Photo via 247
While Khalid Kareem's announcement earlier this afternoon didn't go Michigan's way, that didn't stop Jim Harbaugh from adding a four-star lineman to the 2016 class today. Baltimore (MD) Gilman OT Devery Hamilton chose Michigan over Stanford and Maryland this afternoon. Hamilton is the 18th commit in the class—potentially 19th, depending on when Benjamin St-Juste enrolls—and the fourth on the offensive line, joining Ben Bredeson, Michael Onwenu, and Erik Swenson, all four-stars themselves.
4*, #13 OT,
|4*, #26 OT||3*, 79, #33 OT||
4*, 92, #24 OT,
4*, #23 OT,
Every site but ESPN considers Hamilton a four-star prospect, with Scout the most bullish on his potential. ESPN isn't even as much of an outlier as they appear at first glance; Hamilton is just three spots away in the position rankings from being a four-star there, too.
Hamilton has the size of a left tackle, listed at either 6'6" or 6'7". There's some discrepancy about his weight, with Scout and Rivals listing him in the 270-pound range and the other two pegging him around 290. It looks like the latter figure is more up-to-date.
Hamilton is an interesting case. He was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of nine, per TomVH ($). At the beginning of his high school career, he focused mostly on playing defense, and when he lined up on offense he often did so as a tight end. Last season was the first time Hamilton focused mostly on offensive tackle, and since then his recruitment has blown up.
Scout's Brian Dohn sees Hamilton as a prospect on either side of the ball, noting that on offense he's got that classic left tackle frame:
Hamilton can play offensive tackle or on the defensive line in college. He has the size and length to be a left tackle. He is aggressive and is able to disengage as a defensive lineman, and as an offensive lineman shoots his hands out is able to lock onto blocks and finish them. No matter the side of the ball, Hamilton plays hard and to the whistle. He chases plays down the field on defense, and gets to the second level on offense. -- Brian Dohn
ESPN's evaluation essentially boils down to "great physical tools, very raw." While they note a lot of technical areas in need of work, including hand usage and pad level, they like his long-term potential on offense ($):
Hamilton has experience on both sides of the ball and could receive interest and very well land on the defensive side of the ball where he could be a stout run defender. While defense could get him on the field a little sooner we feel in the long term he could make a bigger contribution as an OL. Would at this stage need a good deal of development leading to at least a red-shirt, but down the road could a good, productive starting Power-5 OL
While the technique isn't all the way there yet—and it never is with high school linemen, but that's probably more the case with a recent O-line convert like Hamilton—the physical ability is apparent. 247's Barton Simmons didn't even need to see Hamilton play offensive line to notice his potential as a future tackle at a scrimmage last September:
Over the weekend in a matchup against Ohio power Lakewood, Hamilton was lining up at both defensive end and tight end. Today Hamilton has been graded as a four-star on 247Sports with an 91 grade as an offensive tackle.
At 6-6, 270 pounds, Hamilton showed good feet and quickness with the ability to catch the ball as a tight end but his frame and his ability to hold the point of attack gives him the look of a future blue chip at offensive tackle.
Yes, we can dream of FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS with this commitment, as well.
The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan stopped by a Gilman practice last October and praised Hamilton's athleticism ($):
Hamilton was the most impressive trench player for the Greyhounds. He needs to bulk up in the weight room, but as things stand, he's a long, lean offensive tackle with the frame to be a blindside player. He's also a very good natural athlete, able to get out and run to the edge and block for screens. He wasn't used as a pulling lineman, but could prove capable there, too. The 6-6, 270-pounder has plenty of potential.
The most detailed scouting report comes from Scout's Dave Lomonico, who took in Gilman's exhibition against Washington DC St. John's last August ($):
He has a wide frame and a good base, to go along with long arms and big, strong hands. Hamilton comes off the ball well, gets good extension and has a potent punch at the point of attack. He’s surprisingly agile for a big man, shifting his feet well to readjust to edge rushers, while also showing the ability to block in space. Hamilton also possesses that “grinders” mentality, mauling his man when running plays go over his side. Hamilton does need to work on his leverage and, as a pass blocker, become more effective as an anchor with control, hand placement and footwork. And while he can push to the second level and finish blocks, Hamilton can become an even more consistent punisher.
The reports are pretty dang consistent: Hamilton has a lot of raw potential as a left tackle prospect, with a heavy emphasis on both the "raw" and "potential" aspects until he gets more experience playing the position.
In addition to Hamilton's final three, he held offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. That's a pretty impressive list from both a football and academic perspective.
Gilman is one of the East Coast's most consistent producers of football talent. Michigan fans are familiar with current defensive lineman Henry Poggi. Alabama corner Cyrus Jones, Virginia Tech linebacker Melvin Keihn, former Virginia wideout Darius Jennings, and 2015 Texas signee Kai Locksley are the other four-star prospects to come out of Gilman since 2002, according to the Rivals database.
Offensive lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Hamilton is a prospect in clear need of development, and he should be afforded plenty of time to come into his own at Michigan. After an almost certain redshirt year, he'll compete at tackle with Mason Cole, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Grant Newsome, and Nolan Ulizio for a spot on the two-deep. In all likelihood, it'll take him a few years of development before he sees the field; after the last several years, it's worth reminding Michigan fans that this is optimal for an offensive lineman. When Hamilton does compete for a spot, he should slot in at left tackle.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is up to 18 commits for the 2016 class, 19 if you include St-Juste, who could come in as early as this fall or as late as 2017. The mailbag I've promised in which I'll take a much closer look at the scholarship numbers will come on Friday, before I take a much-needed week off. (Barring new commitments this week, which I can't rule out, in which case I'll address the scholarship situation when I'm back in July.)
One thing is certain: Michigan is assembling a heck of an offensive line class. Swenson and Hamilton are ideal tackle prospects, Bredeson can play either tackle or guard, and Onwenu is a pure guard. Michigan also leads for four-star guard Terrance Davis, and they'll still accept his commitment if he wants to be a part of the class; the Wolverines would be set with that group of five.