|Atlanta, GA – 6'2" 180|
|24/7||3*, #517 overall
#44 CB, #44 GA
|Rivals||4*, #103 overall
#14 CB, #11 GA
|ESPN||4*, #137 overall
#11 CB, #21 GA
|Composite||4*, #170 overall
#17 CB, #22 GA
|Other Suitors||USC, Clemson, UF, LSU, ND, Stanford|
|YMRMFSPA||Sure, Richard Sherman, why not|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter (verified!). UA game. Early enrollee.|
One does not waste a nickname like "Spider" when one is a veteran of the blog wars. So let's get right into that:
“My body was formed weird – I had a short torso and long legs and long arms,” Sims said. “At first they nicknamed me ‘legs.’ And after awhile they saw I was a really good at DB sticking to the older receivers. Then it was ‘shoot, he has the webs.’ They said they’re going to call me Spider as it matched up with my body frame.
“Ever since then, it stuck.”
His coaches, friends, reporters, teammates, teachers, and father call him Spider, sometimes. All except his mother; she won't go there.
This is a serious nickname, the kind of nickname that probably would have graced Keith Jackson's phraseology back in the day. The prospect of chyron deploying it is high, and since it conjures up the vision of an all-limbs daddy longlegs cornerback webbing his foes it promises to be one of Michigan's most significant nicknames in recent history.
Also he has Resting Ojemudia face.
Unlike Ojemudia, there are various pictures of Sims smiling on the internet. But still!
For the nickname to count, really count, Sims will have to break through; fortunately for him—and us—that seems relatively likely. Sims enters as the prize catch in Michigan's five-DB group, a heavily pursued Georgia star with offers from virtually the whole South save Alabama and the bonus no-red-flags contingent of Duke, Notre Dame and Stanford. Much of the stuff in his scouting is the same things we've seen in the four previous posts…
…6-foot-3 defensive back prospect with a very long wing span and playmaking ability featuring sure hands. An interesting prospect because he possesses the length, foot quickness, loose hips and size that college coaches covet to play cornerback without elite speed, he could be more suited to play safety long term with his combination of length, range and ability to close on the ball quickly from hash mark to boundary.
Sims is a long and rangy defensive back with the ability to play cornerback or free safety on the next level. With Sims, what stands out immediately is his frame and length. He covers a lot of ground and he can get his hands on a lot of footballs in coverage. He is still thin, so he needs to add mass and strength, but that should come in time. In coverage, he is best when playing off coverage. He can still improve his quickness in short space. He has great body control, he can make plays on the ball and he is a very smart defensive back in coverage. His tackling is solid.
…and so forth…
He has the speed and the length, you can't throw over him and it's hard to get behind him too. He has good ball skills. He can run a go route, get a jump ball in the red zone. That's easy for him.
…and this is also you know a thing…
"Obviously he’s a long kid and he brings a lot of size to the cornerback position, which allows him to play aggressively, and that makes it hard for guys to get the ball over his head," Reid said. "He’s a very heady player to go along with his ability. He’s very smart and has an extremely high football IQ. He’s just an asset to have on any football team."
…and so on. Sims comes with fewer questions due to his health, camp attendance, rankings, offer list, and level of competition. In addition to being at a school that regularly sends prospects to P5 schools, Sims got to the finals of the Opening, was selected to the UA game, and even hit up one of the Rivals-only camps they run. (He was invited to their version of the Opening but apparently did not attend.)
[After THE JUMP: long ranginess]
But first a word about camps as they apply to cornerbacks. CB is a spot where you can tell a fair amount, but the one-on-one freelance nature of the setting…
…favors guys like Lavert Hill and Jourdan Lewis, who live in your hip pocket because of their extreme agility. Sims is a different kind of corner who will rely on the structure of the defense to funnel opponents into his wheelhouse. So reports from those camps are a little lukewarm. Sims would often get a late mention as a guy who Did Some Things Or Was Large:
…took a little while to get started but once he got locked in he was tough for wide receivers to beat as he used his trademark length to bat balls away.
...had an interception and a pass break-up. He seemed to be in the right place a lot.
…the quickest defensive back at the event and he has a huge wingspan.
…can be awkward at times, but his length and ability to change direction at his size as well as his potential as a huge corner or ball-hawking safety makes him special.
Quarterbacks had a hard time throwing around Sims because of his great length. He covered so much ground and didn’t jump double moves.
…ran hot and cold a week earlier at The Opening Atlanta Regional, but Sunday he was locked in. Aggressive and physical in coverage, he also utilized his great length to break up passes.
So he didn't become the ALPHA DOG of any particular thing. Sims certainly has the potential to get in the general vicinity of Michigan's recent flypaper types once he gets under Mike Zordich's tutelage: per Brandon Brown, Sims ran a 4.00 shuttle at the Opening, placing him third amongst CBs nationally. The only two guys to beat him were mighty-mite types. Add that to an 80-inch wingspan—at 5 or 6 inches more than his already-excellent height that's a huge asset—and the physical package is all there except for a shiny 40 time.
The Benjamin St Juste comparisons are probably good ones. Sam Webb on Sims's mobility:
“He is 6-foot-3, 179 pounds and really fluid,” Webb said. “You wonder if kids as long as him are coordinated, if they have loose hips. The answer for Sims is yes, all of the above. He showed ability to break on the ball exceptionally well. Has really good football speed, a really good jump-ball guy. He wants to be a corner and looks like he could play it at the college level. If that doesn't work out he could be an outstanding safety.”
Then-Scout's take after the UA game is fairly detailed but unfortunately came after Sims spent the week at safety, which is not his future:
…maximizes his great length in both man and zone coverage and appears to have a great feel for breaking on the ball from sideline to sideline. He got his hands on the football plenty during the week, especially in 11-on-11 sessions. …
“As a one-on-one defender, Sims did a good job maintaining his leverage. It seemed to be a big key for him to the point he even overcompensated to maintain it at times, something that slowed his reaction time as receivers broke down his cushion. Sims still doesn't look as comfortable with the cushion relationship as he does at safety, but his savvy regarding the route tree and playing the angles allowed Sims to make a consistent impact no mater where he lined up. It will be interesting to see how much he fills out considering he has plenty of room to expand his frame.”
Offering opposing WRs a cushion is an infrequent occurrence in Michigan's defense—to say the least—and Sims will have time to address that for the situations in which it does come up. This is largely over the slot. ESPN… oh, FFS. ESPN only has an underclass evaluation for a player who was in the All Star game they televise. Here are portions:
Very tall with great length and range. … Flashes the ball skills and leaping ability to win most jump-ball passes. Understands the game and puts himself into sound position. … Not overly explosive and lacks elite top-end speed.
They evaluate him as a safety. He is not safety.
The main negatives cited in these reports are a lack of bulk—most places listed him at 173 pounds—and a similar lack of flat out speed. The bulk stuff is barely worth mentioning but folks looking to pad out columns and offer up "areas for improvement" that are so trivial neither prospect nor partisan could take offense do so on the regular. That goes double for a cornerback who's almost 6'3". Will Sims be college sized? Yes.
The speed is more likely to be an issue, but it seems like a relatively minor one; Sims will be able to turn and run just fine.
Like everyone else in the class there are many reports that mention a potential future at safety. At Michigan, Sims is a corner. So sayeth the Don Brown himself:
"Myles is a definite corner."
He's started proving himself at that spot after enrolling early, drawing some whiz-bang comments from Brown in a presser:
“Uh, Myles Sims? Had a big play today. Not out of place. I’m talking about you watch him make a break on the ball and I kind of went Damn, he’s big [holds hands level with the top of his head]. He’s got a ways to go but really happy with the mindset, the demeanor, the confidence level. He’s not afraid, and here he is in our deal lining up close to people and we’re expecting him to perform, which is a big deal. So, really happy with him. Tremendously happy.”
That was in response to a question about his two early enrollees and thus not unprompted, but in contrast to work-in-progress DE Taylor Upshaw…
You asking me about Joe Milton?
Oh, Taylor. Um, good, young, fast, athletic, and willing. We need to get him a couple cheeseburgers and some baked beans and some pizza and he’ll be just fine.
…Sims is a lot closer to the top of Brown's mind. Close enough to get on the field this year? Ehhhh, he needs some beans too. For his part, Mike Zordich:
“For as long as he is, just like Ben [St Juste], he moves really well,” Zordich said of Sims. “He bends really well. It's going to be interesting to see him in our press technique and him getting after it. I'm excited for that one for sure."
Sims should be excellent as a press corner who dares you to hit a fade over a 6'3" CB with long-ass arms; the real question is whether he has enough change of direction to line up over a slot and deploy those arms against the Dreaded Slot Fade that was the Achilles heel of last year's defense.
Why Richard Sherman? Sims brings the combination of pure size and smarts that Sherman had. Sherman is the prototypical giant NFL outside corner and that's obviously optimistic for anyone; here's your first reminder that YMRMFSPA is a style comparison, not a guarantee Player X is going to be a HOFer.
Sherman was of course a middling recruit who spent a couple years at WR before one of the most successful position switches in history; his somewhat questionable speed saw him drafted in the fifth round.
Guru Reliability: High-minus. Big spread, with 247 flinging him down into the three star masses while the other two sites are positive. Otherwise should be the kind of recruit that's locked in: healthy, little projection, camps, at a position that carries a huge premium on athleticism.
Variance: Low-plus. Needs to add a little weight but nothing else that ups the wildcard factor.
Ceiling: Very High. 6'3" guy with a 4-flat shuttle and crazy NBA arms.
General Excitement Level: High-plus. Worst case scenario here seems to be a really good press man corner who sets up with inside leverage and provides tiny fade windows. Best case is a two-way guy who can handle nickel duties and is fluid enough to overcome whatever 40 time issues he has. The shuttle and wingspan are really enticing.
Projection: Sims enrolled early and probably won't be 173 pounds by fall. Faced with the potential loss of both starting corners to the NFL draft, Michigan will pull redshirts off the most promising CB prospect or two from this class. Sims is likely to be that guy.
After an apprenticeship year, Sims will either be looking at a forbidding depth chart featuring Ambry Thomas and one or both of David Long and Lavert Hill… or a very clear path to a starting role as long as he can fend off his classmates and Benjamin St Juste. In the exodus scenario he's a slight favorite to win that job. In any other scenario—yes please—he'll have a shot at the nickel spot. For Sims that's a nickel-in-name-only job where he comes in as an outside corner as Thomas slides inside.
In year three only St Juste will be above this class in terms of experience and Sims is likely to be a starter.