Before this series kicks off again, a word about the state of the Recruiting Industry: it's less good than it was. A few years ago there were four distinct sites, each of which put a sizeable effort into scouting and justifying their rankings. They had their idiosyncrasies but for all but the most obscure prospects there was a fairly broad pool of scouting to draw from.
In 2018, Scout is obliterated, ESPN's recruiting efforts are mostly aimed at the class of prospect who might have a televised announcement, Rivals doesn't go to Opening regionals, and 24/7… uh… has so many articles that it gets annoying trying to scroll through them for still-relevant information? The Wolverine does do a solid job of getting a few scouting takes when a guy commits, at least.
The industry's consolidation means that some guys are not going to have very diverse takes. C'est la vie.
Previously: Last year's profiles.
|Naples, FL – 6'2" 190|
|24/7||3*, #887 overall
|Rivals|| 3*, NR overall
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#50 CB, #102 FL
|Composite||3*, #593, #54 CB|
|Other Suitors||UVA, ISU, MD, Purdue, Nebraska|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
Sammy Faustin is one of a fleet of near-identical defensive backs in this class. Despite losing nobody from the secondary, Michigan jammed five different guys who range from 6'2" to 6'2" and from 190 to 190—give or take a smidge—in an all-out effort to stop getting slot fades on their face.
Faustin goes first because he's most definitely a safety. Don Brown:
Sammy has played corner but I've told him that he will move in and be a safety. We like the ability that he has. He likes to stick you. He likes to knock people on the ground. That, coupled with his length, and giving him the option and ability to cover the slots was a big piece.
As I said: Don Brown's recruting strategy was "aaaaargh slot fades."
Faustin was fairly low-profile when he committed—his best other offers were Nebraska and uh… Maryland? Ole Miss?—and didn't have much chance to overturn existing opinions due to an ankle injury and a hurricane that wiped out almost a month of the season; when Rivals scouted him it was in a driving rainstorm that made cornerbacks irrelevant.
That might be one reason why ESPN doesn't even have a full evaluation. Faustin got an abbreviated underclass eval that was never followed up—an unprecedented oversight for the site that got Josh Metellus more correct than everyone else because they gave him a real in-depth scout after his commitment. At least that evaluation mentions him as a CB/S combo who projects to free safety:
FS prospect with ball skills and versatility. Leverages routes effectively and is consistent to make plays. Will need to develop short area burst, balance and base in his pedal and his strength to realize his upside.
What scouting did get done is mostly in line with his rankings, and pretty consistent in describing a big CB/S hybrid who doesn't have eye-popping athleticism. Touch The Banner:
…fluid flipping his hips out of his backpedal … anticipation skills are above average, and he makes some hustle plays. His best asset is probably his physicality, whether it’s in coverage or tackling. … doesn’t have great makeup speed. He doesn’t seem to be a difference-maker from an athletic perspective at the next level … reminds me of Jeremy Clark, a guy who’s going to be physical and consistent as a player, but who probably won’t make many flashy plays.
Corey Bender of 24/7:
…prototypical size … versatile defender who does a great job of reading and reacting from his cornerback position. … turns heads with the ability to burst out of his back pedal by pushing off his back foot, flashing impressive acceleration in the process. … sound tackler in space who strikes with good pad level. He is not the most explosive kid and can work on his flexibility, but does not have much of a problem flipping his hips and readjusting. … Defensive backs of Faustin's size can often have trouble recovering, but this is a kid who plays with discipline and rarely falls for double-moves.
Brandon Brown of Rivals got the short stick with the above-mentioned weather conditions and didn't get much to scout but even in high school Faustin was a hybrid:
…all of 6-2 or 6-3 … long, lean and can really run … showed some position versatility by playing safety and nickel along with lining up as a true boundary corner throughout the game.
When Rivals caught up with a rival coach he said the nice things loud and said the "not a great athlete" bits quietly, but they're in there:
“The things that stood out most on film about Faustin were his size and lengthiness. It used to be all about speed at cornerback, but a lot of people like taller ones nowadays. With NFL caliber kids, you want to have more size and that’s what he has — he’s got good range for a corner. … has the body structure to be somebody they’d want to develop over four years … I could see him starting by his junior and senior years."
His own coach provided a fairly detailed vision of what he'll do at Michigan:
“I’ve known Don for a long time and we do a lot of what they do,” Kramer said. “We’d move him to safety, but the nice thing is, he’s got the length to play either position. He can press to the outside to the wide side of the field, he can play Cover 2 on all the fast-twitch type guys on the rubs, option routes, he can do both and he’s a big enough body to hit a gap in the run-fit, so I think that’s the deal for him is he’s got Cover 0 skills with the body and physicality to play in the box.”
These are fairly eh reports, and when The Wolverine asked Rivals national guys about various folks in the class Faustin was lumped in with the other two Floridians as guys with "have every physical tool in the world that just, for whatever reason, aren’t there yet." He is "long and fast" but didn't have a great senior year, etc.
The main thing arguing in favor of a bust-out is Don Brown, who zeroed in on Faustin pretty early. Brown's track record when grabbing who-dat randos is pretty good, as Kwity Paye and literally every person he ever recruited before coming to Michigan indicate. The shape of Faustin's recruitment indicates he's not much of a backup plan. Also Steve Lorenz reported that Brown is "in love with Faustin's game" even if he's not an immediate impact guy, and that he could play either CB or S. "Decisiveness" is his one-word asset.
Even so, without enrolling early or getting much of a senior year a redshirt is likely coming. Faustin was more or less told he would redshirt:
"They said that it's not going to be easy due to the fact that I'm coming in during the summer," Faustin said. "They said that I'll have to go through this program for school and stuff and then I'll have to learn all the football material too — but I'm ready for it."
But then everybody should redshirt because Michigan has a full two deep of returners in the secondary.
FWIW, the requisite coach quotes are requisitely positive:
"I don't say this, you've never heard me say this, but he's the guy that can play on Sundays," Kramer said. "I expect to see a guy that erases a part of the field. We hope that wherever we put him, he's the eraser, and if he does that, then the other 10 guys can go chase the ball, and it makes things a lot easier for us," Kramer said.
Kramer knows Faustin's best traits go far beyond the football field.
"When you see the length and the ability to run, we knew there was something special, plus his attitude. He's the sweetest guy. He's a true competitor, but he is a gentleman off the field. God gave him a whole bunch of tools in his tool kit, and I'm proud of him for maximizing it."
He does come off as an understated yes sir no sir sort of person in an interview with a local TV station.
Etc.: Faustin lived in Turks and Caicos until he was 11, so if you see someone on campus who looks like they're going to up and die next winter throw him some handwarmers or something.
Why Jeremy Clark? Both are large CB/S hybrids with modest recruiting profiles and big big wingspans. Clark's best other offer was NC State even after he hit every camp he could; he was initially pegged as a safety but successfully moved to corner, in part because he kept busting coverages at S.
All other DBs in this class also want to be compared to Jeremy Clark.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Scanty scouting, not much follow-up as a senior due to Factors, but from a heavily scouted Florida school and what scouting is out there more or less agrees.
Variance: Moderate. Seems like a high-floor low-ceiling sort who is already most of the way there physically and lacks an electrifying top gear.
Ceiling: Moderate. Big long CB/S sort who probably tops out at Clark, who did get drafted even after losing most of his senior year to injury.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. This certainly seems like a very moderate person.
Projection: Redshirt is almost guaranteed with the entire safety two-deep back and Faustin's abbreviated senior season. In 2019 there will be one safety spot open; Faustin will vie with one or two of his classmates, J'Marick Woods, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Brad Hawkins. Chances are he doesn't win that job, but he'll get another crack the next year after Metellus departs. Anyone's guess how those battles turn out, but if Faustin doesn't win there he could try the CB –> S conversion Clark did.