|Miesbach, Germany — 6'6", 248|
|24/7||4*, #376 overall
#17 SDE, #1 GER
|Rivals||3*, 5.5 rating
|ESPN||3*, 78 rating
#66 DE, #1 GER
|Composite||3*, #647 overall
#28 SDE, #1 GER
|Other Suitors||GT, ISU|
|YMRMFSPA||Kemoko Turay, but thick|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. GT decommit.|
Camp stuff with a bit of one on ones a couple minutes in:
Like Taylor Upshaw, Julius Welschof is a mighty Dave Kingman swing for the fences that Michigan took once it became clear that last year's class was ending with a thud. Welschof is another large athletic person with scanty football experience who could be anything from an instant washout to an All-American. The twist ending in Welschof's case is that he's a German dude. He invented the frankfurter! [/throws shoe at VW ad on TV]
I digress. As a result of the Germany thing, the first thing anyone ever published about Welschof was an Isaiah Hole article from Michigan's summer camp last year. Welschof was in attendance and intriguing:
Michigan hasn't offered Welschof -- yet. I spoke with some sources close to the program who said that they are very high on him, but that there could be some academic hurdles (since he's coming from Germany) and they just want to see more of him. The sources corroborated what Welschof himself told me: the staff does not want him to commit or sign with any other program while they get serious about his evaluation process.
That didn't quite work out as Welschof understandably jumped on a Georgia Tech offer, but when Michigan came back around it didn't take very long for him to flip. This is probably thanks to Don Brown's connections; Welschof's trainer is Brandon Collier, a former Brown DL at UMass.
The sheer unlikeliness of a giant German guy wandering across the pond to play football caused an outburst of human interest stories about him around about signing day, so his background is well documented. Bruce Feldman had an SI article detailing his modest early hopes—walking on at South Dakota—and subsequent camp tour that changed his profile drastically:
Last summer, Welschof and 14 other international football prospects came with Collier for a tour of several camps that included Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Old Dominion and Wayne State. Each player was responsible to pick up the tab for his own travel and hotel costs. Collier, who says he spent about $8,000 of his own money on the trip, recalls that Welschof was dominant: “I think he only lost one one-on-one battle the whole trip.” ...
“He’s really raw but his upside is tremendous,” said one of the coaches at another program that had him in camp last summer. “This is a really good get for Michigan. He’s a beautiful kid. He’s going to be 6'6", 280 pounds before too long. His athleticism is really legit.”
That school had Welschof measured at 6'6" and 242 pounds, with a 4.87 40, a 10-foot broad jump and an impressive 4.38-second 20-yard shuttle.
[After the JUMP: 6'6" backflip on skis!]
That article also mentions the Champion Mogul Skier bit, which is sliiiightly generous if this video from 2013 is any indication:
Competitive Moguls Skier, maybe. In any case, a 6'6" guy of any weight doing moguls is impressive. That is a long-ass accordion going over bumps. Skiing might be surprisingly relevant for football purposes since it's a whole lot of coiling and uncoiling; despite a lack of experience he should be pretty natural at weird football things. "Stiff" is unlikely to be a descriptor. "Fluid" could be.
That's some future tense right there because right now Welschof is sushi raw, as you'd expect. Touch the Banner:
...huge frame at 6’6″ and 248 lbs., and he still has a lot of room to grow. He hasn’t quite filled out, and maybe ... changes direction very well for a guy who’s 6’6″, especially one who doesn’t know how to consistently play low. The athleticism is there to be a very good player.
Technique-wise, Welschof looks like a JV football player. He stands straight up, he’s slow to read blocks, he’s not violent with his hands when engaging blockers, etc. If you’re a quality FBS recruit in the United States, the vast majority of guys have been coached out of these habits by the time they hit high school. Welschof has a long ways to go.
The technique issues pop off his tape. He does stand straight up on most snaps, and would get his butt kicked if he tried that in college. How much of a problem that is depends on who you talk to. Rivals' Woody Wommack was fairly dismissive:
"He's definitely an impressive athlete but just being very athletic doesn't automatically mean he'll be good at football," Wommack explained. "It looks like he has everything it takes to be good at defensive end but it'll really depend on how he takes to coaching and how fast he can adjust to the speed and size of everyone else."
But 24/7's Barton Simmons was more optimistic after seeing him in person at OSU's camp. 24/7 made him a low four star afterwards:
...raw but freakishly athletic. At that size he clocked a 4.73 40 at Ohio State and has gone as fast as 4.5 back home with fresh legs. He's got great bend and flexibility. He's got a long, powerful frame.
His unique athleticism can be traced back to his first sport of downhill skiing. His ability as a freestyle mogul skier has developed his hip and ankle flexibility, his bend, coordination and body control. His backward flips on skis offers some additional flair.
FWIW, Collier says that Welschof did work on a big time guy while at that camp, albeit one a few years younger than him:
"At Ohio State, they matched him up with the best offensive lineman in the 2019 class, Darnell Wright, and he won 3 out of 5 reps and after that he said he can play at this level. [ed: Wright is indeed the #5 player in 2019] ... Literally the sky is the limit. I know Coach Brown will use this type of athlete in many ways! He is 6'7, but moves like a linebacker."
And Don Brown pushed back forcefully on the idea that Welschof is a "project":
"Be careful with the 'project' statement. ... This guy is – big! And he can run! And has anybody seen his little trickery things he does? I mean, he's an athlete! He'll have the best defensive line coach, in my opinion, in the country to tutor him.
“He's so long, he can run, he's athletic. I just don't know how that's a – you know. I don't know how many stars he's got!”
“He's 6'7”, he's 255 lbs. and he runs a sub-5 (second 40-yard dash) flat," Brown said. "That's a lot of upside. So when he reaches his arm out to sack the quarterback, it's not like me reaching out. It's a grown man. Length is a beautiful thing. ... We think we can get the guy ready and we don't think it's a project. We think we can get him ready at a fairly quick pace.”
In a couple of ways he's probably right. Welschof is already 20 and already 255 despite not participating in even a high-school-level football training program. Collier:
"He has never been around a real weight program," Collier explained. "He is a few years older than the other freshmen but he’s never touched weights with any regularity. He works everyday. He works from about 5 a.m. to about 5 p.m. He might have been working out two or three times a week but not like he’s going to at Michigan. The strength coach at Michigan is going to love him."
By "works" Collier means "works." Like, in a factory. And also a second job to pay for the camp trip to the US last summer. Welschof hasn't been able to dedicate himself full time to football. Now he will. Welschof could be 280 by the time he's 21, and physically ready to go. The technique side of things... we'll see. If he does get tech'd up his physical package should make him a player. Collier:
"If Julius went to the NFL Combine tomorrow he would probably at least be a free agent. He would definitely get picked up by an NFL team to at least get a look. His size, speed and athletic ratios are on an NFL level but he needs to be coached and tuned up more. If you just stuck him in there he’d test as good as a lot of defensive end prospects. He broad jumped 10-5 and just has crazy balance and flexibility. He would surprise some people. I think with Coach Mattison’s guidance and the experience he’ll get at Michigan could turn him into a first-round pick."
This blog thinks he'll succeed, because it chooses to believe that Welschof works out under the same overpass that Pitbull had a real good time at, and sets those workouts to dance-pop.
Had some fun working out today !!! pic.twitter.com/5PSFq1qfaY
— juliuswelschof (@JuliusWelschof) August 22, 2017
These are our beliefs.
Etc.: Welschof made 24/7's system a bit twitchy:
Ger-ger-germany [arm cross pose] 90s hip hop woo. Also when you look for Welschof on Google you get a bunch of articles about the year's crop of international prospects, which led me do this NOTY candidate: Swedish RB Vilinhton Tengroth.
On a trip to the Sunshine State, Welschof was introduced to football at a Jaguars game. But instead of being horrified, which was standard at EverBank Field until the Jaguars’ resurgence this season, Welschof became engrossed in all things football.
Why Kemoko Turay, but thick? Turay is a weakside end who was lighter (253 pounds) at the NFL combine than Welschof is now, but the shape of his career is probably about what Welschof's will look like if he hits but does not hit big. Turay got on the field early because Rutgers, looked extremely out of place for two years, was okay as a junior, pretty good as a senior, and the got picked in the third round because he still has that NFL level upside despite his iffy production. Turay was another shot in the dark kind of guy with just two years of football experience.
The Michigan version of this guy didn't work out well enough for anyone to remember him except Seth and superfans of the 2003 Outback Bowl: Alain Kashama. A filled out Welschof who's running around at 6'6" or 6'7" and nearing 300 pounds could be in the Wormley or Ryan Van Bergen mold.
Guru Reliability: Very low. 24/7 did get an in-person evaluation on him on his summer camp tour. ESPN has nothing and Rivals just watched the highlight film.
Variance: Very high. Doesn't know how to play football yet.
Ceiling: Very high. Could be 6'6" 280 and explosive.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Another roll of the dice on an absurd athlete who doesn't football yet. I'd rather that Michigan went after guys like Welschof when their recruiting had a lull period, because it's likely the classes before and after it would overwhelm any random low-upside three star.
Projection: Redshirt lock, probably another year of development in which we'll hopefully hear rumbles, and then an inflection point in year three. Welschof doesn't have to start then, but he probably needs to be on the two deep and contributing—he'll be 22 by that point.