Michigan picks up a legacy commit, as the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant has pledged to the maize-and-blue. OH S Allen Gant becomes the 13th recruit in Michigan's class of 2012.
|3*, NR S||NR WR||NR WR||NR Ath|
As you can see, the recruiting sites are lukewarm-at-best on Gant. To my surprise, he isn't viewed universally as a safety, as I had assumed to be the case (and that's the position he'll likely play in college). His profile has fallen off considerably since the days when he was considered the best 2012 prospect in Ohio ($, info in header).
24/7 Sports is the odd site out on height, calling him 6-1 whereas everyone else agrees he's 6-2. Weights range from 198 to 210. A good overall estimate of size then, is about 6-2, 205.
His scout profile has Allen talk about his own game:
“I’m able to read the quarterback well and know what the offense is doing. I’m pretty quick and I hit hard. I’m a very hard-nosed player. I’d like to be better overall and get faster and quicker. I want to brake [sic] on passes better.”
He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News last summer, and his dad talked briefly about his game:
"He is almost 6-2, and weighs in the 205- to 210-pound range. He runs a 4.6, he's got a nose for the ball, he's physical, and he is smart. Having that type of football intelligence, it just makes his job that much easier because you want to react instead of think out on the football field. Plus he's coachable. His football intelligence and coachability are his two greatest assets along with his physical capabilities."
As a fairly huge high school safety, he'd better be wiling to bring the lumber with regularity. At that size, the natural questions about speed (and a potential move to linebacker) arise:
Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?
Gant is known for being an intelligent player, so even if he lacks a little bit in 40-yard dash time, being in the right spot to make plays can make up for that. The MSR Ohio Blog talks his game, and it certainly sounds like the instincts are present:
Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline.
His coach had never played a freshman before Gant came along, so his early reputation as one of Ohio's top prospects was partially based on being an early bloomer.
With 4 linebackers and another linebacker-y tweener (Mario Ojemudia) already committed, I'm guessing that Michigan's coaches are confident enough in his speed to remain at safety. Now that he's committed as a safety, hopefully some of the recruiting sites will rank him at that position and we can get a more accurate picture of where he stands.
Allen had offers from a host of MAC schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (NTM), and Toledo, but he also had a few slightly bigger letters to his name: Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, and West Virginia. It's not a murderer's row, but there are definitely a few worthwhile offers in there. He was expecting an Illinois offer ($, info in header) back in February, and his Rivals profile indicates he received it.
Gant had interest - but no offer - from several big-name schools: Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.
Scout brings the junior year stats:
Allen Gant finished his junior season with 56 tackles, three interceptions and two fumbles caused. He also had 20 receptions for one touchdown.
That was good enough for third-team All-State. He had a recurring hamstring injury through most of his sophomore year, which hampered his production in that season, but he led his team to a state title as a freshman.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.6 seems to be the consensus time, and while that's respectable for a strong safety (in fact quite good I think), guys Gant's size aren't generic 3-stars if they can run that fast. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
Gant junior video from ScoutingOhio:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He's unlikely to be a big star unless the recruiting sites are just plain wrong, but after a redshirt year, he definitely has the potential to contribute on special teams. and he could end up a starter by the time he's an upperclassman.
Especially with a coaching change underway, it's tough to know where Michigan's current secondary players will end up, what quality of player we have on the roster now (I'm going to assume better than they've looked the past 3 years), so it's tough to project too far into the future. Gant has the feel of a solid upperclassman starter who doesn't get a lot of national (or conference) recognition.
As a youngster, he seemed like a future 5-star thanks to an early maturation, but that has fallen off as other prospects his age have matured as well (think Marvin Robinson). However, Gant has been injured over portions of the last two years, so when healthy, hopefully he can regain that top form.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's felt like it for a while, but spots are going to start actually getting tight now. Pending the decision of Wayne Morgan on Thursday (all indications at this point are that Michigan leads), Michigan has two to three defensive backs in the class, the other being Terry Richardson. Brady Hoke and company would probably take a fourth, but the fifth guy is going to have to be somebody they think very highly of.
The needs going forward are still at defensive tackle and on the offensive line, particularly at tackle. A quarterback and a wideout are also needed, and a good running back would be nice, thank you very much.