Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 9th, 2018 at 1:36 PM
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image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan stuck to the four man front for almost the whole game, with just a few attempts to play a 3-3-5. The Rush package remains unchanged after Gary's return. Michigan did have some exotics, one a 3-1-7(!) alignment with two vipers and Bush out there on third and ten. This was the Glasgow sack.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Massive rotation across the front with even Chase Winovich bowing out on occasion. Gary's return and his absence from the rush package amped up a rotation that is ten guys deep now: Gary, Winovich, Mone, Kemp, Paye, Marshall, Solomon, Dwumfour, Uche and Hutchinson (sort of). As a result everyone save Winovich saw maybe half of Michigan's snaps. Also Donovan Jeter got in late.

LB was the standard: Bush and Hudson all the time, Ross and Gil splitting WLB snaps with Ross having an edge, and assorted cameos from Glasgow and Furbush. Ditto the secondary. Woods was the only backup S to get in, interestingly.

[After THE JUMP: the lamentation of their message boards]

Comments

Exit James Hudson

Exit James Hudson Comment Count

Brian October 22nd, 2018 at 7:19 PM

Well, this makes no sense:

247Sports was able to confirm on Monday evening that second-year offensive lineman James Hudson asked for and was granted his release from the program. Michigan spokesman Dave Ablauf confirmed the report, stemming from a Facebook post written by Hudson's mother on Monday evening.

Hudson is not apparently in any trouble and had been heavily hyped as a major talent at tackle. Until about two seconds ago he was regarded as the favorite to replace Juwann Bushell-Beatty next year. So this is a bizarre one.

Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield now step into the on-deck circle at tackle. This probably won't be a problem—hail Warinner—but losing a talented redshirt freshman at a spot where you want to have all the lottery tickets you can gather is a blow.

Comments

Wednesday presser 9-13-18: Ed Warinner

Wednesday presser 9-13-18: Ed Warinner Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 13th, 2018 at 1:13 AM

Things discussed:

  • Some Jalen Mayfield and James Hudson excitement
  • Insight into Cesar Ruiz's progress
  • Warinner on how he looks for and measures improvement on the O-line
  • A non-comment on the Urban Meyer situation

[After THE JUMP: Boy, sure seems like they want to do something about those tackles]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs WMU Comment Count

Brian September 12th, 2018 at 4:24 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

image-6_thumb_thumb5

SPONSOR NOTE: HomeSure Lending will provide you a mortgage. It's a simple process, really: some tax returns, maybe some other stuff, and then Matt works with various lenders to get the best deal. It is a quick process, as well, and one where you know the guy providing your mortgage has your best interests at heart because he gets business through word of mouth and MGoBlog advertising. Also he has opinions you can talk about related to Michigan in down times.

FORMATION NOTES: About 50/50 between shotgun and other stuff, with an emphasis on TEs and WRs—just 12 fullback snaps for Mason. Nothing stood out as unusual. WMU responded with a four-man front on every play and some rolled up safeties... sometimes absurdly so.

This was less of a problem for the run game than you'd think but RBs did have to dodge these guys at the line from time to time. The flipside was the Nico Collins touchdown, which was super easy because a safety lined up at eight yards.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Same OL as the opener. Second team was Mayfield/Filiaga/Spanellis/Honigford/Hudson. QBs went Patterson, McCaffrey, Peters. Higdon and Evans got closer to equal reps with Wilson indeed the #3. WR rotation was pretty much the same as the opener, with DPJ and Collins clear-ish starters on the outside and Martin the only guy rotating in much. TEs were the same.

Muhammad, Schoonmaker, Turner, Milton, and Hayes not getting in strongly implies redshirts are coming for them.

[After THE JUMP: I am down with the G]

Comments

Monday Presser 9-10-18: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-10-18: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 10th, 2018 at 10:45 PM

 

[Eric Upchurch]

 

Things discussed

  • The offensive line, including some optimism around Jalen Mayfield and James Hudson
  • Noah Furbush wants to be a pilot in the military
  • Tru Wilson taking the No. 3 running back spot
  • Injury updates on Tarik Black, Lawrence Marshall and Aubrey Solomon
  • More Shea Patterson talk

[After THE JUMP: All that and more!]

Comments

Preview 2018: Offensive Tackle

Preview 2018: Offensive Tackle Comment Count

Brian August 29th, 2018 at 10:44 AM

Previously: Podcast 10.0A. Podcast 10.0B. Podcast 10.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends.

Depth Chart

LT Yr. LG Yr. C Yr. RG Yr. RT Yr.
Jon Runyan Jr Jr.* Ben Bredeson Jr. Cesar Ruiz So. Mike Onwenu Jr. James Hudson Fr.*
Jalen Mayfield Fr. Chuck Filiaga Fr.* Stephen Spanellis So.* Stephen Spanellis So.* Juwann Bushell-Beatty Sr.*
Andrew Stueber Fr* Andrew Vastardis So.* Phil Paea Fr.* Joel Honigford Fr.* Nolan Ulizio Jr.*

PICKING UP THE PIECES from the very worst Michigan offensive line in living memory—you're off the hook, 2008—is going to be a difficult and unfortunately extended process. The mercifully fired Tim Drevno shot airballs at tackle in his first two recruiting classes, coming up with only flier Nolan Ulizio in Michigan's transition class; this is doubly painful since the only tackle who can block a Rutger recruited by Brady Hoke was Grant Newsome. Newsome will be your senator someday. He will not be on the field this fall, or ever again.

So even if the coaching transition from Drevno to Ed Warinner goes as blindingly well as DJ Durkin to Don Brown, this is going to be a survive-and-advance-down-the-field-a-bit situation. Warinner inherits some potential Dudes on the interior and has an excellent backup plan if something should go awry there. Tackle? Don't talk to me about tackle.

There is some good news. Michigan's late season surge on the ground was preceded by a couple of weeks where they were almost there...

The run game is close to putting it together. Unless they don't in which case I said none of this. But seriously folks: PSU was an average-ish P5 run defense and Michigan's blocking was pretty good, with gains held down by the nonexistent passing game and one guy blowing way too many plays.

... all in all it was probably the best run-blocking OL in Ann Arbor since 2011 or possibly even before. PFF graded out Ben Bredeson and Mike Onwenu at 72/100 or better despite what could not have been acceptable pass pro grades; those guys are legit good on the ground. Add in midseason revelation and locked-in starter Cesar Ruiz promising an organization upgrade at C plus an established elite college OL coach and the words "night" and "day" should be in your lexicon.

Just don't talk to me about tackle.

TACKLE: I TOLD YOU NOT TO TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS

RATING: 1.

Fine! Fine. It's fine. We'll talk about it. Last year's preview featured this totally awesome GIF...

giphy (1)[3]

...and asserted that GIANT COMPUTER-ANIMATED QUESTION MARK [recruiting profile] would bookend Mason Cole. This year the question is who's bookending the Giant Computer-Animated Question Mark.

From the perspective of a program outsider just trying to read tea leaves, the worst case scenario was this: Michigan moves Juwann Bushell-Beatty to left tackle because they have no one else, and they insert Jon Runyan Jr at right tackle because they have no one else. No underclassmen even poke their head in the direction of the job. Michigan gets whatever marginal improvement JBB manages in his fifth year and plays a 6'3", maybe 6'4" guy on the other side.

This was exactly the situation as reported out of spring.

So it's with some relief that I can report this situation has changed slightly. They've slid Runyan over to left tackle, you see, and slid Bushell-Beatty back to the right. The deck chairs are repositioned.

[After THE JUMP: look nobody's paying you to read this, it's ok]

Comments

Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey

Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2017 at 6:58 AM

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[Chris Cook]

“How’s everybody doing?”

Good. How are you?

“Getting cold.”

What have you seen from some of the younger guys at tackle, Stueber, some of those guys?

“They’re doing really well. That transition of coming from high school to college is going really good. You’re seeing them move around do things more natural now than six weeks ago, seven weeks ago, so really excited about the young group. There’s a good group and it’s going to be fun to watch them continue to grow and compete and prepare and the whole nine yards.”

Is that typically a pretty big transition coming from high school to college as an offensive lineman?

“Oh yeah, absolutely.”

What’s been the difference for Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]? He started out no. 2, now he’s in there moving people.

“Juwann’s—he’s really maturing in just his outlook and how he goes and it’s been really fun to watch and interesting to see, like you said, overcome some adversity early on and continue to battle and continue to press. Certainly not where we want him to be or where he feels he can be but I think he’s on that road and it’s been really fun to watch.”

He’s been moving people. Is the pass pro part still where you’re really—

“Yeah, it’s always because every defense presents different challenges, and so as a group and watching these guys, they’re attacking those challenges. Still making some mistakes. There’s still some things we’ve got to get where maybe a guy gets anxious or something happens where we’ve got to calm him down a little bit but he’s solidly moving forward to become what we think he can become.”

[After THE JUMP: how Frey approaches TEs, updates on Hudson, Newsome the player/coach, and a Maryland scouting report of sorts]

Comments

Preview 2017: Defensive Tackle

Preview 2017: Defensive Tackle Comment Count

Brian August 30th, 2017 at 1:48 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.

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in ur base [Eric Upchurch]

  Depth Chart
STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Rashan Gary So. Bryan Mone Jr.* Maurice Hurst Sr.* Chase Winovich Jr.*
Carlo Kemp Fr.* Aubrey Solomon Fr. Mike Dwumfour Fr.* Luiji Vilain Fr.
Ron Johnson Fr.* James Hudson Fr. Donovan Jeter Fr. Kwity Paye Fr.

Here too the departures don't really start to bite until you dig down into backup snaps. Mo Hurst was the best interior DL on the team last year and one of the best in the nation despite being a very nominal backup; Bryan Mone was productive late and as a fourth-year player with plenty of recruiting and post-recruiting hype he projects as an above-average starter.

Backup snaps do happen, especially when your starting nose is a mountain, and those are all going to freshmen. The right kind of freshmen, at least.

NOSE TACKLE: TONGAAAAAAAAA

Rating: 4

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splat [Upchurch]

Now is the time for BRYAN MONE [recruiting profile] after two injury-hampered years. He missed the entirety of 2015 and went down in the opener last year. While he did return, he saw scanty snaps behind ironman Ryan Glasgow. When he did get in his play was indifferent for much of the season.

This was quite a comedown. Mone was famously—or infamously, depending on how this year goes—named one of Michigan's best three players at the dawn of Harbaugh's first season by the man himself:

"He was one of our top players last year. We ranked the team going into training camp from one to 125 and Mone was three."

That's a great googly moogly right there. At the time it would have been totally rad if Mone was one of Michigan's three best defensive linemen, let alone players. Mone was so hyped up that last year's edition of this post had a fusty paragraph about how you should stop bothering the author when he projects Ryan Freakin' Glasgow as the starting NT.

One thing is for certain: Mone is a tank. Here's the starting DL:

mone-weight_thumb

Gary says he's 288, and Hurst is probably pushing 300. Mone has 30 pounds on those guys—maybe more. That could be good; it could be bad. It's probably fine. Last year he told Scout that he was 330 when he was hewed down the first time, i.e. at maximum hype volume. He can play at that weight. He probably can't play as much as Glasgow, though, and given Michigan's depth that's a little concerning. Michigan's saving grace may be the fact that if an opponent wants to test Mone's endurance first they'll have to stay on the field.

As befits a tank, when Mone got on the field he did one thing consistently: clobber single blocking backwards. He did it early, against Hawaii, midway through, against Rutgers, and late, against Ohio State. He personally kicked OSU off the field on a second-quarter drive, first shedding a block from freshman Michael Jordan to set up a third and short:

And then whoopin' Isaiah Prince to force a punt:

He returned to the bench soon after that because Glasgow was still around; he'd made his point. A healthy Bryan Mone is going to pick up opposing offensive linemen and dump them in someone's lap.

With the talent around him Mone's main job is to demand double teams. Early returns are positive there, obviously. Mone demonstrated his clobbering last last year and when Michigan provided a glimpse into this year's version of the Oklahoma drill he did it again:

he's battling Cesar Ruiz FWIW

Yeah, the running back went around the carnage; Greg Mattison doesn't care one bit about that, as his reaction to Mone's bulldozer approach demonstrates. If Mone deposits an interior OL yards in the backfield the linebackers will clean up for him.

He's not Glasgow. He's not going to be much of a pass rusher—he pretty much does the same bull rush thing no matter what—and he's not going to force the QB to pitch on speed option. That doesn't mean he can't be effective in his own way. Mone is in fact perfect for this DL, which is stacked with one-gap pass rush terrors already and could use a beef machine.

Mone needs to draw and then stand up to doubles; his ability to do so is still somewhat in question. Mone got blown out some last year. Sometimes he was not:

Mone is the player just below the box, not the player in the box

How much the injury was responsible for that, and how much Michigan can expect him to improve at full health, is unknown. FWIW Webb asserted Mone was "never 100% last year and it showed."

Fall chatter has been positive, thought not incessant. Webb:

Bryan Mone is looking like the pre-injury Mone… He not just a space eater. Right now he is making plays.

JT Rogan:

"I've just seen a lot of really great things out of Bryan Mone. I've seen power, I've seen quickness, and I've seen speed. I think I have seen what Michigan fans had hoped to see for a couple of years now."

Hurst told the media that Mone is "by far one of the best nose tackles I've seen play" at Michigan. He's been locked in as a starter just like everyone else, and radio silence there is just fine.

Mone certainly has the attitude necessary. When they asked him where he was playing a year ago he answered enthusiastically:

"Strictly nose, baby! I enjoy playing nose. It's the gutter! You've got to play like you're in the gutter. Really me and Glasgow started that. We call each other 'the gutter boys.' That's our motto: play like we're in the gutter."

[After the JUMP: Mostly freshmen; also one 300-pound jetpack person.]

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Preview 2017: Offensive Line

Preview 2017: Offensive Line Comment Count

Brian August 29th, 2017 at 4:07 PM

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

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traaaaaaaaain [Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart


LT Yr. LG Yr. C Yr. RG Yr. RT Yr.
Mason Cole Sr. Ben Bredeson So. Patrick Kugler Sr.* Mike Onwenu So. Jon Runyan Jr So.*
Andrew Stueber Fr. Stephen Spanellis Fr.* Cesar Ruiz Fr. Chuck Filiaga Fr. Juwann Bushell-Beatty Jr.*
Grant Newsome So.* Andrew Vastardis Fr.* Phil Paea Fr. Joel Honigford Fr. Nolan Ulizio So.*

[Ed. note: Newsome is actually a true junior but we are assuming he redshirts this season so the listed year is more accurate spiritually. Also Paea is probably a DT this year but I ran out of OL anyone's heard of.]

Michigan lost three starters to graduation and will be without left tackle Grant Newsome after his scary injury midway through last season. And… eh. By the time the graduated had played out their eligibility it was clear that there wasn't much anyone could do to turn them into a crew of firebreathers. Ben Braden (-9.4 to PFF) was willing but the very definition of stiff. Kyle Kalis(-6.3) was a missed assignment machine to the last. Erik Magnuson(+9.1) was a solid player but never an impactful one. None were drafted, and they collectively plateaued three years ago:

Year Adj Line Yards Opportunity Rate Power Success Stuff Rate Adj Sack Rate
2013 118th 11th 120th 126th 112th
2014 50th 55th 32nd 67th 72nd
2015 53rd 107th 50th 33rd 13th
2016 64th 82nd 50th 81st 28th

Advanced line stats are a bit wonky because they also depend on the running back and style of offense, but the whole set tells a story. That story: mediocre players hitting their ceiling.

At some point it was clear they were playing mostly because Michigan didn't have any alternatives. When Newsome went out there was a brief dalliance with Juwann Bushell-Beatty at left tackle that went so poorly that Michigan flipped Braden out and brought in a true freshman in his stead. Everyone else other than Patrick Kugler, who was stuck behind Mason Cole, was some flavor of freshman as well.

So, they're gone and the replacements are incapable of voting. It's the end of the Hoke as we know it, and I feel fine. Except about the Newsome thing. That sucks.

TACKLE: COLE AND THE RANDOS

RATING: 2.5.

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there and back again [Eric Upchurch]

Last year MASON COLE moved to center because it was clear he was not a tackle. This year he returns to tackle because it's clear nobody else is.

Despite the somewhat awkward fit with Cole's body type, this foray should be mostly successful. At tackle, Cole was a near-elite run blocker, capable of overpowering and outmaneuvering defensive ends and linebackers. At center Cole's lack of oomph left him vulnerable to planet-sized nose tackles he couldn't move and gents like Malik McDowell who just wanted to bulldoze him.

Cole was better at the mental aspects of being a center. At the same time he was getting plowed by McDowell he was instrumental when MSU turned to their double A gap twist blitz. That blitz bedeviled Michigan for years under less competent coaches; Cole (and Harbaugh) throttled it:

The trademark MSU defensive playcall was comprehensively beaten. Finally. All of these plays feature the extreme aggression of the MSU linebackers being used against them, something that Michigan hasn't been able to do in forever. Can't block 'em? Run right by 'em.

The line just about maintained its very good adjusted sack rate with Cole at center despite suffering an injury to Newsome they simply could not afford. A large part of that goes back to Cole's ability to make the line calls. Bredeson's freshman biffs aren't on Cole's ability to organize, and Michigan was pretty dang organized in pass pro:

Zone running not so much, but more about that in Five Question and Five Answers. Michigan's frustrating inability to identify first level blocks on stretch plays all but removed those from the offense, so we never got to see if Cole could get his David Molk on. Getting a reach block is really hard and really good if you manage it and Cole had some promising upside in that department that never came to fruition.

[After THE JUMP: LARGE ADULT SONS, except not quite adult.]

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2017 Recruiting: James Hudson

2017 Recruiting: James Hudson Comment Count

Brian July 14th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE Deron Irving-Bey, DT Donovan Jeter, DT Phil Paea.

Toledo, OH – 6'5", 295

                     009d548c-5433-476c-a54e-a50ffb970df9              

Scout 4*, #273 overall
#15 DT
Rivals 4*, #240 overall
#8 SDE, #9 OH
ESPN 4*, NR         
#30 DE, #14 OH
24/7 4*, #109 overall
#8 DT, #2 OH
Other Suitors MSU, UL, Neb, UK, PSU, Iowa
YMRMFSPA Willie Henry
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Committed to UK real early and then bailed, as one does.

Film

Senior:

In late August, James Hudson was a composite three star Kentucky decommit picking between Michigan and Michigan State without much other interest from top-end schools. In the days leading up to his commitment there was a lot of conflicting information about whether Hudson was even a "take" for Michigan, and your correspondent was… well, he kind of wanted to keep the spot open for guys with more whizbang.

Sometimes your correspondent is dumb. Hudson was indeed a take; Michigan took him, and then he blew up.

For real:

Hudson, who played both defensive end and offensive tackle, had 80 tackles, including 34 for a loss, and eight sacks as a senior. He helped lead Central Catholic to a 13-1 record with the lone loss coming in a state semifinal.

I've seen a lot of silly high school stats. 34 TFLs as a (mostly) 3-4 DE is way out there, man. His senior film above explains a lot. That is a very large man running through and around people. When I watch tape I'm not looking for technique. I'm looking for guys who shouldn't be able to move like that. Hudson shouldn't be able to move like that. And yet.

Senior year Hudson was a new man. Evaluations from before his senior year questioned his ability to stick on D despite being, like, Kentucky-related:

There is a question about explosion off the football, and that is probably why Kentucky sees him as an inside defensive player. People also think he will eventually have to move to the offensive line because he might be a tweener on defense.

Josh Helmholdt and Rivals liked him enough ("great football frame … huge kid but he's very athletic at that size") to put him in their top 250 despite Hudson's tendency to fade out of games:

"He absolutely took over the [Lima] game in the fourth quarter," Helmholdt said. "He had something like five tackles, three of them for loss, in that quarter alone. He totally dominated and collapsed the right side of the offensive line on almost every play. He completely took that offense out of what they were doing. But the two quarters before that he was a ghost.

"I’ve seen that every time I’ve gone to see him. Is that a motor thing? Is that, he just hasn’t learned how to dominate yet? Both of those are possibilities."

His high school coach more or less agreed with that sentiment until he was imbued with Senior Leadership. His take on Signing Day:

"He has a high football I.Q. and great motor. He went from having a lot of potential and showing flashes of greatness, to consistently showing it every night and every play."

Ohio scouting service MSR Ohio:

Seeing him for the first time last Saturday, my first comment – “How much weight have you lost?” Later, I found out that he has re-distributed his weight. He sure looks good. … Really athletic. Strong. Good bender. Good initial quickness. Stays with his block on offense. On the DL he has the same initial quickness. Uses his hands to separate from the blocker. … Like his basketball feet. Like his big powerful athletic frame.

The sites noticed. At least a couple did. Scout bumped him from a generic three star into their top 300 thanks to his "fantastic," "explosive," and "athletic" senior play. 24/7 nearly put him in their top 100 and named him their "senior film stud" because he proved he's "one of the nation's best big-bodied defensive linemen." ESPN didn't move him because ESPN, and Rivals didn't move him because no camps.

Part of this is Hudson's growth. He was initially listed at around 270, causing multiple evaluations to utter the dread word "tweener." Scout only made him a DT in the immediate aftermath of his Michigan commit; Rivals and ESPN never moved him from their DE rankings. Now 297 and headed for another 15 pounds of clubbin' meat, there's no question where he ends up. Michigan's current plan is to deploy him as a three tech.

In retrospect it's hard to see why this wasn't obvious from the drop. ESPN's evaluation virtually screams DT:

…'tweener at this stage, but good height with well-built frame and adequate-to-very good bulk … excellent playing strength and can be inconsistent but displays good first-step. Stout and physical defender that demonstrates he can fire out low and uncoil …. can hold ground one-on-one and at times against current competition even knock blockers back on their heels. When he shoots hands displays upper body strength to press and disengage, but can be quite inconsistent … Power is his strength at this stage and will likely be greatest asset … capable of delivering a big pop when engaging blockers …tools to develop into tough presence especially against the run.

Best as I can figure, his tenure at DE in high school and his vague plausibility as a college edge rusher caused the DE evals, and possibly some of the trepidation. Burst for a DE and burst for a DT are different things.

Now firmly projected to the interior, Hudson has the look of a very high upside player. Brandon Brown caught him early in his senior year:

He's long limbed, extremely quick off the line, and very light and bouncy on his feet for being nearly 300 pounds. He's ridiculously strong compared to other high schoolers and actually has pretty solid technique when it comes to rips, swims, and other hand-placement techniques on the defensive line.

Just a month earlier his coach called him "lean for his size"(!):

"He still has a lot of room to grow. He’s very lean for his size. He’s very explosive, which if he adds more size and muscle, which he will at Michigan, he’s going to be tough for people to deal with inside. That wingspan, that height, the explosiveness and athleticism at his size, he’s a rare combination."

After his senior season 24/7 marveled at his "new level of explosiveness and speed" and asserted he'd "turned himself into a rare combination of size and speed at a premium position"; Rivals asserted that "his physical characteristics are elite" and that "his combination of size, burst, quickness, and strength is rare"; their Kentucky site called him an "ideal DE in a 3-4" because he's "more athletic than defensive tackles and a lot bigger and more powerful than most defensive ends."

Hudson's already producing and appears to have a lot of upside left to explore. Despite being a consensus four star he looks like one of the more underrated guys in the class.

FWIW, Hudson played a lot of OT in high school and when he first popped up on the radar he was looked as more of an OL prospect. People were still throwing in the possibility he'd be an OL when he committed. With his senior year blowup and Michigan's depth chart the chance that becomes relevant is remote.

Etc.: Harbaugh story? Harbaugh story:

"Me and Coach Harbaugh, the day that he offered me, we were sitting down in his office, me and my mom, and we were talking about football stuff," Hudson said. "Talking about the depth chart and stuff like that. And he started doing math problems when he was talking to my mom! Me and my mom were looking at each other, like, 'What is he doing?!'

"He stopped, in the middle of him doing this, in his problem, [and asked], 'Am I talking too much?' We were just like, 'Go on Coach! You're fine. We've got all the time in the world.'"

Why Willie Henry? Henry was a beef machine three-tech who was at his best when he deployed his bonkers strength to bench press dudes off him. The ESPN evaluation above could be Henry word for word, give or take some technique concerns. Henry arrived much rawer than it appears Hudson will and had far fewer recruiting accolades. He redshirted and only got to an All Big Ten level as a redshirt junior; Hudson should be a year ahead of his pace. Henry did have some pass rush chops, with 6.5 sacks in his final year, and Henry could get there. He's not Mo Hurst in this department, but he'll offer something.

Other comparables include Wormley, again, and Alan Branch.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Despite the consensus four star status there's still a lot of range in there. Hudson didn't attend a single camp and didn't get to an All Star game, and he blew up as a senior. I mean… DE evaluations. Guy was healthy and pretty well scouted but the shape of his recruitment is one where the scouting reports don't always match the numbers.

Variance: Low-plus. Already 300 pounds and able to move like a much smaller man. Some slight trepidation that he has not played on the interior yet and this could prove a bugaboo.

Ceiling: Very high. Hudson is likely still underrated despite a couple of significant senior year re-ranks. He has a combination of upfield explosion and raw power that you don't see very often.

General Excitement Level: Very high. What can I say? If your last name is Hudson I'm all about your football skills.

Projection: Will fight with Dwumfour and others to back up Hurst this year and replace him in 2018. We've heard a lot of good things about Dwumfour and I think the other three-tech guys in this class are going to be useful players; I also think Hudson's the best bet to win the job as a true sophomore, whereupon his career will look a lot like Henry's.

Another possibility: he moves to nose tackle. Michigan has more 3-tech types in this class than NT types and might want the depth. If they're going to split snaps down the middle for their four interior linemen Solomon/Hudson at nose might be their most effective configuration in a post-Mone world. That'll depend on guys like Dwumfour, Jeter, and Irving-Bey coming through.

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