Preview 2018: Cornerback

Preview 2018: Cornerback Comment Count

Brian August 31st, 2018 at 11:20 AM

[Bryan Fuller]

Previously: Podcast 10.0A. Podcast 10.0B. Podcast 10.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Tackle. Interior Offensive Line. Defensive Tackle. Defensive End. Linebacker.

Depth Chart


Boundary Corner Yr. Field Corner Yr. Nickelback Yr.
David Long So.* Lavert Hill Jr. Brandon Watson Sr.*
Ambry Thomas So. Myles Sims Fr. Gemon Green Fr.
Vincent Gray Fr. Benjamin St Juste Fr.* Jaylen Kelly-Powell So.

Last year, Mike Zordich stepped in front of the assembled media and more or less pulled the Incensed Ralphie on his charges. Michigan's cornerbacks were dortin' no good dang nipple crisps who didn't practice, pronounced "gif" like it was peanut butter, and supported exclusionary zoning. Your author bought it and spent last year's preview worrying that the two second-year mega-recruits were going to flame out and leave Michigan in the lurch.

Fast forward a year:

If Zordich didn't also help the very much non-touted Brandon Watson become the third good-to-superb cornerback in Michigan's deepest secondary in living memory, one might be cross about the headfake. Since he did, huzzahs all around and someone call Ambry Thomas a nipple crisp. Sounds like a job for Ace!


RATING: 5!!!

If you haven't seen this graphic from PFF you have been industriously avoiding football content all offseason:

I be like dang.

Some caveats do apply. Michigan's ravenous front seven forced a great variety of bad-idea throws and another great variety of passes technically targeting one of Michigan's CBs that were wild, unanswered prayers. There are stats, which can lie, and grades, which are less likely to. The above is a stat. PFF doesn't actually think Michigan had the two best corners in the country. The only think the next guy is the best returning CB in college football.


[Bryan Fuller]

Junior LAVERT HILL was hyped up as the second coming of Jourdan Lewis. This was a precisely correct take, perhaps the most accurate in the history of offseason Michigan hype. Hill, like Lewis, is the variety of 5'11"-ish corner who's so agile that he's in the hip pocket of his man on almost literally every snap. Like Lewis, Hill is comfortable getting his head around and making a play on the ball. Like Lewis, Hill will be of great interest to the NFL when he decides it's time to be of interest.

Hill's stats are great and get better when you drill down. He played almost 90% of Michigan snaps and was only targeted 29 times. Michigan's other corners were targeted about 50% more frequently on a per-snap basis. On those 29 targets Hill gave up 12 catches, had 7 PBUs, and 2 interceptions. His havoc rate (PBUs + INTs / targets) of 26% is second-best amongst returning CBs.  The passer rating stat above doesn't quite cover it; Hill was also studiously avoided by the opposition. And no wonder:

Hill was not just a man-to-man maestro. In addition to the coverage events above he also flashed his talent in zone coverage. Here he demonstrates a Countess-like ability to read what is coming and productively fall off the guy he was nominally in coverage on:

That's an interception if it's accurate. I didn't clip any other zone positives or negatives; a glance through the archives suggests that's because Michigan barely ran any.

Meanwhile the one time he got extensively tested on the ground, against Air Force, he came through with flying colors:

... Hill [was] particularly excellent. He's got a blocker here and doesn't just force it back but makes a critical zero-yard tackle that is a first step towards an Air Force FGA:

#24 CB to top of screen

He'd add to that resume a bit later in the year by chopping down a flare screen. The nature of Michigan's defense—all press all the time—limited the number of run-support events the corners endured by shutting off perimeter screens; in the limited opportunities provided Hill excelled. PFF graded him as "exceptional against the run." The cherry on top.

UFRs contained occasional mentions of an open guy here and a double move that got a little air there, but only as the "BUT!" section that I find mandatory since I am a person who writes on the internet who has to intercept many criticisms. Serious complaints were nonexistent.

In 2018 the main question about Hill is about his deployment. He was outstanding as a nickel corner, and it seems likely that Michigan will drift towards deploying him there when possible. When Michigan added a defensive back it was Watson (or Long, same difference) and Hill would kick down with predictably Lewis-like results.

His general coverage chops allowed him to stick with WRs when he went from slot to outside:

And the one time he faced the Dreaded Slot Fade he dominated:

If I was Michigan I'd give serious thought to expanding the definition of a passing down and expand the nickel package accordingly. Second and ten? Sure. Second and seven? Sure. Any down that seems likely to produce a third down of any variety even if the opposition runs against a nickel should be fair game. I believe the slot fade stuff will be better defended this year since it had to be a major offseason priority; I believe it will be better defended still if those poor saps are trying to get one over on Hill.

The deployment issues are the only thing worth speculating on. Hill will be an All-American, or close enough. He was already playing at that level a year ago. Michigan would be extraordinarily fortunate to get him back for a final year.

[After THE JUMP: three more of that?]


2018 Recruiting: Myles "Spider" Sims

2018 Recruiting: Myles "Spider" Sims Comment Count

Brian June 12th, 2018 at 4:32 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray.

Atlanta, GA – 6'2" 180


24/7 3*, #517 overall
#44 CB, #44 GA
Rivals 4*, #103 overall
#14 CB, #11 GA         
ESPN 4*, #137 overall
#11 CB, #21 GA
Composite 4*, #170 overall
#17 CB, #22 GA
Other Suitors USC, Clemson, UF, LSU, ND, Stanford
YMRMFSPA Sure, Richard Sherman, why not
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter (verified!). UA game. Early enrollee.



Rivals analysis:


One does not waste a nickname like "Spider" when one is a veteran of the blog wars. So let's get right into that:

“My body was formed weird – I had a short torso and long legs and long arms,” Sims said. “At first they nicknamed me ‘legs.’ And after awhile they saw I was a really good at DB sticking to the older receivers. Then it was ‘shoot, he has the webs.’ They said they’re going to call me Spider as it matched up with my body frame.

“Ever since then, it stuck.”

His coaches, friends, reporters, teammates, teachers, and father call him Spider, sometimes. All except his mother; she won't go there.

This is a serious nickname, the kind of nickname that probably would have graced Keith Jackson's phraseology back in the day. The prospect of chyron deploying it is high, and since it conjures up the vision of an all-limbs daddy longlegs cornerback webbing his foes it promises to be one of Michigan's most significant nicknames in recent history.

Also he has Resting Ojemudia face.


Unlike Ojemudia, there are various pictures of Sims smiling on the internet. But still!

For the nickname to count, really count, Sims will have to break through; fortunately for him—and us—that seems relatively likely. Sims enters as the prize catch in Michigan's five-DB group, a heavily pursued Georgia star with offers from virtually the whole South save Alabama and the bonus no-red-flags contingent of Duke, Notre Dame and Stanford. Much of the stuff in his scouting is the same things we've seen in the four previous posts

…6-foot-3 defensive back prospect with a very long wing span and playmaking ability featuring sure hands. An interesting prospect because he possesses the length, foot quickness, loose hips and size that college coaches covet to play cornerback without elite speed, he could be more suited to play safety long term with his combination of length, range and ability to close on the ball quickly from hash mark to boundary.

only moreso

Sims is a long and rangy defensive back with the ability to play cornerback or free safety on the next level. With Sims, what stands out immediately is his frame and length. He covers a lot of ground and he can get his hands on a lot of footballs in coverage. He is still thin, so he needs to add mass and strength, but that should come in time. In coverage, he is best when playing off coverage. He can still improve his quickness in short space. He has great body control, he can make plays on the ball and he is a very smart defensive back in coverage. His tackling is solid.

…and so forth

He has the speed and the length, you can't throw over him and it's hard to get behind him too. He has good ball skills. He can run a go route, get a jump ball in the red zone. That's easy for him.

…and this is also you know a thing

"Obviously he’s a long kid and he brings a lot of size to the cornerback position, which allows him to play aggressively, and that makes it hard for guys to get the ball over his head," Reid said. "He’s a very heady player to go along with his ability. He’s very smart and has an extremely high football IQ. He’s just an asset to have on any football team."

…and so on. Sims comes with fewer questions due to his health, camp attendance, rankings, offer list, and level of competition. In addition to being at a school that regularly sends prospects to P5 schools, Sims got to the finals of the Opening, was selected to the UA game, and even hit up one of the Rivals-only camps they run. (He was invited to their version of the Opening but apparently did not attend.)

[After THE JUMP: long ranginess]


Spring Practice Presser 4-12-18: Mike Zordich

Spring Practice Presser 4-12-18: Mike Zordich Comment Count

Adam Schnepp April 13th, 2018 at 10:05 AM

36963715862_f3118886c0_z (1)

[Bryan Fuller]

[Ed. A- So my wife and I had a baby a week ago and since then I think of sleep like I used to think of vacations, like, “Oh, that would be nice to do someday.” Last night I caffeinated just in time for the baby to actually fall asleep, so I had a chance to transcribe this. Huge thanks to Orion Sang for passing along the audio.]

How’s your group look?

“Our group looks good. The guys that are out there are working their tails off and pleased with the progress.”

So you’re not going to come here and do what you did last camp?

[laughs] “We’re just gonna talk about the guys that are out there practicing, getting better, how about that? That fair enough to say?

“Yeah, but Ambry Thomas, B. Watson, David Long, then you got a young guy in Myles Sims who still should be in high school, he’s our here working his tail off getting better, so it’s been promising. Then Hunter Reynolds, a walk-on, really getting better, so it’s been good for ‘em.”

You mentioned Ambry Thomas. What’s the biggest difference in him from year one to year two?

“He is very comfortable now. We were just talking about it over there about maturity level. You know, last year we were so young and now all the sudden these guys have had some playing experience and it has helped them, and so that’s last year and now you’re walking into a new year and just much more confident. And things are slower for them, and he’s been really improved. [Inaudible] with the ones quite a bit, so he’s been showing up a bunch.”

If he’s been working with the ones does that mean maybe that Vert moves into the inside? Are you guys messing around with those combinations there?

“Well, yeah, you know, Vert hasn’t practiced, so he’s losing valuable time, unfortunately for him. But it allows Brandon Watson to continue to get better, Ambry THomas to get better, David Long to get better, and as I mentioned Hunter and Myles. So, it’s great for those guys. They’re just growing by leaps and bounds.”

Why hasn’t Hill practiced?

“He’s got an issue with his hips or his groin. Trying to figure that out.”

[After THE JUMP: who’s rising, who’s out, and where guys might end up]


Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown

Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 28th, 2018 at 9:01 AM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A- Thanks to Isaiah Hole for sending along video so I could transcribe this, as I wasn’t able to be there due to some medical issues in my family]

“How’s everybody doin’? We good? Doin’ great. I think. Forty-one years, so…still rollin’. We’re three practices in. Two good ones in no pads. Lot of learning, lot of football being digested. As you know here, that’s what we do.

“Can’t say enough good things about Herb[ert] and the strength staff. Really gave us a really solid group of guys in terms of cardiovascular and bigger, stronger, faster, and just glad to be back with my guys.

“Been doing this a long time. This might be if not the fastest then one of the fastest groups I’ve ever been around, so pretty excited about it. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things to work on but we’ll get there. There’s no question in my mind.”

With Devin and Khaleke, can you talk about some of those guys that are challenging the other guys at linebacker?

“Well, let me just say this, okay? This Devin Bush Jr.? Special guy now, okay? That’s all I’m gonna say. There’s a private story, but this guy stayed with his team. He could have easily checked out for three or four days and everybody would have understood and he didn’t. So, I think we’re talking about a guy whose character is completely off the charts.

“This Khaleke Hudson is playing at a tremendous level a year ago, and I think he’s a much better cover guy right now. He’s playing at a much faster rate. He should go kiss Ben Herbert on the lips because he’s helped him tremendously.

“This Josh Ross is gonna be a dude. He’s gonna be a really good player. Drew Singleton will be a very good player. Noah Furbush, his arrow is so far up from a year ago. I’m just very excited about where he is. Glasgow, we made the move from Viper behind Khaleke, took the slot coverage off his plate, and that’s helped him improve.

[I had to split this in the middle of an answer which tells you a lot about the quality of the responses after THE JUMP]


Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 24th, 2018 at 9:14 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

What are your impressions after day one?

“Uh, good. Good day. The team is…it’s a rejuvenated team. And I like the way they’ve really trained over the last two-and-a-half months and getting back on the field was great today.”

Rejuvenated in what way?

“Just attitude, confidence, there was a bounce in their step, and it’s been good. It’s been good over the last weeks, months, and great to get back started on the field.”

I know it’s only been one day, but what did you think of Shea [Patterson]?

“Um, did good. Did a good job. As did a lot of guys, you know. And for a first day, I mean, it was…guys had studied. Guys, you know, it wasn’t the first time they’d thought about the plays or the defensive calls or the punt protections. Guys came out and had a high level of understanding and there was good execution [for a] first day.”

Do you have an update on Shea’s timeline with regard to eligibility or when you might hear something from the NCAA?


Are you hopeful or what do you think?

“I don’t have an update.”

When you go through, because you don’t have an update and you don’t know, do you go through just a normal progression with him and say ‘You’re going to get these reps’ and then the other guys the same way? Do you just go with it thinking that okay, yeah, we will have him?

“Uh, the reps are being evenly distributed amongst the quarterbacks.”

Is Grant Newsome able to practice yet?


He can do anything with the team right now?

“He’s working out, he’s conditioning, but he’s not at the point to come back and practice with the team.”

I think you said Grant Perry’s also limited on the radio. Is there anybody else besides those two that’s not going to be full go by spring ball?

“Yeah. Luiji [Vilain], Jameson Offerdahl, there’s a few. And then Ty Wheatley, looks like he fractured the metacarpal [Ed. A- metatarsal] in his foot today, so he’ll be out for all of spring ball but back for the season.”

[After THE JUMP: out-of-the-gate leaders, some O-line clarity, and RPOh no]


Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part II: Defense

Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part II: Defense Comment Count

Seth March 2nd, 2018 at 10:22 AM


Very different types of 3-stars [Eric Upchurch, 2013]

This is take two (take one got deleted) of Part II of my attempt to put the recruiting rankings of this year’s commits in context within the ~500 previous Michigan commits we have Part I: The Offense lives here.

Since the last one I’ve been dealing with a health thing. In fact I’m writing this from the hospital, where they’ve had me holed up since last Friday. Between tests, consultations, vitals, and literally almost 100 needle pokes into my vascular system, I’ve had time to complete a substantial update to my roster database, which now goes all the way back to Gary Moeller’s first year, plus some long overdue tweaks to how I value position and regional rankings.*

I’ve also been playing around with interactive charts on Tableau:


Click to get to the chart since I can’t figure out how to get embedding to work yet. I’m new at these so bear with me as I learn.

* [Methodology for stat nerds: I averaged the 247 composites of each rank for each position, then plotted it on a graph and used the logarithmic formula]




Young Wormley was 70 percent potential, 30 percent hair [Upchurch/Bryan Fuller]

After Michigan loaded up with linemen last year and secured two one of the top DEs for 2019, they could afford to get picky in 2018. They still got one potentially immediate contributor and two excellent choices for sleepers of the class. Aiden Hutchinson got a late ratings bump from the sites which pushed him up from a near-perfect Ryan Van Bergen comp to “not just a four star” range.


The only relatively recent guy Michigan captured in this range was Craig Roh, but if Rivals hadn’t been so contrarian with Wormley I think that would be your closest comp. 247 was the highest on Wormley and came out about the same on Hutchinson’s kid. He’s supposed to be coming in to play defense but if you want to project him at guard, well, here’s the closest comp:


We have to scroll down to the mid 3-stars for Taylor Upshaw and Julius Welschof:


Note that’s not “generic three star” like Greg Brooks/Rondell Biggs, but neither is it “just missed a fourth star” like Carlo Kemp and Jibreel Black. As I said, I love the potential with both of these guys. Upshaw is the son of an NFL player who didn’t start playing football until recently. Welschof is a German athletic freak and mogul skiier who gathered a lot of interest from the big-time schools he camped at. The recruiters were always playing catch-up there too. Rivals didn’t take to Welschof—otherwise the sites placed them in the same range as some other position-switchers or needs-to-gain-weight types with high ceilings to unwrap in a few years.

Defensive end is a position where the talent apparent in high school translates more directly to an NFL career:


(and that’s totally the reason I showed this)

Fortunately for our hopes here the only guy from the three-star bin considered an athlete on the level of Upshaw and Welschof was Shelton Johnson, and his career crumbled for off-field reasons.

[After THE JUMP: used to be better before I had to rewrite all of it]



Friday Recruitin' Feels The Mood

Friday Recruitin' Feels The Mood Comment Count

Ace August 4th, 2017 at 3:32 PM

Part one of this week's two-part roundup, covering the recent commits, can be found here.

Official Offers Out: Sims Enrolling Early

full res photo here

August 1st was the first day written scholarship offers could go out to the class of 2018. You can see what Michigan's formal offers look like above; over the last couple years they've added the "we expect you to continue to strive for excellence" section as an explicit defense against another Erik Swenson situation.

Offer day came with some news this year: four-star GA CB Myles Sims will take advantage of the new early signing period and sign on December 21st, getting Michigan their top defensive back commit on campus for spring ball.

In other commit news, four-star MI DE Aidan Hutchinson announced yesterday he was selected for the Army All-American Bowl.

After last weekend's BBQ at the Big House, Michigan's odds of holding onto four-star IN OG Emil Ekiyor have improved. Following a recent visit to Alabama, Ekiyor said he'd eventually decide between the Wolverines and the Tide, and it sounded like it might be a coin-flip. He told 247's Isaiah Hole, however, that he's simply covering his bases:

While there's still a long ways to go until Signing Day, Ekiyor reaffirmed that he's taking visits as part of an exploratory process, but that he remains firmly committed to Michigan.

“Michigan is definitely the place that I want to be," Ekiyor said. "But I'm also (taking visits) just to make sure that I'm not being blind to another place, just because I feel so good about Michigan.”

It helps that a fellow Indianapolis native, four-star LB Cameron McGrone, joined the class on Monday. Ekiyor told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown he's "really excited to get up there" and join McGrone (plus Hoosier state products Chris Evans and Brandon Peters) in Maize and Blue:

"It makes you feel more comfortable with everybody up there," Ekiyor said. "We already know each other from being in the same city. You get more people from Indy supporting you too because basically all of the best players are heading to Michigan. It just gives you a level of being comfortable."

While Michigan will have to sweat out more visits, Ekiyor's commitment looks to be firmer than we believed last week.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]


Thursday Recruitin' Reels In A Big One

Thursday Recruitin' Reels In A Big One Comment Count

Ace July 6th, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Quite A Catch

Five-star 2019 GA DE Chris Hinton has an important announcement to make:

oh, did you think I meant

ah, yeah, I can see why you'd think that

my bad, everyone

The Opening: Michigan Commits

Sam Webb and Josh Newkirk recap The Opening.

Nike's elite invite-only camp, The Opening, took place last weekend, and pretty much the entirety of this post will be devoted to the post-camp fallout. Michigan had four commits participate: guard Emil Ekiyor, running back Christian Turner, and defensive backs Myles Sims and Gemon Green.

Ekiyor, who was feeling a bit scrappy, had a strong weekend, earning an invite to the Army All-American Game. He showed a lot of progress in pass protection, according to TMI's Josh Newkirk, and excelled in the run-blocking portion on day two, earning a top performer nod from 247's Steve Wiltfong:

Michigan center commit Emil Ekiyor flashed athletically in offensive line drills and come the competition portion showed he can bang with the very best. He defeated Ohio State five-star defensive tackle commit Taron Vincent in a run blocking 1-on-1 drill and impressed overall with his strength and feet at the point of attack. The 247Sports Composite ranks Ekiyor as the nation’s No. 4 offensive guard but he moves to center as a senior this fall.

Ekiyor's ability to play center may further explain why Michigan hasn't gone after in-state four-star Tyrone Sampson; between Cesar Ruiz and Ekiyor, that position is well-stocked for the future, and both of those guys are better-suited to sliding over to guard than Sampson.

Sims showed that while he's considered a safety by many due to his length, he's got the fluidity to play corner. TMI's Gene Hankerson:

Michigan cornerback commit Myles Sims had a really good day.  You can’t miss him, because the kid is freakishly long and lengthy.  I watched Sims during drills, and was surprised with how fluid his hips were in and out of breaks.  He transferred that over to the 1 on 1’s where for the most part he ran stride for stride with receivers and broke up several passes.

247's Keith Neibuhr added that Sims "seemed to be in the right place a lot."

Green also made life tough on opposing quarterbacks. While I can't find any clips of him posted to Twitter, he made 247's top performers list for Texas prospects:

One of the most underrated recruits in the state, Green was extremely impressive today. The Michigan commit played shallow for his team and didn’t allow anything underneath. Green finished the day with four pass breakups and also notched a big interception.

Finally, Turner showed some wiggle in the Make 'Em Miss drill:

It was otherwise a quiet weekend for him, as the entire running back group was held in check by an impressive group of linebackers, per 247's Hank South:

Michigan commit Christian Turner looked good running routes, but didn’t show much in the 1-on-1 portion. Again, the linebacker corps dominated the entire running back position as a whole on the night.

On the plus side, at least one of said linebackers looks like a good bet to join Turner in the class.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]


Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere

Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere Comment Count

Ace June 19th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

Happy Trails: Tyler Shough

Four-star AZ QB Tyler Shough had long been expected to join Joe Milton in Michigan's class, to the point it was unclear who was running second behind the Wolverines, but quarterback recruiting has a way of turning on a dime. That happened last week, when Shough committed to North Carolina shortly after visiting Chapel Hill.

With Milton already in the class, this was a miss Michigan could afford. At the same time, it makes Milton a bit more of a risk if he's the only QB in the class; while Milton is a boom-or-bust project, Shough is more polished and has a higher floor. While Shough had maintained that Milton's presence in the class wasn't a factor, Steve Lorenz's notes on the commitment suggest otherwise:

I'm told he felt that UNC was a better fit from a football sense than Michigan, which can basically be translated to earlier playing time opportunities being available.

As of now, there's still a possibility Michigan looks to take a second in 2018. The A4 camp on Saturday got a lot more interesting all of a sudden.

Unfortunately, Saturday's A4 quarterback camp didn't provide alternative options, and Jim Harbaugh at least indirectly blamed the new Individual Associated With Prospects rule, which prevented Michigan from even trying to bring in the star-studded coaching lineup of years past to work the camp:

“That’s the landscape we have,” Harbaugh said. “Even pro players, you have to do a complete background search on who do they know that is already on our team or we could be recruiting. So we stayed away, just college coaches and our players.” ...

“Yeah, I think it’s silly and ridiculous,” Harbaugh said of the rule. “It’s been that way for 50 years that high school coaches can work camps and college coaches could go work camps at high schools. It’s always been that way. Drastic change.”

While the other recruiting rule changes were steps in the right direction, the IAWP rule is as much of an ill-conceived disaster as expected.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]


Monday Recruitin' Picks Up The Phone

Monday Recruitin' Picks Up The Phone Comment Count

Brian April 10th, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Hello... hello?

Myles 2


If you missed it, the hello post for GA CB/S Myles "Spider" Sims is up as Michigan continues its march to the sea. Sims is a lanky defensive back who could be a Jeremy Clark-esque corner or a safety with some man to man chops, a la Delano Hill. His coach:

"Obviously he’s a long kid and he brings a lot of size to the cornerback position, which allows him to play aggressively, and that makes it hard for guys to get the ball over his head," Reid said. "He’s a very heady player to go along with his ability. He’s very smart and has an extremely high football IQ."

Any time you have a guy with his frame people wonder if he can stick at corner; early returns are St-Justian in their shuttle-y goodness:

It will be tough to find a defensive back with a similar frame to the 6-foot-2 1/2, 173-pound Sims that has the same amount of quickness and length in the 2018 class.

The young man is nicknamed spider because of his outstanding wingspan. Sims has some unique qualities when you talk about the four-star's frame and ability to move, highlighted by a 4.00 shuttle at the recent Nike Football The Opening Regional in Atlanta.

I'd almost rather have him at safety since Michigan has recruited corners exceptionally well the last few years and it was a tremendous luxury for last year's #1 defense to be able to slide Hill down over a slot receiver when opponents would use motion in an attempt to unbalance them.


And don't put that keyboard down yet, Ace: Michigan might be getting another Georgian in short order. GA RB Christian Turner just took a Midwest swing through ND, Michigan, MSU, and Wisconsin. The swing promises to be decisive in his recruitment:

“I think I’d like to be committed by the end of the summer,” said Turner, who will have a better idea of things after this trip. “It’s not like it has to be that way, but if I feel comfortable with the school, I’ll make it this summer and shut it down.”

Given the radical shift in his crystal ball from Notre Dame to Michigan that happened shortly after his visit, that decision might be coming sooner rather than later. Knocking Tom Loy off an ND crystal ball is usually the sign of an imminent decision in someone else's favor.

Turner seems underrated; at about 500th on the composite he's out of even 3.5* range despite a heated Michigan-ND recruiting battle. The Mathlete has a rankings-by-offers system that has Turner 161st nationally, FWIW. Offers are inherently amorphous and this should be taken lightly; still an indication that recruiting sites might be doing a bit of catching up on him.

Quarterback board goes from two to three


Michigan's offered 3.5* AZ QB Tyler Shough, a 3* type with one top-250 vote from 247. Shough immediately fielded three crystal ball picks to M, and says he and his family are Michigan fans:

"Huge opportunity, I am very excited," Shough said. "Grew up a Wolverines fan."

Shough's father was born in Michigan.

"We have always loved them," he said.

Michigan is Shough's first big offer. This does mean that Michigan is at least uncertain about their shot at 4* NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson; it probably doesn't mean much more than that because DTRs recruitment is going to wrap up in the next few weeks. Shough won't have an opportunity to jump the line since he's unlikely to get to campus before that happens.

If Michigan hits the proverbial dinger on the visit, as they often do these days, they get DTR and no problem. If not, they'll take a shot at 3.5* FL QB Joe Milton, who will also be on campus this weekend. If Milton is not swayed from Florida, his currently projected destination, Shough is now a heavy favorite to be the QB in this class.

Instate OL class is loaded

MI OL Jalen Mayfield got a huge bump from 247 after they took in the local Opening camp at which Mayfield performed. He went from a generic three star to the #105 kid in the country:

He's only 255 pounds but Jalen Mayfield has a big future in front of him. At 6-foot-5.5, we're betting he grows into that frame and maintains his athleticism and more importantly his toughness and mean streak. He's now got a 93 rating and is ranked as the No. 105 player in the country. Michigan is considered the favorite.

Greg Frey's favorite thing to do is to take 255 pound dudes and make them into Dan Feeney or Taylor Lewan, so Mayfield is a terrific fit for Michigan's new OT/TE coach. A recent visit to MSU probably won't matter; Mayfield will return to campus for the spring game. He recently reiterated to Josh Newkirk that he plans on deciding at the end of the summer; he's got a loose top four of M, MSU, PSU, and Iowa.

Mayfield (and instate #1 Ryan Hayes) might end up squeezing out MI OL Antwan Reed, who recently told Rivals that he had a top three of Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Penn State. That's despite a relative lack of contact between Michigan and Reed:

“I haven’t really been in contact with the Michigan coaches since I’ve been back from IMG,” he said. “I might be heading there in a couple of weeks for a visit so I can reconnect with everybody – maybe over spring break."

Reed is a high upside prospect because he's super young:

Ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 19 offensive tackle, Reed is just 16 years old and won’t see his birthday till October. He’s just a pup with tremendous upside.

If Michigan isn't involved with him much they must feel very good about the rest of their OL board.

That sentence applies equally to MI OL Tyrone Sampson Jr, who continues to impress mightily:

1. Tyrone Sampson Jr., center – This is the second consecutive event that Sampson has not just impressed but dominated. He won't need to attend anymore because he earned his ticket to The Opening Finals on Sunday. Sampson is a making an argument as the best center in the country.

Many ominous things have been happening to the Michigan State football program over the last year, but #2 has to be guys like Donovan Johnson, Sampson, and Reed apparently escaping state borders without even token resistance from MSU. Or maybe #3. Or #4. Definitely top five. Somewhere between #3 and #9, surely.

More 2019 ratings, related grudgingly

247 came out with a full set of top 250 rankings for the 2019 class, causing the inevitable waves of panic as guys who were identified really early drop, sometimes dramatically. This is not because anyone changed their opinion; it's because a bunch more guys were IDed. Like MI CB Marvin Grant, for instance. He ended up #100, shoving everyone below him down a notch.

Anyway, the 2019 in-state crop looks like it will be a bumper one on par with the 2017 class, and Michigan is an early favorite to lock it down like they did DPJ and company. Members of the top 247:

  • #55 OL Devontae Dobbs
  • #88 OL Logan Brown
  • #98 WR Julian Barnett
  • #100 CB Marvin Grant
  • #159 DT Mazi Smith
  • #167 RB Jaren Mangham

While the class lacks a five star headliner at the moment that might not last much longer than it takes 247 to update Dobbs's rating:

2. Devontae Dobbs, offensive tackle – In Dobbs, I think we're looking at a potential five-star offensive tackle in the class of 2019. He has some reactive quickness that most tackles lack and his feet are outstanding. He's on his way to becoming a premier name in the rising junior class.

Another 2019 at that camp, albeit not an instate one, was IN DT Jacob Lacey:

1. Jacob Lacey, defensive tackle – He may not turn any heads walking in the door but when the ball is snapped, Lacy shows some really unique athleticism, powerful hands and the ability to flip his hips to beat offensive linemen. He was probably the most consistently effective defender of the day and he's only a class of 2019 prospect.

Lacey has a crystal ball heavily leaning to ND but recently told 247 that he'll be in Ann Arbor on Thursday despite not having an offer.

Also amongst instate guys of interest: MI CB MJ Griffin will visit this weekend. Early Indiana and Iowa State offers may indicate a gentleman whose recruitment will take off.


In not at all grudgingly related 2019 news, "Litchfield Ajavon" is either a crazy Orange Is The New Black/Wire mashup or a 40 year old man given magic powers to play high school football.

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Either way dude is a high priority for name aficionados. He says he's got "very high" interest in Michigan, his first offer. He's probably a DB. Or a prison? I need to be able to say someone has been sent to Litchfield after a particularly salty pass breakup. Memories of Leviticus Payne still linger, mournfully.

Side note: dude was teammates with Luiji Vilain, which offers Michigan a link with him and holy God the names on that team.


3* OH LB Brian Asamoah took a visit to Michgian, said it "opened his eyes." May be upwardly mobile after a standout Opening combine in Cleveland; probably has to wait on Dallas Gant's decision before he'll be a take.

The aforementioned Logan Brown will make a spring game visit.

4* MD OL Rasheed Walker lands an offer.