Michael Onwenu: large, strong [Dave Nasternak/MGoBlog]
Yes, I'm still catching up on film from the Prep Kickoff Classic. This time around the focus is on Cass Tech and Southfield; more specifically, four-star Cass Tech left tackle Michael Onwenu, who's committed to Michigan as a guard.
The Technicians won this game with ease, 27-0, due to their domination on the ground. Onwenu and left guard Ostell Martin were too big and strong for Southfield's line to handle; running back Tim Cheatham had plenty of huge holes to run through on his way to 99 rushing yards and a pair of scores. Southfield couldn't get moving on offense, going nowhere in the running game and finding only inconsistent success through the air.
Michael Onwenu Highlights
The final play comes highly recommended.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting reports on Onwenu, a couple Cass Tech juniors, and Southfield's promising freshman quarterback.]
2016 Cass Tech OL Michael Onwenu (M Commit)
Onwenu played left tackle for Cass Tech, though he projects to the interior of the O-line at the next level; he got a few snaps at defensive tackle but stuck almost exclusively to offense.
Onwenu dominated Southfield in the run game. He recorded a pancake on CT's first offensive snap and built from there. His strength at that level is too much for most high school defensive linemen to handle; Southfield's ends often resorted to trying to run around Onwenu, which just opened up gaping holes when Onwenu pushed them past the play. When they tried to take him head-on, it often resulted in Onwenu caving the entire right side of the D-line into the A-gap, like he did on the zone read touchdown to put CT up 27-0 (2:10 mark).
He uses his hands well to engage with D-linemen and move them where he wants. His quick feet allow him to make second-level blocks; he also got to the correct gap, identified the right man to block, and took him out the one time I saw CT ask him to pull (the play went nowhere, but it wasn't on Onwenu). He's got the feet to play guard, as he showed off time and again over the summer; he wasn't challenged off the edge in pass protection, either.
The only thing I'd like to see more from Onwenu is finishing his blocks. For a guy with his size and strength, he doesn't knock a ton of opponents on the turf, and there were a couple plays when he caught himself not playing through the whistle—he got through the game fine at 370 pounds, but at the next level he's going to need better conditioning. These are minor gripes; Michigan has a lot to work with here.
2017 Cass Tech WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (M Offer)
The state's top junior prospect didn't have an especially productive day, but that wasn't necessary to see his talent on display. He had one rough moment, getting the ball ripped out for a fumble after catching a slant in the red zone—he needs to have better ball security but it was also a great play by the defender.
Otherwise, Peoples-Jones made an impact when he could. He's a smooth runner who covers a ton of ground without looking like he's moving that fast, but his acceleration and top-end speed are elite. He toasted a corner on a fly route and had a touchdown prevented only by a blatant (and wise) defensive hold. He made an impressive mid-air adjustment and catch away from his body on a fade route that would've been a touchdown, but the throw took him well out of bounds. He had a couple nice punt returns; while he's not KJ Hamler-level shifty, he can make a guy miss and he gets upfield quickly.
Peoples-Jones is a five-star athlete. I need to see him get more targets to know if his receiving ability is at the same level, but the early returns were good in limited chances to show his stuff.
2017 Cass Tech S Jaylen Kelly-Powell (M Offer)
The four-star junior safety looked the part last week. Kelly-Powell has good size and athleticism and he plays with the type of controlled aggression you want from a strong safety. That aggression got the better of him on an early missed tackle when he overran an outside run play; otherwise, he tended to end up around the football, and the play tended to end when he got there. He had one especially impressive trackdown from the opposite hash of a ballcarrier going down the far sideline, laying a lick that knocked the ball free when he got there—unfortunately the ball flew out of bounds. When he tackles he does a good job wrapping up and he reads plays well.
Kelly-Powell was generally solid in coverage, even holding up well in man coverage against slot receivers. He got victimized on a corner route when he got caught peeking into the backfield instead of playing the receiver. Otherwise he displayed quick feet and good hips for a safety.
He put an exclamation point on his day by closing on a short pass to the flat and laying a huge hit on the receiver to end any hope of reaching the sticks on a third down. JKP has the physical ability you'd like to see in a strong safety and he looks to have the requisite football instincts, as well.
2019(!) Southfield QB Sam Johnson (M Target)
As a freshman, Johnson already holds offers from Cincinnati, Temple, and a handful of MAC schools, and you can bet the bigger schools will come calling well before the end of his recruitment—the main Midwest powers are already showing interest.
I won't go into too much detail because, you know, high school freshman, but Johnson certainly has top-level potential. While skinny, he's got a good frame at 6'3", 180, and his arm strength is very good for a player his age—he threw a couple impressive bombs that didn't connect and zipped a crossing route on a line for a completion.
Johnson's accuracy was generally solid, especially on shorter stuff. He also showed decent command of the pocket, avoiding a safety at one point by stepping up when there was major pressure coming behind him. There's still a long way to go but he's definitely a prospect to watch.