2013 Recruiting Wrap: The Offense Comment Count

Ace February 6th, 2013 at 4:16 PM


Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

It is Signing Day 2013, and if you weren't aware, Michigan has a pretty, pretty good class. With this post—and its accompanying defense post (coming tomorrow)—I'll attempt to give you a solid overview of the class, its strengths and weaknesses, and hand out a few superlatives. Let's start with a look at the offensive class as a whole and their final rankings from the recruiting services—click on each player's name to see their commitment post:

Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Shane Morris QB MI 4 5 4 4
Derrick Green RB VA 5 5 4 4
DeVeon Smith RB OH 3 4 4 4
Wyatt Shallman ATH/RB MI 4 4 4 3
Jaron Dukes WR OH 3 3 3 4
Da'Mario Jones WR MI 3 3 3 3
Csont'e York WR MI 3 3 3 3
Patrick Kugler OL PA 4 5 4 4
Kyle Bosch* OL IL 4 4 4 4
David Dawson OL MI 4 4 4 4
Chris Fox OL CO 4 4 4 4
Logan Tuley-Tillman* OL IL 4 4 4 4
Dan Samuelson OL IN 3 4 3 3
Jake Butt* TE OH 4 4 3 4
Khalid Hill TE MI 3 3 3 3

*Early enrollee

And now, some specifics:

BEST POSITION GROUP: Offensive Line.


Kyle Bosch

This offensive line class is arguably the best in the country, finding strength both in numbers (six) and quality (five of the six are consensus four-stars or above and made All-American teams). As Michigan continues to fill in the holes left by some disastrous offensive line recruiting under Rich Rodriguez, this couldn't have come at a better time.

Among the group, guard Kyle Bosch is the most likely to crack the two-deep early; he's on campus early and has college-ready size—Michigan lists him at 6'5", 311 lbs.—to go with a polished set of skills. He won't start right away (let's hope) but could factor in as a backup. Center Patrick Kugler—the son of longtime NFL OL coach and current UTEP head coach Sean Kugler—might be the best of the bunch, though. He'll hit campus as the most physically gifted Wolverine at the position, and while he shouldn't be forced to play right away, he should be a multi-year starter down the road.

Honorable Mention: Running Back, Quarterback.

BIGGEST WEAKNESS: No elite receiver

Yes, this class lacks a blue-chip wideout. Csont'e York and Jaron Dukes are both big targets who can go up and get the ball, while Da'Mario Jones could be a playmaker in the slot, but none are can't-miss prospects. This issue is mitigated somewhat by Michigan's strong recruiting at tight end—get a couple playmakers there and the pressure comes off the receivers in the passing game—but you'd still like to see a top-flight guy on the outside.

Honorable Mention: The only other issue with the offensive side of the class is the lack of a second quarterback for depth purposes, something the coaches decided wasn't necessary. Otherwise, every need was filled.

MOST LIKELY TO START FROM DAY ONE: Derrick Green

Not only is Green the top-ranked recruit in the class, but he comes in at a position of great uncertainty and, as of late, middling production. He's got the body of an NFL running back as a high school senior and is a perfect fit for Al Borges's ideal offense. It's unknown whether Fitz Toussaint will be ready to start the season after his ugly leg injury and his production was lacking in 2012 anyway; Thomas Rawls failed to impress in his stead. Green's toughest competition for the bulk of the carries may even come from fellow 2013 commit DeVeon Smith, arguably the best back in the state of Ohio. Either way, expect a freshman (or two) to make a big impact in the backfield next season.

Honorable Mention: DeVeon Smith, Jake Butt

SUREST THING: Patrick Kugler

Covered in part above, Kugler is as close as you'll get to a can't-miss offensive line recruit. At 6'5", 280 lbs. before setting foot on campus, he's got better size than any Michigan center of recent vintage. His father spent nine years coaching offensive line in the NFL, and Patrick's film makes it apparent that he's absorbed a lot of his father's teaching—from a technical standpoint, he's very advanced for his age. He participated in the Under Armour AA Game and held up very well against some of the best defensive linemen in the country.

Kugler's only competition at center right now is Jack Miller, who's been groomed to take over the position for a couple years but was too undersized to see the field as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Miller should step in and start in 2013—it's unrealistic to expect Kugler to have enough command of the offense to make the O-line calls after a few weeks on campus—but it's going to be hard to keep Kugler off the field in 2014 and beyond.

Honorable Mention: Derrick Green, Kyle Bosch

BOOM OR BUST: Logan Tuley-Tillman

Offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman has the prototypical left tackle frame at 6'7", 307 pounds. He's also a relative newcomer to the game of football and spent his high school days overpowering opponents with sheer size and strength—as a result, he's got a long way to go from a technical standpoint. At last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, Tuley-Tillman and David Dawson both got extensive work in with Michigan OL coach Darrell Funk—Funk used Dawson as an example for how to execute certain technical aspects of line play, then spent a good deal of time trying to get Tuley-Tillman to that level.

If Tuley-Tillman can put it all together, he's the future at left tackle and could even develop into an NFL prospect. With so much ground to cover, however, he could also get buried on the depth chart by more polished players. It should help that Tuley-Tillman is already on campus—with a redshirt year all but guaranteed, he'll have plenty of time to work on the fundamentals before worrying about seeing the field.

Honorable Mention: Shane Morris, Chris Fox

MGOSCOUTED STAMP OF APPROVAL: Jake Butt

Among the players I checked out last fall—on offense: Morris, Shallman, York, Dawson, Butt, and Hill—tight end Jake Butt really stood out with his performance on the field. Playing against cross-town rival Pickerington Central—featuring fellow Wolverine Taco Charlton—he hauled in nine catches for 93 yards and a TD while also making an impact at defensive end. Some of my impressions from that game:

Butt did a great job of snatching the ball away from his body and caught everything thrown his way. While he could be a little sharper out of his breaks, he runs crisp routes and positions his body well to give his quarterback a big target while warding off the defender. He was able to find space up the seam on multiple occasions but was also comfortable working on the perimeter, at one point catching back-to-back out routes when Central cheated to the inside in coverage. He's not going to juke past too many defenders after the catch, but he usually finds a way to fall forward for extra yardage.

At 6'6", 235 lbs., Butt has an ideal frame for the position, and his blocking really impressed me as well. He's another early enrollee, and I'd be surprised if he took a redshirt—he may not start from day one, but he's a better blocker than Devin Funchess and could give Michigan a scary one-two combo at tight end/H-back.

Honorable Mention: David Dawson, Shane Morris

THE SHANE MORRIS CATEGORY: Shane Morris

An overview of Michigan's 2013 class is incomplete without mentioning the team's quarterback of the future. Morris dropped from five-star status on Rivals and 247 after a senior season marred by mono and an uneven performance at the Under Armour AA Game, but he still has the highest ceiling of any of Michigan's commits.

The first thing that stands out about Morris is his arm strength—the ball explodes out of his hand with seemingly little effort. When he's on, it's a sight to behold. The problem—and ultimately why he dropped in the rankings—is that he's yet to show consistency; he still needs work reading defenses and relies too heavily on his arm strength to fit the ball into windows that sometimes aren't there.

Those expecting Morris to come in and take the starting job need to temper their expectations severely—the job is Devin Gardner's, and barring injury it'll stay that way. Morris could very well come in and earn the backup job over Russell Bellomy, however, and with a couple years of development he could be special.

Honorable Mention: Shane Morris

SLEEPER: Da'Mario Jones

Michigan snatched WR Da'Mario Jones, a Westland John Glenn product, away from Central Michigan, so he certainly flew under the radar for the bulk of the recruiting cycle. That may have been the product of playing in a league that doesn't get much exposure, however—Allen Trieu reported($) that UCLA, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, and Georgia all came to see him last week, though no offers came when he made it clear he was ticketed for Ann Arbor.

While the other two receivers in the class, Csont'e York and Jaron Dukes, are big guys who were on the receiving end of a lot of jump balls in high school, Jones is a guy who's shown his ability to work underneath and break big plays after the catch. With Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon back in 2013, he may not see the field right away, but down the road there's a clear role he can fill in the slot—a position that, granted, may be marginalized by the increased emphasis on tight ends—and nobody else on the roster who fits that mold after next season.

Honorable Mention: Wyatt Shallman, Khalid Hill

Comments

michgoblue

February 6th, 2013 at 4:59 PM ^

Question for Ace (or Magnus):

Do you see Shallman fitting into the offense, or will is he likely to move to D?  It seems to me that a guy like Shallman fits the role of bull moose RB who you could use in goal line situations, but it's not like our likely starters over the next few years - Smith and Green - are small guys.  They are mooses in their own right, so I am not sure that I see much room for someone like Shallman to get significant reps.

Second question:  Where do you see K. Hill fitting in?  He seems like he has good hands, and could convert to WR, no?

WolvinLA2

February 6th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

Hill will stay at TE, but more of a slot/H-back TE that I think we call U-back (I get them confused).  

I highly doubt he moves to WR, but I see him as an Aaron Hernandez style TE because although he's not the tallest TE, he's quick, runs great routes and has good hands.  It's rare that TEs excel in 7 on 7s for any reason other than "is 6 inches taller than any CB" but he really did.  I think we'll be pleasantly surprised with him.

Magnus

February 6th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

Every time I talk about Shallman, it seems like I get hate mail in my inbox.  So my e-mail will probably blow up in a little bit...

Shallman's not a tailback.  Maybe in goal line situations, but that's about it.  It's funny that he was mentioned as an Aaron Shea-type player, because that's decidedly NOT a tailback.  He could certainly play H-back, so I don't think he'll necessarily move to defense.  I think Houma's a straight-up fullback, Shallman could be more of a receiving threat out of the backfield, and then you can split Hill and Funchess out into the slot.

Hill isn't a wide receiver.  He's too thick.  He's an H-back type.

FreddieMercuryHayes

February 6th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

Regarding DeMario Jones, if I remember the WolverineNation thread, I believe it was Jones or Jones' coach (maybe?) that said both MSU and Georgia actually offered Jones during their visits.

Danwillhor

February 6th, 2013 at 6:03 PM ^

Good breakdown. Agree about LTT. Love the kid's attitude and passion but an oft injured and unpolished OL has "potential bust" written all over them. That said, I also agree that he could be a star if things go right.

YoOoBoMoLloRoHo

February 6th, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

if Jourdan plays WR?  Is he Gallon II (ie, the Gallon from the Outback Bowl)?

Scouts rave about his speed and athleticism, but his low weight will keep him off the field in 2013 on the D side.

His 40 at The Opening was pedantic, so I really don't know if he is quick/fast enough to create separation.

WallyWallace

February 6th, 2013 at 10:25 PM ^

With a softer schedule and other factors, I think Devin and Gallon will have big and possibly huge years.

The potential of a Michigan pro style offense is still kinda conjecture at this point as QB and WR recruits still associate us with the Denard era.

Once folks actually see the potential(season starts), I think the skill position recruiting will only improve for 2014 and 2015. I know the Speight commitment has mixed reviews thus far, but if the coaches did want another 2014 Qb, it may be a much easier sell  once the season starts and a kid can see themselves as Devin or Gallon, etc..

joeismyname

February 7th, 2013 at 2:06 AM ^

i think Hoke needs to watch some of Harbaugh's usage of Kapernick and Frank Gore this year. It seems that Derrick Green/Fitz/Deveon Smith share simliar running attributes to Gore, and Kapernick and Gardner both have speed, length, and arm strength. I hope Jim and Brady have been talking offensive strategy. 

Also, Devin Funchess could be our Vernon Davis type huge play tight end.

michgoblue

February 7th, 2013 at 7:40 AM ^

I know it is far off, but picture an offense with the following 3rd year players:

Qb - Morris

RB - green / smith

TE - butt / funchess

OL - some combo of the beasts from the '12 class and the beasts from the '13 class

WR - at least 1-3 of the receivers from this class and last will emerge as solid to good receivers. Of we run 2-TE like the pats, we can certainly get by with any 2 beig good.

Looks like a pretty scary good offense to me.

Blue boy johnson

February 7th, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

I like Khalid Hill as sleeper. Hill is a very fluid runner and at his size will be a load to bring down in the secondary.

Derrick Green is the most NFL looking running back I've ever seen. I think it is hard to get a grasp on how big that kid is. I was watching a clip of Green at a summer camp, he was truly a man amongst boys and this was from his soph hs season, or something ridiculous like that.