Hello: Anthony Solomon

Hello: Anthony Solomon Comment Count

Brian December 18th, 2018 at 11:58 AM

Anthony Solomon was rumored to be a flip candidate a few weeks back; then he set up a visit and the flip became fait accompli. I am now rooting for more Miami decommits, not necessarily to Michigan but anywhere, just because this business is amazing:

Ahead of this week’s Early Signing Period, when most teams sign most of their eventual new freshmen, the Miami Hurricanes have 14 verbal commitments. Their class is No. 34 nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite, which gives it 197 rating points.

On another hand, Miami has 15 decommits who were at one point or another pledged to play for the Canes but have since, for any number of reasons, backed away. Those players, together, would make for a class with 203 rating points. They’d be the No. 32 class, as of Sunday night, a couple of notches ahead of Miami’s actual class.

That decommit class does not count the guy who decommitted and then re-upped three days later. Because that's a thing we have to clarify when it comes to Miami recruiting.

Anyway: Solomon was reputed to be a big Michigan lean after an odyssey of an unofficial visit over the summer but pulled the trigger on a Miami commitment for reasons; Michigan never let up and eventually closed.

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
4*, NR overall
#16 OLB, #39 FL
4*, #83 overall
#8 OLB, #13 FL
3*, #402 overall
#23 OLB, #41 FL
4*, #193 overall
#10 OLB, #28 FL

A sub-200 pound linebacker is bound to be polarizing and lo, Solomon is polarizing. ESPN has him a top 100 prospect; 24/7 has him in 3.5* range.

[After THE JUMP: viper]

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Hello: Trevor Keegan

Hello: Trevor Keegan Comment Count

Brian December 17th, 2018 at 12:06 PM

There is a certain genre of recruitment in which the parents are allowing their kid to make his own decision despite being partisans for one particular school, and Trevor Keegan's was very much one of those:

For her part, Mom was reportedly "in tears" after Michigan offered Keegan at their 2017 Big Man camp. Coach: also a big Michigan fan. So this one was one that Michigan was going to have to screw up. They almost did after last year's OL performance, which caused Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Georgia to take turns as Keegan's projected leader. Ed Warriner's rehab job allowed the early leader to re-emerge, much to everyone's delight. 

Now to see what Michigan's won:

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
4*, #208 overall
#21 OT, #1 IL
4*, #168 overall
#17 OT, #1 IL
4*, #173 overall
#19 OT, #2 IL
4*, #163 overall
#17 OT, #1 IL

A tight range that sees Keegan land higher on the composite than any single service, as tends to happen when everyone has a kid ranked about the same.

[After THE JUMP: classic Midwest lineman]

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Trevor Keegan Commits To Michigan

Trevor Keegan Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian December 14th, 2018 at 8:06 PM

Michigan picks up a presumably final OL commit in this class:

Penn State and Georgia were the other main contenders, with Georgia briefly surging into a crystal ball lead a couple of months ago. Keegan's a mid-to-high four star ranked #163 on the composite and is a true tackle prospect, which was a priority after James Hudson left. Trente Jones is also clearly a tackle; the other four guys in the class probably project to the interior. Let's hope this six-man class works out much much better than Michigan's most recent six-man OL class, which spat out one year of Patrick Kugler starting and nothing else.

Hello post Monday.

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Hello: Mike Sainristil

Hello: Mike Sainristil Comment Count

Seth November 4th, 2018 at 1:41 PM

It took a few more months than we thought it would, but Michigan has finally flipped 2019 Massachusetts athlete Mike "Sweetness" Sainristil.

110% > 100%

Virginia Tech thought they had a gem secured in the heart of Don Brown territory, but couldn't maintain control through the entire process. Michigan now takes possession of this 5-10, 175-pound slot receiver prospect, or maybe a 5-9, 175-pound safety prospect, or another running back, or maybe 6'8"/375 offensive tackle for the 2023 class for all the scouting service evaluations out there on him. Steve Lorenz posted an Insider($) note after Sainristil visited on that big June recruiting weekend that at least added some clarity to his position:

Michigan is not recruiting Sainristil at cornerback; instead, they are recruiting him as an athlete with the current likelihood being wide receiver

The crystal balls flipped hard to Michigan during the subsequent Commitapalooza but Sainristil remained committed to Virginia Tech until a few days before he set up his Michigan visit for Penn State. Don Brown visited his school during the recent bye, further adding to the least surprising flip of the year.

What Michigan appears to have secured is a bottle of lightning to assuage those of us still rankled that K.J. Hamler was never offered, IE a slot smurf. Caveat: Commonwealth, but he might be a really good one.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247Comp
3*, 5.6, #63 ATH, #2 MA 4*, 80, #24 ATH, #33 Northeast, #1 MA 3*, 86, #75 CB, #809 Ovr, #3 MA 3*, 0.8676, #62 CB, #678 Ovr, #1 MA

Since he appeared on our radars in June, ESPN bumped Sainristil up to a low 4-star, shot him 20 spots up their athlete rankings, and moved him ahead of 23 other athletes. 

That differs from 247, who's dropped him 4 spots in the cornerback rankings and 100 spots overall as various seniors around the nation popped. I plugged these into my composite stars formula and the ESPN bump moved him into the Nate Johnson/Grant Perry region. Squint at that with the Massachusetts curve and you get a Dennis Norfleet: a human highlight reel who generates a ton of local press (and blogger love) but equal incredulity from the scouting types trying to project a ceiling from a guy who's never touched one.

Sainristil's rankings also have a distinct whiff of "Eh, we haven't been up there, but the Boston papers seem to like him." ESPN had Sainristil the second "78" until they got a guy up there and bumped him to an 80 (unfortunately with no explanation), and 247 has been slowly dropping him the last month as they get to evaluations of the people under him—he was 56th in May. Rivals is the comparative skeptic, ranking Sainristil 12 spots below the last 5.7.

There's also disagreement about a crucial inch: Rivals has him 5-9, 175 pounds; 247 lists him at 5-10/175, and ESPN has 5-9 but 180 for weight. For what it's worth, in his highlight films Sainristil is average height for the guys on the field—he may be 5-9 but he's not "5-9" if you dig.

[Hit THE JUMP for two videos of Sainristil dunking on 8th graders, scouting based on two videos, and the FAKE-est 40 time yet]

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Hoops Hello: Zeb Jackson

Hoops Hello: Zeb Jackson Comment Count

Brian October 23rd, 2018 at 8:15 PM

Basketball opened their 2020 recruiting class today with a commitment from OH PG Zeb Jackson, a rapidly-rising prospect who gathered early offers from virtually all of the Midwest basketball powers. Jackson is very close with Zavier Simpson and his dad; Jackson told Josh Henschke that Quincy is "like his uncle." Ace wondered if we'll find out that it's actually "Xeb" next year and now I desperately want this to happen.

Despite the Simpson connection, Jackson is basically the opposite kind of point guard. He's tall—6'3" according to his coach. He's a shooter coming off a 39% from 3, 81% from the line AAU season. And some of the main Areas For Improvement that get mentioned by scouts involve his defensive chops and level of commitment.

To the various subject headings:

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
4*, #72 overall
#16 PG
NR 4*, #58 overall
#17 SG, #2 OH
4*, #66 overall
#18 SG, #2 OH

ESPN only has a top 60 for 2020 basketball recruits and Jackson is not inside it. Rivals and 24/7 are in fairly close agreement except when it comes to his position. Michigan is saying he's a point guard.

Jackson might have more upward mobility. He's already risen since June, when he was an unranked three-star, and has shot up from 5'9" as a freshman to a coach-reported 6'3". As he fills that new height out and maybe gets another inch or two he could creep up into the top 50.

SCOUTING

Prep Hoops, which is an Ohio-based scouting service that took in a bunch of AAU events over the summer, named him their player of the year after the AAU season concluded:

efficient wing scorer equally capable of hitting a pull-up jumper off a crossover as he is an athletic lefty finish through traffic. He has an uncanny ability to get separation. …

Throughout the previous eight UAA circuit games leading up to the Finals, Jackson averaged 13.5 points (43-39-81 shooting splits) and 3.8 rebounds with a circuit-leading 3.1-1.0 assist/turnover ratio.

… Jackson also became, a better defender this season, showing high-IQ in the help-side, elusiveness in defending a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll, and lateral quickness against the ball. 

“This year he took a big jump defensively,” Clarke said. “Last year playing up on our 16s, there was time he struggled on the defensive end one-on-one. If you’re going to play at a high-major level, and you know he’s that type of kid, he’s going to have to guard a kid and keep people in front of you. I think this year, especially July, he did a phenomenal job of doing that.”

If the video below is any indication the weak two-point shooting splits are due to a lot of mid-range pull-ups. He looks good when he does it but those shots are always tough. The 39% from three and 81% from the line indicate a guy who is a potential pro-level shooter. Jackson might be a work in progress inside the line early in his career. But then again he's a 2020 so it may work out just fine.

Other takes from Prep Hoops:

His ability to create separation and hit with range off the dribble is unique. As he continues to add consistency from the 3-point line, Jackson closes the gap between production and potential.

Also:

Zeb is a long, lean guard with tons of speed and quickness. He’s scoring the ball at a high level mixing and matching everything he has with his shooting, slashing, and finishing ability. He’s really tough and plays at a level faster than everyone else. Showed dynamic separation ability and the jumper looks like a much better weapon than a year ago.

Also:

We stopped by one of Jackson’s games on Saturday afternoon and he had one of those absurd three-possession stretches that are becoming routine for him. First, he came down and nailed a triple after jab stepping. Then, Jackson finished off a sloppy possession with a baseline one-foot fall-away shot. Zeb, now feeling it at this point, then did the Durant ball-fake hesitation move (go to 0:28 of this video) to scoot by a defender and get into the lane. His scoring ability is top notch. We’d like him to be more involved defensively though.

Endless Motor also caught him at a couple of events:

…displayed a great looking shot from the perimeter, knocking down multiple threes with range out to 28 feet. While his outside shot dominates the highlight reels, we were most impressed with his ability to create easy shots for teammates. Jackson has great first step acceleration, a nice handle and elite vision which allowed him to repeatedly beat his primary defender and find teammates on dumpoffs and kickouts once helpside defense collapsed on him. His open court speed was also noteworthy, as Zeb kicked it into another gear on a loose ball and won a footrace to the rim before finishing with the off hand.

Also:

A true point guard with great size at 6’3, Zeb has great vision as a passer and is phenomenal as a playmaker that creates easy looks for teammates. A fluid athlete with good first step acceleration and a good handle, Jackson thrives breaking a defense down off the bounce while also having a legit stroke from beyond the arch as a scorer.

His high school coach:

“He can distribute. … He’s a big point guard. He’s starting to fill out. Muscle and all that is coming along and he’s only a sophomore. I think he’s going to grow a little bit more yet. He’s got great explosion. His skill level is off the charts. I think that’s what a lot of the college coaches are seeing is just his skill, his knowledge of the game.”

“His work ethic is by far the best I’ve seen,” he said. “He just lives in the gym.”

And 247:

… making good strides with his game as he continues to grow. Jackson is a natural scorer who can put points on the board in a major way. Now he is also passing the ball a bit better, and even showed more of a commitment on the defensive end. This weekend might have asserted Jackson as the top guard in the state of Ohio in his class.

Some guy on a Butler board who accurately projected he was going to blow up:

Overall I absolutely love him. The more I saw him the more convinced I became that he's the type of guard that should be a primary target for Butler in the 2020 class. He's a true combo guard that I'd predict will end up being a 4 star. I think he can crack the top 50. He's got the length to defend off the ball and the lateral quickness to defend point guards. Jackson has a lightning quick crossover that he uses frequently to get anywhere on the court he wants. He was one of the best defensive guards I saw in his class, and his offense is just as good as his defense. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter, but his shot looked smooth, so I suspect that was a fluke. Looks like he is shooting 39% from 3 in the Under Armour association, which supports my thought that he normally knocks down a lot of the shots he was missing this weekend.

He's going to have a flood of offers coming in over the next 3 months. I really hope Butler is one of them. He's ridiculously talented and also feels like a good fit.

So, some conflicting information about his defensive involvement that may be a player realizing he's got to get better on that end and starting to get after it. Some somewhat cautionary notes about his shooting mixed in with high praise for it. Pretty universal declarations that he's a true point guard that are backed up by an excellent A:TO ratio from AAU ball.

A true point guard with big upside.

[After THE JUMP: all the local powers offer]

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Cornell Wheeler Commits To Michigan

Cornell Wheeler Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian September 25th, 2018 at 3:23 PM

[247]

Michigan's fifth 2020 commit is Cornell Wheeler, a *3.5 linebacker out of West Bloomfield. Ron Bellamy is his coach and compares him to a current Wolverine:

"He reminds me a lot of Josh Ross," West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy said. "He is physical, instinctive, loves football and plays the game with aggression."

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Hello: Daxton Hill

Hello: Daxton Hill Comment Count

Brian September 19th, 2018 at 12:17 PM

[Isaiah Hole]

Daxton Hill's commitment yesterday marks the official end of the Moribund Recruiting Period that started about a year ago. While Michigan had been digging out since February by putting together a top 15 class, a lot of that was based on smart scouting and getting in on early on guys who would end up rising up the ranks.

Hill is another beast entirely: the consensus top safety in the country and top target for everyone including Alabama. Hill is a capital-G Get and a payoff for Michigan getting a couple of young up-and-comers on the staff. Sherrone Moore is Hill's primary recruiter.

Let's see what Michigan's won.

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
5*, #24 overall
#1 S, #1 OK
4*, #14 overall
#1 S, #1 OK
5*, #8 overall
#1 S, #1 OK
5*, #12 overall
#1 S, #1 OK

As noted, Hill is the consensus top safety prospect in the country. The only wobbles are ESPN's exceedingly stingy five-star distribution (just 11) and Rivals being slightly less enthralled than the other two services.

SCOUTING

Usually when you're talking about a safety in such rarified air it's because he is an absurd athlete. Check:

Per ESPN his 40, vert, and overall SPARQ score are the best for anyone they rank as an ATH and his overall score is second in the nation behind only GA LB Owen Pappoe.

That comes through on his film, which shows him playing as a deep safety, outside corner, and nickelback. It is generally violent and features a number of impossible-seeming run-downs. More immediately relevant for Michigan fans is a number of episodes of slot coverage on which Hill looks extremely comfortable.

I'd recommend you actually watch that tape because Hill's athleticism is obvious to anyone. It is the primary thing anyone brings up in scouting reports. 24/7 after the Opening:

"...safety size but is one of the fastest players in the country ... with his ability to run and cover, he looks like a college player right now. He has a freakish combination of size and athleticism" Also: "looked like more than just an athlete though, he showed a ton of range in coverage and was smooth in his backpedal."

Steve Wiltfong:

Between the off-the-charts athleticism, high IQ and playmaking ability between the chalk, the 6-foot 1/2, 187-pound Hill is exactly how you draw it up as the last line of defense in the secondary. When he’s around the ball, you can bet the Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington standout is going to make a play on it.

Also:

...he's clearly moving at a different speed than his peers. He excels in coverage, breaking quickly when the ball is in his region and turns into a receiver when he can make a play. The change of direction quickness is off the charts.

Rivals, for its part, praises him for being a "complete prospect" because he "has elite speed, covers like a cornerback, and hits like a safety" and says he "combines excellent speed with tremendous ball skills and tackling ability." ESPN has a brief underclass evaluation:

Explosive athlete ... pursues fast without much wasted motion and is very active around the ball in both run and pass support. Shows good pop on contact as a tackler...very gifted.

Texas's 24/7 site did a film rundown of their main safety targets that gets into a bit more detail about Hill's multi-purpose abilities:

...tremendous build with good bulk and room to add weight ... elite burst and speed. He shows the ability to play deep at safety and cover receivers in the slot. Hill shows good movement ability with strong explosion in and out of his breaks. Hill plays with good coverage technique and smooth transitional ability. He comes downhill and hits like a sledgehammer and shows strong change of direction skills. ... has the overall package to play deep, in the nickel or in the box at the next level.

...can play with an over-aggressive tempo which can cause him to overrun plays at times. He should also work on being more consistent with his tackling technique ...inconsistent hands.

They also provided the lone note of caution after something called "PRIME 21":

Hill definitely had his moments as he displayed phenomenal closing speed and a great football IQ. But he was a little inconsistent in 1-on-1's, which is probably due to the fact that he's a pure safety.

I talked to Sam Webb about him a bit after the WTKA show one week; the main takeaway was that the Bama program believed he was the best safety Saban had pursued in his time there. Webb cautioned that one seemingly major advantage for Michigan, the possibility of early playing time, wasn't actually much of a factor because Hill was Just That Good. "Rats," I thought at the time. Now: giggity.

The comparables mentioned by sites and coaching staffs are what you'd expect for this level of prospect. Hill told the 24/7 site that their staff was comparing him to multi-purpose DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, another 6-foot-ish safety capable of playing CB if necessary. Fitzpatrick was the 11th pick of the most recent draft. Rivals's Mike Farrell brought up FSU safety Jalen Ramsey:

"He’s a freak athlete. ...could play corner at the next level with his ability or be that Jalen Ramsey type who starts at safety and moves to corner and works at nickel. ... He has so much speed and so much talent, a super-explosive kid. He has make-up speed, closes on the football really well, plays against the run and runs things down as well."

The obvious Michigan comparable is Jabrill Peppers, but Brandon Brown notes that they're different players:

Peppers was listed at 6-1 and was the No. 1 cornerback in the country but it became clear during his Michigan career that he was much shorter than that and far better suited to play near the line of scrimmage. Hill is definitely more of a safety because of his length and ranginess and is actually north of 6-feet. Even when you watch them on tape you can see that Peppers is more suited for contact and run support, where Hill is much more of a lengthy ballhawk in the deep secondary.

Hill is a true safety with a height that is slightly over 6-foot, and not a 5'10" explosion machine on the edge.

[After THE JUMP: highlights you should actually watch]

Comments

Daxton Hill Commits To Michigan

Daxton Hill Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian September 18th, 2018 at 8:04 PM

Hot damn:

Hill is a five star ranked #12 overall on the composite; Michigan beat out Alabama, Alabama, and Alabama for his commitment. Also Oklahoma State and Oklahoma amongst a wide array of other schools who didn't make Hill's top five. Hill's a safety who has a 4.3 40 listed as a "verified result" on his 24/7 page and promises to be the kind of multi-purpose tool who really makes Don Brown's defense sing, the kind gentleman who can cover James Proche in the slot and come down to bust up run games.

Full Hello post tomorrow.

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