2017 Recruiting: Drew Singleton

Submitted by Brian on May 26th, 2017 at 2:36 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste.

       
Paramus, NJ – 6'2" 215
       

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Scout 4*, #93 overall
#5 OLB
Rivals 4*, #52 overall
#4 OLB, #1 NJ
ESPN 4*, #158 overall
#4 ILB, #5 NJ
24/7 4*, #100 overall
#5 OLB, #1 NJ
Other Suitors Clemson, Bama, PSU, OSU, MSU, Tenn, Pitt
YMRMFSPA Jonas Mouton, but coached!
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace. Since Paramus played at the Big House this year we have an FBO for an out-of-region recruit.
Notes Twitter. Paramus Catholic(Rashan Gary, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty).

Film

Junior:

Single game reel from Adam and Dave:

The kind of Michigan fan who tunes into high school football because Michigan might get Rashan Gary—guilty—got an early glimpse of Drew Singleton when Paramus took on IMG in 2015. Gary spent much of the game playing nose tackle against Cesar Ruiz and friends, double- and triple-teamed. Singleton took advantage, flashing into the backfield time and again. He had a more obvious impact than even Gary.

In a game high on star power, few shined brighter in the match-up between IMG Academy and Paramus Catholic than Paramus linebacker Drew Singleton last Friday.  The 2017 standout was a menacing presence, making plays sideline to sideline and in the backfield.  For the numerous college coaches in attendance it was proof the talented youngster has taken his game to another level.

Michigan recruitnik twitter veritably demanded his recruitment.

Unusually, they were right. Michigan offered Singleton and pursued him heavily, kicking off a year-long recruitment that could only have one conclusion thanks to Chris Partridge.

"I have known Drew for six years," Partridge said. "He came to Paramus Catholic when I was a coach there. He came in as a freshman and played varsity as a freshman, starting as a sophomore as an outside linebacker. As I left and came to Michigan, he moved inside and played inside linebacker for two years."

Partridge has been involved with Singleton so long (and Singleton has been a touted prospect so long) that 24/7 has an article wherein Partridge, Paramus head coach, talks about Singleton, rising sophomore.

Drew Singleton is a “no doubt” prospect when his time comes, according to his head coach Chris Partridge. …“He’ll run, cover in man, come off the edge and blitz, be physical,” Partridge said. “Great kid, will run through a wall for you. He’s still a baby and I forget because he has the body type of a senior.”

Singleton's occasional mutter that Clemson led was only believed by the gullible, and Michigan swept him up during their mid-December blitz.

In Singleton Michigan has won a modern sort of inside linebacker, an attacker with sideline-to-sideline range. Three of the four sites actually rank him as an OLB, by which they mean he's a guy at his best running free instead of taking on a lead block. Scout's Scott Kennedy pithily sums Singleton up by saying he's "got the frame of an outside linebacker and the instincts of an inside linebacker." Another frequent theme is his ability to read and react quickly.

ESPN:

Good size… very good range and will make plays sideline-to-sideline. Very quick to read his keys and diagnose run/pass. Shows a good nose for football and takes direct pursuit angles. … Strong tackler showing good pop and explosion on contact. Will strike and run through but also leave his feet too often without great power behind him.  … Athletic enough to match up with backs and TEs. Shows good timing as a blitzer and the quickness and acceleration to get through smaller creases on fly.

Brian Dohn:

…best when playing downhill and filling run gaps. Singleton is physical, and he locates the ball in traffic and he pursues well. He can get to the sideline, and he has quick feet. He finishes plays well and understands how to run a defense. Singleton needs to work on his drop back in pass coverage, but that will come over time.

Partridge:

"Drew is a phenomenal young man. He has a great family, great work ethic and is very, very athletic. He can play inside and outside, and he has great size and can really run. He has worked hard at it and has been student of the game. He is a guy who we are extremely excited about, and he is going to add a lot of athleticism to that linebacker core."

Opposing coach Henry Russell:

"He’s a very athletic linebacker … reads things real well and he’s explosive, so he gets to where he needs to be and makes plays. … he runs sideline to sideline, and we tried to confuse him a little bit with some wrinkles, but they weren’t too effective, to be honest. … the type of kid that it comes naturally to him."

Mike Farrell says he's "long, athletic and can cover a ton of ground"; Rivals's New Jersey site kept him the top prospect in the state despite the injury because "it is tough to find flaws in his game"; Brandon Brown asserted upon his commitment that he is "everything you want to see in a speed outside linebacker" because he is "long limbed, lean, and can really run."

There is some conflict amongst the scouting reports about Singleton's ability in coverage. Scout dinged him for it on his profile but praised him after his 2016 camp season, giving him a slight bump up the rankings because of his ability to cover backs and "speed to run down the field." Meanwhile Singleton did go to the Opening but 7-on-7 is a near useless forum to evaluate linebackers in unless you're a Willie Gay big safety type, what brief mentions of him cropped up were of the "no pads, nevermind" variety.

That's not a major concern but he's not Willie Gay in space. Adam had the most detailed take on his future position:

He played Will almost exclusively, and that’s where I think he fits in college as well. He can take a zone when asked to, but his strong suit is reacting quickly to what’s in front of him and using his athleticism to get to the right spot; this athleticism and football IQ allows him to get away with not having perfect technique. Singleton seems like an especially nice fit in a Don Brown defense, where his aptitude for both diagnosing plays and using his speed to blitz like the wind would be called upon often.

The only complicating factor is that it seems like everyone Michigan brings in at linebacker is more of a WILL than an MLB. You're not seeing a whole lot of guys like McCray in the pipeline.

Unfortunately, Singleton suffered an ACL tear early in his senior year. He should be fully healthy by fall camp, but the injury prevented any further evaluations; his ranking slowly slid as others impressed while he stayed static. For instance, Singleton fell 21 spots in the final 24/7 rankings. He lost a similar number of spots at Scout and Rivals between his commitment and Signing Day. That's reasonable on the part of the sites because it's easier to forecast a guy you have more data on; it also suggests that a fully healthy Singleton woulda coulda been a five star, or something near it.

Singleton should be good to go for fall after rehabbing like a madman. He actually dressed for a few games late in the year, and even though that was more ceremonial than anything it was evidence of his ability to walk and run without problem. This is kind of nuts:

Two months after his surgery, he was able to cut and accelerate in drills. He walks without favoring the leg and he will be ready in plenty of time for training camp.

He was planning to run track this spring; by the time he gets to Ann Arbor the injury should be in the rear-view mirror.

Etc.: Once ate nothing but McDonald's for an entire meal.

Why Jonas Mouton, but coached? Mouton has the same frame (6'2" and topping out around 235-240) and was ranked in the same high-four star range; he was a high school safety who moved down to become a rangy, athletic outside linebacker.

Mouton alternated outstanding plays with terrible ones for the duration of his career, which unfortunately overlapped with that of Greg Robinson and Michigan's constant scheme changes on defense. In a stable environment he had great potential; Michigan was not it. The Chargers thought enough of his ability to make him a second round pick. Two season-ending injuries in three years ended his career before it could get started.

Other comparables include Larry Foote and James Ross.

Guru Reliability: High-minus. Relatively tight spread, heavily scouted, not much projection, injury complicates things.

Variance: Moderate-minus. Lots of high school experience, Partridge intimately familiar with him, does have to add a moderate amount of weight, injury complicates things.

Ceiling: High. Tops out as a 235 pound sideline to sideline MLB, but might not have the wild athleticism that would draw NFL first round interest.

General Excitement Level: High-minus. Even though Singleton seems to have recovered from the ACL injury just fine, Michigan has not had great luck lately with guys who missed their senior year. Otherwise, all systems go.

Projection: Will compete with his classmates to play this year as there will be an open slot in 2018 and nobody currently on the roster looks like a certain heir apparent. One LB will definitely play, one will almost certainly redshirt, and the third could go either way. My guess is that Jordan Anthony, who isn't coming off an injury and played at IMG, will be first and Josh Ross, who's not ranked as highly as the other two, will get a redshirt. They're all very close and nothing will particularly surprise.

Redshirt or not year two will be an opportunity to start, albeit a hotly-contested one. Singleton's 30% or so to win that; if he doesn't then he's likely to slide into the underclassman Gedeon role where he backs one or both guys up, seeing a few hundred snaps a season. Next shot at starting would be for his upperclass years after the departure of Devin Bush.

Comments

S.G. Rice

May 26th, 2017 at 3:13 PM ^

Pretty excited about Singleton's potential.  If his athleticism doesn't suffer from the ACL and some extra muscle he could be a beast.

 

Thank you Brian for posting this today, counting down the hours to 5:00 on the Friday before a holiday weekend is the worst.

Steves_Wolverines

May 26th, 2017 at 3:19 PM ^

I'm completely undecided on who is my favorite LB from this class. All 4 (Ross, Singleton, Anthony, and Mason) either come from a powerhouse school, have an awesome backstory, or have connections to Michigan. 

All 4 are going to be impact players one way or another. It's amazing to think that Ross is the least talked about dude of the 4, and he was the #3 recruit in Michigan for 2017. Can't wait to see these dudes play for the Maize and Blue!

YoOoBoMoLloRoHo

May 26th, 2017 at 4:11 PM ^

the field in a way much like Peppers - the energy and aggressive speed of play are infectious. He also has a great skill set for Brown's defense. I would bet on his starting next year.

I wonder if the coaches are comfortable with more "LB by committee" just like the trend with RBs to minimize the pounding. This is a solid group with such similar profiles. If 4+ guys are almost interchangeable at ILB, then rotate and let the hotter tandem play more in crunch time.

Gentleman Squirrels

May 26th, 2017 at 6:45 PM ^

I don't know if Paramus will continue to churn out top end talent as they've been doing the last few years. This year, they have only Dorian Hardy as a big name recruit coming out of there. And no one in the 2019 class from Paramus is listed on 247. Of course there's a long time to go, but I wonder if some of this effect was from Partridge and his effect on the school.

NJblue2

June 10th, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

The main complaint was that he recruited from other high schools, not just kids before they were entering high school. When Paramus Catholic first started getting better, most of their best players were transfers, (Jabrill being one, after that Rashan). They tried recruiting Minkah Fitzpatrick away before his senior year, and they got plenty of Don Bosco transfers. That was a main complaint, not that he was just getting better players right out of the gate like Drew.

Logan88

May 27th, 2017 at 10:26 AM ^

My biggest takeaway from this post: Brian is still really sad that Willie Gay could not be pulled from the black hole that is Mississippi recruiting.

NJblue2

May 27th, 2017 at 3:04 PM ^

He still should have gone to Prep like his brother (cool guy btw), but choosing Michigan can make up for it a bit. I'm really excited about him, I think he'll do very well here.