Exit O'Maury Samuels

Exit O'Maury Samuels Comment Count

Brian December 12th, 2018 at 1:24 PM

Per Steve Lorenz, O'Maury Samuels has been booted:

Samuels got scattered carries as a backup the past couple years as Michigan had crowded backfields. Karan Higdon's departure was going to open the door for a third player to join presumed platoon members Chris Evans and Tru Wilson; Samuels's departure removes an option.

Christian Turner, Zach Charbonnet, and maybe Hassan Haskins (who played some linebacker) or Michael Barrett (who's practiced at both viper and slot receiver but was a hell of a running QB in high school) will now vie for those snaps. Turner looked slippery and tough to bring down in some cameo snaps this year; Charbonnet is flying up recruiting lists and might end up a five-star.

Comments

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2018 at 4:46 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumbSPONSOR 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). Food trucks, beer, TVs, and also those things. When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: A bit more balanced, with Michigan going shotgun (or pistol) on about 40 snaps and under center on the other 30. All murderback snaps were three TE ace sets:

mason form

Nebraska stuck in a 3-4 with their line shaded to the run strength for most of the day, frequently adding their strong safety into the box after starting him from the gray area.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Patterson, then McCaffrey and Peters at QB. No Milton, boo. At RB Higdon a clear #1, Wilson a clear #2, and Samuels sprinkled in on a couple carries before garbage time. By the middle of the third it was Samuels and a debuting Christian Turner. Mason got some run at RB, obviously. Jared Wangler got some backup FB snaps.

Collins and DPJ your primary outside WRs with a healthy dose of Oliver Martin, who stayed out there deep into the game. Ronnie Bell got a bunch of second-half snaps; Ambry Thomas got three total. TE the usual with maybe a little more Eubanks because of the 3TE sets and garbage time. Redshirt freshman walk-on Carter Selzer got snaps in the fourth quarter, which is a definitive statement that Schoonmaker and Muhammad are redshirting.

OL was the usual on both first and second units, except that Michigan brought in Andrew Vastardis at C after one drive and bumped Stephen Spanellis out to RG. Stueber and Paea got the last drive.

[After THE JUMP: down G over and over]

Comments

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

9/22/2018 – Michigan 56, Nebraska 10 – 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten

In the aftermath of an implausible beatdown there is always a race to identify the most emblematic stat of the day. I have participated. I have scoured the box score. I have consulted with the learned elders. This one takes the cake. Prepare thyself. Ensconce. All right: Adrian Martinez had 22 passing yards with a long of 32.

You rn:

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Those 32 yards came when a hunted Martinez hurled a 500 ball skyward that one of his receivers was accidentally in position to come back to. Michigan was one arm punt away from a statistic that would implode the fundamental nature of football. Alas.

At least they won? And Martinez finished with negative total yards?

--------------------------

The strangest thing about a game like this is how the goalposts move in the middle of the first quarter. If Nebraska had been moderately feisty and the defensive tackles had been a major factor in a 3.0 YPC day from the Cornhusker ground game, we'd be talking about how they passed a major test against a couple of senior guards who Big Ten coaches thought were pretty good. Instead Michigan held Nebraska's top three backs to ten yards total.

Nebraska now proves nothing. It might prove something later, if the tough-luck Nebraska that outgained Colorado by 150 yards but conspired to lose thanks to Laviska Shenault making absurd plays re-emerges. If Michigan also continues looking like a juggernaut instead of the sad mess that took on Notre Dame, this game will be retroactively upgraded from "accidentally played another MAC team" to the turning point when the Warinner hit and the corner got turned.

For now this was the sort of game where your sack celebration is ripping out and eating your own heart, because nothing else is going to be a challenge.

Precisely calibrating exactly how much to take from an unexpected hamblasting of a Big Ten team is far more pleasant than many things you can do after a football game. But we have been here before. With the exception of last year Harbaugh's Michigan teams have paved lower-tier teams flat. This is good! This tends to fling you up very far in predictive ranking systems. Michigan is now 5th in S&P+, like they seemingly always are, and S&P+ is designed to tell you who will win football games in the future. Paving people flat is a characteristic of very good football teams that win many games and leave you with a rich satisfied feeling that we are assured is something football fans can feel after the conclusion of a season.

But because of Certain Events and Certain Circumstances Leading To Third-String Quarterbacks all that feels hollow even if you're gripping onto the random, bloody-minded universe theory with everything you've got. We've been taught that paving folks doesn't correlate with winning the games that might cause the most annoying people in the universe to shut up for at least three seconds. That's not rational, but it sure as hell is sports.

The goalposts are going to keep moving until someone, probably Devin Bush, tackles them and glues them to the floor. Michigan has one more friendly double-digit spread next week against Northwestern, and then we get to play the games that will determine your state of mind, and, perhaps most importantly, the tenor of the takes we will have to endure for eight months of barren, dumb offseason.

Have fun storming the castle! Or paving it! Please pave it.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. Bush's main accomplishment was getting up to nine tackles on a day where Michigan's constant rotation and Nebraska's inability to stay on the field spread defensive stats incredibly thin. Michigan's next highest tackler had four; 12 different guys had TFLs. Bush had 2.5 of his own, a sack, and got sideline to sideline to blow up Nebraska's perimeter run game. He is reaching the Mo Hurst level where he is so consistently excellent it's hard to find new talking points about him.

#2 Rashan Gary. Just a half of play from him but it was a monster half. He's got his own section below. Felt terrifying in the way we were hoping he would before the season.

#3 Karan Higdon. The holes were there for him. He took advantage. His power was welcome after some YAC struggles last week, and if he hits the open field he'll outrun a lot of angles. Also he was the only offensive player to, like, feature.

Honorable mention: Will Hart is gonna get on the board if Michigan ever punts six times in a game. DPJ had a punt return TD. The tackles didn't give up a pressure? Is that true? I think it might be. The 10 guys with TFLs not mentioned.

KFaTAotW Standings.

4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU), Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

You gotta put some style points on it.

Honorable mention: The first half.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Khaleke Hudson is ejected on a dubious targeting call and will miss the first half against Northwestern.

Honorable mention: Injury worries for Gary, who was holding his shoulder, and Kwity Paye. Harbaugh passes on a potential program-record field goal. Four commercial breaks in the first eight minutes of gametime.

[After THE JUMP: Ol' Murderback]

Comments

Spring Practice Presser 3-29-18: Jay Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-29-18: Jay Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 30th, 2018 at 9:02 AM

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[Bryan Fuller]

[Ed. A- Thank you once again to 247’s Isaiah Hole for getting me video so I can still transcribe even when doctors’ appointments keep me from being there]

“Alright, what’s up?”

Four practices in. How would you characterize the start of spring practice?

“Lot of energy. Improving on the execution from where we started to where we’re trying to get to. Every practice has been better, but I think the guys are really taking to it well and really competing with the defense at a high level.”

What have you seen from Karan [Higdon] and Chris [Evans] specifically?

“Doing a great job. Just exactly what you’d expect from them. They’re taking all the parts of their game that needed detail or polish and they’re doing that. Every day it’s one less mistake and really turning in a great spring thus far.”

Could you elaborate on some of those parts of their game?

“The rare double question. Protection-wise, they’re both improving. Route detail in terms of the top routes, details that typically running backs don’t get to just because they don’t have the time. Those guys are exceptional athletes and as we work them in empty packages and coming out of the backfield, they can handle a lot of detail in their technique like a receiver would, so continuing to hone those skills has been nice to see.”

You mentioned that they’ve gotten better at pass protection. How have they evolved since you took over the position in pass protection?

“They’re both super tough. Just getting them to play with the technique that we’re looking for and it’s really, from right now to like if you compared it to last spring it’s significantly better, and even these four practices have been incrementally better.”

[After THE JUMP: the punctilious pursuit of pass protection perfect, Ben Mason two-way murderball comin’, and an offense as a living organism]

Comments

This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable

This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable Comment Count

Seth June 14th, 2017 at 4:04 PM

image

[Bryan Fuller]

The Question:

Who’s gonna redshirt?

The Responses:

Brian: We should get the obvious redshirts out of the way: McCaffrey, Taylor, Paea, Honigford, Hall, Paye, Hawkins, and probably St-Juste, I think?

Seth: I figured we'd go down the positions. QB is obvious. Running backs?

Brian: We should just set aside the obvious play and obvious sits and talk about the rest. Obvious plays are Black, DPJ, Solomon, Hudson, Woods, JKP.

Ace: Vilain.

Seth: Ambry?

Ace: Not so sure on Ambry. He’s a twig.

Seth: So is JKP but I'm looking at a depth chart.

Brian: Watson and Washington exist.

Adam: JKP is not a twig in the same way as Ambry. I think Ambry sees the field in a "break glass in case of emergency" scenario.

Brian: We're doing the post before the post.

Ace: I think this is the post.

Brian: Oh.

Seth: We're in the post...right now.

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This is now, now.

Ace: Was there anyone worth debating in my obvious sits list?

Brian: No.

[After THE JUMP: When will then be now?]

------------------------------

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' Isn't Even Trying To Pronounce That

Tuesday Recruitin' Isn't Even Trying To Pronounce That Comment Count

Brian January 24th, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Martin cuts the brakes on his recruitment, leaps from van soon

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IA WR Oliver Martin did not make a visit to Ohio State last weekend; he's got a couple visits left but people think he's just taking the one this weekend. "Flight issues" were cited, as they usually are; we'll see if that's accurate or not when Martin ends up on someone's campus this weekend. OSU, Auburn, Florida, and Michigan are all vying for that visit. If it's Michigan that would be a very good sign since he's already been on campus. Somewhere else would not be the death knell.

FWIW, Lorenz reports that Martin's recruitment has evolved into quite the wildcard:

Based on who I've talked to, there are three different coaching staffs who believe they are going to sign Martin in Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State.

Michigan State thinks a lot of things, I'm sure. It's a luxury to be (mostly) competing with teams that went 4-8 and 3-9 this fall, which Notre Dame and Michigan State did. Go 4-8 and 3-9. Those were their records. That they had. This year.

Losing both Martin and GA WR Nico Collins (who has gone radio silent) would be a bummer, but one that takes an A+ class down to an A-.

Gay still fairly mysterious

Relatively good news in the recruitment of MS LB Willie Gay: after his LSU visit there is still uncertainty about where he'll end up. As per usual, Team X Is Confident:

"I think the coaches at LSU feel great about landing him but no one seems to truly know what he's going to do," Scarborough explained.

Wiltfong:

LSU is battling local Mississippi State and Michigan for the Starkville (Miss.) High standout, and while Tigers sources feel good here, no question this one could still go a few different directions.

Lorenz reports that "multiple members" of Gay's camp are in Michigan's corner, however, and Michigan can really hammer home the certainty they provide when Harbaugh goes in home. Gay knows he'll play early at Michigan. He knows the defense has a spot that is perfect for him. He knows that Don Brown and his five-year contract will be there for the duration of his career. By God, if Michigan can't get Willie Gay out of Mississippi they'll never get anyone.

Becton VT trend?

A bunch of crystal balls for VA OL Mekhi Becton to Virginia Tech came in after his official visit. Tim Sullivan:

"Virginia Tech made a huge move," Sullivan said. "He's not going to commit soon but confidence is very high in Blacksburg."

As mentioned in the previous recruitin' roundup, Becton has people all over the place as they try to project where he might end up. The sudden VT interest isn't good for Michigan's chances, but this is another one of those recruitments that is low on certainty. Harbaugh is going in-home today, so expect some pictures of him hitting some dingers with a baby strapped to him.

Inevitable decommit happens, less inevitable one probably doesn't

FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert made the obvious official by decommitting, throwing off some slightly upset comments as he did so. Given Herbert's previous quotes about how there was opportunity at Miami and/or Florida while he'd have to compete for time at Michigan, it sounds like some assistant got in his ear.

In happier news, NM RB O'Maury Samuels's visit did in fact happen and went well. Any concerns about in-class competition should be mitigated by Najee Harris and AJ Dillon heading elsewhere; Arizona is the only competition. That would be a stunner, to say the least.

While we're on the subject, some brief rumbles about CT OL Andrew Stueber possibly flipping to BC are unfounded.

Weird guy watch

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Michigan's been casting around for a fifth DB in the class and may have struck upon their guy: MA S Ifeatu Melifonwu, a Syracuse commit. Per Sam, Melifonwu is in town currently and is staying through Thursday. The vibe is that an offer will be followed by a flip.

Melifonwu is a deep cut New England recruit who is no doubt directly attributable to Don Brown's connections in the area. Specifically, Brown recruited Melifonwu's brother Obi to UConn. Ifeautu was a who-dat two star until recently, when 24/7 took a new look at his tape and bumped him into the low-to-mid three star range. (He's #874 if you want to get specific.) He's a true sleeper with a max of four articles on any of the sites, none of which scout him. Mostly they say "this person committed to Syracuse" in slightly different ways.

ESPNBoston comes in with the save:

Athleticism

Melifonwu ran a 4.58 in the 40 last year, so he has legitimate Division 1 speed. He plays even faster than that on tape. He moves well in space and he gets in and out of cuts with ease. Melifonwu is a long strider and he can accelerate quickly when running with or without the ball.

Ball Skills

Melifonwu is also a receiver, so the ball skills are evident on both sides of the ball. He can high point the ball one on one in coverage and he's strong with the ball in his hands. Melifonwu has long arms and a wide catch radius which enables him to win jump ball situations.

Bottom Line

Melifonwu has the size and the athleticism to be a productive press corner at the next level. Teams at the NFL and college level want corners with length that can jam and re-route receivers out of Cover 2. Melifonwu can do that and effectively support the run. The 40 time might not be ideal, but Melifonwu plays faster than his time and his athleticism is evident on tape. There no question that Melifonwu has the physical tools to be a multi-year starter at Syracuse.

Jeremy Clark-esque.

If Melifonwu is anything like his brother he'll be a steal. Obi redshirted and then was a four year starter at UConn, earning All AAC honors this year. He's set to get drafted, possibly very high:

Executive 2: UConn safety Obi Melifonwu
"The UConn safety is really intriguing. He's freaky athletic and he's going to put up big-time testing numbers. He'll run low 4.4s (in the 40-yard dash) and jump over 40 inches. He can play in the slot as well. Huge upside."

While everyone prefers bigger names with more proven ability, Melifonwu is deep in Don Brown's wheelhouse. I'll ride with him.

No other fringe names appear likely to surprise at this juncture. PA OL CJ Thorpe's visit to Ann Arbor was as pointless as it looked; he immediately reaffirmed to PSU. Lorenz reports that VA LB Ellis Brooks didn't get an in-home and Michigan isn't actively recruiting him.

The thing about fringe names is that you don't often know them until things suddenly happen; 50/50 another guy comes out of nowhere if Michigan has a spot late—and it looks like they will, especially since Jeremy Clark got screwed.

Etc.

Ryan Bartow recently told the USC board he's still sticking with his Michigan pick for GA DT Aubrey Solomon.

Comments

Monday Recruitin' Says Iuck Fllinois

Monday Recruitin' Says Iuck Fllinois Comment Count

Brian January 9th, 2017 at 12:43 PM

Happy trails, #1

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let's keep O'Maury Samuels plz

By now I don't have to tell you that 5* CA RB Najee Harris stuck with Alabama after the world's highest low-profile recruitment. While it would have been real nice to get the #1 recruit in the country in back-to-back years, Michigan is well stocked at running back for the next few years with Chris Evans, Karan Higdon, and redshirt freshmen Kareem Walker and Kingston Davis already on campus.

Losing AJ Dillon stings a bit more now; getting the slightly wobbly O'Maury Samuels to cease wobbling is a January key.

Ultimate crootin' comes to Aubrey Solomon

5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon arrived at the Army game proclaiming that Alabama had a "huge" lead; later he popped up on Periscope saying things that you usually read on people's shirts at away games. (Especially Illinois, for reasons that remain obscure.) Thus ended Michigan's long, strange recruitment of—

image

Er. That is a Ryan Bartow crystal ball in favor of Michigan entered on the seventh, which he explained thusly:

Per a source, Solomon reached out to his high school staff following the bowl game in San Antonio indicating he’s planning to commit to the Wolverines.

Solomon, per a source, indicated a similar message to Michigan’s staff later in the evening.

Bartow is a national 247 guy with the excellent track record you can see above. Most recently he was ahead of the curve on Isaiah Wilson's late shift to Georgia.

More detail? Sam Webb has extensive interviews with Solomon and his mother after The Periscope Event. Solomon himself was contrite...

“(Michigan is) one of my top schools,” he replied. “Bama is top, but Michigan is up there with Georgia too. So you never know.”

...and said that an upcoming official to USC was the last trip he'd take. Solomon's mother, meanwhile, has seemingly memorized everything about the official she and her son took this fall, and lists an If Momma Decided top three of Michigan, Georgia Tech(!), and Alabama. Lorenz, meanwhile, reports that he's been told Michigan "truly made progress" with Mrs. Caldwell on the official, which the interview confirms. Also that certain people in his camp aren't big fans of Alabama.

Extensive parental interviews with Sam are a good thing. So are Serious 247 Analyst crystal balls. Offsetting that good thing are some less than good things, but if you told me I'd be fairly optimistic about landing Solomon after last week I'd take that and run.

The stretch run

With the Army decisions out of the way, Michigan has 25 solid commits and approximately seven spots left in the class. The situation for everyone who's still on the board, has an offer, and has bothered to visit or schedule one:

  • NM RB O'Maury Samuels is scheduled for a mid-January official. If that comes off it's likely he sticks in the class. No other visits scheduled at this instant. WAG: 90% to stick.
  • UT RB Sione Heimuli-Lund has said he'll take an official sometime this month. He's said he'll official for months now and hasn't; he's definitely a Harbaugh guy. WAG: 2%.
  • GA WR Nico Collins has had Michigan at the top of his recruitment for months now, and visited on his own dime repeatedly. That's a recipe for getting a bit talent out of the South but Michigan has to dodge some officials. Wiltfong heard from a "source close to Clay-Chalkville" that Georgia is Michigan's biggest competition and that that source "thinks" it will eventually be UGA. That would be a kick in the nuts, not least because... (WAG: 50%)
  • ...IA WR Oliver Martin isn't mentioning Michigan any more in interviews, seemingly because Michigan ceased their pursuit. Webb and Lorenz were predicting Michigan removing itself before articles like the above started popping up, so that's probably what happened here. That only makes sense if they're extremely confident in Collins. We'll see. Martin only has one official set in January, that to MSU. Michigan could pop back up here. WAG: 10%
  • FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert has officials set up to Auburn, Miami, and Florida. He's been circumspect in interviews to the point where he doesn't seem like a commit, and Michigan's already had their shot. WAG: 30%.
  • FL OL/DT Tedarrell Slaton has named Florida his leader and Michigan is drifting away. Slaton told Josh Newkirk that he talks to Michigan "sometimes." He's been on campus but without a 180 this isn't happening; step one in that process is scheduling a January official. WAG: 0% without official, 30% with one.
  • GA DT Aubrey Solomon was extensively discussed above. WAG: lol don't even ask.
  • UT DT Jay Tufele is one of those guys who nobody has a good read on. He recently asserted to Scout that location doesn't matter, which means "recruit has been asked about location and given the standard answer." WAG: 33%.
  • MS LB Willie Gay may or may not have been screwin' around when he said he was headed to LSU; buzz there is "real" per Lorenz, but Michigan thinks they're very much in it. Per Sam, mom and aunt—who were with him on his official—are in Michigan's corner and pushing. Playing time seems to be key. Gay told Lorenz that it was "50/50" he would take an unofficial to Michigan in January. That would echo Rashan Gary and make everyone feel much better that one-time Michigan lead was going to stick. WAG: 40%.
  • CT CB Brandon Sebastian will take an official in January and a flip is on the table. WAG: 80%.
  • CA CB Elijah Hicks is going to stick with ND, I guess? Because Brian Kelly seems like a good idea right now? WAG: 10%.

I project 3 or 4 weird guy spots available.

Army bowl scouting

MI CB Ambry Thomas popped up periodically. He made Scout's East top five on Day two largely because he was able to contend with Peoples-Jones and "his length and speed makes him a tough defender for receivers to separate from."

MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones "explodes off the ball" per Brandon Brown—I haven't seen much national scouting from Rivals yet—and beat UGA commit Richard LeCounte deep because he had "no chance of running with Peoples-Jones." Scout put him in a top five because he "regularly showed the ability to stretch the field vertically." Lorenz reported that he "did what he was supposed to do" to maintain his spot as the #1 WR on the composite.

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CT WR Tarik Black "flashed a bunch" per 247 and made the East top 5 on Scout because he's a "smooth athlete with a big catch radius" who "really stood out in a strong receiver group." Brown reported that he is the "most consistently effective receiver" on his team because he's not just a big body:

His ability to quickly get downfield at the snap allowed him to easily eat up the cushion of the East cornerbacks, who spent much of the day playing off coverage. Black showed off an advanced understanding of how to use his stem and body movements to manipulate defenders. ...

What was most impressive during today’s practice was Black’s speed, which does not show up on film as well as it did during today’s practice. Black was able to run by several defenders on vertical routes, often gaining several steps on corners. He made a number of impressive plays, but one of his best was blowing past Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech cornerback Donovan Johnson on a go route.

We've been talking about how fast Johnson is for a couple months here, usually when we're wondering why MSU didn't bother offering him. For a 6'4" guy to blow by him is maybe a bit of a fluke but also impressive. Sam thought he was "the revelation" for Michigan fans at the Army game; Lorenz thought he was "really good" and had an argument to move up.

MI DT Deron Irving-Bey didn't come in for much notice nationally; Brown noted that after some early success against an ND commit Irving-Bey started to get predictable and lose reps. He was playing end, which I don't think is going to be his spot at Michigan. One dollar says he's a three tech, and his performance there is in "ask again later" territory. OTOH, he nearly earned a starting spot on his team per Sam because of his "speed off the edge."

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for some reason this picture makes me think Willie Gay is in a Coen brothers movie

In guys we hope are future commits, Solomon was praised for a "twitchy first step" and his strength by 247; after day one they named him the #2 guy on his team since he "split double teams with ease ... showing elite quickness and high energy." Scout talked up his "excellent get-off and close-quarters quickness".

Tufele was also one of the most-praised defensive linemen. 247: "the one defensive lineman that can beat you with quickness and power ... consistently the toughest West defender to slow down." A top performers take: "great quickness in interior one-on-ones and he shows big-time power in defeating run blocks." Scout: "most dominant interior defensive lineman in practice ... step is as quick as any one in this class and his got great strength to push his blockers off the ball."

Gay was named the "best pass game linebacker" by 247 because he's a "flash to the football" and is "the perfect nickel linebacker." In another of those top performers articles they asserted he is "maybe the most athletic linebacker in the country." A third 247 take: "outstanding first-move twitch, very fluid, great speed, rangy, has courage to stick his nose in against the run, made plays in the alley, was sound in drills, performed like a five-star." Lorenz further hinted he would get that bump in an Inside Michigan Recruiting.

Non-Army scouting

Brandon Brown talked with a Detroit King coach about Cass star and MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who sounds like another one of those hybrid types that are so critical for defending the spread:

"He’s ferocious against the run and can really tackle but he’s really good in coverage too. He’s a really strong kid. It’s great when you can have a guy who can cover in man, play in the zone, and tackle in the box and Kelly-Powell is that guy. Even at a place like Michigan he should be able to stay on the field all the time."

Cass's coaches confirmed that coverage take when they matched JKP up on one Ambry Thomas in the city championship game:

"...we didn’t think he was going to be on Ambry. He did a good job on Bry and that’s tough to do. We were looking at him as a true safety but they did a good job switching that up and putting him on Bry like that."

There's talk that Kelly-Powell will be given a look at VIPER(!!!) as Michigan seeks to maintain the flexibility Peppers offered the 2016 defense. Willie Gay is the ideal fit there, but Michigan has some options if he ends up in the South.

Allen Trieu had a Q&A session which is worth the trip behind the paywall. This is the opinion I liked the most because I happen to agree with it:

Of the current commits, in your opinion, who in 4 years do Michigan fans look back at and say "wow he was undervalued coming in".

James Hudson recently earned a fourth star, but I could see that kid really blossoming further in college and out-performing his ranking. We ranked Taco Charlton somewhat cautiously as a lower four-star based on his outstanding physical traits, but also his rawness. He has developed into a potential first-round pick. We are at the same point with Hudson where he really came on as a senior and has great size and ability, but still has some parts of his game to improve.

Hudson's senior film is Willie Henry-esque. Dude is crazy strong and explosive. Might take a year; afterwards, look out.

Scout evaluated PA DE/DT Donovan Jeter's senior film and made him sound a bit like Ryan Glasgow:

...quick with his hands, and he uses several moves instead of just relying on his physical ability to overwhelm his opponent. ...gets up the field well from the defensive end position. He uses a swim move and also will club the offensive lineman. He also has a spin move, and he will use strength, led by a solid initial punch. ... body can easily handle 290 pounds, and keeping his quickness is not a concern. His hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.

Three-tech is all set in this class and Michigan can turn one of Jeter, DIB, or Hudson into a nose if that turns out to be necessary. Having a pure NT like Tufele or Solomon is the one way they can seriously upgrade in January.

Etc.

FWIW, I had MI DT Phil Paea and NJ WR Brad Hawkins listed as early enrollees. Per Isaiah Hole those guys aren't actually EEs. Everyone else expected to arrive has done so.

In "Aubrey Solomon does something that is not surprising": he praises 2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese, a teammate, as "the best in the country."

Michigan is recruiting 2018 TX TE Malcolm Epps, a Bama commit. Hooray!

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Spins In Circles, As One Does

Thursday Recruitin' Spins In Circles, As One Does Comment Count

Brian December 15th, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Yes another one so soon, it's recruiting time.

Hello Tarik Black

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Commit post from Ace here; a couple of late-breaking items that didn't fit in that post follow. Isaiah Hole got an interview with his high school coach:

What techniques have you seen out of him that he's truly dominant at?

I think his route-running ability is freakish, to be honest. He has an innate ability in and out of a cut and create separation, no matter what you're doing. And he will catch any ball near him.

Brian Dohn has some more scouting at, uh, Scout:

When getting off of the line of scrimmage, Black knows how to set up the cornerback and stick his foot into the ground and make a cut. He gets his head around quickly and locates the ball well.

Black also has big, strong hands, and he does a very good job of securing the ball quickly and heading up the field to make yards.

I'm not sure who he'll get compared to when I do the recruiting profile. Michigan hasn't had a lot of 6'4" guys at WR with Black's apparent polish. FWIW, Black will enroll early.

Orbiting panic guy getting a workout

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Drama must accompany any announcement from a recruit in the five star range even when there doesn't seem to be much available, and we hit that point with MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and NY OL Isaiah Wilson yesterday. There has been FSU and OSU chatter about Peoples-Jones, and there was a surge of Georgia optimism—one that included a couple crystal balls—for Wilson.

The situations for both are similar: there is a genuine uncertainty since neither player has told coaching staffs where they are headed prior to their announcement. Black was a silent commit for a couple months before his announcement, and there are some other guys on the board who are equally drama-free. Neither of these gents are that.

Webb reports that Peoples-Jones was still sounding folks out for advice as of Monday. DPJ has been on Michigan's campus a zillion times, including an official visit last weekend; Isaiah Hole reports that he spent a lot of time with Najee Harris and his mother, purportedly in an attempt to recruit them to Michigan. Lorenz says it would be a "considerable upset" if he went anywhere else, etc. This has a Lavert Hill vibe to it where there's some uncertainty going into the announcement but the sheer number of visits DPJ has taken and his connections to Michigan should see M win out.

DPJ announces at 8:30 on ESPN2.

The Wilson stuff looks like a Reverse Nauta to me. If you remember last year's recruitment of TE Isaac Nauta you'll remember the surge of Michigan optimism late that ended up petering out. This is a little different since 247's Ryan Bartow has issued a CB for Wilson to UGA based on a "trio of contacts." He's currently the only member of the insider crew with that opinion. Lorenz is still hearing Michigan; Bama people are hearing Wilson "prefers to play in the SEC" but that Alabama isn't really in it anymore for whatever reason and still riding with Michigan; Mike Farrell and Adam Friedman at Rivals are picking Michigan; 247 Georgia guy Rusty Mansell thinks it's "tight" but also goes with Michigan.

I still go back to that Friedman article I've referenced a couple times where he said he pretty much knew where he was going. That was before the Georgia visit. So for Georgia to win this recruitment one of these two things has to be true:

  1. Everyone was completely wrong about Wilson's inclinations for the duration of his recruitment and a single unofficial over the summer to UGA was enough to overcome full-court presses from Alabama and Michigan.
  2. Georgia did enough on his official visit to overturn an already-made decision.

I guess it's possible; I'll believe it when I see it. Wilson should decide around noon tomorrow.

Obligatory Najee Harris section

Wheatley coaching Harris at Michigan's satellite camp in Antioch

Sam Webb dropped what is probably the longest insider post on a single recruit I've ever seen. The topic, as you may infer from the section header, is naturally CA RB Najee Harris. There's too much in it to even summarize. The most salient bit in my eyes is the total media blackout since Harris's visit:

That includes Scout's Bama writer A.P. Steadham, who has actually spent time in Najee's home interviewing his mom. He was the first to interview her, and for that matter I think he has interviewed her more than anyone else. Since the visit I’m told he has gotten crickets.

Huffman has spoken with the kid and folks in the school more than anyone else in the media (Huff is SUPER connected Antioch). So far crickets for him too (but don’t expect it to be that way much longer).

That blackout results in the kind of reports you see about Harris, where guy who works for team-oriented recruiting site asks team sources how they feel. Naturally they feel real good. 247's Hank South is their main Alabama guy and reports that "a source familiar with Harris's recruitment" believes Harris will stick with 'Bama, which is basically what they've been saying for a year with no more or less conviction.

The other running backs

Harris's uncertain status and AJ Dillon's BC flip puts the other two RB commits in the spotlight. MSU appears to be kicking the tires on 3* GA RB Kurt Taylor. Dillon's decommit should make Taylor's spot in the class much more secure. Still worth noting since that's the only non-Michigan activity on Taylor's profile since April, when he may or may not have taken an unofficial to South Carolina.

Meanwhile NM RB O'Maury Samuels was upgraded to "moderate" on the imaginary flip watch spreadsheet after his official had to be delayed until January so he could re-take the ACT. Sam mentioned a potential Brad Hawkins redux in the Scout best guess list; not everyone is up for a prep year if someone else will take you immediately.

If Harris goes the wrong way Michigan could end up with a thin RB crew. Probably doesn't matter a ton since they have three contributors returning and Davis/Walker coming off redshirts, but I really liked both Samuels and Dillon as prospects.

Mmmmmhmmmm

In case you'd like to know how competitive Michigan State is in the race for MI DE/DT Deron Irving-Bey's commitment, here's an MSU recruiting insider bombing the talent level of the only instate four star other than MSU legacy Hunter Rison the Spartans have a shot at:

A source added that, "Irving-Bey's senior film wasn't that impressive and doesn't play with a high motor."

Spartan Tailgate was told Irving-Bey is not likely to end up at Michigan State unless they miss out on several other defensive linemen targets ahead of him. That's one of the reasons why Irving-Bey hasn't taken an official visit to Michigan State yet.

Irving-Bey will announce on January 7th at the Army game. MSU's several DL targets in front of Irving-Bey... will not do that.

Also in mmmmhmmmm:

A source close to Harris told SEC Country recently that he prefers Alabama’s weight program more so than Michigan’s. In fact, one player Harris personally knows at Michigan became very out of shape, and it was off-putting. Harris is a workout freak and Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran may be the best in college football.

That is almost certainly Harris's trainer and indicates where he wants Harris to go more than anything else. The idea that there's a huge problem with a Michigan S&C program that is about to put 12 kids in the NFL draft is bush league pyschout stuff, man.

EPISODE IV: A NEW ROSS

Senior film from 4* MI LB commit Josh Ross:

Ross is a bigger version of his brother and will probably play ILB what with Michigan recruiting various safety/LB hybrids for the Peppers spot.

Etc.

CA CB Elijah Hicks is in a holding pattern after his official to Michigan. His coach still swears up and down he'll sign with ND, but he is an unreliable narrator. Michigan stopped by PA OL and PSU commit CJ Thorpe for whatever reason. Unless things go haywire down the stretch that's unlikely to amount to anything either way.

2018 CA WR Amon-Ra St Brown, younger brother of ND WR Equanimeous, says he will definitely visit Michigan. ND turmoil might open the door for M. 

2019—you are old and will die soon—GA OL/DL Chris Hinton Jr is a potential five star who Michigan has offered. He's worth a mention even at this early stage because both his parents went to Northwestern. I'm giving him an honorary hyphen and expect he'll be a hot name around this time next year.

Former MSU DT Craig Evans lands at Oregon State after a JUCO year. Oregon State is where Gary Andersen is after he left Wisconsin in a huff, largely because he couldn't get guys like Evans, a former UW commit, in. So there's a thing.

MI CB Donovan Johnson shot up to #7 in the state on the composite, which is a bummer for Michigan twitter screenshotting. Johnson just committed to PSU. MSU didn't even offer, which is the weirdest thing about this year's in-state recruiting.

Also I just need to say that Alabama is recruiting guys named "Buggs" and "Ruggs" at the same time. That is all.

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Monday Recruitin' Braces For Commit Avalanche

Monday Recruitin' Braces For Commit Avalanche Comment Count

Brian December 12th, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Peoples-Jones sets a date

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5* MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones will announce Thursday evening on ESPN. There has been a Rashan Gary-esque recruiting panic... wait just a sec...

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There. Anyway, Gary-esque recruiting panic based on a rumor that DPJ was down to OSU and FSU posted literally during his official visit to Michigan. A last-second in-home from OSU only amped up the fainting couch wing of Michigan fandom further.

Nobody seems to buy this. Steve Lorenz, Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, Sam Webb, and Bill Greene all believe it will be Michigan. Even the gentleman who posted the thing didn't believe it, which sort of defeats the purpose of being an information gatekeeper.

It is worth noting that DPJ, like Harris, doesn't talk to people much or at all and thus most of these assertions are less than iron-clad. I mentioned this last week: this is not a recruitment where anyone is sure what will happen because the recruit is so quiet, and in those circumstances you can have the proverbial shocker. It would still be a shock.

Obligatory Najee Harris section

Nobody knows. The end.

[After the JUMP: a real Najee Harris section! That is no more informative than the first one!]

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