Hello: Dylan McCaffrey (Updated) Comment Count

Ace February 16th, 2016 at 12:19 PM

Michigan got their top target at quarterback last night when Highlands Ranch (CO) Valor Christian QB Dylan McCaffrey announced his commitment to the Wolverines. McCaffrey is the son of former Denver Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey and brother of Heisman finalist Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey; prepare for the word "bloodlines" to show up in several of these scouting reports.

McCaffrey is Michigan's fifth commit in the 2017 class and the first at quarterback.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #3 QB,
#39 Ovr
4*, #6 QB,
#114 Ovr
4*, 85, #1 P-QB,
#25 Ovr
4*, 95, #2 P-QB,
#46 Ovr
4*, #2 P-QB,
#44 Ovr

With the exception of Rivals, which still considers McCaffrey as a high-level prospect, McCaffrey's rankings are tightly grouped in what will be fringe five-star territory by the end of the 2017 cycle.

He has an ideal frame for a quarterback, listed between 6'4", 185 pounds (Rivals) and 6'5", 200 (247).


Scout's free evaluation shows that McCaffrey isn't just an excellent prospect, he's an especially good fit for Jim Harbaugh's offense:


McCaffrey has great bloodlines and is a tremendous talent. He's a pure pocket passer with good athleticism and a great feel for the game. He's the rare QB who can go under canter and take a drop, shows very good footwork and poise. He's a natural leader with the arm strength needed to make all the throws and is able to escape pressure and make a play with his legs. He projects as an elite high major prospect- Biggins


  • Intelligence
  • Mental Toughness
  • Pocket Awareness
  • Touch

Areas to Improve

  • Size

With so many high school teams running shotgun spreads these days, it's hard to find QB prospects with experience dropping back from under center; McCaffrey won't have as tough a transition as most.

It should come as little surprise that McCaffrey has been on the radar for quite a while; I found mention of him as early as May of 2014, when the then-rising-sophomore performed well at the Oakland Elite 11 regional. Irish247's breakdown of his sophomore film indicates McCaffrey was well ahead of the curve at that stage in his development:

McCaffrey boasts big-time size, and will only continue to add strength and poundage to his frame. With added strength, expect for added velocity in the pass game and physicality as a runner.

McCaffrey displays proper posture in the pocket. He has the ability to make smooth, finesse throws as well as pass with power. Good athleticism with the ability to extend plays outside the pocket or as a runner. Not a burner as a runner, but his long levers allow him to cover larger distances with an extended stride.

Flashes a mixture of move the pocket, in the pocket, and play action passes. McCaffrey has experience running a gun spread offense with read/zone concepts. Solid ball carriage in the pocket with limited wasted movement. Impeccable pedigree. Great knowledge of the game. Football player. Subtle movement in the pocket allows him to create space for throws. Down hill thrower once on the run. Reminiscence of former Irish quarterback Dayne Crist, especially on his level one and level five throws.

Their primary complaint was one based in mechanics: sometimes McCaffrey relied too much on his arm strength instead of getting his whole body into a throw.

PrepColorado QB scout Tim Jenkins evaluated McCaffrey during Valor Christian's only loss last fall (one they'd avenge in the state title game). Despite the defeat, McCaffrey still looked like a top-flight prospect:

Dylan is a big strong quarterback who has electric reset ability with his feet, meaning when he goes from one target to the next he wastes no time. He resets to number 2 better than most college quarterbacks. Dylan has a great smooth delivery. There were only a couple things left to be wanted when evaluating that game. First would be chaos management, when he moves around sometimes the ball gets away from his body. Lastly would be post snap recognition, there were a couple missed reads on zone read where there was an extra outside linebacker blitzing off the edge that he didn’t see, or a couple wide open hitch routes he had backside that he went elsewhere. After cleaning that up you see why he has garnered as many offers as he has. He is an excellent quarterback, recruit, and by all accounts I have heard a great kid!

That ability to go through progressions with solid mechanics is one of the main things that separated Brandon Peters from Shane Morris at the high school level; it's very encouraging to hear McCaffrey is on that level.

ESPN's underclassman evaluation has little actual criticism unless you were hoping McCaffrey is as much of a burner as his older brother:

STRENGTHS: Ideal height and massive frame. Heady player who makes sound decisions in the passing game. Well balanced and has a compact, over-the-top release. Possesses the arm strength to make all throws and is very accurate. Poised and patient in the pocket and athletic enough to elude defenders and step up. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will need to fill out his ample frame. Does not have enough speed to be a dual threat. ... BOTTOM LINE: McCaffrey is a tall, polished quarterback with very good arm talent. As he matures and adds bulk, we feel he has the potential to develop into a prototypical pocket passer at the next level.

247's Clint Brewster evaluated McCaffrey's junior film after his commitment and came away suggesting he's better than Peters:

He’s got great size at 6-foot-5 and really sees the entire field. McCaffrey makes decisions that put his team in position to win. He is a smart player and really dissects coverage well, with precision- accuracy and decisiveness. He makes a ton of advanced level throws and reads on film and can really pick you apart with his arm. His mobility is just the icing on the cake.

Each year, programs strive to sign a better player at each position than they did the previous cycle. This was a tough task for Michigan considering they signed the No. 61 overall player in the country last year in Brandon Peters. But they certainly did with the commitment of McCaffrey. The Wolverines got their top overall target at the position that could potentially end up as the top quarterback in the class. McCaffrey's mechanics in the pocket are very polished, especially for a player with his type of upside and mobility. His pocket presence and footwork really set him apart from others in the class.

The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan noted one area where McCaffrey—through no fault of his own—will have to make a significant adjustment:

The lone questions around McCaffrey's talent relate to how he performs when things are stacked against him. Valor Christian is consistently one of the most talented teams in the Denver area, and there are only a couple games each year where the whole range of his skills is needed. The playing field will be more level on a consistent basis in college, and thinking under more intense pressure than he sees will be important.

McCaffrey led Valor Christian to their sixth state title in seven years last season. As with any quarterback, transitioning to tougher competition in college will be a challenge, and in his case it could require a longer adjustment period.

McCaffrey sounds like an ideal fit for Michigan. He's a passer first, and a very good one, but he can also make plays with his legs; he can operate from the gun or under center; his mechanics and understanding of the game are advanced for a prospect his age. Harbaugh has a lot to work with here.


McCaffrey holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State, Duke, LSU, Mizzou, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers, UCLA, Virginia, Washington, and Washington State. He had interest but not offer yet from Stanford, which prioritized the #5 P-QB in the class, Georgia prospect Davis Mills.


Valor Christian is a dominant program in Colorado; as mentioned, they've won six of the last seven Class 5A state titles. The program has, of course, produced the McCaffrey brothers; the two other four-stars they've produced in the Rivals era are 2015 Nebraska CB signee Eric Lee and Mr. Vision Quest himself, Auburn guard Alex Kozan.


From The Wolverine:

During his junior year, McCaffrey led a powerful Valor Christian team to a 12-2 state championship mark, completing 207 of 320 passes (64.7 percent) for exactly 2800 yards (8.8 per attempt) with 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

For his efforts, he was named to The Denver Post All-Colorado High School Football Team.

An interception rate well below 2% is good, in my opinion.


McCaffrey's Hudl page lists a Nike-verified 40 time of 5.18, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. He's not his brother; he still has enough athleticism to break the pocket and pick up first downs.


Junior highlights:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


McCaffrey is a near-lock for a redshirt, both because John O'Korn should be in his second and final year as the starter when he gets to campus in 2017 and doing so would separate him and Peters as much as possible. In what will presumably be his redshirt freshman season in 2018, McCaffrey should battle with Peters, Zach Gentry, Alex Malzone, and Wilton Speight (or whichever of those QBs is still on the roster) for the starting gig.


McCaffrey is the type of quarterback prospect that makes a second pro-style prospect in the class more of a luxury than anything else; if Michigan goes after a second QB, it'll likely be a guy like Gentry or (sigh) Vic Viramontes who could also project to another position.

Here's the class as it currently stands:



February 16th, 2016 at 12:28 PM ^

This is a huge commit. Shows the cycle never stops for Jackhammer Jimmy. The fact that he also said he specifically is targeting Peoples-Jones is huge. DPJ tweeted last night immediately after McCaff's committment, so he clearly has taken notice. Absolutely huge commit on multiple fronts. 


February 16th, 2016 at 3:35 PM ^

He has a chance to go up or down like every player.  You are always competing even as a Michigan offer right?  He has an entire senior year ahead of him to show the world he deserves a 5th star ...or not.

He is the #1 Magnus QB and really that is all that should matter right????

I like his lack of mistakes - 4 INT out of 320 attempts as a JR pleases me.


February 16th, 2016 at 12:37 PM ^

The Valor offense changed to accomodate Christian's speed at RB/ATH and is adjusting again to accomodate Dylan's more pro-style abilities.  I wouldn't worry at all about any of the 'drawbacks' listed and am sure he will get a 5th star and likely win the Golden Helmet award - which Christian won, as well as early enrollee Carlo Kemp.

We got a good one!

The Fugitive

February 16th, 2016 at 12:45 PM ^

"and will only continue to add strength and poundage to his frame"

Perhaps if he gets out of shape, White Goodman can help him shed some unnecessary poundage before beach season.  


February 16th, 2016 at 12:45 PM ^

Ace - I am very excited about this committment and the projected success of the kid. I was wondering if you had any insight as to the perceived lack of offers for DM from successful football programs? Granted, his current offer list is nothing to scoff at by any means but I would have expected the #2 pro-style QB prospect to have a more abundant offer sheet. 

I'll hang up and listen.

Brian Griese

February 16th, 2016 at 1:02 PM ^

But I'll take a stab.  As you may have noticed, there aren't too many teams left that run a "pro-style offense" at the college.  As noted, Stanford was after another target.  Plus, QB recruiting is a little different animal than other positions - your short list is much smaller, meaning you don't fire out as many offers.   Also consider, Bama already has a QB committed along with Oklahoma.  I do believe UCLA offered.  Most other big time colleges run the spread or a version of it.  Hope that helps.  


February 16th, 2016 at 1:10 PM ^

More of a function of type of passer than quality (obviously with rating) as well as the fact that QB recruiting is just different in general. It still strikes me a little odd that someone like a Davis Mills (mentioned by Ace in write-up) or Hunter Johnson has something like 25-30 offers. Thanks for your input.


February 16th, 2016 at 1:06 PM ^

Not Ace either ...


But I can say that Dylan and MICHIGAN have been courting for a while and young McCaffrey is the opposite of the FIVE HATS ON A TABLE SURPRISE!! sort of recruit.  He (they) wanted to be done with the decision and Harbaugh being on board sealed it.  I think some schools were aware of the more proactive nature of the McCaffrey family and as was said above, the Herbs of the world are trying to find the next Tim Tebow ...not the next Andrew Luck.


Hardware Sushi

February 16th, 2016 at 12:50 PM ^

Wooo! And apparently his top priority now is recruiting DPJ. Double woooo!

Also, not that it can't be cleaned up relatively easily, but it looks like he starts leaning back in anticipation of the snap before the ball comes off the ground. Not a major thing, just never noticed that before.

Honey Badger

February 16th, 2016 at 1:00 PM ^

Valor Christian is the premier sports high school in Colorado.  It is like a college campus with great sports facilities all the way around.  Once again, Michigan plucks a gem out of Colorado!


February 16th, 2016 at 2:12 PM ^

Yeah, Fox did not flame out... just kinda fizzled out, unfortunately.

Happens - that's why we need plentiful OL and QB depth, in particular. But really, Brian's idea of a limit to each class size but not overall roster size would be great as we try to build our program back to what it was 2006 and prior...

What are the chances it ever happens?


February 16th, 2016 at 1:10 PM ^

I live in Cherry Creek district, a rival school, we've met in the state championship three years in row (I think). From what I've seen, read and heard - he's a much better athlete than he gets credit for, not a stiff by any stretch. He's known for his leadership. If he's not a 5*, I don't know who is.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


February 16th, 2016 at 1:21 PM ^

Valor has supplanted Creek as the most resented Denver area HS over the past couple years and the McCaffrey family was among the first "Valor families" that left Regis HS (known in part for Missy Franklin), causing a bit of a rivalry/rift among esp the private schools (Creek being public but on par with most private).

I think the reason he has yet to get a 5th star is that he can add 20-25lbs easily and show some improvement overall this upcoming fall to get it.  More a matter of when than If, IMO.


February 16th, 2016 at 1:47 PM ^

the most resented high school in the state. I live right by Valor and I can tell you, unless your kid goes to school there, you don't like them. Started with their recruiting of kids and basically just buying everything they want. No doubt they are a power, but don't care for how they acheived it so fast in football. It has now spread to all sports. Heck getting George Gwazdeky (SP?) to coach the hockey team and wanting to build a hockey rink on their campus now pretty much tells you all you need to know.


February 16th, 2016 at 4:03 PM ^

Private Christian non-denominational. Founded in 2007, so doing pretty well for a young school. They lost to Cherry Creek in 2014, they are coached by Dave Logan (former CU Buff, Cleveland Brown and Bronco) who is Ed McCaffery's radio broadcast partner for the Broncos. Logan was hoping Dylan would go to CU.

  • 2009 3A State Champ
  • 2010 4A State Champ
  • 2011 4A State Champ
  • 2012 5A State Champ
  • 2013 5A State Champ
  • 2014 5A Runner up
  • 2015 5A State Champ

Tuition is currently $17,300 plus athletic and class fees, so about $19K per year. Die hard Regis Jesuit folks were crushed when the McCafferys left for Regis for Valor.


February 16th, 2016 at 4:57 PM ^

Basically what I'd posted in terms of how Valor was founded and the bad blood it created esp with Regis.  And though not Jesuit like Regis, predominatly Catholic base, but not strict in order to attract (read, recruit) a wider base of kids.

Dave Logan has coached at a number of Denver HS and done well everywhere, for many reasons, not the least of which is he usually coaches at very well funded schools.