Hello: Luke Schoonmaker Comment Count

Ace July 25th, 2017 at 10:16 PM

Michigan picked up a commitment out of left field—or, more accurately, the right coast—this evening when Hamden (CT) Hamden Hall tight end Luke Schoonmaker announced he'll be a Wolverine.

He's flown almost entirely under the radar; two of the four recruiting sites don't have profiles for him, and the other two have one article and zero scouting reports between them. He's apparently held his Michigan offer since participating in last month's Sacred Heart satellite camp.

Schoonmaker is the 11th commit in the 2018 class and the first at tight end, a position of significant need.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #78 TE,
#1748 Ovr
NR TE NR TE 3*, 86, #32 TE,
#762 Ovr

At the time of this writing, Schoonmaker doesn't even have a Rivals or ESPN profile. I'm assuming 247 and Scout have given his film a once-over since there are no in-person game or camp reports; the former has him as a middle-of-the-pack three-star, the latter essentially left him unranked.

Schoonmaker apparently doesn't lack for size. Both 247 and Scout list him at 6'6", 225.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]


Since we don't have scouting reports, let's take a look at Schoonmaker's film. The first catch: he mostly plays quarterback for his high school team. The other catch: he's way, way better than the Connecticut small-school competition. Here are his midseason junior highlights:

And here is a single-game reel from the NEPSAC Mike Atkins Bowl (Class C championship), in which Schoonmaker capped Hamden Hall's 11-0 season with 203 yards and two scores passing and an additional 102 yards and two TDs on just five carries. The first play of the reel is Hamden Hall's first offensive snap; Schoonmaker runs in a QB sneak... from 87 yards out:

Most of the clips are of Schoonmaker at quarterback, so I jotted down some notes on the plays he lined up at tight end (timestamps from the first video):

1:00 — Good burst off the line, finds space up the seam, goes up for ball but not the cleanest high-point

1:19 — Gets pancake but only after losing initial block; poor initial pop then stops feet on contact; runner forced to bounce into likely TFL

2:55 — Wide open on short crossing route, underthrow takes him to ground on catch

3:05 — Better job of getting pop and moving feet on block, doesn’t sustain it

7:20 — Wide open again on deep crossing route, clean catch on high throw

7:36 — Good initial contact, stops his feet, loses defender for what appears to be a TFL (play cuts away early)

7:46 — Not a clean route (rounded off at break) but nice snag in some traffic

He looks to have good straight-line speed, and while he doesn't have a lot of wiggle, he's got yards-after-catch potential in that rumbling Jake Butt-like fashion—he can juke just enough to keep from getting hit square, at which point he can run through tackles from smaller defenders. I was impressed with his feel for the game; he makes good reads as both a thrower and runner, and while he won't make those same reads as a tight end, that football IQ will help him out. He also shows good vision as a runner.

He's certainly got the requisite size for the position. There's far too small a sample to get a feel for his hands, but on most of his catches he does a solid job of high-pointing and plucking the ball away from his body. He'll have a lot of work to do from a technical aspect, both as a receiver and blocker. He rounds off his routes; those cuts need to be a lot sharper to gain separation against better defenses. When blocking he shows a habit of stopping his feet upon initial contact, which causes him to lose a couple blocks that doom edge runs.

Schoonmaker is a developmental prospect, both because of his current level of competition and his relative lack of experience at the position he'll play in college. It's still easy to see why the coaches like him; he's got an intriguing combination of size, athleticism, and feel for the game. He's got the all-around athleticism this staff covets; in addition to being a pretty solid quarterback, he's a pitcher/1B on the baseball team.


Schoonmaker holds offers from Indiana, Rutgers, Temple, UConn, ECU, UMass, Miami (NTM), and Toledo, according to 247


According to the Rivals database, Schoonmaker would be Hamden Hall's only FBS signee since at least 2002. Michigan has only had 13 players from Connecticut in program history, most notably early Bo fullback Fritz Seyferth; the only to hail from Hamden was guard John E. Maturo, who suited up from 1946-48.


According to MaxPreps, Schoonmaker caught five passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. He also went 55-for-92 for 878 yards (9.5 YPA) with five TDs and five INTs while adding 623 yards and 13 TDs on 53 rushes (11.7 YPC).


Schoonover's Hudl page lists an unsourced 40 time of 4.58 seconds, which gets four FAKEs out of five. That time would've been good for sixth among tight ends at this year's NFL Combine. While Schoonover looks fast for a tight end, that would be an elite electronic time.


More single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


Other than a probable redshirt, it's hard to predict how Schoonmaker's career will go given the limited available video (and the competition level). With his size and athleticism, he's got plenty of upside as a tight end; he'll also need a lot of development, especially as a blocker. He'll likely end up on a similar track as Sean McKeon, another tight end from an East Coast state not known for its high school football.

Ian Bunting, TJ Wheatley, Nick Eubanks, and McKeon (plus Zach Gentry) are slated to be on the roster when Schoonmaker arrives, so there shouldn't be any need for him to see the field right away. He'll work on refining his game and bulking up for a couple of years before vying for playing time, likely as a flex TE in the mold of Butt and Bunting; if he can't block well enough to play at all in-line, he could also try going the Gentry route and making it as an oversized receiver.


This won't end Michigan's pursuit of tight ends. Texas four-star Mustapha Muhammad remains a solid bet to end up in the class, and Illinois four-star Luke Ford took a campus visit last weekend that reportedly vaulted the Wolverines towards the top of his list. After Devin Asiasi's early departure and Gentry's move to wideout, the coaches will want a second true TE in the class, possibly even a third if Muhammad and Ford both want in and they have the room.

Here's the class as it currently stands:



July 26th, 2017 at 8:40 AM ^

youre right he isn't on that level, but he has turned up the recruiting recently leading up to the national championship. The point is you don't want to be like auburn, where you recruit pretty well but not truly elite and you get one shot at a championship in a decade. I want to be a program that doesn't need one transcendent superstar to be a legit contender because the entire team is so deep and good we are contending most years. We pay harbaugh like he's urban and saban, at some point the results should start looking like them too, and that means championships not 10 win seasons.


July 26th, 2017 at 8:53 AM ^

Yeah Clemson's recruiting has been about precision. They got an elite QB, and they recruit D linemen like there's no tomorrow. But their overall rankings are unspectacular. Even though I'd rather recruit like OSU and Bama, that is proof that with the right strategy you can win without a flood of blue chip recruits every year.


July 26th, 2017 at 9:05 AM ^

It's not an either/or.  We also reeled in Rashan Gary, Aubrey Sulemon (I'm sure that's his real name), and DPJ.  Harbaugh's not just digging for diamonds in the mud; he also shops at Tiffany's and ain't shy about it.

I actually prefer the hybrid approach because not all that glitters is gold.  Scouts don't pay close attention to New England in general, whereas some well-scouted 5-stars aren't Harbaugh guys.  Looking at their absurd recruiting hauls, Ohio State should be better than getting egged by Clemson but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  A 3-star that fits the program is better than a superstar you can't use (let's not revisit Denard/Devin and Borges/Nuss).  But of course, a 5-star you CAN use, you go after.  It's not like we were gonna pass on Rashan Gary to poach a 2-star from UConn; he's a great program fit, a high character guy and a terror on the D-line.


July 26th, 2017 at 10:26 AM ^

Everyone wants Michigan to have the best class possible.  Whenever we bring in a guy with fewer stars, everyone tears their clothes and panics.  Who would you rather have Willie Henry  and Glasgow or Ondre Pipkins and Big Will Campbell?    Mike Hart and Tshmanga (sp?) Biakabatuka or Derrick Green and Kelly Baraka?

It's nice to have the best class on paper (247) and five stars do outperform three stars on average, but to DragonChild's point, you want some from Tiffany's and some diamonds in the rough.   The great think about Harbaugh is that he (and his staff) can identify and develop talent.   And they work their asses off to find the diamonds in the rough that others might not.  

I like stars too, but similar to the Dabo points above, I don't care as long as we win.  

Goggles Paisano

July 26th, 2017 at 8:17 PM ^

It looks like this is the same hello thread for Josh Mettelus and that kid is about to be a starter. Schoonmaker looks like he can play and looks like a pretty darn good athlete.  He runs well, throws a nice ball and even has a really nice thought out committment post.  He looks like a great kid from a great family with some good athletic ability for his size.  I think the young man will contribute down the road.  


July 26th, 2017 at 9:33 AM ^

Let's just look at Harbaugh's own classes to see which approach works better. In 2016 our top 5 ranked recruits were:

1. Rashan Gary

2. Devin Asiasi

3. Ben Bredeson

4. Brandon Peters

5. Michael Onwenu


Our bottom five or "diamonds in the rough" recurits were:

1. Joshua Uche

2. Sean McKeon

3. Dytarious Johnson

4. Davin Gil

5. Michaael Dwumfour


So, which approach do you like better?


July 27th, 2017 at 11:17 PM ^

A poster above stated:

"Urban seems to follow the rankings religiously while Harbaugh finds some diamonds in the rough. I honestly prefer the latter."

So if he prefers the latter then he would rather a class be built with the lower ranked "diamonds in the rough" rather than our highly ranked guy, otherwise known as the Urban method. I think if you looked at our 2016 class it is pretty clear which method is more effective.

Robbie Moore

July 26th, 2017 at 11:05 AM ^

I'm supposed to worry that Harbaugh and his staff over value hidden talent and can not manage the numbers in a recruiting class. He got more from less at Stanford than any coach anywhere. At Michigan he gets really good talent and picks some guys at the bottom of the class who are sleepers. Not sleepers to Harbaugh but sleepers to the ratings services and hence the rest of us. We're about to see a sleeper like Josh Metellus become something. Anybody betting against St. Juste? Or Vilain, who blew up the ratings only after his commitment. Ditto Tarik Black.

Maybe it's time to admit that Harbaugh and his staff know a bit more than we do.


July 26th, 2017 at 12:51 PM ^

Harbaugh rubber-stamped the offer, I'm sure, but I think the real reason why we're suddenly pulling kids out of New England is Don Brown.  The guy coached there for literally forty years.  He knows how to find dudes there, and I'll bet has more of an ear to the ground even now than all the recruiting sites combined.

Trust the 'stache.


July 26th, 2017 at 3:00 PM ^

Don Brown is the guy who's picking our TEs? Does he think Schoonmaker is better than Ford and Muhammad? Or that we won't get one of those two? Or that we should take 3 TEs in this class?

Brown is obviously the guy with the best contacts in NE but I don't think Harbaugh is rubber stamping his choices on offense.


July 26th, 2017 at 2:42 AM ^

Luke is actually rated higher on the 247 composite (601) than Sean McKeon - even before the inevitable Michigan bump - and has a similar offer list. There was grumbling about Sean's commitment as well.

Today Sean McKeon seems to be getting the most hype of Any TE on the roster as a Sophomore (or RS Frosh) over MgoFaves Wheatley and Bunting, so maybe the staff has a particular eye for TEs.

Is he the prospect that Ruckert is? Not as of today. I would bet that he will get more receptions by the time he leaves school that Ruckert does though.

Welcome to Michigan Luke.

Mr Miggle

July 26th, 2017 at 8:13 AM ^

than the other TEs too. But there wasn't much detail and I wondered if the mentions meant anything more than he was looking good for a player who hadn't played or generated much buzz previously. I suspect we would all have heard a lot more if he was ahead of Wheatley and Bunting.

Wee-Bey Brice

July 26th, 2017 at 8:18 AM ^

McKeon's name kept coming up for PT around this time last year when the depth chart suggested that was ludicrous. Kid's probably going to be a stud and nobody will care that he was a generic 3 star. That's why I dont get why fans cant just wait and see how these kids pan out before bitching. 

I remember the moaning and groaning about Josh Metellus getting a scholly just so we can get D. Bush. Anybody complaining about Metellus now? Cycle repeats itself anyway.

Detroit Dan

July 26th, 2017 at 1:52 PM ^

From the Metellus hello post:

"Metellus was a Georgia Southern commit before visiting last weekend, when he and Gil both decommitted from other programs (Miami, in Gil's case). His other offers are from FIU, Miami (OH), Midd. Tennessee State, and South Alabama."


July 26th, 2017 at 9:43 AM ^

I don't understand how people are in such an uproar about this. Harbaugh has done this the last two years. He holds a bunch of camps, offers kids at said camps, it's understood that they need to keep developing, and if they don't, they are told to look elsewhere. If this kid sticks in the class, he'll be a contributer, if not, he gets the bump in visibility to scouts and other schools (pretty important considering he's from CT). 


July 26th, 2017 at 12:01 PM ^

Wouldn't go so far as to call the comments here uproar...
ak47 was critical, as is his wont, but there's been a pretty fair balance between "trust JH" and "why this guy, why now?"
To which I'd add, why this guy, why now? Were we in danger of him imminently committing to UConn or Toledo?
This type of player can be had on Jan 31st if he's still a priority by then.
I don't want anymore guys being "processed", I'd prefer they wait until SURE there's a need & a spot.
That's me...


July 26th, 2017 at 1:14 PM ^

And it's the sum of the classes even beyond the 1-on-1 misses to OSU. Losing recruiting battles and the last two Games has not righted the ship. Then factor in the belief by many (certainly me) that top TEs would audition to play for JH rather than UM missing on so many top TEs. Let alone the top TE chooses Urban over JH.

After many years of dings from OSU, I for one want to win every contest against those bastards. Hopefully Luke turns into a star and catches winning TDs over OSU.

Gucci Mane

July 25th, 2017 at 10:31 PM ^

Don't love this but I trust Harbaugh. If we get 2 kids higher on the board to join the class do we let this kid go ? So far Harbuahg has moved on from a commit in each class he has been here. Will this class be any different ?

Wee-Bey Brice

July 26th, 2017 at 8:25 AM ^

But if that's apparent to you, what makes you think it never occurred to Harbaugh or any of his staff? They don't prioritize based on rankings.

When I watched Ford's tape I thought his movements were pretty stiff. I read the scouting reports, etc, and then my eyes told me something different. Harbaugh probably does the same thing and prioritizes based on his eyes. He saw this kid in person and thought he was good enough to take with Ford still on the board. Thats good enough for me.