tight end who can be both strong in the run game as well as a threat in the passing game.
…showed the skills necessary to be a consistent receiving threat at the next level. He is a natural, and just glides for a guy his size. He didn’t drop a pass and just oozes big time potential.
There was one guy who was like nah: 247's Barton Simmons. This evaluation is more or less the only negative one I came across in a pile of scouting and likely explains why 247 is the least enthused about Asiasi by some distance:
Devin Asiasi needs to play defensive line. He's a capable tight end but with one drop on what would have been a touchdown reception in the game and a pedestrian week of practice, we think Asiasi would be a dominant defensive lineman but is just a guy at tight end.
Yeah, he biffed a touchdown in the game itself, but per Scout Asiasi dropped just one of a ton of reps during the practice week, and various clipped bits of the scouting reports above reveal that TEs don't block much, if at all, during the Army practices. It's an outlier evaluation. What concerns exist about Asiasi's receiving ability are not about his hands but his size. He's probably fine right now—only the one dude had any concern about his mobility at the Army game—but people don't often stay the same weight once they hit a college S&C program.
So defensive end remains a possibility. Asiasi strongly prefers tight end and will start out there, but you know Harbaugh: he's going to flip guys to the other side of the ball just to check. It's possible Asiasi ends up with a higher ceiling there, especially if his weight goes up instead of down. That is not out of the question. Asiasi tried to cut down before his senior year, which he played at 275:
“It didn’t happen, it didn’t happen,” Asiasi said. “Hopefully I can get back to 260, 265. (But) I don’t think I should focus on getting my weight down I think I should just focus on getting stronger.”
Adam Gorney pointed out that if he ends up adding weight—which almost all recruits under 300 pounds do—tight end might cease to be tenable:
“He’s huge so that’s going to be a concern if he’s going to stay at tight end, he really can’t gain any more weight, he’s maxed out physically, a lot of people are thinking defensive end, I wouldn’t be shocked if that was maybe his future position.”
ESPN evaluated him as a tight end but did mention his two way ability and provide an intriguing comparison: former Minnesota DL Ra'Shede Hageman, who went from high school TE to explosive 300 pound three-tech over the course of his career.
Various folks think his best potential is as a DL; Son of a Coach believes he'll be best as a Wormley type DL who bounces between SDE and three-tech:
He’s got some ability to bend around the edge and can convert speed to power. His first step is very good and he uses his hands well to disengage. His ability to recognize and react to blocks also appears to be advanced for someone his age.
On most teams—cough cough UCLA—DE would be a likely destination no matter what Asiasi was told during his recruitment; at Michigan it's is definitely the backup plan.
Etc.: Was long thought to be a package deal with Boss Tagaloa but that didn't happen. While packages are often overhyped, in this instance I'm still surprised they ended up different places. First in his family to go to college.
Why AJ Williams, Harbaugh Version? I can't remember the last truly jumbo tight end before Williams. Carr's guys were Tuman/Ecker types, mostly, RR was a spread guy looking for flex sorts, and Hoke's jumbo TE was… AJ Williams. That version of AJ Williams was a consistent disappointment, a poor blocker and nonentity in the passing game; Harbaugh made him a legit good two-way player in just a year. Asiasi has more upside than Williams, who was a 3/4 star borderline guy a lot of people thought would end up playing OT. Asiasi is a better athlete and more natural pass-catcher who will start out almost as good as Williams was as a senior.
The other obvious comparison is Tyrone Wheatley Jr, who we haven't seen play yet but is the same kind of freaky athlete and mauler dude at 270-280 pounds. Having two of these guys on one roster is going to be fun as hell.
Guru Reliability: High. Asiasi was one of the highest profile prospects on the West Coast, he did a bunch of camps, he showed at the Army game, and while there are scattered disagreements and one outlying ranking this is one of those posts I had to chop down from 5k words. Lack of utilization in the passing game is the only major caveat.
Variance: Low. I mean, yeah, some concern that he didn't get the ball a ton but he looks very natural on film and did every camp imaginable to prove to folks he was a TE. If he is not a TE for some reason he was just as touted as a DL. If he doesn't end up a starter at some point I'll eat a lemon. (Barring injury.)
Ceiling: Very high. Asiasi's combination of face-smashing blocking, excellent hands, and plus athleticism is hard to find.
General Excitement Level: Vast. I remember on signing day when Michigan got Asiasi it was kind of like "cool, bonus, but let's talk more about Rashan Gary." I thought that myself, and then I don't think we talked about Asiasi much in the aftermath. In general it feels like the Michigan fan base is overlooking this dude, his fit with the Harbauffense, and the evil things Michigan will be able to do with him.
Projection: A lot of reports out there that he won't redshirt. That makes sense given the player; it might not make quite as much sense given the depth chart. Oh well: he's playing. He should get a reasonable number of inline TE snaps behind Wheatley and I bet one dollar both of them are in short yardage and goal line packages.
Going forward it's hard to project he'll be a starter for a while with Wheatley and Bunting around, but what's a starter, really, when we're talking about a Harbauffense? TE will be like this year's defensive line: a ton of rotation, fresh legs, and talent coming out the winged helmet's earholes. Asiasi will be a major part of that from year two on.
Michigan's landed a commitment from three-star CT OL Andrew Stueber, who recently received a camp offer and is now a lock to succeed Jake "Ruddock" as the internet's most misspelled Michigan football player. Stueber's rankings are of the middling three star variety, but he's got a relatively impressive suite of offers: PSU, Tennessee, Pitt, UNC, Duke, Harvard, and Yale. An informative update is coming right up.
|3*, #43 OT||3*, #64 OT||NR||3*, 86, #740 overall
#79 OT, #3 CT
|3*, #785 overall
#80 OT, #4 CT
Generic three star OT ahoy, except ESPN hasn't even put up a profile for him yet. That's probably for the best, since ESPN is an open-minded service that is willing to look at a guy like Ben Mason with fresh eyes—he's a four star to the WWL—but tends to fire and forget evaluations. 247 shot him up several hundred spots a few weeks ago.
Stueber is just emerging from sleeper status and there is correspondingly little actual scouting out there. The Penn State 247 site did discuss his recent effort to slim down:
A year ago, Darien (Conn.) offensive tackle Andrew Stueber tipped the scales at nearly 320 pounds on his 6-foot-6-inch frame. The now three-star prospect decided to try to trim down after his senior season… Stueber hit a low point of 283 pounds this spring. Now back closer to 290 entering the summer he is a different prospect.
“I feel good. I feel at The Opening I did well with my agility and my shuttle and that was something I really wanted to work on,” he said. “My strength is improving, I definitely feel better as a player. I can get off the ball faster and I feel like a better player when I’m faster.”
That's the kind of thing that often happens during a prospect's freshman year of college, not high school. If Stueber continues on the path he's on he could arrive in Ann Arbor around 300 pounds and college-ready. He was impressive enough at Michigan's camp to grab an offer:
"The camp was awesome," Stueber said. "Coach Drevno is experienced, and he knows so much about the offensive line positions, and to bring in a bunch of NFL guys that went to Michigan and played for coach (Jim) Harbaugh and coach Drevno, that was awesome. It was such an incredible learning experience. I definitely picked up as much as I could.
"I was really happy with the way I performed. I won a lot of the competitions and everything. Coach Drevno was pleased with what he saw and everything worked out the way it did."
He drew some notice at the Opening's regional camp in his area:
Darien (Conn.) High offensive tackle Andrew Stueber was another potential big-time guy on the offensive line, took some good reps and has all the tools college coaches covet.
This concludes people talking about Andrew Stueber productively. Woo sleeper Connecticut OL.
One thing I did glean: Stueber is definitely a tackle. He's the kind of guy who is listed at 6'6.5" when people want to get specific, not 6'5.5", and once you get into that range you are a candidate for pass-rush-engulfing left tackle stuff.
As above: PSU, Tennessee, Pitt, UNC, Duke, Harvard, and Yale give you the shape of things. Maryland, BC, Rutgers, and other middling Power 5 schools fill out his offer sheet. My impression is that the PSU offer was committable:
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Stueber was at Penn State twice this spring - once for a Saturday visit in March and then again for the Blue-White Game in April. The Nittany Lions have identified him as a top candidate to fill the remaining tackle slot in their offensive line class and they hope to get him back to campus again this summer.
Not enough data on the others. FWIW, PSU's new OL coach is former Minnesota OL coach Matt Limegrover. This may assuage worries that PSU being involved with an OL is a kiss of death.
Rivals borked their database so you can no longer search by high school but I assume Michigan's never gotten a kid out of Darien before. Connecticut Wolverines are rarities indeed, although Stueber is joined by LB Ben Mason in this class.
OL don't have stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Stueber does not have one listed.
One on one reps from the Rivals camp he attended:
The guy with the dreads is Luiji Vilain, BTW.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Despite the low ranking, Stueber checks a lot of boxes: great frame, great academics, the discipline to shed weight and build it back up. The camp reps above show a guy with excellent agility who has work to do anchoring against a rush and preventing opponents from getting into his chest with his hands; I'll take the latter if it's paired with the former, because you can teach the latter.
This isn't a camp commit that gets me tweaked because Michigan has four stars on the hook if they'd just show some patience. There's a good reason Stueber has been overlooked by the sites, he's got a bunch of solid offers, and Michigan just saw him in person twice. Also Stueber also has the greatest twitter feed ever right now: it is one tweet announcing his commit. 99/100 on the Never Tweet scale. Thumbs up.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Stueber's the second offensive lineman in a class that will go to five or even six. He's a true tackle—something Michigan needs badly—and will be joined by up to three more depending on how various 6'5"-ish players get classified.
Maybe we can split him in half
AJC reporter Jeff Sentell appeared on the DawgNation podcast (DawgNation appears to be an AJC silo for Georgia athletics content) to talk recruiting, and naturally struck on GA DT Aubrey Solomon. Sentell talked to both Solomon and mom and came away saying that "from listening to [Solomon's] mother, that's 100% committed right there" and that he would be "stunned if Aubrey Solomon went anywhere but the University of Michigan." Sentell further reports that Solomon ducked out of the visit for a moment, claiming he had to go to the bathroom, so he could call his mom and get her blessing to pull the trigger. That's the opposite of a high-pressure pitch that might backfire as time goes by.
So of course the Georgia 247 site is reporting that Solomon will visit Georgia in July. This isn't as bad as it sounds: the visit was planned in advance of the sudden turn in Solomon's recruitment. It's common for guys to follow through on their word when coaches ask them to. I wouldn't be worried about that visit; any subsequent ones would be game on.
FWIW, that article contains a number of positive quotes about Georgia from Solomon's mother that were gathered before the trip to Ann Arbor. While I don't doubt Georgia is at least some threat the article gives off a bit of a whiff of saving face amongst subscribers—Sentell appears to have the latest, and he's considerably more neutral than a team site.
Give 'em the clamps, Holmes
CA CB Deommodore "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir hasn't drawn much mention around these parts since he first popped up on the radar, but Brandon Brown catches up with him and discovers he is planning an official, ideally when CA CB Darnay Holmes comes in. That would be all right. Argh Dave Brandon, part MCMXI:
"I really wanted to go to Michigan against Michigan State or Ohio State but those are both away."
Nebraska and Oregon are the other officials he's certain of. [UPDATE: Lenoir committed to Oregon yesterday. Nevermind.]
Speaking of Holmes, it looks like David Long's presence in Ann Arbor means at least a little something:
— Darnay Holmes (@DarnayHolmes) June 22, 2016
Holmes also has three officials he knows he'll take: Nebraska, OSU, and Michigan. The date for the M visit is also up in the air; he'll go to Columbus for the Game. UCLA's also involved heavily.
I see that eyebrow, but don't scoff at the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is doing some work in California this year. They've got two commits from Holmes's teammates, both four stars.
On Wednesday I mentioned that Steve Lorenz had fired off a crystal ball for FL WR Mike Harley to Michigan. Yesterday Brandon Brown interviewed Harley, who says Michigan is his #1 and he will be pulling the trigger "either this weekend or next weekend," which gives other schools vanishingly little time to catch up.
Despite our KJ Hamler-related garment-rending, Harley looks like a solid pickup should he follow through. His stock is on the rise after an excellent Five Star Challenge…
— Mike Harley Jr. Ⓜ️ (@harleyxvi) June 22, 2016
…and whatever spurred 247 to put him on the ol' rankings rocket:
Blue is 247, green the composite. (That line is also an excellent demonstration of the usual pattern for recruits: get ranked, drop slowly as more dudes get slotted in front of you, big change only when you get re-evaluated.)
Baylor recruits released
Per Texas sources, Baylor's released five of the seven players who wanted out. The main guys of interest to Michigan fans in the aftermath of the Devery Hamilton are the two offensive linemen; Barking Carnival believes that TX OL Patrick Hudson will head to Texas and that TX OL JP Urquidez is a possibility "depending on mutual interest and swiftly tightening [scholarship] numbers." Urquidez is a 6'6" tackle and composite four-star who Michigan did have some early contact with. Longshot, obviously.
AL OL Toryque Bateman named Michigan and Tennessee leaders. He'll announce a top eight shortly, one that presumably includes those two schools. CA OL Chuck Filiaga has no top list but definitely wants to visit. Moving to Texas this fall so distance probably not much of a factor.
On the other hand, Lorenz moved UT DT Jay Tufele up on 247's listing of Michigan's prospect as he is "far and away" the DT Michigan would most like to pair with Solomon. An OSU/M battle could be on the way; Michigan has a Polynesian edge in that case.
MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell on Jourdan Lewis:
"He's a great player, a phenomenal person," Kelly-Powell said of Lewis. "He's humble, he's a great person just to be around. ... I watch him a lot and try to be just like him, try to be as good as him."
Kelly-Powell remains the lockiest lock on the board.
OH DE James Hudson reports back from his visit over the weekend, telling Brice Marich it was a "ten of ten". Hudson also provided some clarity on what spot Michigan is recruiting him for:
"I fit right into their defense because of my size. It means a lot (hearing about early playing time) and I feel like I could be a dominant 3-tech for them. They do a lot of the things that I do at my high school.”
Hudson's already 280 so that makes sense. If Hudson is a DT prospect for Michigan then you can fit a guy like CA DE DJ Johnson in the class relatively easily.
A Rivals reporter caught up with TX LB Baron Browning after his trips to Michigan and Notre Dame last weekend. Browning doesn't tip his hand at all, but making those trips with his brother and former Harbaugh player Barry can't hurt. Baron on Barry on Harbaugh:
“…he said ‘One thing I will say about Coach Harbaugh is that he is going to get the best out of you. He said that Harbaugh is really competitive. … He said that Coach Tolbert would definitely have me right and ready to compete."
A second planned unofficial to OSU next month is off. No indication where he's leaning or even where he might visit officially. Dude is one of the mystery recruits of the cycle.
Josh Henschke reports from Michigan's NorCal camp, which appears to be one of the more loaded camps they've had. CA DT Popo Aumave, CA DE DJ Johnson, CA TE Josh Falo and CA OL Aaron Banks all say they will take visits; CA RB Najee Harris also attended and worked out.
Johnson told Rivals that Michigan is "around his top schools" in part because Michigan will let him wear #1. I can get behind a DE with 1 on his jersey. Aumave says he'll officially visit M, USC, and probably Oregon.
So here's this guy
Also in dramatic smokebomb recruit entrances: GA LB Dennis Bell tells Maize and Blue News that he was on the verge of committing to Michigan:
Working at the U-M’s Shine Time Camp this week, he impressed the coaching staff enough to receive a scholarship offer from the Maize and Blue on Thursday. That was significant for Bell, who originally planned on committing the instant the offer came through, describing Michigan as his dream school. Ultimately though, cooler heads pulled him back from making the early decision.
“I was going to announce it today on Twitter, but then my coach was like ‘don’t do it yet,’” Bell said of his plan to commit. “He said wait until later in the summer. I think it will probably be the week before we go back to school.”
Bell, a former teammate of Elysee Mbem-Bosse, is a two-star only ranked by two sites and only has Georgia State and Miami (Not That Miami) offers per 247. His composite ranking is around 1700.
I'm dubious that this is actually a thing. Michigan appears to be "offering" people for PR purposes. For example, there was recently a farcical exchange between various sites about an offer to NC QB Jackson Gibbs, who is 1) a 2017 QB and 2) the grandson of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs reported an offer; various reporters said this was not a thing; Rivals got quotes that insisted it was a full offer, not a PWO; Rivals then clarified that this offer was not in fact committable. Soooooo… yeah. The destruction of the English language for marketing purposes continues apace.
Anyway, I don't expect anything to come out of either recruitment.
Happy trails to CA OL Wyatt Davis, who announces today. Nobody expects it to be Michigan; OSU appears to be it.