Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison

Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 4th, 2018 at 8:03 AM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A—Pick your poison if you’re wondering why there aren’t any MGoQuestions: is it the GI bug that has kept me up and…uh, occupied since 4 AM, or is it that my wife could go into labor at any time? I’ll be back at Schembechler Hall as soon as I can. Thanks to MGoFriend Isaiah Hole for the video.]

Do you have the deepest position?

“Well, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know, we haven’t looked at it. I think the linebackers got some good depth, some good talent. I think there’s some good young kids all over that defense that are working to make the depth that we need.

“But up front, you know we want to always have enough depth to be able to rotate, and really, that’s what the spring is for us. We want our first group to get better and come out every practice to get better, and guys behind them gotta earn the right so that you say, ‘Okay, when we get in games, this guy can go in right now. I think you’re getting that. I think you’re seeing that.”

Who’s starting to earn that right?

“Well, Kwity Paye is having a really, really good spring. Michael Dwumfour, I think, is having one of the best springs that I can remember. I mean, he’s really playing hard, and Aubrey’s [Solomon] playing hard, and Carlo, Carlo Kemp every day comes out an gets a little better, and he’s playing a couple positions. I think we’ve got a number of kids that are doing good to try and get that first group [to] feel like they’re there.”

What distinguishes Dwumfour?

“Dwumfour, it’s been he’s so quick off the football. He has a lot of Mo Hurst in him. There’s times when you see him come off the ball and you just go, ‘Whoa, that’s really good,’ and he’s a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger.

“The other thing, it’s probably Rashan [Gary] and Chase [Winovich] and Bryan Mone’s leadership that have really gotten him to step up. He’s always shown flashes, but now all of a sudden he’s getting more mature. Times when he’d play really good, really good, really good, and then all of a sudden try to take a play off or he wasn’t ready to take that next play. He’s not doing that now. He’s pushing himself way past where he usually would, and that’s a real good sign for us.”

[After THE JUMP, a 275-pound man is referred to as “little Phillip.” Football!]

Preview 2017: Defensive Tackle

Preview 2017: Defensive Tackle

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2017 at 1:48 PM

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

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in ur base [Eric Upchurch]

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

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

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

NOSE TACKLE: TONGAAAAAAAAA

Rating: 4

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splat [Upchurch]

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

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

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

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

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

mone-weight_thumb

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

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

And then whoopin' Isaiah Prince to force a punt:

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

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

he's battling Cesar Ruiz FWIW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JT Rogan:

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

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

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

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

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

Preview 2017: Offensive Line

Preview 2017: Offensive Line

Submitted by Brian on August 29th, 2017 at 4:07 PM

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

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traaaaaaaaain [Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TACKLE: COLE AND THE RANDOS

RATING: 2.5.

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there and back again [Eric Upchurch]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Recruiting: Phil Paea

2017 Recruiting: Phil Paea

Submitted by Brian on July 11th, 2017 at 1:01 PM

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

     
Berrien Springs, MI – 6'4" 280
       

               CspEJKqUsAEtYlk         

Scout 3*, NR overall         
#29 DT
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#20 OG, #10 MI
ESPN 4*, NR overall
#30 DT, #10 MI
24/7 3*, #383 overall
#31 DT, #8 MI
Other Suitors Oregon, ND, MSU, USC-ish, BYU
YMRMFSPA Matt Godin
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Adam scouted him at Berrien.
Notes Twitter. Cousins with Bryan Mone.

Film

Junior:

Guys like Phil Paea tend to burst out of nowhere because they live in the middle of it. Paea's hometown, Berrien Springs, has just 1800 people; he spent his high school years taking on Paw Paw, Otsego, Dowagiac, and the like. He was not on the radar. Paea was such a total unknown that he was getting major offers before he even had a profile at any site. His first mention on this here site came a couple weeks after last year's Signing Day, noting that Michigan, MSU, and Oregon had suddenly come in for this guy right here. Notre Dame and USC(-ish) offered in the weeks afterward.

None could hold off Michigan. Paea committed shortly after a visit on which he was proverbially blown away, and that was that. Paea's recruitment lasted six weeks from first major offer to commitment, with not a waver after.

The quick decision on Michigan eliminated Paea's desire to camp anywhere, so recruiting sites were a bit handcuffed. Paea's definitely a D-I athlete with a burst of impressive offers, but the only football he's played is against cities named after obscure fruits. Everyone seemed to settle on the same conclusion: let's put this guy right on the 3/4 star borderline. He's the #29 DT on Scout; 28 got four stars. He's the #20 OG on Rivals; 18 got four stars. He's on barely the right side of the line at ESPN and about 50 spots away from it at 24/7. It's a shruggie consensus.

I do like a very specific thing that pops up in a couple of scouting reports. Paea appears to be a natural at the weirdest thing about football. Coach Tony Scaccia:

"Phillip has the innate ability to extend his hips and get great leverage and power out of his lower body. He is as strong as you can be with his lower body and he's got some things that he can do better too.

"He can use his hands better, he can play with better leverage in terms of his pad level, but in terms of unlocking the hips and playing with great force, he is as strong as I've ever seen and I've been coaching high school football for 10 years now."

That's not just coach hype, as ESPN picked up on the same trait:

…very good overall size. …thick, sturdy base … excellent playing strength with adequate first-step quickness. … tools to be a stout run defender. Demonstrates ability to fire out with pad level and uncoil and win the leverage battle and when he does is a player with a powerful base that can hold ground. Flashes heavy hands that can jolt blockers, but needs to continue to develop hand usage. … Powerful player that can fire out and push blockers back. … Looks to rely on raw ability and effort.

As did Clint Brewster:

…powerful frame with a dense lower body. …ability to get out of his stance and fire off the ball make him a dominant athlete in the trenches. He’s got the knee-bend and fluid movements you like to see from big lineman. He generates good power from his legs and hips. … comes out of his stance with good bend, pad level, and explosion into his opponent. He’s got heavy hands and can really move people. The power in his upper body and ability to strike people once he gets going on the move is impressive. …nastiness you like to see in the trenches.

Anyone who's read a significant number of these knows how unusual these takes are. "Pad level sucks" is such a high school scouting trope that if it gets mentioned at all in these pieces it's a tossed off "negatives are the usual pad level stuff." (Naturally, amongst these many positive takes here's Scout listing pad level as an area for improvement.) Many touted linemen have seen their careers founder because they could not do the weird football thing where you run around in a crouch and then explode on contact. Paea appears to be the rare guy who's got it down already.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's polished or ready to play. He just does the weird football thing good. Other aspects of his game are as raw as you'd expect coming from a small-school guy who hasn't actually played any DT yet. (When Adam scouted him Berrien Springs had him lining up a yard off the line of scrimmage as a standup end.) ESPN references that in the evaluation above and it's another frequent theme. After catching Paea in person, Allen Trieu returned with a high-upside, long-way-to-go take:

The bottom line on Paea is, he has great physical tools and he is raw technically. For a big kid, he can not only chase and pursue, but he shows quick twitch and athleticism that is rare in his body. He is strong. …plays hard and did that all game despite going both ways and never seemed to tire. Having watched linemen go both ways all season and not always last until the final bell, it was impressive to see his level of conditioning.  

When Rivals took a look at his film they saw him "simply firing off at the snap and then figuring out what to do" and said he "has to learn to play with leverage and use his hands." Later Brandon Brown would note that "he's just bigger, stronger, and more athletic" than anyone else on the field. This is a situation where technique is difficult to acquire because everything works.

The final Paea theme is that he's a Harbaugh kind of guy. Trieu mentioned his impressive conditioning as a two-way lineman, and that pops up repeatedly. Adam noted that he "never takes a play off, and he’s always looking for the ball"; ND's 24/7 site praised his "terrific stamina," strength, physicality, and toughness. Helmholdt:

"He has ideal size for either position, ideal athleticism, and just has that mentality you look for from a guy playing in the trenches. He has that healthy aggression and plays with a level of intensity and aggressiveness that you’re looking for out of a young high school lineman." 

And the intangible intangibles seem in order:

"He's got great athleticism, great work ethic, great family support system. He's a die-hard football kid, he just loves everything about it. He's a great teammate. ... He's our unquestioned leader. All those things added together makes a pretty special kid."

It says something about something that Paea is one of the five lowest-ranked kids in the class. It says this is an awesome class.

Paea is a genuine two-way lineman. Any DT taller than 6'2" will garner some mentions about his potential on the other side of the ball, but in Paea's case his versatility is real. Sixty pounds ago Paea started his high school career as a running back and linebacker, and he's got more relevant OL experience than DT. He was an end after moving down to the DL. When he committed to Michigan the first words out of Scaccia's mouth were about blocking:

"He's a dominant run blocker, a tough, physical kid who is a great athlete for his size and relentless."

Later Scaccia would tell MLive that he thinks Paea has more upside on offense, an opinion that's shared by many. Rivals actually ranks him as a guard; 247 mentioned that there's "no question he could be an outstanding guard or center"; ESPN asserted that he's "a little more comfortable on offense." Brown caught Paea in person and came away impressed with his ability on offense:

long, strong arms, and a very proportional lower body that allows him to run and move in a way that people his size usually cannot. During one play on offense he drove block a defender into the ground and while the opponent was doing backwards somersaults, Paea hurdled him and kept running down the field. …devastating run blocker. His size, strength, and mobility were very apparent on plays where he pulled. He was nimble enough to get out in front of running plays and powerful enough to put defenders on the ground routinely.  

Michigan has consistently said they will start Paea at DL, and that makes sense. He could be an early rotation piece on a DL that needs depth; he is unlikely to be a quick starter on offense. Berrien Springs doesn't even have a seven step drop in their offense. The OL version of Paea is starting from ground zero in pass protection.

Paea will get a look on offense if and when Michigan has a solid grasp on where the 2017 class is going to play and what the depth chart looks like at DT—ie, if and when Michigan is confident they've got a three deep.

Etc.: Leads haka. Very Harbaugh:

Why Matt Godin? Instate player who lives on the 3/4 star borderline with good size and middling explosiveness. Godin was a couple inches taller than Paea but only got up to 294 by his fifth year. Paea should be able to hit that weight or more in a slightly more compact package, which will make him plausible as a nose tackle.

Other comparables include Terrance Taylor, who was the kind of neutron-star dense interior DL who anchored his ass off against the run but couldn't offer much pass rush, and Will Johnson. On offense, Paea projects similarly to Kyle Kalis as a rough and tumble guard who will move people once he gets latched on. Paea probably won't have the incessant missed assignment issue Kalis had—certainly not if he's starting.

Guru Reliability: Moderate-plus. Lockstep evaluations on the 3/4 star borderline, but a lot of projection from class B football and positional uncertainty. A number of reports were along the lines of "we like this guy but need more information" and then the rankings folk didn't go out and get it.

Variance: Moderate. Tiny school to college is a big leap. Size won't be an issue, and apparently neither is natural bend. Family stuff a positive.

Ceiling: Moderate-plus. Big body with middling quickness does not often pan out into stardom on the DL. Could be a productive snap-eater, especially if surrounded by the folks it looks like he will be surrounded by. Upside as a guard could be very high.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Praise Harbaugh that this is what the back end of the class looks like. Paea has an encouraging suite of offers, a lot of reasons for optimism, and seems lost in the rankings largely because of his circumstances.

Projection: One of the most obvious redshirts in the class unless he pulls a huge upset in fall camp. From there just about anything is on the table. Michigan will give him a test drive at guard during the bowl practices and/or spring and decide where to go from there.

If he sticks on defense he's probably going to end up as a plugger and rotation piece early, potentially maturing into a starter in his last year or two. He is likely to evolve into a nose tackle based on the roster, which has a number of young three-tech candidates in Irving-Bey, Jeter, Dwumfour, and Hudson. The fit at nose tackle is less than ideal for most of those folks, leaving just Solomon as a pure NT.

Paea also has a wait in front of him if he ends up at guard. Both projected starters will still be around in three years, knock on wood, so Paea's first shot at starting on offense will be as a redshirt junior. Unless Cesar Ruiz busts, Bredeson flipping out to tackle would be the only way to open up an interior OL slot before then.

Future Blue Originals: Berrien Springs vs. Buchanan

Future Blue Originals: Berrien Springs vs. Buchanan

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 28th, 2016 at 10:12 AM

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[David Nasternak/MGoBlog]

Our intrepid scout/MGoUtilityMan David Nasternak made the trek to what might as well have been South Bend to take in Michigan commit Phil Paea’s serial tiny-right-tackle crunching. Paea’s an interesting prospect because he’s incredibly raw, yet somehow he passes the “could this guy play in college” eye test; he moves well and gives sideline-to-sideline effort, and when he stays low he moves the opposition. His Berrien Springs squad had to go to overtime to beat Buchanan, so we were able to get a fair amount of Paea film, which you can use to answer the burning question: 3-tech, SDE, or both?

[After THE JUMP: Phil Paea film and scouting report]

Monday Recruitin' Is Beautiful

Monday Recruitin' Is Beautiful

Submitted by Ace on August 29th, 2016 at 4:59 PM

Jim Harbaugh Is Different, Part 347

The San Francisco Chronicle has a lengthy feature on the number one prospect in the country, Antioch (CA) RB Najee Harris, an Alabama commit who's also considering Michigan. As he has throughout the process, Harris keeps the state of his recruitment under wraps, but he did put forth one of the better Harbaugh recruiting stories I've seen:

On one of his two visits this year to Antioch High, the former 49ers coach sat in Principal Louie Rocha’s office, his feet propped on Rocha’s desk and his cap pushed back from his forehead as he chewed on licorice.

When Harris walked into the office, Harbaugh animatedly declared, “You’re a beautiful young man!” The room burst into laughter. He subsequently told Harris he should pursue a career in movies.

“It was kind of funny how he said it,” Antioch head coach John Lucido says. “It made Najee comfortable and kind of broke the ice with everybody.

Harris had more to say about Harbaugh. While I wouldn't read too much into it, I'd definitely check out that full article.

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

Monday Recruitin' Doubts The Doctor Needs A Raise

Monday Recruitin' Doubts The Doctor Needs A Raise

Submitted by Ace on May 16th, 2016 at 3:08 PM

An Entire Section On Top-100 Receivers With Serious Interest

While that isn't an ordered top ten, Michigan is the first program listed by five-star TN WR Tee Higgins, a one-time Tennessee commit who's expressed his interest in paying his way to Ann Arbor this summer, per 247.

“I know I want to get down to Michigan and Florida State,” Higgins told 247Sports National Analyst Ryan Bartow last week. “(Michigan’s coaches) really want me to get on campus, so I just told them I’d get down there."

Clemson is the current Crystal Ball favorite, receiving all the predictions following Higgins' decommitment from UT. A visit could chance that outlook, but there's no question Higgins will be a tough pull.

The most plausible five-star wideout option is still just a few minutes down I-94. Cass Tech's Donovan Peoples-Jones took another visit to campus last weekend, and according to The Wolverine's Brandon Brown, it might have put Michigan out in front:

The 6-1, 188-pounder was at U-M yesterday and was able to tour many of Michigan's medical facilities and also got the chance to speak with many doctors and medical professionals during his trip. The visit went so well that people in the know at Cass Tech now feel that Michigan may be firmly in the driver's seat with his recruitment.

Michigan is still competing with a pile of top programs that Peoples-Jones plans to visit before a decision. As an expected early enrollee, Peoples-Jones doesn't have as long to check out all those schools as most prospects, however, and a lead by the home team could be tough to overcome. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, 247's Steve Lorenz posted some expanded thoughts on Michigan from top-100 AL WR Nico Collins, who named the Wolverines his leader after his recent visit:

"Coach Harbaugh is a laid-back fun guy that you can talk about anything with," he said. "They care about you. Right now they are standing out. The coaching staff really stands out. The program that they have and what they are going to do for you after college is over. They have you set up for life. That was the main thing they care about. They want you to graduate and to get better at life too. It's a life decision. It's not a big lead, but they've been my best visit so far for sure. Georgia and Alabama were the other schools I've really enjoyed so far." 

Guarded optimism seems to be the proper response in Collins' case. For the receiver position as a group, you can probably increment that up to full-blown optimism. With Harbaugh at the helm and a five-star quarterback in the fold, convincing top-flight wideouts to come to Michigan shouldn't be too difficult.

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

Friday Recruitin' Has Explosive Nature

Friday Recruitin' Has Explosive Nature

Submitted by Ace on April 29th, 2016 at 2:33 PM

M Offers Jamal Cain

Today's roundup starts not with football, but with some long-anticipated hoops news, courtesy of MLive's Brendan Quinn—Michigan has offered three-star 2017 MI F Jamal Cain:

Jamal Cain made the short trip from Pontiac to Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He made the drive back with a scholarship offer in tow.

Cain, a three-star small forward from Detroit Cornerstone Prep, added the Wolverines to his list of committable offers as U-M joined the likes of Xavier, Georgia, Marquette, Florida State and others as his biggest suitors.

Cain's outstanding play over the last season has raised his profile considerably, and Michigan should be a strong contender to land him. M has three open spots in the 2017 class in addition to a commitment from four-star SG Jordan Poole; that number could dwindle to two if John Beilein decides to fill the current open scholarship with a 2016 recruit, but either way Cain will be a top target moving forward.

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

Hello: Phil Paea (Updated)

Hello: Phil Paea (Updated)

Submitted by Ace on April 4th, 2016 at 4:46 PM


Given the hair, it's not shocking to learn Paea is Brian Mone's cousin. [Isaiah Hole/247]

Three-star Berrien Springs (MI) DT/OG Phil Paea was the second of Michigan's three weekend commitments. A cousin of Bryan Mone, Paea holds an impressive offer sheet that includes the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC; it can be expected he'll move up from his current standing at the composite #13 player in Michigan.

Paea built an excellent rapport with Greg Mattison and director of player personnel Tony Tuioti. His comfort with the players and staff led to his commitment:

“Definitely it was the relationships around (Michigan),” Paea explained.” “It really means a lot.  That was a big part of recruiting for me… the relationships with the coaches and players.  The coaches, man… they’re great people.  I would love to play for Greg Mattison.  That’s what I want to do.  Every time see him up here, every time I left… I just couldn’t pass it up again.”

Michigan State, Notre Dame—located a half hour away from Berrien Springs—and Oregon all stood out at various points in Paea's recruitment. Michigan overcame that with a couple of visits in quick succession. Before his commitment he had an unofficial visit scheduled to Oregon in a couple weeks; he told 247's Steve Wiltfong he's shutting down his recruitment and won't be visiting other schools.

“Now I can focus on school,” he said. “Get ready to play ball senior year and make sure it’s the best year I ever had and then get ready to be a Wolverine. I’m thinking about doing early enrollment to get to know the playbook and get settled in.”

Paea was the tenth commit in the 2017 class—four-star RB O'Maury Samuels since became the 11th—and he's the first defensive lineman.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #26 DT 3*, #13 OG NR DT 3*, 89, #25 DT,
#333 Ovr
3*, #32 DT,
#479 Ovr

Paea is ranked as a three-star to every site that's scouted him and he's close to four-star status—Rivals and Scout each have him one position rank away; 247 has him within four. Given his offers and his junior tape, he's a good bet to move up.

Paea has great size. He's listed at 6'4" (6'3" on Rivals) and 270-285 pounds. While Michigan is primarily looking at him as a defensive tackle, he could easily end up on the offensive line at guard or center:

“They’re looking at me on both sides of the ball, but I’m probably going to end up playing defensive tackle over there,” he said. “I’m a motor guy. Definitely I’m not going to take off any plays. I challenge myself and my opponents on every down.”

About that OL possibility: a current ACC head coach told Wiltfong he thinks Paea is a future NFL center.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

Hello: Phil Paea

Hello: Phil Paea

Submitted by Ace on April 2nd, 2016 at 4:12 PM


HAIR [Isaiah Hole/247]

As first reported by Sam Webb and confirmed by Steve Wiltfong, Michigan has picked up a commitment from 2017 Berrien Springs (MI) three-star DT Phil Paea, who visited Ann Arbor this weekend for the Spring Game. While Paea is ranked as the #13 in-state prospect on the 247 Composite, his offer sheet suggests he'll move up that list considerably; Paea chose the Wolverines over the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC. The Irish posed a particularly serious threat as Berrien Springs is only a half-hour away from South Bend.

Paea's commitment is an early feather in the cap for new director of player personnel Tony Tuioti:

A major factor in Paea's commitment to Michigan was director of player personnel Tony Tuioti, a Hawaii native who hit it off with the prospect on his first visit to campus last month.

"Coach Tuioti was a big factor in why my visit went so well," he told Wolverine247 at the time. "He really made me feel at home and showed me why Michigan could be a great place for me."

Paea is Michigan's tenth commit in the 2017 class and the first on the defensive line. He's also a cousin of current DT Bryan Mone; in addition to genes, they share similarly impressive hairstyles.

This post, along with Leonard Taylor's, will be updated in full on Monday, when there should be a good deal more scouting info available on both players.