Hello: Quinten Johnson

Hello: Quinten Johnson

Submitted by Brian on 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.

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Hello From The Future: Denver Warren

Hello From The Future: Denver Warren

Submitted by Ace on July 2nd, 2018 at 9:10 PM

Michigan has its third member of a 2020 class that didn't have any as of a couple weeks ago. Four-star West Aurora (IL) defensive tackle Denver Warren announced his commitment, choosing the Wolverines over Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin, among others.

Warren is yet another commit from the huge group of visitors a couple weekends ago. I'd count them all up but there may be more to come in this second wave and I'm tired, y'all.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, 5.8, #15 DT,
#5 IL, #213 Ovr
NR DT 3*, 88, #21 DT,
#4 IL, #284 Ovr
4*, #22 DT,
#5 IL, #279 Ovr

The two sites that have evaluated Warren have him in a similar spot; Rivals likes him a bit better than 247, which has him three position rank spots away from a fourth star.

Warren is a big dude already. He checked in at 6'2", 318 pounds at a camp this year. He'll have some reshaping to do before he plays in college, which could add to some already surprising athletic ability.

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Hello: David Ojabo

Hello: David Ojabo

Submitted by Ace on July 2nd, 2018 at 9:12 AM

The second wave of commitments continues, this time in the form of Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy three-star defensive end David Ojabo, who announced his commitment this morning on Twitter:

Ojabo took a unique path to his Michigan pledge. Here's how his head coach describes his journey to playing football in the first place:

“(David Ojabo) was born in Nigeria, then he moved to Scotland when he was about seven, eight-years-old,” Saylor said. “Parents live in Scotland now but goes back and forth from Scotland to Nigeria – works for Shell Oil.

“He came to Blair Academy two years ago. As a junior, he played basketball and soccer. He was on the basketball team with [2018 top-100 Penn State DE] Jayson (Oweh), saw how Jayson was blowing up, came into my office and said, ‘hey coach. I’m more athletic and I’m tougher than Jayson. Do you mind if I play football next year?’ He’s 6-5, 240-pounds. I looked at him and said, ‘Oh yeah. You can play some football next year.’

Ojabo doesn't appear to lack confidence, nor should he: after his first year playing football, he picked up over 30 scholarship offers. As his stock blew up, so did his phone—but not quite in the way he wanted, he told The Wolverine's Andrew Vailliencourt:

“I’m not going to lie, when I look at my text messages, there’s no girls in there, it’s all coaches, so it’s kind of stressful,” Ojabo said. “It’ll be good to get it over with, but it’s a good problem to have.”

Ojabo can get back to the important things now that he's the 18th commit in Michigan's 2019 class, which ranks atop the conference and top-five nationally.

I've checked the database: Ojabo will be Michigan's first player to hail from Aberdeen, Scotland, where he still resides when he's not at Blair Academy.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.7, #41 DE,
#13 NJ
4*, 80, #37 DE,
#6 NJ
3*, 87, #36 SDE,
#8 NJ, #537 Ovr
3*, #32 DE,
#10 NJ, #488 Ovr

As you might expect, the recruiting sites want to see more before they rank Ojabo as high as his doppelganger/predecessor Oweh, who also switched from basketball to football for his final two years of high school. While Oweh ranked a bit higher (mid four-star) at this stage in his recruitment, he held a similar offer sheet, and he moved up with every subsequent rerank; Ojabo could easily follow a similar path.

While Ojabo lined up inside Oweh as a gap-shooting defensive tackle last year (think Mario Ojemudia at Farmington Hills Harrison), he's got the long frame of a prototypical edge-rusher. He's listed at 6'5" and 233-240 pounds, and he claims a 6'8" wingspan.

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Hello: Eric Gray

Hello: Eric Gray

Submitted by Ace on July 1st, 2018 at 9:06 PM

Michigan didn't have a 2019 running back commit two weeks ago. Now they boast one of the best duos in the country in Zach Charbonnet and their newest pledge, four-star Memphis (TN) Lausanne Collegiate School all-purpose back Eric Gray, who committed via video this evening:

Gray, already one of the most decorated high school football players in Tennessee history, chose the Wolverines from a final five that also included Alabama, Ole Miss, Penn State, and Texas A&M. While late to the commitapalooza, he was on campus last weekend for the final visit of a string of trips to each of his finalists before heading off to The Opening, where he's doing stuff like this:

Update: And this!

Seems like a solid get.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.6, #9 APB,
#21 TN
4*, 81, #17 RB,
#11 TN, #275 Ovr
4*, 95, #1 APB,
#3 TN, #95 Ovr
4*, #3 APB,
#10 TN, #175 Ovr

There's quite a spread. Rivals, despite having Gray in top camp performer articles when he was an eighth grader, ranks him by far the lowest. Both ESPN and 247 consider him a prospect worthy of their top lists, with the latter especially bullish on him.

Gray is listed at 5'10", 191. He's in the Chris Evans mold; a smaller, versatile back who can run between the tackles or make an impact as a receiver from multiple spots on the field.

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Hello: Mazi Smith

Hello: Mazi Smith

Submitted by Ace on June 26th, 2018 at 12:54 PM

In a weekend full of big pickups, East Kentwood (MI) defensive tackle Mazi Smith was the literal biggest, and you could make a strong argument for figurative, too. It's always good to grab a 6'3", 295-pound interior lineman with shades of Hurst burst; it's especially good when that guy is an in-stater with offers from Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State.

Smith fills a major need as the first DT among Michigan's [refreshes Twitter] 16 commits in the 2019 class, which now ranks fifth in the country and first in the Big Ten.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, 5.8, #9 DT,
#7 MI, #160 Ovr
4*, 86, #2 DT,
#3 MI, #29 Ovr
4*, 91, #14 DT,
#5 MI, #225 Ovr
4*, #7 DT,
#4 MI, #123 Ovr

ESPN is good now!

Smith is well-regarded. How well-regarded appears to depend on when—or how often—each service saw him in action, as perhaps the primary knock on Smith is his consistency. ESPN loves him, putting him on the verge of five-star status. 247 is on the low end, though in this case that's still within the top 250 overall.

One reason his floor is so high is his size; he's listed at 6'3" and in the range of 285-302 pounds, and he doesn't look to be carrying much, if any, bad weight. He's likely ticketed for Mo Hurst's role as a penetrating three-tech who can slide to nose in certain schemes, and he's got a lot of upside there.

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Hello: George Johnson III

Hello: George Johnson III

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2018 at 7:05 PM

Yes, another one.

Three-star Stuart (FL) Martin County ATH George Johnson III chose Michigan over Florida State this evening, becoming the sixth prospect to commit to the program since last weekend began. Coming off his official visit last weekend, he wrote an article for the local paper to explain his choice:

My decision for college is based off the academics, future teammates, coaches and if I see myself living in the area for the next few years of my life.

I’ve visited several schools, and Michigan will be where I’ll be playing football for the next three to four years of my life.

I love the Big House and the fan base. The first time I walked through the tunnel and onto the field I got chills. I love the history and the size of it. I’d seen it on TV, but it's bigger in real life. I was there with a group of other recruits, but I was so in awe that I went off my by myself and started running routes into the end zone and dreaming about what it would feel like catching touchdowns in front the Maize and Blue fans.

I like the enthusiasm of the coaching staff. They’re always amped up, and I like that vibe.

I like the bond the teammates had and the overall feel on campus.

It feels like a place I can call home.

I’m all in.

Go Blue!

While Johnson mostly plays quarterback in high school, he'll be a slot weapon at Michigan—he's listed at 5'11", 180. He's the 16th commit in the 2019 class, which now ranks fifth nationally, and the first among receivers. He told 247's Steve Wiltfong he doesn't plan to take any more visits.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.6 ATH NR ATH 3*, 85, #95 ATH,
#124 FL, #967 Ovr
4*, #85 ATH,
#139 FL, #947 Ovr

I'll spare you the rant. ESPN and Rivals both have Johnson unranked; ESPN has no scouting report, Rivals had him at a regional camp. 247 has also seen Johnson at a camp and has him in might-as-well-be-unranked territory. His rankings lag well behind his offers for now.

Part of that may be due to size and position. Again, this is a 5'11" future slot bug who's playing most of his snaps at quarterback. At Michigan, he could line up in the slot or the backfield and also factor in as a return man.

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Hello: Zach Charbonnet

Hello: Zach Charbonnet

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Despite playing for a national powerhouse in Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian and rushing for over 2,000 yards as a junior, running back Zach Charbonnet has mostly flown below the radar of the recruiting services. (Yes, this drumbeat again.) While he's ranked as a four-star prospect on all three sites, only 247 has posted an evaluation. Ever-useless ESPN doesn't even have his picture, let alone a scouting report. Rivals evidently only writes up camps now:

Meanwhile, Charbonnet racked up an offer sheet befitting a top-100 prospect: Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, TCU, Tennessee, and Wisconsin were among the national programs to offer in addition to local recruiting powers UCLA, USC, and Washington. According to 247's Steve Lorenz, Michigan has long regarded him as the top back on their board over more touted prospects:

Even with Quavaris Crouch on the board, Charbonnet has been the staff's top target at the position for the duration of the cycle. This is partially because they believe he is better purely as a running back and because Crouch may play defense at the college level.

A decisive runner, Charbonnet is the best prospect Michigan has recruited at the position under Jim Harbaugh in my opinion. I believe the staff feels this way as well.

After watching his film, I don't think this is smoke-blowing.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, 5.8, #20 RB,
#31 CA
4*, 80, #26 RB,
#47 CA
4*, 91, #9 RB,
#31 CA, #220 Ovr
4*, #15 RB,
#306 Ovr

So, yeah, I've already started this discussion again. I'm very confident in predicting Charbonnet is going to move up all of these lists unless ESPN doesn't bother scouting one of the most prominent programs in the country, which... can't rule it out, actually. 247's Greg Biggins has already posted that he's in line for a "big rankings bump" and looks like a top-five back nationally.

Charbonnet is a big, strapping back, listed between 6'1", 190 (Rivals, ESPN) and 6'2", 215 (247). While many taller backs struggle to stay low enough to translate that size into power, that doesn't look to be an issue with Charbonnet.

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Hello: Erick All

Hello: Erick All

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2018 at 2:57 PM

Fairfield (OH) tight end Erick All was the first of Michigan's three Sunday commitments. The coaches moved quickly on All after their top target at tight end, Luke Deal, dropped to Auburn a month ago. Despite his current three-star ranking, All checks a lot of boxes. He camped at Michigan last week, impressing tight ends coach Sherrone Moore enough to get an invite back for a visit this weekend, which ultimately prompted the commitment. All picked the Wolverines over Florida State, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin offers that all came in quick succession last month—the Irish, in particular, looked to be in hot pursuit after also losing out on Deal.

There's also 20(!) minutes of junior film, which we'll get to later in the post.

All is the only TE in the 2019 class so far, and given recent TE recruiting the coaches can afford to be very selective in targeting others at the position.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.7, #23 TE,
#20 OH
3*, 78, #13 TE-H,
#20 OH
3*, 88, #22 TE,
#16 OH
3*, #22 TE, #19 OH
#504 Ovr

Once again, we need to discuss recruiting rankings in the summer before a prospect's senior season, especially given the current state of the industry. ESPN has All well off the four-star pace; they haven't posted a scouting report on him yet, and since it's ESPN in 2018 who knows when or if that will occur. Rivals gives him a better grade but also doesn't have him on the verge of a fourth star; none of their articles on him contain an evaluation.

247 has actually posted scouting on All, they like him the most among the three sites, and their recent scouting gives the feel they'll move him up in the rankings before long.

Recruiting rankings are predictive—in February, when they're done. Right now, film and offers are probably more useful, and by those standards All looks like a very nice get.

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Hello: D.J. Turner

Hello: D.J. Turner

Submitted by Seth on June 25th, 2018 at 2:08 PM

Aux arms! [Photo: Christopher Nee/247 Sports]

As expected for over a month now, D.J. Turner (not the Maryland receiver) committed to Michigan in an announcement planned long before half of his generation decided to do the same. Now it's public!

He's a long-armed, heady, versatile 3.5-star sort whom Michigan identified as a top target—he was one of the first 2019 cornerbacks Michigan offered, according to Steve Lorenz, and Chris Partridge stayed on the Georgia prospect the whole way.

GURU RATINGS

247 ESPN Rivals

Composite

3*, 88, #41 CB, #49 GA, #450 Ovr 4*, 80, #23 CB, #154 Southeast, #37 GA 3*, 5.7, #52 CB, #47 GA 3*, .8817, #41 CB, #47 GA, #439 Ovr

Turner was a 4-star for most of the process until 247 dropped him from #280 to the mid-400s; their ranking is now almost exactly in line with the Composite, with ESPN the only site still clinging to the post 2016 season impression. That came after a move to free safety in a loaded secondary (he's one of three recruits from his school ranked around the same area), even though that move led quite directly to North Gwinnett's first-ever state championship (of the new 7A level).

He's listed anywhere from 5-10 to 6-0, and 165 to 180, with an "official" (i.e. what he wrote down himself) measurement from The Opening of 6-0/165 as of March. We'll split the difference and call him 5-11/165 though as you can see with the favored photo he's got arms for days, a point that gets brought up often in scouting reports. Also brought up in scouting reports: Versatility!

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Hello: Joey Velazquez

Hello: Joey Velazquez

Submitted by Brian on June 25th, 2018 at 12:40 PM

You may not remember this but several commits ago, there was a guy named Joey Velazquez that caused recruiting mutters to mutter. This was weird because he's going to play defense and at this point we should really let Don Brown do whatever he wants to. And it was doubly weird because Velazquez is headed for the most Don Brown position of all:

He's a viper(!!!). A three star viper, sure, but 1) whatever and 2) Khaleke Hudson was a three star viper for a long time too.

Separate from his football exploits, Velazquez may actually be a bigger get for Eric Bakich. Prep Baseball Report ranks him as a top 100 baseball prospect as a corner outfielder, and he plans to play both sports. If PBR is exactly correct about his ranking (#76) as it applies to the MLB draft he'd be a third-round pick. That might be outside of the early departure threat range, especially if he wants to play football. Or it might not:

“That would be something else. Coming out of high school to the draft, that would be unreal. That would definitely probably be the number one choice, depending on where I go or when I get drafted and all that,” Velazquez said, also noting he could still choose to attend college if he were drafted.

On the other hand, he flipped his commit for a football offer and before that was pretty gung-ho about it:

“There really hasn’t been any changes lately,” he explained. “I’m still committed to Ohio State for baseball, but I’ve let their coaches know that I’m exploring my options as a football player.

“I’d like to play both sports in college if possible, but football is higher on that list.”

Also he told 24/7 that he wanted to be an engineer and academics were important. Still, the MLB possibility is something to keep in mind.

GURU RATINGS

247 ESPN Rivals Composite
3*, #650 overall
#52 S, #31 OH
NR 3*, 5.5
#50 OH
3*, #971 overall
#79 S, #44 OH

Velazquez is a mid-to-low three star right now, but his baseball commitment means he's lightly scouted, for understandable reasons. Rivals has nothing on the national level, and 24/7 is in a similar boat. Orion Sang caught up with Steve Lorenz:

“Michigan has gotten to see him twice,” Lorenz said. “Our evaluators and analysts have really not gotten to see him that much. As far as his recruiting ranking and all that jazz, I’m intrigued and really interested to see what the evaluation will be on him because I believe he’s going to have a lot of eyes on him now.” ...

“Michigan really feels that they’re getting a guy who would’ve been a highly-touted recruit if he had been football first, maybe baseball second.”

Camp season is dang near over so Velazquez will have to have a Hudson-esque senior year to get a bump. Given the state of the industry I don't have high hopes we'll get a comprehensive look; hopefully 24/7 will get a guy or two out to see him.

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