Previously: Last year's profiles.
Note: Rivals appears to have broken their player profiles; the "News" tab didn't have anything under it for Metellus. I'm using Google but not much is coming up. These profiles might be light on their opinions as a result.
|Hollywood, FL – 6'0", 187|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#22 S, #51 FL
|24/7||3*, #1245 overall
#82 S, #161 FL
|Other Suitors||Colorado, FIU, FAU|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||HS teammate of classmates Devin Bush Jr and Devin Gil. Twitter.|
Georgia Southern commit Josh Metellus was just a name with a placeholder picture on most of the recruiting sites when he suddenly became a part of Michigan's class last June. The Hello post resulting from Metellus's flip is probably the shortest in the genre's history. Metellus had no scouting, stats, or 40 time. Ace posted his Hudl film and took a shot in the dark:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He will probably play safety?
At the time Metellus was joining a half-dozen other summer camp commits; fast forward nine months and he is one of the few left standing despite his low profile.
And it is a low profile, with one notable exception. Metellus is excellent evidence that the two-star ranking is more or less gone from Power 5 recruiting classes. When he committed he was an anonymous two-star or unranked. By signing day he was an anonymous three-star everywhere… except ESPN, which only got around to ranking him after his commit and liked what they saw enough to issue a fourth star. Aside from that I didn't find anything justifying the addition of a star from any site, or even any indication that his ranking changed. Metellus got a prototype "courtesy bump."
ESPN's system has its vagaries, as we'll discuss soon when we get to Khaleke Hudson, but at least they put some scouting next to every kid. Since their report is more or less it, let's see what they liked:
Below average safety measurables. Looks more like a hybrid type SS/nickel CB. Plenty of room to fill out. … Not always the most disciplined player when it comes to technique and position. … Plays everywhere in this scheme. At his best near the box in coverage. Good range defender who closes quickly and covers a lot of ground fast. … Quick to get over trash and utilizes his hands to shed. Big-time hitter who looks to initiate contact and get downhill quickly on run support. … Closes fast with explosive burst that leads to big hits. … Metellus is a physical ball-hawk who can run and hit with top tier safeties in this class. Unrefined at times in man coverage.
This sounds a bit like Hudson and a lot like the kind of safety that Don Brown used a lot of at BC, with the notable exception of the man coverage skills that enabled so much of what his outstanding 2015 defense did. Metellus has the physical ability to hack it there, and he reports that is indeed the plan:
“[Brown] sees me as a cover guy, a matchup guy. I’ll be matching up a lot with the slot receivers.”
Brown himself reiterated that take on Signing Day:
Josh is young but really smart. In my experiences talking football with him, he’s really sharp. He’s physical and is a safety with cover skills, which is important in our system.
Michigan is moving to a system where the safeties are going to be in a lot of man coverage, and at first blush Metellus is a good fit for that. "Below average safety measurables" is another way to say "kind of a corner," and those are the kind of guys Brown coached up at BC. Soon-to-be-former defensive backs coach Greg Jackson also offered his take:
Josh is a guy that is an aggressive tackler but at the same time he is a great cover safety. In this day and age, you need to have a safety that has the ability to cover as well as being a good tackler in space. One of the other things that caught my eye was his competitiveness.
No doubt that latter is what got Harbaugh's attention, and before that Devin Bush's.
Outside of ESPN, team-specific sites under the national umbrella did their best to fill in the blanks. At Rivals, Mike Spath talked to Sun Sentinel preps writer Ryan S Clark for a take on Metellus, one influenced by a recent Michigan hire:
"When I asked [Flanagan coach] Devin Bush Sr. about Josh he said, 'I tried telling you guys but no one wanted to listen. He did so well under the lights, and I don't know what these other schools are looking at, but take a look at his film, and you put his film against other guys, all I can say is really? How does this kid go unnoticed?'"
He'd express similar sentiments to Scout's Josh Newkirk, saying that he wasn't much different than the dudes at the Opening:
Metellus can make a lot of the same plays. He can run. He can open his hips and turn. He can change direction. He can make plays on the ball. He can come through the alley and make contact. He makes plays in the open field. He’s a very physical, versatile, and highly intelligent player.”
That is something approximating a consensus. Metellus is a guy with coverage upside who can hit; he's not a crazy athlete a la Dymonte Thomas; he's a smart, physical guy. This is all good, and the reason he is at Michigan. Keep in mind here that this version of Michigan is not averse to sending a four-star guy who ended up at Oklahoma packing; if Michigan didn't believe in the guy they would have put him on a boat to Kazakhstan.
But the recruiting rankings are what they are, usually for a reason. Around here we take rankings seriously in aggregate. They're not fate and this series exists because I think it's useful to look beyond the number of stars; all evidence suggests that they are predictive. So it must be said that there is no reason that the various recruiting sites wouldn't have taken notice of Metellus over the course of his senior season. He was committed to Michigan, playing on the eventual state champs of the largest classification in Florida. A lot of guys use those platforms to hurdle forward, as Brandon Peters did. Metellus's ranking remained static outside of Bristol.
Other than the ESPN evaluation every take above is from a Michigan coach or a guy who was about to be a Michigan coach. Those are not neutral, and so we're back here, looking at some very meh rankings with one notable exception and trying to split the difference. Touch The Banner does so:
The first thing that jumps out about Metellus is that he brings everything he has when he comes up to tackle. He's a solid tackler and can patrol the middle. He wraps up well and runs his feet through contact. I also think he does a good job in run fits and can wade through the trash, changing direction well in small spaces to dodge blockers and find the ball carrier. Metellus tracks the ball well in the air, and it looks like he does a good job of keeping things in front of him.
What Metellus isn't is a guy who leaps off the screen for any particular reason. He is a solid but unspectacular football player. He lacks great size and will need to get in the weight room so he doesn't get overpowered. He lacks great speed and is not a dynamic runner if he gets the ball in his hands.
He's probably not the 161st-best player in Florida this year, as 247 ranks him. But the film and the fact that no one bothered to hype a multi-year starter on a powerhouse suggest that Metellus is not a crazy sleeper who will make everyone regret their words and eat their hats and self-immolate at their wrongness. A decent starter is probably the ceiling.
Why Brandent Englemon? Englemon was slightly under six-foot, topped out around 200 pounds, was of absolutely no note to recruiting services, and had a solid career as a multi-year starter at Michigan because he was smart and healthy. He was not a guy who won you games; he was not a guy who lost you games. Steady and unremarkable is always underrated.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. There's no reason to think that his guy isn't heavily scouted and the "meh" evaluations are on point, but the ESPN outlier does give pause. ESPN is the kind of service that doesn't GAF about anything other than your tape. Meanwhile nobody else actually put scouting of him on the internet.
Variance: Low. Metellus isn't likely to be a superhero and isn't likely to bomb out.
Ceiling: Moderate. Likely tops out at good college safety who doesn't interest the NFL.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. I do like the fact that both Brown and Jackson talked about how he was a good fit as a cover safety. That kind of specific chatter feels accurate to me, and he's a guy who can be a unremarked-upon player on a very good defense.
Projection: It's all on the table for safeties this year. Metellus probably won't and probably shouldn't redshirt since the depth chart at the spot next year reads…
- Tyree Kinnell
…because Hoke's redshirt approach was dumb as dirt. He's not going to play meaningful snaps on D; he should get ST time and some garbage time snaps and if we're lucky he'll be an obvious choice to start next year because Michigan needs one or two of those at S. More likely is that he and his friends at safety are a major question mark headed into 2017.