Hello: Cameron Gordon

Submitted by Brian on December 11th, 2008 at 4:05 PM

Instate receiver Cameron Gordon has committed to Michigan. Informative update coming.

Informative update:

cameron-gordon

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #79 WR 4*, #222 overall, #31 WR 78, #64 ATH

Rivals is considerably higher on Gordon than others are, and ESPN abstains from declaring a position from him at all. That positional uncertainty was an early theme of Gordon's recruitment: reports from Michigan's summer camp were that the staff really liked him… as a linebacker. Gordon has made it clear he wants to play wide receiver. Thus a significant delay in Michigan's offer; if Bryce McNeal hadn't decommitted Gordon might still be waiting.

Scout's Allen Trieu on the positional dilemma:

"Cameron has great tools," said Trieu. "On offense, his size and strength create matchup problems, plus he has good hands. On defense, he finds the ball well and is a big hitter. His only drawback would be that he isn't a true burner as far as the receiver position goes. That would limit his potential on offense. I think he could play either position well in college, but it will likely come down to what a particular school needs. If I had the luxury of choosing, I'd want him at linebacker."

Next Generation Sports scouted a couple Inkster games; their take on Gordon's performance:

Cameron Gordon, Inkster- had a quiet day but was still efficient because he opened the field up for other receivers by drawing double coverage every play. He's so big and fast but I was most impressed by how hard he runs every possible route.

And #2:

Cameron Gordon, Inkster- Gordon is just too physically gifted for the high school level and he's just as good of a OLB/safety as he is a receiver. He gave Gardner a huge block 40 yards down field on the long TD run, he made a heck of a play on his INT, and his 42 catch displayed great hand-eye coordination.

ESPN on Gordon:

Could potentially tip the scales at the 215-range making defense a strong possibility. You would never now he was a flashy wide receiver when watching him pursue the football as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker. … Shows good hip and body adjustment to the deep throw. Can break tackles with is strong frame after the catch or make defenders miss with his deceptively good movement skills. Top-end speed is a question mark and he does lack great initial burst with ball. That said, Gordon is a great athlete with coveted physical skills to develop as a college player.

The rest of the scouting report is heavily focused on defense, too. FWIW, that early preference for WR seems to be less important now:

“(Michigan) offered me,” Gordon said. “They mostly said how they want to sign me and that I’ll be able to play both sides, just depending on what side is best for me to play for their team."

On the other hand:

Before the fall, Gordon strongly preferred the playing offense, but he has softened his stance on that issue.

"I feel I am a football player, so it really wouldn't stop me from going to a school if I had to play defense,” Gordon said. “This is my first year playing safety and I really like that position, too. I still am a receiver, but it's not something that will hold me back from going to a college.”

Emphasis mine. Said emphasis indicates that position preference still exists. So he's coming in as a wideout, got it?

OFFERS

Gordon wasn't as heavily pursued as you might imagine. Michigan State offered him in February and Minnesota did so sometime in the summer, but those remained his only BCS offers until Iowa came in with one in late October. Michigan followed suit a few weeks ago.

STATS

Jim Stefani has his underclass numbers:

As a junior starter on a 10-2 team, he had 38 receptions for 532 yards (14.00 Avg.) and 1 INT from his OLB spot…………..As a sophomore starter, he had 19 receptions for 308 yards (16.21 ypc) and 1 TD, 7 carries for 58 yards and 1 TD, 19 tackles, 26 assists, 1.5 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries

I couldn't dig up season stats for this year, unfortunately.

FAKE 40 TIME

In the video below, Gordon will claim he is 6'2", 195, and runs a 4.6. I give this two FAKES(!) out of five. However, this:

Now tipping the scales at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, and still capable running the 40 in the 4.6 range, Gordon is a bone-jarring presence in the Viking secondary.

Gets a third FAKE(!), as adding 20 pounds in a year and maintaining your 40 is… eh… improbable.

VIDEO

Here's Sam Webb interviewing him, with highlights interspersed:

The crotchety old man in me is like "son, don't chew gum when you're being interviewed."

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Gordon is a big, physical receiver with good hands who supposedly runs pretty good routes. I feel like I've compared a half-dozen possession-type receivers to this particular person in the past, but that sounds like Jason Avant. Avant absolutely maximized his physical ability, though, and a guy like Gordon is not likely to be as good as a guy currently in the early stages of a 15-year NFL career.

And then there's the defense option. Michigan is bringing in a ton of linebackers in this class (IMO, both Mike Jones and Isaiah Bell will be OLBs) but the numbers there are really thin and there's probably a reason everyone under the sun thought he projected better on defense. Sometimes kids get to college firmly intending to play their favorite high school position, figure out that they're really in a tough spot to get playing time there, and quickly switch to the position the project best at. See: Prescott Burgess, who was insistent he was a safety, and Joe Barksdale, who had a major falling out with Michigan because they projected him as an offensive lineman. Burgess was a linebacker at Michigan after about two weeks and Barksdale was a freshman starter for LSU… at right tackle.

This gives Gordon two shots at being a contributor, and the flexibility there bodes well for his future. It's probably 75-25 he stays on offense given his personal preference and the composition of this recruiting class, but the option remains.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Gordon's commitment and the recent news that TX WR commit Dewayne Peace was once again a solid verbal solidifies the outside WR position for this class, especially with Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson committed for 2010. Unless something unexpected happens—like Rueben Randle tripping over a branch, hitting his head, and having a humorous sitcom concussion that makes him think he's the reincarnation of Anthony Carter—Michigan is probably done at the position.

Gordon is commitment #21, so Michigan has somewhere between four and six slots left. The recruiting board currently shows 24 open slots without accounting for the probable departure of Sam McGuffie; Michigan could also not renew fifth years for Savoy or Criswell. Potential errors therein: I'm not providing scholarships to Sheridan (reasonable), Moundros (probably not reasonable), and Morales(who knows?).

In any case, Michigan needs a couple more offensive linemen, Will Campbell, and a corner or two.

A side note: Inkster is a good school to get hooks into, as their new head coach is former Detroit DePorres HC Greg Carter and he's looking to make Inkster into a perennial powerhouse. In 2010 Inkster already has top instate quarterback Devin Gardner, and the hot rumor is that top 2010 running back Austin White is going to transfer in, as well.

Etc.: He looks like Seal in this picture; watch him morph from FOUR STAR STUD to guy MSU didn't want in this RCMB thread; 52-yard touchdown photo; couple additional pictures; transferred to Inkster from Melvindale.

Comments

STW P. Brabbs

December 12th, 2008 at 11:54 AM ^

OK - look at my comment. I said that it's understandable that he was nervous, but it was a "dipshit move" to chew gum. This does not imply that he is himself a card-carrying dipshit. In case this distinction was lost (because I knew that Chi and others might be tempted to take up the banner of the Knights of Young Athlete Honor), I included the anecdote about my brother - probably the smartest person I've known - as another individual who dabbled in dipshittery by chewing gum while speaking publicly. Apparently, I still crossed an obvious boundary of decency.

I know it's good internet fun to stand on top of your own bullshit and claim the moral high ground, but this is just silly.

chitownblue (not verified)

December 12th, 2008 at 12:02 PM ^

I realize someone else did, but I, at least, never said you called him a dipshit. I see the distinction between criticizing the action and the person.

What I said was that I don't see a need to criticize a kid for being nervous. I wasn't even overly harsh in stating this. As you said - your brother, whom I will take your word on, made the same mistake. The difference, I guess, is that his mistake didn't become fodder for jokes at his expense on an internet message board that rceives 20,000 hits a day. I know if I were him, and I read people making fun of my speaking ability, it would upset me.

STW P. Brabbs

December 12th, 2008 at 12:14 PM ^

Fair enough - I retract any implication that you thought I called him a dipshit. I conflated you and Matty Blue.

The lingering point of dispute, I believe, is that I don't think gum-chewing is in any way related to public-speaking "ability". You can't simply choose to be eloquent and cool during an interview, but it's an easy binary choice to chew or spit out gum. (Maybe not, I suppose you could keep the gum tucked between your cheek and your gums without chewing it ...)

I like to think I'm sensitive about not being a dick to high school and college athletes on a personal level, which is why I made it clear that his nervousness is nothing to denigrate. In my opinion, if a young guy sees that someone on a blog thought he should have spit out his gum for an interview, it wouldn't be all that traumatizing. It would in all likelihood solicit nothing more than a shrug, and it strikes me as somewhat self-important to assume anything more.

chitownblue (not verified)

December 12th, 2008 at 12:20 PM ^

And to clarify - making fun of him for his over-reliance on the word "um" bothered me, not so much the making fun of him for chewing gum. One is easily controlled. The other, coming from someone who has stuttered to varying degrees during their life, is a manifestation of being petrified. People with speech impediments regularly try to mask the condition by peppering their speech with filler words - like "um". Further, any speech impediment you may have is amplified by your level of nerves.

matty blue

December 12th, 2008 at 4:34 PM ^

no, you obviously weren't calling him a dipshit. my bad for not writing my response as clearly as i should have.

i stand by my original (poorly-articulated) notion, that using the word "dipshit," either specifically or by implication, is probably not necessary. i claim no moral high ground, but i would point out that, if i were an 18-year-old kid who just committed the next four years of my life to a school, i'd probably be reading what the fans were saying...and coming across the phrase "dipshit move" would probably not excite me too much. that's all i'm saying.

i have no idea what you mean by "good internet fun," by the way. i suppose it's some sort of variation on "internet tough guy," but i'm not sure what it has to do with my post.

Sgt. Wolverine

December 12th, 2008 at 10:45 PM ^

I concur that the term "dipshit" is unnecessary (and a little over-the-top) for something that is at worst an innocent mistake. Saying "Hey, chewing gum during an interview isn't a good idea" is different from calling it a "dipshit move"; the intended message may be the same, but the terminology takes it to a whole new level.

So: I don't have a real problem with the intended idea, but I'm not on board with the way it was worded.

chitownblue (not verified)

December 12th, 2008 at 11:47 AM ^

He's roughly as large as Brandon Smith, which would make him a "large" safety - though not prohibitively so. I think his speed would be more of a hindrance to him being a safety than his size. The speed would, however, play at LB, though he'd need to grow.

Farnn

December 12th, 2008 at 12:10 PM ^

That size and speed sounds like a good mix for LB, especially with the increase in spread teams and game speed. Could also be great as a TE to run over those defenses aimed at stopping the spread.

J. Lichty

December 12th, 2008 at 11:45 AM ^

1) to be fair, Sparty has produced some good WRs. I think we have produced more, and on balance better ones, but Sparty is not a slouch in that department.

2) regarding Cameron Gordon's um's. Listen to Obama off script - lot's of um's too. Don't be so hard on the kid.

3) will be interesting to see which side of the ball he ends up on. There are certainly opportunities for LB and WR on this team.

Sgt. Wolverine

December 12th, 2008 at 1:23 PM ^

I'd rather just avoid making fun of a high school athlete for anything related to public speaking, for two reasons:

1)He's a football player, and he's being recruited to M as such, not for his public speaking abilities. Quite frankly, I don't think it really matters. As he goes through the M football program, he'll learn a few important particulars about giving a decent interview, but again: that's not why he's coming to M.

2)I have to engage in public speaking a few times a year for my business, but I hate it with a burning passion, and I get nervous to the point of feeling a little queasy before I have to speak in front of groups of people. Coming from that perspective, I don't much care for the idea of knocking people for their public speaking abilities; it comes easy for some, but it's just not natural for others, and highlighting that fact doesn't really help.

STW P. Brabbs

December 12th, 2008 at 2:15 PM ^

I totally agree.

In case you are directing this comment at me, and for the benefit of those who see that I wrote "dipshit" and proceed directly to condemnation, I just want to reiterate that I made a clear distinction between chewing gum and being nervous while speaking. The former is an easy mistake to correct, while the latter is something that one might not be able to do much about. Chewing gum during an interview is kinda like playing with your phone during an interview - it has nothing to do with inherent or learned "ability".

Jebus, it's a long time until August.

wlvrine

December 12th, 2008 at 3:14 PM ^

Well you got that right. So much energy and frustration this year and we do not have an outlet like a bowl game to keep us focused.
I need the basketball team to be lights out this year or it will be a long cold winter.