On a visit to Ann Arbor for the Michigan spring game a couple weeks ago, MI DE/DT Matt Godin offered his commitment to Brady Hoke. He is the 11th commitment of Michigan's 2012 class. He told Tom the reasons behind that commitment:
|3*, #39 DE||NR DT||NR DT||4*, 92, #12 SDE #239 Ovr|
So the four premium sites disagree on his position, and unfortunately the two that have rated him agree on where he'll play. That means we have a pretty good idea of where he stands among defensive ends, but as a DT, he's still a mystery. With that in mind, we move on to the measurements: the sites have a consensus at 6-5 (Scout is an outlier, per usual), and somewhere between 253 (combine verified by Rivals) and 265 pounds.
As for the evaluations, Scout asks him about his game:
“I’m quick off the ball and I use my hands well. I get great separation too. I move pretty well and have very good vision. I want to improve my technique and tackle better. I’m also trying to get stronger and more physical.”
Those are pretty standard "I am good at some things, but want to get better at other things"-type comments. Every high school player needs to improve strength, so that's no surprise. His movement skills seem to be his strong point, and Forward Thinking agrees:
Godin is a big man with a bigger motor. The first thing that strikes you is his excellent athleticism for his size. It's rare to see a big man move around like he can. He isn't the most explosive player off the ball, but once he gets out of his stance it doesn't take him long to get into the backfield.
Explosiveness and strength will be his weaknesses at this point. Allen Trieu (HT: Forward Thinking):
On the defensive line, Detroit Catholic Central's Matthew Godin has great size, and is athletic for his frame, he just needs continued technical work and he needs to get stronger. I like his frame, his motor, work ethic and he has agile feet for a big man.
The weaknesses are common to most high school prospects, so as long as he can live up to his potential in a college weight program, they probably won't be a huge deal. He was recently profiled by the Flint Journal:
Coach Tom Mack said Godin exemplifies what a hard-nosed player is all about. “In practice, he demonstrates his abilities very well — playing the game of football, that’s the No. 1 criteria. You have to be able to mix it up,” said Mack. “That’s a quality of a great football player. He does a great job of focusing in on what his assignment is. He exhibits a lot of mental toughness in the game. I think his mental toughness is a key element. “I think he directs himself very well as far as getting the job done.”
Though Wisconsin is the "USC Quarterback" or "Ohio State Safety" of offers for linemen, that's primarily a distinction for the other side of the ball. Still, I'll trust Wisconsin's coaches when it comes to evaluating the big guys. Michigan State joined the Badgers as Godin's other Big Ten offer.
Outside of the Big Ten, Matt had offers from the ACC (Boston College, Duke), the Big East (Cincinnati, Syracuse), and lower-profile teams from the Big 12 and SEC (Missouri and Vanderbilt, respectively). From the ranks of the non-BCS leagues, Buffalo was his only listed offer. If he hadn't made such an early decision, there's no doubt his offer list would have swelled to something a bit more impressive.
Scout has junior numbers:
As a junior, Matt Godin earned All-Catholic League honors after recording 66 tackles, 28 for loss, two sacks and one batted pass.
He's a defensive end in high school, so the low sack numbers are a little troublesome, but there's such a wide range of high school offenses it's tough to cast any blame. Obviously he's able to get into the backfield, as his 28 TFLs demonstrate.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the only premium site with a listed 40 time, at 5.03 seconds. His Youtube highlight (embedded below) says 4.98. That's not bad at all for a 260-pound guy who's in between defensive end and defensive tackle. Only two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Godin is the sort of kid who is unlikely to make an impact early in his career, before blowing up (or at least becoming a very solid role player) in his final years on campus. As a high school player who notably lacks strength, a year in a college weight program can work wonders. For that reason, I think he's a lock to redshirt as a true freshman, as long as Michigan has enough strongside defensive ends ready to play in 2012.
In his first two years actually on the field, he'll get limited playing time, mostly in blowouts. However, as a junior, he'll work his way into the starting lineup, and perform effectively in the position. As a 5th-year senior, a second-team All-Big Ten honor is possible. Depending on how he develops, he could earn even more impressive honors.
Though I project him as a strongside defensive end here, there's always a chance that college-level strength and conditioning see him put on more muscle mass, and become a 3-tech defensive tackle. As an underdeveloped high schooler, the range of possibilities for his career is wide-spanning. He could be a career role-player, or a future star. I'll trust Greg Mattison's scouting talent on this one, and split the difference.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It seems likely that Godin will at least start his career as a defensive end. If he puts on more weight, he could (finally) be Michigan's first defensive tackle in the class, but all reports have him at least starting his career at defensive end. So, that makes him the third defensive end in the class, and Michigan is probably only looking to take one more - another strongside guy, and even that one only if he's elite (Chris Wormley pls).
Going forward, Michigan's biggest needs are an elite running back, a good wideout, an interior defensive lineman or two, and a couple more on the offensive line - preferably tackles. They could also use a quarterback, but with Shane Morris's commitment to next year's class, they have the luxury of holding out for a top guy.