2012 Recruiting: Tom Strobel Comment Count

Brian July 31st, 2012 at 12:57 PM

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, and DE Chris Wormley.

Mentor, OH – 6'6", 250


Scout 4*, #12 DE, #93 overall
Rivals 4*, #16 WDE(!), #17 OH
ESPN 3*, #61 DE, #29 OH
24/7 4*, #14 WDE(!), #11 OH, #198 overall
Other Suitors Ohio State, Notre Dame, MSU, Wisconsin, Stanford, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa
YMRMFSPA Also Ryan Van Bergen
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post. Ace scouts Mentor vs Medina. Reader Kent provides scouting from the Solon game.
Notes Named Army AA but I don't think he played. I certainly don't remember him.


Junior highlights:

And scouting reel from Ace:

Tom Strobel is pretty much Chris Wormley, except an inch or two taller, twenty pounds skinnier, and initially inclined to go to Ohio State before Jim Tressel immolated himself. He's a four star to three of the four sites, his main asset is a huge frame to mold, he's a strongside defensive end—long term, anyway—from Ohio, and his recruitment came down to the opposing sides in the Game. QED. Can I use a player who has not been on campus yet as YMRMFSPA? Probably not.

He released a statement in June, when he committed, that spelled out where he was coming from($):

"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."

Academics played a major role in that. As you can probably tell from the Stanford and Northwestern offers listed above, Strobel is one of those guys who probably could have gotten into Michigan even if he wasn't 6'6" and partial to throwing high schoolers across the field. Brady Hoke did, too: if Mario Ojemudia signaled a sea change in in-state recruiting under Brady Hoke, Strobel did that for Ohio.

As a result, Michigan's won a very large man in need of some technique. The scouting reports note his general hugeosity but come back to a lack of pass rush technique repeatedly. Ace checked out Mentor's game against Medina and came back thinking this:

While Strobel isn't the quickest player, he did a good job of getting off the snap and shooting right into his blocker, getting his hands into an offensive lineman's chest before his counterpart could get a hand on him. This allowed him to get great leverage, both in terms of pushing his man off the line and in helping him disengage from his block. Strobel recognized plays quickly and there wasn't a play when he couldn't shed his block and get two hands on the ballcarrier if one was within reach. When Strobel got his hands on someone, that was it for the play—his upper-body strength is impressive. …

[A] point of concern for me was with Strobel's lack of variety in his off-the-snap moves—he bullrushed, again and again, without showing much else except a quick shove to the inside that wasn't quite a full swim move. Again, there are some obvious explanations for this: the bullrush kept working, so there wasn't much of a reason to switch things up, and Medina almost never attempted a pass without rolling the pocket away from Strobel and throwing quickly. There just wasn't enough of a reason—or many opportunities—for Strobel to switch things up.

ESPN has a similar take:

For a taller kid he displays the ability to play with some bend and keep solid pad level. He uses his hands and reach well to take on blockers and keep some separation. He displays good upper body strength to not only keep blockers from getting into him but to also shed. He is a solid wrap-up tackler. He is an active kid who seems to keep working to get to the ball and displays solid speed for his size. … He will use his hands to try and deliver a punch and get blockers on their heels and push them out of the way. He battles as a pass rusher, but is a kid who could seem to benefit from having more of a plan of attack. He can generate some power and fight his way up-field to get pressure, but you would like to see him expand a little more as a pass rusher.

Allen Trieu's take highlights "technique and moves" as a negative while praising his balance, size, and change of direction; Duane Long marveled that he "looks like an NFL player right now"—shades of some Wormley comments—and that "a player can be that much of a force and so disruptive while barely being average using his hands."

Touch The Banner also mentioned various issues with technique that Michigan's coaches will fix. Even so he ends up in approximately the same place as both of the above assessments:

Strobel has a great motor. There are plays when he gets completely turned around, finds the ball, and makes a beeline toward the ballcarrier. … He's also thick from head to toe, which means he should have sufficient upper and lower body strength to keep blockers off of him with his arms while also powering through blockers and ballcarriers with his legs. He uses his hands very well and keeps separation from offensive tackles. …

Overall, Strobel seems like a high-floor/medium-ceiling type of player. As a strongside end, perhaps the most important quality is to be relentlessly active, and he does have that quality. However, he will get eaten alive if he doesn't play lower.

Magnus was concerned about his lack of production, but he stepped it up significantly after that post was written. After just 37 tackles and two sacks as a junior (he sat out a chunk of that year with a trachea(!) injury—ouch) he terrorized backfields in Ohio to the tune of 16 sacks and a first-team All Ohio nod in the state's largest division. 

As a result, the most detail-oriented local observers (Bucknuts) ranked him #14 before the season…

“He is a very smart player who understands leverage and schemes. He has the speed to play defensive end and the frame to carry more weight in college."

moved him up to #12 just before his senior year…

“Colleges want players with long arms and height on the edge of the defense because when guys like that get their hands up it can make it very difficult for quarterbacks to find throwing lanes out of the pocket. Strobel is this player. He has all the tools to dominate the edge in college. Strobel is just scratching the surface of his college potential right now.”

…and moved him to 6th after the monster senior season. When Scout analyst Bill Greene caught him against Solon he had a similar impression of his year to year improvement:

Stud, pure and simple. Strobel has improved greatly since his junior season, when he was very good. He is bigger, stronger and plays the game so much harder, which has taken his skill set to the next level. He had three sacks, a forced fumble and blocked an extra point.

Strobel appears to be making progress physically and mentally towards an undefined end point.


You may note that the two services who bother to split DEs into weakside and strongside groups both list Strobel as a weakside end. I don't think that's where he'll end up, as the scouting reports are notably light on pass-rush raves and by the time he sees the field he'll be at least 280 pounds. His coach agrees, FWIW:

"I think he will end up being a five-technique [defensive end], at least that is what they've said. He's 6-6, 255 already so I don't know that he will need to put a lot of weight on. He has to continue to get stronger and learn the game more, but I think he's a pretty special one."

Strobel told Touch The Banner the same thing, and told Michael Rothstein that his goal is to hit 295($) by his senior year. This is not a weakside end. He's an SDE all the way, and basically nothing else. If Michigan ends up needing to shift a guy down to the three-tech (likely at some point), Strobel's height will prevent him from being that guy.

Etc.: Has a twitter, on which you can find out that he is "unstoppable at putt putt." Talked to Drew Brees about what to do. This is my favorite comment in the history of the internet:

With dline prospects like this you better believe Tressel is gonna be coaching here for at least six more seasons. Great to see the early interest that Strobel have in us.

Three sacks in that Solon game. More Michigan conversion bits:

"I said ‘no,' [about going to Ann Arbor]and she obviously overrode me," Strobel said of his mother, Christine. "The whole time I was there, I was shaking my head because all you think is, ‘I'm from Ohio. I can't like this.' But I loved it."

Can be self-critical($):

"I had a couple tackles in the beginning, but I had missed tackles all over the field. That's unacceptable," Strobel said. "I have to make sure my technique is sound. When we're scouting against the first team, make sure to wrap up and drive through with my legs."

Coach quote:

"He's special… a complete player," Trivisonno said. "He has the size, he has the speed. I think when you talk to the coaching staff they're going to tell you he plays the game the right way: everything is full-go. He plays hard and is not a take-off-a-play guy. He has it all and is probably the best kid that has come out of here."

Trivisonno was bringing out the "best player ever" thing way back in August of 2010, FWIW, and detailed how easy it was to scout him:

"Michigan State told me it took them three plays watching Tom on tape to realize they wanted him," Trivisonno said. "Stanford said it took about eight plays, and they turned off the film because they saw enough to know he was a guy they wanted."

Why Ryan Van Bergen again? Strobel == Wormley == Van Bergen. Strobel is farther away from the field than Wormley and the hype about his play is a notch or two lower than Wormley, but the scouting reports are very similar.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Again, no reason they wouldn't have an accurate read on him but the spread here is large.

Variance: Low. Rock-solid academics and frame should make him a contributor. Ceiling does not seem as high as Wormley's.

Ceiling: Moderate-plus. Doesn't seem like a guy with the sort of athleticism to provide a Brandon Graham-like pass rush from the strongside, but the senior-year surge and the possibility that Mattison and company could turn him into a big guy with excellent technique provide some promise of massive upside.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Strobel is not going to be Brandon Graham—at least probably not. He should be a solid run defender at a minimum and if he reaches the 10-12 TFL level RVB did he'll be a solid cog in the machine.

Projection: That TTB interview also features Strobel saying "the plan is not to redshirt" him, but a quick glance at the roster suggests one might be in order. Between Roh, Brink, Heitzman, and one of the two freshmen it Michigan is deep enough at SDE to redshirt the other. Since Wormley's coming in 20 pounds heavier, it would seem sensible to redshirt Strobel.

Whether he does or not, Roh will graduate and Michigan will have a four-way fight for the starting job in 2013. Strobel probably won't win it, but he should start making it into the rotation. He could get buried if Wormley and Heitzman turn out to be good; he could start or co-start for a long time. It's hard to forsee his future.



July 31st, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

See, I think Strobel is more like RVB than Wormley. RVB was big, athletic enough, and a tough, smart player. I'm not saying Wormley isn't any of those things, but I think Wormley has the athleticism that Strobel and RVB lack. That said, I can't think of anyone to compare Wormley to, but I just don't think it's RVB.


July 31st, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

I must disagree with the excitement level. Strobel is going to be a major player for us about three years down the road. The kid is smart and ready to work. Jarred Allen 2.0 minus the douchness


July 31st, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

I LOVE the relentless pursuit across the field. That was the only thing I would have liked to see more from Wormley's (albeit short bit of) tape.

A lot to look forward to with him, especially if he can retain his quickness while jumping to 295.

Do you or anybody else recall RVB's HS senior weight compared to first PT weight? Was it consistent with a 45 lb jump?


July 31st, 2012 at 11:23 PM ^

I am no football expert, but I just flipped back and forth between Strobel's and Wormley's mgovan scout games, and I think Tom is the better player.

He seems to be much quicker and more fluid, which I think you can't really improve on much, as opposed to strength.  Just my take, I think they both have a ton of potential.