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.



July 1st, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

247 composite rankings had us at #4 in 2013 and #6 in 2012.  Nothing to sneeze at obviously but not quite as high as you listed. 


And to your initial point, I agree the coaches had earned a ton of credibility so far with their recruiting and ability to develop players.  That said, they aren't perfect and should not be immune to criticism when warranted. 


After all, many people kept saying "trust the coaches" during the RichRod era and we all know how that turned out.


July 1st, 2013 at 7:32 PM ^


With another coaching staff, skepticism might be warranted. However, we've got a staff that has put together classes with the likes of Green, Morris, Peppers, Kugler, Kalis, etc etc etc et al, so I don't quite understand the teeth-gnashing about 3-stars.

Of course that doesn't necessarily translate to perfect decisions made on game day, but that's not the subject here anyhow.


July 2nd, 2013 at 9:06 AM ^

to be able to assemble recruiting classes that are strong on paper, because they've proven they can do that. But successful recruiting is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Unless they can mold those highly ranked recruits into highly ranked teams on the field (something they haven't done yet), having top 5 recruiting classes ultimately means nothing.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

...Chantel Jennings' post-commitment article ($) linked above: 

The rising senior hopes to study engineering at Michigan and holds [a] 4.0 GPA at Kenton High School in northwest Ohio. Mauk said he believes the Wolverines are picking up quite the commit with his four-star linebacker. 

The pattern continues to emerge.


July 1st, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

He does sound similar to Beyer, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We still haven't seen Beyer's upperclassman years, and the coaches seem to like him.

Though it sounds to me like Furbush is a little more athletic (and a tad bigger) than Beyer.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

His committment post reminds me a lot of Desmond Morgan's: productive high school player, but mostly on offense and at a smaller school against weaker competiton, physical/big-hitter, high-effort/hard-worker, not highly pursued as an underclassman, middling 3-star to most of the recruiting sites...


July 1st, 2013 at 11:33 PM ^

I thought I had read somewhere that Morgan played his high school ball in a lower division.  But I looked it up, and he went to West Ottawa HS in Holland, Mich.,, which has an enrollment over 2,000 and plays in Class A.  I must have been getting him confused with someone else.  

We're having a serious heat wave here on the west coast.  I think the heat must be getting to me.


July 2nd, 2013 at 1:09 PM ^

Yes, WO is a huge school, and although the league they play in is one of the best in MI in terms of team success, it doesn't produce a ton of college talent so it's still pretty accurate to say his level of competition wasn't super high, at least compared to a lot of the recruits we get. West Michigan plays outstanding team football, but does not send many kids to college on scholarship.


July 1st, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

"ESPN pegs him as an inside linebacker, the other sites list him on the outside"

Er, what's the difference?  Honest question, really.  The demands of the job are rather interchangeable these days what with the evolution of the SLB into a nickelback.  Even setting that aside, the role of the inside linebacker can vary dramatically depending on what scheme the DC is running.  Not all defenses run the 4-3 under, so as a generalized statement I have no idea what the scouts are saying when they make this distinction.

Perkis-Size Me

July 1st, 2013 at 1:11 PM ^

Has the quality I want most in a defensive player: when he hits you, he hits you hard, and doesn't let you forget it. Sounds like the kind of guy who can thrive in Mattison's scheme.


July 1st, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

What I like most about his film is how he rarely allows the ball carrier yards after contact.  You often hear about running backs getting an extra yard or two by always falling forward, so he seems to be the defensive equivalent of that.

It will be interesting to see how he develops in the coming years.  Given his frame, athleticism, and small school/division, his ceiling is pretty high.

Decatur Jack

July 1st, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

According to 247, we're not even on his "Warm" list. I guess that could change with time, but at this point McDowell and Hand and Westphal are the bigger priorities.

Picktown GoBlue

July 1st, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

Changing divisions-Ohio is moving to a new Division I for the biggest 72 schools and creating a new VIIth division so many schools will slide to lower divisions this coming fall.


July 1st, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

Other than the film in the hello post, I haven't seen Furbush play, and while I agree that most of his competition is not great, his team did play three very good and tradition-rich schools last year (losing all three games, by the way).  I would look to see how he did against Wapakoneta, Ottawa-Glandorf (Div. IV state quarterfinalist) and Coldwater (undefeated Div. V state champs and perennial state finalist).  Those games would show him against the top competition he faced.


July 1st, 2013 at 2:25 PM ^

Seems like a bit of Kenny Demens in his game, at least as it points to coverage.  I agree that they'll probably take one more LB if they can get Williams, but this feels like a nice depth pickup that this team has missed in recent years.


July 1st, 2013 at 11:29 PM ^

I hope you have a great time at Michigan. Use that red shirt year to learn Greg's defense! I like the way this staff is doing their homework and are making offers to kids they see at their camps.


July 2nd, 2013 at 1:34 AM ^

it's also a matter of talent development-taking an under-the-radar kid that you saw something in at camp, and actually turning him into a quality performer on the field. That's what Hoke, Mattison and Co. still have to prove they can do, and do consistently.

Let's face it...there are a lot of programs that have consistently outperformed us in the field for the last decade or more with rosters made up of mainly two and three star recruits, with very occasional 4 or 5 star guys. Wisconsin, Oregon, Louisville, West Virginia and Virginia Tech, to name a few.


July 2nd, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

Nice highlight film.  We do seem to be getting a lot of "underrated" 3 (4) star guys for 2014 with Speight, Bunting, Winovich, the Eastern Christian guys and now Furbush (all in addition to the Jabrill Peppers-type commits)  I choose to drink the Kool-aid, but it will be interesting in 3-4 years to see how these upside guys turn out.