2012 Recruiting: Chris Wormley Comment Count

Brian July 20th, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Previously: S Jeremy Clark, S Allen Gant, S Jarrod Wilson, CB Terry Richardson, LB James Ross, LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, LB Kaleb Ringer, and LB Joe Bolden.

Toledo, OH – 6'5", 270

SPT wormley24p
via the blade

Scout 4*, #21 DE, #164 overall
Rivals 3*, #21 SDE, #22 OH
ESPN 4*, #17 DE, #6 OH
24/7 4*, #4 SDE, #4 OH, #72 overall
Other Suitors Ohio State
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Tim. Ace checks out Whitmer games against Central Catholic and AB Lucas Secondary School.
Notes Toledo Whitmer (Kevin Koger)


Wormley doesn't have an extensive reel from either his junior or senior years, just brief clips:

Ace did get out to see him twice, though. Once he annihilated some overmatched Canadians, so it's probably better to check him out against Central Catholic:

Chris Wormley was a classic Michigan-Ohio State battle from the start, albeit one slanted heavily in Michigan's favor due to a combination of family circumstances. He is also the subject of one of the Michigan recruiting world's most persistent ongoing unhinged rants: WHY DOES JOSH HELMHOLDT HATE CHRIS WORMLEY? If you have a Rivals subscription, you've read that dozens of times. I don't know. Don't ask me. Leave it alone, man.

There is a clear split in analyst opinion, starting of course with Helmholdt's stubborn adherence to his opinion in the face of people on the internet being mad at him. This is a requirement for having a credible opinion, but he didn't explain why on paper much. A single report from the road is the clearest expression of Helmholdt's opinion that didn't get tossed off the deck of a message board months ago. He starts by calling him an "enigma" and noting his "great size and frame," then gets into the negatives($):

He is a solid, muscular kid and opposing offensive linemen rave about his strength. With those physical attributes we have been looking for Wormley to make more of an impact, but again on Friday night he finished with just a couple of assisted tackles and one tackle for loss. He is a big target and has trouble playing small; offensive tackles have no problem getting into him quickly. Wormley shows great speed when he gets out and runs in the open field, but he lacks the quick-twitch explosiveness you like to see out of college defensive ends. With his size and potential for future growth, he may be best suited to bump down to the defensive tackle position in college where his strength should allow him to be an effective gap plugger.

Wormley was not a camp guy, FWIW, appearing on a list of prospects($) not seen on last year's camp circuit. His 2010 OSU Nike camp showing ("a monster who can move($)") appears to be it.

Meanwhile, ESPN's evaluation($) is heavy on words like "solid" and "good":

He has a good get-off and quickly gets moving on the snap of the ball. With his size you would hope can be tough against the run and he delivers. His good burst coupled with his ability to maintain good pad level and bring his hands allows him to take on blockers and hold his ground. He displays the ability to not only take on a block and maintain position, but also locate the ball and shed. He runs well for his size and has good range…. He is a solid tackler. Wormley is also a good pass rusher. His quickness off the ball helps him, but once in motion he displays a good feel for getting to the quarterback. He is not a kid that will run by blockers, but displays the ability and arsenal to make blockers pay for making a mistake and should only get better with further development.

So you're getting the idea: a large dude who is not going to be a terror in the backfield. This is the negative-ish side of the split. It's a split that… ACE ANBENDER is a member of?

Wormley's best way to get penetration was to simply run right around his blocker, and while this was nice to see in terms of evaluating his quickness, it brings up another point of concern—how is a 6'6", 270-pound Michigan-bound DE not completely flattening the 6'2", 225-pound offensive tackle across from him with malicious regularity? Again, motor wasn't the issue, but instead pad level; Wormley can get low on occasion, but several times he stood right up off the snap and let the tackle get right into him, turning him into a non-factor. This is more disconcerting to me than the questions about his motor, especially if Wormley ends up moving inside at the next level. Anyone who's watched Will Campbell knows the importance of pad level, and also how difficult it can be for a big, tall lineman to correct that issue.

I don't want to sound down on Wormley, as I really think he could turn into a star if he fixes his pad level and improves on his technique (the play diagnosis I think comes down to coaching—Chris is a bright kid), but I'm not sure he'll be able to come in and be a big contributor right off the bat, as many have hoped. I think it's more realistic to expect Wormley to take a year or two to work his way into the rotation as he learns to get low and figures out where he best fits along the defensive line. From there, just about anything can happen—Wormley looks like a boom-or-bust type, and I honestly can't say which way I think it'll go.

Son of a gun. That's from Ace scouting one of the same games Helmholdt took in, FWIW, and one that saw him rack up just a couple of solo tackles and some hurries.

On the other side are some of the local folk. Bucknuts ranked Wormley the top player in Ohio all year despite having plenty of plausible OSU-bound defensive linemen to choose from. Mark Porter's comments help explain why. This from Mark Porter is from before the season

“Wormley may have the best frame in this class. His wingspan is like a 747 jumbo jet and he runs around like an athlete, not a big man. Once he gets to college and fills out his frame, the NFL should come calling on him. He just has too much upside to ignore.”

…and this one is even more tantalizing:

“If you get a chance to see Wormley in person, he already has the look of half the defensive linemen in the NFL. Sometimes you don't have to know much about football to see that a prospect was given a little bit more talent than everyone else. Wormley literally makes playing high school football easy. Blessed with long arms and great leverage, he is unblockable because people can't get into his body to attack him.

“Wormley has such great feet and speed, he can avoid blockers and run around them when needed. … If Wormley reaches his potential in college, he could be an NFL first-round pick with the skill set he possesses.”

Wormley held his rankings from Bucknuts to Signing Day in a loaded field of Ohio DL, and this trickled up to 247 in general. That service ranked him far higher than anyone else and kept on with the NFL stuff:

Chris Wormley could become an un-blockable defensive end for the Wolverines with his combination of size, strength, and athleticism. Wormley reminds me a little of former NFL all-pro Jason Taylor.

Scout wasn't quite as enthusiastic but they were still high on Wormley relative to the skeptic-types above. When he committed Allen Trieu and Bill Greene both agreed($) that he was a large human with some consistency issues but excellent upside. Greene:

At the Ohio State camp, he was paired with Pittman, McMullen, Washington, LaTroy Lewis and they were all impressive. He definitely belongs in the top group of ends in Ohio. He's a big, quick athlete. I don't think he's as refined as he needs to be, and he has to make sure he doesn't get too bottom heavy, but talent wise and physically, he's a ten.

Production complaints from the haterz don't seem to be backed up by the numbers. Wormley had 90 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior; this year he had 85 tackles, 24 TFL, and 13 sacks. High school numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially when some of them are racked up against terrified Canadians trying to find the blue line, but those look like properly ludicrous numbers for a touted recruit.


Where exactly Wormley ends up is not yet known—and may not matter that much. Insert usual bit about how the SDE and three-tech DT aren't that different in Mattison's system. All the same, we guess. The guess here is SDE. Amongst Michigan's incoming DL who aren't exclusively ticketed for WDE (Mario Ojemudia) or nose tackle (Ondre Pipkins), he's probably third of four in the "most likely to be a tackle" competition. As I see it from most to least tackle-like:

  1. Willie Henry (NT or 3-tech)
  2. Matt Godin (pure 3-tech)
  3. Chris Wormley (3-tech or SDE)
  4. Tom Strobel (pure SDE)

This may be changing as time does Things to People. Wormley seems to be getting bigger all the time. When Rivals hit a Nike camp in 2010, Wormley was 6'4", 235, which is plausible WDE territory. He spent some time listed at 6'5", 250, then moved up to 260, and is now being listed at 6'6" or even 6'7" some places, and at 270. FWIW, he says he's 6'5"/6'6" and 270.

He may be approaching college-ready size by the time fall rolls around, and it seems like his playing weight is going to be around 300 when all is said and done. This is plausible for SDE—RVB was 295—but some people think he'll outgrow it:

* Wiltfong Comment: “With Wormley, he’s pretty much going to be a defensive tackle when all is said and done at Michigan. He will be a massive human being once he gets into a college weight room. He is like Spence and Washington, but he is a bigger guy that still is pretty explosive off the snap. He has good burst and plays with good pad level. He is well coached. He can take an offensive lineman, get off of him quickly and go make a play.”

I think Wiltfong is kind of right in that he would not be able to stick at DE in a 4-3 even, but may not be taking Michigan's system and needs into account there. Still, he is a big dude right now…


…even if 6'7" is probably an exaggeration. He will only get bigger.

Given the roster context, Wormley is likely to stick at SDE. He'll moonlight at three-tech on passing downs when Michigan (presumably) lifts its battleship nose tackle and doubles up on the edge rushers.

Etc.: Has a twitter. Tremendous interview draws an "I listen to Adele" admission. Less impressed than most with Mattison's NFL background:

"He was acting all cool and everything," Wormley said, laughing. "I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but you have to kind of put on the Ravens fan mask when he shows up."

Magnus was pretty meh.

Why Ryan Van Bergen? Wormley figures to be a guy who can play either of the two positions RVB manned capably for years…

"I think the biggest thing with him will be, is he an inside or an outside guy? I think he ends up as a combo guy, a la Ryan Van Bergen. I think he just needs to be consistent, but he has elite tools."

…and he's got the size to be an excellent run defender. RVB was good-not-great at getting into the backfield, and Wormley will probably be the same. Wormley has more size and thus more upside—RVB did not get a whole lot of NFL interest. It is yet to be seen whether Wormley will have RVB's all-out motor and terrific balance.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. A highly scouted guy but the differences in opinion are wide, so it's not easy to get a clear picture.

Variance: Moderate. Size and strength should see him at least be a solid contributor and okay upperclassman starter barring the usual things that prevent that (legal stuff, injury). Floor is high. Ceiling is also high.

Ceiling: Very high. A lot of local observers see an NFL frame walking around waiting to be tapped.

General Excitement Level: High. This is short of MASSIVE WOO because there's a side of bust potential (or at least disappointment potential) in the above evaluations. Yeah, mostly from one guy but that guy does have a lot of experience and can't be dismissed out of hand, but even the guys who are saying nice things about him provide a side serving of caution.

Ace brought up the leverage thing, and that's a salient point. If Wormley doesn't get there the ghosts of Pat Massey and Will Campbell, large men too tall for their position, will loom. Unless the ghost of Will Campbell is hanging out in the we-killed-the-Death-Star shot with Chris Perry and Bennie Joppru as exemplars of guys who had unexpectedly great senior years. Then it will just be Massey. This would be preferable. I digress.

Projection: With depth at SDE painfully low—walk-on Nate Brink is essentially the only non-freshman option—and Wormley coming in at a hefty 270 or 280, a redshirt is unlikely. Wormley wants this

“Hopefully I’ll play right away,” Wormley said. “I’ll work hard and when I get there we’ll see what happens. My goal is to play as a true freshman - get in a few series – and hopefully start.”

…and he might get it. Wormley will battle Brink to be the rotation guy behind Roh; both are likely to get meaningful snaps. Redshirt freshman Keith Heitzman will also figure in.

In 2013 it'll be a three-way battle for the starting job between Brink, Wormley, and Heitzman. I'd guess Brink gets the job, but there's a strong chance Wormley is a four-year contributor and multi-year starter.



July 20th, 2012 at 12:13 PM ^

It sounds like the only thing this kid needs to become a solid contributor - if not a star - is some D-line coaching.

Something that we have in spades.

I am excited to see how he progresses during his career at Michigan.


July 20th, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

This kid has arguably the highest ceiling of any of the d-line recruits save Pipkins.  It will be a true test of our 3 d- line coaches to see what they can do with a kid like this when they have him for his entire college career.  If this kid ends up an All-American and gets drafted in the first round of the NFL, then Mattison, Montgomery and Hoke will have a true feather in their cap as coaches.


July 20th, 2012 at 1:07 PM ^

I have stood next to Wormley and have also seen him on the bball court next to 6-8 guys.  Believe me he is all of 6-7.  Unbelievable upside to him.


July 20th, 2012 at 7:22 PM ^

He will not back off his initial assessment, regardless if documented evidence proves him wrong.  When Big Will was recruited here, I and another Rivals member at that time made note that Big Will was relying too much on his genetically given superior talents and relying far too much on his natural strength to dominate at the high school level. We pointed out that on every play during his highlight reel, his first instinct and motion were to stand straight up and that he would have to learn the old axiom that has been true in football since day one: Low man Wins and that all of you who have played football at any level heard every practice over and over again from your coaches.

His response:  Well just because he's not from the westside does not necessarily mean he won't live up to his billing.  Quite thought provoking from our resident expert, huh?  Then again, you have to realize this is a guy who has somehow managed to have the word journalist placed beside his name, yet continually uses ect. instead of etc., no matter how many times he has been told which one is correct. In essence, his picture should be placed beside any one asking for an example of what taking it with a grain of salt means.


July 20th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

At the end of the article we were neglecting Strobel in the picture. Would he really be 4th on the SDE depth chart in 2013? I was under the impression he was already a bit big for WDE in high school and would outgrow it in a year or 2 after playing early.


July 20th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

I'm with you in the confusion as to why Strobel wasn't mentioned at the end.  You never know when guys are true frosh, but if I were a betting man (and I am, goddammit), I would bet that 1 and 2 on the depth chart at SDE in 2013 are Wormley and Strobel, order yet to be determined.  Brink is a solid player, but still hasn't really shown the ability to see the field much, and Heitzman could challenge those guys but again, if I were to bet, his one year age advantage won't make up for the talent disadvantage he's likely at compared to Strobel and Wormley. 

The good thing is we have bodies there, and at least a couple of them will be solid players.  The omission of Strobel was surprising, though.


July 20th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

Why are you ignoring Stroebel at SDE? Think he takes a redshirt? But even the he. Would compete with Wormley, Brink, etc. once Roh departs.


July 21st, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

Who's the guy behind the bunk bed? The weird thing is, you see his head, but you don't see his body between the two bunks. Total disembodied head.