Future Blue Originals: Cass Tech vs. Detroit Renaissance Comment Count

Ace September 11th, 2012 at 12:56 PM

David Dawson receives his Under Armour All-American jersey in a halftime ceremony

Last weekend, the definitely-not-a-van made its way to Cass Tech for their matchup against Detroit Renaissance. For the second straight week, the Technicians came away with a blowout victory, jumping out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter en route to a 44-0 final. With the win, Cass Tech starts their title defense with a 3-0 record, including a season-opening triumph over defending Division II state champion Brother Rice.

Video Highlights

Soundtrack: "Detroit Twice" — El Michels Affair

Player Evaluations

2013 CB/WR Jourdan Lewis (Michigan commit): Lewis focused largely on wide receiver in this game, rotating in on defense after the first couple possessions. He showed his shiftiness on offense, taking a tunnel screen 15 yards for a touchdown, then making a Braylon-esque leaping grab on a fade for the subsequent two-point conversion. Lewis recorded another receiving touchdown in the second half and also made an impact on special teams, breaking into the second level on a punt return.

Defensively, Lewis more than held his own in coverage and was not targeted by Renaissance, who chose to take their chances with Damon Webb and DaQuan Pace. This wasn't a great showcase for Lewis as a cornerback prospect; he continued to show that he's a viable candidate for either side of the ball at the next level, however, and he should also contribute as a return man. Lewis did record a late interception to preserve the shutout.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the scouting report plus photos from Dawson's jersey ceremony.]

2013 OL David Dawson (Michigan commit): Dawson was stellar at left tackle, as usual, paving the way for a big day on the ground and keeping QB Jayru Campbell upright in pass protection. As you can see in the highlights above, Cass Tech actually pulled Dawson on several run plays—linebackers had little hope of shedding his blocks and often found themselves being escorted several yards downfield. Dawson's reputation of playing to—and through—the whistle is well-earned.

There were a couple instances when Dawson pulled and did not find anyone to block, and he did whiff entirely on an attempted cut block, but otherwise this was another very strong performance. He excels as a run-blocker and is a consistently solid pass-blocker on the edge, even though he projects as a guard at the next level.

At halftime, Dawson received his Under Armour All-American jersey, flanked by his family, head coach Thomas Wilcher, and eventually the entire Cass Tech squad. Photos from the ceremony are at the bottom of this post.

2014 CB/WR Damon Webb (Michigan offer): In 2010, Cass Tech then-junior Terry Richardson broke out as a potential All-American while playing across from Michigan-bound corner Delonte Hollowell. Last year, it was Jourdan Lewis's turn to star across from a future Wolverine, and he often appeared to be the better prospect. This year, that role goes to Webb, and he's potentially the best of the bunch.

Renaissance tested Webb early and often but could not complete anything downfield against him. The first target, a quick hitch, only gained a few yards as Webb closed hard and made a solid tackle. Further attempts to beat Webb over the top were easily broken up as he stayed step-for-step with his man. I had Webb down for three pass breakups in the first half alone. His man coverage was excellent, and he also made an impact in run support, coming up to record a couple of tackles. Webb is more developed physically than either Richardson or Lewis at this stage in their careers (or, to be honest, right now), and that shows when he comes up to lay a hit.

On offense, Webb recorded two catches for 39 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown on a perfectly-thrown fly route from Jayru Campbell. He now has four touchdowns this season on five catches—Cass Tech mostly sends him over the top, and he takes the lid off of the defense. While I think Webb is a better cornerback prospect than wide receiver prospect—due to both his height and more more refined technique on defense—his athleticism and ball skills make him a BCS prospect on either side of the ball.

2014 RB/LB Gary Hosey (Michigan target): Hosey didn't get a ton of chances to run the football, but when he did he made them count, carrying the ball six times for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a screen pass for 17 yards. Michigan is recruiting Hosey as a big running back, and for good reason—he's a straight downhill runner who picks a gap and attacks. He showed good vision at the line, cutting back against the grain decisively on his touchdown run. It usually takes more than one defender to bring him down. Hosey won't wow you with his acceleration or top-end speed, though while he doesn't often juke he's capable of making a man miss in space.

Hosey also stood out on defense, forcing an interception when he broke into the backfield unblocked on a blitz. He hits hard and makes quick decisions off the snap. Tackling form can be an issue as he sometimes forgets to wrap up, but for the most part he plays with controlled aggression.

2014 LB William White (Michigan target): After a great performance in the season opener, I was less impressed with White upon a second viewing. While he's an intriguing prospect as a big, athletic linebacker who can really lay on a hit, his technique needs a lot of work. While Hosey plays more controlled, White takes some poor angles and overran the play entirely in a couple of instances. He also tries to lay big hits by throwing his shoulder into the ballcarrier instead of wrapping up, and he whiffed on the running back entirely on at least one play that I noticed.

If White can work out his tackling form and display better instincts, he could be a Big Ten-caliber linebacker prospect—when he does connect flush, he really makes you "hear football," to use a Hoke-ism. First, however, he needs to show more discipline with his play.

2015 QB Jayru Campbell: Campbell finished 11-of-14 for 180 yards and four touchdowns and an interception in a fantastic performance that showed how far he's come since being thrown into the fray as a freshman last year. His arm strength has improved, and while there were a couple of poor throws—including an underthrown deep ball to Lewis that was picked off—his accuracy has also come a long way.

Campbell hit the camp circuit this summer and it shows in his play; he stays calm in the pocket and really steps into his throws, and he has a quicker, more overhand delivery than he did last year. He's got nice touch on his deep ball and does a decent job of changing speeds, though he did turf a couple intermediate throws when he tried to put some zing on the ball. For a sophomore, he's very advanced in his development, and I'd expect him to earn a Michigan offer sooner or later.

2015 DE/DT Joshua Alabi: I didn't get much of a chance to focus on Alabi during the game, but on tape he's very impressive for a sophomore. Operating as a defensive tackle, he was able to get good push and did a solid job of shedding blocks, including the play in the highlights above. Alabi is a big sophomore, and he's a player to keep an eye on down the road.

Photo Gallery

No live shots of the game action, as I was busy filming, but I did get down on the field for Dawson's halftime ceremony:

This Week

I'll be at Chandler Park Academy on Friday night to see 2013 commit Csont'e York go up against Old Redford Academy. Depending on the injury status of Khalid Hill, who's been limited the last couple weeks with a shoulder issue, I may also check out East Village Prep vs. Detroit Denby at 4 pm.


Gob Blueth

September 11th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

Why is every CB we recruit 5'11"?  They all sound awesome until they get put up against a Michael Floyd, and there's nothing they can do with a 4" height difference.  Where does one find taller recruits who aren't linemen?


September 11th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

it's not that we choose to recuit only CBs under 6', but rather, taller kids that have the physical attributes needed to play CB at the next level are extremely rare.  elite level acceleration (or recovery speed) needed to catch up to the WR after he makes a cut isn't common with guys with long legs.  revis, champ bailey, leon hall are 6' or under.


September 11th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

Well, if both Conley and Stribling never see a down like Turner then I would say we potentially have a problem on our hands. But we'll cross that bridge when it comes. The funny thing about all this is there are rumors of Conley wanting to take visits and what not, which would put his commitment in question. You may be on to something with these 6'2+ corners at Michigan, MGoNY.


September 11th, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

5"11-6'1" seems to be the "sweet spot" for cornerbacks.  Any shorter and they're useless against jump balls; any taller and they usually lack the quickness to stay with a shifty receiver.  The receiver dictates the route; the CB reacts.  That means the CB must -- MUST be quicker or the receiver's gone in one cut.  Assuming both are at their peak of genetic ability, the only way to be quicker is to be shorter.  See:  Barry Sanders (not a CB, but a textbook case of short = quick).  Doesn't help to have a 6'4" corner if he can't stay with anyone.

The top 3 NFL players in picks last year were  Kyle Arrington, Eric Weddle and some guy named Charles Woodson.  They're 5'10", 5'11" and 6'1", respectively.  Carlos Rogers and Corey Webster are 6'0".  Brandon Browner is tall but he's the exception, not the rule.


September 11th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

That first play - the slip screen - was beautifuly designed.  I'd like to know who CT's OL coach is.  I think he does an amazing job because his linemen seem very technically sound.


September 11th, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

Ace, I would have to think you know about this: High School Cube

I watched my wife's high school alma mater on Friday evening (Elk Grove Grenadiers - Elk Grove, IL). Perhaps you could use this to catch a Kyle Bosch game. Granted, you won't be able to keep an eye just on him but it may be better than nothing.