2017 Recruiting: Jordan Anthony Comment Count

Brian June 8th, 2017 at 2:46 PM

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

Silver Springs, MD – 6'0" 235

Jordan Anthony 5

Scout 4*, #153 overall
#8 OLB
Rivals 5*, #26 overall
#1 ILB, #6 FL
ESPN 4*, #124 overall
#9 ATH, #24 FL
24/7 4*, #210 overall
#8 OLB, #27 FL
Other Suitors OU, MD, PSU, Auburn, Clemson, UGA, LSU, OSU
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Transferred to IMG, thus the FL state rankings.



Jordan Anthony is the most athletic of Michigan's incoming linebackers, and one of the most intriguing. His physical attributes are evident, and they're paired with tantalizing linebacker skills. The scouting reports here are highly encouraging on their own, but Anthony's relative lack of experience makes them even more so. I can say this despite Anthony's presence at IMG because he spent his junior year at running back before flipping to defense in 2016. Then he had a weird signing day:

BRADENTON, Fla. — Jordan Anthony sat at a table with three of his female IMG Academy classmates.

It was February 1, but there was no signing day drama for him. Anthony was decked out in Michigan gear and ready to sign his National Letter of Intent two months after he made the announcement that he was going to Ann Arbor in 2017. He was one of 21 IMG Academy football players who earned a college scholarship, yet he sat at the table as the odd man out.


Anthony wasn’t an early enrollee. All of his IMG teammates were already a month into their respective college careers. But Anthony wasn’t held back because of academics or eligibility issues.

He was just a kid who wanted to keep playing baseball.

Anthony was the only two-sport athlete on IMG's team a year ago, and that's time not devoted entirely to his college craft. The junior year spent on offense further limited actual scouting—he performed on offense at many of the camps he went to. As a result there's a relative paucity of information on a consensus four star who Rivals went bonkers over late in the year.

Mike Farrell's explanation of that move:

Elsewhere Farrell asserted that Anthony could be a "blitzing linebacker who can cover like a safety" and was a candidate for "the Jabrill Peppers role" on Michgian's defense. Well then. Rob Cassidy explained in text form as well:

“Anthony is the most active member of an IMG defense that might just be the nation’s best. He moves incredibly well laterally …. as disruptive a linebacker as there is in the class and seems to be in the backfield on most snaps."

That is an impressive evaluation indeed when Anthony spent his time at IMG next to Dylan Moses, an early candidate for the #1 player in the class.

Other sites were more circumspect in their rankings but hit on the same themes. Anthony is a mobile open-field tackler and athletic blitzer:

  • Brian Dohn, Scout: "…what stands above all else is his ability to tackle in space. If it 1-on-1 with a running back, he is winning it. He changes direction well, has the ability to find the ball carrier in traffic, and he gets off blocks well.  … very good instincts and should be a tremendous weakside linebacker in college."
  • Steve Wiltfong, 247: "a true hybrid backer … can play inside or outside in the Big Ten, certainly lining up in the box or even covering from the nickel spot in space. … 4.7 laser-timed speed … The trait that stands out the most is the physicality and quickness Anthony plays with. He’s a sideline to sideline player."
  • Kevin Wright, IMG:  “very, very good athlete … a lot of versatility. …. [You get a lot of guys] physical enough to play in the box yet when you get spread out can’t play outside the box. I think he has the potential to do both of those things.”
  • Chad Simmons, Scout: "… decisive, he plants and goes  … sideline to sideline linebacker who can play some in space.  He has a nice burst to the ball carrier and he has shown great instincts and anticipation … smart player who takes good angles to the ball with toughness and speed.  There is not one phase of his game that may blow you away, but he is strong is so many areas."
  • Don Brown:"…tremendous position flexibility … extremely sudden and will explode at the point of contact. He is a guy who can play against spread offenses and can play in space. He is a high-motor athlete and chases the ball with great passion. In a word, he is relentless."  
  • Chris Partridge: "…phenomenal athlete … very fast and explosive … makes plays all over the field and can play both inside and outside. …will add versatility to the linebacker core."

ESPN's eval is one of their most obvious fire-and-forget moments, mentioning his sophomore season as a linebacker and his junior year at tailback; it was clearly issued before his senior year and never revisited, which is especially irritating in this circumstance. Even so their take on Anthony the linebacker is resoundingly positive:

…very good raw strength. Runs well, but has better short-area burst and quickness than long speed. We like his skill set inside the hashes as opposed to sideline-to-sideline range  …great power on contact and the ability to dish out punishment. Good wrap-up tackler who is capable of being a hard striker and knocking ball carriers back. Does not let up leaky yardage. … Displays a good nose for the ball. … Quick to fill downhill and blow up the inside run play. Beats blockers to the point of attack with inside-out angles.

Their only real critique is that he "may not be elite in terms of speed and suddenness." ESPN tends to bring that up for everyone short of Donovan Peoples-Jones because they seem to judge on an NFL plane; other services think he's real good. 24/7 called him an "explosive linebacker that moved at a different speed from his peers" when he attended an Opening regional; Scout came away from the same event saying that he was "fluid in space and really matched up well with the running backs"; there's a bunch of talk about burst and explosion and sideline to sideline above. Possible that he developed in that regard from his sophomore to his senior year and ESPN missed it.

FWIW, Steve Lorenz has been talking up the LB class about since they signed; in his latest re-iteration he notes that Anthony was very high on Michigan's board from the drop and rose even further after a strong senior year.

Anthony's combination of athleticism, skill, and untapped upside is enticing, and the things he's best at are the things Don Brown prizes most highly.     

Etc.: Had EPIC OSKEE-level commit announce date announcement. Parse that!

Why Darron Lee? There aren't many spacebackers in Michigan's recent history, what with the 3-3-5 and 4-3 under and being terrible against spread offenses. MSU's Denicos Allen and OSU's Darron Lee are good recent comparables. Here are Lee's NFL draft positives:

Quick to diagnose and flow to the ball. Has unusual ability to find the most efficient routes to the ball. Has athleticism and flexibility to contort his body and succeed through difficult tackle angles. Plays with loose hips, quick feet and desired agility of an NFL weak-side linebacker. Former high school quarterback with the change of direction and speed to be a rangy playmaker. Comfortable in space and excels there. Has plus man cover talent. Willing to stand in and take on blockers with a leveraged strike if his gap is being threatened. Capable gap blitzer with ability to get skinny through the holes.

That's pretty close. Lee was more of a "big safety" per NFL.com and Anthony is more of a pure linebacker.

If you're looking for a Michigan comparable, Anthony is a LB/RB hybrid with the ability to play inside and the athleticism to cope in space and at this point it's all but impossible to dodge an Ian Gold comparison. Frame is exactly the same, too. Gold was a very long time ago now and memories of him are no doubt fuzzy for most.

Guru Reliability: High-minus. Consistent scouting, but it's a little light in quantity. Position switch after junior year limited LB film during the critical phase of his rankings. Spread is pretty big for a universally praised croot.

Variance: Low-plus. The RB year is the only blip on his resume. He's had two of his last three years at LB, appears college-sized or close enough already, and has a clean bill of health.

Ceiling: High. Depending on who you talk to, lacks an A+ size/speed combo but that's about it when it comes to negatives. Potential first-round spacebacker type.

General Excitement Level: High. Anthony seems certain to be a contributor and has the look of a potential star.

Projection: Most likely of the incoming LBs to play because he's not coming off an injury and should be ahead of the game after two years at IMG. Still, all are relatively close and it would not shock to see him pick up a redshirt if someone else emerges. Prospects for significant playing time in year one are dim.

Year two sees the MLB spot open up; Anthony will put his name in for it. Projecting who comes out of a wild six-or-seven-way melee for that spot is a futile undertaking; if it's not Anthony, Michigan will probably size him up for SAM and WILL down the road, with SAM looking more likely—he's got fewer competitors out there.


Whole Milk

June 8th, 2017 at 3:07 PM ^

I am more excited for him than any of our other linebacker recruits, and for me, that is saying something based on the talent of ross and singleton. He was so underrated IMO by the services (aside from Rivals) , I look forward to seeing what he can do, and I expect him to play early.


June 9th, 2017 at 12:43 AM ^

This is what I've been looking for since the Jones, Gold combo. And, it appears, we've been stocking up on these types based on Bush's spring game and the addition of Hudson, Singleton, etc. We're getting there and doing so rather quickly, imo. Experience is the FACTOR but these young men are receiving some of the best coaching cfb has to offer. I'm excited. 


June 8th, 2017 at 3:20 PM ^

He really does look college-sized already in his senior film.  I have to imagine the S&C the players get at IMG is significantly better than your typical high school program.


June 8th, 2017 at 3:37 PM ^

absolutely...they have great S&C program...theyre also molding and training elite prospects from around the country, many of whom happen to already be naturally jacked as 17 year olds or whatever


June 8th, 2017 at 3:37 PM ^

We have so much talent coming in that I see listings like this and I think, "oh, yeah, him too." And I look at his ratings, and I think, "Oh, wow, right, him too!"

2017 is a rebuilding season, with 2018 being a target for a great year--but there is so much young talent here that, if Harbaugh can draw the recruits the next two years, we are set for years of elite competiton. 2019 and 2020 look great already.

Tyrone Biggums

June 8th, 2017 at 6:27 PM ^

I know most of us aren't used to the concept but I defintely think this is a reload as oppossed to rebuild season. In fact, this will be our first opportunity to see a "real" Harbaugh team at Michigan. Although we are really young we have top notch talent at all the skill positions. Speight, the RB positon, all the WR's, TE are all poised for at least one 1st team all big ten selection at each position. I won't bother listing all the names because we are straight loaded, albeit 12+ games starter unproven. I think the RB, WR roatations will be an upgrade from last year.

The defensive composition is probably more athletic/fast than we've ever had. Gary, Hurst, Mone, Winovich, McCray, Bush, Matellus! These guys are all seasoned and capable of producing at an elite level if they stay healthy. Depth will depend on a bunch of young guys but we have a *5 star DT and a bunch of *4 DL that all were recruited by Harbaugh and ready to contribute. Slight downgrade in experience and production but overall upgrade in speed and athleticism in the front 7.

So it all comes back to our achilles heel for the past decade, the OL. We'll see, but I'm confident in the coaches and the talent they have on the team. This is year 3. The addition of Frey will produce better results. The corners worry me a little but I'm sure the meritocracy appointed starters will round in to form by mid season.

Don't sleep on the addition of Pep Hamilton either. We have arguably the best coaching staff in college football! We have the players, we have the coaches, we have the stadium/fans/etc, isn't that the difference?

12-1 Big Ten Champions + CFP birth! Raback it!

...and yes, Jordan Anthony is going to be a beast. Viper, weak side, can't wait to see how he contributes.



June 8th, 2017 at 10:05 PM ^

I disagree, I'd say this is still the rebuild phase. Rome wasn't built in a day. Harbaugh technically has three recruiting classes to his credit, but the 2015 class wasn't a true Harbaugh class given its timing, at least not in the sense that 2016/17 are Harbaugh's guys.. so he's really just had one full class see a season and the second class is still incoming (or already enrolled). While the roster is mostly all Harbaugh guys they're still all very young.  I'll hold off on the reloading talk for now because of that.. 

For me, 'reloading' is when the roster turns over and the guys stepping in have been here for 2-3 years, not 0-1. Regardless, there's a lot of reason for optimism but I don't think this is the year for playoff talk, or even Big Ten title talk. The extreme lack of experience and lack of depth will likely cause them to lose 2-3 games. That and the OL is a huge question mark.

However, 2018 is the year they once again become perennial Big Ten title and playoff contenders. 


June 9th, 2017 at 10:04 AM ^

I buy that reloading is more appropriately defined as replacing guys who started last year with 2-3 years of experience with guys this year who have 2-3 years of experience.  That said, we're rebuilding with a lot of talented guys.  Anthony Thomas was rated 5 stars by rivals and he's an "oy yeah, we got him too" type of guy.  While not a reload per se,  the cupboard is far from bare.


June 8th, 2017 at 10:18 PM ^

I think if we can beat UF, split the PSU/UW games, then we will beat OSU to clinch the B10 East. What UM is going through is a transition from the rebuilding to the reloading. Great teams don't have drop offs, they pick up where the other left off. This team in my opinion, is more talented than last year's and far more than 2015. Less experienced, but far more talented. While I agree that 2018, 2019, and 2020 will be even better for us, this team is definitely talented enough to win a national championship this year. Will they? not necessarily, but when you've got 4 and 5 star guys at every position, a returning QB, and your biggest rival at home, the sky's the limit. 


June 8th, 2017 at 3:42 PM ^

In the 2016 D. When inside LBs were matched up on good RBs (Scott, Barkley, Cook) in coverage, bad things happened. Anthony looks like he'll have the chops to hold his own in these cases


June 9th, 2017 at 10:59 AM ^

Here are some other candidates for best LB class:

1996: Ian Gold, Dhani Jones, Grady Brooks

1998: Victor Hobson, Larry Foote, Evan Coleman

2001: Pierre Woods, Lawrence Reid, Scott McClintock

2003: Prescott Burgess, Shawn Crable (Lamarr Woodley was also in this class but I consider him a DE)

2012: Joe Bolden, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone

2013: Mike McCray, Ben Gedeon


We'll have to see how the 2017 guys stack up, but if all three live up to their hype then it would be the best in the past three decades (unless you want to count Woodley as a LB for 2003, in which case the 2017 group would need to have truly spectacular careers to match them--but seriously, Woodley was a defensive end).



June 8th, 2017 at 4:12 PM ^

If he's another Ian Gold, that would be great.  I remember Gold as a linebacker with good speed and a nose for the football.  He was good at finding a path to the ball and to the QB.  He was a good tackler, too.

So much talent coming in at LB and we sure need it.  Need athletic LBs to battle Urbz offense.


June 8th, 2017 at 4:19 PM ^

It's most probably of no consequence to anyone who may be reading his profile, but, just FYI, the name of his hometown is Silver Spring (without a trailing 's'), Maryland.


June 8th, 2017 at 7:08 PM ^

Why do you consider Jordan Anthony as a MIKE or WILL? Describing him as a spacebacker with excellent open field tackling skills seems to be a Viper to me. Is there something I'm missing here?


June 8th, 2017 at 8:01 PM ^

seems they want more of a safety type LB in that viper role (which i love given modern Os) rather than an athletic LB with some mobility.  peppers, hudson, metellus, etc fall within the 200-215 lbs range and have the versatility to play in the box, handle man coverage in many situations and zone drops, pressure the QB, etc.

anthony is an athletic LB with legit potential...hes versatile in that he can likely play inside / outside and hold his own in coverage and as blitzer but hes not that safety type hybrid.  hes already like 220-230 lbs and they may not trust him chasing crossing routes, playing a deep third, carrying receivers up seam, etc...though i could def be wrong.

peppers was special and prob represents browns ideal viper so that position will evolve...not sure anthony can handle enough of those tasks to match the potential impact of hudson or metellus or even viper prospect shayne simon (and forget about matching peppers though few will).  but hes a nice LB prospect (at mike, will or more traditional sam)


June 9th, 2017 at 7:42 AM ^

At the 2:00 mark of the HUDL video, is a fine looking Back Judge.  My crew does most of the IMG games and I am the Back Judge.

Fun times, cool story Bro...it is fun doing the IMG games.