2013 Recruiting: Wyatt Shallman Comment Count

Brian July 23rd, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton,DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OLLogan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt, TE Khalid Hill.

Novi, MI – 6'3, 250



4*, NR overall
#2 FB


4*, NR overall
#18 ATH, #6 MI


3*, NR overall
#1 FB, #10 MI


4*, NR overall
#1 FB, #8 MI

Other Suitors

OSU, MSU, Cinci, Syr

or Mike Alstott
or Tim Jamison
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post. Ace interview. Ace scouts CC vs OLSM.
Notes Detroit CC (Mike Martin). Twitter.



There is also a sophomore reel.


Wyatt Shallman is the weirdest multipurpose offensive tool Michigan acquired in this class, mostly because it took everyone—including me—about six months to believe he was an offensive tool at all. The recruiting sites considered him a defensive end before he committed. When 247 debuted its 2013 rankings, Shallman was #149 as a DE. On Rivals, he was in the same range at the same spot.

It was to the point where the only evaluation of the guy's offensive potential Ace could find was his own

Shallman is at his best running North-South, and while he doesn't have top-flight speed, he does get to the second level of defenders in a hurry. When he reaches the back seven, he has a tendency to put his head down and try to bowl defenders over, which often works but also limits his big plays—to his credit, however, there wasn't a single run in which Shallman didn't fall forward for at least an extra yard or two.

I was impressed … with Shallman's agility. He's not going to utilize a lot of fancy jukes or spin moves, but his go-to move—the quick jump-cut as he approaches an oncoming defender—worked really well for him. Shallman isn't going to make a lot of guys completely whiff at the next level, but he's shifty enough to get defenders off-balance, and with his power that's enough to shed tackles—Inkster defenders were bouncing off of him all night.

…because guys who are near top-100 players at defensive end play defensive end, end of story. Catholic Central coaches had to make some hard decisions about Shallman when he spent most of his junior and senior years battling hamstring injuries; they used him mostly as a defensive end, exclusively so for a large chunk of his senior year. Tim Sullivan caught CC's game against Brother Rice and saw zero snaps for Shallman on offense. When ESPN noted him as a standout from the road last year, it was after a two-sack game on defense.

But Michigan isn't totally crazy here. Ace caught games from Shallman as a junior and senior and though he made a lot of progress as a DE, Ace still thinks he's best on offense. When OSU offered him, it was as an H-back. His trainer is Mike Barwis, and Barwis makes it sound like he's got potential:


"Physically, he's impressive," Barwis said of Shallman. "Kids his size tend to be sluggish and lumber, but he is very explosive. That isn't common." …

"If someone is looking for a big power back and they want to slam it down their throat, he can do that," Barwis said. "He's going to be a big, explosive, fast, power back. We did that with Owen Schmitt at West Virginia.

"You have your stealth speed back like Steve Slaton, and the next thing you know you give the ball to this tank and he's running a 4.6, hits you in the mouth, and he's gone."

In Michigan's case, they'll have Power A and Power B (and Power C, probably), but you get the idea.

ESPN went back and redid Shallman's profile last February, focusing almost exclusively on offense—and probably going off junior tape:

Has great size and athleticism for the fullback position at the major level of competition; in fact we definitely see tight end potential. … Shows good flexibility, agility and balance as a ball carrier; for his size, he displays good vision and quickness getting up into the line from a regular fullback alignment; can pick and slide while continually gaining ground up to the second level; flashes the wiggle to make first tacklers miss in space however he lacks the burst or second gear needed to clear traffic and break into open space. This guy is a tough between the tackles, power runner capable of moving the pile and shortening the game in the fourth quarter. Does a good job blocking off the edge; brings his feet, rolls his hips and blocks through opponents.

Receiving is the main area for improvement.

Shallman's coach echoes the ESPN eval:

"As a running back, he's got very good speed," Mach said. "He's powerful. He's got the ability to break tackles, not go down on the first hit and get the extra yard. I think he'll be a tough running back."

And Scout does as well:

Scout.com Player Evaluation:


Foot Quickness




Blocking Ability


Light on his feet for a big man, Shallman projects as a big tailback at times and a fullback at others. Is a good athlete who catches the ball out of the backfield well. Good lateral quickness and agility for a kid who's 245-lbs. Will need to continue to learn and improve as a blocker, but does a solid job in that department as well. Has dealt with some injuries in his career.

Michigan may actually be a little crazy, actually, because their pitch to Shallman was running back, emphasis on "run":

"A lot of these teams were saying H-back or possibly even tight end," Shallman said. "So when he said, 'We want you at running back, we want you at tailback,' that really struck home."

One thing the Michigan coaches really like about Shallman is his size. Jackson told Shallman that it was rare to find someone with a body like Shallman's who is as explosive as he is.

Later Shallman would slighly clarify that running back would be amongst a number of positions he would feature at:

What the coaches have told him about when/where he'll be playing: Running back, U-back position where I can play tight end, fullback, running back.

Months of Shallman insisting Michigan saw him as a running back eventually caused three of the four sites to rank him as one of the top fullbacks in the nation; Rivals, the holdout, tossed him in the ATH pile. He held on to a fourth star because of his potential as a pure athlete, and ended up the top fullback because nobody saw him as a tailback and fullbacks don't get four stars. It's a little incoherent, but I feel for the sites on this one.

So… defense. When Shallman committed Michigan was yet to acquire the services of DeVeon Smith and Derrick Green, two highly-rated tailbacks who figure to push piles about as well as Shallman while bringing more big play potential to the table. Meanwhile, fullback/H-back is plenty crowded with Houma, Kerridge, and Hill currently also underclassmen.

Since the rest of those guys seem exclusively RB/FB types, it would not surprise to see Shallman move to the defensive end spot a lot of sites had him ticketed for before his commitment. There, he is probably the best fit at WDE. Notre Dame was recruiting him as a "CAT" linebacker, their equivalent in a nominally 3-4 system:

“They like me at the CAT linebacker position – which is kind of a linebacker/defensive end hybrid and a pass rushing specialist in their defense,” Shallman said. “They think my size and athleticism really translates well to that position.”

I'll spare you the digression on how ND's 3-4 isn't really that far from Michigan's 4-3 under down to the LB/DE hybrid, as that's beyond the scope of this post. SAM and SDE are also possibilities, with SAM more likely than SDE, where Shallman will always be undersized.

On defense, he's got pass-rush upside. Barwis shouldn't have dragged this guy out, but Barwis did so Barwis:

"The thing that makes him a unique prospect is that he's extremely quick twitch and explosive," he said. "Brandon Graham is a freak athlete, but Brandon is extremely quick twitch. This kid has that as well. Not to the degree that Brandon did when he went to the NFL, but I didn't see him when he was 15, either."

Josh Helmholdt caught DCC's 2011 opener (ie, Shallman's junior year) against Fordson, in which he impressed:

At times he looked to be protecting the leg, but mostly he went all out and looked sharp. His athleticism for a big prospect is outstanding and his speed is well above average for the defensive end position. We're still not sure if tailback is an option in college, but Shallman is definitely a high-end defensive prospect with a great motor.

Ace caught the OLSM game and came away with a glimpse at a mini-RVB:

Shallman is quick off the snap and plays much lower than he did last year, and he did an impressive job of getting leverage on his blocker and using his hands to break free; I didn't see him get pushed back more than once or twice on Friday. …

Perhaps most impressive was Shallman's ability to fight off blocks, as St. Mary's tried to cut him all night. He displayed great balance in fighting off low blocks; I don't remember him getting cut to the turf once.

Sullivan caught a game against an all-run Brother Rice offense:

Shallman had the strength to bull through offensive linemen - impressive for a guy who is probably not a lineman in college - and was able to two-gap his blocker on several occasions, maintaining leverage for runs that went to either side of him. On the pass rush, he was quick off the ball, and though he didn't have a wide range of moves to get by his blocker, he was able to harass the passer, even if it only resulted in one sack.

That' doesn't mean Shallman was perfect. … he was sometimes lackadaisical in pursuit down the field, and didn't show off a high motor. He also displayed only flashes of a killer instinct and defensive mentality.

Not sure if that's the persistent injury. Both of the other evaluations praise Shallman's motor.

The injury thing is a thing: after two solid years of hamstring issues you have to worry if that might become a chronic issue. Michigan might do well to give the guy a bit of an easier year just so he can get totally recovered before throwing him in the fire.

Etc.:  Has all the vines. Carries a briefcase at school. Claims to have once caught a ten-pound bass with a Spiderman fishing rod and a Lifesaver. FRED JACKSON SUPERLATIVE ALERT

“I like anything that big, that strong, that fast,” Jackson said of Shallman. “I talk to a few people where he worked out and they said he is the most powerful guy that they have ever seen at that young age.”

This man must be a running back.

Why Aaron Shea? Well, yeah:

Hoke compared Shallman (who measures at a whopping 6-foot-3, 245 pounds) to Aaron Shea, a former Michigan fullback and tight end who went on to play in the NFL. The Wolverines like his ability to be multidimensional on the field -- someone who will be effective in multiple facets such as knocking people off the ball, catching out of the backfield and usage as a single back.

A (slightly) converted tight end, Shea was more on the Khalid Hill end of things, though. Shallman may find a niche as a pounding even-more-thunder back a la Mike Alstott or Owen Schmitt. Dare we say Toby Gerhardt?

Guru Reliability: Low. Most are in the same range but it's clear they've punted on actually ranking him by thrusting him into the FB spot like they did Brandon Minor. Meanwhile, extensive injury and a total lack of camps mean I don't put much stock in their rankings even if they do like the guy.

Variance: Very high. Could be anything from Mike Alstott to Owen Schmitt (minus the self-helmet bashing, probably) to Aaron Shea to Tim Jamison to Guy Who Doesn't Play At All.

Ceiling: Moderate? Doesn't seem to have out-and-out star potential anywhere, but could develop into a fringe All Big Ten player on either side of the ball.

General Excitement Level: Moderate? I punt. Likely to be a contributor somewhere, though.

Projection: I'd imagine a redshirt is likely what with the multiple injuries and lack of offensive snaps as a senior. He is in the range of guys who get drafted on to special teams, though.

After a presumed redshirt year, your guess is as good as mine. WDE appears to be in good hands for the next few years, but so does RB/FB. Is he going to take carries away from Derrick Green? Is he going to take U-back snaps from a considerably more advanced receiver in Khalid Hill? Given Shallman's athleticism the answers there are "maybe situationally." His best bet early is proving himself more of a dual threat than his challengers at U-back—ie, Kerridge can't be a threat as a receiver, Hill can't block, Shallman is less of a tipoff when he's in. Or playing defensive end. Or, I don't know, making omelets at Bursley. Multifunctional.



July 23rd, 2013 at 12:21 PM ^

I was going to use this comparison as an excuse to post the video of Shea taking out three Wisconsin defenders with one block, but apparently WolverineHistoriean's copy got lost in the Great DMCA Fiasco and I can't find any other copies on YouTube. Anyone have it bookmarked?


July 23rd, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

If Michigan could somehow manage to land Fournette, I can't help but think 2007 Arkansas backfield with Shallman.

Felix Jones, Darren McFadden, and Peyton Hillis? Meet Derrick Green, Leonard Fournette, and Wyatt Shallman. 


July 23rd, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

Just because he isn't easilly pegged after a high school career  (at a program notorious for lack of flexibility) I wouldn't take the direction he won't be a strong offensive player.  As a football coach, what I take from this is that you are getting a player who by all accounts has the strength, speed, and athleticism to do a multitude of things for you. I would think Hoke and Co are confident that with strong positional coaching they can make a very good weapon out of him. 


July 23rd, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

I think a lot of you would agree but this kid will be on the field and will be a stud where ever he is playing at. RB, FB, DE, LBs, QB, or Holder

I have the same feeling I had when we got that commitment from Jake Ryan, I certainly saw something!

El Jeffe

July 23rd, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

I feel like with Funchess, Butt, Bunting, Smith, Green, and Shallman, we'll be terrifying in the red zone in a couple of years. That's a lotta beef to keep track of for a defense.


July 23rd, 2013 at 1:35 PM ^

Guys like him are excellent to have on the roster.  He's a good kid who could play a number of positions pretty well and allows you both flexibility and insurance in the future.  It is possible that he gets lost in the shuffle during his career, but even if that's the case I'm not worried.  At worst this guy has the makings of a special teams demon who can block kicks, break up returns, and be used on fakes.  Darnell Hood came to Michigan as a solid RB recruit who never found a home and yet he ended his career as a very solid special teams player that was always in the mix. 

Space Coyote

July 23rd, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

He seemed to have the skill set and base to be a better SDE that could also play some WDE IMO. Likely a Roh type player on the defensive side that would continue to get larger until he reached the 280 lb mark. But at 6'3" that may be a bit difficult. I thought that's where his skill set was best suited though, as I don't think he's quick twitch enough to be the pure pass rush threat you want at WDE. Oddly enough, I think he's probably not just a better SDE than WDE, I think he may be a better SAM than WDE, however you want to try to make sense of that.

Either way, on offense, his versatility seems like a benefit, albeit in a very crowded situation. But that's what happens when you bring in classes with huge numbers. Hopefully in the future the class sizes start to balance out more.


July 23rd, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

I don't think his height will keep him from being 280 or higher. Keith Heitzman is 6'3" and so is Frank Clark, both who are third year players nearing 280 who were far smaller than Shallman as high schoolers. Wormley is only 6'4" and 280 will be a breeze for him.

If the coaches felt SDE was the best spot for Shallman, he could be 280 by the time he's a RS Soph.


July 23rd, 2013 at 4:26 PM ^

"more of a dual threat than his challengers at U-back"

That's the part that really stands out.  In Borges' ideal offense there is going to be a TE, there is going to be a RB, and there is going to be one guy (often two guys) that fall somewhere on the Full-H-U-back continuom.  With a pure blocker or pure pass catcher, the offense is going to be constrained.  Shallman seems to have the size/athleticism to provide versatility in a way that others in the group (incl. Houma, Hill, Kerridge) do not -- he's got the greatest upside.

Maybe he moonlights at RB or switches to defense, but I think the positionless Aaron Shea role is best fit.  He'll be behind the OL somewhere, moving around depending on the play, blocking mostly, but catching and maybe even running on occassion - keeping the D guessing.



July 23rd, 2013 at 6:19 PM ^

He is currently good size for a SAM and his reviews all talk about his explosiveness.  Perhaps he will just get too big to be a SAM, but that seems like the greatest area of need to me. 


July 23rd, 2013 at 10:11 PM ^

I agree completely with the Aaron Shea comparison, and I think Shallman will be a fan favorite before his career is complete.  He will be used by Borges as yet another player (along with Funchess, Butt, K HIll and Bunting) that will drive defenses nuts with mismatches.  I see his best role as an H-back similar to K. Hill.  I see him differentiating himself from Hill with his ability to play RB enough to keep defenses honest in addition to being able to run and catch.

I can imagine a lot of combinations of personnel with Shallman that would drive defenses nuts.  My favorite thought is lining up with 1 WR, Williams/Butt along with Funchess at TE with K. Hill at H-back and Shallman at RB facing 3rd and 2 or so.  If the defense matches the heavy formation, I can see switching Funchess out wide with Hill and Shallman in the slots.

We're probably a year away before all these guys are ready to block and catch, but it will be fun to watch when they are.