Spring Practice Presser 3/26/16: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3/26/16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 28th, 2016 at 11:19 AM

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[Fuller/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Reon Dawson and Jaron Dukes are medically retiring.
  • Freddy Canteen and Moe Ways recently had shoulder and foot surgery, respectively. Canteen’s status with the program is in the air; Ways should be back in 3-4 months.
  • Speight, O’Korn, and Morris are getting more snaps than the other QBs, but they’re all still making at least one “big mistake” every practice.
  • Devin Bush Jr. had his best practice of the spring on Saturday.
  • Harbaugh responded to Gene Smith’s comments because he felt a shot was fired across Michigan’s bow and, after waiting many hours, thought he needed to do the same. Just never, ever tell him that he likes to get in twitter wars because it’s a form of competition.
  • Harbaugh said it doesn’t matter to him what time of day games are played; a night game or lack thereof doesn’t faze him.

What did you see out there from your group today, and what were you looking for specifically here today?

“Uh, you know, good, competitive football fight. Getting better: in a lot of areas we are and in a lot of other areas not bad and other and all areas we need to keep improving, so…the guys are grindin’.”

Did your quarterback rotation go about how you wanted, and what did you see out of those guys?

“Uh…you know, there’s—like I told them, there’s, you know…we’re looking for a quarterback to move the team and not make the big mistake. They’re all in the mode of a big mistake a day, so we’re not—we’re just gonna keep plugging away and keep getting better, keep giving them things they can improve on, things they can take and use. Looking forward to the game setting. Maybe that’ll be another good test, but they’re getting a lot of tests right now. Strides are being made, but we’ve still got a long row to hoe.”

What does it do for your fans and for your team to come out here in this setting at Ford Field and open it up?

“I think it’s great in the way of sometimes spring practice can get monotonous. Some would even say boring. There’s no game that comes at the end of the week. It’s something different. Something to make it livelier, special—that’s what we get out of it. To have people in the stands, always felt that makes it better. Even the cameras, even the TV cameras—even if they didn’t have film in them, you know?”

They don’t anymore.

/long pause

“Touché. So even if you had a camera that wasn’t actually recording anything guys would work hard. Guys would enjoy it more. People are watching, so that’s a good thing for us.”

With the quarterbacks, are you still repping them evenly or are you changing that up some?

“I’d say there’s Wilton [Speight], John [O’Korn], Shane [Morris] getting more. It’s not dead even anymore, no.”

Would it be Wilton, John, Shane in that order?

“I can’t even make an order right now. It’s to be determined still. It means a lot to all of them. You can tell in the way they play and just continuing to be able to play loose and play smart and continue to get repetitions. Continue to get looks and learn—that’s what they need to see right now. Looking forward to some game-like action. We’re going to make it game-like in the spring game. Everything’s going to be real tackle football live; the quarterbacks, everybody. There’ll be live bullets for them, so that’ll be a nice, good-size task for us. Looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

Exit Jaron Dukes, Reon Dawson, Maybe Freddy Canteen

Exit Jaron Dukes, Reon Dawson, Maybe Freddy Canteen

Submitted by Brian on March 26th, 2016 at 4:29 PM

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Dukes caught the only TD of last year's spring game against Dennis Norfleet

Per Harbaugh:

The departures of Dukes and Dawson bring Michigan to or under 85 depending on the status of the as-yet-unsigned Dytarious Johnson; if Canteen does not make it back they'd be at 84 and able to issue a scholarship to Ryan Glasgow.

Hokepoints: Predicting the Numbers 134

Hokepoints: Predicting the Numbers 134

Submitted by Seth on June 4th, 2013 at 11:04 AM

IMG_2347

hi bennie! /Upchurch

It's an annual rite of fan dorkiness each year to try to be the first to guess which numbers the incoming freshmen will be given by obsessively google stalking them. Sometimes I have some inside knowledge from a recruit who was promised his digit, or tweeted his preferences or something. Here's how I did last year:

Name Pos. # in HS 2012 Guess Actual
A.J. Williams TE 88 88 84
Allen Gant S 7 and 14 14 12
Amara Darboh WR 15 15 82
Ben Braden OL 51 51 71
Blake Bars OL 67 72 62
Chris Wormley DE 47 84 or 68 43
Dennis Norfleet RB/KR 21 21 if available, or 31 26
Devin Funchess TE 5 and 15 85 19
Drake Johnson RB 2 and 18 32 or 6 or 23 29
Erik Magnuson OL 77 78 78
James Ross LB 6 36 15
Jehu Chesson WR 5 82 86
Jeremy Clark S 2 29 34
Kyle Kalis OL 67 67 67
Mario Ojemudia DE 53 53 53
Matthew Godin DT 62 62 99
Ondre Pipkins NT 71 56 56
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB 10 10 52
Sione Houma FB 35 41 or 32 39
Terry Richardson CB 3 and 6 and 9 9 13
Tom Strobel DE 36 63 or 93 or 86 50
Willie Henry DT 74 74 or 68 69

Four out of 22 ain't…well yes it is. It was bad. This article is useless. Let's continue it anyway; I swear to do better.

Getting to know you. Each coach has his own tendencies with this so we'll get better at it in time. With Hoke, he seems to like having consecutive numbers in the same position group, perhaps for mentoring purposes because they sit next to each other in the locker room. It's far from a rule, but it's a trend. Carr rarely let a player share a specialist's digit, but Hoke doesn't seem to have a problem with it, for example Wormley and Hagerup share a number, and walk-on tight end Alex Mitropoulus-Rundus (I'm gonna just start calling him "Alex M-R") has the same digit as backup punter Kenny Allen. Rich Rodriguez was far more apt to share numbers, and the single digits were nearly always doubled up; Hoke has said in the past that he doesn't like doing that, and the practice has been limited—as of spring just 5, 12 and 34 had scholarship recruits in both numbers, adding 54 and 56 to those double-occupied by players on the two-deep.

The roster lies. The official MGoBlue.com roster still doesn't have DeAnthony Hardison, that nifty RB you saw in the Spring Game. He's #18. Also a practice insider told me Anthony Capatina is playing slot receiver, not "DB" as he's listed on the depth chart. Also weirdly missing from that roster is #79 right tackle Dan Gibbs (a Seaholm Mape!!!), a 2012 preferred walk-on whose twitter profile pic is him riding an oliphant:

DWVAFy5

@DJBunyan

Legends/Special #s: 1 because Braylon's scholarship killed the fun, unless Gallon gets it. It won't come as much of a surprise to you that 2 will probably be entering the Legends program this season. There will also be some push for 16, and I doubt it'll be assigned to an offensive player immediately. 11 for the Wisterts, 21 for Desmond, and 87 for Ron Kramer are currently open; it is likely they'll be assigned to veterans whose digits might then be made available if it happens before the season. Bennie's 47 and Jerry's 48 remain occupied by current players and there's no way a second guy will get them. And I've been told they're still working on the Harmon family with 98. Anyway they won't go to freshmen.

Already worn on both sides: 5 (Courtney Avery and Justice Hayes), 6 (Raymon Taylor and Brian Cleary), 12 (Gardner and Allen Gant), 13 (Terry Richardson and Alex Swieca), 15 (James Ross and Shaun Austin), 34 (Jeremy Clark and Brendan Gibbons), 43 (Chris Wormley and Will Hagerup), 54 (Richard Ash and Jareth Glanda), 56 (Ondre Pipkins and Joey Burzynski), 69 (Willie Henry and Erik Gunderson), and 95 (Anthony Capatina and Michael Jocz).

Available on offense only: 4, 7, 14, 18, 22, 24, 25, 30, 33, 35, 40, 50, 52, 53, 55, 57, 59, 66, 76, 92, 96, 97, 99

Available on defense only: 3, 8, 9, 10, 17, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29, 38, 39, 42, 45, 46, 49, 51, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 70, 71, 72, 75, 77, 78, 82, 84, 85, 86, 88, 94

1146879Walk-ons with soft claims: Every year there's a Jon Keizer on the roster who thinks his number is safe, then some top running back recruit in the country (right: from Scout) runs him over with star power (dadada, didda-da diddadidda…). Scout teamers without scholarships often have their numbers taken, for example Charlie Zeller was 19 on the 2012 spring roster and Paul Gyarmati was sitting on 99, but Devin Funchess and Matt Godin nabbed those digits last fall. This year they are 15 (Shaun Austin—note that Ross has it on D), 18 (DeAnthony Hardison—note that Countess has it on D), 27 (Jon Keizer), 36 (AJ Pearson—note that Kerridge has it on O), 42 (Dylan Esterline), 46 (Clark Grace), 49 (Brad Anlauf), 51 (Bobby Henderson), 59 (Mark Lawson), 63 (Ben Pliska), 66 (Dan Liesman), 70 (Kris Mateus), 79 (Dan Gibbs), (91 (Alex M-R, though Kenny Allen wears it too), and 95 (Anthony Capatina and Mike Jocz). The other walk-ons I didn't mention (Dever, Cleary, Glanda, Burzynski, Reynolds, Allen, Gunderson, Jocz and the Glasgows) are either on the two-deep already or in the mix.

Currently unused: 20, 23, 31, 32, 37, 41, 44, 64, 68, 73, 74, 80, 81, 83, 89, 90, 93, π

You just said Pi. We're Michigan fergodsakes. All the constants—φ, ζ(3), α and δ, Euler's e, γ, λ, K, r, and Ω—ought to be fair game, and if someone takes √-1 and uses the nickname "Impossible" he will be my favorite for ever and ever.

EVERYBODY LET'S ALL BE #7!!!

Name Pos. HS # Tea Leaves Best Guess
David Dawson OG 71 Wore 55 in Under Armour game, 33 in Army AA game. 55* - His Twitter acct is David Dawson 5⃣5⃣
Reon Dawson BCB 1 Wore 13, 24 and 1 in high school. 31 - seems to fit.
Jaron Dukes WR 8 Twitter handle is @Jaron_Dukes8 83* 80 - Is 8-like.
Chris Fox OL 73 Wore #13 (?) at Army AA game and #33 at Rivals 5-star challenge 73* - Guy likes #3
Greg Froelich OG 77 Wore that and 75 in high school (preferred walk-on) 76 - Not exactly Steve Hutchinson.
Ben Gedeon MLB 15 James Ross is already James Ross. 45 - David Harris's # but precludes punt coverage.
Derrick Green RB 27 Wore 27 in Army AA game. 27* - call it a hunch. Sorry Keizer.
Delano Hill Nk/FS 11 Looks like he's 40. 32 (Kovacs's other #) or 23
Khalid Hill FB/TE 32 Very Kevin Dudley of him. 32 or 23
Maurice Hurst NT 50 Wore #11 in Semper Fi Bowl. 68 - Mike Martin's #
Da'Mario Jones WR 11 Wore #7 in that photo of recruits in white M jerseys. #15 at MSU camp. Same school as Tony Boles, who wore 42 at Michigan but had 18 touchdowns so... 14* 18 - I admit this is thin.
Patrick Kugler OC 57 Wore 57 at UA game. Dad and bro wore 57. 57 - O'KUGLER RULES!
Jourdan Lewis CB 1 Also wore #17 at Cass Tech, #27 at Army AA game. 17 or 3 or 37.
Mike McCray SAM 9 Wore #9 at UA game. Father wore 99 at OSU 9* - He and Dileo both likely to be on special teams, but not the same groups.
J.J. McGrath K 13 preferred walk-on 35 - Or some kicker number.
Shane Morris QB 12 Gardner switched, so... 7 - he already tweeted it.
Henry Poggi 3T 7 Wore 17 at UA game. Was given #7 locker in May. Plays jazz flute. 70 - Ross Douglass already took 7.
Dan Samuelson OG 74 Photo out there of him wearing a Nebraska 74 jersey. Twitter handle is @dansamuelson74. 74 - it's available.
Wyatt Shallman FB 49 49 is available on defense. 33* for his DCC teammate who passed away. 49 - Sorry Brad Anlauf.
Deveon Smith RB 4 Is a 4-star? 4 - It's open.
Blaise Stearns WR 1 Townie: Can't find what he wore at Huron before transferred. Preferred walk-on 89 - Doesn't exactly get 1st pick.
Channing Stribling FS 8 #22 commit to the class. 8* - It's open
Scott Sypniewski LS 56 Wore #45 at his long-snapper camp. 41 - Who cares.
Jack Wangler WR 21 Dad wore #5 at Mich (preferred walk-on) 16* 25 - Like Kennedy.
Csont'e York WR 1 Was #667 at NFTC 81 - With an eye toward dropping the 8.

Go ahead and make your guesses. We'll have our answers in a few weeks.

* UPDATE: After I posted this Magnus alerted me to his post of numbers that have already been revealed. I had some good guesses. I crossed out my comments if the guess was wrong.

2013 Recruiting: Reon Dawson

2013 Recruiting: Reon Dawson

Submitted by Brian on May 6th, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Previously: Last year's pile.

Our annual kickoff reminder about what "You May Remember Me From Such Players As" is: a playing-style comparison, not a projection. If player X works out, he'll probably remind you of player Y. Player Y is usually pretty good since he's had a successful-enough career that you probably have an idea of what he plays like.

   
Trotwood, OH – 6'2", 175
     

Reon Dawson 3[1]

Scout 3*, #42 CB
Rivals 3*, UR ATH, #52 OH
ESPN 3*, 77, #41 CB
24/7 3*, #87 CB, #58 OH
Other Suitors Arizona, Pitt, UVA, Purdue, Illinois, Cinci, WVU
YMRMFSPA Chris Gamble?
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Trotwood-Madison (Roundtree, Shaw, Moore, classmate McCray). Cousin of Dermontti Dawson. Twitter.

Film

Junior highlights:

Here is his hudl page as well, which has senior stuff.

Are you a large human? If so, large human, I have good news for you. Michigan is going to recruit you.

Reon Dawson kicks off this year's recruiting profile series because 1) for whatever reason I've always started from the DBs and worked my way towards quarterback and 2) it seems thematically appropriate to kick things off with one of three(!) 6'2" cornerbacks Michigan brought in, now that Dymonte Thomas is threatening to start at nickel. Since Dawson was a 1-for-1 replacement of Gareon Conley, another 6'2" player Michigan wanted to bring in at corner, Dawson is the most thematically appropriate player of the three. Michigan is going to be big, everywhere, and if their original plans are thwarted they'll go get a similarly big plan B, in fact the kind of Plan B that causes Ohio recruiting analysts to compare him to the plan A($).

As far as Dawson goes, he is large, fast clay for Mallory to shape into a cornerback. Like seemingly every wide receiver Michigan's bringing in for 2014, Dawson thought his meal ticket would be basketball and came up a few inches short. As a result, you can put him in the "raw" pile($):

“I didn’t play my freshman year because I thought I was going to go to college for basketball or track.  I really didn’t play my sophomore year.  I got in a couple games, but junior year was when I really stepped on the scene with Cam and all of them.  They really made me better because going against them every day.  You’ve got to get better or you’re going to be on the sideline. I’ve got good recovery speed, I’ve got good ball skills, I’m long, and that allows me to check longer receivers.  When I went to Illinois they measured me at 6-2, 175.”

That height and weight is a lot more credible than the 4.39 he supposedly ran at Alabama's camp in his first-ever attempt at a 40 yard dash. Southern speed, man. Also Ohio speed, I guess, as he claimed the same time($) at an OSU camp.

Even if that gets five FAKES on the fake 40 scale, Dawson does get called fast quite a bit. ESPN praises($) his "quick feet, smooth hips and very good top end speed"; Josh Helmholdt's first impression of him($) was "very tall for a cornerback and very fast"; Mark Givler notes his "tremendous top end speed".

In fact, a couple folks called Dawson just about an ideal athlete for defensive back. Givler again:

- Tall, long-armed athlete that fits the mold of what college coaches are looking for in their defensive backs.

- Still very raw in coverage, has a tendency to hesitate before making his breaks.

Notes: Dawson went from a virtual unknown going into last summer to a player that now holds several BCS conference offers. Dawson was a starter and key contributor on Trotwood's state championship team this past fall and has an impressive combination of size and speed. Though he's still a work in progress in coverage, Dawson will likely end up as a defensive back but it would be interesting to see what he could do at wide receiver.

And Allen Trieu:

Tall corner with long arms. Good speed and athleticism. Has good instincts and good ball skills. Is relatively inexperienced and needs to work on his technique and get stronger, which will improve his tackling, although he has been proven to be a reliable open field tackler. High upside guy with ideal physical tools for the position.

247's analysis goes with "excellent physical tools."

[HIT THE JUMP for THE CATCH dangit you probably just want the positive stuff I suck at jumps]

2013 Recruiting Wrap: The Defense

2013 Recruiting Wrap: The Defense

Submitted by Ace on February 7th, 2013 at 3:58 PM

PREVIOUSLY: The Offense


Dymonte Thomas

Following up yesterday's breakdown of the 2013 recruits on offense, here's a look at Michigan's defensive class—click each player's name to see their original commitment post:

Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Henry Poggi DT MD 4 4 4 4
Maurice Hurst Jr. DT MA 3 4 4 3
Taco Charlton DE OH 4 4 4 4
Ben Gedeon LB OH 4 4 4 4
Mike McCray LB OH 4 4 4 4
Jourdan Lewis CB MI 4 4 4 4
Ross Douglas CB OH 4 3 4 4
Reon Dawson CB OH 3 3 3 3
Channing Stribling CB NC 3 3 3 3
Dymonte Thomas S OH 4 5 4 4
Delano Hill S MI 4 4 4 3

And now, some superlatives:

BEST POSITION GROUP: Linebacker

This class is pretty evenly spread across the position groups—an argument could be made for pretty much any group on the field. In an effort to avoid giving all of the awards to Dymonte Thomas, I'll go with the linebackers here. After 2012's big haul, Michigan only needed a couple of linebackers in the class, and they filled their two spots with a pair of very solid prospects in Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon.

The lone linebacker spot the 2012 class didn't cover was on the strong side, and McCray's size (6'4", 230 lbs.) and athleticism make him an ideal fit there. Gedeon, meanwhile, is a stellar athlete—he also starred at running back for Hudson—who should be able to cover the field sideline-to-sideline from the weakside linebacker position.

Honorable Mention: Safety, Cornerback

BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Strongside DE

There isn't one, and that's the only hole in this class on the defensive side of the ball. After Michigan brought in three SDE-types in 2012—Matt Godin, Tom Strobel, and Chris Wormley—there wasn't a major need, especially with in-state standout Malik McDowell firmly in their sights for the 2014 class.

MOST LIKELY TO START FROM DAY ONE: Dymonte Thomas

Defensive highlights start at the 4:22 mark.*

It's distinctly possible that no member of the 2013 class starts on defense next season, and that's a very good thing for Michigan. If one will, however, it's safety Dymonte Thomas, a dominant force in the state of Ohio at both running back and safety for the last three seasons. Michigan has to replace Jordan Kovacs, and if Jarrod Wilson isn't ready to step in at free safety, it's likely that Thomas Gordon will play there while Thomas slides in at strong safety.

Thomas may be the best pure athlete in the class—if he wanted, he could've easily been a four-star running back recruit—and he brings a very physical presence to the secondary. He should be an asset in run support off the bat and he has all the tools necessary to be solid in coverage, as well. Down the road, I think Thomas will be an all-conference—or even All-American—player, and it may be tough to keep him off the field this fall.

Honorable Mention: The only other play I see having a shot to start this year is Taco Charlton—he's an impressive player and the weakside DE spot is open to competition. That said, I don't see that happening unless Michigan gets hit by the injury bug.

----------------
*Also of note: those are junior highlights. His senior reel is well worth a look.

SUREST THING: Dymonte Thomas

See above. Frankly, I'm surprised Scout was the only service to rank him as a five-star.

Honorable Mention: Henry Poggi. Poggi may not be a superstar—he doesn't always explode off the ball on film—but he seems like a guy who should at least be a solid starter down the road.

BOOM OR BUST: Jourdan Lewis

I've seen cornerback Jourdan Lewis play in either a game or camp setting over a half-dozen times at this point, and he's an outstanding athlete who could conceivably contribute in the return game or even at receiver. When he played across from current Wolverine Terry Richardson as a junior, I thought Lewis was flat-out the better player—he's a little taller and is extremely good at making a play on the ball. After giving him a closer look this year, however, I noticed a couple holes in his game:

There are a couple major concerns I have with Lewis, however, that were on display on Friday night. He does rely on that recovery speed far too much in man coverage—if OLSM's quarterback had thrown that hitch on time, for example, I don't think Lewis would've been able to break up the pass. Then there's run support, where Lewis is very limited by his small frame; at his size, he has to be completely committed to throwing his weight around and tackling with proper technique, and I don't see that at this point. He tends to dive for an ankle-tackle and shies away from major contact—there's a stark contrast between him and Webb, who's both bigger and more willing to lay a hit.

Lewis has all the athleticism necessary to be a very good cover corner, but he's going to need to add some weight, embrace the physicality of the run game, and refine his coverage skills if he wants to be a major contributor at cornerback. If that doesn't work out, he could flip to offense and be a playmaker in the slot, so his versatility gives him a lesser chance of flaming out, but there's no guarantee he'd stick there, either. I think Lewis is a prospect with a high ceiling, but he's going to have to work to get there.

Honorable Mention: Maurice Hurst Jr.—the athletic big man could wreak havoc on the interior, but he's got to learn to play low.

MGOSCOUTED STAMP OF APPROVAL: Taco Charlton

When I drove down to Pickerington to see defensive end Taco Charlton's Central squad take on crosstown rival North (and fellow commit Jake Butt), I expected to see a raw pass-rushing specialist. Instead, I saw him play an instrumental role in keeping North running back Godwin Igwebuike (Northwestern commit) well below his usual numbers, sacrificing his personal stats to key on the run—and he still came up with 1.5 sacks:

Despite having a reputation as a pass-rush specialist, Charlton was instrumental in limiting Igwebuike on the ground, finishing with ten tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was largely tasked with keeping contain, and I don't recall a single instance where a running play got outside of him if it went to his side. While he sometimes allows offensive linemen to get their hands into his chest off the snap, he did a solid job of engaging and using his hands to shed blocks. He played a very disciplined game against the run, showed off a very high motor—especially impressive since he also moonlighted at tight end and on special teams—and always seemed to end up around the football.

As a pass-rusher, Charlton showed off more of a power game than what I've seen from him on camp film, getting his hands inside the blocker and bull-rushing to great effect. He still has that impressive speed around the edge and got pressure on a couple of speed-rushes, but for the most part he went right at his blocker—likely due to his contain responsibilities against the run.

Charlton has also really begun to fill out; Michigan lists him at 6'6", 249 pounds after he enrolled early, and he's got the frame to easily get up to the 270-pound range without losing his impressive quickness. I think he could factor into the weakside DE rotation as soon as this fall, and down the road he could be the edge-rushing threat that Michigan has lacked at DE for some time.

Honorable Mention: Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill. I've covered Lewis; Hill wasn't a guy I really focused on while watching Cass Tech since he was a long-time Iowa commit and there were so many D-I prospects on the field, but it wasn't hard to notice him anyway—he always seemed to find his way to the football and was a solid tackler once he got there.

SLEEPER: Channing Stribling 

When cornerback Channing Stribling earned an offer—and subsequently committed—at Michigan's camp over some more highly-touted prospects (including eventual teammate Reon Dawson), he was a complete unknown despite coming from a football powerhouse at Matthews (NC) Butler. He was immediately pegged as an underrated sleeper, and after a senior season spent making big play after big play, it seemed like he was on the verge of making a huge leap in the recruiting rankings.

That never quite happened—Stribling ended up as a three-star across the board, so the sleeper label still fits. At 6'2", 170 pounds, he's very tall for a cornerback, and his playmaking skills were on display all year—in one game last fall, he had two receiving touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, and a kickoff return for a touchdown. If Stribling can fill out his frame and refine his coverage skills, he could be a very good corner; he's also extremely raw, and maintaining the quickness to cover college receivers at that height is no easy task.

Honorable Mention: Delano Hill

Hello: Reon Dawson

Hello: Reon Dawson

Submitted by Ace on January 15th, 2013 at 11:44 AM

According to multiple outlets, Trotwood (OH) Madison cornerback Reon Dawson, a high school teammate of Mike McCray, has committed to Michigan. Dawson, previously an Illinois commit, is the 26th commitment of the 2013 class, joining Ross Douglas, Jourdan Lewis, and Channing Stribling among cornerbacks. Informative update coming tomorrow.

UPDATE, of the informative variety:

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, #64 CB 3*, NR CB 3*, 77, #41 S 3*, 84, #82 CB

Coming from a powerhouse program in Trotwood-Madison—in addition to McCray, the Rams produced Ohio State commit Cam Burrows and Illinois commit Jarrod Clements this year—means Dawson is well-scouted. The four services all have him squarely in the three-star range, with only ESPN evaluating him as a safety. All but ESPN (6'1", 175) list him at 6'2", 175 pounds—Dawson continues the trend of Michigan targeting bigger corners.

The general consensus on Dawson is that he's a talented prospect with a great frame, but also very much a project. Scout's Dave Berk gave a quick breakdown of his game last summer ($):

The first thing that jumps out about Dawson is his length. At 6-foot-2, Dawson needs to add weight if he expects to compete in the Big Ten. Nevertheless, he’s got above average feet along with the ability to flip his hips, turn and run with receivers out of his back pedal. He is raw, but his upside is extremely high to develop into a solid player at the college level.

Rivals's Josh Helmholdt saw similar potential last summer as Dawson improved at the more technical aspects of the position ($):

Dawson has come a long way since his junior season, even since last spring when we saw him at the VTO Cincinnati camp. Dawson has always had great speed, and at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds he has great length for the cornerback position, but now he is starting to show the instincts and fluidity to play the spot.

While Dawson's physical tools are widely praised, his technique and play recognition repeatedly appear as areas in need of improvement. Here's 247's Clint Brewster($)...

Improvements: Dawson is a raw/untapped prospect that has the athleticism to be a big time college football cornerback. Dawson might need a year in the weight room to add muscle, which will help him make plays in the run game. As Dawson gets more comfortable with the cornerback position, he will be able to react quicker to plays and recognize routes faster, which is an area of improvement.

...and Scout's Ryan Easterling ($):

Technique will be the main focus for Dawson. His athleticism can only take him so far, and he’ll need to refine the technical side of his game to become a more complete corner. With that, he’ll need to make more crisp breaks on the ball when jumping routes and adjusting to his receiver’s routes.

Dawson only started playing organized football a few years ago, which helps explain why he's still developing in these areas. ESPN's evaluation echoes those same concerns about technique and instincts, suggesting safety may be a better position for him at the collegiate level ($) [emphasis mine]:

What stands out about Dawson is his quick feet, smooth hips and very good top end speed. When you consider his height, you have an appreciation for how well he moves. Shows fluid, smooth footwork carrying vertical routes out of his pedal and zone turn. ... He is a strong and reliable open field tackler who breaks down well in space for a tall corner. ... High-points the football and flashes good leaping and ball skills. While he effectively presses receivers off the line with his long arms, he does lose a little in transition when opening to turn and run. Recovery speed is good, not great and he does better playing the ball in front of him with some cushion. Dawson could develop into a man-to-man cover corner at the next level, but his skills and speed are more suited as a zone defender. Still has some room for good physical development while keeping his excellent range making safety a strong possibility.

If Dawson proves he can turn and run with college wide receivers while also adding the weight he'll need to hold up in the run game, he should be able to stick at corner. If not, he could develop into a rangy safety, though his size won't be as much of an asset there as it would be at corner.

The evaluations paint a pretty clear picture of Dawson—he's got the athletic tools needed to be a good cover corner, but needs work to get there. If he puts it all together, at his size, he could be a big-impact player; the question is if he can progress quickly enough to work his way above more polished players on the two-deep.

OFFERS

Dawson held offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pitt, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia, and a handful of MAC schools. He camped at Alabama and Ohio State but did not receive an offer from either school.

STATS

Dawson tallied 22 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in his senior season, per the Greater Western Ohio Conference. As a junior, he had 18 tackles, a fumble recovery, and three interceptions.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals lists a 40 time of 4.4 seconds, while 247 has him at a 4.39—given the praise for his athleticism, that gets three FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Junior highlights:

Extensive senior film and cutups from both his junior and senior seasons can be found on Dawson's Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

As the least-heralded among Michigan's four cornerback commits, not to mention the concerns about technique, Dawson is almost assured a redshirt year to gain weight and learn the finer points of playing corner—or, as it may be, to figure out if he's a corner or a safety. Should Dawson stick at corner, his bigger frame suggests he'll play on the boundary. The path to playing time won't be an easy one, not with three other corners in the class, but Dawson's size and ability to play safety or corner give him a good shot to find a home somewhere on the two-deep.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

In all likelihood, Michigan will only take two more players in the class. One of those spots is reserved for VA RB Derrick Green, who's got Michigan as his leader and will choose a school on January 26th. Three other players hold offers and appear to have serious interest: CA OL Cameron Hunt, CO OL Dan Skipper, and TX TE Durham Smythe. Any one of those players could take the final spot, or—if the coaches decide they're set at O-line and Smythe goes elsewhere—we could see some late offers go out.

Monday Recruitin' Mounts Up

Monday Recruitin' Mounts Up

Submitted by Ace on January 14th, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Michigan's remaining 2013 targets, a surprise move in the 2014 class, and more.

Weekend Visit Recap: One Decision Down, Three To Go


TX TE Durham Smythe is back on the market and looking at Michigan

As signing day rapidly approaches, Michigan's path to closing out the 2013 class becomes more clear. Over the weekend, the Wolverines picked up IN OL Dan Samuelson, who told Scout's Allen Trieu that his decision came down to distance ($):

"It came down mostly to distance," he explained. "I shouldn't say mostly, it was completely distance. It is only about a three hour drive, Nebraska being an 11 1/2 hour drive."

With Samuelson in the fold, Michigan now has six offensive lineman committed; does that leave room for CA OL Cameron Hunt, who was also on campus over the weekend? According to Hunt, per an interview with Scout's Greg Biggins, the answer is 'yes' ($):

“The coaches told me they still had room for me,” Hunt said. “I know six offensive linemen is a lot but I’m not afraid to compete. After taking all my trips, if I feel Michigan is the best spot for me, I’ll still go there and be ready to win a job. There is going to be competition anywhere you go so that doesn’t bother me.”

Hunt went straight from his Michigan official to one at Ohio State, and also has trips lined up to Oregon and Cal (where he's still a very soft commit) before he makes his decision.

OH CB Reon Dawson, an Illinois commit, also took a Michigan official over the weekend; he told ESPN's Jared Shanker that a decision is coming soon ($):

A final decision will come Wednesday after talking with his family and his girlfriend’s mother, with whom he has a very close relationship.

“I’ve been thinking about it ... and first off, education will be big. You can get hurt on any given play and you need something to fall back on,” Dawson said. “I’ll talk to my family, and by Wednesday it’ll be done. I need a couple of days to think about this decision.”

Dawson will choose between Michigan and Illinois; given that he'll be just a few days removed from checking out Ann Arbor when he makes his choice, there's definitely reason for optimism.

That won't be the only decision coming down this week, as in-state kicker JJ McGrath tells The Big House Report that he'll choose between Michigan, LSU, and Southern Miss on Friday. McGrath doesn't hold a scholarship offer—he'd come on as a preferred walk-on—but says that he'd have the opportunity to earn one when Brendan Gibbons graduates. The Wolverines are in a strong position to land McGrath, who also was on campus last weekend.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Derrick Green and Durham Smythe, a surprise commitment to Ohio State's 2014 class, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Submitted by Ace on January 10th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers this weekend's official visitors, an impending 2013 decision, updated rankings from Scout and ESPN, and more.

Weekend Officials: Hunt, Dawson

Only two non-commits—CA OL Cameron Hunt and OH CB Reon Dawson—will take official visits to Ann Arbor this weekend, but Michigan is firmly in the mix for both. Hunt has developed a strong connection with commit Patrick Kugler, who moved his own official to this weekend and will surely be giving Hunt the full-court press for a commitment—though, for now, Hunt has subsequent officials planned for Cal and Oregon with Ohio State also a possible destination.

Dawson, an Illinois commit, would join Trotwood-Madison teammate Mike McCray as a Wolverine if he decides to switch his pledge. Neither Hunt nor Dawson has stated that Michigan holds an edge, but it's conceivable that one or both could be in the fold after this weekend.

IN OL Dan Samuelson visited Michigan last month, and Steve Wiltfong reports that the Nebraska commit will choose between the Wolverines and Huskers on Monday. At first glance, it's a race between Hunt and Samuelson for the final O-line spot, but Sam Webb said this week on his radio show that it's possible Michigan takes both for a total of seven linemen in the class.

One guy Michigan's won't get: Laquon Treadwell, who will choose next Thursday between Ole Miss (the prohibitive favorite), Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

Derrick Green, meanwhile, will not be taking a visit to Auburn this weekend, per Mike Farrell—that rumor made the rounds after originating on some Auburn message boards. Michigan is still in command in his recruitment.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Denzel Ward and Da'Shawn Hand, a look at the updated Scout and ESPN rankings, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Enters Dead Period

Thursday Recruitin' Enters Dead Period

Submitted by Ace on December 20th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers Leon McQuay III's timeline, the sixth O-lineman possibility, and more.

McQuay: Delay?

Before I get into today's (rather scant) recruiting news: the NCAA recruiting dead period began on Monday and extends through January 3rd, which means coaches can't meet with recruits in-person and can only call them once a week. As a result, unless something major breaks, this will be the last recruiting roundup until after the bowl game.

Sam Webb updates us on Leon McQuay III's recruitment at the Detroit News, and McQuay's father says Michigan could be the talented defensive back's eventual destination:

"I wouldn't be surprised if he chose Michigan," his father said. "The defensive coordinator basically sat us down and walked us through how he is going to be used. If that actually holds true, he is going to be lining up in different spots. He is expected to make plays. He has been labeled a playmaker. That's a lot of expectations, but Mattison has been doing it for a while so I'm pretty sure he can look at somebody and tell exactly what he is going to get out of them."

With coaching shakeups on defense at both USC and FSU, it looks like McQuay's recruitment will come down to Michigan and Vanderbilt, where head coach James Franklin is personally recruiting him. While McQuay had long maintained he'll make a decision at the Under Armour All-American Game, a tweet from his father yesterday indicated that may no longer be the case:

With McQuay waiting to see who USC hires at defensive coordinator—and getting to know new FSU DC Jeremy Pruitt, formerly Alabama's secondary coach—the delay makes sense.

[For the rest of the recruiting roundup, hit THE JUMP.]

Thursday Recruitin' Dines And Dashes

Thursday Recruitin' Dines And Dashes

Submitted by Ace on December 13th, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Today's (brief) recruiting roundup covers an intruiging new 2013 offer, this weekend's visitors, and more.

Delano Hill Offered

The onslaught of offers to committed 2013 prospects continues unabated; this time, Michigan offered Cass Tech safety Delano Hill, a longtime Iowa commit, per Allen Trieu ($, info in header). CT defensive coordinator Jermain Crowell told Trieu that Hill is likely to visit Michigan and has been talking to David Dawson about playing together in college—Dawson will take his official visit this weekend, and it's possible Hill joins him. Crowell also speaks highly of Hill's athleticism and ability:

The Wolverines have two corners, Delonte Hollowell and Terry Richardson, from Cass Tech on their roster, and a third, Jourdan Lewis committed. Hill may get a look at corner from the Wolverines and Crowell believes his size and speed will give him a real chance to compete.

"Delano's faster than all of them. He's a difference maker, that's why I didn't understand why they didn't recruit him."

I've seen Hill play several times now and like the offer. He's got good size (6'1", 190), very good closing speed, and he isn't afraid to come up and hit—Hill is very active against the run from his safety spot. While Hill doesn't always make eye-popping plays, he's usually around the football and always seems to end up with more than a handful of tackles. If he visits this weekend, that would be a very good sign for Michigan.

[For this weekend's visitors and more, hit THE JUMP.]