2012 Recruiting: Jehu Chesson Comment Count

Brian August 21st, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Previously: S Jeremy Clark, S Allen Gant, S Jarrod Wilson, CB Terry Richardson, LB James Ross, LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, LB Kaleb Ringer, LB Joe Bolden, DE Chris Wormley, DETom Strobel, DE Mario Ojemudia, DT Matt Godin, DT Willie Henry, DT Ondre Pipkins, OLBen Braden, OL Erik Magnuson, OL Blake Bars, OL Kyle Kalis, TE AJ Williams, and TE Devin Funchess.

St. Louis, MO – 6'3", 183

St. Louis high schools like their Rams helmets

Scout 3*, #82 WR
Rivals 3*, #91 WR, #11 MO
ESPN 3*, #58 WR, #7 MO
24/7 3*, #56 WR, #8 MO
Other Suitors Missouri, Okie State, Iowa, UCLA, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern
YMRMFSPA Adrian Arrington
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Sneezes when he runs hurdles.


Senior film:

Junior film also available. Also you can watch him twirl ribbons to what might be a Sarah McLachlan song.

Prepare yourself. "Michigan receivers are refugees from war-torn African countries" is going to be a local "did you know Tom Zbikowski is a boxer?" for the next four years. Up-next Amara Darboh is a guy whose twitter handle references his hometown in Sierra Leone. This post covers Jehu Chesson, whose family fled Liberia when he was a kid. They plan on rooming together, and are guaranteed to be featured in at least one sepia-toned Tom Rinaldi segment.

Chesson first got on Michigan's radar during the End Times of the Rodriguez era when he hit up Michigan's 2010 summer camp($). Even if all non-Fred Jacksons were swept out several months later, he guaranteed himself an offer when Sam Webb asked him to give a self-scouting report and he gave Sam the football coach equivalent of blue sky meth($):

Sam Webb:  Pretend you’re a coach for a second… give me a little scouting report on your game.

Jehu Chesson:  “First off, if I was the coach, I would look at the little details that he would do when he goes to the huddle… like what’s he doing?  Is he paying attention?  Does he walk to the line of scrimmage, which I do not walk because we’re disciplined like you have to run up to the line of scrimmage.  Then getting off the ball, your first three steps have to always look like a fade unless you doing a one step plant.  Then does he stalk block and how well does he block?  I would say that he blocks pretty well.  When he drops a pass, what does he do after?  Does he come back and does he put his head down?  Because for me it is not just in football, when something goes bad you got to keep your head up and everything.  As far as what he does, like what the corner, whatever the corner like man, cover-1 or cover-2.  You have to make sure what the outside backer is doing if you run a slant… does he handle that well?  Does he find the open zone where he can run like a post or like a dig?  He does do that.  It is just like a little checklist that I have to keep to myself.”

Holy crap. Jehu Chesson is 1000 years old. For the next four years he will take over for Jeff Hecklinski as the WR coach so Hecklinski can pursue his childhood dream of owning an ice cream shop. In a past life he is still Jehu Chesson, because he is 1000 years old.

I mean, the guy's talking to Kyle Meinke about stuff and references the placebo effect and calculus. I've seen a lot of high school football players tell a lot of reporters a lot of things and that is a first. I just…

"There are some things I haven’t seen before, but it's not anything I can’t learn if I really put my mind to it," Chesson said. "It's kind of like calculus, in that way. You just got to work at it. Just have to get used to the language."

…I'm just not expecting that. Nor am I expecting someone to declare his "pregame planning($)" his biggest strength.

He told his coach his goal for his senior year was to block as well as a recently-departed WR($):

"He really loves the physical game. He doesn't just want to be a guy that runs his route and catches a few passes. He wants to be involved in every play because he wants to be a great teammate.

"Sometimes those kind of intangibles get lost or overlooked by people that rank kids, but if you talk to coaches, they want those kids that believe they are one of 11 with a job to do, whether running a route, being a decoy, blocking downfield or at the point of attack. Jehu is that kind of selfless kid dedicated completely to the team."

247's Todd Worley pretty much called him the best dude ever:

Can't say enough good things about Jehu as a person. He's extremely humble, and has an insane work ethic. He's in all AP and Honors classes, and barely ever sleeps because he's always studying. For a football recruit like him, he doesn't need to do that at all. But he's just all about excellence, and he's a winner. I think he'll be a heck of a player for the Wolverines, but if for some reason he isn't, he'll still make Michigan fans proud of what he does off the field.

Jehu Chesson is 600 years old and the opposite of Terrelle Pryor.


I'm just, like… okay. Breathe. The catch is he is slow. Right? He's slow.

Michigan football commit Jehu Chesson ran a 10.7-second 100-meter dash over the weekend, which was fast enough to win him a Missouri Class 4 track and field state championship.

He did it only 15 minutes after placing runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles (14.15 seconds). He also added a state title in the 300-meter hurdles (37.77 seconds).

Er. For comparison, Denard ran a 10.44 100 in high school, and didn't do it 15 minutes after running a 110M hurdles final.

And it's not like Chesson is a Bolt-like long strider who doesn't have good explosion. When he showed up at the Army Combine just after his junior year he bashed out a 4.56, good for eighth among wide receivers and almost two tenths better than Stephon Diggs's 4.75. Chesson's vertical leap was also good for eighth amongst WRs and tied with Diggs and Davonte Neal, but Diggs is three inches and Neal five inches shorter than Chesson. Amongst players who ended up at big schools Chesson's Army combine was the best. A few months later he put up a 4.54 at Florida, causing a few Gator sites to buzz about a potential offer.

Maybe he doesn't look cool when running?


There goes that idea. I don't know, man. I look at his video above and it's not like he seems slow.

If production is the catch, I'm not seeing that either. Chesson caught 53 balls for 605 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior and the same number for 757 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. In run-heavy high school football that is more than solid.

There are some repeated, not-directly-contradicted-by-numbers concerns. More than one scouting report mentions that he's pretty raw at the moment, which will happen when you play three sports. You can read it between the lines($) of some of his coach's comments…

"I think the big upside that I've talked the most with people about is his overall understanding of route running," said Tarpey. "You can have all the ability in the world, but if you don't have a feel for that, you're only going to be so good. I think that's something that will come with him, because he's extremely coachable."

…or get it direct from his coach's comments

"His upside is not unlike a lot of high school players that didn't grow up on football," Tarpey said. "He hasn't been playing it since he was five or six, so he's only at the beginning stages of understanding and learning the game. And because of his personality, his coachability, his physical tools, he will excel. He's a true sleeper.

"He could easily be a 6-4, 215-pound guy someday that is just a nightmare to match up with. Will that happen? It's up to him, but I'd expect it because Jehu is a hard worker. Academics don't come easy to him yet he gets good grades. Getting bigger is a struggle, but he's added muscle and weight every year with us. He's the kind of kid that always applies himself, so the sky is the limit."

…or take it from Allen Trieu:


Competitiveness /  Hands and Concentration / Toughness


Elusiveness with Catch / Strength

Tall, lanky receiver who can go up and get the ball. Snatches it easily out of the air, but lets too many underneath passes get into his body. Great natural athlete with good leaping ability and straight line speed, but is not an elusive guy after the catch. Must add some bulk and strength, but is tough and willing to go over the middle and make catches.

Trieu mentions the beanpole thing, which was the main complaint after Chesson put his name on the map($) at the Miami Nike camp:

STRENGTHS: Chesson made a splash Sunday in Coral Gables by running crisp routes and catching seemingly every pass thrown in his vicinity. He's tall and lean, was quicker than most receivers on hand, and got in and out of his breaks quite well. A hurdler in high school, his leaping ability showed up often during position drills.
WEAKNESSES: Because Chesson is a bit wiry, getting stronger is a must so college corners can't push him around at the line of scrimmage.

That evaluation was echoed by Barry Every($) at the same event. Chesson himself told Touch The Banner that he was 185 after running track and that Michigan wants to see him 30 pounds heavier. So he's got a ways to go there.

Once he gets there, he seems like he'll be at least Junior Hemingway. "Tall" and "rangy" are near-requirements in any Chesson scouting report; most mention his long arms, huge catching radius, and ability to go and get the ball. This coach quote($) is archetypical:

"…before you even line up, he creates some matchup problems because of his height and length," Tarpey said. "He's got real long arms, he does a great job of catching the ball away from his body."

There is disagreement about his ability as a YAC guy, with Trieu above and TTB saying "not good" but 247's Greg Powers($)…

…tall, rangy wide receiver who shows a unique ability to be nimble on his feet and can definitely make moves in the open field. His speed is deceptive, because he is the type of guy that just seems to glide all over the field… makes good adjustments to the ball in the air and will be the perfect guy to match-up one one with defensive backs in the red-zone.

…and ESPN disagreeing($)…

comes off the ball with explosion and a nice stride. Gets into routes quickly and can eat up cushion with an imposing charge upfield. He has some value as a vertical target due to his frame/speed combination, but we are not convinced he is a great speed guycan really elevate and adjust to the jump ball. Positions himself nicely and will high point the ball with good extension. …consistently catches the ball well and wastes little time getting upfield to make things happen. …a big target and wide catch radius. …some wiggle to not only make you miss, but also stiff arm and lower his shoulder to power through would be tacklers. He is not a huge homerun threat in space, but given his size he is pretty nifty and can gain valuable YAC and move the chains.

…while of course talking about his tallness and ranginess. Tom Lemming loves the guy, FWIW:

He is one of the hardest working WR's I've seen in getting off the line, finding the open seam, and catching everything within reach. He has tremendous work ethic and is not satisfied with being just a good player. Like the above mentioned receivers, he's a tall, athletic, and agile WR with soft, natural hands. He catches the ball away from his body and normally in full stride, adjusts well to poorly thrown balls, and catches the ball in traffic on a regular basis.

Chesson may not be a finished product, but it seems like A) he is extremely likely to become one due to being 1000 years old and B) once that happens Michigan has a 6'3", 215-pound leaper who will be some kind of cross between Adrian Arrington, Braylon Edwards, and Junior Hemingway.

Etc.: Allen Trieu in a Santa hat($):


Had a Charles Woodson hat trick in a playoff game, scoring on a reception, INT return, and kick return. Dad does marketing and outreach stuff for MasterCard. Diagnoses Michigan issues resolved:

Chesson asked the Michigan players why Brady Hoke has been more successful thus far than Rich Rodriguez was, and liked their response.

“They said it’s what (Hoke) stands for,” Chesson said. “With Coach Rodriguez, they felt like they were playing for his job. With Coach Hoke, it feels like they’re playing for Michigan.”

Why Adrian Arrington? Okay, he can't be that fast or the recruiting sites would have noticed. Probably, anyway. He still seems pretty fast, and lanky, and able to be that intermediate threat with a side of goin' deep that Adrian Arrington came into late in his career. Size is about right, down to the height and somewhat distressing lack of mass.

I also considered Braylon, because no one thought he was that good coming out of high school and he's exactly the right frame. But Braylon put up a 4.38 at his Michigan pro day. Chesson is most likely a step or two down from that kind of speed.


Variance: Low. Barring injury, Chesson will asymptotically approach his ceiling. That ceiling is something of a question because he has to add weight.

Ceiling: High. Probably lacks the elite speed or change of direction to be the third pick in the NFL draft. Can easily become a 70-80 catch intermediate to long security blanket.

General Excitement Level: High. Yeah… I know I already gave this out but screw it, I forgot just how old Chesson was: co-MGoBlog sleeper of the year right here.

Projection: Both freshman wideouts have a good shot at the field play. There's enough of a need at the spot that Devin Gardner is going to see a good chunk of time there and if you squint the right way, Michigan's going to lose their top three guys (Roundtree, Gallon, and Gardner) after the season, two to graduation and the other to quarterback. Darboh and Chesson will need to be ready to go next year… if not this year.

Darboh is a lock to play, and Chesson is 50/50 depending on how Jerald Robinson comes through and how prepared he is right now. Either way Chesson doesn't figure to make much impact in year one. In year two, nights in the film room and weight room and days with Hecklinski should make him a lot better. If he can run—and I think he can do so well enough to be a downfield threat—he is in line for a three-year starting run as a major target.



August 21st, 2012 at 11:58 AM ^

Gallon is a redshirt Jr. this year (?)

So it's only Roundtree (graduation) and Devin (to QB).  I assume the coaching staff will give Gallon a 5th year even if he graduates in 4 years... I hear UM has great graduate programs


August 21st, 2012 at 12:05 PM ^

Reading about Chesson and Darboh eases my anxiety about WR... both these guys seem to have all the tools to develop into All Big10 WRs. 

/pushes maize-colored glasses awkwardly up nose


August 21st, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

Avant should team up after their NFL days are over and see if they can't win a Nobel Peace Prize.  Lotta class has come from our WR ranks in the past few years.


August 21st, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

From early reports during off-field test, according to Sam Webb, Chesson ran a 4.44 I believe. That was the same report that put Darboh at 215 lbs, which turned out to be correct. So it may not be that big of a stretch to think he could match Braylon at a 4.38 in four years after training to run the 40 at a combine. While expecting him to win the Belitnakof is a bit much at this point, I definitely agree with his sleeper of the year status.

yossarians tree

August 21st, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

He looks pretty explosive on that tape. Once he kicks into his highest gear he just blows by people. And i LOVE the play where he drags about 4 defenders to get five extra yards.

Agree to about the recruiting of high-character, intelligent kids. Hoke is going to have a hard time choosing just a few captains from this bunch in a few years.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

Hmmm...impressive young man (can I really call a 1000 year old guy young?). I don't watch recruiting film much anymore (and I didn't watch Chesson's) but just based on his response to Sam Webb, I'm pretty excited about this young man's potential on and off the field.

A common theme that I have observed with the current staff is that they seem to put as much (if not more) emphasis on "intangibles" (i.e. work ethic, "motor", ability to string more than two words together intelligbly) in their recruits as on the measureables that recruiting analysts love to drool over.


August 21st, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

Could not agree more.  I have read quote after quote from our recent recruits that sound like senior captains, not incoming freshmen.  This may sound cliche, but it's this kind of thing that drew me to Michigan football and makes me proud to be a Wolverine fan.  I feel like we have an embarrassment of riches right now and I am so excited to see how this year and the next and the rest of Hoke's tenure play out.  I have never been a prouder Michigan fan.  Whatever "it" is, this staff and the current players seem to get it in spades.

Edit:  Chesson seems like he'll be a great WR too, so bonus.  When a player's elite talent is overshadowed by his superb character, I'd say the future looks pretty bright in A2.


August 21st, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

Just to follow up on my point about recruiting intelligent players, I thought I would re-post this quote from Tom Strobel re: his feelings about Michigan:

"Like most people in Ohio, I was raised with a biased opinion against Michigan; however, it occurred to me that there was no justification for my prejudice, besides the fact that it was Michigan. I think it says something that despite my apprehension, Michigan still stood out above the rest."

How many high school kids (let alone those good enough to play football at a high level) do you ever hear speaking like that anymore?


August 21st, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

effs it up this badly, you are still pretty confident you know what they meant.  They were just too stupid or nervous to get it out right.... or maybe they just misspoke (as we all do from time to time).  In this case I think I know what ole Terrelle meant, but I'm sure as hell not positive.


August 21st, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

I would generally tend to agree with you if it were an isolated incident.  When you consider the quote with his entire body of work, however, I'd say TP might really believe that most people kill and/or steal and generally do whatever they need to do to look out for #1. 

Just don't step in #2!


Everyone Murders

August 21st, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

This kid seems like one of the best exemplars of "Student Athlete" I've seen in many years.  Uplifting background, very intelligent, and (as Brian underscores) he appears to be wise beyond his years.  Is it too soon to book him as keynote speaker for the B1G preseason meetings in four years?

When he drops a pass, what does he do after? Does he come back and does he put his head down? Because for me it is not just in football, when something goes bad you got to keep your head up and everything.

I hope he has a great playing career, but in any event he seems like a perfect character guy for the class.


August 21st, 2012 at 1:09 PM ^

This is especially refreshing considering his past.  I know I'm sounding like the old guy on his porch, but so many young people today want to blame their problems on other people and sit around and wait for everything to be given to them.  Chesson could easily feel that way after the Hell he's been through but he chooses to look ahead instead of back and earn his future instead of waiting for it to be handed to him.


August 21st, 2012 at 1:30 PM ^

I've had some experience running track, and when it comes to hurdlers like Drake Johnson or Chesson, when watching them it seems like they are not running very fast... and that is one of the thoughts in your mind when running against them, and the other thought is why is this dude pulling away from me. 


August 21st, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

Did Woodson score his eponymous hat trick in one game or is it named thusly just because of the various roles he played on the team?

If the former, which game was this? I watched them all at the time, but am drawing a blank.


August 21st, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

In terms of Chesson's wiry figure - I'm an ex-track guy who also played football, and often times elite track runners, although the lift, try to avoid bulking up much at all. Muscle tone and strength is important for track, but mass is not. So it's possible that Chesson just hasn't been trying to add much bulkin order to excel in track like he did (as opposed to the guys who simply run track to train for football, but aren't looking to win state championships).

If this is the case, Jehu might be able to put on the first 15-20 pounds relatively easily, and could certainly be over two bills by next fall.


August 21st, 2012 at 10:26 PM ^

  Usually, I find it difficult to figure out where the featured player is in the highlight film.  I mean, there's a crowd of people and some of the good guys play 20 of those positions.


  Chesson is damn easy to spot.  He looks really good, to.  He eats 5'9" corners for breakfast.


August 22nd, 2012 at 10:37 PM ^

Back during his senior year and then on towards signing day, I never understood why he is just ranked as a middling 3 star.  He's obviously not top 10 at position or 5 star guy, but his physical skill set, play style, and fantastic room for  growth should make him a solid 4 star imho. I know it doesn't really matter any more since he's already on campus, it just confuses the heck out of me.