Ja’Raymond Hall, a 6-foot-5, 282-pound freshman offensive tackle, has transferred to Central Michigan from Michigan.
I guess bowl practices didn't improve Hall's opinion of his future at Michigan; FWIW, I'd heard from a good source that once he started on Michigan's S&C program he dropped a lot of weight and wondered if he'd ever get up to a sufficient level to challenge guys like Onwenu or Filiaga. The landing spot is usually indicative of why the player transferred: Kentucky? Maybe got in some hot water. MAC school? Just wants to play.
Hall's exit reduces the number of tackle bullets Michigan has available for the bar-none most critical spot on next year's team. It also opens up another slot for the 2018 class. Michigan's recruiting towards 22 or 23 spots, it looks like.
If anyone knows what to do with their hands after seeing this please let me know.
Peters transfer: nope. The lingering concern about Shea Patterson's transfer is that it would cause Brandon Peters to transfer out, thus leaving Michigan just as thin at quarterback and reliant on an NCAA waiver for their presumed starter. That does not appear to be happening. Sam Webb talked to Peters's father; you can listen to a WTKA segment on that conversation—helpfully summarized here—or read his take on The Michigan Insider:
“That's good,” Mr. Peters said of Patterson’s transfer. “Iron sharpens iron. Brandon is up for a good fight. Put the gloves on, (get) both fists up, (and) let's go! Brandon said, ‘bring in 30 QBs. I'm going to my job at hand and work.’
“Coach Harbaugh said it’s going to be a competition and we believe him.”
Webb also cleared up the strange yes-no-yes Patterson saga: Michigan was content to go into 2018 with three quarterbacks, but once Speight decided to grad transfer they wanted to add a guy and Patterson wanted to come, so... yeah.
The grad transfer rule might also be helping Michigan keep Peters around, BTW. He will compete for the job this year. If he doesn't get it he will be the backup; if Patterson's one and done then he's in line for the job again in 2018. If he's not, Peters can almost certainly graduate in 3.5 years and have two to play two, a la Alex Malzone. He doesn't lose anything by staying, and he will be a serious candidate for the job. I'd tentatively give him the edge given his familiarity with the offense.
Not quite crootin' visits of note. JaRaymond Hall took a visit to CMU this weekend, which seems like a significant step towards a transfer. Hall is on the fence after receiving his release earlier this month.
Also: potential Ole Miss transfer Van Jefferson visited Louisville yesterday. As of Monday, Jefferson was the only one of the three guys who had not told a recruiting reporter that he was at least virtually committed, and it appears that there is a genuine race on for his services. Louisville is closer to home since Shawn Jefferson is the Titans' WR coach. If this is a backup plan because of transcripts thing expect that to get resolved almost immediately—all three guys want to be on someone else's campus for the winter semester.
Doesn't sound great for Newsome. This is reading between the lines, admittedly, but that's all we've got here. And if Grant Newsome isn't cleared for spring it's probably not good news for his career:
Michigan left tackle Grant Newsome still holds the goal of being medically cleared to return to football by the start of the 2018 season.
"Before then hopefully," Newsome said Sunday night. "As soon as possible." ...
"Trying to get back on the field as soon as possible," said Newsome, who was honored with the Pete Schmidt Courage Award at the National Football Foundation/Free Press All-State Dream Team banquet in Dearborn on Sunday. "I want to play right now. But it's up to the doctors when they'll let me go."
Not being cleared more than a year removed from his injury is fairly ominous.
Shooter. Adrien Nunez is the who-dat afterthought in Michigan's 2018 basketball recruiting class, at least if you go by rankings. If you go by the ability to make threes off the dribble, though:
That's one game and thus fairly representative. Nunez ventured inside the three point line once; he makes multiple off the dribble threes; he also catches and shoots. Nunez doesn't look like the kind of athlete who gets the shiny rankings, but he looks like a guy who can get his shot in a variety of ways. That shot is always a three pointer. Beilein kind of kid.
A disastrous nonconference schedule. Michigan isn't the only Big Ten team to suffer through a disappointing basketball stretch here. The conference has imploded:
This looks like a four bid league. Northwestern, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, and Wisconsin have all badly undershot preseason expectations. Michigan really needs this game against Texas tonight and then will have to go... uh... 11-7 in conference play to be on the bubble? Is it that bad? I think it might be.
Malzone exit. Alex Malzone's long-rumored transfer is now official. This was foretold last year, when Michigan had a three-way QB competition in which Malzone was guy #4. He's graduating and will have two years to play somewhere else, so that's not the worst deal: a degree and a shot to see the field.
Nassar also worked at Michigan State. For two decades, the public university paid him, provided him with facilities, referred student-athletes from across the athletic department to his practice, showered him with awards, and even used his work with the Olympic team as a recruiting tool. This is despite the fact that, between 1997 and 2015, at least seven girls and women raised concerns about Nassar’s actions to authority figures at the school — including trainers, police, and MSU university officials.
Despite what Michigan State would like you to believe, a pedophile who allegedly perpetrated abuse on such an enormous scale cannot exist in a vacuum. So how will this prominent university and athletic department be held accountable for their involvement in the abuse of more than 140 people?
PSU people went to jail in shame. The institutional behavior here is just as bad. And yet. MSU is also facing a Title IX lawsuit that alleges MSU let Keith Mumphrey back on campus after supposedly banning him. And nobody cares about this! Graham Couch is too busy thinking up MLK day zingers to notice.
So much for San Diego. Per Brett McMurphy, Michigan is a "lock" to play in the Outback Bowl. There they'd get South Carolina, another 8-4 team with a thin resume. S&P+ thinks this is an awesome matchup for Michigan, as it thinks South Carolina is really a 6-6 team masquerading as an 8-4 team; they rank 67th, with an offense that's a bit worse than Michigan's and a mediocre defense. S&P+ would favor Michigan by 9 or 10, which is a huge statistical gap for a nominally even matchup against an SEC team.
Exit one thorn, one potential thorn. PSU offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is the new coach at Mississippi State. This is a good idea, and not just because it gets him out of the Big Ten. Moorhead managed to put together a very functional Penn State offense without an offensive line. Other names in the Mississippi State search included Brent Venables and Jeremy Pruitt, which is refreshingly sane in a world where Tennessee is doing Tennessee things and Arizona State is interviewing Herm Edwards.
Source: Tennessee is closing in a deal with Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. UT interviewed Chad Morris of SMU last night but apparently UT favors Brohm.
Poor damn Purdue. Don't even get to have the 9-3 season before SEC teams start horning in on your best idea since Joe Tiller. If Tennessee does pull this off, an internet flash mob that hated the Schiano hire will get an excellent result because they revolted against a person just in charge of things.
ASU, on the other hand, should immediately fire their athletic director. He used to be an agent, which is insane to begin with, and one of his clients used to be Herm Edwards. The Herm Edwards who hasn't coached, at all, since 2008. The Herm Edwards who is 63. The Herm Edwards who says he'd keep Todd Graham's coordinators, virtually announcing he'd be a figurehead before the job even starts. Gob-smacking!
Hall transfer watch might still be on. Seth posted the news item about JaRaymond Hall staying but the statement itself is pretty noncommittal, noting he's "made no decision" on his future; Sam Webb still asserts that he did receive a release, which is almost always the prelude to a departure.
This reminds me of the time that I told everyone Sam McGuffie was going to transfer and then twisted in the wind for a week as he waffled on whether to stay or go. That suuuuuuucked, and I stopped reporting about transfers as a result. Dang people can change their dang minds, I tellya.
Might be a thing where he goes through bowl practices and makes a final decision afterwards.
Vicious Vic: the revengening! There was a great catastrophic despair in the MGoSlack when this happened:
Vic Viramontes, a dual-threat junior college quarterback from Riverside (Calif.) City College, announced on Twitter on Monday that he has verbally committed to the Gophers.
“I would like to announce that I am officially committed to the University of Minnesota! #RowTheBoat’’ Viramontes tweeted.
“I can’t wait to play for the Golden Gophers!’’ Viramontes also tweeted. ...
Viramontes, a freshman at Riverside and a transfer from Cal, passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 TDs this season for Riverside, which lost in the SoCal championship game on Saturday. The Norco, Calif., native spent the 2016 season as a redshirt at Cal. He would have three seasons of eligibility remaining with Minnesota.
Viramontes is the quintessential Minnesota quarterback and is almost certainly going to start since Connor Rhoda's eligibility expired and Demry Croft is transferring after being suspended in week two for some sort of door incident he says he wasn't responsible for. The rest of Minnesota's quarterbacks were worse than Croft. Therefore: the Viramontes era.
Via a tweet this morning from the man himself, it appears that reports of freshman offensive tackle Ja’Raymond Hall leaving were premature, or at least that Hall has had a change of heart after speaking with his coaches:
Sam Webb reports that freshman OL JaRaymond Hall is exiting the program. Hall enrolled early and then redshirted, and while he was one of the lower-ranked guys in the class he was another bullet in the chamber at a tackle position that needs as many as it can get.
OTOH, Webb reports that Hall might land at Iowa State or Arizona, so maybe this is a situation where the guy already feels he's behind a large number of classmates. Michigan brought in Chuck Filiaga, Andrew Stueber, and Joel Honigford last year and then moved James Hudson to tackle in fall camp. If Hall was fifth in that pecking order, with little near-term path to the field on the interior, that might be enough to bail this early.
FWIW, this brings Michigan to 15 open spots for this year's class, with 6-7 potential fifth year players who are either not projected contributors or borderline. Two to four of those guys probably won't be back. Also, Mike Spath reported a couple days ago that Alex Malzone would graduate in 3.5 years and seek a two-year gig elsewhere. A class from 20 to 22 seems likely. Michigan has 16 commits currently.
Here's an every snap video by Adam (he is #77, the LT):
JaRaymond Hall is amongst Michigan's most venerable commitments in this class—amongst enrollees only Benjamin St Juste and Kurt Taylor beat him out—and possibly its most forgotten. OL tend to get lost in the shuffle, especially when Michigan spends the entire cycle trying to bring in seven other guys. That goes for fans and recruiting services; this post required far less pruning than most because recruiting services all but stopped talking about Hall after his very early commitment. Hall got tagged in zero (0) recruiting roundups after his commit.
If he did come up on recruiting sites it was usually to thunk him down the rankings. He plunged at 247 from a top 100 player to a generic three star; he fell out of the Scout 300 after starting at #196; Rivals wasn't satisfied with a generic three star ranking and bombed him down to the #78 OT in the country and #17 player in Michigan. On the other hand, ESPN moved him up 100 spots between then and now. The end result is a weird mish-mash of love and hate. He's this year's Chris Evans.
JaRaymond was a guy initially ranked high but his development hasn't been that of a Top247 guy.
That's it. We are invited to read between the lines.
Okay, here goes: Hall was ahead of the curve physically early and fell back to the pack as the cycle continued. He's still a quality prospect per most folks, but even the site highest on him, ESPN, has an evaluation that sounds reserved:
Not a physically imposing presence, but does demonstrate very good raw strength … Moves better then testing results might suggest. … Arm length looks adequate for size … Can tend to lunge at times and pad level can rise, but displays quick feet and good balance … Can deliver a good initial pop and roll hips. Once locked on tough to shake, but needs to improve hand placement. Can quickly work to second level and cover up targets. … may not 'wow' you physically, but he is a good, tough player.
Michigan has a few OL in this class who will compete to be first off the bus; Hall isn't one of them, at least not this juncture. Most evaluations are in lockstep with ESPN's. Athleticism is mentioned frequently; "needs to add strength" is almost always the next thing out of the scout's mouth. That will happen naturally; some evaluations are skeptical of his ceiling because of the way he's shaped. Brandon Brown:
…very athletic … long, lean build that allows him to get out and move extremely well. … When he gets locked on to a defender his quick feet and athletic ability allow him to stay between that defender and his quarterback. … doesn't have a frame that looks like he could add a ton of weight. His lower body is well built and powerful but he'll need to gain strength in his upper body.
"A lot of coaches questioned his size at first wondering if he could handle 280 (pounds) or around 300 but you could tell that he had the potential.
When Seth saw him at SMSB, he was very much in the middle of that questioning period:
Hall is super light on his feet and built on the lean side; Jason Spriggs was the comparison I made in my mind … The size thing was kind of an issue against bigger DL the few times he caught one, but he was credited by … for using his space. Contrary to just about every other OL, the skinny unpadded little DEs couldn't rush by him. He just took 'em wide.
Long, lean, athletic offensive lineman who plays with a mean streak. … Has added weight and strength but can continue to do that still. Bends well, mobile, has good feet, and has the intangibles as well.
We've read between the lines: unlikely that Hall becomes a road grader. But he's still got a couple four star rankings and a high-ish three star one because Hall sounds like the kind of guy Rich Rodriguez would jump at. Those mentions of athleticism above do not cease. Clint Brewster:
…athletic and tough. He's got a nasty side ….athleticism to get down in his stance and fire off. He can bend and turn his body to stay in front of shifty defensive lineman and Hall can shuffle his feet to stay in front … good upside when you consider his size, athleticism, raw strength, and physical demeanor.
"I love his foot turnover speed and I love his athleticism. … physical at the point of attack. He recovers well, too. If he gets himself into a bad position, he is able to come out with his top-notch recoverability skills."
His trainer calls him "long, very athletic, and very flexible"; Brown scouted him in person twice after his initial film take. Part the first:
Hall has really filled out in his lower body … remains athletic and quick and … long arms and good size
… really filling out and now says he's up to 285 pounds but still moves very well. … Even smaller, speedier guys were ineffective because of Hall's quick feet and length.
If Hall can get to 300, and quickly, despite those concerns about his frame he should hit the top end of his evaluations instead of the bottom end. Early returns are decent. Also decent for Hall: he is a Rich Rod OL and Michigan just hired his OL coach.
Hall enrolled early and generated some positive, if redundant, chatter. Jon Runyan Jr:
“JaRaymond is really athletic. We have him out there at tackle. He can move really well. He's got great feet, really athletic."
Ben Bredeson said basically the same thing, calling Hall and Cesar Ruiz "extremely athletic." Per Bredeson, Hall made significant progress:
"JaRaymond, it was just nice to see his technique clean up and all come together by the end of spring ball there. You could see both of them making their own strides. They did really well. Both of them did very, very well this spring.
You heard it here first: he's athletic. FWIW, Hall could not participate in the spring game due to injury.
When asked who his top five teams were during the recruiting process, Hall, a four-star tackle, replied: “Michigan, Michigan, Michigan, Michigan and Michigan,” making sure there was no doubt on where he wanted to be.
The Skinny: Michigan State was Hall's dream school growing up, but the Spartans never offered him. Hall not camping at Michigan State hurt his chances on being offered by MSU. Hall committed to Michigan in December.
Why Patrick Omameh? Omameh was a radically undersized high school OL who Michigan snatched away from Cincinnati at the last second who was momentarily a tackle before moving inside and becoming a hyper athletic guard—what's that DON'T MIND IF I DO:
He was never that powerful but his mobility made him a second-level asset and excellent pass protector. He was undrafted but has still carved out an NFL career that's ongoing.
Hall might be able to play tackle but the other, more definitively tackle-shaped guys in this class mean he's most likely to end up as an athletic interior player. Other comparables include David Moosman and Steve Schilling, both tackle-ish guards without huge power but good mobility.
Guru Reliability: Low. Huge spread, OL, shut it down after his commitment and skipped the camp scene.
Variance: High. OL. OL who might end up lacking sufficient power and top out as an adequate backup option. High school career mostly against goofs, little camp stuff.
Ceiling: High-minus. I mean, Omameh's still kicking around the NFL.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Real wildcard in the class.
Projection: Obvious redshirt. In year two Michigan will probably have an open OT spot and may have already deployed one of Hall's classmates, so competition will be relatively thin: Grant Newsome, if he can successfully rehab, his classmates, and Runyan Jr. Hall's lack of spring buzz makes it seem like he's unlikely to be the guy next year.
If he doesn't win that LT job it'll be two more years before spots open up. The only senior OL on the 2018 roster will be Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and that's if he gets a fifth year. That'll buy Hall two more years of development before he attempts to crack the lineup as a redshirt junior. That could be at tackle but is more likely to be at guard.
Apologies for skipping FBO last week, but there’s only so much time in a week and the hockey preview wasn’t going to write itself. (Someone on North Campus just read that sentence and scoffed; email me if you have robots that will help us divvy up our workload and dump some of it on automatons, Michigan Engineering students/professors.)
The night before the Wisconsin game was a miserably rainy one in southeastern Michigan, but that didn’t stop David and I from climbing on top of the Oak Park press box (with their permission, of course) to film 2017 commit Ja’Raymond Hall, 2018 target Marquan McCall, and 2019 QB D’wan Mathis. We ended up primarily scouting Hall, however, as McCall was injured and didn’t play and Mathis didn’t start (though he did rotate in fairly often, he fumbled early, got pulled, got put back in, and then got fewer and fewer snaps as the game went on).
Hall’s an interesting prospect. He was offered early in the process and his enthusiasm for Michigan was palpable; the first time I watched him was at the 2015 Sound Mind Sound Body camp, and he was decked out in Michigan gear. Take a look at his visit history and you can see that he’s long held a serious interest in the program, and has continued to stay connected after committing last December.
At one time he was a Top100 prospect on 247, but he tumbled more than 200 spots when 247 updated their rankings in July. He’s currently the #31 offensive tackle and ranked #312 nationally per the 247 composite; Hall is a four-star in the composite, but just a three-star to 247. Did we see what they must have seen? You’ll have to…
[Hit THE JUMP for Ja’Raymond Hall film and scouting report]
The spring/summer camp season culminated with The Opening finals, and as prospects turn their attention to the upcoming season, the recruiting sites are updating their rankings. Scout and 247 both released new rankings over the last week, and while Michigan lost their only composite five-star, there were quite a few positive developments.
QB Dylan McCaffrey was good, but not great, at The Opening, and that was enough to drop him from #39 to #101 overall on Scout and from #30 to #54 on 247. He's now the #39 overall player on the 247 Composite, 12 spots away from regaining five-star status.
DE Luiji Vilain moved up nine spots to #85 on 247 and held steady at #138 on Scout. Making incremental gains—and avoiding small drops—is tougher the higher a player is ranked, especially when there's significant movement like there is in the post-camp re-ranks; Vilain inching up the composite (to #96) is impressive in that context.
The same principle applies to DT Aubrey Solomon, who dropped nine spots to #216 on 247 and two spots to #129 on Scout. LB Josh Ross had a more significant fall, moving down 16 spots to #193 on 247 and an even hundred spots to #228 on Scout.
The most significant split is over CB Benjamin St-Juste, whose star turn at The Opening earned him a massive jump from three stars all the way to #92 overall on 247; Scout, meanwhile, kept him as a three-star, only giving him a four-spot bump to #32 in their cornerback position rankings. The point of contention doesn't seem to be the quality of his camp performances—those were praised by both sites—but the dearth of other information on the Canadian prospect; if he played his high school ball in, say, Florida, I don't think there's much doubt he'd be a solid four-star.
There's a similar difference of opinion on RB AJ Dillon, who vaulted 112 spots to #99 overall on 247 while remaining a three-star on Scout. Again, weighing camp performances against quality of high school competition could be an issue here—Dillon doesn't face high-level foes in Massachusetts.
DE Corey Malone-Hatcher and OT JaRaymond Hall both dropped out of the Top247; Malone-Hatcher is still a four-star at #260 overall, while Hall lost a star in dropping down to #370. Both took less drastic tumbles on Scout, landing at #248 (Hall) and #296 (CMH).
OT Kai-Leon Herbert stayed at #180 on Scout and didn't crack the Top247. 247 still hasn't updated Herbert's ranking, but Barton Simmons indicated on their board that Herbert is in line to move up from his outdated, middling three-star ranking:
Good player. Size/Strength keeps him out of the Top247 for now. He's athletic. Will be a guy to monitor.
He should get a bump once 247 updates rankings of guys beyond the Top247.
Last Friday a group of us attended Sound Mind Sound Body at Wayne State University. Their main football field had the QBs, WRs, and DBs, and Ace & Adam covered that. Two practice fields were then occupied by OL/DL and RBs/LBs respectively, so while watching one I couldn't watch the other. I spent most of my time trying to scout the linemen. Actually, because the roster sheets were organized alphabetically by first name instead of number, I spent most of my time scanning random numbers to figure out who a certain player was that caught my eye.
Eventually I settled for watching whoever Drevno and Mattison were talking to.
A few notes/observations:
Luigi Vilain was scheduled to appear but didn't make it. Some of his teammates were on hand. As Ace mentioned Antwuan Johnson was dinged up early so we didn't get to scout him. I thought 2017 Cass Tech OL target Jordan Reid would be there—he was on the roster—but I couldn't find him.
The SMSB staff are great.
With lineman drills no pads is a major advantage for defensive linemen, especially for quick little guys. The most successful blocks were often borderline holds, unless a lineman put a guy in the dirt, whereupon everybody clapped.
I learned a lot about why people who cover a lot of camps fall into the same vague observations. Unless you've been at this for way way longer than I have, the most apparent thing is how some guys look like amazing athletes and the rest look like your larger friends from high school. If you're there to scout just one guy in a group you'll spend most of your time marveling at how physically different he is while he's standing in line. Beyond that you can see foot speed and who got yelled at by coaches, who invariably coached "pad level" and "footwork."
If you haven't gathered by now these observations are going to be of dubious value to you.
Don Brown is a very INTENSE man.
OT COMMIT JARAYMOND HALL
Hall needed no shuffling through pages to identify; every time he took a rep the chatter died down as coaches and players paid attention. Drevno was giving Hall a lot of coaching between reps and ultimately had him doing a few things during drills that other linemen weren't, like keeping his hands nearly touching like in prayer while doing the shuffle. JaRaymond was taller than all but the one really really big kid.
Hall is super light on his feet and built on the lean side; Jason Spriggs was the comparison I made in my mind, and not just because I had just come from melting into a fanboy upon meeting Kevin Wilson.
The size thing was kind of an issue against bigger DL the few times he caught one, but he was credited by the coach running the drill (a Penn State grad assistant, who was Harbaugh-level into it all day) for using his space. Contrary to just about every other OL, the skinny unpadded little DEs couldn't rush by him. He just took 'em wide.
If I was creating an NCAA player I'd go heavy on the acceleration, lighter on the brute stuff. Also if I could edit hand size I'd put them way up there. Most players wore gloves but Hall didn't. I think he could curl his fingers over mine. I am running out of usefulness obviously so I'll move on.
[After the LEAP: Seth tries to scout more things that pro football coaches get wrong most of the time. Got that grain of salt? Okay then HIT THE JUMP]
Michigan added their second commitment from a "Pipeline 9" in-state junior today, as Scout's Allen Trieu reports 2017 Oak Park OT Ja'Raymond Hall will stay close to home for college. Hall has been a fixture on campus along with his highly regarded 2018 teammate, OL Marquan McCall. He becomes the fourth Michigan commit in the 2017 class, joining Brother Rice TE Carter Dunaway, Georgia RB Kurt Taylor, and Canadian DB Benjamin St-Juste.
4*, #21 OR,
3*, #33 OT
4*, 80, #25 OT,
4*, 94, #15 OT,
4*, #30 OT,
This is where the composite rating only tells you so much. Scout and ESPN are right in the same range, while 247 is a significant positive outlier and Rivals a negative one. Before you ask: yes, Hall has attended a Rivals camp.
The four sites are in general agreement on his size. Three of the four list him at 6'5" (ESPN says 6'4") with weights ranging from 255 to 272—he's probably closer to the high end of that range at this point. Hall is most likely a tackle prospect; with that frame he could also play inside.
Get ready for many slight variations on a constant theme: Hall has a great frame, quick feet, and plenty of work to do on the technical side and in the weight room. Here's ESPN's underclassman evaluation ($):
STRENGTHS:Possesses excellent height at this stage with good strength. Flashes ability to come off ball and gain physical leverage and when he does can drive defenders back. Displays good mirror and balance when stays low....AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Good frame, but needs to continue to develop and add good mass and further improve strength. Too inconsistent at this stage and needs to continue to work on pad level. Can improve angles.
Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Hall has a tall, lean and athletic build that suggests a future at the offensive tackle position. Hall is still learning the fundamentals of the position, but the potential that has earned him two early offers certainly was evident. When Hall did get beat in one-on-one reps it was due to technique, not physical abilities. The rising junior showed excellent feet and does a good job when locked on, and staying between the quarterback and the defender. Added weight on his frame will certainly benefit Hall's overall game, and all that should come easily as he matures.
Jaraymond Hall is a player to watch in the 2017. Against bigger and strong players at The Opening, Hall used his athletic ability and quick feet to battle. Must get stronger physically in the coming months but has the making to be a top prospect.
Allen Trieu called him one of the best underclassmen at any position at that event and specified that he most needs to add strength in his upper body.
Hall shows the athleticism and punch to protect the quarterback on the edge. He'll have to clean up his technique, however. He's too prone to crossing over his feet against a speed rush, which will doom him when he faces top-level talent. He also keeps his hands too far outside, and although he wasn't called for holding Friday, there were a few instances where he could have been. Most importantly, he will have to add upper-body strength to complement what is already a good base to build upon.
Hall plays offensive tackle for Oak Park because of his ability top move and slide laterally but his frame probably fits guard better at the next level, depending on how much length and height he adds. Hall has a nasty streak that would correlate well to the interior line spots, especially with his ability to get out and move on pulls and screens. He blocks extremely well out in space and on the move. Hall is still raw from technical standpoint with his hand placement but he's coordinated and understands leverage and pad level. He's got a solid foundation to work with.
But that doesn’t mean that Hall wouldn’t love to be the guy with the ball – even just one time – to relive his years as a youth football running back. Growing up playing in the West Seven Rams program, he was a hard-charging ball carrier who couldn’t be stopped.
While Hall said he embraced his move to the offensive line in eighth grade, he – like virtually every lineman – still has dreams of glory.
“It’s every lineman’s dream to score a touchdown,” he said. “I miss that part. I love being a lineman, but I’ll always be a running back at heart.”
The upshot: Hall has the frame, feet, base, and nasty streak to be an excellent lineman, either at tackle or as an agile guard; how close he comes to his ceiling depends on how much strength he can add and how much he develops from a technical standpoint. Given that's the norm for any high school lineman, it's hard not to like Hall's potential.
Hall's list isn't particularly long—perhaps in part because he's looked like a Michigan lock for a while, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if there are unreported offers—but it contains a few other high-level programs, namely Ole Miss, Penn State, and Tennessee. Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (NTM), and Western Michigan round out his offer sheet.
Oak Park hasn't produced an extensive list of D-I prospects, but they've got a couple notable ones: former MSU RB Edwin Baker and Tennessee freshman John Kelly. Michigan is heavily involved—probably the early favorite—for OL Marquan McCall, who'd be a great pickup for 2018.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hall ran an electronically timed 5.82 40-yard dash according to his ESPN profile, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. His Hudl page lists an unverified 5.03 time that merits a few FAKEs. Hall's plenty quick for a lineman; straight-line speed is far less important.
Projecting a two-deep when Michigan isn't done recruiting linemen in the 2016 class is a pointless endeavor. It's safe to say Hall is going to take a redshirt since (1) he's an offensive lineman, and (2) even for a line prospect, he's got a lot of physical and technical development to do before he's college-ready. As he fills out his frame and settles into a position—I can see him at tackle or guard, but more likely tackle—he'll get his chance to crack the lineup a couple years into his time in Ann Arbor.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's 2017 class stands at four commitments. They will take several more.