Hello: Noah Furbush

Submitted by Ace on July 1st, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Won't be needing that lanyard anymore.

Michigan picked up their third commitment in three days when Kenton (OH) linebacker Noah Furbush made the call for the Wolverines this morning, according to multiple outlets. Furbush becomes the 14th commit in the 2014 class and the third at linebacker, joining Michael Ferns and Chase Winovich.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 Sports 247 Comp.
3*, #59 OLB NR OLB 4*, 80, #21 ILB 3*, 87, #53 OLB 3*, #43 OLB,
#565 Ovr.

Michigan has gone from zero MGoBlog Sleeper of the Year candidates to three in a matter of days, as Furbush is the last four-star inside linebacker on ESPN and gets middle-of-the-road three-star ratings from Scout and 247, with Rivals yet to evaluate him.

There is some disparity over his future college position: while ESPN pegs him as an inside linebacker, the other sites list him on the outside, with 247 even listing a secondary position of weakside defensive end. That probably has to do with his size — Furbush is listed by all four services at 6'4" and 230-240 pounds. Michigan is reportedly recruiting Furbush as an inside guy, which just happens to be the spot where he's ranked the highest.


Furbush was an unknown quantity even to Ohio insiders as recently as last fall, until his junior tape started drawing attention. When Bucknuts compiled their initial 2014 top 50 list for the state of Ohio, Furbush landed at #22 thanks in large part to some impressive hits on his highlight reel ($):

"With Furbush, you like his explosion and the way he just destroys the ball carriers with his first four or five plays (on video). He really strikes people and strikes them pure. That’s harder to do than you think. He has that innate ability to destroy people when he hits them. He’s put on 40 pounds in the last year. I think he can be a pretty good defensive end.

“He has just come out of nowhere. I didn’t really see him during the season or even in the month or two after the season. We first saw (his video) in the last month or two.”

Furbush's physical play doesn't just come through on tape; Allen Trieu praised his strength when he went to Purdue's camp last month ($):

Noah Furbush, a linebacker for Kenton with several offers is a big kid who looks like he will only get bigger. He is strong and physical, throwing a few would be receivers to the ground off the line. We think with his size and growth potential, he may end up putting his hand down at the next level or potentially being a hybrid type guy.

That's two evaluations mentioning Furbush as a potential defensive end. With Michigan recruiting him as an inside linebacker, that could raise concerns about his coverage, but he performed well in that regard at a Toledo 7-on-7 camp last month, per Scout's Bill Greene ($):

A 2014 linebacker prospect out of Kenton, Ohio. Furbush was all over the field, showing speed and also leaping ability. His man-to-man coverage was excellent and he also got great depth in his drops. One to watch this year at one of Ohio's fine programs.

With the wide-open style of 7-on-7 football, being able to cover man-up as an oversized (for high school) linebacker is impressive. 247's Clint Brewster took a look at Furbush's tape and also came away impressed with his coverage, among other things ($):

He has excellent instincts and plays with a very high football I.Q. He doesn’t over pursue and does his job on each play. Furbush has outstanding pass rush technique and excels coming off the edge, getting after the quarterback. He shows excellent first-step-quickness. At 6-foot-4, and 230-pounds, Furbush runs well for his size and uses his long frame to his advantage, particularly well in the passing game, getting in between passing lanes and breaking up passes. He also uses his length to get off blocks very well. He does not stay blocked.

Aggressiveness and consistent, hard-hitting tackling are also mentioned as positives, which is in line with other evaluations. Brewster's notes the all-important pad level as an area for improvement, no surprise both because of Furbush's height and the fact that this has been said about every high school front seven prospect in the history of high school front seven prospects.

Furbush's high school coach thinks his athleticism helps set him apart from other prospects, per ESPN's Chantel Jennings ($):

He runs like a defensive back,” [Kenton coach Mike] Mauk said. “He moves and changes direction very well. He’s physical and very aggressive. He has a great nose for the football and a great burst, and he makes plays. I think his best years of football are still ahead of him.”

Oh, and you can check off the box:

“He’s a tremendous leader and a great person,” Mauk said. “It’s just a great fit.”

If that wasn't enough, Mauk also spoke about Furbush with Scout's Dave Berk back in May, praising his work ethic first and foremost ($):

Number one Noah is a tremendously hard worker and give his best to improve his strength, flexibility, speed and his conditioning,” said Mauk. “He’s always working to try and get better and I think that is what sets him apart.

“Sometimes, when you’re gifted with the abilities that he has, you look for days when he just goes through the motions. He never does and is always doing the very best that he can. I watch him go through training and I’m amazed at how strong he is and how hard he works to get better.

Mauk notes in that article that Furbush was a wide receiver(!) for his freshman and sophomore years before moving to outside linebacker last year; at that point, Furbush weighed "195 to 200" pounds. Putting on 40 pounds of muscle and learning a new position in the course of a year definitely backs up what Mauk says about Furbush above — his effort in the weight room won't be an issue.

What jumps out about Furbush is his potential to line up at multiple positions. His coverage ability and hard-hitting nature make him a fit at inside linebacker, where Michigan plans to use him. His large frame, aggressiveness, and pass-rushing skill could lead to a move to strongside linebacker or even defensive end, depending on how much he bulks up over the course of the next few years.

Furbush isn't the highest-ranked guy in the class (obviously) and I'd guess we'd hear more negatives about his game if he were more highly-scouted and played better high school competition — Kenton played in Ohio's fourth-largest division last year, though they're moving up to Division III this fall despite a male enrollment of just 285 students — but his versatility gives him a good chance of finding a home somewhere on the depth chart.


Furbush chose Michigan over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Mizzou, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and a handful of MAC offers. He also camped at Ohio State but did not pick up a Buckeye offer.


As said above, Kenton has played in Ohio's Division IV, so Furbush hasn't faced top competition in his high school career. Kenton hasn't produced a four-star prospect in the Rivals era, but they have produced two Division I quarterbacks: brothers Ben (Wake Forest) and Maty (Mizzou) Mauk, sons of the head coach.


Furbush finished his junior year with 115 tackles and a forced fumble, per 247.


None of the recruiting services list a real or fake 40 time.


Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio — it takes, well, not long to see why people mention hitting first when talking about Furbush:

Furbush also has a slightly longer reel that features almost the exact same set of plays and lacks the handy pre-snap arrow. He's not on Hudl, unfortunately, so there aren't extensive cut-ups that I can find; those would be nice, as we don't get to see much at all of Furbush in coverage above.


He'll end up somewhere! That's my bold prediction.

Okay, that's probably insufficient. I like how Michigan's coaches are thinking of using Furbush; if he's good enough in coverage, having an inside linebacker who can come downhill and lay the wood is always a plus, and Furbush looks like he could wreak havoc blitzing up the middle when Greg Mattison dials it up. If that's the position group of choice, Furbush will compete for one of the MLB/WLB spots — with his size, probably MLB — along with Michael Ferns and Ben Gedeon once James Ross and Joe Bolden matriculate through the program. That affords Furbush a redshirt year and a season as a backup and special teams player before he competes for a starting spot.

Furbush could also end up at strongside linebacker or even weakside defensive end, depending both on his growth and how the roster looks in a couple of years.


While Furbush is the third linebacker in the class — and could potentially help out with depth on the strong side — his commitment doesn't spell the end of Michigan recruiting that position group for 2014, according to Sam Webb. The Wolverines are still pursuing four-star CA OLB Dwight Williams, who's scheduled to take an official visit for the Notre Dame game, and borderline 3/4-star MO OLB Jimmie Swain, who recently named Michigan to his top four. Look for the coaches to make a hard push to land one of those two, and we could see some late offers go out for a strongside LB should neither commit.

EDIT: Almost forgot to include the news that led to this commit watch — Furbush's commitment means camp standout Drue Tranquill is unlikely to get an offer ($):

“I spoke with Michigan (Thursday) and they previously offered a kid at my position, and he might commit soon,” he stated.  “If he does commit then they’re not going to offer me.  If he doesn’t then they (will consider Tranquill). So if he does commit, Michigan will drop out there.”

Happy trails, likely to Cincinnati or Purdue unless Notre Dame comes through with an offer.

As for the rest of the class, Michigan is still looking for a third offensive lineman (preferably a tackle), a safety, and a couple more defensive linemen. Top priority prospects include VA WDE DaShawn Hand, MI DT/SDE Malik McDowell, PA S Montae Nicholson, IL CB/S Parrker Westphal, and CA CB Adoree' Jackson. The Wolverines could also look to take a running back, though landing one isn't vital after last year's haul and with Michigan looking good at that position the 2015 class.


Mr. Yost

July 1st, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

...hit on some sleeper 3* types, develop some under-the-radar types, and take advantage of the years when Michigan and Ohio are full at a particular position.

That's always been the formula. Then Michigan got Rich Rod who really didn't recruit the area and pissed off a bunch of HS coaches in the area. Ohio lost Tressel and had sanctions waivering over them and MSU captialized.

It's back to reality now. If MSU would just shut up and accept it, I'd be willing to shut up and leave them alone too. I'd even say that I wouldn't care if the won games that had no impact on Michigan. It's when Dantonio came and got all cocky and started skewing the facts like he was beating Michigan and Ohio in everything that got to me. Because the fans took on that fantasy and they truly believe their on the same level.

I'm glad their coming back down to earth...maybe in the few years they'll be somewhat tolerable. Like I said, if the game has no bearing on Michigan...I have no problem being "indifferent" towards State. Until then, I want them to lose every single game they play, I want them to get beat out on every recruit they recruit, I want to see them beg for mercy.


July 1st, 2013 at 6:07 PM ^

you perfectly captured my feelings about Sparty football.  They conveniently ignore how much the RichRod disaster aided their recruiting and on-field success.  I will thoroughly enjoy when the rivalry returns to its natural order and Sparty is relegated to second or third tier status in the B1G.


July 1st, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

Laying in the weeds.



July 1st, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

Will be a thing in the next 3-4 years. Either that, or he should have a slogan like, "I'm Noah Furbush, and I am here to fuck shit up."

This kid's highlights show that he brings the stick. And he brings it hard. 


July 1st, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

His initial impact is powerful but he'll have to keep his feet and drive through in college. Relies too much on that first hit to knock the ball carriers down and college running backs will just shrug him off. That should be easily remedied though with good coaching.

Overall this is an exciting pick up. Have to like his size for a linebacker. What league does he play in for high school? Competition looked "iffy" at times.

Edit: Nevermind. Extended hello post answered my question. 


July 1st, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

Step 1.  Never acknowledge opportunity cost.

Step 2.  Stars don't matter.

Step 3.  Trust the coaches.

Step 4.  Have a cornerback's mentaility to the 4-star/5-star targets that are going elsewhere -- overrated, and possibly academic liabilities.

Step 5.  Conjecture about totally meaningful star-rating adjustment that in no way contradicts Step 2.

Step 6.  Examine list of reasons for 'sleeper' rationale (camp attendance, system fit, new to football, growth spurt, is from Pluto, I'd let him date my daughter, etc.)

Step 7.  Get out recruiting Risk board, declare geographic progress/victory/domination in recruit's 'backyard'.

Step 8.  Big picture comparison to nearest mediocre Big 10 program.

Step 9.  Celebrate.  This kid's a great fit and is going to be much better than you think!

Step 10.  Blog argument.


July 1st, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

That's super funny and all, but sometimes there legitimate reasons to be exited about these guys.

11. Has impressive film.
12. Has impressive size-athleticism combo as evidenced by camps.
13. Has above average offer list for a 3-star (Tenn, Nebraska, Mizzou, MSU).

Sometimes middling 3-stars are just that, but there are reasons to be excited about this kid.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

This is an accurate assessment of many of the comments that follow these type of commits. A few points, however, to keep in mind:

1) There are plenty of schools that would love to have these 3* kids;

2) Many of the points above are not completely invalid, e.g., there is a correlation between stars and ultimate sucess, but that correlation is far from 1.0.

3) We tend to show excitement for these commits, but not as much as that shown for 5* and 4* recruits [insert reference to inappropriate Ghost of... comment]. This is a homer blog, as they all are, so we show excitement over all the commits, but it isn't like we are completely blind to the fact that a kid is a middling 3* and not a 5*.

4) Very few schools take only 4* and up, and many of the 3*s do end up doing well. What are we supposed to do, say, "I'm disappointed, we should have gotten [fill in blank]"? There are those posts. And it seems to assume that we can get whomever we want. I think Hoke has put together some pretty damn good classes, and has plenty of top-rated athletes in the coming classes, so why get upset? Why not be excited to get a solid kid? I'm actually impressed when we can hold down our usually unfair expectations.


July 1st, 2013 at 1:30 PM ^

#4 is key.  No class is going to be all 5* players.  And not all 3* guys are going to play like 4-5* guys. The key is the overall numbers. You're never going to fill a class with all All-Americans; you're going to have some sleepers. The difference is a class with some 5* guys, lots of 4* guys, and some 3* guys vs. a bunch of 3*'s with a few 4* ones.  The former is fine, expected, and good.  The latter is worrisome. 


July 1st, 2013 at 12:14 PM ^

That is a great list and your point about opportunity cost is a good one, but here's the thing.  Where is the opportunity cost here?  Michigan went down the board at LB pretty thoroughly before this and are still hot after Williams.  Your point MIGHT be valid about taking Canteen over pushing Scott to the end, but I have a feeling the coaches knew Scott was heading elsewhere and there weren't any other targets at receiver they liked better.   They also don;t appear to have slacked off of Jackson at CB and if they did slack off of Westphal in favor of Watson, it might mean that the Treadwell/Diamond PTSD has set in and TBH can you blame them?

So, for me, Welcome aboard Noah! may you have an excellent career in the Maize and Blue!


July 1st, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

Honestly, a lot of 3-star ratings are just lazy.  Kid only goes to a couple camps but does well, touted recruit in a not-heavily-scouted area and blows up competition in an area generally regarded as untalented -- rubber stamp the 3-star.  It means, "Yeah we see that this kid is talented, but really have no idea how he matches up against consensus 4-stars so we're going to go all prequel Yoda and furrow our brows to show we're serious instead of admitting our judgement is clouded."

Now, I get that resources are limited to thoroughly review every kid playing football in the country, and trying to rank HS kids nationwide couldn't be a tougher job.  I also don't question their work when they've thoroughly looked at a high-profile recruit.  That said, when it come to a recruit that's really best described as a sleeper, it'd be more honest to simply not rank/rate the guy at all for lack of data.  At least then the coaches know they've got to do their own work rather than gamble on a blatantly hedged bet.


July 1st, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

I'm not taking the family to task.  I'm NOT saying the kid SHOULD go to more camps.  I'm saying the 3-star rating is the easiest rating to slap onto a talented but otherwise unknown kid, because he could boom or bust and it would hardly make a dent in the scouts' reputation.  Granted, "3-star" is right where a lot of kids should be at, but this where one loses individual trees in a forest.

Edit:  Huh, saw my work was done for me. :D

Painter Smurf

July 1st, 2013 at 2:31 PM ^

Good post.  A lot of 3 stars are kids who have or will receive an offer from a top 25 program, but no analyst within the service is willing to carry the kid's torch.  Could be due to some perceived flaw, or just simply from lack of exposure to the services.  The 3 star pool is so huge that the ranking does not tell you anything of significance.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

I'll be your huckleberry...

Step 3a... The coaches are compensated to put the best team on the field 

Now, why is this relevant?

This is a completely different take than "trust the coaches". Mattison is paid the better part of a million dollars a year to evaluate talent coming in and Hoke much more than that. In essence, if the coaches are wrong (or my faith in Greg Mattison/Brady Hoke et al. to choose quality defensive talent is misguided) then the ultimate price is their job security. See: Rodriguez, Richard

The "trust the coaches" meme is tiring but acknowledging the implications if they bring in the wrong talent is accurate. 

qualifier: this is not intended to open any debate on Rich Rodriguez or his relative qualities as a head coach/recruiter nor to engage Section1 in any form of debate on the matter...kthnx.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:48 PM ^

I hate this argument.  The fact that somebody is paid a lot of money to do something doesn't necessarily mean they are doing it well.  I have a good deal of faith in Mattison's talent evaluation skills but that's because he's a proven top DC who has been doing it for decades--not because of how much money he makes.



July 1st, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

But in that case you are basically arguing that Mattison's past performance predicts his future performance, and using his compensation as evidence of strong past performance.  I don't have a problem with that.

What bothers me is the more simplistic argument that Clarkie was making above:

  • Coaches who make a lot of $$ do their jobs well;
  • Coach X makes a lot of $$;
  • Therefore, Coach X will do his job well.

It should be self-evident that the argument has a flawed premise.  It is not always true that coaches who make a lot of money perform well.  In fact, I don't even necessarily believe that coaches who make a lot of money are likely to perform well--especially when you are just looking at one particular skill (talent evaluation) from among the numerous activities coaches are involved in.

But yeah, I think this works better:

  • Coaches who perform their jobs well make more $$;
  • Coach X makes a lot of $$, so he probably performed well in the past;
  • Coaches who perform well in the past are more likely to perform well in the future;
  • Therefore, Coach X is likely to perform well in the future.


July 1st, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

You state:

"I have a good deal of faith in Mattison's talent evaluation skills but that's because he's a proven top DC who has been doing it for decades--not because of how much money he makes."

Pro and college football are merit driven when it comes to compensation. I think I was (perhaps unsuccessfully) pointing that out in the case of Hoke/Mattison. Typically, when it comes to compensation at the highest levels the compensation is also commensurate (as it is with Mattison) with performance. I will acknowledge that there are key exceptions on the landscape, however, noting Weis, Charlie and Bollman, James.

I don't think that Mattison's job performance and his income status are mutually exclusive.