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]

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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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Hello: Mike Morris

Hello: Mike Morris Comment Count

Brian September 11th, 2018 at 5:04 PM

The annual Harbaugh/Taggart bowl-a-thon and croquet tournament will be incrementally angrier this year after Michigan flipped FL SDE Mike Morris from a Seminoles commit. Since that'll take things from one million to one million and one it probably won't matter much. But still!

Morris is a 3.5* guy with some impressive offers, at least one of which was committable, obviously. Morris is the son of, uh, Mike Morris, who played at FSU in the late 80s and early 90s. May he be as productive as Michigan's other FSU legacy. To the rankings:

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
4*, 5.8 rating
#25 WDE, #45 FL
4*, #275 overall
#34 DE, #45 FL
3*, #462 overall
#31 SDE, #56 FL
4*, #322 overall
#22 SDE, #44 FL

Morris committed to FSU over two and a half years ago(!!!) as a rising sophomore after a 13-sack freshman year; at the time he was already 6'5", 230. Morris hasn't quite stayed on the same upwards track above or he'd be a five star. 24/7's first set of 2019 rankings had him #58 nationally; Morris was briefly inside the Rivals 250 at #219 but has slowly drifted out as the cycle goes along. He's fallen back to the pack as other guys catch up physically.

24/7 is relatively down on Morris, which is unfortunate since they seem to have the best and (by far) most comprehensive rankings these days. The gap isn't big, though. Rivals ranking Morris, a 6'5" guy who is already listed at 260, at WDE is an artifact of his extremely early commitment. It's more likely he slides down to three-tech than plays a meaningful amount of WDE in his career.

SCOUTING

Virtually none. Sometimes this happens with guys who are already off the board, especially when they've been injured. Morris was. A torn labrum prevented Morris from participating in his local UA camp and may be the reason for his slide on 247; as of April he was still a top 250 player to them. The drop since was unexplained. 24/7 actually has virtually no scouting on Morris, so best guess here is that they're going on this:

Part of his situation regarding his Florida State commitment revolves a potential position change. The Seminoles appear to want him to play offensive tackle and it doesn't seem that Morris is in on that. Noles247 analyst Josh Newberg recently opined that it could change things between player and school.

"We either see him making a move to offensive tackle or flipping to another school so that he can remain at defensive end," Newberg said. "Right now it’s hard to see him filling a need at the defensive end position for FSU."

"We want you at a different position" is often a brush-off move. In Morris's case he'd been publicly shaky for so long and was already trending away, so that may be more of an attempt to save face. But that's pretty much it as far as recent things that would justify a 200-spot move down. Morris doesn't appear to have done any camps at all, so information in February was the same as it was in June.

ESPN does have an underclass eval but it talks about a "lean, lengthy prospect" with "wiry strength" and is super dated. Rivals has the only current takes about what kind of player he is:

"...incredible size and power ...not particularly quick ... moves fluidly for a prospect of his size... high ceiling ... need[s] to get faster and tone up at Michigan."

Brandon Brown compared him to Chris Wormley and that seems about right. Morris has the frame to be a TE-punishing anchor end or slide down to three-tech and be reasonably disruptive.

He's a Don Brown favorite, per Steve Lorenz way back in the day:

- One 2019 prospect Michigan is expected to make a run at is Fort Myers (FL) four-star defensive end and Florida State commitment Mike Morris. We're told he's a player Don Brown is very high on.

And sure enough:

“It was amazing,” Morris told The Michigan Insider. “I talked with all the coaches, went over the weight training program, beat the Coach Brown in horse, tried on the uniform, and watched practice."

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound standout had many highlights during his time in Ann Arbor including playing a game of horse with defensive coordinator Don Brown.

“It was amazing, Morris said. “It’s a one of a kind experience. He has a nice jumper, but when I brought him out to that three point line, it was over haha. We talked about my position, school, their coaching staff, the entire organization and facilities.”

Comments

Hello: Giles Jackson

Hello: Giles Jackson Comment Count

Brian September 10th, 2018 at 6:59 PM

FOLLOW ME TO

Everyone's mad, pogs are cool again, Michigan has acquired another small fast guy: what is this, the Rich Rod era? With Don Brown? Would that be good or bad? 

GURU RANKINGS

Rivals ESPN 24/7 Composite
3*, 5.7 rating
#7 APB, #43 CA
3*, 79 rating
#42 ATH, #52 CA
4*, #213 overall
#3 APB, #27 CA
4*, #362 overall
#5 APB, #45 CA

ESPN provides no explanation; 24/7 has a boatload of stuff; Rivals didn't have any rating for him until about a month ago and is generally more conservative/less aware with moves than 24/7. The only scouting they have is the "hey this guy committed" article and it mostly talks about how he's a short person who can play slot and RB but might be too small to be a feature back, with little in the way of useful detail.

SCOUTING

Jackson is a combine star and ultra-quick guy who thrives in 7 on 7 situations, and he hit up a ton of both over the past year or so to pump his stock up to where it is now. He first popped up on the radar after participating in the underclass portion of the Army game week:

The 2019 recruit was uncoverable with his quick first step, showing the explosiveness you want to see in a slot running back type.

He had the top time in one of the agility events. From there it's a litany of 7-on-7 yee haw:

  • "...explosive and shifty and made it a long day for linebackers trying to stop him in the cat-and-mouse. He then worked with the receivers, where he likely will end up as a slot receiver in college, and showed that same burst off the ball and caused issues for the defensive backs.."
  • "...has excelled at every event we've been to ... may have been the best we've seen all spring on Sunday. In one game, he had four touchdowns, a 2-point conversion and an interception and neared 20 scores on the day."
  • "...among the most explosive players, not just out west but in the country. He earned a lot of all-tournament mention following his performance and was the top slot receiver in the event that we saw. He can play running back or receiver in college and is a natural pass catcher with great open field wiggle in the open field and the ability to make you miss in the open field."
  • "Jackson is one of the fastest players in attendance [at the Opening]. He’s also one of the most versatile. He can line up in the backfield or in the slot and is a scary mismatch. His 12 catches were tied for the second most from pool play and he also added a touchdown. He’s just a space nightmare."

It was only in the midst of this blitz that Jackson started picking up major attention; when he was named the MVP of his local Opening regional he still hadn't landed any P5 offers. Oregon only stepped in in mid-June, and the floodgates opened from there. A couple of weeks later Jackson narrowed his list to Oregon, USC, Oregon State, and Michigan.

[After THE JUMP: zero fakes]

Comments

Nick Patterson Commits To Michigan

Nick Patterson Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian September 9th, 2018 at 9:15 PM

2020 TX TE Nick Patterson (yes that Patterson) has also pulled the trigger:

Patterson is a mid-three star but obviously it's pretty early for 2020 guys. Listed at 6'3", 215, he's a long way away from college weight and unless that changes over the next year he'll probably stick in the mid-three star area. And he might be more of an ATH in any case:

The versatile youngster has lined up at tight end, wide receiver, slot, and h-back on offense, and has also spent time on the other side of the ball at defensive end. In last Friday's game versus Bandera (Tex.) Patterson hauled in six catches for 90 yards before the game was called at halftime due to inclement weather. His career Michigan will likely begin at tight end or H-back, but Harbaugh & company have made clear their intentions to remain flexible with their plan for using him.

Patterson is Michigan's fourth 2020 commit, joining IL DT Denver Warren, OH WR Kalil Branham, and MI CB Andre Seldon.

Comments

Mike Morris Commits To Michigan

Mike Morris Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian September 9th, 2018 at 8:42 PM

Harbaugh-on-Harbaugh (sort of, pretty much) violence:

Morris is a composite four-star end who was a Florida State commit until that tweet. Miami, Tennesee, Oklahoma and maybe Clemson were also in hot pursuit. So that's a pretty good pick-up. Full Hello post tomorrow PM.

Comments

Hello: Quintel Kent

Hello: Quintel Kent Comment Count

Brian August 6th, 2018 at 4:26 PM

Quintel Kent is sleeper #2, but unlike Cole Bajema he looks set to stay that way. Michigan offered after he impressed at camp, and that offer remains Kent's only one from a Power 5 school. He doesn't have imposing size and was reasonably productive for his high school team so the relevant people have seen him. Without something out of the ordinary happening this fall, Kent will be one of the lowest-rated recruits in Michigan's class.

That's not fate, of course, but usually you like to see some sort of indication that the ranking isn't everything. Especially at a position where Michigan struggled last year and is struggling this year.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
2*, 5.4 rating NR 3*, 84 rating
#1105 overall, #130 WR
N/A

As mentioned, these rankings are extant and probably won't change too much. Rivals will give Kent a courtesy bump to a low three-star at some point.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]

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Cole Bajema Commits To Michigan

Cole Bajema Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian August 4th, 2018 at 3:55 PM

In news that could have been slightly more spread out, basketball has grabbed a commitment from WA SG Cole Bajema. Like Quintel Kent, who just committed to football, Bajema can be fairly called a sleeper. Unlike Kent there's a lot of reasons to believe he won't be called one for much longer.

Michigan's interest was piqued after Bajema attended their elite camp because he's a guy who went from a 6'1" guard to a 6'7" guard in an improbably short period of time, and from there word spread and hounds started, uh, hounding:

Beilein told Brady he liked what he saw. Bajema, a 6-foot-7 guard, capitalized on the early interest and excelled at Michigan’s elite camp. The Wolverines kept track of him during the first two evaluation periods of July — and they were the only high-major on his trail.

Last week in Las Vegas, Washington, Washington State, Utah, Virginia, Minnesota, Xavier, Northwestern, Virginia and Oregon State joined U-M in the bleachers for Bajema’s games. And Washington, Xavier, Oregon State and Virginia offered.

That's two one seeds from the most recent tournament if you're counting. Rivals's Corey Evans:

Despite Bajema's size it seems like he's taking the combo guard slot in the class:

“If he’s a 6-7 wing with his weight, he’s maybe not quite a high-major player. But as a combo guard at 6-7 — with the way he shoots it, the way he handles it, the way he passes it — all of a sudden that became very interesting to (schools),” Brady said. “I think people are starting to see what he is as a basketball player — that he can be a combo guard, he can be a 6-7 creator. He’s not a wing; he’s a guy where you put the ball in his hands and he makes plays for people.”

That likely means that Joe Girard and Rocket Watts will be looking elsewhere. So too might everyone else. Bajema's commitment puts Michigan one over in 2019. Charles Matthews's probably-inevitable exit for the pros after four years of college should solve that problem, leaving Michigan with a decision about whether to push it one slot further. It seems likely someone will either end up with a long road to playing time or blow up and head to the draft but Beilein might want to wait until that's clearer before taking a third player in the class. They do have some feelers out to touted guys who plan on deciding late.

Full hello on Monday.

Comments

Quintel Kent Commits To Michigan

Quintel Kent Commits To Michigan Comment Count

Brian August 4th, 2018 at 3:36 PM

Michigan's picked up one of those three-star sleeper WRs out of Ohio, Quintel Kent:

Kent is rated outside the top 1000 by 24/7 and doesn't have a composite ranking or another Power 5 offer. Michigan's been pretty good about getting out ahead of the curve in this cycle, with several different commits seeing steep rises once the crootin sites caught up, but here they're really taking a swing at a deep sleeper. 24/7 only has five articles on him, all of which came after Michigan got involved.

Bill Greene does have a "commit analysis" that someone forgot to update the date on—it says it's from a week ago—that will probably be the bulk of the scouting on Kent for a while:

This is a very fundamentally sound, extremely solid and productive wide receiver, and Kent is probably a player that is being added for his versatility by Michigan. Keep in mind that this was not a player they offered based on film from October of 2017 like we are watching, but from a stellar camp appearance from June.

More on Monday.

Comments

Hello: Quinten Johnson

Hello: Quinten Johnson Comment Count

Brian July 3rd, 2018 at 1:20 PM

Committapalooza continues unabated with the addition of DC S Quinten Johnson, another East Coast three-star with solid offers, great testing numbers, an Opening invite, and few explanations about how those things go together. C'est la vie. Amongst Michigan's recent commits Johnson vies for the most underrated, at least for now.

GURU RATINGS

247 ESPN Rivals Composite
3*, #484 overall
#37 S, #3 DC
3*, 79
#38 S, #5 DC
3*, 5.7
#24 S, #4 DC
3*, #469 overall
#37 S, #4 DC

Hey... at least everybody rated him? It sounds like Johnson is likely to surge on 24/7, which recently named him a "top sleeper prospect" after an impressive camp appearance. This... this is a four star.

...shined on both sides of the ball as a junior. He’s a difference-maker at receiver that also shined at cornerback and safety in the secondary. ... the eighth-highest Nike Football Rating [nationally] ...dynamic ability shows up on the field as a stretch-the-field receiver, one who can make something after the catch or on the other side of the ball put a blanket on a receiver or fly to the action.

FWIW, Johnson is the highest possible three star on Rivals—the #23 S is a four-star. ESPN actually has a ranking for him, but nothing else.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

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