2014 Recruiting: Brady Pallante

Submitted by Brian on July 7th, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles, CB Brandon Watson, CB Jabrill Peppers, LB Jared Wangler, LB Chase Winovich, LB Noah Furbush, LB Michael Ferns.

Naples, FL – 6'1", 255


Scout 3*, NR overall
#61 DT
Rivals 2*, NR overall
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#117 DT, #270 FL
24/7 2*, NR overall
#127 DT, #299 FL
Other Suitors Appalachian State
YMRMFSPA I call him mini-Mike Martin
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes I am note-free.


Hudl film:

Most Michigan fans were hoping that Brady Pallante wouldn't be in this class. That's no knock on Pallante, necessarily: it's just that Michigan was dreaming of a class with Malik McDowell and DaShawn Hand in it. Once the season progressed as shambolically as it did and both of those top-end stars drifted away from the unpleasant odor of tackles for loss wafting out of Ann Arbor, Michigan found itself with open scholarships and limited options.

Enter Pallante, who committed as a nearly-unheard of nose tackle out of Florida just after the previous year's signing day. The catch then is that Pallante was recruited as a grayshirt who would come in-mid-year (IE, six months from now) and be a part of the 2015 class. When recruiting ended with a thud, he was moved up.

So here he is, and we know… not much. Two-star guys who commit super early are not well-scouted as a rule, and Pallante is one of those even if he's gotten the three-star courtesy bump from a couple of sites. (It makes you wonder how deep ESPN's three star rankings go if the #270 guy in Florida gets one.)

What we do have makes him sound like mini-Mike Martin. Pallante is a penetrator who uses his relative lack of height to his advantage; like Martin (and Terrance Taylor), when not spending time on football he is tossing panicky high schoolers around en route to state championships as a heavyweight wrestler. This is in fact a comparison the coaches have made directly:

“The coaches up at Michigan said I remind them a lot of Mike Martin,” said Pallante. “Coach Hoke just sat down with me and said, ‘we’re looking for a guy who can replace Mike Martin at nose guard and a guy that works hard and is a tough kid’.”

Rob Renes, another small-but-annoying NT, also came up. And, you know, those guys have worked out. As Pallante says, wrestling is essentially DT practice:

"Wrestling has helped with everything, between balance, coordination, hands," he said. "When you're fighting to get inside control on the wrestling mat, it's the same thing when you're coming off the ball because at the snap you're trying to get inside the man across from you to gain the advantage.

"My footwork is better. Staying low. Learning how to use leverage. There are a lot of things that have transferred over from wrestling to football that have helped my game, and vice versa."

There are three actual scouting reports out there, from ESPN, 247's Clint Brewster, and Rivals's Tim Sullivan. All say he's small ("marginal size"; "undersized"; "undersized", respectively) and that this will be his main issue going forward. Weights for Pallante ranged from 245(!) to 280 on recruiting sites; we're going with Michigan's own listing on their signing day page, which is a relatively measly 255.

They differ in their evaluations of how promising he is as an interior disruptor, with ESPN tending towards the meh:

…adequate-to-good first-step quickness. While he's not a disruptive penetrating presence he is capable of getting off the ball quickly enough to consistently get good initial position and, at times, knock blockers back. Can fire out low and consistently gain physical leverage with his compact frame …. A bit limited as a pass rusher. …battles and gives good effort.

The other two guys may just be trying to be nice, but their evaluations are more hopeful. Brewster:

undersized but very skilled defensive tackle. … very quick off the ball and has a number of moves in his arsenal to beat an offensive lineman. He has a brawlers mentality in the trenches and can stand his ground against the run. Pallante is athletic enough to get to the quarterback … He has the skill-set to win against much bigger opponents.

And Sullivan:

opened things up for his teammates, enduring multiple blockers on most every play, and often enduring cut blocks … has a build that allows him to play with excellent leverage … Most impressive was Pallante's overall technique. He made excellent use of his hands to defeat various types of blocks, and combined hand technique with quickness to knife into the backfield repeatedly. He was disciplined in executing his assignments, holding the edge, and chasing down quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield. He arrived with violence each time.

A gradient on a theme. Pallante will go as far as his hands can take him. If that's the backfield, he'll see time. If that's still-in-front-of-this-double team, he won't.

One point in his favor: Michigan jumped on him so early after seeing him extensively at their summer camp the year before. Michigan has done well with random camp commits under Hoke. (Probably, anyway—they're mostly still to young to have a definitive answer there.)

Etc.: The twist: Magnus likes him better than other people.

Why mini-Mike Martin? Well, if the coaches are saying it I will too. Martin was obviously a much bigger recruit, and bigger dude in general. If Pallante works out it'll be as a version of Martin: get in the backfield over and over again so it doesn't matter if someone tries to double you because you've gone between them.

Guru Reliability: Low. Virtually unscouted by anyone except Sullivan.

Variance: Moderate. Size questions may prevent him from seeing the field; technique seems advanced.

Ceiling: Low. Needs 30 pounds to be the same weight as Jibreel Black was last year, when he was unable to hold up to doubles at all. If he is actually 280 now and can get to 300-ish, I'll revise that upward. In my head.

General Excitement Level: Low. Well… I mean… I don't like being super-negative here when these guys are all lottery tickets and may or may not work out. CMU OT goes #1 in NFL draft, etc. But Pallante seems to have a hard cap on his ability to hold up to doubles.

Projection: Redshirt, then probably another year of anonymity as Michigan returns all of their nose tackles next year. First opportunity to get in the rotation will be as a redshirt sophomore. He'll probably end up a guy behind the guy for the duration of his career, which is useful at NT.



July 7th, 2014 at 3:57 PM ^

I thought that we always pegged Mike Martin as a 3T that was playing NT because we had no other options there? Wouldn't Pallante be better there where he could have more 1 on 1 battles and do more 'knifing'?

Space Coyote

July 7th, 2014 at 4:14 PM ^

On top of that, Pallante has the broad build, thick through the legs, that is capable of getting to 300 lbs without a whole lot of trouble. He certainly won't get there this year - in which he'll redshirt - and he'll likely only be in the 280s as a RS FR. But he should be able to creep into the mid-290s by his RS So and up to 300 by the time he's an upperclassman without a lot of fuss or bad weight.

I also saw him as a double team NT type, great use of hands and leverage for him to take on blocks, keep LBs clean, and disengage when ball carrier come closer. He won't penetrate a lot, but he can be bullish in the interior. He isn't as quick as Martin, and that's where the difference between Martin's higher ranking and Pallante's lower ranking is clear (and why people wanted Martin as a 3T, but view Pallante more as a NT eventually). Michigan has depth at DT, they can let this kid grow within the program, and he can be a solid rotation guy in that role.

Remember that star rankings are stupidly based on pro-projection, where Pallante doesn't have much projection. But he can be a very good piece to a college team, similar to many other guys that learn the technique and understand leverage and balance, but don't necessarily have the physical tools that translate upwards beyond college. 2-star/3-star is probably accurate, he's unlikely to end up in the NFL, but he can max out as a All-B1G or honorable mention type that is a consistent presence for Michigan, assuming his progression grows and his tools grow throughout college. 


July 7th, 2014 at 4:22 PM ^

Welcome to Michigan, kid. May your meals be full, your time in the weight room productive, and may the naturally-occuring steroid muscle bath of puberty continue for years to come. 


July 7th, 2014 at 5:09 PM ^

I think the last sentence of this post is the most accurate, and that's OK.  He could be that guy for 3-4 years that comes in for spurts and just really pisses off opposing interior linemen while "the guy" gets a breather, and there isn't a ton of drop off.  And like you said, at a spot like NT, that's super useful, especially when "the guy" for most of Pallante's career will be Mone who is a mountain but maybe not the best conditioned player on the team.  

However, I'm actually a little more optimistic about him that Brian.  He doesn't have the weight you want from a NT yet, but as an elite wrestler, he spent most of his offseasons losing weight in high school (or maintaining it) rather than bulking up.  (I know HW wrestlers don't need to cut weight, but the best ones hold little bad weight).  The updated MGoBlue.com roster has him at 264 now, and I wouldn't be shocked if he put on 20lbs over the next 14 months until the 2015 season starts.  And 285 isn't undersized for a back-up NT.

Yinka Double Dare

July 7th, 2014 at 5:37 PM ^

There actually is a weight limit for heavyweight wrestlers (285, was 275 until about 10 years ago), but I have to imagine it's pretty rare for any decent high school heavyweight to be cutting weight to get to the limit.  You run into the limit when your a friggin' freak like Brock Lesnar, but I'm sure he wasn't up against the limit in high school either. 


July 7th, 2014 at 5:42 PM ^

Yeah I know, but that's what I was getting at.  He probably wrestled around 245 or so, and that would mean he's not cutting weight like the kids in other weight classes are, but it did mean that he wasn't spending the offseason bulking up - he was still looking to keep his bad weight very low and was focused heavily on conditioning, which limits your weight gain.  

My point is now that he's not doing that every winter, he'll put on bulk faster than your typical undersized freshman.


July 7th, 2014 at 7:12 PM ^

While it would have been nice to get McDowell, I like a hard nosed tough kid.  He should be able to redshirt and then have a couple of years to put on size and strength and hopefully start making a contribution in his 3rd or 4th year.  Sounds good to me.  He seemed to do a good job with his hands and seemed to get off blocks well in his clips.  If nothing else, hopefully his motor and work ethic will rub off on the rest of the d-line.