Mike Lantry, 1972
Image via FridayNighOhio.com
After pretty much letting the cat out of the bag on Twitter yesterday, Massillon (OH) Washington cornerback Gareon Conley confirmed today that he has committed to Michigan ($). He becomes the 15th commitment in the class of 2013—the 13th to earn a four-star rating on at least one recruiting site—and the second cornerback, joining Cass Tech's Jourdan Lewis.
4*, #20 CB,
|NR CB||NR CB||3*, 88, NR CB|
Conley is flying under the radar to every service save Scout, though it's worth pointing out that Scout has updated their rankings most recently of the four. The sites are evenly split as to whether he's 6'1" or 6'2", and all agree that he's between 165 and 170 pounds. Considering Michigan wanted a bigger cornerback to add to the class and complement Jourdan Lewis, that's a pretty solid frame.
Bucknuts ranked Conley as the #16 player in Ohio for the class of 2013, one spot in front of Taco Charlton and two spots ahead of Mike McCray (this means you can probably expect him to move up when 247 updates their rankings). A concern about taller cornerbacks is usually their overall athleticism and fluidity in the hips, but neither is an issue according to Mark Porter ($):
“I think he may be the best pure corner in Ohio. His ball skills are second to none. His range and athletic ability are second to none. He can match up with the number one receiver. The trait that Cam (Burrows) has over him is he may be more physical. But Gareon is ‘twitchier’ in the hips.”
Scout's group of Midwest analysts also has Conley ranked as the #16 player in the state, and Allen Trieu had some high praise in his evaluation ($):
I may disagree with Bill's statement on Munger [that he's the best player in Ohio nobody has heard of], because this might be the best kid in Ohio no one's talking about. He's long, smooth, can run, and shows good ball skills and smarts. He makes plays in zone and in man coverage, and although he definitely needs to add weight, he's a solid tackler as well.
Scout's Bill Greene questions Conley's size—though I assume it's about his weight; his height is an unquestioned positive—but echoes the sentiments about his athleticism and coverage ability ($):
A fine basketball player as well, Conley has the skill set to succeed at the next level. Although not blessed with great size, he has shown the willingness to come up and hit in run support. His best strength would be his coverage ability, and his speed. Very similar player to Canton McKinley's Jermaine Edmondson, who signed with Michigan State.
Finally, Massillon Washington assistant coach Jerry Palma notes that Conley's coverage ability is exemplary considering his height, making him an ideal matchup against larger receivers ($):
“One thing you don’t see a lot of is guys that can defend and can play corner at 6-2,” said Palma. “Most corners are 5-9 or 5-10… maybe six foot. He is a good 6-2 with a real long wingspan. So what I think he does is he brings that size out there at corner that you normally don’t see. You think you are going to have a mismatch when you see a lot bigger wide outs. He matches up better with those types of players.”
As you can see, Conley's biggest assets are his athletic ability and coverage skills given his size. Once he adds some weight, he should be able to match up quite well against bigger receivers while still having the speed and agility to hang with quicker players.
When he committed, Conley also held offers from Northwestern, Toledo, and West Virginia. According to 247, Cincinnati, Indiana, Ohio State, Virginia, and Wisconsin also showed interest.
In 2011, Conley recorded 26 solo tackles, three TFLs, a sack, nine pass breakups, and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He put up those numbers despite playing a large portion of the season while wearing a cast due to a wrist injury.
FAKE 40 TIME
Bucknuts credited Conley with a 4.5, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five—he's reportedly pretty fast, but that sounds like just an estimation or hand-timed run.
Junior highlights [RATHER LARGE PUNTER ALERT AT THE :15 MARK]:
I've seen this pointed out elsewhere, but it bears repeating: his long stride bears an uncanny resemblance to Steve Breaston's.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Conley brings somethat that no other corner on the roster will by the time he shows up on campus, and that is size. Of the CBs on the current roster, only J.T. Floyd breaks the 6'0" barrier, and he'll be gone after the 2012 season. If Michigan wants a taller cornerback—and somebody who can come up in run support—to play the "field" corner (wide side of the field, as opposed to the "boundary"), Conley could see action early in his career.
That said, he's going to have to add some weight first. 170 pounds is quite skinny for a 6'2" frame, and if Conley is going to match up with bigger receivers, he's going to need to add some muscle. He has two years to do just that, so we'll see how he looks when he shows up on campus. If he takes a redshirt year, he should be right in the mix for a starting spot across from Blake Countess in 2014, likely competing with a trio of Cass Tech grads in Delonte Hollowell, Terry Richardson, and Jourdan Lewis.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is now almost certainly done recruiting at cornerback for 2013, barring a player like five-star Kendall Fuller deciding to come on board. They may be done recruiting the secondary entirely, as taking another safety to go along with Dymonte Thomas isn't imperative; again, however, a top talent like Su'a Cravens would have a spot available.
The Wolverines can now focus on bringing aboard a second tailback, one or two receivers, a nose tackle, and a strongside DE. After that, IN EARLY MARCH, the coaching staff can focus almost entirely on targeting the top players in the class and shifting their focus to the class of 2014. Jebus.
Yikes, thank you. NOBODY SAW THAT.
Even when I catch an EA add now and see Kate, I immediately think ANOTHER COMMIT!
Welcome Gareon! GO BLUE!
When I read the title of your post I assumed you were going to say that reading recruiting websites now leads to tumescence.
This never gets old.
I propose a dance off between her, Alex Morgan, and Danica Patrick.
...but I seem to like it.
Thank goodness for the slow connection speed I have here at work...her cadence is much slower and a lot more fun to watch.
I know some are wishing we would wait to see where all the big fish land and holding spots for super-stars, but this is the type of player Michigan needed and I am happy to have him.
It is hard to believe that this is #15 already.
Higher recruiting rankings don't guarantee future stardom or even that a guy is the staff's favorite player at a particular position.
Kelly Baraka, Darnell Hood, Pierre Rembert, Jerome Jackson, Max Martin and Kevin Grady gave us a ton of 4-star running back recruits, but if we hadn't signed Mike Hart we might have been fucked for a long time.
I'll take anybody who ends up being more JT Floyd than Justin Turner, no matter their ranking on Scout/Rivals.
coming out of high school
This is getting out of control. Now I must get a double shoulder belt with a Hans device just to post 'round these parts. Im sick of wearing a simple lab belt.
The bigger question; is this the late committment pair for the McCraken? Or is Gareon bringng someone else along for the ride? (Gideon? Isaac?)
I'm apparently one to talk, but Gideon is a fantastic song by My Morning Jacket, while Ben Gedeon is a four-star linebacker from Hudson, OH.
And I think turning away visits from Alex Anzalone and Shane Jones this weekend—with the coaches saying that they're full at linebacker—is quite telling when it comes to his status.
Lol. Was coming back to edit it too. Thanks for locking my typo in perpetuity!!
What is your assessment of comparison between Alex, Shane and Ben
I'm impressed by both Anzalone and Jones on film, but what I really like about Gedeon is his athleticism and ability to play in coverage. I think the other two guys might be a little more physical against the run, but Gedeon is probably the best against the pass—from the limited film I've seen and the scouting reports I've read—and he should be able to put on a fair amount of weight before/during college and still be quite athletic.
Gedeon also sounds like he has great character and is very intelligent. He will bring those intangibles along with his football skills. Really like the fact that his brother is captain of the Harvard football team.
I guess now we are in big fish territory.
1 running back
1 line backer
1 nose tackle
1 defensive end
1 wild card 5*
He must be skinny as hell... Unless he hits the gym real hard its tough imagine him playing soon if he is that skinny.
Your last point about now targeting top players is real exciting at this stage. It seems like we can sit back now and wait and see which elite players choose us at this point!
I agree; i can see Conley R/S-ing trying to put on 'good' weight without losing that much speed or fluidity
He's more than a year away from even stepping on campus, so I'm not too worried at this point (about him redshirting). It'll be better to evaluate him once he gets on campus. There's A LOT OF TIME to for him to get stronger and bigger.
Holy shit thats a giant punter!
That was a fake all the way. That guy is a giant QB.
Reminded me strongly of Jared Lorenzen. Not quite as athletic, though, and his mechanics need work.
Wait he's not a consensus 4 star or top 100 guy. Hoke is clearly losing his touch!
Welcome aboard Gareon.
15 commits so far
40% from Ohio 6/15
33% from Michigan 5/15
13% from Illinois 2/15
Honarable mention to Pennsylvania and Colorado
I would love to see Illinois' number jump.
Is it just me or is that a block M on his pants? The picture I'm referring to is in the Friday recruting update. Seems like he'll fit right in.
I wonder if the staff told the other corners that planned on visiting today to turn around
Scout just added a player evaluation to his free profile [LINK]. Listed strengths are anticipation, body control, and instincts, while lone area for improvement (that they list) is jamming ability.
Conley has great length for a corner. He runs, changes directions and shows the fluidity to play the position even though he's a little taller than average. He has outstanding instincts and gets the jump on routes because of his timing and anticipation. Shows comfort in both man and zone schemes. Has good ball skills and height helps him with taller receivers. Needs to get stronger, but is a solid, aggressive tackler. - Allen Trieu
In these modern times, does a high school football star and future scholar athlete really need "jamming ability"? Pretty sure he'll be able to afford a few jars of Smuckers with his meal-plan cash.
Sounds like Scout is reaching big time to find a flaw with this kid.
"Pretty sure he'll be able to afford a few jars of Smuckers with his meal-plan cash."
W-What are you trying to say here?
He's talking about jamming ability. Smuckers is overrated though.
But I'm sure it is way better than anything Mr. Conley could whip up in his dorm room. It's cheap too. Seems like a total waste to boil down all those grapes when you could just spend a couple bucks and go to town on the PB&J's without the work.
On top of that, who even knows where you can buy pectin in A2? This is why I only pay attention to Rivals' recruiting analysis.
C'mon, man, did you just starting rooting for Michigan football yesterday? Everyone knows the players buy it at Downtown Home & Garden.
I just watched the video. That punter is an OL masquerading as a punter. I wonder how far he can kick it based on how high he can raise his right leg.
Is a top-whatever list of Ohio high school players available? I'm curious to see who ranks where (and who is heading where). There must be a ton of talent in OH for the #16 player to be a 4*!
They gave 20 Ohio kids a 4-star rating last year, though that seems higher than usual. Looks like roughly the top 15-16 are usually the cutoff in the state. Roundtree was the last 4-star in 2008 at #17, to give a year-to-year comparison.
Thanks. I did a little looking on the Googles to see where Bucknuts (I think that's the current "top Ohio" source folks here are using) ranked folks and saw this comment:
As of today, they only have 14 available scholarships. This won't be a 25-man class unless 10 more guys suddenly leave.
I have no idea if that's correct, but maybe it explains why Urbs hasn't offered some folks (i.e. McCray)? You (or anyone else) have any insight into their available slots?
I think it's 16 plus two more that might not get/want a 5th year.
Steve Breaston indeed. Runs pretty much exactly like him. That's a good thing in my opinion.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but his school plays top notch competition in Ohio, right?
Ace hit the Steve Breaston nail on the head. I hope we can get Breaston-like production out of the kid...
Ace, my understanding is that Conley is headed for the boundary corner position (like JT Floyd) and Countess is the field corner.
Interesting. I assumed that Conley would be a field corner because of his height and the fact that he's pretty solid against the run—despite his lack of bulk, which I'm assuming will be partially remedied before he even gets on campus. I haven't been very impressed with Countess in run support, and I thought that's what the coaches are looking for in a field guy.
Field (wide side) corners are typically the quicker guys with better coverage skills, since they have cover a larger portion of the field. Boundary (short side) corners are typically better in run support, since they have to deal with more blockers in a confined area.
I'm not a big fan of Conley's run support abilities, but with his size, I imagine he's a boundary corner.