Preview 2015: Wide Receiver

Preview 2015: Wide Receiver

Submitted by Brian on August 28th, 2015 at 11:11 AM

Previously: Podcast 7.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back.

[NOTE! This section uses the UFR catch chart. Passes are rated on a three point scale for catchability. 3: routine. 2: moderate. 1: difficult. There's also a zero for times when the player was thrown to without any chance of a reception.]

Depth Chart

WR Yr. WR Yr. SLOT Yr. Flex Yr.
Amara Darboh Jr.* Jehu Chesson Jr.* Grant Perry Fr. Jake Butt Jr.
Moe Ways Fr.* Drake Harris Fr.* Brian Cole Fr. Ian Bunting Fr.*
Jaron Dukes So.* Da'Mario Jones Jr. Jabrill Peppers Fr.* Khalid Hill So.*

[NOTE: though flex tight ends are listed above since they will fill some of the WR snaps they are addressed in the TE & Friends post, not here.] 

Last year's WR corps was a bit like the famous Braylon/Avant/Breaston trio if those guys had been coached by a potato and inserted into a disaster of an offense and gradually lost their will to live and halfway through the season they accidentally left Breaston in Piscataway and Breaston had to fend off a pair of cartoonishly dumb burglars with a series of elaborate traps.

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artist's impression via Seth

This year's WR corps is down the Braylon and Breaston equivalent-type-substances, leaving only a substantially more unproven version of Avant, Jehu Chesson, and a bunch of guys who have seen maybe six snaps between them.

But Drake Harris maybe? Shh. You'll spook the hamstring. Let's be nice to the hamstring. Good hamstring. Does hamstring want a treat? Yes it does. Nice hamstring.

OUTSIDE RECEIVER

Rating: 2.

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[Patrick Barron]

As soon as Devin Funchess declared for the NFL draft, AMARA DARBOH became this year's presumptive #1 wide receiver. Normally that would be met with mild optimism since Darboh is a touted recruit entering his redshirt junior year with decent production. Also he did this:

But in the crater left after last year's offense got done with our brains it's hard to be positive about anything in the micro. (The macro, of course: HARBAUGH.)

In the tortured analogy above, Darboh is our substantially more unproven Avant. Avant was of course a quality possession receiver and slant merchant who is not much of a threat to take the top off a defense. When Darboh had a catchable ball come his way, he looked fairly similar:

He is not likely to be as good as Avant because Avant is 100 out of 100 in certain skills. Darboh might be very good and still a standard deviation below that level of performance.

[After THE JUMP: DON'T ALARM THE HAMSTRING]

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Visit Tweet Dump

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Visit Tweet Dump

Submitted by Brian on August 19th, 2015 at 2:45 PM

latest[1]

this does not seem functional for several reasons I will now elucidate

For a while there it looked like Harbaugh had taken the Big Ten Network guys' phones and given them the Tom Brady treatment, but Dave Revsine must have a backup, because he's providing a rare glimpse inside Blue October.

In past years this has been something more than a post-length manual retweet of one guy; Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith also gave their thoughts. So far this is the only thing we've gotten from them:

Hopefully they'll poke their heads out at some point. Tom Dienhart skipped twitter for a couple of articles on the BTN website. One is for real. One is described as "fun notes":

[Graham] Glasgow also told me he is living with his grandmother for the semester. A good way to focus.

That is one way to make sure you don't trip up on your probation.

Following blockquotes are from Revsine's twitter feed unless otherwise noted. BTN will broadcast their react from Michigan practice at 6 PM.

GENERAL

Tom Dienhart had some general thoughts on twitter:

A very business-like practice at Michigan today. No music blared. A classroom environment with lots of teaching. Nobody walked or lingered.

Dressed in his uniform of a blue “M” cap, long-sleeve shirt and—what else?—khakis, Harbaugh spent most of time with QBs. Always instructing.

Staffers describe the Michigan camp as a “submarine.” It is all business with no distractions.

Glad to hear they got rid of the lingering. Hate lingering. Almost as bad as loitering. By the way, if you want to find lingerers and loiterers just check the replies to any Dienhart tweet.

Some non-position-specific stuff from Revsine:

Harbaugh is incredibly involved in the passing game at practice - gives a lot of feedback - very hands-on with that group

It's obvious they're really, really well coached. Practice was all business, drills were efficient, feedback was great

Update: Dinardo has a few general thoughts as well.

Much like in the past few years team has more talent than most B1G teams they play except for the 2 best.

As always starts w O/D lines no lack of talent in either area They've recruited well in both areas & r good enough

I would not be surprised if both QB played in opener against Utah. Game play sometimes is best way to decide

Defense very solid good depth & has good young players that will have time 2 develop. Off needs more dynamic skill

QUARTERBACK

QB - Morris consistently took 1st snap in drills - but no idea if that means anything - it does at some places, it doesn't at others

QB - if I had to guess, I'd say both Morris and Rudock would play against Utah - not sure there's clear separation

It's tough to say - both had their moments. Morris has a great arm. Rudock doesn't make many mistakes. Tough call

Asked about Morris:

His arm - he can really spin it. Issue will obviously be TO's - have to be dramatically better there as a team

Dienhart was more decisive about the QB battle:

1. Jake Rudock figures to win the quarterback spot. The Iowa senior transfer is the one signal-caller who gives Michigan the best chance to win out of the gate. … Rudock threw the ball well today and worked with the top units along with junior lefty Shane Morris. Rudock is a savvy vet with lots of starting experience.

FWIW. I'm betting that the quarterback battle will legitimately go until the day before the Utah game and that Rudock wins it decisively.

Zach Gentry looked "tall"; a fan asking about him was advised that this was a two-man race.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Other obvious trouble spot LY was OL. I think that group will be vastly improved.They have always had talent there - evident again 2day

No real surprises on OL - looked like Cole, Braden, Glasgow, Kalis, Magnuson. Drevno singled Blake Bars out as having had good camp

Even if we're nervous about Braden at guard, I'd be more nervous about guys flipping everywhere like we've seen the last few years.

They are really well coached on the OL - constant constructive feedback. Would be shocked if they're not better

Easy call to make with 5-ish returning starters and Tim Drevno running the show.

Dienhart noted the second team line:

The second unit had junior Logan Tuley-Tillman at left tackle; junior David Dawson at left guard; junior Patrick Kugler at center; sophomore Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right guard; senior Blake Bars at right tackle.

That's as expected until you get to JBB at guard and Bars at tackle.

RUNNING BACK

On the starter:

Hard to tell - I did notice Smith a few times. Guess would be by committee at 1st & see if someone emerges

RB - lots of good well-known options here - again, I think difference in OL will help immensely.

On Isaac:

Big - man he has great size for a RB. Because of the structure of practice, I didn't come away w great feel for RBs

Dienhart gave Smith the slight edge; Ross Taylor-Douglass is apparently a tailback this week.

WIDE RECEIVER & TIGHT END

Revsine literally shouted out everyone on the roster who was practicing at TE.

TE could be a real area of strength - obviously we know about Jake Butt, but Poggi, Winovich, Williams (nice TD grab) all look solid

Did I mention Hill and Bunting? They're good too. Lot of interesting options there.

Wheatley is probably on the shelf for a bit, so that's everybody. Apparently Hill is back at it?

I still think big-play explosiveness will be an issue for this team - no one totally jumps out on that front

Yeah. That contradicts this…

WR looks to be about what it was a year ago - issue will be whether a deep threat can emerge. Better OL play could obviously help there

…because last year they had one Devin Funchess, for all the good that did them. Remember when they just punted it to Funchess like six times a game because their offense was real bad and that was a good idea? I don't either.

The Grant Perry hype train continues unabated:

I'd be surprised if Grant Perry doesn't contribute some at WR. Tough to tell on Brian Cole - kind of up and down

Dienhart:

Some nice options at wideout, with senior Jehu Chesson and senior Amara Darboh. Freshman Brian Cole was running with the second unit. I like the kid. Sophomore Maurice Ways also saw lots of action. Grant Perry was another freshman who was active.

Drake Harris was a "young guy who could help"; Peppers did not get snaps on offense, but as Revsine points out that's a thing they would likely keep under wraps when BTN visits.

DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS

Relatively little here. On the DL:

Good group - rotated a lot of guys through. I think they'll once again have a very solid defense

On the secondary:

A lot of known commodities, obviously, on defense. Looks like Lyons will definitely help in secondary.

Dienhart:

DE Taco Charlton was leading post-practice sprint drills among linemen. He is an impressive specimen.

Dienhart also provided looks at the two deep at linebacker…

The linebackers look good. One unit had senior James Ross; senior Desmond Morgan; senior Joe Bolden. Another had junior Ben Gedeon; sophomore Jared Wangler; senior Allen Gant.

…and DL:

One front lined up thusly today: Wormley at end; senior Ryan Glasgow at tackle; senior Willie Henry at tackle; Ojemudia at end. The other unit combo was Charlton at end; senior Tom Strobel; junior Maurice Hurst; senior Royce Jenkins-Stone, listed as a LB on the roster.

So Charlton is an SDE, which makes sense since all the other candidates to back up Wormley got moved to TE. Strobel lining up at nose(?!) would be a very, very strange thing. Would expect Godin to be the #4 DT without Mone. No mention of Marshall is odd.

Meanwhile, the secondary:

Stanford grad transfer Wayne Lyons could be a proverbial “cut-above.” The top unit today was Lewis and Clark on the edges with Peppers and Wilson at safety. The other unit had junior Channing Stribling and freshman Tyree Kinnel on the corners with junior Dymonte Thomas and Lyons at safety.

No Delano Hill or Watson mentioned; Clark pushing for the boundary spot will give me the heebie-jeebies until it doesn't.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Potential punt returners and some Peppers hype:

PR looks like it'll be Peppers and Chesson. Peppers looked great overall today and DJ Durkin said he's had an outstanding camp

An ominous note at kicker:

PK remains up in the air - still doesn't look like an area of strength. Aussie P Blake O'Neill got off some boomers – impressive

This from Dienhart on the three PK options:

Three kickers took turns at the uprights: freshman Andrew David; sophomore Kyle Seychel; senior Kenneth Allen.

2015 Recruiting: Grant Perry

2015 Recruiting: Grant Perry

Submitted by Brian on August 11th, 2015 at 2:09 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles, S Tyree Kinnel, CB Keith Washington, DE Shelton Johnson, DE Reuben Jones, OL Nolan Ulizio, OL Grant Newsome, OL Jon Runyan Jr., TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., WR Brian Cole.

       
Bloomfield, MI – 5'11", 185
       

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Scout 3*, NR overall
#59 WR
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#80 WR, #12 MI
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#128 WR, #9 MI
24/7 3*, NR overall
#132 WR, #13 MI
Other Suitors Northwestern
YMRMFSPA Drew Dileo
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Ace in-person scout.
Notes Twitter. HS teammate of Alex Malzone.

Film

Junior season.

As a prospect, Grant Perry is the exact opposite of the two guys we just covered. Tyrone Wheatley and Brian Cole are physical marvels with little production; Grant Perry is an average-sized guy with a ten-minute highlight reel as a high school wide receiver—a ten minute highlight reel that isn't padded out with blocking or replays. There are only two screens!

As Michigan-bound Alex Malzone's favorite target, Perry was targeted about every seven seconds at Brother Rice. He made the most of those opportunities with 105(!!!) catches for 1727 yards. That is a state of Michigan all-time, any-class record for catches and a four-year career for a lot of high school wideouts. His prolific senior season landed him on a Scout All-American list mostly populated with OMG shirtless types. Experience: he has it.

Ace saw it in person, well before Michigan offered:

Perry had an outstanding game, hauling in seven of his nine targets; one of those incompletions was uncatchable, while the second would've required a difficult one-handed catch. He and Malzone are clearly very comfortable playing with each other—they connected on several timing routes and when Malzone was in trouble, Perry was often the receiver working his way back to the ball to bail him out.

Perry runs precise routes and plucks the ball out of the air; he showed off soft hands. While he's not a gamebreaking athlete, he gets separation on defensive backs with sharp cuts and does a nice job getting upfield after the catch; he doesn't look like a major threat to juke a safety, but he finds a way to get solid yardage after the catch.

Allen Trieu after his Northwestern commitment:

…a technician who runs great routes and has sure hands. I've often said, I think you could put him on just about any team in America and he will find a way to contribute because he knows how to get open, catches everything and is a competitive kid. He catches the ball naturally away from his hands, is crisp in his routes and quick out of his breaks.

A college coach at Sound Mind, Sound Body, as related by Steve Lorenz:

After Perry dominated the 1v1 session at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp last year, one college assistant said he was the "most technically sound" receiver he had seen at the high school level. A high school coach from a top program says Michigan should have been on him from the beginning.

"Perry is the type of player Michigan needs more of," he said. "He would run through a wall to put on the winged helmet."

247's Clint Brewster:

…He’s an absolute technician with his routes, getting in and out of breaks with smooth and sharp cuts and cat-like quickness. He’s got the balance, body control, and agility to change directions and turn his body. …He’s got great field sense and awareness to get to his landmarks in the passing game and finds a way for his quarterback to see him. … start and stop ability make his extremely tough to cover, and he’s got a good hesitation move on longer routes. … Perry can change gears and accelerate to top speed in flash.

You get the idea. Grant Perry has had the sandpaper and finish applied already. There will be an adjustment period, as there always is, but that's mostly about learning the playbook and acquiring whatever slight refinements his WR coach would like him to absorb. The amount of projection here, especially compared to a guy like Cole, is minimal. This is why Scout named him one of the ten most likely recruits to have an "instant impact" back when he was a Northwestern recruit.

That's the good news. The bad news is that until Northwestern came forth with an offer late in his senior year, no Power 5 school saw fit to give him an opportunity to play for them. That's remarkable. Perry had zero off-field red flags, was very, very productive, and was a standout at the massive SMSB camp:

There were a plethora of big names on offense at the Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy on Thursday, when talking running backs, receivers and offensive line, however it was an unheralded in-state receiver that put on a show at Chandler Park Academy.

Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice 2015 receiver Grant Perry gets the game ball from 247Sports for his phenomenal showing in 1-on-1s. …

Perry gets separation, he’s strong for a slender senior-to-be, he fights jams and has natural hands. Had a couple major highlight reel catches, but he was open most of the time.

Schools like Northwestern and Indiana and Purdue and, hell, Iowa should have been in this guy's grill long before the Wildcats stepped to the plate.

A lot of recruiting analysts found this inexplicable

247Sports recruiting insider Steve Wiltfong said "Northwestern made one of the smartest moves in the country" by offering Perry when it did.

Northwestern offered Grant Perry, an outstanding player with great hands, route-running skills and all around football ability. This is his first Big Ten offer, as some questioned his size and speed, but he answered those questions and then-some this season.

…but it remains a thing that is true.

The only conclusions is that Perry did not wow coaches with his physical package—he has literally everything else. ESPN addressed those weaknesses more thoroughly than most others:

Is quicker than fast, but also very shifty. … A very nuanced route runner that is quick in and out of break…. Hand-eye coordination and body control as a pass catcher are very good. Makes the over-the-shoulder grab and difficult catch look easy and he is a natural plucker. … could struggle to excel as a vertical threat and after the catch at the power five conference level.

And even that sounds like an excellent evaluation until the end when they say he is a "tweener Power 5/Group of 5 prospect." I feel that this set of evaluations is somewhat lacking in Real Talk.

We are forced to read between the lines, then: coaches, and to some extent recruiting analysts, don't think Perry is going to be able to get away from defenders at the next level. The lack of high level offers says that pretty emphatically.

Unless it doesn't. Tim Sullivan caught Perry a few times as a senior and consistently reported a significant uptick in his big play ability:

What Perry continues to show this season is an explosive burst after the catch, allowing him to get downfield in a hurry and pick up yardage. For a 6-0, 185-pounder, that quickness and ability to gain yards with the ball in his hands will be important. … His punt return touchdown showed off his awareness of the blocking developing around him, as well as the speed up the sideline, to make big plays happen.

That is an outlying report in a sea of "not the biggest or the fastest but just MAKES PLAYS" and should be taken as such, but it is possible a lot of people made up their minds about him too early.

In any case, for the role Michigan needs him for I'm not sure how much the size and speed matter. In Ann Arbor, Perry is destined for the slot:

"They said they see me at the Z position. Z is more of a slot, I think what Dennis Norfleet is playing. They said they don't have many Z guys and need more to fill that."

As mentioned in the Brian Cole piece, that creates some overlap between the two receivers in this class. That's an overlap that will likely be resolved by Cole moving outside in a year or two; Perry is going to be a long-term resident.

As people watching MSU against actual offenses discovered last year, it is quite nice to have slot receivers that can blaze down the middle past your safeties. Perry apparently does not bring that. But as a guy who gets matched up against a linebacker or a nickelback (non-Peppers version) or goes hunting for holes in a zone, his athleticism will be good enough as long as those routes are as on point as they suggest. Drew Dileo was ample evidence of that. Here is the canonical Drew Dileo video.

Anyone who can wrong-foot a defender's got a chance, and it sounds and looks like Perry is a guy who can do that. His coach:

“Grant always could catch well, but I think his route running and ability to find the open areas are what separate him from most good receivers,” Sofran said. “He seems able, as he’s watched film and developed, to understand the game (thoroughly).”

Here's to moaning "throw it to PERRY" after a failed third and medium conversion. Unless there aren't any third and mediums because HARBAUGH.

Etc.: Will wear #9. Longtime fan:

"I grew up watching Michigan play," Perry said. "I remember being on the field, watching Chad Henne's TD pass to Mario Manningham on the final play to beat Penn State (27-25, Oct. 15, 2005). Now, I'm going to be playing at Michigan. I'm thrilled all the hard work has paid off and my dream has come true."

Why Drew Dileo? The sticky-fingered Louisiana gnome was the perfect slot receiver on third and six and in the redzone, capable of shaking most defensive backs with his craft and utterly reliable once the ball arrived. Dileo was also a generic three star recruit and his playing time and stats didn't defy that much—his efficiency, however, did. That is why I spent multiple years complaining about his underutilization.

Perry is a couple inches taller than Dileo; otherwise this looks like a pretty tight fit, even down to the fact that I might complain he is underutilized what with all the tight ends.

Guru Reliability: High. They may have seen him catch a ball or two.

Variance: Low. Very polished already, doesn't appear to have huge upside.

Ceiling: Moderate. Not likely to be on NFL draft boards. Could develop into a highly reliable #2 WR.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Doubt he will ever be a star but seems like a very good bet to be a guy who helps you out for multiple years. He is this year's Sleeper of The Year.

Projection: Likely to play as a freshman given the state of the WR corps and his advanced skillset. Some overlap with Cole in terms of (short term) position, but they fill different kinds of roles from the slot, and Michigan distinctly lacks a chain-mover there right now.

Cole will probably move outside after this year, leaving Perry the leading contender for the bulk of the slot snaps—however many of those there are. Those are likely to be concentrated on third and five or more, leaving Perry a not-quite-starter for the bulk of his career.

CROOTAGEDDON: Signing Day Primer

CROOTAGEDDON: Signing Day Primer

Submitted by Ace on February 3rd, 2015 at 6:05 PM


Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (far right) on his recent visit.

This post will be updated as new info comes in.

6 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Shelton Johnson to the board.

7 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Keith Washington to the board.

10 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Karan Higdon to the board.

National Signing Day is tomorrow and the action gets started early for Michigan, as tight end target Chris Clark is slated to announce at 8:30 am ET. Here's eveything you need to know heading into the biggest day on the recruiting calendar.

The Current Class

Michigan currently sits at nine commits, headlined by in-state ATH Brian Cole—who's expected to end up at receiver, though he could also play safety—and New Mexico QB Zach Gentry, a recent flip from Texas. The list should hit ten by tomorrow; as you probably gathered yesterday, three-star Brother Rice WR Grant Perry, who was offered this week and decommitted from Northwestern last night, is expected to commit... well, any moment now.

The Board

The current list of propsects with offers and legitimate Michigan interest is down to eight prospects, including Perry. Here's the rest of the board, with their announcement time (if they've scheduled one) and my best guess at M's chances:

FL CB Jarius Adams (Rutgers commit) — 3-star, #125 CB, #1388 Overall (247 Composite)

Adams is a Rutgers commit who took an official to Michigan last weekend, and he's down to those two schools. He's actually expected to announce his destination sometime today, and it appears he'll stick with his current commitment.

CT TE Chris Clark — 4-star, #2 TE, #85 Overall

The one-time Michigan commit (and, previously, UNC commit) will choose between Michigan and UCLA at 8:30 am on ESPNU/WatchESPN. While Clark has been arguably the new staff's top target, insiders from both sides believe he's leaning towards UCLA. Of course, Clark's recruitment has been tough to predict all along, so we'll just have to wait and see.

TN WR Van Jefferson (Ole Miss commit) — 4-star, #11 WR, #108 Overall

Jefferson's recruitment is hard to pin down, as well. He committed to Ole Miss on January 25th, got a Michigan offer three days later, and took an official visit to Ann Arbor last weekend. Rumors swirled of a possible flip when he left campus, but a recent report from 247's Barton Simmons indicates he's expected to stick with the Rebels, albeit while leaving open the possibility that he'll change his mind.

CA CB Iman Marshall — 5-star, #1 CB, #4 Overall

The pipe dream. Marshall has long been expected to end up at USC and that hasn't changed despite a solid official visit to Michigan a couple weeks ago. Florida State is also a factor; after visiting FSU, M, and LSU, Marshall cancelled a planned official to Oregon. He's announcing his decision on ESPNU/WatchESPN at 4 pm ET.

GA LB Roquan Smith — 4-star, #5 OLB, #47 Overall

While there was a fair amount of optimism after Smith's official visit in January, spurred by his strong bond with DJ Durkin, that's all but vanished in recent days. Steve Lorenz reports that Smith is expected to choose between in-state Georgia and (of course) UCLA, with the Bruins the surprise favorite to land him ($). He'll announce at 11 am ET on ESPNU/WatchESPN.

MI RB Mike Weber (Ohio State commit) — 4-star, #9 RB, #78 Overall

The Cass Tech star has totally shut down communication with the media in recent weeks, and it doesn't seem like insiders on either side have a clear idea of what he's going to do. Since Weber sat down with Jim Harbaugh last week there's been increasing optimism from Michigan's end, however, and in the last day or so that's leaked over to the Ohio State side of things. We'll see.

NY ATH Tyrone Wheatley Jr. — 4-star, #12 TE, #312 Overall

Wheatley is another prospect who's gone quiet with the press, but an out-of-the-blue trip to Ann Arbor last week provided a great deal of hope that he'll join his father at Michigan. According to Lorenz, the team with the best chance of stealing Wheatley away from Michigan is, in fact, UCLA, who's come on strong of late ($). He's expected to announce around 3:15 pm ET tomorrow.

LATE ADDITIONS: FL DE Shelton Johnson — 3-star, #20 SDE, #364 Overall

Late Tuesday afternoon, 247's Clint Brewster reported that two sources are telling him Michigan has a legitimate shot with Johnson, who visited in January. Johnson is also considering Florida State (the presumed favorite) and Miami. He's high school teammates with Markel Bush, who could be in line for a late offer.

AL CB Keith Washington (Cal commit) — 3-star, #76 ATH, #954 Overall

This is a suprising name to add to the board, as Washington initially rebuffed Michigan and never visited campus, but I'm told he'll choose between M and Cal at 8:30 am ET.

FL RB Karan Higdon (Iowa commit) — 3-star, #40 RB, #478 Overall

Higdon will choose between Michigan and Iowa at 8 am ET, according to Hawkeyes247's Andrew Kulha, despite previously announcing that he'd reaffirmed his commitment to the Hawkeyes after taking an official visit to Ann Arbor last weekend.

Last-Minute Offers?

Michigan has at least five open spots left in the class (assuming Perry takes a spot), and it doesn't look very likely that they'll get five players from the above group, so there's a decent chance we'll see a late offer or two go out, Dennis Norfleet-style. While the very nature of these offers make them pretty tough to predict, two names come to mind as potential candidates.

Unranked FL CB Markel Bush took an official visit a couple weeks ago; if Michigan misses out on Adams and Marshall, as expected, he could fill a need at corner. Bush doesn't hold any offers and would likely jump at the opportunity.

Cass Tech three-star LB/FB Michael Oliver, a Central Michigan commit, has come up as a potential late offer, and he could fill a need at either linebacker or fullback.

Hello: Grant Perry

Hello: Grant Perry

Submitted by Ace on February 3rd, 2015 at 12:31 PM


Grant Perry (foreground) warming up with Alex Malzone (#12)

After Deontay Burnett's coach jumped the gun Sunday in announcing a commitment to Michigan, one that fell through for reasons unclear, the Wolverines wasted little time in landing another wide receiver. Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice's Grant Perry announced his commitment this afternoon, becoming the tenth member of the 2015 class.

Perry, who'd previously been committed to Northwestern, is the second receiver commit (joining Brian Cole) and the second Brother Rice commit (joining Alex Malzone) in the class.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #59 WR 3*, #80 WR 3*, 76, #128 WR 3*, 85, #133 WR 3*, #110 WR,
#867 Ovr

Perry is a three-star across the board, with Scout easily the most bullish on his abilities. All four sites agree that he's in the 6'0", 180-pound range.

SCOUTING

By virtue of playing on a very successful Brother Rice squad and catching passes from Alex Malzone, there's plenty of scouting out there on Perry, including on this site. I watched Perry record seven receptions for 103 yards in an early-season victory over Warren De La Salle last fall:

Brother Rice WR Grant Perry (2015 target): Perry had an outstanding game, hauling in seven of his nine targets; one of those incompletions was uncatchable, while the second would've required a difficult one-handed catch. He and Malzone are clearly very comfortable playing with each other—they connected on several timing routes and when Malzone was in trouble, Perry was often the receiver working his way back to the ball to bail him out.

Perry runs precise routes and plucks the ball out of the air; he showed off soft hands. While he's not a gamebreaking athlete, he gets separation on defensive backs with sharp cuts and does a nice job getting upfield after the catch; he doesn't look like a major threat to juke a safety, but he finds a way to get solid yardage after the catch.

In a normal-sized class, I'd say Perry merits a Michigan offer, and even with the small class I wouldn't be surprised if he picks one up late in the cycle. The Wolverines could hold out hope that Perry, who holds a handful of MAC offers at this juncture, decides that he'd rather be a preferred walk-on at U-M, though with the way he's playing it wouldn't surprise at all if bigger offers took that off the table.

Scout's free evaluation lists size as his only weakness while praising his route-running, hands, and work after the catch:

Technician with quick feet who runs excellent routes, always seems to get open and has excellent hands. Rarely drops a pass and catches balls away from his body. Not a tall kid, but has added good weight and strength. Really improved after the catch as a senior. Fundamentally sound all-around, a competitive playmaker and a kid who will catch a lot of balls and move the chains in college. - Allen Trieu

Trieu listed Perry as one of the seniors on the rise in the Midwest after a strong start to the season. Just days ago, Scout's national analysts listed Perry as one of ten prospects expected to make an immediate impact in 2015. While that was when he was expected to end up on a Northwestern team in need of help at receiver, it still speaks to his polish as a high school receiver.

ESPN is skeptical of Perry as a big-play threat but really like his precision on routes ($):

Possesses a strong, smooth stride and plays with good lower body drive in traffic. Quick off the line and able to put immediate pressure on DBs with very good lateral quickness and change-of-direction. Is smart -- he finds soft spots and knows when to throttle down. Gets inside leverage and is efficient in scramble situations. A very nuanced route runner that is quick in and out of break.

They also praised his catching ability and projected him as a potential go-to guy—albeit a tweener Power 5 conference prospect—operating out of the slot.

After saying Perry finished just behind Good Counsel's Devin Judd for best receiver at Michigan's summer technique camp, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan scouted him multiple times over the course of his senior season, including a game against Detroit Country Day in which Perry caught eight passes for 133 yards and returned a punt 61 yards for a score ($):

What Perry continues to show this season is an explosive burst after the catch, allowing him to get downfield in a hurry and pick up yardage. For a 6-0, 185-pounder, that quickness and ability to gain yards with the ball in his hands will be important. ...

His punt return touchdown showed off his awareness of the blocking developing around him, as well as the speed up the sideline, to make big plays happen. It's been apparent that he can get open and catch the ball when it comes to him, and he's expanding his repertoire.

Perry seems destined for the slot, depending on how Harbaugh utilizes receivers in his offense, though his route-running and reliable hands could earn him a spot on the outside. I was thoroughly impressed by him back in September; he operated very intelligently within the Brother Rice offense, getting open frequently either on his initial route or improvising after a play broke down. He's also got a chance to contribute on punt returns, as he makes up for a lack of game-breaking athleticism by reliably catching the ball and working his way upfield.

OFFERS

Perry held offers from Northwestern, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Nevada, and Northern Illinois.

HIGH SCHOOL

You're probably familiar with Brother Rice, which won three straight MHSAA Class 2 state titles from 2011-2013 under legendary coach Al Fracassa and produced 2015 early enrollee Alex Malzone and preferred walk-on Jack Dunaway. Their most successful recruit of the Rivals era isn't the highest-ranked—two-star Eastern Michigan DE T.J. Lang moved to offensive line and now is a starter on an excellent group for the Green Bay Packers.

STATS

Per 247, Perry caught 105 passes for 1727 yards (16.4 YPC) and 20 touchdowns in his senior season. Not bad.

FAKE 40 TIME

None of the sites list a 40 time. He's got good initial burst off the line, and while he doesn't have blazing speed, he's pretty solid in the open field.

VIDEO

Senior highlights:

Single-game highlights from his game against De La Salle:

Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

While Perry possesses the skills required to see the field early, Michigan is deep enough at receiver that he should be afforded a redshirt year. After that, he should work into the rotation in the slot, and I like his chances of being a significant contributor down the road, especially if Malzone eventually takes over at quarterback. While his size and lack of outstanding athleticism may keep him from being a superstar, he's got the ability to be a very reliable possession receiver who can break the occasional big play and also potentially make a mark as a punt returner.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Perry is the tenth commit in the class, and he may not be the last at receiver: Ole Miss commit Van Jefferson, who visited last weekend, is a candidate to flip on Signing Day. The most pressing needs heading into NSD are at running back, tight end, defensive end, linebacker, and cornerback. Michigan has five open spots to work with, and could potentially have one or two more with projected attrition.

For a much more detailed picture on the class outlook, check out the Signing Day Primer.