Hello: Matt Wile

Submitted by Tim on January 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Extremely positive articles over the past week leave this as no surprise, but Michigan has gained a commitment from CA K Matt Wile following his official visit to Ann Arbor.




Scout Rivals ESPN
NR K 2*, 5.3, NR K 2*, 73, #44 K

Wile is a bit more under-the-radar than Michigan's previous few options at kicker; ESPN calls him the #44 kicker in the nation, while the other two services place him outside their "top kickers" rankings (Rivals ranks 20 and Scout only 11). ESPN on his game:

He has a field goal approach that is repeatable. The ball jumps off his foot and he has a smooth rhythm. He does need to finish down field more on his FG at times. There are times where he pivots and comes across his body slightly. His kick offs are solid for a high school kicker. He generally drives the ball into the endzone and gives his team good hang-time to run underneath his kicks... Matt should be able compete early in college.

So: reasonably strong leg, needs to refine technique to make sure his kicks are accurate. With excellent size (6-2, 200) he is also a big, athletic prospect who played several sports growing up. His coach talked up that leg strength to Sam Webb:

"I think he went to Northwestern camp this past summer and hit a 63 (-yarder) off the ground, and he did it again in San Antonio for the Army All American game just this two weeks ago. He hit a 58 off the ground. I've got some film of him putting kickoffs through the goalposts from the 40 off a 1-inch tee when he was a sophomore in high school."

He's been training in field goals without a tee (college-style) for the past two or three years, so the transition will hopefully be a smooth one. Wile kicked in the Army All-American Game, so he has been recognized by at least somebody as a top prospect:

Wile is a versatile player who could kick or punt equally well in college. He could see the field as a freshman due to his strong leg on kickoffs. Wile’s mechanics on field goals are picture-perfect, leading to consistent results.

All services mention that he's a candidate to punt at the next level as well (which is what he did in the Army Game), so as a senior or redshirt junior, he could replace Will Hagerup.

He is not listed on Chris Sailer's recruits list.


Rivals lists offers from Air Force, San Diego State, and Washington in addition to Michigan. Michigan's current staff offered him at SDSU, which makes sense as he's a local recruit for them. He also has a greyshirt offer from Washington.

He was planning to visit Nebraska next weekend ($, info in header), and he was likely to be offered by the Huskers at that time. However, the opportunity to be a 5th-generation(!) Michigan student was too much to pass up - although he hadn't planned to commit on the visit.


The Army website has junior stats:wileaction.jpg

Wile’s kickoffs ended in touchbacks an astounding 89 percent of the time in 2009, including four that went through the uprights. He also converted on 9 of his 12 field goal attempts, with a long of 48 yards. Wile also serves as his school’s punter, showing good consistency while averaging 42 yards per punt.

So there's that.


Matt is a kicker, and therefore 40 times are irrelevant. I couldn't find one online anyway, though ESPN hints that he's good covering kickoffs. I give five FAKEs out of five.


Highlights (yes, kickers with highlight videos -- this is our world):


Michigan's pursuit of Wile shows that the coaching staff is not confident in Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen going forward. This means that Wile is likely to start as a true freshman, and probably to be a four-year starter. However, if he can't beat out Gibbons or Broekhuizen as a freshman, he could redshirt then start for the following four years.

As a capable punter (mentioned above), he could also punt once Will Hagerup graduates. That means there's a possibility he punts as a senior or a redshirt junior.


The kicker is here! Since this was a position of need, the spot was almost certain to be filled, so it's already been accounted for in the commitment breakdown. Michigan still needs a defensive tackle, a safety, and a quarterback.

Any unused spots will either go to newly emerging prospects, or be banked for the excellent midwest class of 2012.



January 22nd, 2011 at 7:28 PM ^

I would welcome Mr. Wile to the great blue nation, but I'm feeling fairly under-qualified to do so.  That is an amazing lineage, and I am excited to see his mark on the tradition his family helped to build.

D.C. Dave

January 22nd, 2011 at 7:36 PM ^

...going to give us points where we couldn't get them the past two seasons.

The bar is not too high. We just want a guy we can send out there if we get to the 25 or closer, that's all we ask. He doesn't need to be Janikowski. They other two, Brookshankin and Squibbons, can't hit their ass with both hands.

One question: How in the world was Rodriguez not recruiting an All-American kicker with all this Michigan lineage? Every day, I am more and more glad he's gone. Think of the year of rebuilding we have saved by bringing in Coach Hoke -- and Greg Mattison -- right now. Amazing.

D.C. Dave

January 22nd, 2011 at 10:32 PM ^

Yeah, other guys got on some little list, and Wile was picked to kick in the Army All-American game, where he played well. The rankings are always, always wrong. Smart coaches don't recruit by them. A bunch of recruiting experts on the web don't know anything and these rankings, especially on positions like kickers, are always wildly off.

I stand by what I said: Expecting the coaching staff to know that a Div. I kicker has four generations of Michigan history is hardly asking him to know the background of every recruit in the country. That is a highly unusual fact, not simply where his mom and dad went to school. If it were a routine fact, I could see it, but kids like this don't come along too often.

And it's a valid point to make now, because it demonstrates all the qualities Hoke had that we have needed. He gets it. 


D.C. Dave

January 23rd, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

How would he know it? Any recruiting coordinator worth having would know it. It is their job to collect background information, tapes, anything of note. Indeed, making sure the coach has everything he needs on any potential recruit of interest is the one thing they must make a priority.

Have you ever spent any time around a D-I college football program? I have. I have seen Saban's system when he was at LSU. I can guarantee you if this kid had four previous generations at U-M, Saban would not only know it, he'd act on it.

These programs have all of this information on everyone. They get tapes, they have full biographical information. If he did not know it, it confirms what most people who have worked with Rodriguez -- he is not detail-oriented, which is why he didn't have the players fill out the required forms on voluntary workouts, which is the sole reason we got put on NCAA probation. A coach who said he thought that had been done and "didn't know" that it wasn't, even though it his job to know. He is ultimately responsible. And so we went on probation because when the NCAA asked for the forms every single team in the country fills out, Michigan had none. It's right there in the NCAA investigation. He should've been fired immediately for being so stupid.

So if he didn't know about Wile, well, that's consistent with all the things he should have known but didn't. If he did know it and didn't recruit him at all, which is the case, then it's just more arrogance on his part. Stop making excuses for the guy. To say he should not have been expected to know Wile's background is naive. That is what recruiting coordinators do. The stuff they have on these guys is remarkable. My guess is he did know it and didn't care.

And for all who say, Rodriguez is gone, let's move on, he's not gone. We're paying for it for the next 3 years because this guy just drew up plays all the time and did nothing else. It appeared no other unit on the team even had a coach -- the defense or the special teams. Everyone knows the voluntary workouts aren't really voluntary, at any school -- Ohio State's players said as much. But they said they understood what was voluntary and what was not by filling out and signing the forms. Only our former coach blew off the paperwork. So we have this guy hanging over us until the probation ends. Let's not be cutting him slack on Matt Wile. It is just another example of incompetence, not the only one by a long shot.


January 23rd, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

I almost think this is too obvious to post, but I don't think you're being sarcastic, so here goes:

1) The rankings are not always wrong, and if you think a player's performance in a single game outweighs long-term evaluation, then I'm glad you aren't in charge of recruiting.

2) Selection to the watered down Army game is a great honor, but it does not make you a great (or even competent) collegiate kicker.

3) There is no reason to think that RR didn't know this kid had family that went to Michigan.  I suspect he thought they found a better kicker, and obviously Miami and multiple scouting services agreed.

4) We should get the best players available regardless of where their 10 generations of family went to school, though it's nice when those families went to Michigan too.

5) I have no idea what "qualities Hoke had that we have needed" means (probably due to a grammatical issue).  If you mean the ability to know where the kicker's family is from, you have no proof RR didn't.  If you mean the ability to get a kicker whose family went to Michigan, I'm sure RR could have done that if he wanted to.  If you mean the ability to find a talented kicker, we have no way of knowing that yet; Gibbons was far more highly thought of coming in.  If you mean the ability to be a MICHIGAN MAN, I think you're a moron.  And if recruiting kids whose families went to Michigan is what he "gets," then the program really is run by cronyism and we're doomed anyway, so I guess I'll watch the rest of Denard's career and then just kill myself because what's the point.


January 22nd, 2011 at 8:01 PM ^

It's a fricking committing frenzy in Ann Arbor. 

I hope Coach Hoke and the boys are at the basketball game and afterwards, whle standing in front of the gates to the tunnel, he announces to the remainder of undecideds:  "space is filling up gentlemen.  If you want in, now's the time to say so."

Clark? McClure? Willingham?  Make it an epic weekend fellas.


January 22nd, 2011 at 8:10 PM ^

I want Hoke to fullfil the promise make to these young men.  They just turned out not to be very good.  I dont want to pull a Les Miles and pull the scholarships.  Our word is our bond.  We are Michigan.


January 22nd, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

Hate to pick on college kids but this is one of the bigger understatements I've heard in a while: "Michigan's pursuit of Wile shows that the coaching staff is not confident in Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen going forward."


January 23rd, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

He has terrible technique and was highly rated because he could hit it far off of a tee. If you watch his motion the placement of his plan foot is never consistent and he's completely off-balance most of the time. He doesn't get hardly any backspin or height on his kicks. Broekhuizen is better than him.


January 22nd, 2011 at 8:46 PM ^

"Wile’s kickoffs ended in touchbacks an astounding 89 percent of the time in 2009..."

That alone is worth a scholarship even if he struggles with field goals.


January 23rd, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

Every year at schools all over the country, a bunch of very highly-rated 4- and 5-star kids prove that they aren't able to justify their rankings coming out of high school. It may seem like kicking a ball should be automatic in ways that making an accurate throw into coverage or breaking tackles while holding onto the ball are not, but it's just as prone to technique problems and focus issues as any other position is.

If Wile is simply able to put 75% of his kickoffs into the end zone, that alone will be a huge plus for us. If we'd been able to do that against Iowa, that game might have been a lot closer.