David made the long trek to the suburbs of Cincinnati to scout Archbishop Moeller, a football powerhouse that has helped fill out the rosters of both of Michigan’s primary rivals over the past decade or so. A new offshoot of the pipeline extends to Ann Arbor thanks to 2019 OL Zach Carpenter, who let the world know he would be attending Michigan in supremely understated fashion in May with a picture of Michigan Stadium attached to a one-word tweet: “Committed.”
Thankfully for Michigan, he is much larger than his character usage, checking in at 6’4” and around 300 pounds. Carpenter is a no-doubt interior offensive lineman in every way, from the shape of his body to the shape of his game. That was on full display in the contest David chose to scout, which featured Carpenter frequently lined up across from Trinity weakside defensive end Stephen Herron Jr., who flipped his commitment from Michigan to Stanford this summer. The matchup proved as interesting as expected through three quarters, at which time the game was delayed and eventually cancelled due to lightning and the universe’s general cruel and unfeeling nature. But hey, we got some good film!
David and I traveled over a river and through actual woods to idyllic Paw Paw, which has a football stadium on the banks of a river, a cool one-screen downtown movie theater on a main street ripped out of Disney World, a great pizza place that’s been owned by the same family for generations, and a standout offensive lineman in class of 2019 prospect and Michigan commit Karsen Barnhart. He even led his team onto the field carrying the school flag, with a teammate tucking an American flag just inside the edge of the frame above. Norman Rockwell, eat your heart out.
Barnhart and Paw Paw faced an overmatched Sturgis squad, and though the quality of competition wasn’t the most difficult Barnhart would encounter this season, he still showed why the scouting services view him as a four-star prospect. Barnhart plays tight end on the right side almost exclusively, except for the few snaps where he was split out wide. Like, to-the-sideline wide. Yeah, he’s pretty athletic. He also checked all the boxes you’d want from a future collegiate offensive lineman. He manhandled the opposition on the field and then water bottles on the sideline, dousing himself with water and flinging them away while he stalked the bench. Barnhart stayed actively involved on the field and on the sidelines despite Paw Paw going up multiple scores in a hurry and he played the part of team linchpin well, talking to everyone on the sidelines and trying to get them involved. So what exact boxes did he check? Hit the jump for deeper analysis.
Intrepid MGoVideographer David Nasternak braved the congestion of US-23 on a Thursday night to make the trip north to Brighton for the Bulldogs’ game against Belleville. What at first was on the schedule because it fit with the rest of the players David was going to see took on some intrigue as Brighton quarterback Will Jontz had a breakout performance that put him on the radar of a number of teams around the Big Ten, in turn giving us an intriguing litmus test for Belleville’s two Michigan commits.
Those commits: 2019 DT Tyrece Woods and 2020 CB Andre Seldon. Both impressed the Michigan staff enough at camps this summer to leave with scholarship offers. Woods, whose second-highest crystal ball percentage was Cincinnati at 17%, took two months to commit and had a handful of other offers from MAC schools and Fresno State. Betting against Don Brown and Greg Mattison seems like a surefire way to seal your fate, but there offer list indicates he might be raw. Seldon picked up a number of MAC offers this spring and had taken unofficial visits to Florida State, Penn State, and Michigan State, but he decided to jump on Michigan’s offer, committing just days after he camped in Ann Arbor. Both prospects clearly showed that they have traits the staff feels will fit their system well, but both also come with questions. Does Woods’ on-field performance seem to fall in line with the buzz around his camp drill performance? Is he more of a strongside end or a 3-technique? Is Seldon, at 5’8” or 5’9”, too small for the Big Ten? Is he even done growing? Let’s turn to the tape for answers (err, except to that last question, which I think we would need x-rays to figure out).
Tyrece Woods and Andre Seldon Every-Snap Film
[After THE JUMP: film, analysis, and long-term options]
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.