2014 Recruiting: Chase Winovich Comment Count

Brian May 13th, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles, CB Brandon Watson, CB Jabrill Peppers, LB Jared Wangler.

Jefferson Hills, PA - 6'4", 215


Winovich is already Adam Jacboi's least favorite player

Scout 4*, #281 overall
#26 OLB

4*, NR overall
#18 OLB, #6 PA

ESPN 3*, NR overall
#48 OLB, #13 PA
24/7 4*, NR overall
#25 OLB, #7 PA
Other Suitors OSU, Pitt, MSU, Stanford, FSU, Miami, Oregon, VT
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.


Eighty yard touchdown run on third and 25:

Junior year:

Senior year stuff is on HUDL.

It was pretty easy to project Chase Winovich's future until a few months ago. Winovich comes with the violent upfield acceleration that Jake Ryan does, so redshirt him, pack some pounds on him, and unleash once properly marinated to be Ryan 2.0.

Then Ryan got moved to MLB and Michigan decided they were going to be more of an over outfit and things got murky. Winovich is tall and fast and has played his share of high school MLB, so the obvious thing is to do the bit in the previous paragraph and hope it all works out. And it might. It's just less obvious that it will.

Nonetheless, Winovich has a number of arrows pointing in the right direction. He chose Michigan in a heated battle with OSU and had a smattering of other A-level offers. After he committed he had an outstanding two-way senior season that saw three of the four services offer up a fourth star to him.

Let's see what we've won. Scout's Brian Dohn:

He runs like a receiver and is flexible. He has a very good feel for the game, anticipates well, has speed and burst and plays a physical style. … explosion in two or three steps is outstanding. He closes quickly and gets to the quarterback to make the play.

…patient as he watches the play develop. There is no guessing on what is happening. When it sees it, he plants his left foot in the ground and explodes to the right to make a tackle and shut down what looked like a big running lane.

247's Clint Brewster:

instinctive first step and blows plays up before they even happen. Winovich plays with outstanding aggression and is very explosive. He has excellent speed and can make plays from sideline to sideline. Winovich has enough speed to chase down running backs far down field. He does a nice job of using his hands to shed blockers and scraping to get to the ball carrier…. a force coming off the edge as an outside linebacker and can really close on the quarterback. … great fit as an outside linebacker in college, where Michigan is recruiting him at.

His coach:

"He's an all-out kid that's always playing at full speed, he's big, he can run, he just finds the ball and closes. He's a guy who is going to do whatever it takes to win, whatever he has to do. He's all about winning.

"We had him play on special teams, he played running back, he played quarterback -- whatever he asked him to do, he did it."

Scout also praises Winovich for his "knack for making big plays" and his ability to "fly to the ball every play." I wonder if he reminds Michigan's coaches of anyone. Hecklinski:

"A great family, wonderful family. Chase is going to remind a lot of people of Jake Ryan. Fun-loving, great to be around, great smile, great teammate."

Alright then. I concur; watching Winovich's tape was like seeing skinny Jake Ryan ripping around.

While he's relatively skinny at the moment, that won't last. Brewster mentions Winovich's "long frame and huge wingspan"; Scout notes he is "all of 6'3"+ plus" with "room to get much bigger" 

So that's the vertical attacking bit. How much he gets to do that is unknown; Michigan could flip back to an under next year; he could maybe get large enough to play nickel DE; etc. If he does end up on the interior long term, middle linebacker is something that he is at least a decent fit for. Multiple scouting reports praise his sideline-to-sideline range, coverage potential and tackling…

  • Brewster: excellent pursuit speed and angles, as well as being able to drop into coverage and get in passing lanes. Winovich runs through ball-carriers instead of catching or meeting them.
  • Kyle Bogenschutz: Winovich's athleticism and ability to run sideline to sideline stands out. In 1-on-1's, Winovich ran step for step with a wide receiver down the sideline and into the corner of the endzone before making a leaping and juggling one handed interception,

Finally, his ability to pick through traffic is also an oft-repeated asset. ESPN:

Maintains good leverage on the ball and isn't fooled by misdirection. Although he needs to become a more physical take-on guy, his quick hands allow him to shed and get off blocks. Demonstrates the quickness, balance and agility needed to avoid blockers and make plays in tight spaces. Moves through traffic very well, showing excellent sideline-to-sideline range.


… changes direction well and has very good feet, which allows him to navigate through congestion and avoid blocks. … Winovich shows his ability to run to the sideline and make the play. Again, he tracks it well and gets to the ball carrier quickly. He is also able to get through the traffic to make a tough play look simple and natural.

The MLB thing is actually rather plausible as long as he gets big and can shed guards.

Negatives are not mentioned much; when they are it is the obvious thing: he is 215 pounds. Brewster also mentions that he could "do a better job of getting his pad level down to take on contact" as a 6'4" LB, which is also something that shows up on film. Winovich tackles a lot of guys high. In HS this allows him to run through guys and flex afterwards; against guys his weight but squatter it might not work out so well. ESPN also mentions that he's inexperienced in coverage.

If you're thinking all this sounds pretty good for a guy who didn't crack anyone's top 250, well… yeah. The OSU battle even though OSU was already in possession of a couple of OLB types is also another positive sign. Even though Winovich got bumped by the recruiting sites out of sleeper of the year territory, it seems like he's still underrated.

As far as next year goes, a redshirt seems certain. Bogenschutz reported that Winovich was down to 208 by the time the O-D Bowl came around. That is well short of what he'd need to see the field at 6'4" even if he was at SAM, or WILL, or whatever the light, tight-end-tracking linebacker is going to be this year. Winovich doesn't appear to be the kind of guy who demands/asks to be on the field immediately; he told Nick Baumgardner that "my goal isn't necessarily to play as early as I can, it's to be the best player and contributor I can be for Michigan."

Etc.: Man, you could do a lot with high schools named these things:

The Thomas Jefferson football team shut down rival Elizabeth Forward last week in a sterling defensive performance.




Also from that article, we may have a replacement for Jordan Morgan as far as trolling goes:

Q: Given the pre-game hype, do you consider the 42-0 win against Elizabeth Forward as a statement game for the TJ football team?

A: I think our true statement will come once we win the WPIAL championship, but beating Elizabeth Forward is simply a tradition to us at this point.

Older brother played at BGSU. Cute photo alert. Yoinked away from OSU:

"I had Ohio State jerseys, I had Ohio State buckeyes in my room, I had the Ohio State flag in my room," Winovich recalls. "I even had an Ohio State-themed credit card."

Why Jake Ryan? Same frame, same five-yard explosion that makes Ryan so adept at finishing plays in the backfield. Ryan was bigger coming out of high school; Winovich sounds like he's less of a wildman—for both good and bad. Ryan was a true sleeper, but obviously an underrated player.

Guru Reliability: High-ish. Healthy, played for PA powerhouse, little projection in terms of position. Some disagreement, though an understandable one since ESPN is way more fire-and-forget with their rankings than others.

Variance: Moderate-plus. Has to add a lot of weight, and there is some positional uncertainty.

Ceiling: High. Small area burst like that is very appealing. If he works out can be the sort of LB who racks up 15-20 TFLs and gets confetti thrown at him in postseason awards and whatnot.

General Excitement Level: High. Variance is variable. But dat burst yo.

Projection: As mentioned above, redshirt should be a lock. Afterwards it depends on whether Michigan sticks with the over or goes back; if they go back he is a natural fit at SAM and will contribute immediately, fighting with McCray and lighter guys to start. The over is trickier; he'd probably be at WLB in that setup, as Bolden/Ferns/Gedeon are a bit shorter and stouter. That would allow Michigan to flip their setup, as well.

So it's a bit fuzzy. Winovich is likely to find some sort of role because of his ability to go from point A to point B in a flash.



May 13th, 2014 at 4:48 PM ^

It seems to me that with only 1 WDE from the last two classes, one of either Winovich or Furbush is probably headed for the line. I know he is listed as very undersized for a linebacker, let alone a DE right now, but do you see that as a possibility with a RS and weight gain?


May 14th, 2014 at 9:39 AM ^

I think Winovich could be a situational weakside end, such as in obvious passing situations. But to me he looks like a typical outside linebacker. I see him more as a 3-4 OLB or a SAM in the 4-3 Under, so I too am unsure of how he'll fit in the Over.

Then again, I think the coaches might be aiming to use an Over defense because of current personnel. Beyer isn't a 5-tech SDE but I think the coaches want him, Clark, and Ryan on the field at the same time. Since all three are SAM/WDE tweener types, I think this allows them to get their best eleven on the field.


May 13th, 2014 at 5:07 PM ^

AC/DC Thunderstruck for video background music can't be all bad.  Had he asked I might have suggested he also use a few bars from Big Balls.


May 13th, 2014 at 6:33 PM ^

Nothing like the casual flex when getting your picture taken.  You always think it's going to look cool, but it's always super obvious.  Chase will learn this one day (and if he's anything like me, keep doing it anyway).  


May 13th, 2014 at 6:38 PM ^

Same as they did with Ryan. If that's at MLB where PeeWee and company can keep lineman off him while he tracks down the ball, great. Maybe it's being blitzed frequently from multiple spots while our cover guys rotate - great. The thing is that his short-area burst be used going toward the backfield, because that's where it can be devastating.

Space Coyote

May 13th, 2014 at 7:17 PM ^

The WILL in the 4-3 Over will generally be more of a MLB sort (Bolden, Morgan) because he is less protected by the NT than the SAM is by the 3-tech.

Both players are fairly interchangeable, though your SAM will align to TE and have more SS help, while the WILL will have to work over the slot more often (but almost surely have help over top in any twins set), perhaps in an "apex" position splitting the EMOL and the flanker. A lot of teams will pull the WILL in nickle situations in favor of a 5th DB or a "Star" type hybrid player, though I wouldn't be surpised to see Michigan move the MIKE to DE and flip the WILL to a B gap LB.

As for Winovich, he can play WILL or MIKE in the over. Bullough played MIKE around his height, but he'll really have to work on his leverage. Really just depends on how his body handles added weight and how adept he is at reading the interior OL a bit more at MIKE vs playing the run/pass at WILL.

rob f

May 13th, 2014 at 7:46 PM ^

right now, with a 6'4" frame I'd think he could grow to 235+ lbs without losing any of the burst/quickness/speed he has.   

A redshirt year in 2014, lots of time on the weights for two seasons thru 2015, and an animal to contend with the following 3 seasons thru 2018.   A lot to look forward to, even if we patiently have to wait a while.

And I type this while watching kids his current size or smaller dominating the action in the BTN Replay of 1973 OSU @ Michigan...


May 13th, 2014 at 8:40 PM ^

if there isn't a good fit on D?

He has great athleticism, good height, good hand-eye and a little bit of shake in the open field. Not quite as tall and certainly not as heavy, but Nuss can probably find a way to get him in favorable passing matchups while Butt fills the every down role.

Good, rangy athletes are a nice addition to any roster - excited for his potential.