Monday Recruitin' Mounts Up

Monday Recruitin' Mounts Up

Submitted by Ace on January 14th, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Michigan's remaining 2013 targets, a surprise move in the 2014 class, and more.

Weekend Visit Recap: One Decision Down, Three To Go

TX TE Durham Smythe is back on the market and looking at Michigan

As signing day rapidly approaches, Michigan's path to closing out the 2013 class becomes more clear. Over the weekend, the Wolverines picked up IN OL Dan Samuelson, who told Scout's Allen Trieu that his decision came down to distance ($):

"It came down mostly to distance," he explained. "I shouldn't say mostly, it was completely distance. It is only about a three hour drive, Nebraska being an 11 1/2 hour drive."

With Samuelson in the fold, Michigan now has six offensive lineman committed; does that leave room for CA OL Cameron Hunt, who was also on campus over the weekend? According to Hunt, per an interview with Scout's Greg Biggins, the answer is 'yes' ($):

“The coaches told me they still had room for me,” Hunt said. “I know six offensive linemen is a lot but I’m not afraid to compete. After taking all my trips, if I feel Michigan is the best spot for me, I’ll still go there and be ready to win a job. There is going to be competition anywhere you go so that doesn’t bother me.”

Hunt went straight from his Michigan official to one at Ohio State, and also has trips lined up to Oregon and Cal (where he's still a very soft commit) before he makes his decision.

OH CB Reon Dawson, an Illinois commit, also took a Michigan official over the weekend; he told ESPN's Jared Shanker that a decision is coming soon ($):

A final decision will come Wednesday after talking with his family and his girlfriend’s mother, with whom he has a very close relationship.

“I’ve been thinking about it ... and first off, education will be big. You can get hurt on any given play and you need something to fall back on,” Dawson said. “I’ll talk to my family, and by Wednesday it’ll be done. I need a couple of days to think about this decision.”

Dawson will choose between Michigan and Illinois; given that he'll be just a few days removed from checking out Ann Arbor when he makes his choice, there's definitely reason for optimism.

That won't be the only decision coming down this week, as in-state kicker JJ McGrath tells The Big House Report that he'll choose between Michigan, LSU, and Southern Miss on Friday. McGrath doesn't hold a scholarship offer—he'd come on as a preferred walk-on—but says that he'd have the opportunity to earn one when Brendan Gibbons graduates. The Wolverines are in a strong position to land McGrath, who also was on campus last weekend.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Derrick Green and Durham Smythe, a surprise commitment to Ohio State's 2014 class, and more.]

Hello: Dan Samuelson

Hello: Dan Samuelson

Submitted by Ace on January 12th, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Well, this is a new one: as broken by Patrick Kugler (and later confirmed by Steve Wiltfong), IN OL Dan Samuelson has committed to Michigan while on his official visit to Ann Arbor. Samuelson was previously a Nebraska commit, but the Wolverines became a serious contender after he took an unofficial last month. He becomes the sixth offensive lineman in the 2013 class and the 25th commit overall.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #25 OT 3*, #31 OG 3*, 75, #87 OT 3*, 89, #13 OG

Samuelson is a three-star prospect to every service save Scout, which places him just outside their top 300 recruits (the #24 OT, Logan Tuley-Tillman, is #300 overall). All four agree that he's 6'5", with his listed weight ranging from 275 to 295 pounds—the latter figure seems more up-to-date.

Samuelson should be ticketed for guard at Michigan, but ESPN's evaluation likes his prospects better at tackle ($):

Samuelson plays effectively at the guard position showing the upper body playing strength needed to control defenders when single blocking. However his size and athleticism appears better suited for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. ... Playing out of a three point stance we see the first step quickness needed to gain and immediate advantage, however we do detect some lower body stiffness when playing in space and adjusting to change of direction movement. This lineman comes off the ball aggressively with good pad level and a solid blocking base; flashes the explosion and pop necessary to knock defenders off the ball on first contact however there is the need to follow through with consistent leg drive. Is quick out of his stance when releasing up on linebackers or pulling to trap; flashes the ability to reach on offset down linemen and get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders. Can get tossed at times needing to improve his agility and balance when playing in space.

I should say, ESPN says that they like him at tackle, then go on to talk about issues blocking in space and on the edge. Does not compute. Mentions of good pad level and second-level blocking make him sound like an ideal guard. That's certainly the impression of Scout's Bryan Munson, who scouted Sameulson after his commitment to Nebraska ($):

When you watch Samuelson’s film you see the skill and you see the ability. He’s quick for a guy his size, 6-foot-5 and around 280-pounds, and he loves to hit people. What you see when you watch Samuelson is a guy that gets onto his block and drives his guy either into the ground or 20 yards down field.

There are also some pretty good indications of strength too. While I haven’t seen any reported strength numbers specifically you can see the way that he just handles the guy that he has to block. The way that I would sum up Samuelson is simple: Big, smart, strong, dominating run-blocker with a need to develop pass-blocking skills.

Rivals's Josh Helmholdt echoes the sentiment that Samuelson plays with good pad level ($):

"I liked Dan's film," Helmholdt said when asked for his evaluation of Samuelson. "He's a guy who played offensive guard as a junior, and I don't see anything that tells me he couldn't play right tackle. So there's some versatility there. He has the potential to play probably multiple positions on the offensive line.

"He's an above average athlete for the position. He really moves his feet well. He plays with great leverage. I think that something that really stands out in his film is that he's always up underneath the pads of the defensive lineman. He just does a lot of things well. I wouldn't say there's any one thing that makes you say 'wow', he's just a well-rounded offensive line prospect."

When Scout gave Samuelson his fourth star, Allen Trieu said he's got the potential to be a multi-year starter down the road:

It seems like every year the Midwest produces tough, hard nosed linemen who get overlooked. I think Samuelson is one of those blue collar kind of guys who is going to come in, work hard, be a starter and an all-conference kind of guy, and in the past, would have been underrated. On film, he showed good footwork and once we saw more of him pass blocking, we felt confident he could be a multi-year starter in college.

Samuelson seems like a guy who could slot in at either guard spot or even right tackle; while he might not be a dominant presence, he's got a solid base and should fit into the offense as a road-grater type.


Samuelson had a Nebraska offer, of course, and prior to that commitment he was a one-time pledge to Pittsburgh. His other offers came from Bowling Green, Illinois, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Wake Forest, Western Michigan, and Wyoming.


No stats, offensive lineman.


Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.3 seconds, which gets one FAKE out of five.


The only video I can find of Sameulson on YouTube is cutups from a single game:

You can check out film from several other individual games on his Hudl page.


As said above, Sameulson should end up at guard when he gets to Michigan given his size and skill set. With his combination of size, fundamentals, and run-blocking skills, he should compete for a starting spot down the road, though he'll almost assuredly redshirt in 2013. He'll have a lot of competition from more highly-touted members of his own class in David Dawson and Kyle Bosch, as well as Kyle Kalis and Blake Bars in the year ahead of him, but Samuelson should provide solid depth until he gets a chance to compete for a starting job as an upperclassman.


Michigan should be able to take two or three more players in the class—the worry at this point is the 85 total scholarship cap, not the 25 single-class cap, since six members of the 2013 class enrolled early. It's even possible that the Wolverines take another offensive lineman in Cameron Hunt (on his official visit right now) or Dan Skipper.

The top remaining target, of course, is Derrick Green, who announced today that he'll make his decision on January 26th—Michigan is in very good position to land his commitment. OH CB Reon Dawson, another player taking his official visit this weekend, is also a candidate to take one of the last couple spots.

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Submitted by Ace on January 10th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers this weekend's official visitors, an impending 2013 decision, updated rankings from Scout and ESPN, and more.

Weekend Officials: Hunt, Dawson

Only two non-commits—CA OL Cameron Hunt and OH CB Reon Dawson—will take official visits to Ann Arbor this weekend, but Michigan is firmly in the mix for both. Hunt has developed a strong connection with commit Patrick Kugler, who moved his own official to this weekend and will surely be giving Hunt the full-court press for a commitment—though, for now, Hunt has subsequent officials planned for Cal and Oregon with Ohio State also a possible destination.

Dawson, an Illinois commit, would join Trotwood-Madison teammate Mike McCray as a Wolverine if he decides to switch his pledge. Neither Hunt nor Dawson has stated that Michigan holds an edge, but it's conceivable that one or both could be in the fold after this weekend.

IN OL Dan Samuelson visited Michigan last month, and Steve Wiltfong reports that the Nebraska commit will choose between the Wolverines and Huskers on Monday. At first glance, it's a race between Hunt and Samuelson for the final O-line spot, but Sam Webb said this week on his radio show that it's possible Michigan takes both for a total of seven linemen in the class.

One guy Michigan's won't get: Laquon Treadwell, who will choose next Thursday between Ole Miss (the prohibitive favorite), Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

Derrick Green, meanwhile, will not be taking a visit to Auburn this weekend, per Mike Farrell—that rumor made the rounds after originating on some Auburn message boards. Michigan is still in command in his recruitment.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Denzel Ward and Da'Shawn Hand, a look at the updated Scout and ESPN rankings, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Knows, Won't Tell

Monday Recruitin' Knows, Won't Tell

Submitted by Ace on January 7th, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's All-American games, high profile names emerging (or re-emerging) as targets, and a potentially wavering 2014 commit.

Spill The Beans, Green

Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster: visit on tap?

Michigan didn't land one of their remaining high-profile targets over the weekend when FL S Leon McQuay III committed to USC. They appear poised to get better news regarding VA RB Derrick Green, however—the nation's top running back has maintained Michigan as his leader in recent weeks and told Rivals($) after the Army All-American Game, "I know where I'm going." Green plans to announce sometime this month and it's safe to expect good news barring a sudden change of heart.

While USC snagged a Michigan target, it's possible the Wolverines return the favor after CA WR Sebastian LaRue decommitted from the Trojans; the four-star told 247's Clint Brewster that he plans to talk to Coach Ferrigno about a potential visit to Ann Arbor ($). LaRue currently has a visit to Notre Dame scheduled and is also looking at Miami, Arkansas, and Texas A&M.

The Wolverines may also have suddenly found themselves in the mix for the nation's top linebacker recruit, Alabama prospect Reuben Foster, after he connected with commit Henry Poggi at the Under Armour game. Poggi reportedly alerted Foster to Michigan's potential interest and convinced him to get in touch with the coaches, and Foster looks to be following through, per Sam Webb ($):

Once Foster and Michigan begin having more conversations, the 6'1, 240 pounder says it’s likely he'll get up to Ann Arbor for a visit at some point before signing day.

"I don't know but the odds are pretty darn good cause I'm cool with [Poggi's] dad that I just met this week --- very cool with him," said Foster.

With a month to go until signing day, it's very late in the game to enter into the recruitment of such a high-profile player, but the former Auburn commit seems to have genuine interest. It's early yet to harbor serious hopes of a commitment, but if a visit materializes it would obviously be fantastic news for Michigan.

A more likely candidate for one of the final few spots is CA OL Cameron Hunt, who spent time with Michigan's contingent of commitments at the UA game. Hunt will take his official to Michigan next weekend, followed by visits to Oregon and Cal, and he told Sam Webb that those three schools comprise his leading trio ($).

[After THE JUMP, video and evaluations of Michigan's All-Americans, the latest on Denzel Ward, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Talks About Practice

Thursday Recruitin' Talks About Practice

Submitted by Ace on January 3rd, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the various All-American bowl practices, the latest on Derrick Green, and (debunked) rumors about a commit taking visits.

Say "Tease"

L to R: Jourdan Lewis, Dymonte Thomas, Derrick Green, Jake Butt, Chris Fox

Michigan has four commits at the Army All-American Game and many are wondering if they'll soon have a fifth after VA RB Derrick Green jumped into a picture with them (above, via). Green conducted a live chat on Rivals yesterday, reiterating that Michigan is his top school, holding a "small" lead over the field—Auburn, Tennessee, Miami, Florida State, and USC. He also got the Fred Jackson Seal of Approval for this quote:

Comment From Guest
Who would you compare your running style to?

Derrick Green: I compare my running style to a combination of Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Trent Richardson

Green mentioned the possibility of committing within the next week or so—though not at the Army game itself—but also stated a desire to take his two remaining official visits even after he commits; if his choice is Michigan, he'd obviously have to talk that out with the coaches.

FL S Leon McQuay III is set to announce on Friday and the sense from insiders is that Florida State—the presumed pick—and USC both hold an edge on Michigan, and quite possibly Vanderbilt does as well. If he holds off on making a decision, which Sam Webb has mentioned as a slight possibility, then the Wolverines could have hope; as it stands, not so much.

Matters are looking better for CA OL Cameron Hunt, at least if Patrick Kugler is to be believed:

Hunt will take his official visit to Ann Arbor on January 11th.

Michigan is out of the running for for Wisconsin commit Marcus Ball, according to 247's Evan Flood. The Wolverines were pursuing Ball as a linebacker.

[For practice reports on the commits and more, hit THE JUMP.]

Monday Recruitin' Returns With New Hairdo

Monday Recruitin' Returns With New Hairdo

Submitted by Ace on December 31st, 2012 at 12:21 PM

The recruiting roundup returns to cover... the dead period. Oh well.

While You Wait For The Others

I'm back from a vacation totally not spent playing an unhealthy amount of FIFA in my pajamas, but recruiting is still in a holding pattern—the holiday dead period continues through Thursday. It's the week for All-American games, however, so recruiting reporters have descended upon San Antonio and St. Petersburg to catch up with the nation's top prospects.

The latest on FL S Leon McQuay III does not sound promising. ESPN's Derek Tyson reports he'll announce his decision on Friday from three as-yet-unnamed schools, and the Wolverines may be on the outside looking in ($):

The four-star athlete has a top five of USC, Michigan, Oregon, Vanderbilt and FSU, but McQuay said he won't have all five hats for his selection on Friday.

"Yeah ... I don't know [if Michigan still in consideration]. I don't know how many hats I'll have up there," he said. "My dad said he wasn't paying for five hats. I'll probably only have three hats up there.

McQuay, who will enroll in January, said Florida State is the only school that has accepted him for admittance so far, but he is working with other schools to gain acceptance.

Sam Webb confirms he'll visit a Michigan bowl practice, so the coaches will get one last shot to sway McQuay, though with mere hours remaining until the Outback Bowl their priorities likely lie elsewhere. Insider rumblings haven't been particularly positive regarding McQuay and a choice for the Wolverines would surprise.

VA RB Derrick Green reiterated to Mike Farrell that Michigan is his favorite, with the rest of the picture murky—Florida State recently offered and could get an unofficial visit, while Oregon is now out of the picture ($). If a school is going to pass the Wolverines, it will have to be soon, as Green said "I definitely know [a decision is] going to be in January."

Let's just say there's more reason for optimism surrounding Green than McQuay.

One new 2013 name emerged in the last couple weeks: PA OT Jaryd Jones-Smith, a three-star lineman who could take an official visit on January 18th ($). He doesn't hold an offer yet, and it seems like he could be a backup plan for guys like Dan Samuelson and Cameron Hunt.

[Hit THE JUMP for an important hair-related bulletin, All-American week primer, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Enters Dead Period

Thursday Recruitin' Enters Dead Period

Submitted by Ace on December 20th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers Leon McQuay III's timeline, the sixth O-lineman possibility, and more.

McQuay: Delay?

Before I get into today's (rather scant) recruiting news: the NCAA recruiting dead period began on Monday and extends through January 3rd, which means coaches can't meet with recruits in-person and can only call them once a week. As a result, unless something major breaks, this will be the last recruiting roundup until after the bowl game.

Sam Webb updates us on Leon McQuay III's recruitment at the Detroit News, and McQuay's father says Michigan could be the talented defensive back's eventual destination:

"I wouldn't be surprised if he chose Michigan," his father said. "The defensive coordinator basically sat us down and walked us through how he is going to be used. If that actually holds true, he is going to be lining up in different spots. He is expected to make plays. He has been labeled a playmaker. That's a lot of expectations, but Mattison has been doing it for a while so I'm pretty sure he can look at somebody and tell exactly what he is going to get out of them."

With coaching shakeups on defense at both USC and FSU, it looks like McQuay's recruitment will come down to Michigan and Vanderbilt, where head coach James Franklin is personally recruiting him. While McQuay had long maintained he'll make a decision at the Under Armour All-American Game, a tweet from his father yesterday indicated that may no longer be the case:

With McQuay waiting to see who USC hires at defensive coordinator—and getting to know new FSU DC Jeremy Pruitt, formerly Alabama's secondary coach—the delay makes sense.

[For the rest of the recruiting roundup, hit THE JUMP.]

Monday Recruitin' Rewrites The Dictionary

Monday Recruitin' Rewrites The Dictionary

Submitted by Ace on December 17th, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's visitors, Laquon Treadwell's top three, and more.

More To Come?

Dan Samuelson

Michigan's big recruiting weekend delivered as expected, with Cass Tech teammates David Dawson and Delano Hill becoming the 23rd and 24th members of the class of 2013. Dawson is very much a known commodity, Hill less so—Josh Helmholdt caught up to the latter to get some clarity on his future position ($):

"Their plans for me are I am going to start off playing corner," Hill said. "If I don't like playing corner, I can always go back to playing safety. I think I can play all positions in the secondary, so it doesn't matter to me."

Hill played safety in high school but has also displayed impressive cover skills on the camp circuit; at 6'1", he'd give Michigan a bigger corner to line up on the outside.

The Wolverines hosted a surprise visitor last weekend in IN OL Dan Samuelson, a Nebraska commit who recently received a Michigan offer, per Allen Trieu ($). While Samuelson played it coy about his interest in Michigan, a Scout article from last week indicates that he took a big step by making this visit ($) [emphasis mine]:

“I truly didn’t go and look for another offer though. [Michigan] came to me. There is very little interest from me to Michigan. I really don’t think that I will take a visit there. Nebraska said that they would view that as a decommitment. I don’t want to do that. I believe that is where that will stay.”

I doubt the situation changed from Nebraska's end in the span of a few days; it seems likely that Samuelson has given up his spot in their class to see Ann Arbor. And now, 247's Todd Worly reported today that Samuelson's situation could be resolved imminently ($):

Looks like the Wolverines have made an impression and Samuelson plans on having everything figured out by Monday evening.

"I'm going to start calling everyone around 5 (p.m. EST), after I talk to Nebraska and figure things out with them," Samuelson said.

With the recent rumblings that Michigan could take a sixth offensive lineman, plus the above chronology, well... stay tuned.

Michigan also made an impression on another visitor committed to a Big Ten school, linebacker recruit and Wisconsin pledge Marcus Ball. Ball told Todd Worly that Michigan is "a great place," though he's waiting to see who the Badgers hire to replace Bret Bielema before making any decisions about his status with the Badgers ($). For what it's worth, Dymonte Thomas—one of many Michigan commits taking his official visit last weekend—tells Sam Webb that he thinks Ball will make the switch ($):

“I just met [Ball] this weekend, but I think he is going to commit to Michigan too,” said Thomas.  “I’m not 100% sure, but I think he really liked us.  We’ll see what happens.”

Man, Bielema is going to flip out about that gentleman's agree-- oh, right.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Laquon Treadwell and more.]

Hello: Delano Hill

Hello: Delano Hill

Submitted by Ace on December 15th, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Cass Tech S Delano Hill joined his teammate David Dawson in pledging to Michigan today, giving the Wolverines 24 commits in the class of 2013. Hill, previously committed to Iowa, is the fifth Wolverine commit slated to play in the defensive backfield, joining (Cass Tech teammate) Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Ross Douglas, and Dymonte Thomas.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #24 S,
#270 Ovr
4*, #23 S 3*, 79, #23 S 4*, 90, #22 S

Though ESPN has HIll at three stars as opposed to four, there's a remarkable consensus as to Hill's standing among 2013 safeties, as he's ranked between #22 and #24 at the position on all four sites. He's listed at either 6'0" or 6'1" and between 185 and 200 pounds; having seen him several times in person, I tend to believe the latter figures—Hill is pretty filled out for a high school safety.

Scout lists Hill's strengths as Instincts, Jamming Ability, and Tackling Ability, with Hip Flexibility as an area for improvement; Allen Trieu provides their free scouting report:

A good sized safety and a sure tackler in the open field. Does a good job of diagnosing plays, finding the football and coming in under control when attacking ball carriers. In coverage, he can play over the tight end and slot and cover man to man or in zone. Continuing to improve his footwork and quickness will allow him to cover faster slot receivers in the future. Good overall ball skills and athleticism to go with his size. - Allen Trieu

ESPN's evaluation is especially positive about his run support ($):

This guy is a tough customer who demonstrates the open field tackling skills which not only limits yards after contact but should prove beneficial as a special teams coverage defender. We see the flexibility, agility and balance needed to play in space; does a good job coming out of his pedal and flipping the hips when covering inside receivers. This prospect plays smart showing good instincts along with the ability to get to the football and make big plays. Has very good route awareness when in zone coverage ... Demonstrates the ability to play man coverage; displays good foot transition with the ability to turn and run with receivers; gets his head around to locate the ball while flashing a makeup burst. We like his ball skills; shows he can leap and play the ball at the high point. His run support is outstanding; will come up and force off the edge while demonstrating quickness filling the ally; is a very aggressive downhill run defender with the ability to move through traffic; displays very good long pursuit ability.

Though Hill is primarily lauded for his play against the run, he impressed with his coverage ability on the summer camp circuit. Here's Josh Helmholdt on Hill after the Columbus NFTC in May ($):

The defensive back MVP, Hill made a lot of plays in one-on-one and 7-on-7 play. He sees the field extremely well from his safety position, and closes passing lanes quickly. In each of the events we have covered Hill at in recent months he has come down with a number of interceptions, and that was the case again on Saturday. Usually cornerbacks take home MVP awards from the defensive back group because a lot of the work is in man coverage. Hill's win as a safety attests to his abilities in pass coverage.

From Sam Webb, we get Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher's opinion on Hill, as well as some insight into where he could end up playing ($):

“They want to play him at safety or at corner,” Wilcher explained.  “Delano runs 4.4 and at worst a 4.49.  He runs between 21-something and a 22 flat in the 200.  He has good recovery speed and good footwork.  Great feet.  He can play anything.  He is tall, he is strong, and he is physical.  He is going to be able to go out there and lock up people (at corner) or he can drop back and play safety.  He has got it going on.”

While I did watch Cass Tech in person three times this fall, I wasn't particularly focused on Hill—since he was an Iowa commit and there were several Michigan commits and targets on the field, my focus was usually elsewhere. That said, a few things about him stood out to me from seeing him play, especially his closing speed and tackling ability—Hill is the rare prospect that's both aggressive and controlled, able to close the gap quickly and still form up for a proper tackle. His coverage skills weren't often put to the test in games I watched, but Cass Tech rarely got beat over the top with him manning the middle.


Hill's early commitment to Iowa likely limited the number of offers he received; his offer list includes Illinois, Pitt, and Syracuse in addition to the Wolverines and Hawkeyes.


According to 247, Hill recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions as a senior, including a pick-six in the state title game.


Rivals lists a 40 time of 4.44 seconds, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five; Hill is fast, but that's elite speed.


Junior highlights:

Game film from Cass Tech's matchups against Birmingham Brother Rice and Saline, courtesy of Maize & Blue News:


Hill could wind up at corner or safety depending on the team's needs—if Jourdan Lewis winds up on offense, Hill could very well play corner. In my opinion, however, Hill's best position is safety, where he can really utilize that ability in run support while still making plays in coverage.

Where Hill could make an immediate impact is on special teams, where his speed and tackling ability translate nicely. Down the road, he should find a role somewhere in the secondary, whether it be at free safety or cornerback.


C&P'd from the Dawson post:

Michigan initially planned on taking five offensive linemen in the class and 24 players overall, but Sam Webb has hinted recently that Michigan could take up to 28 or even 29 players (backdating early enrollees to last year's class) and adding an additional lineman. The Wolverines are still pursuing CO OL Dan Skipper (Tennessee commit) and CA OL Cameron Hunt (Cal commit); Skipper is on campus this weekend and Hunt should visit in January.

Other major targets include VA RB Derrick Green, FL S Leon McQuay III, OH CB Reon Dawson, and newly-offered OH ATH Marcus Ball (Wisconsin commit being recruited as a linebacker).

Hill's commitment shouldn't preclude Michigan from continuing to pursue McQuay and Dawson. No matter what, the Wolverines will likely take a running back—they're in great position with Green and I still like Northwestern commit Godwin Igwebuike as a backup plan—as well as one more defensive back and probably a linebacker, given the recent spate of offers.

Hello Again: David Dawson

Hello Again: David Dawson

Submitted by Ace on December 15th, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Previously: Hello: David Dawson

Cass Tech OL David Dawson has re-committed to Michigan after a dalliance with Florida previously caused him and the Wolverines to go their separate ways. Dawson convinced Brady Hoke that he was worth re-offering a few weeks back, then committed today on his official visit. He's the fifth offensive lineman in Michigan's 2013 class, which has swelled to 24 overall commits today.

Dawson's previous commitment post is linked above; since he's played an entire summer camp circuit and senior season since then, it's worth taking another look at him.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #8 OG,
#182 Ovr
4*, #6 OG,
#151 Ovr
4*, 84, #1 OG,
#87 Ovr
4*, 94, #6 OG,
#108 Ovr

The four recruiting sites are all in general agreement about Dawson—he's a consensus four-star and among the top eight guards in the country and 200 players overall. All four list him at 6'4" and between 280 and 290 pounds.

My first time seeing Dawson was at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in June, where he was clearly the best offensive lineman in a field that included Logan Tuley-Tillman and MSU commit Dennis Finley:

Dawson was easily the most impressive lineman present, both from a physical and technical standpoint. He looks like he's in the 280-290 pound range but doesn't appear to be carrying much bad weight at all. He shows an advanced understanding of technique for a high school player; Coach Funk was presiding over the offensive line drills, and when he needed to give an example of what he was looking for, he had Dawson give the demonstration. Dawson displayed very quick feet, shuffled well in pass protection while keeping a solid base, and showed a very strong initial punch.

In one-on-ones, Dawson excelled in a drill that gives a clear edge to the pass-rusher. He got great depth with his initial step and had three or four pancakes (not all of his reps are on my film above). When Dawson did get beat, it was usually when he let the defender get into his body instead of keeping the rusher at bay with his arm punch. The proverbial mean streak was also on full display. On one rep, Dawson got beat off the edge, and the defender went back to his side screaming "Let's go!" and "I'm hungry!"* Dawson didn't appreciate the woofing, asked for an immediate rematch, and buried the guy into the turf.

I also saw him in action for Cass Tech on three occasions this fall, and in each game he dominated. Here's my report from his performance against Orchard Lake St. Mary's:

Dawson has reached the point where I almost assume that he'll dominate. While the Cass Tech line as a whole struggled, Dawson was a bright spot, getting huge push in the run game and holding up well on the edge in pass protection. His mean streak was once again on full display as he consistently played to—and through—the whistle, and it was obvious that OLSM defenders were frustrated going up against him.

There are times where Dawson relies too much on his hand punch in pass protection and stops moving his feet, which is something he'll need to work on, though shouldn't be as much of a concern at guard than if he was slated to play tackle at the next level. Otherwise, I still see a rock-solid lineman who should be a multi-year starter down the road.

While Dawson could get by on size and strength alone at the high school level, he's a very coachable player who's got very advanced technique for his age. Here's Josh Helmholdt on Dawson ($):

1. David Dawson, OL, Detroit Cass Tech: No one jumped out and ran away with the overall top performer nod from the games I saw this weekend, but Dawson played up to his four-star and Rivals250 billing, earning the top spot. Cass Tech destroyed Detroit Northwestern 57-0 Friday afternoon and Dawson only got a half of work, but despite his team running away with the game the 6-foot-4, 282-pound lineman went 100 percent every snap he played. Northwestern had some good size along their defensive line, but Dawson's strength, quickness and especially his technique overwhelmed the opposition.

ESPN updated their evaluation of Dawson($) in December [emphasis mine]:

He possesses very good size, looks to have a thick lower body and the room to potentially add some more good mass in a college weight program. ... In the run game, he does a very good job with hand placement and will work to reroute his hands when he can't initially gain positioning. He maintains a good base and can generate good leg drive to create push. He does need to work to play lower as his pad level can get high. ... He displays good pull/trap ability and is able to stay under control, locate and get a hat on active second level targets. Displays good toughness. As a pass protector, you see a player trying to do the right thing and execute with good technique. He is able to set quickly and maintain good balance. Can deliver a good punch. He can, at times, abandon his technique and chase and lean, and he needs to learn to be patient and stick with his technique.

Well, this wouldn't be a Hello post for an offensive linemen if there wasn't a comment about pad level—Dawson could play lower, though as ESPN noted he played largely out of a two-point stance at tackle. When he's got his hand in the dirt at guard, it should be easier for him to keep leverage.

Overall, Dawson is an ideal fit at guard. He's especially adept at run blocking, gives full effort to—and through—the whistle, and is technically advanced for a high school lineman. I witnessed first-hand his ability to absorb coaching and apply it to his game at the SMSB camp, and I fully expect that he'll be a multi-year starter at guard down the road.


Dawson held offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, EMU, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Mizzou, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Several of the big-name offers—including Florida, Ohio State, and USC—came after his initial commitment.


No stats for offensive linemen.


Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.54 seconds, which sounds pretty real to me for a high school lineman. One FAKE out of five.


Junior highlights:

My film of Dawson from the one-on-one portion at SMSB:

There are also sophomore highlights and camp film from the Best of the Midwest combine on the YouTubes.


I've said my piece on Dawson—he's a major talent at guard and should be a starter there down the road. In a pinch, he could also figure into the rotation at right tackle (or, with lefty Shane Morris at QB, left tackle). With Michigan looking to go MANBALL with their running game, he's a perfect fit up front.


Michigan initially planned on taking five offensive linemen in the class and 24 players overall, but Sam Webb has hinted recently that Michigan could take up to 28 or even 29 players (backdating early enrollees to last year's class) and adding an additional lineman. The Wolverines are still pursuing CO OL Dan Skipper (Tennessee commit) and CA OL Cameron Hunt (Cal commit); Skipper is on campus this weekend and Hunt should visit in January.

Other major targets include VA RB Derrick Green, FL S Leon McQuay III, OH CB Reon Dawson, and newly-offered OH ATH Marcus Ball (Wisconsin commit being recruited as a linebacker).