On a visit to campus today, IL CB/S Anthony Standifer has committed to Michigan. The Wolverines were his first big offer, and though he picked more up afterwards, he decided that Ann Arbor is the place for him.
|3*, #26 CB||NR DB||NR CB||3*, 87, NR CB|
Anthony is a bit under-the-radar at this point, but he's a tall corner with excellent ball skills. Scout, Rivals, and 24/7 Sports all say he's 6-1, while ESPN puts him down at 6-0. He's also a skinny dude, with the consensus weight just under 180 pounds. That sounds like a guy who can either play corner or put on some weight and project to free safety if needed.
On top of the size, the recruiting services also make it obvious that he's a generic 3-star prospect. If he can truly play corner, expect those rankings to go up, because he has excellent size for the position.
Tom talked to Anthony about his game:
I have good size, I'm fast for my size, good at finding the ball, I have good enough hands to be a receiver if I wanted to be, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.
"Good enough hands to play receiver" is a huge asset for a defensive back as long as all the other skills are present as well. A Rivals article starts out by stating that Standifer's hips are good, despite the fact that tall corners usually have trouble ($, info in header):
Tall cornerbacks are a rarity in college football because, in general, the taller a player, the less "swivel" they have in their hips. Crete (Ill.) Monee's Anthony Standifer is one of those rare athletes over 6-feet who plays the cornerback position, and Michigan is starting to show interest.
He impressed Scout's Allen Trieu at the Core6 combine last month ($):
A long, athletic 6'1 cornerback, he has picked up offer after offer of late. This was my first time seeing him in person, and it's easy to see why he has those offers. In addition to his size, he has legitimate speed and athleticism. He's not a 4.3 guy, but he can run with just about anyone, and his ball skills are top notch. He has some technical work to do still, but his anticipation and awareness is good. He did a good job of recognizing and jumping routes.
To me, that reads like "maybe not the best athlete, but certainly good enough." At his height, having good anticipation and ball skills are just as important as speed, and as long as he's able to run with most wideouts, that speed shouldn't be a liability at all. Considering most of his offers have come following in-person evaluations by college coaching staffs, I wouldn't be too worried.
It's clear that Brady Hoke and staff want at least one taller corner in this class, and Anthony has the ability to play there. He's also big enough to be a potential safety down the road, so versatility is definitely in his favor, as far as getting on the field down the road.
As mentioned above, Michigan was the first big offer for Standifer (he had previously held Northern Illinois and Western Michigan). However, after Michigan stepped up, several schools - depending on your definition of bigtime - entered the fray. Boise State, Cincinnati, Iowa, Kansas, and Notre Dame are some of the schools that have recently played in BCS bowls that consider Anthony worthy of an offer.
He has a few other lesser offers, including some mid-level BCS teams and MAC-type schools, and definitely has the profile of a riser with some of the recent entrants. Michigan State, Miami (YTM), and Oregon were some of the schools showing interest that hadn't yet offered.
Standifer had 44 tackles, nine interceptions and one forced fumble as a junior.
Yay. Nine interceptions in a high school season speaks to his ball-hawking ability, especially since a lot of high school teams are very wary of throwing when they know the other team has good DB talent.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites have listed 40 times. Default five FAKEs out of five. Allen Trieu said above he's "not a 4.3 guy," which duh, because almost nobody is.
Standifer's Junior Highlight:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan has picked up tons of DBs in the classes of 2011 and 2012, and it's super-tough to project a player at that position when the guys a year ahead of him have yet to even hit campus, much less play in a game.
If you held a gun to my head and made me choose, I would say that Michigan's newfound DB depth(!) will allow him to redshirt, and in that year, it'll be much easier to determine if he'll grow into a free safety or remain the size of a corner. My assumption is that safety is in his future, but it all depends on way too many factors to know right now.
He seems like the type who will never be a huge star, but could be a solid starter during the course of his career, and as long as he develops as expected, could be a late round NFL-type.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This commitment REALLY starts the slowdown process on defensive backs for the 2012 class. Standifer is the third DB, and with the possible addition of Morgan tomorrow (pending a discussion with his family, apparently) and a big DB class last year, OL, DT, and WR remain the primary needs, with QB and RB also needed.