2018 Recruiting: Sammy Faustin Comment Count

Brian May 24th, 2018 at 12:52 PM

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
#62 CB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
#35 WDE
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#50 CB, #102 FL 
Composite 3*, #593, #54 CB
Other Suitors UVA, ISU, MD, Purdue, Nebraska
YMRMFSPA Jeremy Clark
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter.



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.



May 25th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

as an unpleasant reminder of what's coming.  But maybe that "feature" has been abandoned?  After all, it lasts about 6 months -- sure seems that way -- and they haven't started yet, so they've probably run out of time and decided to skip it this year.  Right?  RIGHT??!?!?


May 24th, 2018 at 2:43 PM ^

Thanks for the excellent write up.  I take away something slightly different: no one in the press knows for sure how he will perform at the college level because he didn't stand out at the H.S. level.  Can he?  Apparently Brown thinks he has a chance, and, as you note, he's found his share of winning football players in prospects that the press think are meh.  Welcome Mr. Faustin!  May all your dreams come true


May 24th, 2018 at 4:41 PM ^

I don't understand the Jeremy Clark comp. Height? Check. Weight? Check. But Clark was a 4.4 and high school and was a sub 4.5 at 6'4" 220 pounds before his senior year. Clark was explosive in Kentucky returning INT and punt for TDs. 

I said then and I still believe now that Clark was a much better player than Channing as Clark could tackle. Strib was picked up and run at all day once team found out he was as light as a feather. 

There was a reason Clark was drafted because he was an NFL athlete. Something that Strib was not. 


May 24th, 2018 at 8:40 PM ^

I'm not really sure where this comment is going.

What does Clark have to do with Stribling? Nobody mentioned Stribling anywhere throughout this post except for you. Also, Clark was drafted despite having a torn ACL for most of his senior year, while Stribling was healthy and can't make his way onto an active roster. I think the world sees that Clark was a superior player.

As for Clark being explosive in high school, the key word there is "Kentucky." Kentucky isn't Florida. In one fairly recent survey, Florida had 193 players in the NFL (#1 among the 50 states) and Kentucky had 13 (#30).


May 25th, 2018 at 7:51 AM ^

Let's get this out of the way: Don Brown is the best college DC in the country.

That said, he's not perfect, and one flaw I've noted at times is that when he gets burned, he tends to overcompensate to the point of detriment.  I don't know how many Jeremy Clark clones we'll get out of this mission to recruit every 6'2" 3-star CB in the country, but chances that it'll be all of them are pretty low, and they all take up roster spots until they transfer.

The slot fade isn't the easiest play to get yards with, and if some plays seem to work more than others against Don Brown it's often because he's shut down everything else.  I would've expected him to do something about it, and this isn't an individual knock on Faustin, but grabbing so many DBs because of slot fades strikes me as using C-4 to take care of a molehill.  Maybe he's got other plans (in fact I'm sure of it) but did we really need this many DBs?


May 25th, 2018 at 8:31 AM ^

Considering that Hill and Long could easilly go pro this year, and it's Kinnel's last season, there is clearly a need for DBs to refill to roster in 2019.  Plus, they have done plenty of 3-3-5 and nickel where they need 5 DBs on the field at once.


May 25th, 2018 at 10:43 AM ^

As far as the DB's question goes, two points:

1.  I don't think this was solely about slot fades, the coaching staff has always liked tall DB's, so over-reacting to one very speculative data point doesn't seem quite right.

2.  DB wasn't exactly a position of striking depth last year.  An injury to either Kinnel or Metellus would have been a big problem and cornerback really only went four deep at a position that often plays three guys on the field at the same time.  I know everyone wanted O-Line and D-Line last recruiting cycle, but just because you think a position isn't a need, doesn't mean it isn't one.  


May 25th, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

"That said, he's not perfect, and one flaw I've noted at times is that when he gets burned, he tends to overcompensate to the point of detriment."

I think before going any further, this statement needs to be explained. What do you mean by overcompensating to the point of detriment? What overcompensation by Don Brown has taken place that has been detrimental? Are you saying that by taking so many defensive backs, our defense will be worse in 2018 or 2019 and beyond? What evidence is there?


May 25th, 2018 at 7:09 PM ^

Sorry, can't find the cite, but I think it was the Colorado gameplan where Don Brown went on record postgame as saying he got burned because he overcompensated for getting burned by the run the prior week.  Extenuating circumstances, he was still in the process of implementing his defense.

It's NOT a big flaw, mind you, but I've noticed other things he's done (can't remember off the top of my head), and I think he's comfortable admitting as much.  I wouldn't trade him for any other DC, but I think it's a little disconcerting that I get a reaction simply for stating that a man isn't perfect.  You can do a LOT worse; gosh, I wish my biggest flaw was "sometimes I take a step back from being literally the best in the country at what I do beause I overreact a bit" at MY job.


May 25th, 2018 at 9:03 PM ^

You're surprised you got a reaction? It's a message board. 

I didn't say you were wrong. I asked for an explanation. I find it a little disconcerting that you find it disconcerting that you got a reaction for making a statement that you were asked to justify.