Hello: Michael Barrett Comment Count

Ace January 23rd, 2018 at 7:58 PM


Despite gaudy passing stats, this is a running back. [Valdosta Daily]

At somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-foot-even, 215-pounds, Valdosta (GA) Lowndes athlete Michael Barrett faced a choice: remain at quarterback in an option system, likely at in-state Georgia Tech, or give that up in favor of being more of an Ohio State-style H-back (think thicc Curtis Samuel):

Looking at the two pictures above, you'd probably want to see Barrett in more of a running back role for his future NFL prospects. Barrett apparently agreed, choosing the Wolverines over the Yellow Jackets this evening with a post on Twitter. He's the 21st commit in the 2018 class, the second to pledge in three days, and the third who should spend a large portion of his time at running back, joining Hassan Haskins and Christian Turner.

In semi-related news, Michael Barrett the football player rather difficult to google these days.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.6, NR ATH,
#72 GA
3*, 78, #50 ATH,
#63 GA
3*, 86, #70 ATH,
#84 GA, #811 Ovr
3*, #64 ATH,
#72 GA, #733 Ovr

I'm honestly not sure how to reconcile Barrett's very middling rankings with his decent offer sheet, solid tape, and remarkable high school production. I know Georgia is loaded with talent, but he looks like he deserves a higher placement than, at best, 63rd in the state.

All three sites list Barrett at 6'0" (except 247, which docks him a half-inch) and somewhere between 200 and 215 pounds. That is very much a running back build.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, some very impressive stats, and more.]

SCOUTING

There is surprisingly little out there on Barrett given he starred for multiple seasons against high-level Georgia competition. Even though Barrett was the region player of the year in Georgia's largest classification as a junior and articles indicate he attended at least a couple camps with media coverage last spring, a scouring of the recruiting sites reveal only one full scouting report. It's an underclassman eval from fire-and-forget ESPN:

Strengths: Versatile. May not be a QB for everyone, but is a dynamic runner. Plays faster than his listed times. Looks and moves like a tailback. Has good size and should continue to fill out. May be a SS at the next level. Good overall quickness and agility. Good ball handler. Areas of Improvement: May not be a burner. Has a live arm, but erratic and would need polish and development. Bottomline: Good player, very good athlete that plays at a good school against quality people. Competes. Viable option on both sides of the ball.

The only other available pieces of information are Barrett's stats, which are rather bonkers and will make you wonder why Joe Milton is the quarterback of this class (via MaxPreps)...

Year Comp-Att (%) Yards YPA TD INT Rush Yards YPC Rush TD
Senior 111-174 (63.8%) 1705 9.8 16 2 129 1195 9.3 13
Junior 132-213 (62.0%) 2753 12.9 27 6 168 1283 7.6 21

...and his film, which should answer that question when you see his throwing motion:

He makes enough impressive, unorthodox throws to make you think he could hack it at quarterback; then he takes off running and you want to see much more of that. Since there was a dearth of updated scouting reports out there, we had the new Mr. Future Blue, Adam Schnepp, break down Barrett's senior tape with a focus on his probable future at running back (I've added emphasis):

I can see why Michigan's been after Mike Barrett for so long. He's obviously fast, but I came away from viewing his nine-game tape more impressed with how he utilizes his quickness than with his straight-line speed. He repeatedly sped up and slowed down as defenders drew closer so as to force them into either taking a bad angle or missing the tackle entirely. He also showed that he can stick a foot in the ground and change directions without losing speed. Barrett was rarely brought down by the first free defender he encountered. He also runs low to the ground and with good balance.

That all means very little, though, if a guy doesn't know where he's going. Barrett's decision-making was excellent, and he made good decisions quickly. I thought the most impressive part of his quarterbacking was his ability to throw accurately on the run despite funky mechanics; he was able to get out of the pocket and find the open man repeatedly, and he did so while fitting the ball into some fairly tight windows. As a runner, he always ran to the right side of his block in the open field. This is a guy who isn't going to run into a clogged frontside B gap when the backside A gap is there for the taking because he has good vision and processes what he sees quickly and accurately.

I think Barrett has greater utility as a running back because of his quick-decision-making-plus-elusiveness combo and Michigan's roster composition, but he's not a bad quarterback. His throwing motion is very reminiscent of a shot putter, and though not aesthetically pleasing, the resulting throws were shockingly accurate. While Barrett's arm strength is satisfactory it's not a plus. 

There you have it. Barrett should develop into a stocky, 220- or 230- pound back who's at his best operating between the tackles.

OFFERS

Barrett holds offers from Georgia Tech, LSU, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCF, USF, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others. Other than Georgia Tech, I believe all the power conference schools were recruiting him as a running back or athlete, not a quarterback.

HIGH SCHOOL

First of all, Barrett spearheaded a record-setting season for Lowndes in 2017:

The Vikings finished 11-1 after a perfect 10-0 regular season led them to a Region 1-7A championship (their first region title since 2010). They set a new school record for points scored in a season with 627, shattering the previous record of 594 from last year. The offensive outpour allowed Lowndes to become the 60th team in Georgia high school history to pass 600 points in a season, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Lowndes scored 50 points or more in nine games.

The school has produced several Power 5 signees in the Rivals era (2002-present), including former FSU signees Greg Reid, Telvin Smith, and Gerald Demps.

STATS

In addition to the offensive stats posted above, Barrett accrued some solid numbers as a defensive back in his sophomore year, recording 44 tackles (27 solo) with three TFLs, two interceptions, two pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries. He scored six total touchdowns that year: four rushing (on only 30 carries; he also had six two-point coversions) and one each on fumble and kickoff returns.

FAKE 40 TIME

Barrett's ESPN page lists SPARQ-verified combine numbers: a 4.67 40 (zero FAKEs), 4.40 shuttle, 34.4-inch vertical, and 37.5-foot powerball throw for a solid all-around score of 95.7. While he doesn't have the most wiggle, he's got solid explosiveness and decent straight-line speed.

VIDEO

Nearly 19 minutes of junior highlights:

Single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Barrett should indeed wind up at running back unless things really go pear-shaped at quarterback or he makes the six-foot-nothing, power-running version of Vince Young thing work for him enough to win over the coaches; for many reasons, especially the passing talent of the other quarterbacks on the roster, that'd be a surprise.

Instead, he should battle with classmates Haskins and Turner, as well as Kurt Taylor, for scattered snaps behind the returning RB corps of Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, Kareem Walker, and O'Maury Samuels. Barrett has the added dimension of his passing ability as a means to work his way onto the field; on the other hand, he also has the least experience as an actual running back. He's got the physical ability to develop into a tough, one-cut back; it might take him a few years to get there, especially since Jim Harbaugh isn't going to stop recruiting talent in the backfield.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

It's now got 21 members in a class that should add a few more. With wide receivers JaMarr Chase and Chris Olave, who were relatively luxaries, looking like longshots, the focus is primarily on offensive tackle (Jarrett Patterson, Nick Petit-Frere), defensive tackle (mostly a question mark), and retaining Otis Reese (looking better recently).

Comments

OwenGoBlue

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:31 PM ^

I'd guess they're gonna break down a few Utah games and do a more in-depth eval from there.

Not sure why no mention at all, but having actual useful film on a transfer lends itself to a more time consuming/thorough post than the HS stuff. 

dragonchild

January 24th, 2018 at 9:35 AM ^

Denard's running was facilitated by the fact that he could throw arm-punts to Hemingway.  At this level, I'm not convinced Barrett can get the safeties to back off any better than last year's revolving door of QBs.  Milton's the QB of this class because of that upside -- there doesn't seem to be any situation where the safety will go, "There's no way he can throw it this far."

However, instead of letting his accuracy rot, we could mix in a direct-snap-to-RB RPO.  A sort of short field version of QB Oh Noes if opposing defenses get too blitz-happy.

Navy Wolverine

January 23rd, 2018 at 8:47 PM ^

Wow - very impressive tape. How is he the 63rd (or 84th) best player in Georgia??? He would be a top 5 player in Michigan this year. I wonder if signing another Georgia kid (I think that is 3 now this year) will help with Otis Reese. 

FL_Steve

January 23rd, 2018 at 8:52 PM ^

Anyone else get the feeling this is more of a class for depth. And next year's will focus on more "highly rated" players? Not to minimize the talent here, but there are certainly strong feelings afoot.

philthy66

January 24th, 2018 at 9:00 AM ^

Hoke couldn’t land athletes in his classes, which was his demise. That one class only has Justice Hayes as offensive speedster. I don’t think stockpiling athletes is a problem. I do agree with a confused perception in terms of numbers, but I don’t think there is an issue with getting good football players

Steves_Wolverines

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:02 PM ^

I think this theory has some merit.

To put it simply, we're not Alabama, OSU, USC, or Clemson. We can't/won't have 5 stars riding the bench for 2 years for their spot to open up since they were behind a 5 star waiting to go to the NFL.

We've had some attrition (maybe more than usual), and it could be that "we" promised playing time, or a certain position to focus on then "we" change our mind, etc, etc. 

This class might not be looking for immediate playing time, or even expecting playing time until a RS SO or JR year. 

This will help our special teams, since depth players are the glue for special teams, and continuity in the locker room. 

So yeah, I think there might be something to it. 

Now, I'm not saying that these kids won't be fighting for playing time and competing the moment they get on campus. I just think they'll remain loyal to the competition, even if they don't break through until year 3.

leftrare

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:30 PM ^

A year ago, I thought this was going to be the strategic, small, selective class. And now it’s up to 21 with a couple more likely. This is the head-scratchingest class I can ever remember. And I’m not going to second guess the coaches; I never do. But, this reminds me of the early RR classes of All Smurfs. I get that the DL and OL hauls last year were awesome so not as much is needed there this year. But we’re now looking at a fall roster with 7 RBs, 16+ DBs, 10+ WRs and about 9 LBs under 225 pounds. This is not your grandfather Lloyd’s Michigan football team. And it doesn’t really feel like what I would have thought of as a Harbaugh team.

Edit: need to clarify “smurf”. RR recruited a ton of 150-170 pound athletes. This class only has a few that fit that description. But still, by harbaugh “Football Player” standards, a lot of the kids in this class are... not large people.

Jasper

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:57 PM ^

"RR recruited a ton of 150-170 pound athletes."

No, he did not. (If you're going to trash the guy, you have a bunch of other inviting and reasonable targets. Look at the events of the past month or so.)

I just looked at the 247 recruit lists for '08 to '11. Here are the guys in the 150-170 range:

Terrence Robinson (170)
Martavious Odoms (164)
Roy Roundtree (154)
Jeremy Gallon (165)
Vincent Smith (159)
Courtney Avery (165)
Blake Countess (166)
Delontee Hollowell (160)
 
Hardly "a ton" ...
 
Most of those guys played at least OK and made solid contributions. I count only one bust (Robinson). Even Hollowell was a good special-teamer.
 
I'm guessing you were the kind of person who thought RichRod lost to OSU because of a "lack of toughness" or an "inability to understand the rivalry."

leftrare

January 24th, 2018 at 9:08 AM ^

I was a solid RR supporter, thought he got shafted by a complete lack of support other than from fans like me.

All I’m saying here is those 8 guys you listed — exactly who I had in mind as RR “smurfs” — are not typical Harbaugh personnel. As for your last comment, come on, Man. That’s not me at all.

1VaBlue1

January 24th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

You're right - that is not "a ton" of players.  In fact, it's only 1303 pounds of players.  So it's more accurate to say that RR recruited 'half a ton' of smurf-type players.  And when put that way, it doesn't seem like a lot...

Stringer Bell

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:27 PM ^

Sounds like some rationalizing to me. We missed on a lot of our top targets. Those are guys we tried to build depth with and we whiffed. It happens. Its not a disaster of a class like the coaching transition classes but its probably not one thats going to make up the core of a championship team either. I think Harbaugh recognized that this cycle wasn't what he wanted and went out and hired some good recruiters for his staff.

socrking

January 24th, 2018 at 9:48 AM ^

Harbaugh has now brought in:14 OL, 21 WR's / RB's, 8 TE / FB's, and 17 DB's in his four classes.

If you take out his first class that was mostly put together by Hoke, it's 12 OL, 18 WR / RB, 7 TE / FB's, and 14 DB's.

If you lump TE's and FBs in with RB's and WR's its more than a 1 OL : 2 skill position ratio on offense (not counting QB's). OL just seems underrecruited since you will always have 5 of them on the field.

Fezzik

January 24th, 2018 at 10:52 AM ^

This is what many people are saying to give themselves peace of mind. When recruit A doesn't commit, you go to B, when B doesn't commit you go to C. There is a zero percent chance Harbaugh could have 5 star recruit A but chose to pass on him for depth player recruit C. That makes no sense and is a poor rationalization due to our lower rated class. All the new coaches hired have one single trait in common, strong recruiting background.

MGoStrength

January 24th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

Harbaugh has the same philosophy to every class...recruit the best players he can get.  This is just what he can get this year.  Why is it less highly ranked the last 2 years?...record, lack of "newness", less in-state talent, chance, etc. who knows.  But, I highly doubt he is intentionally taking less talented guys for "depth" and not going after the best guys that are interested.

San Diego Mick

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:15 PM ^

Good luck in your career no matter what position you end up at, I'm sure he'll help the team somehow.

In the least he could be a scout team beast at QB to help us prepare for opponents with QB's similar to him.

Blue_In_Texas

January 23rd, 2018 at 9:14 PM ^

I know someone will inevitably ask me if I think I know more than Harbaugh...but this recruiting class is inching me to be a little worried about our program right now. We are going to fall even more behind some top programs. 

Fezzik

January 24th, 2018 at 11:00 AM ^

He said a little worried, not full panic. And he did not insult anyone, except maybe you somehow. The reality is if every future Harbaugh class is similar to this one we have great reason for concern. This class is a bit of a head scratcher but no one is in panic mode. No need to insinuate otherwise.

uminks

January 24th, 2018 at 8:57 PM ^

happens when you only win 8 games. I expect this year will be the lowest point of Harbaugh's recruiting classes. A nice 9 to 10 win season will help the 2019 class. There are some good 3 star players in this class, so I'm not too worried even if this class falls out of the top 20.