This Week’s Obsession: If I Had a Spring Game Part II: Defense

This Week’s Obsession: If I Had a Spring Game Part II: Defense

Submitted by Seth on April 19th, 2018 at 1:05 PM

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lada dida dada dada dada deeda dida dum [Eric Upchurch]

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. If you’re at that point in your life where your blog actually makes enough money that you can think about how you pay for your kids’ colleges, and what you should be doing for your retirement, and what kind of investment strategy meets your level of risk, it’s really high time you set up that conversation . Also being proactive about this earns you major spousal points that can be spent later on attending Michigan games.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

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The Question:

From last week:

Things we would have wanted to see if there was a spring game but there isn't so let's all imagine

…except with defense.

whoa. I wonder how far

this box in a box

thing can go

(sorry)

Brian: No injuries, the end.

Ace: This is kinda short, man.

Seth: Before every Michigan coach jumps in to say "Michael Dwumfour" I'm going to say Michael Dwumfour.

Brian: Ooooh sorry seth that didn't make it before the end of the post.

Ace: Do not tempt the wrath of Don Brown.

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solving this problem with aggression [Patrick Barron]

Seth: Actually Dwumfour just fired off the line so fast he was already in the post before you typed that.

[After THE JUMP: The snap. Get it?]

Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown

Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 28th, 2018 at 9:01 AM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A- Thanks to Isaiah Hole for sending along video so I could transcribe this, as I wasn’t able to be there due to some medical issues in my family]

“How’s everybody doin’? We good? Doin’ great. I think. Forty-one years, so…still rollin’. We’re three practices in. Two good ones in no pads. Lot of learning, lot of football being digested. As you know here, that’s what we do.

“Can’t say enough good things about Herb[ert] and the strength staff. Really gave us a really solid group of guys in terms of cardiovascular and bigger, stronger, faster, and just glad to be back with my guys.

“Been doing this a long time. This might be if not the fastest then one of the fastest groups I’ve ever been around, so pretty excited about it. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things to work on but we’ll get there. There’s no question in my mind.”

With Devin and Khaleke, can you talk about some of those guys that are challenging the other guys at linebacker?

“Well, let me just say this, okay? This Devin Bush Jr.? Special guy now, okay? That’s all I’m gonna say. There’s a private story, but this guy stayed with his team. He could have easily checked out for three or four days and everybody would have understood and he didn’t. So, I think we’re talking about a guy whose character is completely off the charts.

“This Khaleke Hudson is playing at a tremendous level a year ago, and I think he’s a much better cover guy right now. He’s playing at a much faster rate. He should go kiss Ben Herbert on the lips because he’s helped him tremendously.

“This Josh Ross is gonna be a dude. He’s gonna be a really good player. Drew Singleton will be a very good player. Noah Furbush, his arrow is so far up from a year ago. I’m just very excited about where he is. Glasgow, we made the move from Viper behind Khaleke, took the slot coverage off his plate, and that’s helped him improve.

[I had to split this in the middle of an answer which tells you a lot about the quality of the responses after THE JUMP]

Flanagan Family: How Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil Found a Second Home

Flanagan Family: How Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil Found a Second Home

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 31st, 2017 at 2:56 PM

db4l

[courtesy Yasmeen Alcindor]

The secret to Michigan’s success on defense isn’t really a secret. It’s hard to stay under the radar when your mustache is so perfect, your stats are so good, and your scheme is so aesthetically pleasing. But the secret ingredient in how Michigan’s defensive personnel was assembled was, well, itself assembled. A few years ago, a sleek new Playstation 4 rolled off an assembly line in Yantai, a coastal city of about 7 million in China, not realizing that it would some day end up in the living room of Jabrill Peppers’ apartment, let alone that it would play a crucial role in landing three contributors to 2017’s no. 3-ranked defense.

The PS4’s shining moment came on the night of June 14, 2015, when three then-recruits--Devin Bush Jr., Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil--went on an unofficial visit to Michigan. The three got in from South Florida around 11 on their first night in Ann Arbor and went straight to Peppers’ apartment, where they found Willie Henry (or, as he’s known around the program, Big Earl) ready and waiting to throw in NBA 2K15 or Madden 15.

“I’ll bust out the 2K or we can throw in Madden if you feel like the odds are better in that,” Henry says. “I don’t think I ever lost to Jabrill, Devin, the other Devin, or Metellus.” Metellus corroborates Henry’s recollection. “It was just funny because Gil, he was playing 2K, he was just losing the whole time. It was hilarious,” he says.

Asked who’s the best 2K player, Gil says it has to be him. This is one of the many times during our interview where the crosstalk explodes, three voices criss-crossing with such speed that the tape plays back a staccato mess. As things calm down, Bush explains his frustration. “He plays as Golden State like he’s tryin’ to cheat,” he says. The pride swells in his voice. “I play as random teams.” Gil, the most reserved of the three, quietly retorts: “I’m still gon’ win, though. Regardless, I’m gon’ win.”

And he might, but not that night. “A lot of people just like playing with Lebron but I can use it as an excuse: that’s my home team I’m just playing with. Can’t be mad that my home team got Lebron James,” Henry says. “But you know me, I’m very competitive, too. So it was just two guys competitive at what they do playing the game at that time. I got the best of him that night but I could see from the fight in that that we had three great competitors coming from the same school that had the possibility to come to the same university. It was just a blessing. I had a great time with the boys that night.”

[After THE JUMP: a secret plan, chasing offers, winning championships, and high-stakes games of…Uno?]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

This Week’s Obsession: Giggity

This Week’s Obsession: Giggity

Submitted by Seth on September 7th, 2017 at 9:12 AM

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[Christopher Cook]

This is our weekly staff roundtable. Readers are always welcome to submit questions.

The Question:

Most encouraging thing you saw this weekend?

The ResponsesNyah-Nyah

BiSB: Two related things struck me on the offensive side of the ball. The first was that the running backs looked really good. In particular, Evans, Higdon, and Isaac all showed good vision, which was a continuation of something we saw in the spring game. Other than the sprint draw to Higdon in the 2nd quarter, it didn't seem like they missed any obvious reads. All three did a good job of pressing the hole and looking for a crease. This was the kind of game that would have seen a number of Michigan backs of recent years get regularly buried in the line. On Saturday, the only TFLs were the ones where the line just gave them nothing to work with, which will happen against a defense like Florida's.

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Ain’t stoppin. [Cook]

The second thing was how consistently Michigan moved the ball. They only had two three-and-outs in the entire game: the first O'Korn series, and the drive with two minutes left in the game where first downs weren't really the point. Other than those two, every Michigan drive in the game (that didn't end with a pick or a the end of the half) either scored points or gained at least 30 yards. After Michigan took a 9-point lead in the middle of the 3rd quarter, they moved the ball 30 yards and pinned Florida at its own 8. Then they moved the ball 51 yards before a false start and a missed field goal. Then they moved the ball 58 yards into the red zone before they missed another field goal. People talk about the offense's ability to "close out" games, and to me, THAT is what that looks like. With that kind of help from the offense, this defense can turn a nine point lead into a stone cold lock. (edited)

[After THE JUMP things make us happy with Florida caveats]

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Just A Shirt I Wear To Work

Just A Shirt I Wear To Work

Submitted by Brian on September 4th, 2017 at 12:50 PM

9/2/2017 – Michigan 33, Florida 17, 1-0

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can you target ribs though [Christopher Cook]

I felt pretty good about this game for a long time, and continued to feel better as we approached it. First Jim McElwain freaked out about someone on the internet facetiously claiming that he laid upon a shark in the nude. Then some Florida guy said this about the Michigan defensive line:

"They don't move well sideline to sideline, so I think we should take advantage of things like that."

Allegedly paying some SEO outfit 70,000 clams to scrub your Google results of a twitter joke that nobody would have remembered 24 hours later if you hadn't gone full Streisand Effect is one thing. Declaring Michigan's defensive line to lack Southern Speed is another.

The former is insane, yes, but insane manias are not just encouraged but required for high-level college football coaches. Telling your team that Mo Hurst, Chase Winovich, and Rashan Gary can't run is plain old laziness.Gary and Hurst made tackles on WR screens...

And Winovich, well:

A Michigan team that sent so much to the NFL a year ago could have been the subject of many, many legitimate critiques to be expressed in the media. For Florida Man to settle on that one, and say it out loud, was proof that the Gators' internal monologue was indistinguishable from any random SEC SPEED message board. Before this game they talked like one; during this game they played like one; after this game they probably imploded like one. Florida talked that work, got that work, and talked about getting worked.

-------------------------------------------------------

Reporter: I saw you had a work type shirt with your name on it? What's that?
Harbaugh: It's my work shirt.
Reporter: Is there more of a story to it?
Harbaugh: No, just a shirt I wear to work.

Jim Harbaugh is accused of stunts, antics, and bids for media relevancy on the regular. These are mostly true. The subtext, however, is that Harbaugh's profile-raising activities eat into time otherwise spent on the boring work of making a football team. That is not true. Harbaugh and his coaches are also doing that.

Michigan spent most of this game in a bonafide 3-3-5 that they had hardly shown on film last year, baffling Florida's blocking schemes and showing two unprepared quarterbacks a glimpse of hell. Hell is Rashan Gary closing on you unblocked. The proper response is to fall over and pretend you died of rabies, as Felipe Franks did.

On offense Michigan's backs repeatedly burst outside to find that Florida had neglected to deploy a force player. The consistency with which this happened was baffling at first and then felt like a thing Michigan saw and prepared to exploit. Probably 60% of their rushing yards came on the 10-12 carries that started inside and ended outside. At one point I thought about that sideline video from the Stanford-VT Orange Bowl where Harbaugh's telling his back the backside cut is there, and sure enough.

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Mike Shaw would have kicked ass in this game [Cook]

In the aftermath, McElwain talked about how his team got beat up and pushed around by a bigger, stronger Michigan team... you know, the one deploying 10 new starters on defense and a receiving corps consisting entirely of baby lambs stretching their legs. That's default coach talk after taking it on the chin, but Florida didn't lose a bench press competition. They lost because Michigan presented them with a puzzle they could not solve.

Many teams have done that to Florida these last seven years. The Gators are now in the exact same place Michigan was during the dolorous late Hoke era. Spencer:

This is laughable, like openly contemptible. Consider the list of teams that with meager resources and worse recruiting footprints and every other curse imaginable have built top 30 offenses out of nothing. That list based on 2016 alone is hilariously bad given what Florida spends on their head coach alone, not to mention the resources surrounding the football program, one that even after all that spending has topped out at a recent ceiling of “sort-of fleshed-out secondary character with an inflated reputation who makes it into the second act of the Western before being killed in a gunfight when he runs out of bullets.”

Michigan is now on the other side of this equation and when Florida hires Jeff Brohm next year they will be too, and if you're not pulling for that you are a cold person indeed.

For Michigan, a fog of nervousness now evaporated. Your author spent 50k words talking about why he wasn't worried about Michigan's incredible outflux of starters, but as some guy named Foug walked up for the opening kickoff there were butterflies all the same. The difference between "should be" and "is" has bitten Michigan fans too many times in the last decade, and at kickoff all that practice talk is just talk.

Foug could have put that ball straight out of bounds and kicked off a clownshow. At one point, after three separate game-losing disasters in a row, it felt like he had. Michigan did not waver, and once the disasters stopped raining down they asserted themselves as one would.

"This is Michigan" no longer feels like a cruelly oblivious thing to proclaim. They lost the world, and they are still here, being Michigan. Working at it every day.

HIGHLIGHTS

Parking God:

Full game tight cut:

Postgame presser from Harbaugh:

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. This space has asserted that Devin Bush was accidentally the perfect Don Brown linebacker recruit, and it took one game for that to become obvious. Bush got two sacks in this game and had a few more instances of QB terror; he takes angles that normally mean you lose and wins with them; he shows up in the QB's chest with a quickness that seems to shock them. He is a missile.

#2 Ty Isaac. Not sure how much this is going to translate to opponents that either make sure to have a force guy and pay attention to a run threat on third down, but Isaac was mansome in game one. He converted two third and longs on the ground, embarrassed a couple of would-be tacklers, and kinda looked five-star-ish against a very fast defense.

#3 Quinn Nordin. Nordin missing a 32-yarder was the only thing preventing him from ending up #1 on the list. One game into his Michigan career he's already tied for third in career 50+ yard field goals, with 50 and 55 yarders to his name. He also grooved a couple shorter ones down the middle. His other miss, from 52, was eminently understandable.

Honorable mention: Tarik Black's two catches went for 80+ yards; DPJ nearly broke two different punt returns; Winovich, Hurst, and Gary were all between good and dominant, also the entire rest of the defense.

KFaTAotW Standings.

3: Devin Bush (#1, Florida)
2: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida)
1: Quinn Nordin (#3, Florida)

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Embedded above: Chase Winovich seals the game in the most appropriate fashion possible.

Honorable mention: Nordin bangs in 55-yarder; Nordin bangs in a 50-yarder; Tarik Black is wide open for a deep touchdown; Nick Eubanks is a very fast quasi-TE; Ambry Thomas rips the ball out on a kick return; various and sundry assaults on Florida QB sanity.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Pick six #2. This was the moment during the game when a loss felt most plausible, because every subsequent Michigan drive was destined to end in a pick six. Feels bad man!

Honorable mention: Pick six #1; punt block after pick six #2; Speight checks Michigan into the perfect play and he misses an easy TD; a couple of completions where Hill was in good position but couldn't get his head around and react.

[After THE JUMP: a play from the 2012 Nebraska game.]

Preview 2017: Linebacker

Preview 2017: Linebacker

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2017 at 4:12 PM

Previously: Podcast 9.0A. Podcast 9.0B. Podcast 9.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End. Defensive Tackle.

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next gen [Patrick Barron]


Depth Chart
     VIPER! Yr. MIDDLE LB Yr. WEAKSIDE LB Yr.
Khaleke Hudson So. Mike McCray Sr.* Devin Bush So.
Noah Furbush Jr.* Mike Wroblewski Sr.* Josh Ross Fr.
Josh Uche So. Elysee Mbem-Bosse So. Drew Singleton Fr.

Michigan loses two of three starters from last year and has a couple of start-by-default replacements. Unlike the secondary, though, expectations are high for both newbies after veritable torrents of offseason hype. Michigan now has a linebacker corps that Doctor Blitz can do nefarious things with. Youth will lead to mistakes; Brown will solve his problems with aggression. As one does when one is Doctor Blitz.

VIPER: DOCTOR WHO JUST HIT ME WITH A TRUCK

Rating: 4.

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Hudson is wha ah ah ah ah down with the sickness [Barron]

Yeah, Jabrill Peppers is gone. I'm not sweating it. I'm wearing a KHALEKE HUDSON [recruiting profile] fez, waving a Khaleke Hudson flag, and writing a PhD dissertation about Khaleke Hudson's senior highlight reel. Anyone who's read this site for a hot second knows its staff comprises the biggest Hudson fan group outside of his immediate family, and if he takes off like Michigan hopes he will they're going to have to really up their game at Christmas.

So far, so good as Hudson tries to redeem our unseemly enthusiasm. All the overheated rhetoric from his recruiting profile is on track, whether it was from an opposing coach…

"He is the best combination of strength, speed and burst I've seen in a long time," said Ruane. "Every tackle, run and block is violent with him. He will be playing on Sundays someday. And I'm happy he's graduating."

…or your author:

A multiple-position star who is seemingly designed by man and God to punish people … I mean, he's not Peppers. But other than not being Peppers, he's basically Peppers.

The people saying these things are now his coaches and teammates, and that's one step closer to realizing his potential. Chris Partridge:

Khaleke Hudson and the skills that he brings to that position?

“Violence. Aggression. Hammerhead. He’s a guy that just loves contact. I think that people feed off that, too. He’s becoming very well rounded as a player so he’s going to be very enjoyable to watch.”

Don Brown:

“Well, I love him. He’s a very physical guy. His learning at that position has been outstanding and he’s competing at a high level. … Some guys’ arrow is flat, some guys’ arrow is down -- his arrow is constantly going up.”

Brown doesn't just rattle off praise for everyone—see the CB spot. If he's a Hudson believer that's meaningful.

Hudson got his first action on Michigan's punt block, where he was sufficiently explosive and physical to drive through shield blocking and return two to sender. But he was clearly behind Metellus, who was getting more garbage time snaps and got the call when Peppers was unavailable for the bowl game. That's likely because Metellus picked up the defense faster. Don Brown calls him a "savant"; meanwhile a couple of insider reports I got asserted that Hudson was a bit slow to grasp Brown's intricate defense.

Spring, and a definitive move to viper, has cleared Hudson for liftoff. He says he's got the defense down now:

"I feel like I know it really well now," Hudson said. "I still go back and forth with Josh. We both get reps at viper, but I feel like it's starting to be a good position for me."

Reports started reaching our ears about Hudson's tendency to pound people who ventured into his area and the "spectacular, freaky plays" he was making. Partridge again:

"He’s very physical, he’s low to the ground, he gets under people, he strikes people, he plays really hard, he’s very self-motivated."

He impressed in the spring game. Ace named him one of the standouts:

The hype here isn't going to slow one bit after today. Hudson was everywhere on defense, looking like the heavy-hitting player we expected against the run and proving equally formidable in coverage, where he broke up a couple passes and nearly came up with an interception. As is his wont, he came inches away from a blocked punt, too.

That heavy hitting was deployed against John O'Korn in the picture that leads this section. O'Korn broke the pocket and looked certain to punch the ball into the endzone until he met Hudson:

O'Korn is the first, but certainly not the last, victim.

Insider chatter this fall has been about as over the moon as this here site. He and Bush are "looking amazing" per 247, with "rave reviews" coming from teammates. McCray offered some of those publicly at Big Ten media day:

"I think he's going to be one of the best players in the nation this year, and in the future, because he can play linebacker, and he can play safety. If he wanted to, he could probably play corner. He's just a freak athlete, and he's really good."

Webb asserted that Hudson kept it up from his excellent spring and has "found his home" at viper(!), where his tendency to be a large hadron collider was a "revelation." Later he'd talk to JT Rogan, who concurred:

"Khaleke Hudson is a great downhill player. He is similar to Jabrill Peppers... man, is he strong and he's fast."

He's "a bull against the run game" and Rivals reports that Michigan tight ends are hugely productive... when Hudson is on the sideline. That about covers it.

Hudson's a perfect fit for the glamor spot in Michigan's defense and has all the arrows pointing the right way. He'll have his share of busts in year one as a starter; when not doing that he'll be turning in more TFLs, big hits, and PBUs. He won't be Peppers, but he's basically Peppers.

[After THE JUMP: fey Johnny Depp! Hhhhhhhyyyyaaaaarrr!]

This Week's Obsession: 2020 Will Thank You

This Week's Obsession: 2020 Will Thank You

Submitted by Seth on September 1st, 2016 at 12:00 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

The question:

Which freshmen do you NOT want to see burn their redshirts on Saturday?

The responses:

BiSB: The blindingly obvious answer is Brandon Peters, so I'm assuming we won't spend much time on him.

As far as players who might actually play, I'll go with Josh Uche. Sure, Michigan needs to develop linebacker depth in a big damn hurry. And sure, Uche is a crazy athlete and has serious upside as an outside linebacker or weakside end. But he's skinny. Really skinny.  He's listed at 6'3", 217 pounds. Remember how we all thought James Ross was too small as a freshman? He was 6'1", 225 pounds. But if Michigan wants some depth at SAM behind Peppers that brings some of the same pass rush and above-average athleticism, Uche might be it.  He might be a fun toy to bring unholy brimstone off the edge, but I think an apprenticeship/eat-all-the-sandwiches year would be more valuable.

[Ace is typing]

[Hit THE JUMP to see who wants to redshirt Rashan Gary.]

2016 Recruiting: Devin Gil

2016 Recruiting: Devin Gil

Submitted by Brian on May 12th, 2016 at 12:35 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CB Lavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr.

       
Hollywood, FL – 6'1", 225
       

635708405073979297-gil

Scout 3*, NR overall
#66 OLB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
NR
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#46 S, #105 FL
24/7 3*, #1326 overall
#90 S, #175 FL
Other Suitors Miami, USF, Louisville, CU
YMRMFSPA Denicos Allen
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Teammate of Metellus and Bush.

Film

Junior year:

Senior:

If you're the kind of obsessive who has a detailed impression of every recruit in Michigan's 28-man class, you probably think Devin Gil is transitioning from safety to linebacker once he arrives on campus. This was your obsessive author's impression, at least. It is also Don Brown's:

Devin played safety in high school but we project him to be an outside linebacker. Again, he's one of those guys with a unique set of skills and should also be a good pass rusher and blitzer. Settling him into one of those outside linebacker spots will be a big asset to us.

That impression turns out to be false. Gil has already made that transition. The senior highlight film above is one safety highlight to open and then all MLB. Gil was named to the Florida 8A All-State first team as a middle linebacker. By the time Gil took his official visit he was fully expecting to be a linebacker and had already reached 225. He is a linebacker, and he'll play linebacker. Linebacker.

Most recruiting services projected this was his destiny, but few checked back to see how they liked him after his senior year. Let's start with Scout, the lone service to rank him at his college position. Florida analyst Corey Bender:

fierce when attacking downhill and pursuing the football. …  active hands when taking on blocks. He's strong at the point of attack and even put a couple of blockers on their backside as well.

ESPN evaluates him as a safety but does mention his "linebacker mentality" and projects him as a box guy or OLB, so it's probably based off junior tape and not updated seriously since. Here are a few bits that seem relevant:

Physical defender who can disrupt and reroute. Does not show effective man coverage skills at this time. … will get after the ball carrier with a strong, physical presence. He can absorb blocks and shed in the box and looks very capable of being a box defender. He looks to intimidate his opponent with a little nasty in him. … Likes to hit, strong wrap up guy … good line of scrimmage player, can defend the flat and hook/curl zones and has the physical make-up to match-up with TEs/H-Backs.

Various Rivals evals are in a similar vein. This one is refreshingly blunt:

…had his share of both impressive moments and lapses on Saturday but the lateral quickness was on display. As was his ability to quickly change directions. Gil isn't going to win many track meets but the Miami commit has plenty of raw talent.

Other evaluations showcase the main reason to hope he defies recruiting expectations. He's a spread linebacker for spread times.

Gil showed a knack for covering smaller targets downfield. Gil recovers well for a linebacker and can change direction quickly for a prospect with solid size.

He was the LB MVP of the Rivals Miami camp, a 7-on-7 showcase that a lot of top talent attended, including teammate Devin Bush Jr. There he impressed

…added some bulk during the offseason but hasn't lost the quickness that allows him to run with most running backs and tight ends in space. During pass coverage drills he not only won reps, but came away with the ball on multiple occasions, including a one-handed highlight-reel interception.

…and then he was more or less forgotten about. It is possible he is LB/S diamond in the rough.

Gil is an OLB sort with good hands who can sift through trash and take on screens and the like. He's not that big and not that athletic and it's unclear whether he can cope with the upgraded competition level. I found this report from SBN's Miami blog to be uncommonly real:

One recruiting analyst  I talked to said flatly "Devin Gil CANNOT play at Miami". A different recruiting analyst said "this is exactly the kind of hybrid player who will help take your defense to the next level."

That's where I am too. I like the fact that Michigan is taking a high school LB/S as an OLB; he may be able to hack it as a hybrid space player. But I cock an eyebrow when a highlight reel four minutes in length includes filler like fumbles that bounce directly to the subject and pursuit on which he cleans up a play someone else made. Gil's senior film above has a lot of that. It doesn't exactly jump out at you.

Gil's recruitment doesn't defy that tape, either. It was a lot like Josh Uche's: it began with a very early commitment to Miami and ended with a decommit and subsequent trip to Ann Arbor. Uche, who we'll cover next, was pursued by some heavy hitters. Gil not so much. Maybe that's an artifact of his quick switch from Miami to M; these days it's hard not to interpret that as disinterest from the school of sharks hovering below any P5-ish recruit.

The main way Gil defies the rankings—he's the lowest-ranked guy in the class per the composite—is by adding a bunch of weight and keeping his athleticism, which appears to be "not quite P5 safety but plenty good as a linebacker." It seems like he's started this process already.

Etc.: Devins love bucket hats. Seems like a very cheery dude, in the vein of Denard.

Why Denicos Allen? It's difficult to dig up HSPs in Michigan history because Lloyd Carr was so slow to adapt to the spread. There are few analogues for LB/S types at M. MSU has a number of them, though, and Denicos Allen is a relatively good comp. Allen is undersized at 5'11", 220. He was unheralded coming out of Hamilton HS in Ohio, and took a couple years of apprenticeship once arriving in East Lansing.

Afterwards he ended up a blitzing murderbot as an MSU SAM. The NFL didn't think much of him, but he was still a terrific college player and TFL magnet. Gil will have to hit big time to be the equivalent; Allen is a pretty good approximation of who he might be if he rolls double sixes.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. They obviously weren't paying close attention, but high profile guy on high profile team with thoroughly meh recruiting rankings does mean something.

Variance: Moderate. LB transition already underway and is a lot closer to plausible size at 225, but still kind of a situation where he's moving to a new position in college.

Ceiling: Moderate. Atheticism questions are likely to prevent him from being big time.

General Excitement Level: Not great. Gil didn't have many offers other than a flailing Miami program and M; he did hit some camps; he isn't a sleeper or unknown. All players can defy their rankings. I'm not seeing a ton of reasons why Gil will defy his.

Projection: 50/50 on a redshirt. The LB corps isn't much different from the secondary: both project to lose a lot to graduation and the draft, so some guys are going to see the field in preparation for 2017. Gil is a special-teams-ready guy who could be a competitor at a couple LB slots in 2017 and thus could play. He could also sit because he's not ready yet.

In 2017 and beyond he's going to have to fight through a lot of competition. At ILB, former teammate Bush is probably ahead of him. At SAM/HSP he's got to deal with Hudson and Uche and maybe Furbush, etc. It'll be an uphill battle for playing time as an underclassman. Projecting further down the road is tough since we have no clarity on what kind of guys get ahead in a Don Brown world; I'd be a little surprised if he could push through the competition to start.

Thursday Recruitin' Surveys Antics

Thursday Recruitin' Surveys Antics

Submitted by Brian on January 21st, 2016 at 12:42 PM

Harbaugh antics of the week

After climbing a tree for CA CB David Long's little sister, Harbaugh "participated in" a De La Salle class on world religions. He was there as part of his in-home with CA DT Boss Tagaloa:

He proceeded to spend the night at AZ DE Connor Murphy's house, whereupon Murphy either displayed an ignorance of memes or—more likely—deliberately tried to set twitter's server farm on fire:

Twitter survived. Murphy reports that he played chess against Harbaugh when he was 12 and lost. No word on whether Harbaugh then took him to laser tag.

Business is boomin'

Tim Sullivan understands what this is about even if we don't

CA CB David Long commits during Recruiting Nation on ESPNU this evening. Show starts at 6 PM. Even Washington mods who will fight you if you suggest players are not going to Washington have resigned themselves to their fate. They are probably fighting themselves now.

Other recruitments with a likely positive outcome in the near future

1. NJ DT Michael Dwumfour told Sam Webb that the "main reason he didn't flip" is that his high school coach wants him to handle things "in a respectful way." That sounds like he's about to let PSU down easy this weekend. It's not you, Penn State. It's me. We have put in a ballz for Dwumfour to Michigan; Sam issued a gut feeling.

One note: Dwumfour is not qualified yet. He says he's "very close" but just "has to finish up a few things." He also gave Webb some enticing intel on Rashan Gary.

2. PA S and MGoBlog fave-rave Khaleke Hudson left his official visit to Michigan with the Wolverines as a clear leader; Tim Sullivan reports that Michigan goes in-home today in the hope of getting Hudson to pull the trigger. Even if Hudson follows through on planned trips to PSU and Pitt he seems likely to end up in a winged helmet by Signing Day. Webb reports "overwhelming confidence" from Ann Arbor.

Unfortunately 247 issued him a fourth star, thus disqualifying him from Sleeper of the Year consideration. /shakes fist at 247. An interview with Tim Sullivan reveals where he might play:

"They really want me, and they think they can use me in many ways. They say safety - like a nickel - and maybe running back.”

Hear hear.

3. It's status quo for MO TE Chase Allen; he has no visits scheduled and Michigan is a heavy leader. Sam issued a gut feeling on him as well.

4. FL WR Eddie McDoom decommitted from Oregon, who subsequently pulled his scholarship, and currently has a list of "Michigan and… uh". He told Scout that he's planning on pulling the trigger this weekend if he "loves it."

I would be surprised if any of these gentlemen did not end up in Ann Arbor.

Gary panic of the week is downright relaxing

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Our brief regional era of panic was kicked off by a couple of Ole Miss crystal ballz from guys who work for the Rebel 247 site. At the time I noted that they were speculative predictions from guys who had no record of ever talking to NJ DE Rashan Gary or his mother and that actions spoke louder than words, so like chill man.

Days later, lo, the ball has unflipped:

…the news that he is returning to Michigan this weekend on his own dime, factored in with his former high school coach on the Michigan staff, the numerous recruiting ties the Wolverines have with players at Gary's high school, and the reports that his mother did not see or was unable to see the Ole Miss coaches Monday when they were there, seems to be bright writing on the wall.

All of these things save the last were true when the ball flipped in the first place.

Gary's official on the 29th may or may not happen; I'm leaning towards "will" after this Scout article:

According to his mom, Jennifer Coney, his last official visit will be to either Alabama or Clemson, and he could visit one officially and the other unofficially. She said a decision on which school will get the official has not been made.

"The final visit will be between Alabama and Clemson," she said. "We may do both. ...We're not sure which one officially."

That notes Gary is going to be in Atlanta next weekend to pick up some award for being awesome, so he's going to be near those two schools anyway. Even if said visit occurs the kind of things that might push either of those two schools past Michigan have already been attempted by Ole Miss, and rejected.

Finally, USC did hire their DL coach. He's a former Trojan DE who spent the last couple years as an assistant strength coach. Not likely to move the needle.

[After THE JUMP: less good news on Jonathan Jones, a massive massive visit weekend, another class projection, and some 2017 news of note.]