The FBO crew continued their stellar luck a couple of weeks ago when traveling to East Kentwood to scout Logan Brown and Mazi Smith, two 2019 prospects with Michigan offers. The first thing I saw when I got to the press box was Brown on the sidelines, in street clothes, with two bulky braces on his knees. Smith did play, however, and was excellent, even after he rolled an ankle and hobbled his way through the rest of the game.
This is the last FBO of 2017, which is good for the health and safety of high school student-athletes and Michigan targets around the Midwest. To review: David tried to scout Ekiyor in August but he was injured; I scouted Aidan Hutchinson in a game where he took a nasty shot extending for a catch and was slowed the rest of the game; we did scout Ekiyor in Indianapolis in September, then he decommitted last week; Ace and David went to scout McGrone a couple weeks ago but he was injured; I thought I was scouting two Michigan targets on East Kentwood but one was out with injury and the other was injured in the game.
Mazi Smith Every-Snap Film (Defense)
Smith is lined up at 3-tech.
[After THE JUMP: scouting and film of Smith at guard]
I’ve been sitting on the film for this post for a while as I worked to finish off some other projects, mostly because I knew putting the film together for this post was going to take forever. Aidan Hutchinson doesn’t just play one way. He doesn’t play two ways. He plays three ways. As if that wasn’t enough, he doesn’t play one position in each phase of the game. By my count, Hutchinson lined up in seven different spots against East Lansing: NT (on a three-man line!), 3T, 5T, WR, TE, H-back, and long snapper. Yeah, he’s even their long snapper, and he’s good at that, too. Like his father, though, Hutchinson shines on defense.
Last weekend David and I hopped in the creeper van CheFBOlet and took advantage of Michigan playing in Indiana. We made our way to Indianapolis to check out Cathedral’s Emil Ekiyor, the highest-rated prospect in Michgan’s 2018 class (per the 247 composite). David thought he’d be getting Ekiyor film during this year’s Prep Kickoff Classic in Detroit, but an injured left ankle kept Ekiyor on the sidelines for the first game of the year. He’s now back in the lineup, but having been only a month since the game in Detroit the ankle is unsurprisingly still heavily taped.
David Nasternak, our well-traveled videographer, made the drive to Detroit to take in what we thought was going to be a conveniently-located opportunity to see Cathedral guard and Michigan commit Emil Ekiyor. David didn’t get what he came for, though, as Ekiyor ended up sitting this game out due to injury. All’s not lost: we’re going to scout Ekiyor this weekend. David was able to come back with film of 2019 safety Marvin Grant, who received a Michigan offer back in March, from the Prep Kickoff Classic, and said film was certainly worth the trip.
Marvin Grant Every-Snap Film
Grant is #4 in black. He’s usually lined up deep over the slot.
David and I headed to Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s gleaming new facility to see Jalen Mayfield’s Catholic Central squad play a rematch of last season’s D4 title game. Mayfield stood out among his peers physically; see the above photo for evidence. He’s every bit of the 6’5” the recruiting services have him listed at. His build is similar to Traverse City West’s Ryan Hayes; unlike Hayes, he’s exclusively a right tackle. That’s not to say that Mayfield isn’t athletic. The every-snap film is below so you can check it out for yourself.
Jalen Mayfield Every-Snap Film
Mayfield is #74 and lined up exclusively at right tackle.
give me a Bradenesque picture and I’ll run it every time [Nasternak]
Michigan tight end/offensive tackle commit Ryan Hayes is the focus of the first FBO of the 2017 season. David Nasternak, our intrepid videographer, made the trip to Midland to take in Hayes’ TC West squad. Hayes, a senior, fits new OT/TE coach Greg Frey’s preferred characteristics in a tweener recruit: athletic enough to get into routes and high-point a ball but with an ornery disposition that lends itself to burying guys. TC West runs a Wing T and utilizes Hayes primarily as an in-line TE, though they occasionally split him out and play the mismatch on the outside.
Ryan Hayes Every-Snap Film
Hayes is #80 in white and lines up on the right side of the line in the film below.
Livers has a smooth, consistent release. [Bryan Fuller]
My trip last Thursday to Kalamazoo didn't quite go as planned. 2017 hoops commit Isaiah Livers and Kalamazoo Central lost an overtime thriller to 2017 MSU commit Xavier Tillman and undefeated Grand Rapids Christian. I spent the game filming from the stands and planned to deliver a detailed scouting report once I had a chance to go back over the video; the bulk of the video got corrupted.
So this is going to be a little shorter and lighter on detail than I hoped. Maize & Go Blue's Sam Sedlecky, who was also in attendance, helpfully jotted down stats while I was too busy working the camera to take notes. Livers tallied 10 points (2/7 2P, 2/4 3P), 5 rebounds (with one impressive offensive board), 2 blocks, 3 steals, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, and 4 fouls.
Livers got off to a hot start, scoring seven points in the first quarter. He picked up his second and third fouls in quick succession in the second quarter, however, and never fully regained his rhythm in the second half.
It was still easy to see what John Beilein likes in Livers. He played within the confines of Central's offense; his one assist doesn't fairly represent his court vision and willingness to share the rock—if anything, he was too deferential at times. He displayed a fundamentally sound, consistent shooting form; his release is a touch long, but his size and elevation on his jumper helps cover for that, and he can shoot both spotting up or off the bounce.
Livers didn't get much going towards the basket in this game, likely due to his foul trouble and the interior presence of Tillman, who had five or six blocks and altered several other shots. While he's a good ballhandler for a 6'8" forward, he couldn't consistently get past opposing defenders off the dribble—he had the ball swiped away a couple times, including on a critical turnover in the late stages. He looks like he'll be a three-and-D player initially while he refines his offensive skill set.
His defense looked like a strength, especially in transition and on weakside help—those two situations are how he accrued his two blocks, one of which was an impressive chasedown on a fast break. He's got active hands, which had good and bad results in this game; he can be very disruptive but has to be better at picking his spots, especially once he has a foul or two. He showed the ability to stick with smaller players on the perimeter, which will be important—his best shot at contributing as a freshman is to show he can guard threes and stretch fours.
I'd like to see more of Livers before coming to a conclusion about his chances of cracking the rotation next year. Based on what I've seen of him so far, I like his chances of doing so. He looks like a natural spot-up shooter and he possesses the athleticism to develop into an excellent player on both ends. While he's not quite as big, he's got a similar skill set to DJ Wilson. Like Wilson, he's going to need to gain the strength to hold up inside and resist the temptation to float around the perimeter. Unlike Wilson, I think he can be a year-one contributor as a backup 3/4 so long as he shows some comfort in the offense.
If you read last week’s roundtable and you’re anything like me, you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about different line combinations and wondering who might be able to slide where and which guys are most ready to see the field right now. That’s where Youtube comes in.
Cesar Ruiz is purported to be one of the more college-ready linemen in the 2017 class, which is something of an OL luxury for Michigan if that does end up panning out. Ruiz earning the starting nod at center would allow them to move Mason Cole out to tackle if need be; yes, that’s putting the cart before the horse, but you wouldn’t be reading this site if you weren’t a cart-before-horse-putter now and then. Thankfully, Ruiz went to IMG Academy. IMG has a number of games on the youtubes, and a week without hockey to GBGA presents a perfect opportunity to take an every-snap look at the nation’s composite best overall center.
I couldn’t find a full game where Ruiz was lined up across from a DI nose tackle, but the Cetennial game cut-up below does feature a two-star 3-4 DE in BYU commit Seleti Fevaleaki. On top of that, the game itself was incredible. It was a true shootout, with the teams practically trading touchdowns and extra points until there were just 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter. IMG converted on 3rd-and-16 with a 38-yard heave into the end zone; they then decided to go for the two-point conversion (and likely win). They converted, Centennial’s Hail Marys fell short, and IMG held on in a fashion befitting the teams that would end the season ranked third (IMG) and eighth (Centennial) nationally in USA Today’s HS poll.
It felt inevitable that Cass and King would meet in the PSL Championship Game considering the perennial talent on the two squads; after all, they met in the PSL final just last year with King edging Cass, 27-25.
This year, Cass wasted no time getting on the board. Just minutes into the game Donovan Peoples-Jones hauled in a deep ball and outran Ambry Thomas to the end zone. From there, Cass built a 28-0 lead. King eventually found its offense thanks to Thomas, who looked excellent at receiver and finished the game with three touchdown catches. Thomas found himself matched up frequently against Jaylen Kelly-Powell; the two are cousins, and both have Michigan offers. King fought back in the second half, but Cass countered them each time and walked away with a 41-20 victory.
There was plenty to watch in this one what with all the Michigan offers on the field, and especially since they played head-to-head often. Cass beat King earlier in the season on a rain-soaked field; this matchup looked different, as playing in a dome let the players showcase just how talented they are.
[After THE JUMP: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Ambry Thomas scouting reports and film]
Our intrepid scout/MGoUtilityMan David Nasternak made the trek to what might as well have been South Bend to take in Michigan commit Phil Paea’s serial tiny-right-tackle crunching. Paea’s an interesting prospect because he’s incredibly raw, yet somehow he passes the “could this guy play in college” eye test; he moves well and gives sideline-to-sideline effort, and when he stays low he moves the opposition. His Berrien Springs squad had to go to overtime to beat Buchanan, so we were able to get a fair amount of Paea film, which you can use to answer the burning question: 3-tech, SDE, or both?
[After THE JUMP: Phil Paea film and scouting report]