Future Blue Derivatives: Kareem Walker & Michael Dwumfour Comment Count

Ace July 15th, 2016 at 12:46 PM

While we still have some time left to kill before football, there's some leftover football sitting right there on the YouTubes, and some of that leftover football features future Michigan players. With more high school games being uploaded in full these days, we're going to be doing more single-game film breakdowns here, starting today with last year's game between DePaul Catholic, featuring 2016 signees Kareem Walker and Michael Dwumfour, and Bergen Catholic.

DePaul fell 15-13 in a tightly contested game, and they may have pulled out the win if Walker hadn't sat out most of the first quarter for undisclosed reasons. He managed to break the 100-yard barrier anyway. Here are all of his carries from the game edited into one video:

As we learned during his late-cycle rankings plunge, Walker isn't a no-doubt prospect like Leonard Fournette—the eye-popping runs are largely absent from his highlight tape. Seeing him work over the course of a full game, however, improved my perception of Walker. His vision was very good, and he does subtle things that will become more apparent on the next level; I love the way he patiently set up his blocks like he did at the 0:55 mark.

Walker's acceleration is solid when he picks his spot to go. While he runs upright in the open field, he does a good job of getting behind his pads to get through tackles at the point of attack, and he uses his off-arm well to shed arm-tackles from defensive backs. When it gets down to it, he finds a way to get upfield. He's not the most explosive back, nor is he the most powerful—he could definitely add some muscle in his lower half—but I like his potential to be a productive college back; the instincts that Michigan's backs have often lacked of late are present in Walker.

As for Dwumfour, he mostly played right defensive tackle, and he's relatively easy to pick out in these clips—he's the only DePaul D-lineman wearing white gloves and white cleats/spats. Before posting this video, a caveat: this is every snap I could get a clear view from Dwumfour (all but 6-8 snaps he was out there, best I could tell), so don't look at this the same way you'd look at a highlight reel—a highlight reel would contain maybe three or four of these plays.

Let's start here: this was a rough game. Dwumfour has a bad habit of bolting upright after the snap, and in this game his opponents capitalized by stonewalling him again and again—there are a couple plays on which he literally gets turned around 180 degrees after the snap (and one more that didn't make the video because ESPN cut to the play too late). On a down-to-down basis, he wasn't very good—he didn't have the strength or motor to overcome his obvious lack of technique.

Of course, Michigan isn't recruiting Dwumfour to be the player he was in high school, and you can see flashes of why they took him that aren't "is best friends with Rashan Gary." Dwumfour has a quick first step and a couple of moves that can get him into the backfield in a hurry. When he does fire out low, he moves people, but he doesn't appear to have much technique that would allow him to disengage—something that can be corrected.

It's not surprising to me that Dwumfour was a generic three-star. He's a big body with athleticism, but there's a lot of work to do to get him to the point where he can contribute at the Power 5 level. Michigan shouldn't need him to be an instant-impact guy, and that's for the best; I'm not sure he'll be ready to play more than scattered snaps for a couple years.



July 15th, 2016 at 1:05 PM ^

to this untrained eye, didn't look like Walker was getting much help from the o-line, he had defenders in the back field on so many plays

seems he does a pretty good job at picking out what holes are there though


July 15th, 2016 at 2:21 PM ^

Yeah, that was my sense as well.  I mean, super-elite backs make that not matter too much, but still it seemed like Bergen was able to get into the backfield semi-consistently.  

That said, I thought both looked fine.  Walker should be in the rotation this year, or at least will get an early-season look.  Dwumfour is a project and I assume won't be heard of until his redshirt junior year, at best.

SC Wolverine

July 15th, 2016 at 1:08 PM ^

I'm actually pretty excited by what I see of him.  I've been watching high school running back film on this website for quite awhile, including Derrick Green's and those awesome Deveon high school clips.  Walker shows a sense of vision and a burst that stands out.  Yes, he is not Fournette.  But if he was still going to tOSU I would be pretty bummed by what I saw on this video.  If Drevno can induct the O-Line into the tao of ass-kicking, this guy can get through the hole and gain some yards.


July 15th, 2016 at 2:51 PM ^

I might be one of the few people who want to see it but I think we need to see a closer look at the UFR against OSU.  More specifically on the offensive side.  The defense falling apart gets most of the blame for that loss but Harbaugh didn't exactly coach up a storm on the offensive of the ball either.  We put up three points in the second half and those 3 points came after the game was over.  I think its important to see what happened there.


July 15th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

Ruddock left the game early in the third with an injury.  That's what happened there...

In the first half, the offense played a decent game, and it was very much a game at the half.  But I remember telling my brother that the defense needed to do something to stop the running up the middle.  That didn't happen.  But when Ruddock left, the offense couldn't get started.  Give OSU credit for getting all aggresive against a backup QB to put the game out of reach.


July 15th, 2016 at 1:49 PM ^

That video of Dwumfour and Gary working out together with the trainer was like: Dwumfour is good at football because he's such a big dude and Gary is an elite athlete in spite of being 300 pounds. One is good because he's big, the other is great in spite of being big. 


July 15th, 2016 at 1:51 PM ^

He has quick choppy feet and kind of a short stride while still having good speed and burst. Especially when there is space, he can exploit those talents with quick and subtle cuts that don't cost velocity.  Hard to teach that.  He can always get bigger an stronger (and I agree his legs look sorta thin).  With his good vision and hopefully a mauling Drevno line, I can see him as a high YPC back, even if he's not a home run hitter or a short yardage back.  Potentially really good pairing with Davis.


July 15th, 2016 at 1:53 PM ^

I agree with Ace in that he has a little bulking up to do in the legs. But other than that I think everything is there to be a very good back at Michigan. I think we'll see flashes of that this season. If just depends on how many carries he gets. 

Also, he is one of the oldest looking college freshman I have ever seen. 


July 15th, 2016 at 2:40 PM ^

I think Michael Dwumfour is going to improve a lot with proper coaching. I noticed that he often vacated his lane trying to get penetration. I think he'll get coached up and eventually tap into his potential, but I agree that he's a long way away from contributing. 

Blue Sharpie

July 15th, 2016 at 2:53 PM ^

With kareem and kingston enrolling early, RB situation looks really good this year. With the 3 commits for 2017 class, the future looks bright, especially getting coached up by coach Wheatley. Curious to see who gets carries first, kingston or kareem? My money is on kareem, as early as the first game against Hawaii.

Leaders and Best 21

July 15th, 2016 at 2:53 PM ^

Walker is no Fournette or Gurley, but consistently churned out yards in the spring game. He was our best back that day. Isaac had 1 good run, but was shut out and Smith didn't play. I see Walker being our #2-3 back this year.

As for Dwumfour, let's not sugarcoat it. He was given a scholarship to aid Harbaugh in landing Rashan Gary. With that being said, I definitely would have done that as well if I was Harbaugh. However, I imagine Dwumfour getting the firm handshake after his RS JR year. Plus Gary will no longer be at Michigan by that point.


July 15th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

on the run and seemed to have no less than 8 - usually 9 - committed to the l.o.s. on every play we saw there. Because it only showed - thank you - the plays when he was running, we don't know if Paramus attempted to loosen Bergen's D up through the air. 

What we do know is at this level, especially with Drevno and Harbaugh, is that the plilosophy(Harbaugh) and the execution(Drevno) wil elminate these type of fronts. Our qb and receiver play, and dont' forget the TE - often dual - threat is going to give Kareem a lot more freedom to use his vision and cutting ability when he sees and/or senses the hole that will normally occur with patience. Even in an overload on the DL, counters, traps, combos of both are good retaliatory measures.

As for his skill set, I was impressed and see why OSU and UM were both interested. He's got a nice burst and definitely is able to get places quickly when he makes his decision, which was among the most impressive aspects of his game. So many young runners have difficulty learning to be patient, trusting that a hole will appear. He seems to have this down already. 

He needs to get stronger and he will. I don't know if he'll be able to make the tranformation to the degree his position coach did, but that won't be totally necessary. Think he will make a fine MI RB and has enough solid runners in front of him that immediate pressure is not a concern. 

The big guy is exactly as reported. Hopefully we get two years of contribtuion from him. And while all the young blood is getting the love for teaching, Mattison remains among the best in this respect. 

Enjoyed the presentation in this manner. Good call. 


July 15th, 2016 at 4:13 PM ^

and he does need a lot of work. Has no technique and doesn't use his hands very well. I like the size and you can tell he's athletic, but he's going to need a lot of work before he's ready to play Power 5 football.

Definite RS for him next year and doubt he sees the field his second year. Would assume he makes the rotation as a RS Sophomore,, if he's willing to put in the work. We have great coaches and could make a heck of a player out of him, just needs to put in the work.


July 15th, 2016 at 7:12 PM ^

we took Dwumfour because he's best friends with Gary. No wink-wink about it. He may develop into a solid player but he's not even the prospect Hurst or Henry were as 3* types. We took him because of Gary and him panning out would be icing.