2010 Recruiting: Courtney Avery Comment Count

Brian April 6th, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Previously: S Carvin Johnson, S Ray Vinopal, S Marvin Robinson.

Lexington, Ohio - 5'10" 165
courtney-avery Scout 3*, #35 CB
Rivals 3*, NR
ESPN 73, #94 CB
Others NR
Other Suitors Stanford, Louisville, Vanderbilt
YMRMFSPA Grant Mason
Previously On
Commitment post.

When you need a fawning quote about the newest commitment or signee, no matter how obscure, the kid's high school coach is the #1 source. I've read hundreds of these things, but I've never seen anything quite like this:

“He’s the type of kid that if he wants to be president of the United States one day, he will be. I got two compliments I could give him. That’s the first, and the second is if my daughter was 18, she could date him."

That's Lexington High coach BJ Payne on star quarterback and corner Courtney Avery.

Avery was the first cornerback Michigan picked up in the class, receiving an offer after showing up and dominating Michigan's summer camp. Payne again:

"He had a phenomenal workout at Michigan, which is exactly what we expected of him," Payne said. "He was the top defensive back there and he performed as such." 

Shortly afterward Avery switched his Stanford commitment to Michigan, ensuring one Wolverine coed a gentleman suitor in the near future.

Unfortunately, the local paper is one of many under the misapprehension that locking your archives behind a paywall will do anything other than annoy bloggers so Avery's high school exploits are a bit foggy. We do know he was an explosive full-time quarterback as a freshman and sophomore before starting both ways as an upperclassman. He started every game of his high school career he was healthy for, and his TD-INT ratio was something any of Michigan's QBs would aspire to:

Courtney Avery, QB, Lexington - Four-year starter and Michigan commit is as good an athlete as we'll see at any level. He threw 26 TD and just 3 INT last year.

That goes double for his completion percentage as a junior:

A starter at quarterback since his freshman year, Avery completed 73 percent of his passes during the regular season (122-for-166) for 2,095 yards, 21 touchdowns and one interception and was the Ohio Cardinal Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Too bad he's not 6'3". Avery also runs track and was the star of Lexington's basketball team. Too bad he's not 6'10". Avery wasn't too shabby as as a defensive back, either, finishing his career with seventeen interceptions and being named first-team All Ohio last year. He did this despite an ankle injury that limited him in a few games and forced him to miss a couple others. By season's end he was a player who had "battled injuries all season."

Scouting Avery might as well start with another ridiculous quote from his coach. Payne's in the tank for this kid to the point where his praise can't be taken seriously. I mean:

“He a true cover corner,” Payne said. “He’s a Deion (Sanders)-type corner. He’ll lock you down. And he’ll come up and hit. He thinks he’s 6-3, 220. We had to tell him, hey, tone it down a little bit because he was our quarterback, too.”

He's like Deion Sanders, except an awesome hitter. All right, then. Does he also peel garlic?

Payne does claim that Avery is the best athlete and football player he's ever gotten his hands on, which means something since Payne coached former Ohio State receiver and current Miami Dolphin Brian Hartline. Hartline was a productive starter at OSU and a fourth round draft pick; if Michigan gets that sort of production out of an anonymous three star that's a major win.

Hartline has the advantage of being 6'2", though. Avery doesn't. He's 5'9", although that seems like an actual 5'9" and not a fanciful Cass Tech 5'9". Even so, the common thread in scouting reports is "this guy is good, but tiny." Scout's evaluation:

A good football player who possesses above average speed and good quickness and agility. Is smart and understands the game. Picks up quickly on routes and has the athletic tools to close on plays. He does not have prototypical size, but is able to play up on the line. He is a well built kid, but is not real tall.

FWIW, Scout was much higher on Avery than other sites. When he switched his commitment to Michigan he was on the fringe of four stars, and though he's slid because of the ankle he's still fairly close.

ESPN's evaluation is surprisingly positive for a guy they give a MAC-like 73:

Avery is an exceptional athlete that his only limited by his physical size. He is light weight but has very good speed and excellent quickness. … Has good hips and can turn and change direction without any loss of balance or control. Shows the ability to play man to man coverage as a corner and can run stride for stride with the wideout on the takeoff route. Closes quickly on the receiver when playing zone coverage. Displays good tackling abilities but size makes it difficult to really explode through the ball carrier.

As a bonus, longtime Ohio high school football observer and Bucknuts guru Duane Long thought highly of Avery, calling him a "borderline Buckeye caliber recruit." That's pretty good for your fourth cornerback.

Avery's offers are probably not a good barometer of his talent since he committed to Stanford in April of last year, short-circuiting other schools' efforts. At the time of his commitment he had a smattering of offers from MAC-type schools, with Vanderbilt and Louisville coming in after he was supposedly off the market. Just before signing day there were rumors Florida was taking a look after hiring the coach who recruited Avery to Stanford, but those didn't materialize into anything.

Why Grant Mason? I remember Mason being considerably shorter than the six-foot he's listed at in his various NFL bios, just like Avery is considerably shorter than the 5'11" he's credited with on Michigan's official site. Anyway, Mason was a slight cover corner who transferred from Stanford and developed into a fairly decent starter as a senior. He had similar meh recruiting rankings and was also a smart, athletic kid limited by his size. It sounds like Avery may be a better athlete.

Etc.: He'll play in the North-South Ohio All Star game on the 23rd of April, FWIW. A JJHuddle article on his improvement as a junior. Now this is a list from a guy who cares about academics:

"When Courtney started narrowing down his schools, he had Stanford and Michigan and Northwestern and Vanderbilt and Duke. They all are great academic schools," Payne said. "A lot of kids would be glad to have one of those schools interested and Courtney had offers from all of them.

In case you were afraid Rodriguez was restricting his corner recruiting to the juvie halls of America.

Guru Reliability: Low. Avery is a known quantity in high school circles but nowhere did I find any mention of a camp or combine at which recruiting gurus could have been present. Combine that with full-time duties at quarterback and a senior-year ankle injury and it's tough for anyone to project Avery to the other side of the ball.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Avery seems like a better bet than most three stars because he's walking around with whatever the opposite of a red flag is. He's smart, athletic, and has transitioned to corner well. Michigan saw him in a camp setting. His size doesn't seem like a huge problem if he's going to be a cover corner.
Projection: Likely to redshirt since Michigan will have four or five corners in front of him this year. He does need a little more beef than he's got currently. After that, time on special teams and maybe a nickel package or two with an eye towards starting as an upperclassman.



April 6th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

...this kid for a year and he could become a solid contributor at CB.

BTW, Brian's commitment post has mention of a Scout combine Avery attended, so he has had some up close guru evaluation in contrast to Brian's "Guru Reliability" comment.

Avery was timed at a 4.55 at the Scout Combine he attended, where he was in contention for MVP honors.


Scout profile says he was timed at a Cincinnati combine.

Scout combine MVP contention post states the combine in question was in Pittsburgh.

Either he attended two Scout combines (Cinci and Pittsburgh), or Scout made a mistake on his page and listed the combine where his 4.55 time was recorded as Cinci vice Pittsburgh.

So I guess his attendance at one or two Scout combines is the major source of his Scout/Rivals ranking disparity.


April 6th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

I am an assistant basketball coach at a rival school to Courtney's Lexington High School. I have followed his career since his freshman year. I am also friends with several people close to Courtney and am friendly with several of his coaches.


-I'm 5'11" inches and when our teams shook hands, I was at least two inches taller. So 5'9" is right on.

-He rarely practiced at DB during his career.

-He was a blue chip basketball recruit early on and came off the bench for "All Ohio Red", an AAU team that won multiple national championships with numerous big-time recruits. He has traveled nation-wide as a part of that team. More of a driver. Has trouble shooting it.

-He is about as polite and well-spoken as any kid you'll find. 4.0 student in honors classes. Very high character.

-Extremely quick and muscular. Some in Lexington don't think he is a OSU caliber recruit.

-Our local GM plant just closed and dad is being transferred to Flint. Family is moving there.


April 6th, 2010 at 1:29 PM ^

...of "gouge" is Navy slang for

* the essential piece of information, the heart of the matter
* a crib sheet or other condensed summary of useful information
* outstanding test-preparation material such as an old test copy

A person who is tired of hearing all the extraneous information surrounding a problem might exclaim "Just give me the gouge!"

Sorry for not remembering that it's an uncommon usage.


April 6th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

I didn't know that, no apologies needed. I learn something everyday. Thanks!

It doesn't have anything to to do with gouging a hull to see if it's still good our not does it? Just curious about the root of the term.


April 7th, 2010 at 8:49 AM ^

...the Naval Academy as slang for insider information on test material.

See this explanation of its etymology:

"Gouge" is an interesting word, first appearing in English in the 15th century meaning "a chisel with a concave blade used for cutting grooves in wood." It's thought to be of ultimately Celtic origin, showing etymological resemblance to both the modern Welsh "gylf" (beak) and the Cornish "gilb" (boring tool). English seems to have adopted it from the French "gouge," which derived from the late Latin word "gubia."

As a verb, "gouge" meant to cut with (or as if with) a gouging tool, a meaning still used when a shopping cart "gouges" your car's fender in a parking lot. By 1800 we were using "gouge" in the rather unpleasant sense of "pushing a person's eye out with the thumb."

By the late 1800s, the slang use of "gouge" to mean "to cheat or swindle" was common, reflecting the sense of a swindler "taking a piece" of the victim. "Gouge" as a noun meaning "a swindling scheme" led to its use, about 1882, as slang for a "cheat sheet," an illicit list of exam answers, among students at the U.S. Naval Academy. By 1947, however, "gouge" had taken on the less scandalous meaning of "the inside scoop" or "necessary information" among Naval [Midshipmen].

Here's a good (but not definitive) glossary of U.S. Navy slang.


April 6th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

That's a lot of good information, thanks. Just out of curiosity, when was it that you shook hands with him to determine his height? The reason I ask is that if it were a year or more ago, it's possible he could still add an inch or two before he sees the field.

new go blue fan

April 6th, 2010 at 10:25 PM ^

What is it,you need to fill important? why would you ask a kid something and then come on here and print it? you are a coach (or so called one) that the kids have trust in and willing to share with. Im a coach myself and there are boundries that we just don't cross and this is one of them. a coach is a coach and a reporter is a reporter. You could learn alot from coach Payne. And lastly, Did you get the Averys permission to tell their bisiness? I konw you didn't because you would have the right information.

Good luck Courtney at U of M, Big Lex Love you.


April 7th, 2010 at 8:56 AM ^

a) He's not AVERY's coach. He's a rival coach. Why would an opposing coach have to hold to some sort of secrecy agreement?

b) Is it a big secret that the GM plant is closing and that the family is moving to Flint? It's not like he's revealing marital issues within the Avery family or that Avery's dad is a cross-dresser or that his sister is an alcoholic (none of which are true, I hope). He's not even revealing that his dad got fired. The plant shut down. Big deal.

If you're going to be self-righteous, at least be right.

new go blue fan

April 7th, 2010 at 7:07 PM ^

Why would you wont to ask a kid a personal question and then post it? His coach or not its not a good ethical thing to do. I see alot of people do that on these sites and it just don't sit well with me. You get close to the kid pick his brain and then post it as public information. Im close to someone that is close to some kid family is the way it always start off. If you are really close to these kids and there familys the last thing you would be doing is using them to make yourself look important.

As far as my spelling is concern, did you get the point?


May 4th, 2010 at 10:38 PM ^

but it doesnt sit with what magnus was saying. you say that it is something personal with the indication that it is an invasion of privacy. if it is a well known fact that the factory is shut down and that his father would be taking another job than that does not seem like an ivasion of privacy to me. it is one thing to stalk recruits, but this is not recruit stalking

and as far as making anyone making themselves look important, that is definitely not happening. i dont feel as if any members of the mgocommunity (spare a few em0 clones) would feel good about  allegedly exploiting a valued recruit 


April 6th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

Michigan has made a living in the past taking 'non OSU or fringe OSU caliber recruits' from the state of Ohio and using that snub to their advantage come The Game time.


April 6th, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

We have enough quarterbacks to pull trick plays with, especially if Tate keeps the starting job and Denard gets looks at outside receiver. But, maybe in a few years he could come out for a trick play. I wish our team used trick plays a little more, but I don't think it would be Avery being the QB.


April 6th, 2010 at 1:11 PM ^

B.J. Payne is as goofy as he sounds. Played FB at Mount Union. Former professional wrestler on the regional level. White dude who wears gigantic gold chain and saggy pants. Shaved head, big goatee. During pregame intros, Payne is the last one out of the tunnel of smoke, ala U. of Miami (yes, that Miami.) He walks, does not run through the tunnel!

new go blue fan

April 6th, 2010 at 10:23 PM ^

GCBlue we at Lex love coach Payne and the job he has done for our football team and his players. I know him very well and the picture you just painted of him is so far from him that it makes me wonder......
We need more coachs like coach Payne that dont just uses the kids in high school but prepare them for life after high school.
I seen in another post that you are a asst. coach, maybe you should get closer to coach Payne and learn how to be a more positive person and coach rather than a gossip box.
As far as Avery is concern coach Tall and coach Rod did a great job getting such a classy Person and player to come to the U of M.
Avery could of very easily paraded himself around the Country displaying his skills from champ to champ and getting a 4 or even a 5 star rating and doing the hat trick on signing day but thats not him. Stanford or U of M was where he wonted to be. Thanks Coach Payne and keep being who you are.We at Lex love you!

Blue in Yarmouth

April 7th, 2010 at 10:22 AM ^

You are taking this way too personally. Just because a guy may not share your opinion about a player or coach isn't really that big a deal.

I see you are new here so just a quick heads up: Some people here (not me so much, but some) are very strict when it comes to spelling and things of that nature. You may want to clean it up a little in the future.

Anyway, my intent isn't to be negative. We are a good group here for the most part and by far this is the best site on the interwebs for anything UofM related. Glad to see a new poster and look forward to your thoughts in the future.


April 7th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

a) Your post did nothing to refute GCBlue's post.

b) As an alum/student/whatever for Lexington, perhaps you're a bit biased in Payne's favor. I don't know the guy at all, so I have no opinion. But it's hard to take your view objectively when it ends with something like "We at Lex love you. Keep doing what you're doing!"


April 6th, 2010 at 2:40 PM ^

I like Avery, but at this point, if either him or Ray pan out and become productive members of the team, I'd be ecstatic. I do think that he has a better chance than Ray simply because he has been moving around so much that nobody has an idea just how good he'll be focusing as a CB. Plus, you keep hearing "athletic" and "speed" by everyone who has seen him, which are adjectives I like to hear for my defensive recruits.

I do wonder, though, if he doesn't get a chance to see the field if he passes a couple of guys on the depth chart and there are instances where the 3-3-5 calls on additional DBs. I'm not saying I would like to see his redshirt burned unnecessarily, but if he as smart and athletic as it sounds, I would prefer to see him out there than throwing out someone just because he has been around longer.


April 7th, 2010 at 8:58 AM ^

I like the Grant Mason comparison. I think Avery could be a solid contributor down the road, but I don't think he's a star in the making.


April 7th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

Definitely a guy that will have to use the weight room the first couple years, but as a upperclassmen I think he will be a solid contributor and he has the ahtleticism to be good as well.