2014 Recruiting: Noah Furbush Comment Count

Brian May 21st, 2014 at 12:29 PM

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

Kenton, OH – 6'4", 240

Noah Furbush[1]

Scout 3*, NR overall
#56 OLB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
NR OLB, #42 OH
ESPN 4*, NR overall
#21 OLB, #14 OH
24/7 3*, NR overall
#33 OLB, #18 OH
Other Suitors MSU, Tenn, Neb, NW, Mizzou
YMRMFSPA Brennen Beyer
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Has a twitter.



There's no senior reel per se but a guy seems to have taken video of everything Kenton did last year, so a youtube search for Furbush brings up a ton of tiny clips.

Many, many recruits have their heights and weights overestimated. The only organization that more brazenly overstates such things than high school football  programs is the WWE. But yes sir, I believe that Noah Furbush is a large man. I might even believe he is from Parts Unknown.

Just watch those clips: Furbush is unidentified most of the time, so as you watch the ballcarrier the experience is one of wondering where the hell that defensive end came from. Except when he's playing defensive end. Then he came from defensive end.

Furbush is already an rather enormous linebacker at 6'4"+ and 240-ish pounds, without the benefit of a college S&C program. And there are a lot of evaluations that suggest his 6'4", 240 may even understate things. The phrase "every bit of" tends to get thrown around. Allen Trieu:

This kid is every bit of his listed size. When we saw him in person, his stature really stood out. He’s not just tall, but he’s long and pretty filled out and has big hands.

Tim Sullivan:

The first thing that jumps out about Furbush is his size. … He's every bit of his listed 6-4, 230 pounds, if not a little bigger.

As a result, there is a lot of chatter about Furbush being a future DE or the kind of OLB who is closer to a DE than not—think ND strongside LBs, or Jake Ryan. None of this is coming from Furbush or Michigan, though, who recruited and accepted his commitment with the idea that he would be a middle linebacker, or even a weakside linebacker. I know, man. Weird.

Defensive end is frequently suggested elsewhere.

  • DUANE LONG, 247: "I am looking at Furbush now as a defensive end. He is a long kid with a really good frame. If he really is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, it is just a matter of time before he is 255. Not many kids stay at linebacker at that size."
  • TENNESSEE COACHES: "Furbush, who claims to have been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he’s being recruited by Tennessee to play the Leo position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot in the Vols’ 4-3 base defense." [ed: OSU also uses the Leo; it's just a fancy name for what we've been calling WDE in the 4-3 under.]
  • ALLEN TRIEU, SCOUT: "Michigan is going to try him at middle linebacker, which he hasn’t done a lot of but he could also play SAM or defensive end. He’s a tough, blue-collar type player who goes 100-percent and shows good closing speed. I really like him as a pass rusher and a blitzer. I think he does that much better than he does dropping into space."

Scout's Dave Berk adds his name to the DE chorus, as does Magnus.

There are a few people who think he's got the skills to be an inside linebacker. 247's Clint Brewster is more enthusiastic than the rest of his rating team, stating he's "definitely a four star" in his evaluation and talking about LB skills… albeit OLB ones:

plays with great aggression and intensity. He runs through ball-carriers with a real nasty disposition. Furbush would be a great fit in the 3-4 defense. He can play over the tight end and has the athletic ability to drop and play in space. Furbush has excellent acceleration to the ball and explodes through tackles. He has excellent instincts and plays with a very high football I.Q. He doesn’t over pursue and does his job on each play. Furbush has outstanding pass rush technique and excels coming off the edge, getting after the quarterback. He shows excellent first-step-quickness. It was tough to find improvements Furbush can make because it looks like he is coached really well and also plays with outstanding aggressiveness. He has what you look for at linebacker.

All right, even the LB-positive evaluations tend to make you think he's an LB/DE hybrid.

His coach has even higher praise

“I think as a player he’s going to bring exceptional athleticism,” explained Mauk. “He’s got exceptional explosion, power and is a very physical player. He’s very athletic and has got good speed, good burst and he makes a lot of plays.

“He’s also long and athletic at 6-foot-4, 235-pounds and moves and reacts and changes direction extremely well.

“I think he’s athletic enough to play linebacker,” he said. “But also tough enough and physical enough that if they need to put him down and rush the passer, I think he would be really good at that as well.”

…but coaches being coaches sometimes they judge based on their level of competition instead of projecting kids to college. Elsewhere Mauk is quoted saying Furbush "runs like a defensive back," which seems impossible.

Outside of his coach, most evaluations focus on that explosion and ability to get in the backfield. Long again:

He is an explosive player and comes off the snap like a shot. He shows the top end speed to run down plays on the other side of the field.

Mark Porter of Bucknuts:

you like his explosion and the way he just destroys the ball carriers with his first four or five plays. He really strikes people and strikes them pure. That’s harder to do than you think. He has that innate ability to destroy people when he hits them."

Sullivan's live report:

had a very physical, nasty streak to his play … good burst from the linebacker position, even if his top-end speed is never going to blow anyone away. He was able to get into the backfield and finish plays repeatedly… stayed very disciplined.

Tim liked him as a two-point SAM linebacker best, FWIW.

At Kenton Furbush rotated through SAM, MLB, and DE, because you can do that in high school when you can throw your teammates into the ballcarrier if you get bored. Furbush actually played most of this season with a cast on his hand, which did little to slow him down. When it was time to take the thing off, he removed it himself with hedge clippers.

Michigan identified Furbush early. They were his first offer; MSU, Tennessee, and a dozen or so others had followed by the time Furbush committed in July. Ohio State had him into camp and there were some reports that he had impressed (there was one photo from the camp that communicated just how huge he is that I regret not being able to find again) and was being seriously considered if some of OSU's targets ended up elsewhere, but without the offer Furbush wasn't waiting around.

He's a good fit for the Pattern, of course. Coach again:

“He’s got a great work ethic and is very dedicated and hard working always trying to improve and get better. He’s got great group leadership skills and is a guy who’s got good morals and is a great student as he places a heavy emphasis on his academic work."

Whether or not Furbush can stick on the interior he has a lot of good arrows. He's a lot closer to a finished product physically than a lot of guys and has a violent upfield acceleration that is likely to stick with him. His rankings aren't great but Michigan's eagerness to offer says something. Furbush didn't play defense until he was a junior and blew up physically without ever showing up at a camp to announce his new found big skrong muscles. It's not often you get guys showing up to games and going "whoah" because a guy is bigger than he's supposed to be.

That might prevent him from doing what Michigan thinks he'll do; it's a pretty good sign for his usefulness somewhere or other. And if they're right…

Etc.: Queensbury rules.

"I would consider myself a pugnacious competitor on the football field," he said.

Pattern alert: had a 3.9 GPA. Plans on engineering. My man. All-Ohio Division IV DPOY.

Why Brennen Beyer? Beyer was a high school OLB who has bounced between SAM, WDE, and now even SDE with middling success. Though Furbush is already almost as large as Beyer is as a senior, Beyer was a higher-regarded recruit because his hand technique was already quite advanced. Both guys are 6'4"; Beyer shows the kind of decent ability in space that allows him to be an asset on zone blitzes that I imagine is Furbush's reasonable upside.

If the coaches are right about Furbush at MLB it's either time to break out the kazoos or Johnny Thompson comparisons.

Guru Reliability: Low. Furbush ignored the camp circuit and played at a school that does not have a ton of high-level recruits. He was basically unheard of before Michigan offered. And despite being the only service to give Furbush four stars, ESPN has no scouting report for him.

Variance: High. Positional uncertainty. Very easy to see him getting sucked into the tweener vortex.

Ceiling: High. If 6'4" MLB works out that's pretty nice.

General Excitement Level: Moderate. Boom or bust prospect.

Projection: Your guess is as good as mine. Michigan will try the MLB thing for his freshman year because in the over that's where he fits until he's 260, if he does end up hitting that weight. A redshirt would make sense for a guy who's going to take some time to find a home.

Down the road, if Michigan goes back to the under he ends up at either SAM or WDE unless he is actually Brian Urlacher—unlikely. Once he gets much above 250 he's either going to have to be an athletic freak or move down to the line, and that'll take a couple years max.


True Blue Grit

May 21st, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^

I'd love to see him at MLB.  Having a big, tall guy in the middle who can see over the line better would be a big plus.  If he does end up showing some excellent pass-rushing skills, we have to consider the move to the outside though.  Either way, I'm excited about Furbush down the road.  


May 21st, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

I have to say that I like looking at highlights of a young man who will be part of our football team as compared to someone who might be. He has boom or bust written all over him to be sure, but you love the potential. He can move, appears to read the plays well, and can finish. How sick are we all of watching players who will not wrap up and finish the play? I think Carlos hyde just fell forward again for more yardage!


May 21st, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

When I think of 6'4 LBs, one person comes to mind. And I know he was recruited as a DE but he moved to LB.


Minus the late hit we try not to think about. 


May 21st, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

Drafted in the 3rd round by the Pats in 2008. Played in 6 games and recorded 4 tackles and half a sack and was released by the Pats in 2010. Signed to the Jets' practice squad in 2010. 

In 2011 he was signed to Sacramento Mountain Lions (UFL). In 2012 he was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL). 

Currently a free agent.




May 21st, 2014 at 2:05 PM ^

Why not describe him as Jake Ryan? Especially with JMFR's move to MLB. I understand the Winovich thing, but I just happen to believe the coaches might've found two in one cycle. Winovich = Ryan, 2012-2013. Furbush = Ryan, 2014

Space Coyote

May 21st, 2014 at 2:24 PM ^

LEO is essentially like a WDE, in theory. The reality is that football coaches are really creative and so they use acronyms or abbreviations for a lot of things (MIKE, SAM, WILL). LEO, in this case, stands for "Linebacker End". You'll also here it called things like "ELEPHANT". Creative, I know.

So you have things like:

MIKE = Middle LB

SAM = Strongside LB

WILL = Weakside LB

MACK = Middle LB in a 3-4 (typically the weakside)

LEO/ELEPHANT = End/Linebacker

JACK = Jack of all trades (LB/DE)

Nickle = 5th DB

Star comes from the symbol used to mark the player (*), whereas $ is typically strong safety.

Then you get all the things that are named things just to be named things. "Dog" and "Cat" are SOLB and WOLB in a 3-4, spur (strongside box safety) and bandit (backside box safety) for box safeties, etc.

At the end of the day, it's amazing football coaches haven't run out of names that start with L or R yet though.

It is likely that Michigan may move their MIKE to DE on obvious pass downs. I anticipate them doing this with Ryan, but it's not original. Alabama does it, for one, as did a lot of teams in the 90s. As LBs have tended to get smaller, teams have gone away from it a bit, but if Michigan is looking for a heavy hitter at MIKE to take on lineman, they may like his speed/strength combo coming off the edge on obvious pass downs (where you can stand him up and drop him, stunt him, etc to make use of a lot of different looks with similar personnel).


May 21st, 2014 at 2:47 PM ^

Huge, with a quick first step, and a burst?  That sounds like a DE.  In any case, you can do a lot with a guy having just those attributes.


May 21st, 2014 at 4:37 PM ^

This one is a hard one to guage. He plays in a lower division in OHSAA so the competition wasn't all that great. Too bad he didn't hit the camp circuit. Hope he is a country strong LB.

Painter Smurf

May 21st, 2014 at 5:00 PM ^

The kid is definitely a DE.  Any LB talk is a waste of breath/ink.  Furbush is going to report to camp a legit 6'4" 250 lbs.  There are occasionally effective LB's who get there by the end of college, but they sure as heck don't start there.  Coverage is also becoming a bigger deal for LB's in CFB, so that makes it even less likely.


DE may be the weakest position group on UM's defense this fall, so there is a good chance he plays right away.  Mattison is craving outside pass rushers big time and he does not really have the pieces yet.  Great opportunity for Furbush.  He is a good looking player.  I expect both Furbush and Pallante to eventually out-play their HS rankings.


May 21st, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

Yeah...the other day I saw someone lamenting that Michigan would have two weakside ends on the roster in 2015 (Ojemudia, Marshall), and I wanted to pipe up and add Furbush to the list.

That being said, the coaches apparently told him they wanted him as a MIKE, so I guess we'll go with that. In my opinion, he's a middle linebacker like Cam Gordon was a wide receiver.

Painter Smurf

May 22nd, 2014 at 12:06 AM ^

I guess the coaches telling Furbush he is a MLB is less far fetched than telling Shallman he is a TB.  It will work itself out.  Maybe they start him at LB but start working him in as a nickel DE this season.  Both DE spots could be wide open in 2015, unless Taco has a breakout year.  So they have to develop some kids there soon.


May 22nd, 2014 at 8:19 AM ^

How many thumpers start on our D right now? This is the kinda guy that will have a few impact plays a game. Stuff like that gets your team riled up and frothy. It's hard to put a value to something like that. I can't wait to see him head hunting in the winged helmet! Go Blue!!