"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Same as it ever was. Nothing changes.
— Michigan's Past (@MichiganHist) November 9, 2015
The king stay the king. Harbaugh twitter will always be delightful.
Remembering the captain and crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald today. God Bless You and Yours! https://t.co/OZl3bMYWuy
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) November 10, 2015
If you do not listen to this song, this whole song, he will find you.
The equivalent Harbaugh story here is doing pushups with mom at 3 AM. De'Veon Smith was on Inside Michigan Football last night, and said things that make you… uh… notice a contrast between recent Michigan coaching staffs. For one:
"Coach Hoke was a great coach, he meant a lot to me," Smith said. "He came over to my house one day and literally just fell asleep on the couch."
I hope this was unannounced. De'Veon Smith comes home finds that one of his windows is broken. Inside, Brady Hoke is splayed out on the couch covered in cheeto dust and pinecones. Smith ventures a poke in an attempt to wake Hoke up; Hoke mutters "I am the cheesemaster" and rolls over, inert. There he stays for the winter. When he awakes he demands to see the "cheesekeeper" and runs into the forest.
"I guess until this year I wasn't really taught properly how to pass protect and what are my keys exactly," Smith said. "And (running backs) coach (Tyrone) Wheatley is instilling that into in all the running backs.
"In previous years, we tried to cut-block somebody. We weren't aiming at the right spot to cut down somebody and now coach Wheatley has taught us to get up on them and get low on them whenever we have to cut them. All the coaching points are definitely the main difference from this offense and last year's offense."
Smith has been excellent in pass protection this year. Michigan ran a couple of smash combos in the Rutgers game in which he was tasked with cutting an unblocked DE and did it with aplomb.
Mizzou chaos. Mizzou's president resigned, their chancellor also got booted, and because the football team decided they'd join the protest several people are poking me to talk about it. So here we go. Hold on to your butts.
- If you don't understand what's going on, Bill Connelly's explainer is the best that I've found. I still fail to grasp why a few unrelated racial incidents—one of which saw the perpetrator expelled—blew up like it has, but the impression given off by the Connelly piece is that the upper echelons of Mizzou were taken over by Brandon types with an eye on the bottom line and the incorrect assumption that they had infinite political power. Yanking grad student (read: teacher) health insurance the day before classes is a Total Brandon Move. The inciting incidents here were a spark in a dry forest, to borrow Mark Bernstein's analogy.
- The football team joining the protest promises to be a watershed moment. The president was likely on his way out anyway, but for the axe to fall so quickly after the football team announced a boycott indicates the latent power athletes have. Mizzou was about to get hit very hard financially because the football team simply decide to not do stuff. That is power.
- This is still far away from the dread strike-for-money that will happen in the next decade, probably at the Final Four. The climate on the Mizzou campus during a campus-wide protest the aftermath of Ferguson is going to be a lot different than the climate if a team says it simply wants a piece of the pie. Whatever team does that is going to get it from both barrels nationwide. Mizzou's football team has largely been praised by non-ideological* media.
- Gary Pinkel trying to walk it back afterwards by saying it was about nothing other than the health and well-being of the student on a hunger strike is disappointing. If you're going to do it, do it. That's some phony PR right there.
The merits of the protest, its interpretation of what the First Amendment means, and the larger campus climate nationwide are outside the scope of this blog until such time as Michigan gets stuck in a similar morass. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
*[yes yes all media is ideological especially that newspaper or that website here's a cookie]
Okay, Bill Plaschke. I'd link Drew Sharp if he was talking to Keith Jackson.
It is a voice still so memorable, people still call his home and hang up just to hear his greeting.
"If you're calling the Jacksons, you have succeeded," the voice says. "Help yourself."
I don't think that's how it works. The idea of a medical redshirt for Mario Ojemudia came up again:
Elsewhere, Harbaugh said Monday that the team is still in the process of appealing for an extra year of eligibility for injured senior buck linebacker Mario Ojemudia. The 6-foot-2, 252-pounder suffered season-ending Achilles tendon injury during the second half of the team's fifth game of the year -- a 28-0 win at Maryland.
Per the NCAA rulebook, medical hardship waivers (also known as medical redshirt years) can only be obtained (in a team sport) if three separate conditions are met. The injury must occur during one of the player's four seasons of eligibility, the injury has to have taken place prior to the second half of the player's season and the player has not participated in more than three contests (or 30 percent) of his or her season.
Ojemudia appeared in five games, which is obviously more than three/30 percent. Still, Harbaugh said the process of an appeal is still ongoing.
"There's an appeal process," Harbaugh said. "It's a process."
I assume this will get shot down because the NCAA has been very strict about keeping that rule intact, especially since they moved from 25% to 30% a few years back. I'd be really surprised if Michigan wins here.
Kickering, evaluated. SBN Auburn blog College & Magnolia piles field goal attempts from the last decade into a couple of graphs in an effort to evaluate kickers by the worth of their kickery. Average point value by distance:
Surprised a 50 yarder is a 50/50 proposition but I guess they don't throw you out there if you obviously can't make it.
Gets choppy at the end there for obvious reasons. C&M assigns points relative to expectation for the nation's kickers and finds Kenny Allen in a tie for 40th. That's about right since he's mostly hit mostly short field goals.
There are a couple of problems with this approach, It tends to give guys who don't have a big leg a pass for not attempting long field goals and it might underrate guys who end up with a lot of limited-upside chip shots relative to equivalent kickers who get more valuable attempts.
But it's a good first approximation, and Allen is about what we've seen: above average and not outstanding. FWIW, OSU currently is 116th. Jack Willoughby is 7/11 on the year and hasn't hit one from 40+. Just something to keep an eye on.
Smart Football back. Chris Brown has revived his blog until such time as someone else snaps him up. He talks packaged plays and how defenses are adapting to them:
In the below clip, Mariota is reading the backside inside linebacker — who is unblocked as the backside tackle is blocking out on the defensive end — to decide whether to hand off on an inside run or throw a slant into what should be a vacated area.
Yet even though the linebacker steps up for the run — and thus Mariota’s read takes him to the slant — the nickel defensive back had been reading Mariota’s eyes the entire time and he simply steps in front of the slant for a too-easy pick-six.
Does this mean defenses have figured these plays out? Not even close; one of the many reasons Whisenhunt got fired was because he had only superficially begun integrating these plays into his offense, rather than truly understanding how they fit together. But I’ve seen other examples of plays like this so far this year, and it’s evidence that defenses are catching up. That, of course, shouldn’t be a surprise. In football, nothing stays easy for long.
The Borges-Denard parallels are obvious.
Michigan hasn't had a ton of trouble with packaged plays this year since they tend to play a lot of man, FWIW.
Etc.: List of top uniforms has Michigan #1, Oregon #2, which is kind of an amazing list. Leaders have leadership. Dedicating Yost Field House. The Slippery Rock story. The dumbest game theory decision ever. Probably literally. LeMoyne things. Harbaugh's got it all.
Joe Bolden and Taco Charlton
Opponents only scored six touchdowns in the red zone on sixteen chances this year. What do you guys attribute your success in the red zone to?
JB: “Yeah, I mean, obviously as you get backed up- you never want to allow a team in the red zone- but when you get backed up it finally hits you and you can’t break. Ultimately when they’re in the red zone you want to hold them to three points. I think our mindset, our defensive mindset, is we don’t want them to have even three points. So, you line up to kick a field goal, we want to block it. I would say just the mindset we have when the ball gets down to the red zone.”
TC: “Yeah, to contribute to Joe, just give us a place to stand. That’s all we need. We just need a place to stand and we’ll make that stop. We have the confidence in ourselves. We know we have the coach in coach Durkin and all the coaches on the staff. They gave us all the abilities and we know we can get a stop if we get down there.”
Joe, your coach just got done talking about you guys playing the top three rated quarterbacks in the league the next three weeks. I know you’re focused on this one, but how much of an extra challenge do you take it when you face a guy who’s very efficient behind center?
“Yeah, a guy who knows how to manage a game, knows how to win football games, and having his ability playing- I think other guys on offense, when you have a good quarterback you have other guys playing off your quarterback, and it’s almost like a driving force for your team. Having guys behind the center and taking snaps with that ability, with that efficiency, I believe boosts your whole team: special teams, defense, offense. But really, when you look at all three of them and you look at especially Sudfeld, they’re all great players. Like I said, they manage the game of football very well.”
Talk about how the Michigan State loss opens the door for your Big Ten title hopes, and will you be rooting for Ohio State to give Michigan State a second loss because you need that to control your own destiny?
JB: “Yeah, it obviously helps us out. At the same time, not too worried about that. We’re worried about Indiana. Rooting for Ohio State is a very bad- I would say not a very good phrase. Obviously we want to get in the Big Ten championship, and for them to win that game here in a couple weeks would be awesome, but at the same time I don’t really care what happens there. All we care about is Saturday. We can’t get there without continuously winning.”
TC: “Yeah, we can’t control what Ohio State does or Michigan State does. We just control what we do, so we make sure that we gotta win to make sure we control our own destiny. Everything else we hope will take care of itself. Rooting for Ohio State? I don’t know if we can go that far with it.”
/silence while the microphones are redistributed
JB: “Nobody’s very talkative today. Used all your questions with coach Harbaugh.”
[After THE JUMP: De’Veon Smith and Ben Braden]
Is having a little bit more of a window to playing for the Big Ten championship something you even address with your team?
“I’m sure they’re aware of that, and…if not we’ll make them aware of it, but I’m sure they are.”
Just looking at some defensive stats: nine offensive touchdowns given up this year, twelve total. Can you talk about the evolution of this defense and the way it’s bounced back after those last two games?
“Yeah, doing some things that are great. But in terms of like answering the question of the evolution or how we got here or where we’re at and being in that position, we feel like we’re still asking questions. How can we get better? What can we improve? What else can we do to help our team improve? So, not so much the answering questions, more asking them about how to get better.”
Is there any one area specifically you feel like you guys want to improve more?
“No, not that list for you either. In all phases, in all areas. We’re constantly asking ourselves those questions.”
You weren’t happy about the intent to deceive call. Did you get anything that clarifies it more for you and how it’s going to be called in this league going forward?
“Yes. They said it wasn’t intent to deceive, it was intent to confuse. That was the own language that the official used. It’s…I take the rules very seriously, and understanding the rules, understanding the consistency, the clarity of rules, and not just the rules but the spirit of the rules and doing everything that we can to follow the rules, so yeah, I said I was offended after the game to have an unsportsmanlike conduct called on us and the language that they used…that’s offensive because we take it very seriously to know what to teach our players and tell our team.
“No, there’s still no rule in the rulebook that you can go back to and say that we broke. In fact, we asked for interpretation weeks ago and followed it to the best of our ability and…it needs specifics. What was it about it that made it an illegal play versus what would make it a legal play? I mean, everything else in the rulebook is specific, but this one seems to fall in a category that was left to judgment whether the other team’s trying to confuse the opponent, and that’s an awesome responsibility for anybody.
“And why have it? Why not specifically write it? How far can you be from the boundary, your widest eligible receiver during a substitution, after a substitution occurs? Is it in the bench area; has to be closer in the field to the numbers; outside of the bench area it can be closer to the sideline? But really there needs to be some specifics because that’s…that interpretation- we’ve put a lot of work into making sure we follow the rules and not just the letter but the spirit of them.
“Then you start thinking, playing the scenarios. I mean, what else could be deemed trying to confuse the defense? What would be next? Skipping the ball off the turf, if it were a backward pass where you skip it off the turf? Defense thinks that’s an incomplete pass, everybody stops, they pick it up, throw it, etc. I mean, those…need to have specifics on it. So that’s my feeling, yeah. Still remain offended by it.
“And I need some clarity and consistency on another thing I’m offended by: We’ve got a defenseless player covering a punt and he gets hit in the back, in our opinion, in the back of the head, which gets called a targeting foul. They go up to the booth and they say it’s not targeting, but no foul is incurred. It’s a…player, lines up a player- looks like he made a decision to hit him, hit him high, hit him in the back. At least should be a block in the back. Should be unsportsmanlike for making that play, so I’m offended for our defenseless player, so you can put that on the list of things. Top five.”
[After THE JUMP: “I love football, I love the University of Michigan, and I love coaching, and you can do all three of those. As my dad would say, ‘Who’s got it better than us?’ Nooobody.]
Cartwheels For Carlo
This is just great; newest Michigan pledge Carlo Kemp (Hello post here) filmed his commitment call to Jim Harbaugh:
"I had to do a cartwheel there" is an instant entry into the Jim Harbaugh Quote Hall of Fame.
The Denver Post has plenty of coverage on Kemp's commitment, including Kemp explaining why he made his decision:
"Do I see myself being there? Yes," Kemp said. "Definitely the town (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and atmosphere. And, of course, the academics at the forefront of it all. Michigan is one of the top, top academic programs and, of course, along with playing top-caliber football."
The chance to play for Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, Kemp said, was also a huge factor as "everything I wanted is at Michigan."
Also of note from that article: Kemp will enroll early. And, of course, there's another great Harbaugh story, as Kemp's high school coach is the son of former Bo assistant (and later Colorado head coach) Bill McCartney, whose household served as the all-important sugar sanctuary for the Harbaugh children:
Tom McCartney recalled that he could consume his cereal of choice, but the only cereals permitted in the Harbaugh house "were healthy ones." Hence, John and Jim Harbaugh regularly went over to the McCartney household "for sugar cereal."
When Kemp and Pagano, who already knew about the cereal story, met with Jim Harbaugh last month while in Ann Arbor, they presented him with a gift from McCartney: a box of Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries cereal.
"That was our favorite cereal growing up," McCartney said.
Said Kemp: "Coach Harbaugh just started laughing when we gave it to him."
Harbaugh has great taste in cereal, even if Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the undisputed greatest cereal on Earth.
Kemp wasn't the only player to commit to the program this weekend; Bowling Green (KY) TE Dane Drobocky announced he'll join the team as a preferred walk-on in 2016, per Tim Sullivan. You can see his junior highlights on his Hudl page. The coaches are making a very concerted effort to build the preferred walk-on program; Drobocky is the third in this class, joining QB Michael Shuster and WR Simeon Smith, and several other PWO offers have gone out in the last couple weeks.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Rudock, you seemed really comfortable today. You weren’t 100% this week. Can you talk about your mindset out there?
“I’d say at this point in the season nobody’s feeling 100%. I felt good enough to go, which is all you need; the confidence to go out there and perform. Training staff did a great job of getting me ready to play.”
What did you guys see in looking at Rutgers this week to know that you were going to be able to throw the ball as well as you were able to today?
JB: “They run a lot of middle field open, like Cover 2 and stuff, and that’s one of our strong suits, attacking that kind of a defense. Kind of just liked our matchups against some of their secondary and linebackers and we were able to exploit that and kind of click on some of those balls today.”
Rudock, your rhythm tonight seemed to just have that in-the-zone look. Could you just explain it a little bit? I mean, this is a career high for you. Was this just one of those games where you felt it particularly?
“I think you get those games, as you were saying, but also kind of just getting into a rhythm. Whenever you see the ball get completed and completed you’re seeing the field well. That’s a big thing, and also I think that’s a big tribute to our coaches and really good scheme. All 11 guys on offense really understood and really took [inaudible].”
Jake Butt, take us through the intent to deceive play, like where were you and what did you think of the call?
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if there was an intent to deceive. I came off the field late. Got the sub call-in late and lined up. Got the look we wanted and completed the pass. I guess there was a flag. We weren’t really ready for the flag to be thrown but, you know, it happens.”
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest]
1 hour 8 minutes
use the force, Jabrill [Patrick Barron]
Rudock was really on. Rutgers is not so great. Run concerns, Peppers chatter. We may mention the Nebraska-MSU game.
Thomas as Mouton; DL depth getting stretched; Peppers; Peppers; Jourdan Lewis
SPECIAL TEAMS AND GAME THEORY
MSU/Nebraska talk: did Riley's not-very-good clock management actually help out the 'Huskers by inducing MSU to run the ball on third and long with about two minutes left?
Meanwhile, special teams: Michigan got hit a couple times but also hit back.
TALKIN' BIG TEN WITH JAMIEMAC
MSU/Nebraska, targeting, what happened to Penn State, Indiana as #CHAOSTEAM.
"Across 110th Street"
"Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?," Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
"Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy," Jack White
"La Bailadora," Super Uba
THE USUAL LINKS
11/7/2015 – Michigan 49, Rutgers 16 – 7-2, 4-1 Big Ten
This was never much of a game; it was never expected to be much of one. The line rose to a whopping 24 points before kickoff. Michigan hit that number early in the third quarter. For big chunks of the first half Rutgers had 55 yards of offense from one run on which Joe Bolden was held rather blatantly and literally nothing else. This was a walkover.
So there's not much emotional impact to be drawn from this one. Other than the sudden appearance of Good Iowa Rudock pretty much everything went as expected. Back in the day I'm pretty sure I shrugged at these games, wrote a couple paragraphs about how this wasn't really a thing, and moved on to gleaning what could be gleaned from an uncompetitive game. More recently that kind of column has been reserved for dismal contests in which a moribund Michigan team gacked it up against, oh, say, Rutgers.
There will come a day in the next couple years when Michigan takes on the dregs of its division and drops the hammer and I say that there's no point in a column. This is not that day. Because last year Gary Nova threw for 400 yards against this defense. Because last year Michigan did the classy thing and apologized for putting a piece of metal in Michigan State's field. We are not yet far enough removed from that to simply shrug.
So at halftime, Rutgers did something dumb. They poked the bear.
"They were just saying things like, 'Oh, it's our time this second half,' 'We the comeback kids,' 'These guys can't really finish games,'" safety Jabrill Peppers said, kind of rolling his eyes at the last remark.
"That's pretty much all I heard."
I'm impressed they hadn't checked out entirely, but it does not do to poke the bear.
"They were excited. They were down, what, 19, and Coach didn't like that they were celebrating," Lewis said. "(He said), 'Put the foot on the gas, finish these guys off.'"
Those were his exact words?
"I don't want to use those words out here," Lewis said, with a laugh.
Many, many opposing fans are going to complain about Harbaugh the jerk, Harbaugh the sociopath, Harbaugh the serial killer who kept stabbing our face long after we were dead. I perused a good number of these comments after this game… for some reason. Wilton Speight played most of the fourth quarter and Michigan put up just 14 points in the second half.
Even so the Rutgers beatwriters are really stretching to make something out of Harbaugh's two-point conversion:
Is there a beef between Rutgers coach Kyle Flood and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh?
Evidence cited: a two point conversion with 26 minutes left in the game and a couple of coachspeak comments from Flood that could be spun into a veiled shot if, say, you were desperate for anything to talk about after a 49-16 loss. Steve Politi, the guy who wrote that column about Harbaugh being a phony compared to the real Kyle Flood, is trying to stoke the flames by citing the sneaky Jake Butt play—which happened in the first half!—Jake Rudock throwing in the third quarter, and Jabrill Peppers fair-catching punts.
I guess when you cover Rutgers you're on the cutting edge of "not in the face!" research. But it's clear Harbaugh is taking heat here solely because of his reputation.
I am fine with this. At Stanford he told his players to "win with character, win with cruelty." This is what I want a football program to do.
I want it to be angry up 35-16 at halftime. I want it to step on available throats within the rules of the game (except for certain substitution rules). I don't care if someone's feelings are hurt by a justified two-point conversion, or an unjustified one. I endorse all fourth-quarter passes against teams five scores down. I look forward to a point in the future when an apology will not be forthcoming.
this is both #1 and #2 [Fuller]
Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week
you're the man now, dog
#1 Jake Rudock had 13.5 yards an attempt despite two drops from his receivers. Even against an atrocious pass defense, that'll do. Rudock also escaped the pocket and tiptoed the sideline for a touchdown and scrambled for the two point conversion.
#2 Jake Butt had 104 of those receiving yards on four catches. Rudock is now hitting the high window where Butt can show off his height and leaping ability. I have him with zero drops on the year. Butt has 418 receiving yards on the year, almost 150 clear of his nearest competitor… that Minnesota TE who was delivered a couple gifts last week.
#3 Chris Wormley re-asserted himself after a few relatively quiet weeks with two sacks, one on a stunt Rutgers didn't pick up, the other just a straight up pass rush around the corner. Wormley also helped Michigan's rush defense to another dominant day.
Honorable mention: Jourdan Lewis set the single season Michigan PBU record. Jarrod Wilson wasn't hit in coverage and had a pretty spectacular interception. Mason Cole was probably pretty good.
9: Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV, #1 Northwestern, #1 MSU), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU, #2 Northwestern, #2 MSU, #1 Minnesota)
6: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State, #3 Rutgers)
5: Jake Butt(#1 Utah, #2 Rutgers)
4: Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland, #2 Minnesota), Jake Rudock (#3 Northwestern, #1 Rutgers)
3: De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU), Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland),
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Willie Henry(#3 Utah, #3 MSU).
1: AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland), Drake Johnson(#3 Minnesota)
Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week
This week's best thing ever.
Jabrill Peppers does his Denard-vs-WMU impression.
That acceleration after he dodges the tackle is ridiculous.
Honorable mention: any number of pinpoint midrange Rudock passes but we'll go with the 50-yard catch and run to Butt; Jarrod Wilson's un-boring interception; Smith rips off a big run late on a textbook power play; Harbaugh goes for two for Reasons.
Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.
Northwestern: Chesson opening KO TD.
MSU: the bit where they won until they didn't.
Minnesota: form a f-ing wall.
Rutgers: Peppers as Denard.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
This week's worst thing ever.
A weirdly short kickoff from Kenny Allen is returned for a touchdown.
Honorable mention: Targeting overturned; Rutgers rips off a 55-yard run thanks in large part a pretty obvious hold on Joe Bolden; Michigan struggles to run yet again.
Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.
Northwestern: KLINSMANN OUT
Minnesota: The bit where the lost it until they didn't.
Rutgers: KO return given up.
[After THE JUMP: no ghosts this week, tiniest band ever, screens, defense hole-seeking]
We had an official MGoPumpking carving contest, with the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown offering a $200 award towards a stay there. I picked the winners last week but forgot to post the announcement. The victor is Noah Neidlinger, aka Candor for Sale, and not just because his perfect Harbaugh picked up some accidental devil horns.
Hit THE JUMP for the runners up.
Photo: Isaiah Hole/247
Michigan has filled one of their most significant remaining needs in the 2016 class after four-star Boulder (CO) Fairview DE Carlo Kemp chose the Wolverines over Notre Dame this afternoon. Kemp projects to the WDE/BUCK spot currently occupied by Royce Jenkins-Stone, a position in great need of reninforcement.
Kemp is the 21st commit in the class and the third along the defensive line, joining SDE Ron Johnson and DT Rashad Weaver.
|4*, #37 DE||
4*, #9 WDE,
|4*, 80, #42 DE||3*, 87, #30 SDE||
4*, #14 SDE,
Kemp is mostly hanging around the lower end of the top x lists, falling inside the Rivals250, barely missing the Scout300 (the #36 DE is #292 overall), and coming within six spots in the position rankings of making the ESPN300; 247 stands as the outlier.
All four sites are in close agreement on Kemp's size, listing him at 6'3" (or, in Scout's case, 6'2.5") and 250-262 pounds, mostly falling on the higher end of that range. He's right around the size that DJ Durkin prefers for that BUCK spot; Dante Fowler is 6'3" and around 265 pounds, for comparison.
Kemp is a bit of an odd case scouting-wise. He's got very strong family ties to the game of football:
There are few prospects in the country that have been around the game of football like Kemp. He lives with his grandfather, Sam Pagano, who is one of the best high school coaches in Colorado football history. Then, there are his two uncles, Chuck and John Pagano, two of the most respected coaches in the NFL.
"I'm blessed with such a supportive family," Kemp shared. "I live with my grandpa, who is my greatest fan and also my best critic. He is always pushing me to be better and offering me great coaching advice. Uncle Chuck and John are always a text or phone call away and have been great mentors to me. That's my motivation right there. I want to play for one of my uncles in the NFL. I know to get there, I can never stop working to get better."
One might think a prospect like that would hit a ton of camps, but Kemp hasn't done so, and as a prospect in a state not known for producing a lot of football talent there's not a whole lot of scouting on him. His Scout and ESPN profiles both lack the usual evaluation, unusual for a player with his rankings.
The only camp writeup I could find on Kemp comes from back in the summer of 2013, when the sophomore-to-be stood out at an NFL 7-on-7 camp in Cleveland that featured the likes of Leonard Fournette (playing safety, terrifyingly) and Brian Cole; Scout's Bill Greene listed Kemp among the top performers ($):
A 2016 prospect to watch, Kemp started as a freshman last season. He moved exceptionally well for a sophomore-to-be, and has great size at 6-foot-2, 220-pounds. The nephew of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, and a player that has a chance to be a star in the future. Impressive size/speed combination. Listed Notre Dame and Ohio State as favorite schools at this time.
This spring, Scout bumped Kemp into their top 300—he's still at the same spot in their position rankings but was passed by some non-DEs—because of his versatility:
Kemp is a versatile player who moves all over the defense. He put his hand down as a rush end, stand up as an outside 'backer and even plays some middle 'backer as well. We think with his frame, he'll end up as a full time defensive end and could even grow in to a tackle but he'll be a very good college player no matter where he lines up.
That shows up in Kemp's junior film, in which he moves all over the defensive front. Irish247's Evan Sharpley did an in-depth breakdown of that film after Notre Dame offered Kemp and found a lot to like ($):
Kemp flashes brilliant athleticism, the versatility to play multiple positions, and potential to be developed into an elite collegiate player. Kemp shows ample speed as an edge rushers, the physicality to play inside, and coverage skills to matchup with hybrid tight ends. Kemp has the body type that will allow him to trend toward a number of different positions based on need and/or development. Exciting talent that seems to have the snack for creating turnovers and batting down balls. Kemp is a smart pass rusher. Impeccable ability to read the quarterback’s eyes will moving upfield. WIll become more dangerous as he becomes more consistent in creating space with his hands versus edge and interior linemen. Has shown fantastic growth from sophomore to junior year, mainly in terms of technique, motor, and physical play.
That's the strengths section; the areas for improvement boiled down to him finding a position so he can develop physically for a specific spot on the field.
Finally, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught Kemp in August in a practice setting and also saw him as more than just a pass-rusher ($):
He has the big, thick build of a prospect who will grow into a true defensive lineman, and while he's adjusting to life away from the line of scrimmage, he has the athleticism to cover players in space, too. He'll be a pass-rush specialist in college, even if he's playing from a two-point stance, but he's more versatile than previously known - without losing the mentality to plant opposing skill players into the turf.
If it looks like a BUCK and sounds like a BUCK...
Kemp boasts offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington, and Wisconsin, a very solid list for a prospect from his region, albeit one lacking too many elite programs.
Fairview has only produced one Power 5 commit in the Rivals era (2002-), though it's one you're likely familar with: former Nebraska wideout Kenny Bell.
Impressive junior stats via Scout ($):
Over the past two years, Fairview is 23-2 and Kemp has been the driving force. This past season, Kemp had 66 tackles, 20 TFLs, 8 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles, despite a constant double team and occasional triple. He also chipped in 11 rushing touchdowns, proving to be a viable goal line back. Kemp has forced 13 turnovers and blocked 5 field goals in his last 20 games.
I'm sure John Baxter has taken note of that last bit.
FAKE 40 TIME
Kemp's Scout profile lists an estimated 40 time of 4.80, which gets four FAKEs out of five.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
You've probably gathered that I think Kemp will end up at the BUCK, where there's quite a bit of uncertainty with Mario Ojemudia and Royce Jenkins-Stone out of eligibility after this season. Lawrence Marshall is the only other BUCK on the roster who's seen playing time, and after he was expected to take on a big role this year, he's barely seen the field. Unless another lineman—probably Taco Charlton—moves the position next year, Kemp should compete for immediate time with Marshall and freshman Reuben Jones. Kemp has the size to see the field right away and there's a good chance he'll do just that.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The class as it currently stands:
Kemp fills a huge hole in the class, and Michigan is in on several big-time prospects to finish it out—the part that's most difficult to project isn't the size of the class, which should get to or near 28, but which current commits will stick and which will flip commitments or come in as grayshirts.
That's enough for a whole post, so for now I'll note that main positions the coaches are recruiting are defensive tackle (Rashan Gary, Chris Daniels, Jordan Elliott), tight end (Isaac Nauta, Jacob Mathis), receiver (Dylan Crawford, Pie Young, Donnie Corley), inside linebacker (Devin Bush, Dontavious Jackson) and defensive back (Lavert Hill, David Long, Chris Brown).