Hello: Henry Poggi Comment Count

Ace June 4th, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Alabama bangs, Michigan commit.

Michigan's next commitment has been the subject of much speculation since Maurice Hurst Jr. pledged to the Wolverines on Saturday and proclaimed he'd be joined by another imminently. Now the guessing game is over, as Baltimore (MD) Gilman DT Henry Poggi has announced his choice to become the 20th commit in Brady Hoke's class of 2013, via GBW's Sam Webb. The consensus four-star is Michigan's second defensive tackle in the class, joining Hurst and defensive end Taco Charlton on the D-line.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #15 DT,
#135 Ovr
4*, #2 DT,
#52 Ovr
4*, 81, #23 DT 4*, 94, #7 DT,
#105 Ovr

Poggi is univerally regarded as a four-star, and only ESPN doesn't consider him one of the top 150 recruits in the country. Rivals is the most bullish, putting him all the way up at #52 overall. All save ESPN list Poggi at 6'4" and between 260 and 270 pounds; ESPN is a serious outlier at 6'3", 245.

Football runs in the family for the Poggis; Henry's father, Biff, is his coach at Gilman, while his older brothers Sam (Duke) and Jim (Iowa) each earned BCS football scholarships. His father, for what it's worth, says Henry is the best player in the family.

ESPN's evaluation isn't particularly glowing, largely due to concerns about Poggi's size and potential status as a tweener ($):

As a D-Lineman he flashes a good initial burst, but is inconsistent and can be a beat slow at times. He does need to watch his pad level, but displays the ability to fire off the ball low and gain leverage. He is a hard nose player who can make good contact and be tough at the point of attack. He is active with his hands, but needs to do a better job of consistently separating from blockers. He is a coach's son and comes across as a fairly smart player who reads schemes well and can get himself in good positions. He is a physical and high effort player who works to get around the ball. He is a good tackler who tries to drive through the ball carrier and wrap-up. He does display some rigidness and could struggle in space to quickly re-direct and wrap ball carriers up. As a pass rusher he comes up-field hard. Will try and attack half-a-man and displays the ability to be violent with his hands. ... While Poggi looks to carry his weight well, he may be somewhat limited in the good size he can add making him an undersized D-Tackle or more of a swing player if he stays on defense at the next level.

Poggi will likely come to campus as a three-tech DT, but there's also a chance he ends up at five-tech DE if he can't add the necessary bulk to play on the interior. The criticisms about his technique shouldn't be of great concern; remember, he's a junior in high school and Michigan has three defensive line coaches to work out any kinks at the next level.

Rivals—unsurprisingly, given his comparative rankings—was much more positive in their evaluations of Poggi than ESPN; here's MDHigh.com's Wayne Yarborough after scouting a Gilman game last October ($):

At 6-4, 255, Poggi has a great frame; he's a tall, thick defender with a wide base, stout legs and broad shoulders. He plays with a low pad level, which makes him difficult to move off the ball. He also has tremendous upper- and lower-body strength, allowing him to collapse the pocket and toss offensive linemen around like a dog with a chew toy. Indeed, Poggi can be a bully up front; he likes to scrap inside and goes at it like he has a massive chip on his shoulder. What's more, Poggi is very nimble for a big man. He showed surprising quickness and closing speed on stretch runs and a relentless rush on passing plays.

Gilman assistant coach Hank Russell echoed the praise for Poggi's strength, pad level, and motor in a March article on MDHigh.com ($):

Henry (6-3, 250) is a big, country-strong lineman who moves extremely well for his size. He has quick, heavy hands and gets off blocks exceptionally well. He is very powerful at the point of attack and can [overwhelm opponents]. Then Henry has a non-stop motor; he just will not stop coming at you. [Fundamentally], he plays with a low base and consistently keeps his pads low. He has great lower-body strength, which makes him very difficult to move off the ball. He's just a tough kid to block; he can [occupy] multiple blockers and break through double-teams.

Russell also told Scout's Kristen Kenney($) that Poggi "plays with incredible passion and has a non-stop motor." In short, Poggi may not have ideal size for a tackle, but he has great strength and pad level, relentless energy, and very solid athleticism for a lineman.


Poggi chose Michigan over Alabama and also held offers from the likes of Auburn, Cal, Florida, Iowa, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mizzou, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and others. Needless to say, he's got a strong list of suitors.


Poggi recorded 49 tackles, 11 TFL, ten sacks, and a forced fumble as a junior in 2011.


247 lists a 4.70 40 time for Poggi, which merits a three FAKEs out of five.


Junior highlights:

You can see some additional highlights in this video feature on Poggi in which he also answers a few questions. His dream prom date will be met with approval around these parts, I'm sure.


Here's where I get lazy and slightly modify what I said about Hurst on Saturday:

If he ends up at three-tech, Hurst Poggi should get a redshirt year since Michigan brought in Willie Henry, Matt Godin, and potentially Chris Wormley at the position in the 2012 class. After that redshirt year, he'll be in position for fight for time against those three and a senior Kenny Wilkins; given that he's got a higher recruiting profile than all the '12 recruits save Wormley, he's got a good shot at contributing as a redshirt freshman.

Hey, that worked. Poggi could also end up at strongside DE, where he'd be competing against Wormley, Tom Strobel, and Keith Heitzman for time. Neither position that Poggi projects to play has much at all in the way of upperclassmen, so he's got a good shot to make a relatively early impact regardless of where he ends up. That said, a redshirt year will likely be a necessity to allow him to add some good weight.

If Poggi comes in at the three-tech, I assume the coaches will see how Hurst holds up at the nose unless Michigan takes another lineman who better fits there.


The Wolverines now have three or four spots remaining, in all likelihood. One of those is reserved for IL WR Laquon Treadwell, while it's becoming clear the coaches would like another defensive back in the class—MD CB Kendall Fuller and FL CB Leon McQuay III are the top targets, while AZ CB Cole Luke and NJ CB Nadir Barnwell are also possibilities. Michigan also is in the market for another running back—or at least an elite-level back—with the coaches pursuing VA RB Derrick Green and TN RB Jordan Wilkins.

I'd expect the class to be filled out with a receiver, running back, and cornerback, with the coaches taking a best player available type or possibly a strongside DE if there's another open spot. The options should narrow down considerably with so little room left in the class, a process we've already seen in motion along the offensive line and at linebacker.



June 4th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

So we can now officially dispel the "Michigan can't land the big one when it comes down to a final 2 versus another national power" meme that has gotten annoying.  Alleluiah.


June 4th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

To all the Decemberists fans out there:


Hey Henry, can you hear me,
Let me see those eyes
This distance, between us
Can seem a mountain size
But boy, you are gonna stand your ground
They rise to you you'll blow them down
Let me see you stand your ground
They rise to you you'll blow them down



June 4th, 2012 at 12:13 PM ^

Just a few days ago I was reading all the pro-Bama posts for his recruitment.  So glad they were wrong.  Really nice addition to this class.  Sounds like a high character kid who can really play.

Ron Utah

June 4th, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

This looks like not just a great player, but another quality kid.

I actually think he and Hurst are extraordinarily different players, and that Ace is being REAL lazy by using the same write-up.  Poggi uses much better pad level and technique than does Hurst, and plays with an efficiency that maximizes his talents.  Hurst is a RB in a DT's body; he uses athleticism and strength to make plays, often sacrificing technique.

Hurst, IMO, has a higher ceiling, but Poggi has much higher floor.

FWIW, I see Poggi as a 3-tech; the days of RVBs playing strongside DE should be over for this program; we can get players with better size/speed ratios than RVB had.  Don't get me wrong--I love RVB and what he did--but a player of Craig Roh's athleticism is MUCH better suited to that position, and I believe the current staff will load that position with enough talent to keep players with those types of tools on the field.

RVB was neither as strong or as quck as Poggi; but keep in mind too that we have Jibreel Black playing DT now...HS players tend to move down and in, and Poggi has the skillset to play 3-tech.

The future at Michigan is players like Poggi and Hurst who have elite physical tools.  Hurst playing NT is a scary thought.  I would actually compare that to former NFL and Texas great Shaun Rogers: the athleticism of an NBA player with the body of, well, a NT.  Poggi shows technique beyond his years, along with elite strength and burst, but not the speed you'd like at DE.  Despite the posted 40 times, I actually think Hurst is faster and more quick twitch.

I also predict that Roh has a better year than RVB had, and that's without Mike Martin next to him.  But we'll see...that would require BWC/Pee Wee to be pretty darn good.

Ron Utah

June 4th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

The "head-to-head" thing is really overrated.  Hoke is right: don't sell Michigan, just tell kids and their families what Michigan is, and if they want it, then they'll take it.  If they don't want it, we probably don't want them.

When Hoke/Mattison/Borges/Funk/etc go into a kid's house, they know their scholarship offer isn't a tool to entice a player to come to U of M, it's a gift.  If the kid/family doesn't accept the gift, that's fine.  Better off giving it someone else.

The Ty Issac's of the world that are impressed by Snoop and SoCal are not the personalities we want on Big Blue.  We want blue collar, BA kids who are more concerned about family, tradition, and integrity than they are about weather, fame, and girls.

I know this sounds idealistic, but Michigan sells itself, and if a recruit ain't buyin', then I don't much want him at Michigan.  To those that see it with their families, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY.  To those who don't...good luck.

Our program (much to the disappointment of many fans) isn't ALL about winning.  It's about family, tradition, integrity, and kids learning lessons that will benefit them whether they're in the NFL, in business, and even in fatherhood.  Yes, we want to win and will always endeavor to do so with all of our heart and effort, but that's only because winning on the field takes the qualities necessary to be great men.

The Block M isn't just about Michigan; it's about great Men (and woMen).  Hoke gets that, and that's why he's such a successful recruiter.  The extrinsic goal is B1G Championships and BCS glory; the intrinsic goal is building a team of great leaders, and great young men.

USC, ohio, 'Bama...those programs literally have their priorities upside-down: they are more concerned about the "W" than the "M".  And that will always be attractive to lots of 18-yr-old kids and their parents, but those aren't the kids we want at Michigan.

Recruiting isn't just about luring kids to your school, it's about weeding out the ones that really want it and the ones who don't fit.

This post is why I love Michigan and why I'll always support men like Brady Hoke; and it's also why Rich Rod failed...but I digress.



June 4th, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

Completely agree.  While a sports team doesn't necessarily reflect a college's ethos, it seems like it does at Michigan.  I asked a business acquaintence from Alabama how he felt about Saban, knowing that Saban was a carpet bagger who would leave at the next better opportunity.  He said he didn't care as long as 'bama won.  While winning is great, it is better to win the right way, without oversignings, paying players, etc.   Rich Rod wasn't crooked like some others, but he was still a carpet bagger.  He left his alma mater which was an inch away from a national championship for the next better opportunity.  While I'm all for capitalism and getting paid, there's also the idea of standing for something.  True Michigan Men stand for something and it is nice when those are the people representing the university.  Finding quality kids that match the Michigan ethos is important.  (Though we all wanted Ty Issac and would have been eleated to get him.)


June 4th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

While I agree with you to a point, I think this is all a function of your perspective.  Dont' forget that Brady Hoke left his alma mater after their best season ever for the next better opportunity, and then left that job for the next better opportnity (Michigan).  I don't write that as a knock in ANY way on Hoke... I love the guy, truly.  Rather, I write it just to inject some perspective.  One guy left his alma mater and is a carpet bagger, the other is our hero.




June 4th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

While there are differences (certainly you can do more at WV than Ball St), the reasons they left were pretty alike. Having less to do with the "next best opportunity," and more to do with the toxic environment at their alma maters. While neither one was pushed out, it certainly wasn't welcoming and set up to succeed to their fullest. So they both left, and I'm sure with some regret in both cases. I know certain guys like to lump them all in together, but to call Rich or Brady a carpet bagger in comparison to someone like Saban is unfair to both men.


June 4th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

Keep in mind that the head coaching job at Michigan has always been Hoke's dream job, and he has stated this to his prior employers (SDSU at the very least).  If Hoke were to leave Michigan for another HC job, then I would think differently about him, but until then, I don't think it's fair to compare him to RichRod or Saban.

Patent Pending

June 4th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

Your post immediately above giving your opinion/analysis about Poggi and Hurst was informative. 

This post, however, is a bunch of hooey.  What makes you think Ty Isaac was sold on SC because of Snoop, fame, fortune, and the weather?  We won't land every single kid that we want and it is not because the kid inherently isn't a Michigan Man because he didn't accept Hoke's "gift".

Every NCAA football coach sells the very same things you mentioned - family, tradition, integrity.  If you think Saban is ONLY telling the kids "NFL, NFL, NFL", you're wrong.  We've heard it from our own commits that Mattison isn't afraid of comparing recruits to his former Ravens players.

I like where your heart is, but c'mon.


June 4th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

I agree regarding Isaac and USC. I liked the idea of the post, but to say that every kid who chooses another big program doesn't have his priorities straight is pretty naive. You realize USC is a very strong academic school too, right? One that has a very large and close knit alumni base in one of our country's largest cities. It's possible that the academic program Isaac intends to join at USC is better than at Michigan. Or maybe he felt more comfortable with the players at USC than at Michigan.

Wanting to go to schooling warm weather or in a big city doesn't make them a bad person. Kids pass on UM to go to NYU or BU all the time, because some people like living in a big city. And some people really like nice weather, like me, and although I doubt that was his main reason for choosing USC, if it's one aspect of it, how can you blame him? We rep our beautiful campus and great college town all the time. Are those better reasons that sunshine, or proximity to surfing?

Had Ty Isaac said something like "I picked USC so I can hang with Snoop, yo" the you might have a point, but to make assumptions on a kid's reasons for picking a school, or worse, assume that any reason for him to pick USC over us means we didn't want him anyway just sounds like sour grapes and ruins an otherwise good post.

Ron Utah

June 4th, 2012 at 5:04 PM ^

I shouldn't have picked on Isaac like that and in no way meant to pick on him.  My point was merely that Michigan will get the kids it should get, and that we aren't selling Snoop Dog, hot cheerleaders in sweaters, or the lifestyle that the USC program is well-known for.

My apologies to Ty Isaac.

But my core point is the same: Michigan sells itself, and does so without using sex appeal or being only about winning.

USC is a great school; my father-in-law went there and so did some of my good buddies.  I lived in Santa Monica for two years and know the area and the people well.  But we also know the culture there is VERY different from the Michigan culture, and that they are more focused on the NFL and the SoCal lifestyle.  At least, we're sure that's how it was with Carroll.  My impression of USC's program is that it is much more about individual greatness, and that seems to have been the focus in recent years.  Hoke is much more about character education.

I don't know why Isaac chose USC, other than his "it's tailback U." statement.  And look at the last two RBs to come out of USC and make a splash in the NFL: Reggie Bush and LenDale White, both of whom were known to misbehave in college.

Obviously, I'm biased, but my point is that Michigan will get the kids it should get, and those that don't all in love with it probably don't belong there.  Would I have loved if Isaac loved Michigan enough to commit?  Of course.  But the fact that he didn't doesn't mean we recruited him poorly, it might very well just mean he's not a good fit at Michigan.  He did say, specifically, that life outside of football was why he chose USC.

I wish Ty the best, and in no way meant to insult him.


June 4th, 2012 at 6:32 PM ^

Everybody sells what they have.  I promise if the weather was warm in Ann Arbor and there were hot babes all around, we'd be sure to point that out to our recruits.  We don't have that, so we focus on other things. 

Being focused on the NFL as a major football program is also not a bad thing.  That's what these guys want to do.  They don't grow up wanted to be college football players, they want to be pro football players.  If a kid picks a school because they're really good at getting him into his profession, I can't blame him.  If a HS student picks NYU over Michigan because they want to be on Broadway (not a great example because M has a great theater department, but bare with me), you wouldn't say they he or she is focusing on the wrong things, or if a kid picks MIT over UM because they have better placement at NASA, you wouldn't say they have their priorities wrong.  USC has put a lof of kids into the NFL lately.  Being attracted to that is not a bad thing.  If we get back to pumping out NFLers like we used to, we'll be pushing it too, trust me. 

I hate that I'm defending USC because I can't stand that team, but you can't hold the NFL and good weather against them.  They had a handful of guys who could have gone pro stick around so they could win a national championship.  Matt Barkley (whose older sister is an M grad) is what you want your QB to be.  The whole team might not be as reeled in as ours, but that doesn't mean that every kid who goes there just wants to party in Hollywood.  Maybe Ty Issac wanted to go there because they've had a bunch of RBs win Heismans and get drafted high.  That's not a bad thing. 


Ron Utah

June 4th, 2012 at 5:10 PM ^

As I said in another post, you are right--I'm wrong to pick on Isaac.  My apologies to him.

The difference is the 3 programs I named also pay their players, oversign, or have made it abundantly clear in very recent years that winning is more important than treating every recruit like a family member.  I'm sure Rich Rod sold family, tradition, integrity too--but selling and doing are very different, and Hoke is a special coach in that regard, as was Carr, and Bo...

Yes, I truly believe Michigan is different.  And I don't believe I'm just being a homer in that regard.


June 4th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

" If they don't want it, we probably don't want them."

ohio uses a certain form of this concept, but they always wrap with the "Meyer just cooled on the guy anyway" in order to justify away the fact that he didn't end up wearing ugly colors.

Mr. Yost

June 4th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

...But I believe we're going to need a Rob Renes. Pipkins is going to be a monster in the middle. But we need someone on the defensive front that's going to either start or rotate in and do all the little things, the dirty work, we need a Renes or Mike Martin down there that is going to control the game so the players around him can make plays.

Give us a Renes and another elite CB (Fuller?) and you're starting to talk about an All-Time defense in the future (on paper). We could also use a smart ballhawking FS (McQuay?).


June 4th, 2012 at 7:17 PM ^

At this link.

(Henry's mother) sat with Brady [Hoke], she spent about 40 minutes with him, and he explained to her why he coaches," said Biff Poggi, Henry's father. "He's passionate about impacting the lives of kids, and she believed him and felt like that was deep in his heart.

Highly recruited players and their families -- particularly the mothers -- must see all manner of insincere, snake-oil coaches in their living rooms.

Then along comes Brady Hoke.  Unpolished.  The anti-Saban.  And he talks about their son, and how it's about more than just football.  And there's not a false note to it, because false notes aren't part of Hoke's vocabulary.

These mothers have seen the picture of Hoke kissing Troy Woolfolk, and the look on Mrs. Woolfolk's face.

And then in the quiet of their home, over dinner perhaps, mama says, "I like that Michigan coach ... he talked to me ... I think that's where you should go."

Then comes the "Hello" post.


June 4th, 2012 at 8:39 PM ^

But it's not an act. And it's the type of things Mom's DO appreciate. At least the mom's of the type of kids we want to come to Michigan. If mom is interested in how we're going to get her meal ticket..I mean baby into an NFL payday, the kid is probably not a good fit. If she wants to know their child will be watched over and is sure to get a great education....


June 10th, 2012 at 1:01 AM ^

To the young man on earning a very valuable scholarship. As far as the discrepancy between the recruiting services I think the offer list says it all. Pretty much all the top dogs offered him including Nick Saban and the crimson tide which is good enough for me. I think this class, the last, and the next are going to solidify Michigan as truly being "back" and contending for conference and national championships on a regular basis. It's great to be a Michigan wolverineeeeee