Though there's still plenty of time to recruit for the 2012 class, Michigan's coaches are continuing their in-state recruiting dominance into the future. 2013 MI QB Shane Morris has become Michigan's first commit in the sophomore(!) class, he told Tom tonight.
First, the size. The sites (except ESPN, which - big shocker - doesn't have any 2013 prospects in their database) agree he's 6-3, and though 24/7 Sports estimates his weight at 190, Rivals and ESPN are within a pound of each other at 183 and 182, respectively. So, 6-3, 183 it is.
The HALOLs you see above are not due to the presence - or lack - of any particular talent, but rather because the recruiting sites are about a year (almost exactly in Rivals' case) from ranking 2013 prospects. We'll start the evaluations in chronological order, starting with a Detroit National Underclassmen Combine following Morris's freshman year:
Morris, 6'1.5 174, won the 9th grade MVP. He had a 28 inch vertical, 8'7 broad jump, ran a 4.60 shuttle...
QB Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) was in a class of his own. The 6-1, 174-pounder has a sensational arm, great vision, moves his feet well and carries himself like a pro. Talent wise, he is far beyond his age group and already has top-notch abilities.
Prepseer took a 1-game sample size and made it big:
Morris wasn’t the stud quarterback that I expected. It was the first time I’ve seen him. He has a decent arm and he runs the offense well–particularly for a sophomore. I don’t think he’s the Div. 1 lock that many fans are proclaiming. He’s not even the best in the CHSL Central. But, he’s only a sophomore and he will get better.
Though Prepseer is a hilariously biased Michigan State slappy, that report was long before Morris committed, so there's no bias present.
Fortunately, the kid's already been featured in a Sam Webb column. First, Scout's Allen Trieu:
"Shane, for a young kid, has a really great arm," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "I saw him as a freshman and that ball came out of his hand with great spin and velocity then... There's still a ways to go, but he has a lot of talent. He'll be a kid that gets attention from all over, not just the schools within a close proximity."
And his high school coach:
[De La Salle Coach Paul] Verska added: "He makes great decisions with the football, he has a very strong arm, and he is learning and getting better every day. As long as he continues to do that I think great things will keep happening for him."
Sound Mind, Sound Body Foundation's program director weighs in, primarily on how experienced he is for such a young guy:
"He has really been exposed to a lot more than your average 10th grader has," said program director and founder Curtis Blackwell. "He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the state in the Catholic League and he has a great coaching staff at DeLaSalle. At the same time he comes from a very strong family background where his mom is very influential and his dad is a middle school coach that coached him in football. He has had a great foundation. Then since the ninth grade he has been working out and a part of all of our programming here in the inner-city."
So what has Shane gotten out of the SMSB camps?
"I felt like it helped me out tremendously," he said. "It helped me out with my confidence. I feel I am a leader and so I'm going to lead everyone. That's what you're supposed to do as a quarterback, supposed to be the main leader on the field, and that's what I feel like I'm doing with this team."
At the Badgersport 7-on-7 in Pittsburgh, he was named "Best Young Arm:"
Not only was Morris an effective passer over the weekend, but he exudes the confidence and leadership you look for out of the quarterback position.
He also impressed Scout's Scott Kennedy in New Jersey ($):
"[I]t was obvious he had a big arm to go with his frame. He has good mechanics as well, and I was doubly surprised to find out that the biggest kid on the field was only a member of the Class of 2013."
"He reminded me a little of how it was with Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike at these events last year... Gunner and Zeke are going to be Top 5 quarterbacks this year, and while I’m not ready to say Morris is going to be there next year, he certainly has all of the tools to be."
Morris grew up a Michigan fan and modeled his game after Tom Brady (I'm sure most Michigan fans approve). It's so early that it's tough to know a whole lot about him, but "arm strength," "size," and "potential" are clearly going to be in his corner. Also, he's a lefty, so I'm fully in support (before all you evil righties wipe us out).
Michigan offered Shane on March 28th. He also held offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Toledo. If that sounds light on the offers, keep in mind this kid can't sign with a school for almost two years. Waiting to commit would have seen plenty of top schools with pro-style offenses jump into the fray. He had interest but no offers from Stanford and Tennessee.
If you're into Mark Dantonio schadenfreude (and you really should be), there's a story on Rivals's Michigan State affiliate about how Shane is at the top of MSU's list for 2013 ($, info in header).
Rivals provides sophomore numbers in convenient table form:
Passing Year PA PC Yds TD Int 2010 (So.) 180 102 1,150 14 5
Scout says 1139 yards. That's good-not-great, but... dude's a sophomore, and almost certainly a first-year starter. It would be a 130.44 passer efficiency by the NCAA calculation.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the premium site providing the time, and it's a good one for a pocket passer: 4.63. They also credit him with a 4.6 shuttle time. For a kid who's not expected to be much of a runner in college, that seems a little FAKE, to the tune of three out of five.
There are also 7-on-7 highlights.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Shane Morris is going to be a really good football player. However, he's got plenty of time to develop into his potential.
When he's a freshman, Denard Robinson will be a senior, and Devin Gardner will be a junior (or redshirt sophomore). Russell Bellomy will be a sophomore (or redshirt junior). With three QBs with at least a year in the system before Morris, he's got a chance to take a redshirt year. Following that redshirt year, Devin Gardner will likely take over for Denard as the starter. Following Devin's graduation (he could even leave school after his redshirt junior year and still graduate), there will be a hot competition between Bellomy and Morris for the job, and I predict Morris will win it.
Let's try this again. When he's a freshman, Devin Gardner will be a senior or redshirt junior. Russell Bellomy will be a junior or redshirt sophomore. With two capable QBs on the roster (and likely another a year ahead in the class of 2012 - see below), Morris will redshirt, then either compete with Bellomy and 2012 Prospect X to take over for a Gardner that leaves early for the NFL, or gets another year of seasoning to do the same with Gardner's swan song in maize-and-blue.
He has NFL size, he has an NFL arm, and he'll be playing in an NFL offense. I think there's no question that Morris is the next in a long line (briefly interrupted) of successful pocket slingers at Michigan. All-American honors are not out of the question, and an NFL future is likely.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
More than what it means for the 2013 class (about which we currently know very little), is what Morris's commitment means for the 2012 class. He probably committed to Michigan with the knowledge that the coaching staff will not pursue a highly-rated passer for next February.
The coaching staff could take a lesser-rated guy, but it almost makes sense - with a numbers crunch already looming in May the year before Signing Day - to not take one at all, opening a slot for other positions. Shane told Tom that the coaches are thinking otherwise, but his commitment certainly opens that door down the road.