— REES April 4, 2015
It didn't take long for Michigan to land their second pledge of the weekend, as 2016 Farmington (MI) FB/ILB David Reese flipped his commitment from Louisville prior to the spring game, per multiple outlets. Reese was being recruited by most schools as an inside linebacker, but has committed to Michigan as a fullback. He'll immediately get to work trying to get more in-state prospects into the fold, including his Farmington teammate, WR Desmond Fitzpatrick:
Reese planned to commit to Michigan heading into the weekend. Said he'll recruit Desmond Fitzpatrick, Donnie Corley, Khalid Kareem
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 4, 2015
Reese is the fourth commit in the 2016 class, and the first at fullback; he'd be the second linebacker in the class, joining Dele' Harding, should he end up on defense.
This post has been updated.
|3*, #9 MLB||3*, #17 ILB||3*, NR ILB||
3*, 87, #14 ILB,
3*, #18 ILB,
All four sites peg Reese as a three-star inside linebacker. At 6'1", 235 pounds, he certainly has the build of a inside 'backer or a fullback.
While Reese is being recruited by Michigan as a fullback, nobody's really evaluated him there, and it's not like there's too much to say about a fullback recruit aside from "he's big enough and likes hitting people, so that should work out." Reese fits that mold. Given Jim Harbaugh's proclivity for testing out players on both sides of the ball, it's worth exploring how he measures up as an inside linebacker; he should at least get a chance to make an impact on defense.
Despite not being the type of player that would normally thrive in a camp setting, Reese has been impressive on the camp circuit. Tim Sullivan named him one of the top linebackers at last May's RCS Detroit ($):
Reese looks like a tweener between defensive end and linebacker, and in fact he played both positions during the course of the day (whereas most of the other defenders who played multiple positions were linebacker/safety types). A true middle linebacker type is expected to struggle in a passing camp, and though Reese wasn't flawless, he lived up to expectations, at the very least.
Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt slotted him as the #3 overall performer at December's Adidas Showcase in Pontiac ($):
You can count on Reese showing up wherever there is an opportunity to compete. He is constantly working to elevate his game and always gives 100 percent. Camps should not be ideal settings for the stout 6-foot-1, 225-pound Reese. He is a run-stuffing, head-knocking middle linebacker, yet he consistently surprises by how well he plays in space and his ability to stick with running backs and tight ends in pass coverage.
Scout's Allen Trieu provides an evaluation of Reese's play when there's actual 11-on-11 football to be played, and as you'd expect, his run-stuffing ability comes to the forefront ($):
Reese is a big, powerful kid who is built like a college linebacker already. He has a nose for the ball, as evidenced by his high tackle numbers each of the last two seasons. He's come-forward kid who reads his keys and is not afraid to take on and absorb contact from lead blockers. Physicality is not an issue. He's a big hitter who plays aggressively. He has good tackling technique. You rarely see him take on ball carriers or blockers too high. Where he can continue to improve is in space. He has worked on that and we've seen the strides he's made in coverage.
Finally, here's an excerpt from 247's Clint Brewster's free film breakdown:
Reese doesn't have the biggest frame at around 6-foot, and 230-pounds but he packs a punch. He's got the tenacity you like inside the box and wins in tight spaces. His timing when he shoots the gap is outstanding on run plays and when he's blitzing. He makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Reese doesn't have great agility but he takes great angles in the open field to make a tackle and he's got good straight line speed. Reese tackles low and wins the leverage battle because he's built low to the ground with good strength overall. Reese has strong and active hands and his leverage and lower body strength frees him from blocks. Highly aggressive player you want on the inside. Solid in coverage but not great.
It certainly sounds like Michigan should at least give him a shot on defense; at the very least, his ability to utilize leverage and willingness to hit people should make him a solid fullback.
Reese held offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Pitt, and most of the MAC.
Farmington High School hadn't produced a Power Five commit during the Rivals era (2002-present) until Reese and Fitzpatrick pledged to Louisville.
Per Scout, Reese had 117 tackles and six sacks as a junior, and recorded 108 tackles as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Despite the multiple camp appearances, none listed.
Sophomore highlights, freshman highlights, and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
If Reese starts his Michigan career on offense, he should get a chance to play right away; fullbacks Joe Kerridge and Sione Houma are both in their final season of eligibility.
Should Reese get a crack at defense, he'd likely either take a redshirt year or moonlight as a fullback, then work his way into the rotation for a year before completing to replace Mike McCray at middle linebacker.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan should be set at fullback, at the very least.