Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain,
DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE Deron Irving-Bey, DT Donovan Jeter, DT Phil Paea, DT James Hudson, DT Aubrey Solomon, C Cesar Ruiz, OT JaRaymond Hall, OT Joel Honigford, OT Andrew Stueber.
|Aledo, TX – 6'6", 325|
|Scout||4*, #139 overall
|Rivals||4*, #175 overall
#16 OT, #23 TX
|ESPN||4*, #137 overall
#13 OT, #23 TX
|24/7||4*, #99 overall
#14 OT, #14 TX
|Other Suitors||OU, Neb, Texas, TCU, UO, A&M, Bama, USC|
|YMRMFSPA||Jon Runyan (by default)|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
The rest of the tackles in this class are all long, lean guys who need to get up to face mashin' weight. Chuck Filiaga is emphatically not that. Chuck Filiaga is a house on legs. An angry house:
- Brandon Brown, Rivals: "…a mountain of a young man and has one of the strongest initial punches of any linemen in the class. He's not quite as bouncy and light on his feet as some offensive tackles in the class but if he gets his hands on a defender it's all over. … will have to improve as a pass blocker."
- Gabe Brooks, Scout: "…great strength and close-quarters power as a drive-blocker. … high motor and finishe[s] blocks with tenacity. … can improve his body control and balance."
- Nick Kreuger, Rivals: "…one of the more dominant offensive linemen in the state … carries next to no bad weight and is as athletic as he is large, making it a near-impossible task to simply get around him. …versatile enough to plug in at either tackle or guard."
- Greg Powers, Scout: "plays with a chip on his shoulder and has the size and dominant nature to enforce his will … massive right now … still has a very high upside frame . He is going to be an absolute beast in a year or two from now." Also: "punishing blocker who plays through the whistle with a noticeable mean streak. "
- Steve Wiltfong, 24/7: "pancake machine … powerful player … good feet and a finisher’s mentality. … brings the toughness Harbaugh and his staff covet … I could also see Filiaga being a road-grader on the interior"
- Tim Drevno, Michigan OL coach: "a tall tackle with long arms and good size, he has great measurables, great turnover speed and is very, very physical."
- Jon Runyan Jr, Michigan OL: "Chuck – huge dude."
This is a different kind of Michigan OT. This is a throwback to the days when men wore hats in the shower and passing games were so primitive they did not have a distinct nucleus. I struggled to come up with a relevant comparable in the last 20 years and eventually gave up. This is a man who hates donkeys, and has a very specific disease where everyone in a helmet looks like a donkey.
Longer evaluations emphasize Filiaga's near-ideal physical characteristics. 24/7 called him one of the most physically impressive guys at the Army game, specifically noting his enormous 11-inch hands, the largest at the event, and how he "looks lean" at 326 pounds. Superlative-averse ESPN starts off with some words they don't often employ:
…outstanding combination of height and bulk on a big frame. … physical tools to protect the edge. … good arm length and flashes ability to deliver a strong punch … possesses the lateral agility to mirror rushers, but needs to work on set and keep feet moving. … needs to improve technique to better utilize athleticism. … can smother and overwhelm defenders … needs to improve hand placement as well as pad level as can tend to lunge or get tall and narrow and fall off blocks. … Can work to second level and be effective for size, but needs to sharpen angles. … doesn't always seem to have his foot completely pressed down on the gas pedal … very nice upside and many deficiencies are coachable things
Scout is in the same boat:
…a massive, physical offensive lineman… exceptional 6-foot-6, 335-pound frame and wears his weight well. He's a powerful run-blocker who can maul opponents in the ground game. Filiaga will take defenders to the ground if he can. He blocks through the whistle and with a mean streak. He can improve his foot quickness and technical aspects of pass pro, but his height and length give him a high ceiling as a pass-blocker.
As was 24/7's Chris Hummer:
Long kid with a thick lower body, well proportioned frame with good knee bend and flexibility. Athletic specimen … good athleticism, size, quickness and agility for a big kid. Good bounce with good feet and mobility. Shows good hand placement, can lock out defenders, steer and control. Plays with excellent leverage and leg drive … ability to punish defensive tackles when he is asked to secure a down block. Excellent athlete with good upside.
In addition to being an absurdly huge person, Filiaga has the proverbial Mean Streak. (At least, so says everyone other than ESPN.) Lots of those evaluations above reference his ability to finish plays. Scout:
"… will simply punish his opponent. While his size sticks out for obvious reason, his "motor" or "drive" is by far best feature. He will knock you out and then look for some more. On multiple plays on Saturday, Filiaga took care of his first opponent then traveled down field to hit someone else. His willingness to work and instincts to make solid contact should help him see the field early on his college career."
Sometimes I think sites put too much emphasis onto this kind of stuff for OL—I'd rather have a guy like Cole who isn't a punishing blocker than a guy like Kalis who misses a bunch of assignments—but it's better to have people praising someone for it than not.
The potential doesn't quite match the ranking and that's because Filiaga has a ways to go. He was a 275-pound defensive end early in his high school career and then he blew up even further, so his junior year was his first in which he focused on the OL. Early takes on him are heavy on caveats related to that move: "extremely raw … length and size are both elite"; "extremely raw … athleticism and movement skills are there" and so forth and so on. Chris Hummer evaluating Filiaga's junior season pass protection:
"doesn't have a true kick slide, most of the time he just mirrors his opponent at the line of scrimmage. Does not play with great technique."
There are a number of evaluations that mention his potential at guard, which is 1) understandable because dude is enormous and 2) kind of seem like nice ways to worry about his pass protection.
While those worries were largely submerged by Filiaga's dominant high school season—thus the reports above—they re-emerged the Army game. As you might expect from the scouting reports above, he had some struggles in pass protection:
"…can look like the most dominant player on the field any given week at the high school level. As a run-blocker, if he gets his hands on a defender, that’s typically the end of the play for him. … struggled mightily against top-flight competition - particularly while pass-blocking - and in many cases had issues just staying on his feet. He’s still a great offensive line prospect, but last week showcased some weaknesses.”
Lorenz noted that Filiaga got flipped to right tackle and his footwork was rough as a result. His take on Filiaga's performance ("mostly dominant but did lose a couple … one looked bad in particular") was less harsh than the above, as well. Even so, expectations were dialed back almost across the board. Lorenz did admit that after watching him in person that Filiaga "has a bit of development ahead of him" and might not be the instant-impact prospect that Michigan fans—and coaches—are hoping for.
These concerns were still relatively minor in the grand, 335-pound scheme of things. Filiaga slid only slightly after the Army game, going from 98th to 113th on the composite. The physical package here is too rare for a little thing like not being able to block edge rushers right now to matter much.
Etc.: Tim Drevno loves reggae?
“Coach Drevno is a mellow chill dude,” Filiaga said. “He loves reggae and he loves his Poly dudes, so that’s kind of a plus for me.”
Why Jon Runyan Sr? More or less by default. Michigan hasn't had a successful planet-sized OL in a while. Chris Bryant got hurt; Quinton Washington moved to defense. Michigan had six straight classes where they were looking for Molk/Cole types and just about all of Hoke's OL bombed out. Runyan is the archetypical Michigan right tackle steamroller and will remain so until someone else claims the crown.
So… I guess Mike Onwenu is all have for other comparables, because Mike Onwenu is also made of superdense neutrons. If Filiaga ends up moving inside he projects as the kind of pummeling road grader we hope Onwenu is. Taylor Lewan minus elite pass pro is also another option. Lewan is the only OT in the last decade who was a punishing run blocker. (Cole is also a great OT run blocker but in a different way.)
Guru Reliability: High. Tight band and almost total consensus in the scouting reports. Heavily scouted Texas kid who went to the Army game.
Variance: Moderate-minus. OL. No questions about size; questions about technique and whether he'll be able to make his frame count. Attitude right.
Ceiling: Vast. Filiaga has the highest upside in the class outside of the five star gentlemen.
General Excitement Level: High. Pass pro concerns are real but the backup plan where Filiaga becomes a 330-pound athletic guard is almost as good as Filiaga sticking at tackle and becoming Runyan 2.
Projection: Given the Army scouting it seems likely that Filiaga needs a year of refinement before anyone's willing to put him on the field on a passing down. Basically everyone in this class is going to get a shot at the starting RT job; this preview's guess is that Filiaga ends up third in the pecking order behind some combo of Runyan and Stueber and redshirts.
Broken record time: major opportunity for a redshirt freshman in this class to claim a starting job next year. If it's Filiaga it'll be at right tackle, not left, with (presumably) Stueber or Honigford on the other side. Anyone who doesn't find themselves in the starting lineup in 2018 will have a two year wait, knock on wood, before guys start graduating.
Filiaga has a second path as an OG. If Michigan feels comfortable flipping Ben Bredeson out to tackle an interior line of Filiaga, Ruiz, and Onwenu would be something to behold. From a distance.