Michigan added their second commitment from a "Pipeline 9" in-state junior today, as Scout's Allen Trieu reports 2017 Oak Park OT Ja'Raymond Hall will stay close to home for college. Hall has been a fixture on campus along with his highly regarded 2018 teammate, OL Marquan McCall. He becomes the fourth Michigan commit in the 2017 class, joining Brother Rice TE Carter Dunaway, Georgia RB Kurt Taylor, and Canadian DB Benjamin St-Juste.
4*, #21 OR,
3*, #33 OT
4*, 80, #25 OT,
4*, 94, #15 OT,
4*, #30 OT,
This is where the composite rating only tells you so much. Scout and ESPN are right in the same range, while 247 is a significant positive outlier and Rivals a negative one. Before you ask: yes, Hall has attended a Rivals camp.
The four sites are in general agreement on his size. Three of the four list him at 6'5" (ESPN says 6'4") with weights ranging from 255 to 272—he's probably closer to the high end of that range at this point. Hall is most likely a tackle prospect; with that frame he could also play inside.
Get ready for many slight variations on a constant theme: Hall has a great frame, quick feet, and plenty of work to do on the technical side and in the weight room. Here's ESPN's underclassman evaluation ($):
STRENGTHS:Possesses excellent height at this stage with good strength. Flashes ability to come off ball and gain physical leverage and when he does can drive defenders back. Displays good mirror and balance when stays low....AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Good frame, but needs to continue to develop and add good mass and further improve strength. Too inconsistent at this stage and needs to continue to work on pad level. Can improve angles.
Josh Helmholdt named Hall as one of the ten best performers at the RCS Cleveland camp in April, saying he flashed quite a bit of potential ($):
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Hall has a tall, lean and athletic build that suggests a future at the offensive tackle position. Hall is still learning the fundamentals of the position, but the potential that has earned him two early offers certainly was evident. When Hall did get beat in one-on-one reps it was due to technique, not physical abilities. The rising junior showed excellent feet and does a good job when locked on, and staying between the quarterback and the defender. Added weight on his frame will certainly benefit Hall's overall game, and all that should come easily as he matures.
Scout's Dave Berk considered Hall one of the best O-linemen at last summer's Opening regional in Columbus:
Jaraymond Hall is a player to watch in the 2017. Against bigger and strong players at The Opening, Hall used his athletic ability and quick feet to battle. Must get stronger physically in the coming months but has the making to be a top prospect.
Allen Trieu called him one of the best underclassmen at any position at that event and specified that he most needs to add strength in his upper body.
247's Steve Wiltfong got straight to the point after seeing Hall at June's Sound Mind Sound Body camp:
When Oak Park (Mich.) High Top100 2017 offensive tackle JaRaymond Hall adds mass and strength to his long frame, he’s going to be a flat stud at left tackle. His feet are really good.
After seeing him in person against a quality Southfield squad, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan gave a detailed analysis of the areas Hall can improve ($):
Hall shows the athleticism and punch to protect the quarterback on the edge. He'll have to clean up his technique, however. He's too prone to crossing over his feet against a speed rush, which will doom him when he faces top-level talent. He also keeps his hands too far outside, and although he wasn't called for holding Friday, there were a few instances where he could have been. Most importantly, he will have to add upper-body strength to complement what is already a good base to build upon.
While everyone else pegs Hall as a future tackle, 247's Clint Brewster broke down his junior film and suggested he could better fit on the interior:
Hall plays offensive tackle for Oak Park because of his ability top move and slide laterally but his frame probably fits guard better at the next level, depending on how much length and height he adds. Hall has a nasty streak that would correlate well to the interior line spots, especially with his ability to get out and move on pulls and screens. He blocks extremely well out in space and on the move. Hall is still raw from technical standpoint with his hand placement but he's coordinated and understands leverage and pad level. He's got a solid foundation to work with.
Last but certainly not least, we have ourselves a potential Piesman candidate:
But that doesn’t mean that Hall wouldn’t love to be the guy with the ball – even just one time – to relive his years as a youth football running back. Growing up playing in the West Seven Rams program, he was a hard-charging ball carrier who couldn’t be stopped.
While Hall said he embraced his move to the offensive line in eighth grade, he – like virtually every lineman – still has dreams of glory.
“It’s every lineman’s dream to score a touchdown,” he said. “I miss that part. I love being a lineman, but I’ll always be a running back at heart.”
The upshot: Hall has the frame, feet, base, and nasty streak to be an excellent lineman, either at tackle or as an agile guard; how close he comes to his ceiling depends on how much strength he can add and how much he develops from a technical standpoint. Given that's the norm for any high school lineman, it's hard not to like Hall's potential.
Hall's list isn't particularly long—perhaps in part because he's looked like a Michigan lock for a while, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if there are unreported offers—but it contains a few other high-level programs, namely Ole Miss, Penn State, and Tennessee. Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (NTM), and Western Michigan round out his offer sheet.
Oak Park hasn't produced an extensive list of D-I prospects, but they've got a couple notable ones: former MSU RB Edwin Baker and Tennessee freshman John Kelly. Michigan is heavily involved—probably the early favorite—for OL Marquan McCall, who'd be a great pickup for 2018.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hall ran an electronically timed 5.82 40-yard dash according to his ESPN profile, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. His Hudl page lists an unverified 5.03 time that merits a few FAKEs. Hall's plenty quick for a lineman; straight-line speed is far less important.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Projecting a two-deep when Michigan isn't done recruiting linemen in the 2016 class is a pointless endeavor. It's safe to say Hall is going to take a redshirt since (1) he's an offensive lineman, and (2) even for a line prospect, he's got a lot of physical and technical development to do before he's college-ready. As he fills out his frame and settles into a position—I can see him at tackle or guard, but more likely tackle—he'll get his chance to crack the lineup a couple years into his time in Ann Arbor.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's 2017 class stands at four commitments. They will take several more.