I would like to preface this by saying that I am a football fan in the more conventional sense. I watch the ball when I watch football, generally. Watching a player specifically was an entirely different animal for me. I really enjoyed it, but though I have studied the game for a long time, my observations could easily be mistaken. Anyhow...
Tonight, I watched Whitmer host Central Catholic, the two high caliber teams in the Toledo, OH area. This was a big tilt, and the stands were full. I did not stay for the whole game, because it was cold, and it was starting to turn into a bit of a rout. I went to observe Chris Wormley, DE for the Whitmer Panthers and 4-star Michigan verbal. Ace also attended this game. I think I saw him come in, but he was in a hurry and got away from me in the crowd. Ace, were you wearing some M gear and carrying some electronics in a shoulder bag? Did you finish a can of something and throw it away as soon as you arrived?
Continuing on to Wormley, first a note on his size. He's a big kid, but a lot of room for muscle, it looks like. He's well built, but not THICK in the chest, so I think he can hang some big slabs on there. THe only kid bigger than him on the field was one Whitmer OT who spent most of the time at LT, fantastically named Storm Norton. Norton is 6'8", 290 lbs and committed to Toledo, so it's a good thing Wormley isn't that big. You don't want a 6'8", 290lb DE. Norton had some great power but was easily beaten by some simple swim moves. WIth some coaching, he will be a GOOD player for Toledo.
On the first series of the game, Wormley recorded 2 half-TFL's, by my count. One sack and one on the RB. He blew though the line and backers followed him in. It was fantastic. Following this, he played on the o-line a bit, where I didn't pay much attention. He is NOT going to play O-line. Didn't seem interested in it. If he didn't have anyone to block, he didn't look for anyone.
Starting with the second offensive series, he seemed to diappear a bit. Many people have questioned his motor, and I somewhat agree. However, I believe that in part, he is being coached not to run down plays away from him. Whitmer has a good defense all across the line, for the most part. He was able to rely on his teamates to shut things down away from him. On one play I noted, Central ran away from him, only to reverse field. Wormley had been jogging lightly towards the ball carrier prior, but when it turned back, he put on some speed and followed him all the way down the LOS, until a corner caught the ball carrier right near the edge of the field. there was no lack of effort. I believe the DE's are being coached to stay a bit wide when the play goes away from them, just in case.
Plays often went away from Wormley. They didn't run at him, and they didn't throw to his side. Chris was getting a very good pass rush for the most part. I saw him defeat double teams with ease. I saw him blast a single block by literally throwing his blocker back about 2 yards with one push. Even when his blocker got into him, they went backwards, not forward, whether it was a pass or run. He had little opportunity to peel off his blocker and make a tackle because they so rarely ran to whichever side he was on (It varied). I did see a ball carrier slip his grasp on one or two occasions.
Both teams ran the shotgun with a variety of one and two back looks, mixing in two, three and four reciever sets, mostly with one or no TE's. I saw 4 wide on a few occasions. I think Chris would have more success against an under center O, as he had a good/ not spectacular first step and consistendly drove his blocker at least a yard back. With the shotgun setup, CC was going to 4 and 5 yard sideline routes with incredible regularity, which didn't give Chris' pass rush time to hit home. He will need to work on his speed off the ball to get to faster moving O's, OR have more help at NT to split the line so he doesn't have to go around.
Overall, I was impressed with the size and ablility, but less so with the actual product, which I think was a result of offensive scheme and the talent he had around him. In a defense that doesn't easily allow short routes and consistently running away from him, he'll be a star.