2009 Recruiting: Thomas Gordon

Submitted by Brian on February 19th, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Previously: Vlad Emilien and Mike Jones.

Detroit, Michigan – 5'10" 199
thomasgordon_thumb5 Scout 2*, #115 S
Rivals 3*, not ranked
ESPN 77, #77 ATH
Others --
Other Suitors Michigan State
YMRMFSPA Brandent Englemon
Previously On
Er… I didn't actually do a commit post. Bad me.
Notes Nicknamed "Prison Abs" by Rodriguez.
Detroit Cass Tech (Campbell, Jones, Cissoko)
Image found at Next Generation Sports.

You'll note that in the above picture Gordon is holding the ball as if to throw, which is not a common thing for safeties to do. This is because Gordon was Cass Tech's quarterback for the duration of his time in the starting lineup with the Technicians. Gordon had a trick up his sleeve, though:

Wilcher, the football coach at Detroit Cass Tech, was trying to persuade me to list Thomas Gordon among the state's top 25 football players in our preseason preview. He assured me Gordon was heading to a big-time Division I school as a safety even if the college coaches didn't know it yet. There was only one little thing standing between Gordon and a scholarship to a BCS school: He hadn't played a down of defense since he entered high school.

Gordon switched over to safety his senior year after he visited Michigan's camp, performed well there, and was told he was very likely to get an offer if he started playing defense. He did, and he did.

In doing so Gordon became Michigan's lowest-rated non-kicker commit in the class with the possible exception of Deerfield Beach tag-along Adrian Witty. Since recruiting rankings do matter this bodes slightly unwell for his future, but they don't matter so much that Gordon can be written off before he even gets to campus.

ESPN, probably the most positive scouting service, says he's got potential($):

Very raw in technique as DB at this point but is a good athlete with smooth movement skills and quality physical tools for a program to mold at the next level. Reaches top-speed quickly as running quarterback and is a very decisive cutter; should bring good recovery burst and sharp pursuit angles to the ball as a safety (although we did not always see it on film). … he needs to refine his pedal and diagnosing skills. Tends to free lance a bit. Pursuit angles are not consistently direct. … That said, Gordon brings good range, athleticism, ball skills and deceptive physicality to the table as a prospect.

As you might imagine, a guy who played all of one year at safety is something of a project. This goes double because Gordon's defensive playing time was limited late in the season because of a hamstring injury. It didn't prevent him from tearing things up on the ground in Cass Tech's playoff win over Cody, though:

Thomas Gordon, Cass Tech- Gordon could have also been MVP with his 146 rushing yards and two TDs. His play at safety was limited to long passing downs but you can't fault the coaching staff because Gordon is still favoring a hamstring injury and you can afford to lose your QB.

(Cass would get clunked by Southeastern and Will Gholston the next week.)

The potential he showed his senior year was enough to get offers from Michigan, who had seen him at their summer camp, and Michigan State, which jumped in with his first BCS offer in an attempt to pirate him away. Gordon warn't having that:

You'll note that in that interview Gordon says Michigan will give him a chance on the offensive side of the ball "if safety doesn't work out." So: safety, then maybe slot or quarterback or whatever if he can't adjust to the defensive side of the ball. Given Michigan's depth chart at safety—thin—and Gordon's apparently limited potential at quarterback, a switch back to offense is a last resort.

You can get an extensive taste of Gordon on offense and defense in this Max Preps video (set to wicked dramatic Jerry Bruckheimer music) of Cass Tech's 17-0 win over Detroit King; Campbell and Jones also feature prominently.

Why Brandent Englemon? Englemon was a lightly-recruited safety about Gordon's size with around the same ratings. Englemon was also a high school quarterback who projected to the secondary.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Gordon was well known as a three-year starter at one of the state's most heavily scouted programs, but no one really knows how he'll do at safety.
General Excitement Level: Well… he is the lowest-ranked non-kicker in the class, and that's probably for a reason.
Projection: Obvious redshirt and will likely require at least two years before he's ready to see the field on defense. The most likely (but by no means assured) outcome is that he doesn't contribute much.



February 19th, 2009 at 5:14 PM ^

I believe RR has mentioned that Gordon is one of the best athletes in the class. This could be boilerplate coach talk, but it bodes better than the party line on Englemon - the dreaded smart player label that generally indicates a lack of athleticism.


February 19th, 2009 at 8:50 PM ^

Sounds like a really raw good athlete.....This is the exact type of player that RR's system makes good use of. Under Lloyd this guy would never see the field. Under RR this guy could be another Darius Reynaud (WVU)