i refuse to even consider this a possibility
A Top Three... Of One
Michigan's recent push for five-star CA CB Darnay Holmes is paying off. Holmes is in the process of narrowing his recruitment to three schools, and he told Maize n Brew he knows one school that will make the cut:
2017 5* CB/WR Darnay Holmes told @MaizenBrew that Michigan is the ONLY team that he knows will make his Top 3. Still deciding on others.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) June 6, 2016
Nebraska is also a safe bet to be in the top three; the only official visit Holmes has set so far is to Lincoln, though he also plans to take officials to Michigan and Ohio State. Stanford and UCLA are also heavily involved. Michigan has gone from the fringe of Holmes' recruitment to the possible leader in a hurry.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
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.
|Boulder, CO – 6'3", 250|
|Scout||4*, NR overall
#42 DE, #1 CO
|Rivals||4*, #215 overall
#11 WDE, #1 CO
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#42 DE, #1 CO
|24/7||3*, #451 overall
#19 SDE, #2 CO
|Other Suitors||ND, UCLA, CU, Stanford|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
No senior highlights on HUDL. Junior:
You can't throw a rock in Carlo Kemp's family without irritating a guy who played or coached football, often at the highest level:
The four-star prospect's grandfather is Sam Pagano, the former longtime Fairview High, Colo., head football coach and Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame inductee. He also ran the prestigious Mile High Football Camp for 36 years.
In addition, Kemp's uncles are Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.
"I pretty much have a connection to every college in America because my grandfather back at home knows everybody [in football] and everyone knows him," Kemp told HuskerOnline.com.
I mean, this is a dude Kemp lives with just hanging out on the sideline of an NFL game.
Kemp's first words were probably an audible to a matchup zone. Pedigree doesn't quite cover it.
While having a bunch of hard-bitten football dudes around isn't a guarantee of success, it's a nice head start. Harbaugh noticed Kemp's readiness almost immediately upon his arrival this spring:
"He seems like he’s been here a couple years. I’m not talking from a football standpoint, but just a guy that being around him, he’s at ease with everything. Maybe a little bit of the Pagano background: grandfather a football coach, uncle a football coach. He’s very mature. Very smart; a 4.0 type of guy. He just looks like he’s in the groove.”
Around the same time Steve Lorenz was hearing that Kemp stood out as "someone who fits the Harbaugh culture." With his background and intelligence, Kemp is a heavy favorite to hit his ceiling.
That ceiling depends largely on finding a solid positional fit. Despite his size he played MLB last year; Michigan gave him a run at the spot in spring practice. That didn't last long. By the spring game he was back at end. If you watch his film, which is his junior year, you might wonder why Michigan bothered to try him out there—that is an end, and a relatively large one. The plan under Durkin was to play him at the "buck" spot, which is hypothetically a LB/DE hybrid but played much more like a standard weakside end even when a Kemp-sized guy was manning it. That might still be the plan. Mattison:
…fills two voids for us as he plays a linebacker position and outside rusher position in passing situations. He has great size and strength and his upside and we are excited about what he brings to the Michigan program.
Carlo is very versatile. He will be a guy who can line up on the edge and go, or drop into coverage, stand up and play linebacker or put his hand down and get the quarterback. Carlo is going to be able to do different things because of his size and his ability to move his feet and use his quickness. He’s a very smart, headsy football player.
On the other hand, Kemp was paired with Rueben Jones in the spring game. Jones, who also moonlit as a linebacker this spring, is a WDE all the way; Kemp was playing SDE. Kemp has reasonable size for a hybrid weakside end right now, which means that in a couple years he's probably outgrown the position. 247 projects him at SDE for this reason, and also issues him the sole three-star ranking he got. It's a concern: Kemp is a tweener who could end up too big for WDE and not big enough for SDE.
Unfortunately, much of the scouting about Kemp talks about BUCK and standing up and dropping back and etc., etc., etc. Buck doesn't exist anymore (and it never did) and your author thinks the extent of Kemp's hybrid role will be short drops on zone blitzes. Meanwhile Kemp avoided the camp scene—he had no need for exposure—and some of the other scouting is contradictory. ESPN says he does bring athleticism to go with the pedigree:
…nice combination of size and bulk at this stage with some room to still develop his frame. Demonstrates very good playing strength and a good get-off. … Flashes good speed to power and can knock and drive blockers back when he keeps pads down. Can bring a hard up-field charge, but can lack a plan and needs to continue to develop his pass rush arsenal to fit his strengths. … Athletic player for size.
Clint Brewster's evaluation is in conflict with the get-off statement above; he doesn't seem to believe Kemp has a ton of pass rush upside in college:
…big, tough player that can rush the passer off the edge or drop into space. Kemp’s effort and want-to on the field really pop out at you when evaluating his film. He chases the ball downfield and doesn’t give up on plays. … When he makes contact with people they feel it. Has the leverage and strength to get under pads and bull rush tackles.
Kemp isn’t the most talented prospect as far as first-step quickness or explosiveness and from a frame standpoint he’s not a long and rangy player. … Kemp makes heady plays and is really good with his hands shedding blocks and scraping to the ball carrier. He can really anchor down the edge and control the line of scrimmage against the run.
Scout has "athleticism" as an area for improvement and "suddenness" as a positive, which… uh. Those are more or less the same thing when it comes to a DE. The evaluation itself…
…physically very strong, and can overpower multiple blockers and make a play. He shows a quick first step and can beat an opposing lineman off the snap. He's a good athlete for a big man, can move laterally and covers a lot of ground. Depending on how much weight he puts on, we could see Kemp playing on the edge of even moving inside and playing as a tackle.
…says he's a good athlete. Scout doesn't have much else, but they did mention they believe he'll grow into a full time end or "even a tackle" when they put him at the tail end of their top 300 last April.
Rivals's Blair Angulo is enthusiastic—Rivals is an optimistic outlier amongst a bunch of evaluations that are right on the 3/4 star borderline—and helpfully dismisses the LB/BUCK talk to focus on a more realistic college deployment:
"I think he's really good. He's very physical at the point of attack and he's a really hard worker. He plays with a good pad level [ed: !!!] and is football sound as far as gaps are concerned. I think his work ethic is going to carry him to great places in college. … Looking at his film and his skill set I think, if he can keep the speed and keeps the aggression he has now, he doesn't have a lot of weaknesses… [he does need] to get better at getting off of blocks. … he does well to contain gaps, engage blockers, and recognize plays but if he's going to rush the passer almost exclusively, getting off of blocks is a big part of that.
Good pad level! I have been doing these forever and this may be the first time ever that a high school player has had his pad level mentioned as a positive. I mean… if this is not evidence that Carlo Kemp is from a football lineage nothing will convince you.
Anyway. Angulo's evaluation is another one that points to Kemp evolving into a good, maybe slightly boring starter. These reports contrast with Ron Johnson's. Johnson had all four services say something about his explosion and rawness. Kemp's evaluations occasionally mention something that should translate into pass rush; mostly they focus on the fact he's going to be in the right gap and play with good technique. That sounds like a high-floor, low-upside player.
There are a couple of evaluations that think Kemp could be a college star. One of them comes from the Michigan coaching staff. Lorenz:
Michigan pushed for [Kemp] very hard late in his process to beat Notre Dame for his services. Kemp had a solid offer sheet, but one that those around the Michigan program thought should have been even bigger. They believe he can become an elite pass-rusher in any (Don Brown) defense and could be one of the higher impact signees in the class.
Michigan was coming from behind in Kemp's recruitment. Kemp's grandfather played at ND and was indoctrinated young.
"With Notre Dame, it's been rooted in my family for such a long time," Kemp said. "My grandmother started me at a young age always wearing Notre Dame clothes."
The push there was a real thing. Notre Dame's involvement also spurred the other highly positive evaluation, this from former ND QB Evan Sharpley:
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 rusher, the physicality to play inside, and coverage skills to matchup with hybrid tight ends. … Kemp is a smart pass rusher. Impeccable ability to read the quarterback’s eyes will moving upfield.
Sharpley is usually positive, as team-specific evaluations tend to be, but this evaluation is an effusive outlier. Kemp does have some moments on his highlight film where he absolutely wrecks a dude; it could happen.
Yo guy has picture of prestigious award.
Why Jibreel Black? Black was a 6'2" guy who came in as a WDE; he was pretty thick as a high school recruit and ended up a 280-pound defensive tackle. The DT bit was in large part because Michigan was desperate at the tail end of the Rodriguez regime; he infamously was forced to play nose tackle in an OSU game, and that went about as well as you might expect. His best fit was at SDE.
Kemp is probably going to be better than Black because of his background and the slightly better defensive coaching he'll receive. He's also a better-regarded recruit than Black, who was a late pickup and something of a flier. ND was not pounding Black's door down.
Another couple guys who are potential comparisons: Brennen Beyer and Craig Roh. Both moved from LB to WDE to SDE over the course of their careers as they got bigger; both ended up undersized for SDE but managed to make it work with smarts and excellent technique.
Guru Reliability: Moderate-minus. Rankings mostly agree; significant conflict amongst scouting reports and some positional question marks.
Variance: Low-minus. 4.0 kid with football coaches out the wazoo who's already Harbaugh-approved. The only thing that'll disrupt his career is an injury.
Ceiling: Moderate. I think he'll end up like Beyer or Roh: a solid multi-year starter who grades out well in UFR and maybe gets an honorable mention All Big Ten.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. At the very least he's a guy who gives you a ton of quality snaps. Michigan is going to need bodies on the line in 2017 and 2018 and Kemp's high floor is important.
Projection: Unlikely to redshirt given the Pagano stuff and his early enrollment. Similarly unlikely to have a major role given the many persons on the DL this year.
Future will depend on his weight. If he sticks as a WDE he'll be in competition with Chase Winovich, Lawrence Marshall, and some other guys. If he moves over to SDE, which I think he will, he's going to spend his sophomore year backing up Gary before a two-year run as an upperclassman starter. Shelton Johnson is the only other guy currently on the roster who projects to SDE in 2018 and 2019.
Just when you thought you'd seen peak Rutgers...
As Paramus Catholic High School officials prepare to host a football camp Wednesday featuring Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, authorities are said to be investigating a series of acts that the school president called vandalism.
Paramus Catholic president James Vail told NJ Advance Media his operations team arrived on campus this morning to find Rutgers magnets across the fields and a teddy bear and Rutgers paper packet on the 50-yard line of the football field.
A group claiming unofficial ties to Rutgers University took responsibility, emailing media outlets with pictures of its work and a letter slamming Harbaugh for starting a war with Rutgers.
The photos above depict the horrifying act of vandalism and the accompanying letter from "The Order of Bulls Blood," which for the sake of both brevity and accuracy will henceforth be called "Smirnoff ISIS."
There's so much to unpack here that I'm just going to start writing a list and see how long I can go before I can no longer see through the tears of laughter.
1. "The Order of Bull's Blood" is the oldest secret society at Rutgers—or is rumored to be, as its very existence is in question (see sidebar). "The Order of Bulls Blood" is a group of students who don't know how to properly deploy the possessive form.
2. According to an email sent to local media, this act of war was pulled off by "elite student leaders," which... you know what? That sounds about right.
Michigan has began a war with Rutgers University. Our Order, represented by some of Rutgers elite student leaders, see it fit that this rivalry be hereby declared.
We have had enough of Michigan. Fence the Garden was brought forth because of Mr. Harbaugh, and us Scarlet Knights are ready to protect our state. We R battle ready.
Tonight sparked the beginning of the end for Wolverine Football, and no longer will they return to their former glory. The Curse of The Bambino reigned for 86 years, Michigan's will last for 28.
The 2016-2017 Class
Order of Bulls Blood
The Yankees are invoked. I, for one, am shocked.
3. If an act of vandalism is best described as "adorable," it's probably not a very good act of vandalism. It's definitely not a good act of vandilism if it's already gone by the time the press picks up on it, let alone the event it's supposed to disrupt.
"The litter has already been cleaned up and we're ready to go for the camp,'' said Vail
This was not a good act of vandalism.
4. This is a textbook use of the passive voice by the NJ.com writer.
Because Michigan is perceived to be a rival to Rutgers both on the football field and on the recruiting trail, the camp has drawn intense criticism from Rutgers fans on popular Internet message boards.
Perceived by whom? Exactly.
5. The letter to Harbaugh. Good God, the letter to Harbaugh. There's the haphazard use of capitalization, the implication Rutgers is College Football David instead of College Football Job, "you will being to fade," and the invoking of their "powerful ally," Ohio State. Should somebody tell them?
The best part, though, is that the letter is meant to be an acrostic, a favored form among Facebook meme artisans and middle schoolers writing love letters. These elite student leaders cleverly inserted a message to Jim Harbaugh in such fashion. Or they tried to, at least, but their use of "The Sleeping Giant" screwed up the format.
As such, the capitalized letters down the side read: GO FUCK YOUGRSELF
Rutgers may be the worst thing to ever happen to the Big Ten, but at least they're the best thing to happen to this offseason.
Anu Solomon (Arizona), Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA), Juju Smith-Schuster (USC)
The optics surrounding programs in the South are much different than those in the North. USC – the Pac-12’s most historically successful program, one that should theoretically be a playoff contender – has been a dysfunctional mess in the post-Pete Carroll era: sanctions and the hilariously ill-fated Lane Kiffin hire set the Trojans back and their former AD Pat Haden handled the Steve Sarkisian situation very badly. Now Clay Helton, a pretty uninspiring promotion from within the Carroll tree, is the head coach, handpicked by Haden. Their crosstown rivals have things better, as Jim Mora has gone 37-16 in four years at UCLA, but an 8-5 result last season is cause for some concern (though there were plenty of injuries, to be fair), as is the Bruins’ slide down the division standings year-over-year. Those two programs are the most well-equipped for success in the Pac-12 South due to natural advantages, but the odds of playoff contention seem remote.
Each of the other four programs in the division have their own questions – though Utah is definitely in a better place than the other three. Both Arizona schools regressed mightily last season: U of A followed up a New Year’s Six appearance with a 3-6 conference record in 2015 (and Rich Rodriguez had to fire DC Jeff Casteel after the season), ASU had two ten-win seasons in ‘13 and ‘14 before winning six games last season – and Todd Graham’s synonymous for fleeing programs for better jobs at the earliest available opportunity, though he’s now entering his fifth year at Arizona State. Colorado has been wandering in the wilderness since joining the Pac-12 and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Kyle Wittingham has been at Utah for over a decade and once went undefeated in the Mountain West – two consecutive losing seasons put him on the hot seat, but 9-4 in ‘14 and a 10-3 showing in ‘15 (including a bowl win over much-hated BYU) has him safe again.
Of the six teams in the Pac-12 South, Utah’s the only one who’s on an upward trajectory entering 2016 and they have to replace very productive starting quarterbacks and running backs. UCLA’s a strong candidate for a rebound and USC always has plenty of talent. Still, the South looks to be the worse of the two divisions in the Pac-12, one without an obvious frontrunner or a team that stacks up well for a playoff run.
[After the JUMP, team previews]
It’s still surreal to realize that Stanford(!) is the most stable program in the division
Last year, the Pac-12 was the power conference left out of the playoff – ultimately, Stanford’s week one loss to Northwestern, of all teams, left the league with a two-loss champion and the committee was given an undefeated (ACC) or one-loss champ (SEC, Big 12, B1G) by the four other conferences. At the risk of being too reductive, it was a pretty solid year for the conference, although the encouraging and disappointing seasons divided along division lines. The South was supposed to be a very strong division and it really underwhelmed. Both Los Angeles schools were preseason top 15 teams: USC had a ton of off-field problems (including a mid-season coaching change) but won the division and finished 8-6, UCLA finished third and 8-5. The Arizona Schools combined to go 13-13 after entering the season with some degree of hype. Only Utah really exceeded expectations at 10-3 and their blowout road win over Oregon was its best since joining the league.
In the North, five of the six teams finished with winning records: Stanford recovered nicely from that early upset to win the league and Washington State lost to an FCS team and went on to go 9-4, their most wins since 2003. Cal finally had a breakthrough of sorts with first overall draft pick, QB Jared Goff, and advanced stats favorite Washington arrived a year early with their own potential star QB, then-freshman Jake Browning. Even Oregon – who started the year in the top ten only to finish with a 9-4 record after blowing an enormous lead in their bowl game against TCU – took down Stanford on the road, denying their main competition at the top of the North a chance to make it into the playoff. The other four Pac-12 North bowl teams won those contests, highlighted by Stanford’s rout of Iowa in the Rose Bowl.
By and large, bowl wins mean little more than an increase in the trinity of hype / optimism / expectations and that will be the case again in the Pac-12 North. To open our rundown of the power conferences in college football, we’ll take a look at that division, home to a bona fide playoff contender with a star running back (Stanford), a potentially stumbling blue-blood (Oregon), and the return of good FBS football to the state of Washington as both programs look to be on solid footing for the first time in a while.
[after the JUMP, team-by-team previews]
Tiller was always good for some anonymous snark
I always miss Joe Tiller when these get published. ESPN does the anonymous coach quote article, and while some of it is of little utility…
Coach, can you talk about Indiana's tempo?
"They're unique in our league in that they're going to try to get 100 plays in a game and just literally outscore you." -- Big Ten defensive coach [who all Big Ten fans reading this article hope is not employed by their program]
…there are a couple interesting bits about Michigan. This isn't a huge surprise since the last coach was Brady Hoke:
"This coaching staff knows how to mask things. It's a lot more double-team, a lot more movement, a lot more point-of-attack doubles and down blocks. They're a team that embraces the 4- and 5-yard play, and not a lot of people in college football do that anymore." -- Big Ten defensive coach
It's still good to hear that Michigan's offense is reputed to be tricky. There is exactly zero chance opponents thought Michigan's offense was difficult to prep for under Carr or Hoke.
Another coach says the linebackers were the weakest part of Michigan's defense a year ago "but with the guys they have up front, if they're healthy, you can get away with whatever at linebacker." Our theory that Michigan could put out a lawn chair at LB and be okay if Glasgow is around: endorsed.
Yet more satellite camp stuff. It is insane how much people continue to talk about this. There are slightly more important things going on in college football at the moment, but there is just a nonstop train of satellite camp takes. Which, again, are about people showing up on a football field and doing football-related activities in full view of the world. And yet. Anyway here's the whatnot.
Jon Solomon stops by one of the satellite camps in Baltimore, discovering that the people who attend them are in favor of them:
I spoke to a couple dozen parents and players over a span of about five hours and this was the resounding message: Thank you for coming, Jim Harbaugh.
"It's huge -- huge -- to have this in inner city Baltimore," said Christopher Braswell, who took his 14-year-old son out of school -- almost all of the middle-schoolers played hooky -- to the middle school camp. "It gives kids a sense that someone's out there who cares about them. These guys come from Michigan. It's 10 bucks, so they're not making any money off it. A lot of people can't afford more. Bring your kid here to interact with college coaches and high school coaches. Black, white, they're just out there having fun. What's wrong with that?"
This is somewhat tautological, yes. People doing thing like thing. Thing is harmless to everything except Hugh Freeze's free time. Turns out you have to explain tautological things to lizard people sometimes.
Solomon's article is long and manages to blow up some arguments against the camps along the way. Greg Sankey:
Sankey on satellite camps: “These are not instructional. There are videos and pictures out there that don't look very instructional to me."
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) June 3, 2016
The middle school camp in the morning is largely about teaching and drills, all without pads and helmets, just like the high school session. These middle schoolers are too far away from college for serious consideration of recruiting them just yet.
Also, Gene Wojciechowski drew either the short or long straw, depending on your perspective, and took in Michigan's Australian satellite camp:
Spent 3 hrs in see-yr-breath cold/rain conditions at Michigan sat camp near Melbourne, last nite. Don't hv dog in sat camp fight, but...
— Gene Wojciechowski (@GenoEspn) June 3, 2016
...was impressed by Aussies' passion for game, and Mich coaches' desire to teach them. U wd hv thought u wr at Mich practice--high intensity
— Gene Wojciechowski (@GenoEspn) June 3, 2016
...Didn't matter there were maybe--maybe--a handful of college-level prospects. If this was abt spreading CFB word, then Mich coaches did so
— Gene Wojciechowski (@GenoEspn) June 3, 2016
I'm eagerly awaiting the first statement from Sankey that has any relationship to reality. Meanwhile Kirk Herbstreit says Michigan doesn't "need to do it." This is true. Michigan is doing it anyway.
Also, Harbaugh addresses the tucked-in jersey thing:
"I'm a tuck-in guy," Harbaugh explained, tugging at his belt. "In football, the advantage of tucking in your jersey is big. It's harder to grab the jersey when it's tucked in. When it's untucked, they can grab it, they can sling you, they can swing you, so I always like to tuck in it, and I like the sight lines better of a tucked-in shirt. Football is a game of sight lines -- a very symmetrical field with lines and hashes and dimensions. Sight lines are important."
He's thought long and hard about this.
And then this thing. I was maybe going to fisk that article about "absolute power" from a week ago but I've decided it's just too bad to go over in detail. Wendell Barnhouse, who used to have a job with the Star-Telegram and then the Big 12 but is currently writing for a site I've never heard of, put a bunch of words on paper he has to immediately refute because this is his thesis:
Now here is where this column will anger the thousands of Michigan fans, alums and Jim Harbaugh cultists. Harbaugh is corrupting his absolute power absolutely.
You have read the previous sentence, probably twice, trying to figure out if there is any meaning encapsulated in it. There is not. The Lord Acton quote this dude is trying to reference is about power corrupting individuals that hold it. Barnhouse is stating that Harbaugh is… corrupting power? Which is not a thing?
Barnhouse's point is that what Harbaugh is doing is "about optics" and it's bad for the NCAA, which who cares, and then he comes back around to be like BANG BAYLOR. Sorry. "BANG" "BAYLOR":
Harbaugh is engaged in “wretched excess” disguised as “outworking other coaching staffs.” Staging 38 satellite camps in 30 days might be more about carpet-bombing the “Michigan brand” more so than landing five-star recruits.
And it’s also about Jim Harbaugh having the all-encompassing power to do what he wants. There are numerous examples, including a recent one, that illustrates the danger that lurks.
This draws about 35 different false equivalencies and amply demonstrates why Barnhouse is no longer employed as a writer: he's bad at writing.
Harbaugh already had an opportunity to start off his career in corruption last year and passed. Logan Tuley-Tillman, who had a good shot at being the starting left tackle this year, was booted from the team the instant Harbaugh found out he'd done something seriously wrong.
Etc.: A three-part oral history on a basketball season that ended with a loss in the NIT final. Rutgers? Rutgers. Nitpickers gonna nitpick. ESPN's Where In The World Is Jim Harbaugh is entertaining. Scott Steiner on Harbaugh.
Malone-Hatcher: Ankle "Never Better"
Steve Lorenz's VIP Notes from Corey Malone-Hatcher's commitment feature a few notable tibdits about his recruitment. Jim Harbaugh remembering to ask about Malone-Hatcher's younger sister each time they talked apparently struck a chord with the family, while Greg Mattison—and his wife—may have been the most important factor in getting CMH's commitment. Lorenz also got details on how Malone-Hatcher expects to be utilized in Don Brown's defense:
"He was really clear with us," Orlando Malone mentioned after Corey committed. "Corey's worked really hard to put himself in a position to be a guy that will get to the quarterback consistently, and we wanted to make sure that's how he was going to use us. He was pretty blunt about how he wanted to utilize him. 'We'll put him on his own at end sometimes. We'll line him up next to another defensive end in certain sets. We'll shift him to middle linebacker. We want to do a lot of things with him, but we'll get him to the quarterback'. He has a complicated scheme, but was clear about how he'd use Corey. That was important to us."
Malone-Hatcher has some versatility; while he'll mostly be a defensive end, he played middle linebacker extensively during his junior season before it was cut short by an ankle injury. Speaking of which:
"Never better, man," Malone-Hatcher said when asked how he was feeling coming off his ankle injury. "My confidence is at an all-time high."
That is nice to hear.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
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.
|Paramus, NJ – 6'4", 293|
|Scout||5*, #1 overall
#1 DT, #1 NJ
|Rivals||5*, #1 overall
#1 DT, #1 NJ
|ESPN||5*, #1 overall
#1 DT, #1 NJ
|24/7||5*, #1 overall
#1 DT, #1 NJ
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Paramus Catholic (Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Chris Partridge.)|
Michigan has never grabbed the consensus top prospect in the country since recruiting rankings were a thing. Maybe Drew Henson would have been that guy if the recruiting-industrial complex had gotten going slightly earlier. It did not, and thus Gary is undisputed as the highest-profile prospect ever to don a winged helmet. And it's close when it comes to any helmet, any time.
There are many reasons for this. One is the fact that as a rising junior his SPARQ test was better than the average DL at the NFL combine. Ian Boyd:
The numbers on Gary are jaw-dropping, no matter how inflated high schooler measurables can be. In a partially laser-timed SPARQ test before his junior year, he produced the following results, blowing away all other 2016 stars tested at the national event.
Height Weight 40 time Shuttle time Vertical leap Rashan Gary as a high school junior 6'4" 287 4.74 4.38 32.1" Average 2015 NFL Combine defensive lineman 6'3 1/2" 286 4.96 4.5 32.2"
That group includes some relatively lean defensive ends; Gary's got a big enough body to play defensive tackle. His 40 time was better than what 15 linebackers produced at last year's Combine. Three wide receivers had slower shuttle times, and five linebackers had lesser vertical leaps. Some of those NFL prospects were as many as 80 pounds lighter than Gary.
Some perspective from Scout's Scott Kennedy:
He out-jumped a wide receiver, he out-shuttled a defensive back and he out-40'd a BCS safety commit. At 287 pounds, that's insane.
Those numbers were gathered at the Opening in 2014, and his play matched or exceeded the promise therein. Despite being one of only two 2016 players invited, he was amongst the best players—not just defensive ends—present. Scout placed him in their East top five afterwards:
He was a combination of strength, power, athleticism and freakish natural ability. He didn’t win every rep, but he darn near did. And he did it despite having limited technique. Gary used his speed, balance and competitive fire to stand out, and make plenty of other players step back and watch.
Other analysts declared him "ridiculous" with "incredible burst, balance and strength"; "ridiculous" (again); and exclaimed that "speed, power, agility, acceleration, strength… yeah, Gary has it all." All of this was as a prospect a year younger than the rest of the best dudes in the country.
By the time the 2015 version of the same event rolled around he left no question who the main dude was. Then he followed that up with an impressive high school season and more of the same at the Under Armour game, where he tied a game record with three sacks after spending a week in practice making every five-star OL in the game look foolish. (Ben Bredeson drew mention as the only guy to give him even momentary pause, but that's another profile.)
Let us now deploy the longest and most effusive bulleted scouting lightning round in the history of this series.
- Greg Mattison, Michigan DL coach: "The thing that's so exciting about Rashan is that you can watch a highlight tape and then you can watch an entire game. And it's the same thing."
- Adam Gorney, Rivals: "Incredibly active, he’s like a whirling dervish, he’s impossible to stop and he’s going to be the guy every single play that just keeps going after offensive tackles so in the third and forth quarter he’s going to wear a lot of people down and get a lot of his plays.”
- Josh Newberg, 247: "In my nine years covering [the UA] game, I think Gary may be the single most dominant player I’ve seen. When he’s not sacking the quarterback, which he’s done a lot this week, he is disruptive as hell."
- Adam Friedman, Rivals: “He’s been totally dominant, tossing guys around from the first minute of the first practice on, just totally dominant. Today, during one-on-ones, he was going over, around and through guys. … You can’t say enough good things about how he’s done out here.”
- Bill Greene, Scout: "Last year at Under Armour featured three tremendous defensive tackles in Christian Wilkins, Terry Beckner and Daylon Mack. All three played well this year as true freshman. What I saw out of Gary today puts him way above those three. There are very few true difference-makers coming out of high school every year. Rashan Gary is exactly that."
- Barton Simmons, 247: "everything you want out of an elite defender. He's coachable, plays with effort and intensity, he's one of the best athletes in this class and he's versatile."
- Same dude: "Rashan Gary is the best prospect in the country right now. The guy may not have had two bad reps the entire camp. If an OL didn't come correct with Gary lined up on in front of him, he was going to not only get beat, but also get embarrassed. How good is Gary? This was the best defensive line performance I've seen since The Opening's inception."
- Mike Farrell, Rivals: "Just an animal, 100-percent every drill, 100-percent every rep, constant motor, physical as heck, puts offensive linemen on skates, really dominant whether he’s playing end or tackle. Everything as advertised, today.” … "as dominant as I’ve ever seen from a defensive tackle who played mostly outside and was still too fast and athletic for everyone.”
- 247 collectively, post-Opening: "just dominant. In every drill, every situation, every rep, he was the best The Opening had to offer. In fact, he's one of the best we've ever seen at The Opening. … If we're making bets on what alumni from this event are going to be sitting in the green room on NFL Draft night in a 3.5 years, the smart money is on Gary."
- Brian Dohn, Scout: "Gary is the most impressive prospect I covered at the high school level. If it was a camp setting, he dominated. If it was a game, it took two and sometimes three players to slow him down. Even when he was not making a play, he was impacting the game because he freed up others to make tackles. His speed, acceleration and power was always amazing to see."
Finally, Greg Powers resorted to the same shrug Michigan fans are currently deploying when they talk about Jourdan Lewis:
Rashan Gary did Rashan Gary type things. He is the No. 1 prospect for a reason. There are not too many more superlatives you can throw on him.
I deleted twice as much as I included here; the only thing less than rapturous is his ESPN profile, which has some of that disconnect between ranking and report that crops up. It's not bad by any means; a ton of "excellent" and "very good"… it's just more clinical:
Gary is a talented prospect that can wreak havoc at the high school level and has the size and has flashed the maturity to be able to come into a program and be able to contribute quickly. While a very good player at this stage, still has room to improve and round out his game and that current ability coupled with some continued upside makes him an excellent prospect.
I guess that guy who evaluated Isaiah Bell is no longer with the company.
He's a consensus #1 player. He's the first defensive tackle to finish #1 overall on Rivals. While Rivals doesn't think he's the quite best prospect ever, he's "somewhere in the middle" of a list of luminaries including guys like Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and Percy Harvin. For much of the year 247 had him as one of the rare players who they'll break their ranking scale for. In the six years that 247 has been around, only 6 have gotten a ranking above 100. Five have gone on to be college superstars: Fournette, Clowney, Kouandijo, Nkemdiche, and Garrett. These are guys who don't need first names for CFB fans to identify them. (Okay, maybe Garrett since his name is kind of common: that's A&M defensive end Myles, currently projected by many to be the top pick in next year's draft.) The fifth, Trent Thompson, just finished his freshman year at Georgia. 247 broke the scale for Gary, too, and only reeled it back in late. Instead of a 101, he's now a 100. C'est la vie.
Recruiting rankings are in fact gospel when it comes to the bluest of the blue chips. Aside from a few guys (Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Brown, Seantrel Henderson) who didn't make it for reasons other than their talent, every Rivals or Scout #1 player in the last decade has at least been good and has usually been excellent. And even Brown and Henderson stuck on NFL rosters, with Henderson starting every game as a rookie.
Gary doesn't have any apparent character issues—in addition to Gary's insane suite of physical skills, he's consistently praised for his effort level and coachability. When Mike Farrell put together his awards from the UA game he mentioned Gary a half-dozen times; he probably would have named him winner of all those categories if he wasn't aiming for some variety. The awards he did give Gary are illuminating. One was for being the guy with the highest motor; the other was for most consistency. Meanwhile Michigan has a guy on staff who knows Gary very well. Chris Partridge:
"There are certain players who just have something," Partridge continued. "A work ethic on the field and in the classroom and a love for the game where they've got a bounce in their step when they hit the field."
He stacks up towards the upper end of these #1 prospects given the various superlatives that apply not just to his class but to anyone many of these scouting veterans have ever seen.
The recruiting folks have a strike rate near 100% on guys of this caliber, and on average this cohort of dudes trails Rashan Gary. If he stays healthy he's a lock All Big Ten player and it would be an upset if he wasn't an All-American.
But where does he go? The same place a grizzly bear goes: anywhere he wants. Clint Brewster:
He fits in any defensive scheme. Gary’s got the edge rushing ability to be a finesse defensive end in a 4-3 or a defensive tackle. He can really play any technique along the defensive line because of his blend of athleticism, quickness, size, and explosive power.
That evaluation is repeated various places. Put his hand in the dirt and you're good. The Boyd article above is all about how to deploy him, eventually settling on a combination of end and three-tech depending on Michigan's needs on any particular Saturday, on any particular snap. Brewster projects he'll settle in the 310-pound range, which is plenty big enough for DT and could make it challenging for even Gary to get a consistent edge rush.
To start Michigan plans to deploy him as a defensive end. That makes sense given the composition of the roster, which is thick with talented DTs. That composition changes radically next year, when the only veteran DTs on the roster other than the probable starters—Mone and Hurst—are Brady Pallante and Michael Dwumfour. Gary will probably stick at SDE, nominally, and start there, but he'll get an increasing number of 3-tech snaps as Michigan spots the DT starters.
Long term he fits best as the rare defensive tackle who is an impact pass rusher. His impact at 3tech is going to be greater than it will at SDE because a pass rush up the gut is doom in a way that coming around the corner isn't always; the number of players who can be a disruptive force in the backfield shrinks as you go from WDE to SDE to 3TECH to NT. Gary will end up at the place his impact is most outsized, except insofar as his position is "Being Rashan Gary." That spot is three-tech.
Etc.: South Carolina is weird, man. The most convincing explanation I've heard for the racist voicemail his school received is that it was a Gamecock fan.
Why Ndamukong Suh? Gary has the same kind of size and outlandish athleticism that Suh developed over his tenure at Nebraska. Suh was a four-star recruit who took significantly longer to develop than Gary projects to, only making an impact at Nebraska as a redshirt junior. But when he did, Nebraska's defense was just about impregnable. Suh's NFL draft profile reads almost exactly like Gary's scouting above does:
Suh is an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism. He isn't a massive body but has enough power to play as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme or as a 4-3 defense tackle or end. … often unblockable for one offensive lineman and draws many double teams from opposing offenses. ….supreme blend of power and explosiveness from the defensive tackle spot. Possesses great size and strength to hold up at the point of attack in the running game or bull rush the pocket. Uses his athleticism and instincts to chase down running plays. Highly-competitive performer with a big-time motor.
Suh bore that out in the NFL, albeit with some anger management issues that Gary doesn't appear to have.
The closest Michigan comparable is probably Allen Branch, who was the kind of massively disruptive three-tech Gary projects to be down the road. I thought about Lamarr Woodley and Brandon Graham since both were five star recruits who provided buckets of pass rush from the SDE spot, but both those guys are a couple inches shorter and 40-50 pounds lighter than the finished version of Gary projects to be.
Guru Reliability: Exacting. As per usual with the top player in the country he gets scouted top to bottom.
Variance: Low. Already college-ready size, speed, and strength—make that NFL-ready. Coachable, smart, and high effort.
Ceiling: Vast. NFL first round pick potential, yes. First overall potential, yes.
General Excitement Level: /tents fingers, cackles.
Projection: Should slot in at SDE behind either Wormley or Charlton, depending on how things shake out. Even the surest things along the defensive line usually take a season or two to wind up to full viciousness, and Michigan has really good players across the front. He will still get a ton of playing time at SDE and as a tackle on passing downs, enough to be a virtual… uh… sixth starter along with the actual starters and Bryan Mone.
As a sophomore he moves into the starting lineup, probably still at SDE. While the roster is pretty scanty at DT after Mo Hurst and Mone, there aren't any slam dunk guys at SDE either; the best line Michigan has will put all three out at the same time. In his third and probably final year at Michigan, he's highly likely to move inside to three-tech, where he has his highest upside. From there to the stars.
oh hey look who's ready for the Tennessee camp [via the incomparable Smoothitron]
Unless you're about six years late joining Twitter or doing something ridiculous like spending time outside enjoying the summer weather, you've noticed that there's a new component tucked into Jim Harbaugh's satellite camp tour in 2016. Harbaugh's a master of both connecting with people and efficiency, and what better way to break the ice as quickly as possible than wearing the jersey of a local legend.
Sometimes they have Michigan connections (he wore a Denard jersey in Jacksonville), sometimes they have Harbaugh connections (he wore an Andrew Luck shirsey in Indianapolis), and sometimes they just show off how insane Harbaugh's list of Known Friends and Trusted Agents is (he wore a Hank Aaron jersey in Atlanta and got Aaron to wear a Michigan hat). The Matlete asked Seth when our jersey prediction article was going to be published, and that got the wheels turning; once you picture the gloriousness of Jim Harbaugh photoshopped into a Charles Woodson jersey there's no turning back.
June 6: Baltimore, MD- St. Frances Academy, Patterson Park
Johnny Unitas? Joe Flacco? His own jersey?
I'm torn here. Unitas may not play that well with kids in high school, but it's a nice nod to the Colts' history and to one of the best quarterbacks ever. Then again, there's an elite QB (or is he?) playing for Harbaugh's brother; he also could go with a Willie Henry Ravens jersey if he's looking for a Michigan connection. The wild card would be throwing on his old Ravens jersey, a gentle reminder that he knows the NFL from just about every perspective.
June 7: Mobile, AL- University of South Alabama
Hank Aaron, part II
Harbaugh may have already worn an Aaron jersey in Atlanta, but I see no reason to shy away from wearing it again in Hammerin' Hank's hometown; there aren't many athletes more impressive to call your friend than baseball's home run king.
June 8: Cleveland Heights, OH- Raw Talent U Camp
Howard's been around the program a lot lately, and though there are a few good choices from Cleveland they haven't won a Heisman at Michigan, ipso facto it's Desmond.
[Does the Harbaugh-in-a-Woodson-jersey picture show up again AFTER THE JUMP? You had to ask?]
Jalil Irvin's commitment post is here.
One of many softball-related activities that did not occur yesterday [Brian Fuller]
Severe weather delay. Most of the WCWS was rained out yesterday, so they'll try again tonight. This might be good for Michigan since starting pitcher Megan Betsa has a sore back. Michigan plays LSU at 9:30, or after the conclusion of an Alabama-Oklahoma game that was stopped in the middle of the second last night. On the other half of the bracket, Georgia continued its Cinderella run with a win over FSU; Auburn beat UCLA. Game's on ESPN2 tonight.
Harbaugh just likes it man. While nobody is denying that satellite camps are about recruiting, for Harbaugh it's also about football. Pick a report from one of these camps and you'll get some insight into Harbaugh's maniacal intensity:
During one exercise -- a one-cut drill with running backs in linebackers -- Harbaugh was so into things he completely lost track of time.
Another staffer shouted over toward him after taking a look at his watch: "Ready to rotate, coach?"
"No," he fired back with excitement. "OK, I guess so."
247's Keith Niebuhr is an Auburn reporter who was at the camp for his own Auburn-related reasons:
-The kids loved being around Harbaugh. He's very personable when he coaches these guys. It seems genuine. He speaks their language. Makes them all feel special -- even the kids that have no shot of being D-I guys.
Dude just likes football more than most people like anything. But he dislikes "soup sandwiches."
Sliiightly misplaced priorities. Let's recap events in the SEC since Greg Sankey went on his smarm offensive about satellite camps:
- Tennessee is hit with a Title IX lawsuit that alleges Baylor goings-on in Knoxville.
- Alabama fires an assistant coach because of recruiting violations. Saban further bitches about NCAA drug testing policies, implying that someone got McGary'd.
- Ole Miss is hit with a half-dozen Level 1 NCAA violations that don't even include the revelation from Laremy Tunsil that he was paid by Ole Miss employees. Contrary to the lies Ole Miss fed various credulous reporters, most of the allegations concern Hugh Freeze's tenure, not Houston Nutt's.
- Mississippi State enrolls a five-star recruit who was caught on tape beating a prone woman. They suspend him for the Southern Alabama game.
- Texas A&M loses a quarterback commit, causing an assistant coach to go on a twitter rant that causes further decommits. This one is more dumb than troubling, but it's really dumb.
The comeuppance here is truly spectacular, not that any of the various mouthpieces down south have noticed. Here's Tony Barnhart setting the last vestiges of his dignity on fire:
Had Mississippi State not taken Simmons, there was no guarantee that he could not enroll at another SEC school. https://t.co/hIf7LjctRA
— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) June 2, 2016
Hooooooly shit. Turn around and show us Sankey's hand up your back, buddy. Barnhart's descent into the SEC's personal Iraqi minister of information has reached its climax. What an ass.
Oh right and also that. Baumgardner runs down why Saban's crocodile tears about compliance are particularly funny/enraging:
Harbaugh did more than that. He called him out -- a hypocrite, actually. And I'm not sure how anyone can find fault with it.
Saban -- who has, of course, won four national titles at Alabama -- is literally in the middle of a situation where recruiting violations within his program were found. An assistant coach has been forced to resign and the school currently is awaiting the result of that NCAA investigation.
And if that were the only thing going on here, it'd probably be enough. But it's not.
Like in 2009 when a businessman paid for stars Mark Ingram and Julio Jones to go on a fishing trip. Or in 2013 when a former Alabama player was caught giving Tide offensive lineman D.J. Fluker impermissible benefits. Or later that same year when Saban had to fire a staffer after he paid safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Anyone remember that whole deal about the disassociated Alabama booster who continued to sell signed Crimson Tide merchandise -- from players who still were on the team -- back in 2014?
Like Ole Miss this is just the tip of an iceberg. It should be interpreted as a glimpse into a sophisticated NCAA rule violation factory that occasionally screws up. Alabama does not care about NCAA rules one iota. Saban doesn't want to know. Bo Davis's mistake was knowing.
Further Baylor fallout. Baylor's 2017 recruiting class turned into a ghost town, as you might expect. They're down to one dude. More pressingly, seven players from Baylor's already-signed 2016 class did not enroll as planned and are asking out of their LOIs. One of them is already free to pick another school because Baylor treated his LOI like a sexual assault and didn't report it to the relevant authorities. Baylor isn't releasing them yet because they're holding onto a vague hope that Jim Grobe will be able to salvage some of these guys. Survey says not likely:
The elder Cobb said it was a "good visit, but we let them know my son wants to pursue other options. His mind is made up."
"We bought in completely, and we're crushed," JP's mother, Emily, said. "And it's more than Briles. The whole environment is toxic, and there is no way a kid should have to go there."
"We were shocked and appalled when we found out Thursday the severity and widespread extent of Baylor's wrongdoing in multiple instances," Julian said. "We had no idea. Now that we know, we will not be a part of that."
Baylor has 30 days before it has to make a decision and can force the various players who want to go elsewhere to either delay enrollment or pay their own way for a year. It's unlikely it comes to that—it seems like most of the Baylor defectors have no intention of going to Waco, so Baylor would be further killing its reputation for no benefit.
This is another example of why the NLI does little to nothing for players and should be avoided if at all possible. Players can sign financial aid paperwork that locks the school in without locking the player in.
Revisiting potential NCAA involvement. I do think the NCAA is going to do something here. There's a recent precedent in which a school violated its own policies and got hit because of it: Syracuse. Syracuse had a bunch of different things go down under scofflaw Jim Boeheim. One of them was ignoring their own drug testing policy:
"Like many of the other severe violations involved in this case, the institution's actions regarding its dismissal of the written drug testing policies and procedures were aimed at preserving student-athletes' ability to compete for the men's basketball program," the NCAA report said.
Baylor's internal justice-type substances are in violation of their written policies and should be similarly actionable, since it was also in the service of preserving eligibility. Hopefully it's far more actionable than Syracuse's issues.
Uh, yeah, poke around these guys maybe. At least two of the Baylor defectors should be of serious interest to Michigan: four star OL Patrick Hudson and JP Urquidez are both high-profile players who can play tackle. That spot is a sore one for Michigan after Logan Tuley-Tillman was booted and Devery Hamilton flipped to Stanford. Michigan was vaguely involved with Hudson; Urquidez went off the board just a few months after Harbaugh was hired and did not appear to have any relationship with M beforehand.
Michigan will undoubtedly ask both about their interest once that's permissible—schools can't contact any of these guys until they are released.
A balanced schedule. A desultory hooray for Big Ten Hockey, which finally managed to put together a second half of the season for Michigan without a month and a half between games at Yost. Michigan's back half has eight games, all of them in the Big Ten, and the longest stretch without a game at Yost is three weeks. I'm slightly nonplussed by the two bye weeks Michigan has in the second half—the weekends of January 6th and 28th are open. But this is much better than the previous two years.
Adam covered the nonconference portion of the schedule when it was released. In short, it's nice for fans to get BU at Yost but other than that it's a bunch of middling-to-bad teams that won't help Michigan make the tournament if their record isn't as shiny as it was a year ago. Which… yeah. Probably won't be.
Play the penalties before extra time. If one team outscores the other in the subsequent 30 minutes of open play, then that result will trump the outcome of the penalty kicks. If extra time ends in a draw, then the game goes to the penalty winner.
That's brilliant. While the shootout does still have its unsatisfying place in the game, playing it early reduces its impact and guarantees that one team will always be frantically pressing for a goal. That change should be implemented immediately.
Etc.: Pay-to-play in US soccer is a necessity because the money has to come from somewhere. Ken Starr's personality is to the best of his ability. Seriously, can we not send him to jail? Are there not laws against this behavior? Michigan's not attending Baylor's camp anymore, it appears.