"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
best of luck to him. An excellent institution. His future is bright. . .
If we could land a supreme safety recruit. It seems from way out here that we had some good guys Nicholson and PW close for awhile but things just dissolved into ennui after awhile. Maybe the hype was greater than reality. Im sorry to pollute with E Smith and Lattimore but I would feel a lot of closure and happiness for the long winter ahead if we could nab one or both of these guys away from Ohio.
Lots of talk that Peppers will end up at S.
I could see Peppers in an Ed Reed type roll...except stronger and better vs the run (in my Fred jackson voice)
It's also possible Watson ends up at safety, if necessary. He's about Westphal's size.
I've heard this too, but I'd think it's a lot easier to move from nickel as a young guy, then safety later in your career versus start out at safety. There seems to be a longer learning curve to safety as it seems more complex and requires more decisions. But, based on our personnel our needs seem the other way around. We have plenty of CBs and few proven safeties. I have no doubt Peppers has the ability but will he have the understanding of our defense to play safety as a true freshman? And, if not who plays along side Wilson? I've already heard the coaches talk about Thomas at nickel, which is where I'd think Peppers is best suited to begin. There has to be a way to get our best athletes on the field together (Peppers, Thomas, Countess, Wilson, and insert other CB here Taylor/Stribling/Lewis). It doesn't make much sense to me to sacrifice getting Thomas and/or Peppers on the field just so Clark can play the other safety position IMO.
I think Peppers *could* play safety, but I just don't see these coaches sticking him in there at safety from day one. I think he has to be on the field immediately at one position, and the thing that makes the most sense to me is moving someone like Raymon Taylor to safety to make room for Peppers and Countess to be on the field full-time.
The four guys who HAVE to be on the field as much as possible next year are:
Countess is the best corner, so I don't see him switching positions. Wilson is the only guy with experience at safety, so he has to be out there. That leaves Taylor - who's been starting for two years - and Peppers for the other two positions.
That leaves complementary guys like Stribling, Lewis, Clark (heheh...Lewis and Clark), and Thomas to mix in there.
Thanks for the input Magnus. I tend to agree on Countess, Wilson, and Peppers. Those 3 must be on the field the majority of snaps. The one I see as expendable is Taylor. I know he's seen a lot of snaps and in all fairness to him he's improved a lot over the past 2 seasons into a really solid player. Maybe my emotions and excitement about a young player is getting the better of me. And, maybe a higher cieling does not equate to better play than consistency and experience do. But, I'd prefer a guy like Stribling or Thomas at safety over Taylor. It may be a wash in terms of overall speed, but the other two seem more athletic, fluid, have better feet, and at least on paper they have a few inches on Taylor.
I don't see how you bench a senior with two years of starting experience, who's tied for the team lead in tackles, and has 6 picks over the past two years for a kid who hasn't accomplished anything like Stribling or Thomas. I have nothing against those two guys, but experience is important at the safety positions.
I'm no coach, but a safety has to be able to come up in run support more than a CB. And, we saw what happened when A CB like Avery had to do that. Not that Stribling or Thomas are much heavier either, but both of them are 6'2" and I'd expect them to gain a little size and strength in the offseason where Taylor probably won't going into his senior year.
I agree somewhat. It's not an ideal situation to have a gaping hole at safety. But I'm of the opinion that you put your best 11 athletes on the field (within reason). Courtney Avery wasn't one of the best 11 athletes, and he has never been as good as Raymon Taylor. Taylor's stronger, faster, and has better ball skills. He has some weaknesses, too, but to get the top 11 guys out there, Taylor > Stribling.
Good discussion. I think we probably agree more than we disagree. I totally agree on putting the best 11 out there. And, experience and consistency is probably really important to on field success and like not giving up big plays. Taylor absolutely has the advantage there. But, based on the eye test, I see both Stribling and Thomas as the better athletes. I haven't really seen Thomas' ball skills but I think Stribling's are better than Taylor's. I think both Stribling and Thomas are more athletic than Taylor. Both seem more physical and aggressive. Taylor may be faster with straight line speed, but not laterally, start and stop, etc. based on what I've seen. I know it's hard to bench a 2 year starter, I guess I'd just rather see one of the other two on the field over Taylor. Taylor at safety just sounds scary, maybe the other 2 are too at this point in their careers IDK. Thomas can hit in run support, Stribling has great balls skills, too bad when can't combine them into one player.
He's clearly on the path to stardom, but will he be able to figure out where he's supposed to be on enough plays to make the busts worthwhile?
Taylor became a pretty sure tackler, especially by the end of the year, and outside of maybe playing off too far off the ball (which may have been what he was instructed to do) looked solid in coverage even while getting picked on. Peppers appears to be an exceptional athlete, but he will take his knocks early as all freshman DBs do (even Woodson did). I'm still holding out some hope for Delano Hill, who made a couple of heads-up plays early on with special teams, to get some looks there.
I remember at one point it seemed he was a lock to Michigan. Seems a lot like the Treadwell timeline except for the alleged shade. A gradual parting of ways.
Northwestern will get a solid talent that will improve their D.
The Chicago Tribune story is here - LINK
Per the article, the commitment of Westphal rounds out the 2014 class for Northwestern (he is the final commit) and even more interesting, he will be the first one to enroll early since Fitzgerald became the head coach. Northwestern's class is 38th nationally and 7th in the conference.
Glad to keep that talent in the Big Ten and I dont feel particularly threatened by NW. Win
I feel like we're going to land Eric Smith. And if we do, I feel a lot better about Lattimore. Just a hunch though. I don't get updated by insiders.
What makes you believe Smith is actually coming to Ann Arbor?
I'm betting it's the Magic 8 ball.
So no confusion this time right. There's not like a Parrrker Westphal right?
In case it's needed: /s
Best of luck to him that's a great school and they're lucky to have each other.
Good for him.
Love to see NW get talent and the West needs a boost. he seems like a fine kid & they are a great school.
Parker Westphal can't lose.
FWIW, I've never been very high on Westphal. I'm more concerned about Montae Nicholson to MSU.
He's a good player and a high-character kid but nothing elite about him necessarily. That being said he could be a fantastic college player but I liked Nicholson more as well.
You can't really go wrong when you're picking between Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Great academic schools, with two good coaches.
I'm glad we got Peppers and Watson, both are 6'1" and great athletes, wouldn't mind getting a safety to add to the class however, maybe E.Smith and Malik to round out this fine incoming class.
Best of luck to the young man, especially in 2016 and 2017.
Montae's highlights look good and he is a good get for Sparty but if you go back and look at his camp clips he gets beat by most of the other top talent he competes with. I think UM coaches backed off him. And Peppers would make a game changing safety. Smart, athletic, instincts, and hits like a linebacker. Heck he could play linebacker if he wanted. He is a beast. Punts, Kicks, WR. Cant wait to see him in the winged helmet!!!
That's why camps don't mean anything for safeties. Nobody's going to put Nicholson on an island against a good wide receiver, but since all that they can really do without pads and without a full defense (or at least seven guys) out there, sometimes people will judge them by their poor man coverage skills. Those camps are useful for kids in some respects (competition, technique, etc.), but it's a clear advantage for receivers in one-on-ones and a clear advantage for defensive linemen in one-on-ones.