Hello: Allen Gant

Submitted by Tim on May 31st, 2011 at 8:33 AM

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.

gantmug.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
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.

He's a good enough athlete to be an all-area selection for basketball as a sophomore, and he was part of a sub-45 second 4x100 relay team the same spring.

OFFERS

gantaction.jpeg

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.

STATS

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.

VIDEO

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.

Comments

El Jefe

May 31st, 2011 at 8:45 AM ^

Our school has scrimmiged Southview in the preseason since he was a freshman and let me tell you this kid is a beast.  Welcome to the family Allen, we need this kind of saftey back at Michigan.

uniqenam

May 31st, 2011 at 8:46 AM ^

I have no ability to analyze film or anything of that sort, but I do remember somewhere him (or his dad, not sure which) saying that he could have been higher rated but he never went to any camps/combines, because the only two offers he wanted were OSU (which I think was in the pipeline) and UM...so maybe all hope isn't lost?

maizedandconfused

May 31st, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

that the recruiting sites depend heavilly on 3 things..

Statewide recognition (with all-state Georgia/Fla/South > all-state midwest)

Watching giant combines and camps.

Highlight videos.

Now, the issue I have with this is, while it evaluates physical talents and abilities well, it misses on addressing the fact that these kids play football in pads, with physicality being a huge issue. I think Mr. Gant here might be one of those kids that is not a sweats superstar but when the pads are strapped and the helmets are on he plays. 

turd ferguson

May 31st, 2011 at 8:46 AM ^

Congrats, Allen!  Michigan's a wonderful place and we're happy to have you.

Would it be reasonable to stop at three DBs in this class?  We have a good group of young, talented DBs coming in, and I wouldn't mind saving that spot for one of the many O- or D-linemen looking our way (or maybe a last-minute surprise).

Elmer

May 31st, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

Some of the best safeties in NFL history didn't have blazing speed, but they were always in the right place, anticipated plays and crushed ball carriers.  I'm guessing this kid will be better than people think, sicne it sounds like he has some of these attributes.  Good pick-up, nice to have another Gant playing in the Big House.

Bodogblog

May 31st, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

Strong Safety, right?  "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."  Sounds like one of our grit-tacular favorites.  But bigger and probably faster.  Great pick-up

Also, Tennessee was picking up interest:
http://tennessee.scout.com/a.z?s=7&p=2&c=1075468&ssf=1&RequestedURL=http%3a%2f%2ftennessee.scout.com%2f2%2f1075468.html

Six Zero

May 31st, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

Welcome, Allen.  With all that Wolverine blood running through your veins, we all knew you'd make the right choice.  Welcome and Go Blue!

WolvinLA2

May 31st, 2011 at 9:16 AM ^

I know not everyone on this board likes relating track speed to football speed, but if he was on a 400 relay team that ran under 45, he has to be quite fast, especially since he was a junior at the time and likely over 200lbs. I think he'll have sufficient SS speed.

ish

May 31st, 2011 at 9:16 AM ^

like most former player's kids, he seems to have football intelligence.  after watching safeties 10 yards from the play for the last 5 or 6 years, i hope he can bring some real gametime savvy to the position.

Waveman

May 31st, 2011 at 9:20 AM ^

I'm personally pretty excited to get a safety who's in the right spot on the field and has the size to bring the pain and stuff Big10 backs. It's great to have you in the family.

readyourguard

May 31st, 2011 at 9:20 AM ^

As I said past threads about Allen...if he has any of the instincts his dad had, he'll be a hell of a football player and leader.  Tony stood out as almost a fatherly figure back in his playing days.  It was HE who said his son didn't do all the camps and combines and all the attention/offers he's garnered have come by way of hard work on the field.

I expect good things from Allen and am glad he chose to commit to Michigan.  Go Blue!

 

MGlobules

May 31st, 2011 at 9:31 AM ^

Are M's coaches going to regret signing so many 3 and 4 stars so early when bigger fruit might have fallen to us, as fallout, had they waited?

MGlobules

May 31st, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

I didn't mean to cast aspersions on the young man, although I can see why it might be read this way. I think it's a legitimate question, and I imagine others are wondering, but I should have raised it in a different forum, perhaps. An earlier post, which included an interview with his father, suggested that he was completely legit and--further--I have myself been critical of the raw meat approach to some kids so. . . apologies.

 

fat_wilhelm

May 31st, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

I posted this in a general recruiting thread a couple weeks ago, but it seems to be worth repeating now. I received the following message from a powerlifting/strongman friend of mine (Ohio State fan) the day after Gant was offered. He's super sharp when it comes to all things S&C, so I guarantee there's some merit to what he says.

"My buddy Allen told me in the gym today Hoke called him with an offer yesterday. I plan to break his leg now. In all seriousness, the kid is going to be a stud this year and has put on muscle like crazy since last fall. Today he was hitting around 34-36" on the vertical, his best last year was 32"."

Erik_in_Dayton

May 31st, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

I have to believe that it will mean something to have a player whose dad can tell him what it means to be a Michigan Wolverine.  Also, and as others have said, "safety who knows where to be on the field" sounds very nice indeed.

Seth

May 31st, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

No complaints here for a 3-star legacy:

Brian on June 22, 2006:

Commit number eight may also stir similar "what about X" panic, as he is Texas cornerback Troy Woolfolk -- what about Allen and Johnson? -- but two facts may mitigate those concerns:

  • He's former Michigan RB Butch Woolfolk's son.
  • He runs a 10.4 hundred meters (w/ tailwind, but still).

Zounds. Woolfolk had offers from Nebraska and TCU before his Michigan camp and said he thought Texas "may be close" to one a couple weeks ago, though he was probably a Plan-B recruit for the 'Horns. A quote from Orangebloods:

"After some drills, the coach came up and said he liked what he saw and that he was happy that I came. So I think I did well. Two coaches came up to me and said that I did a good job," Woolfolk said. "I'm not sure what might happen. I may wait a few days and then call them to see."

Woolfolk is some sort of defensive back but is still sixteen and growing, so whether he ends up at corner or safety is yet to be determined.

I wouldn't worry about Woolfolk's commitment bothering Johnson, Allen, or any other high-profile defensive back who might decide to commit as he is fairly raw, a three-star-with-upside type like Johnny Sears. It does bode unwell for the guys at the bottom of the board, since Michigan is probably done offering defensive backs unless extremely unlikely disaster strikes and the Johnson/Allen combination ends up somewhere other than a winged helmet.

Course T-Wolf had speed up the wazoo at 16, but he wasn't the fastest guy on the team until he had a 2nd growth spurt in his sophomore year at M.

Other recent legacies: Braylon Edwards, Jordan Kovacs, Mr. Plow. Last time we let a 3-star legacy get away he went to the Buckeyes and became Anthony Gonzalez. Oh and T.J. Downing. Bo wouldn't talk to his former All-American center after that though:

 

"I was at a Michigan function a couple years back and ran into Bo Schembechler, my head coach," Walt said. "Coach Schembechler came up to me and said `Walt, how could you let your son go play for Ohio State?' He would not speak to me the rest of the night."

Maybe Lloyd knew Downing had issues? He was arrested in 2008 with coke and a handgun (he was pulled over for not having a front license plate and tinted windows) and got charged for drug trafficking. Then again I don' think there was anything like that when he was in high school in Canton.

The Denarding

May 31st, 2011 at 10:05 AM ^

First - welcome to the family Allen!  You will love playing football at Michigan.  The education I have received there has helped me have a fulfilling career.  It is but one of the many perks of being a Wolverine.

Second - The most critical aspect to playing safety in my opinion is instinct and technique.  Allen appears to have that in spades.  I


Third - I think he will have a MONSTER senior year - most kids his age aren't dedicated enough to be in the weight room in the summers.

turtleboy

May 31st, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

It's something to have pride in your school football program. Something that's become rarer these days. He looks better than an unranked 3 star player, I can't guess how much better, but definitely better.

ken725

May 31st, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

I'm really happy that we got Gant.  Even if his speed in a concern, his intelligence and nose for the ball will make up for his lack of speed if he has any.

Jon Benke

May 31st, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

I have a good feeling about this kid.  Seems like a good athlete, albeit with a low ranking - sometimes the rankings just don't make sense, and this one makes one scratch their head.

Best of luck on future projects, welcome to Ann Arbor.

 

Blue is always best when you're born into it!