Hello From The Future: Denver Warren

Hello From The Future: Denver Warren Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: David Ojabo

Hello: David Ojabo Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: Eric Gray

Hello: Eric Gray Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Commitapaloozas, Ranked

Commitapaloozas, Ranked Comment Count

Ace June 29th, 2018 at 2:41 PM

Two NFL players from one Columbus suburb in one weekend. [Bryan Fuller]

Inspired by recent events, we thought it'd be a fun idea to relive the cause of my carpal tunnel great recruiting weeks in recent Michigan history. While it's a little early to judge some of these, I took a stab at ranking the best commitment runs in Seth's database, which extends back to the 2002 class (but is missing commit dates for 2003—I don't think this mattered much because, as you'll see, commits didn't used to coordinate like they do now.). The rules:

  1. To qualify as a run, at least five players must commit within the span of a week. (I reserve the right to fudge by a day.)
  2. Players who decommitted aren't in the database and tracking down their commits dates is a ton of work for rather depressing information, so those guys don't count. It's better this way, trust me.
  3. Players across multiple classes count, which got Denard onto this list, so you're welcome.
  4. National Signing Day runs had to be of some note to make the list because, in the before times, commits used to drop en masse on NSD. Again, trust me, it's better to omit some of these.

We start with the one you'd expect.

8047439657_c709c3675d_o.jpg
Taco (#33 in purple) and Butt (between #40 and the ref) stood out among high schoolers. [me]

1. Mid-February 2012: The Greatest Mid-February Weekend

Commits: Jourdan Lewis, Taco Charlton, Jake Butt, Patrick Kugler, Wyatt Shallman, Kyle Bosch, Chris Fox, David Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Jaron Dukes

Yeah, we have a tag for this one.

The strength is at the top with three early-round NFL draft picks, all of whom were excellent college players. Jake Butt is in the discussion for best tight end in school history; Taco Charlton was a fearsome rusher on one of the best D-lines in school history; Jourdan Lewis was the best player of the three in college. Those three take this group to the top.

While it's hard to ask for more than the above out of one recruiting weekend, the rest didn't exactly pan out as hoped. Only Patrick Kugler exhausted his eligibility at Michigan among the five O-linemen, and he was never able to seize the center position and excel as most everyone expected. Wyatt Shallman will always be beloved around these parts for his brief wallaby ownership and other wonderful off-field stuff, but injuries and positional uncertainty marked his football career in Ann Arbor before he grad-transferred to Ohio.

Still, three All-American-level players in one weekend is a heck of a haul. The benefits of landing Lewis, who's still a staple in Detroit and is close with Lavert Hill, are still showing themselves.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the list, which includes a healthy chunk of this year's team.]

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Hello: Mazi Smith

Hello: Mazi Smith Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: George Johnson III

Hello: George Johnson III Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: Zach Charbonnet

Hello: Zach Charbonnet Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: Erick All

Hello: Erick All Comment Count

Ace 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.

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

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Hello: D.J. Turner

Hello: D.J. Turner Comment Count

Seth 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!

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

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Mazi Smith Has Committed To Michigan

Mazi Smith Has Committed To Michigan Comment Count

Ace June 24th, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Michigan football is getting reinforcements. MGoBlog may need them.

Top150 East Kentwood (MI) defensive tackle Mazi Smith announced his commitment on Twitter, becoming the third prospect of the day to join the 2019 class, following tight end Erick All and running back Zach Charbonnet. Smith is ranked as high as 29th overall (ESPN) and no lower than 225th (247). His Hudl page features a short, violent junior highlight reel:

Smith was the subject of last year's final Future Blue Originals. Adam's takeaway:

Smith has the current skillset and upside to play 3-technique, and though I won’t go so far as to Dwumfour him up and call him the next Hurst, there’s certainly some resemblance there. On the most basic level, Smith checks all the boxes you want in an underclassman HS lineman: size, speed, and strength. His hand usage is advanced and he diagnoses the run well for a player his age. His biggest strength at this point is his speed off the ball at 6’3” and 290 pounds. Smith doesn’t look like he weighs 290—there’s no evidence of bad weight here—and he certainly doesn’t move like he weighs that much, but he blows through blocks and tackles backs like it.

He also holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon, and Wisconsin, among others. He's the 14th commit in the 2019 class, which now ranks tenth nationally and second in the conference. A full Hello post on Smith will be posted, uh, as soon as we're ready.

The fallout from this big recruiting weekend may not be over, either.

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