Hello: Rashad Weaver

Submitted by Ace on June 14th, 2015 at 8:12 PM


Photo via Scout

Fort Lauderdale (FL) Cooper City DE/TE Rashad Weaver announced his commitment to Michigan on Twitter this evening, becoming the 12th member of the 2016 class and the first at either defensive end or tight end. Weaver added his offer after performing in front of the coaches at the South Florida satellite camp, and it didn't take long for him to accept it.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
NR DE 2* WDE NR DE NR SDE 2*, #108 DT

So much for not getting embroiled in the same debate we've been having about the value of recruiting stars versus in-person coaching evaluations. Weaver got a cursory two-star rating from Rivals and has yet to be evaluated by the other sites. Jim Harbaugh doesn't care about your opinion on this matter.

The sites are in agreement about Weaver's size, all listing him in the neighborhood of 6'5", 245 pounds. That kind of frame should help him fit as either an SDE or TE.

SCOUTING

Once again, we go to the tape first, because there's practically nothing out there on Weaver. Here are his junior highlights:

And here are his highlights from this spring:

Weaver does a solid job of crashing down the line to clean up runs, and his size/strength combination allows him to hold up well at the point of attack against that level of competition—down the road, he's going to need to utilize his hands more to disengage from blocks. His pass-rushing ability seems limited, though the knack for batting down passes shouldn't go overlooked. We don't get to see him play much tight end at all. He's clearly not a burner, but he could easily get to the size where he's a useful blocker, and if he's got decent hands to add to that then Harbaugh will be pleased.

247's Clint Brewster tweeted his impression of Weaver's film after the commitment was announced:

Weaver discussed how he earned his offer in a post-commitment interview with The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan ($):

"I started camp at the D-end, and went all the way through all the drills and the one-on-ones, winning those," he explained. "Then with like 10 minutes left, they pulled me over to tight end one-on-ones, and I did four routes and caught a couple balls. They told me they like me at both positions and they're recruiting me as just a big athlete. Possibly even both ways at the next level.

"A couple days later I was sitting on the couch, and Coach [Jay] had asked me something. I don't remember what I responded, but he said, 'how would you feel if I told you that you have a full scholarship offer to the University of Michigan?' I told him that I was sitting there smiling like a little kid that just got a whole bunch of candy. He said again when I got off the phone with them that they like me on both sides."

Like Kiante Enis, Chris Evans, Michael Onwenu, and David Reese, Weaver has positional flexibilty and could contribute on either side of the ball at Michigan.

OFFERS

Weaver holds offers from Air Force, Columbia, Cornell, FIU, Illinois, Louisiana Lafayette, South Florida, Syracuse, and Temple.

HIGH SCHOOL

Cooper City isn't a major D-I talent producer. Weaver is just the third major college prospect from the school since 2002, following 2010 Miami (OH) signee Travis Williams and 2013 Tennessee signee Lemond Johnson, according to the Rivals database.

STATS

The only stats I can find for Weaver are from the hardwood instead of the gridiron; he averaged seven points and nine boards for the Cooper City basketball squad in the eight games recorded on MaxPreps last season. 

FAKE 40 TIME

ESPN lists a 5.23 40 that looks to be from a SPARQ camp, so it gets zero FAKEs out of five.

[Update: His Hudl page lists a 4.90, which isn't verified by SPARQ, but also doesn't seem too fake. Again, he's not a burner, but he doesn't look like a plodding blocking-only guy, either.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Your guess is as good as mine. Weaver could end up at strongside end, where he'd compete with incoming freshman Shelton Johnson for a role once the Charlton/Wormley duo graduates following the 2016 season. Or he could play tight end, where he'd figure into the rotation behind Jake Butt, Khalid Hill, Ian Bunting, and Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Either way, Weaver seems like a lock to redshirt while he develops physically and the coaching staff figures out where he should play—though with Harbaugh, there's certainly a chance he lines up on both sides of the ball.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan now sits at 12 commits in a class that currently has room for 14. Again, that number will inevitably go up due to unrenewed fifth-years, attrition under a new coach, and the like. Areas of need in the class include offensive line, defensive tackle, weakside end, outside linebacker, and safety.

Comments

Lanknows

June 14th, 2015 at 8:46 PM ^

The degree to which a 40 time is going to change is limited for an athlete that is (presumably) in pretty decent shape already. It'll change but marginally so.

The bigger point, IMO, is that the recruiting thusfar indicates that our coaches seem less concerned with speed at TE and more concerned with a physical profile, hands, and ability to block. As we've seen over the last few years, TEs at Michigan can vary from pseudo-OL (AJ Williams) to pseudo-WR (Bunting/Funchess) to more full-back/H-back types that have the athleticism to play RB at the HS level (Shallman, Houma)... not to mention LBs (Winovich).

WestQuad

June 14th, 2015 at 9:29 PM ^

I hope 4.9 is a real time.  It's cool if these guys are smart and under the radar, but it is a numbers game.  They can't all be under the radar.  I've drunk the HARBAUGH kool-aid, but I hope Harbaugh hasn't drank his own Kool-aid. 

Welcome Rahad.  It's great to be a wolverine.  HARBAUGH will make you into a monster.

MeBlue2

June 14th, 2015 at 9:35 PM ^

I am pretty sure there were no none zero Notta one five star on either superbowl teams this year.....FSU -retired Coach admitted that later in his career he and his staff got lazy and relied too much on rating agencies to get there prospects...and he ended up failing late in his career....Jim Hargaugh knows what he is doing.

M-Dog2020

June 15th, 2015 at 12:31 PM ^

His parents hired a scout service to evaluate him:
https://athletesforcollege.com/athletes/show/id/2530

To me, he projects as a TE in the B1G after a redshirt year. Good combination of length, athleticism and blocking type skills. Doesn't seem quick enough to be a B1G pass rush threat. The scout service had him pegged as a DE at the FCS level. Doesn't look like his high school did much with him at the TE position, so not much to look at there. Likely a "project" for Jay/Jim, but with the right coaching he has good upside as a versatile TE ... has at least 3-star physical attributes for a TE. Kind of like Wheatley Jr. without the known pedigree / tutelage.

Overall, Rashad looks like a very solid student-athlete for U-M over his career ... nice kid, good grades, works hard, teachable.

M-Dog

June 14th, 2015 at 10:03 PM ^

True.  He'll get the Har-bump soon.  He'll be Star-baughed up to a 3-star by July.

It is litterally imposiible for Harbaugh to recruit a player that winds up finishing as a 2-star on NSD unless it's a punter.

clarkiefromcanada

June 14th, 2015 at 10:17 PM ^

He has the coveted Temple offer.

My beloved Owls have actually done an excellent job in identification of quality defenders over the previous (that evil Steve Addazio) and current (Matt Rhule with Phil Snow DC) coaching administrations. Matt Rhule is hardly an offensive genius but their defensive recruiting has been very reasonable. 

alum96

June 14th, 2015 at 8:29 PM ^

Well as stated elsewhere this class is going to be fascinating to watch in how they develop.  TEs with 5.23 speed dont seem like they are going to get open much.  Seems headed to the DL.  If he is 5.23 at this weight sort of worried what it will be when he packs on 30-40 lbs.  Rush ends dont really come in at that speed either.  Interesting offer that's for sure.

I guess you could be positive or negative about his HS.  Negative take is they dont produce much of any talent ever.  Positive take is they dont produce much of any talent ever, so maybe they are ignored.  But I'd assume unless its really in the lowest division or two a player in FL would be scouted decently.

Pinky

June 14th, 2015 at 8:37 PM ^

There has to be at least some concern about the lack of elite-ranked talent Harbaugh is bringing in.  I'm not going to question every two or three-star commit, but at some point it's just arrogant to assume that he knows better than all the other coaches and talent evaluators.

I mean 5.23 at 245 pounds?  Come on now.  

nbodanyi

June 14th, 2015 at 8:39 PM ^

Fair enough, but he's also getting character kids who care for each other, try hard and play smart. There's a DNA to this team, and that's something that recruiting sites will miss but will help on game day. Fewer penalties, timely turnovers.

Plus, Harbs & Co. have seen these guys up close, more than other coaches, and they're ranking them on a very different metric than recruiting sites. Harbaugh wants guys who have raw abilities, irrespective of the sport, who are able to learn more about the game when they're surrounded by technicians and strength coaches who get the most out of them.

Harbaugh is basically saying, give me someone who can, and wants to, and we will help you get there. He knows these kids have time to grow into their abilities. 

And not to hijack the whole "Trust Harbaugh" thing, but when I look at these guys on film, I'm not worried we're throwing away half the deck on people who can't do it. Maybe they're not the absolute fastest, or the absolute best right now, but.. that's fine. They're not suiting up tomorrow. I trust these players and their abilities, too.

Pinky

June 14th, 2015 at 8:49 PM ^

Why do we assume that Harbaugh and staff are the only people to have seen these players in person?  Other programs don't scout?  And if character can overcome lack of athleticism, then why has ever single national champion in the Rivals era had excellent recruiting?

Hannibal.

June 14th, 2015 at 8:51 PM ^

Likely other coaches have either seen him up close or seen his film.  2* guys are almost always 2* guys for a reason, and guys with no decent offers almost always have no decent offers for a reason.  People are in a very serious stage of denial about this right now. 

JonnyHintz

June 14th, 2015 at 9:27 PM ^

Jake Ryan. Darqueeze Dennard. Le'Veon Bell.

Some guys fall through the cracks. Some guys bloom late. Some guys don't camp and don't get the exposure. You're worried about players and where they're ranked while they're finishing up their junior year of high school. Which ultimately doesn't matter. A walk-on can do more for a team than a 5*.

I guarantee every one of these unranked guys will gain bigger offers after the summer camp circuit. I guarantee every one of them will get a bump in the ranking to at least 3* range.

M-Dog

June 14th, 2015 at 10:57 PM ^

Because it shows that the stars follow the talent, not the other way around.

The other thing to look at is not only how the stars move up after a Harbaugh offer, but also what other offers and interest he gets from the top tier of P5 programs.

After today, this kid has seen his last Temple-level offer.

clarkiefromcanada

June 14th, 2015 at 10:24 PM ^

Hannibal has been running this same troll act on this for a while now. Where he sees negativity I see Harbaugh's manipulation of the NCAA as being crazy like a fox:

Harbaugh came from the NFL where he was used to using a combine for player evaluation with the GM and other coaches in Indy each winter. College football does not have such a combine complicating application of such an approach...

What to do?

Harbaugh sets up his own travelling combine. Sees a ton of players and offers a very small number of these who are lower ranked based on his in-person assessment and evaluation. 

Random blog posters freak out. 

So you either trust an in-person evaluation from the HC in a combine (I mean camp) or you don't. 

 

M-Dog

June 14th, 2015 at 11:07 PM ^

Yes, it is way overstated about how Harbaugh is using these camps as some sort of publicity stunt, and way understated about how he is using them as, indeed, a high school combine.

These camps are not just for show.  They are not just to establish new relationships in new recruiting areas and spread the Michigan brand south and west.  They have a specific utility to them.

M-Dog

June 14th, 2015 at 11:15 PM ^

Harbaugh is recruiting versatile athletes with body-types that can fit well into certain postion groups.  He believes he can teach them the football part, even if it's not their previous position. 

maizeonblueaction

June 15th, 2015 at 11:24 AM ^

On one level, I totally agree that it's a bit disconcerting that a guy who has been to the Superbowl in the last five years is filling a class with 2 stars when a certain number of players with more stars or stronger offer sheets have some interest. On the other hand, couldn't that be seen as an argument in favor of these kids having a good amount of talent that becomes obvious in person? From what I understand, receiving two stars at this stage is more often just an acknowledgement that a player exists, as evidenced by the fact that most sites haven't actually ranked these players. If they're still two stars on signing day, sure, be a little concerned, but I think there's a solid chance they end up better regarded nationally than they are now, and everyone will be saying "man, we sure were smart to get in on them when we did".

maizeonblueaction

June 15th, 2015 at 11:52 AM ^

On one level, I totally agree that it's a bit disconcerting that a guy who has been to the Superbowl in the last five years is filling a class with 2 stars when a certain number of players with more stars or stronger offer sheets have some interest. On the other hand, couldn't that be seen as an argument in favor of these kids having a good amount of talent that becomes obvious in person? From what I understand, receiving two stars at this stage is more often just an acknowledgement that a player exists, as evidenced by the fact that most sites haven't actually ranked these players. If they're still two stars on signing day, sure, be a little concerned, but I think there's a solid chance they end up better regarded nationally than they are now, and everyone will be saying "man, we sure were smart to get in on them when we did".

bronxblue

June 14th, 2015 at 8:55 PM ^

I do agree that the assumption shouldn't be that every commit will turn into gold, but just like Hoke's classes tended to be star-ladden but underperform at times compared to those rankings, there is value in coaches seeing the kid in person, knowing the roster and what they want, and picking them up.  Also, it is still relatively early in the ranking cycles, and it isn't unheard of for kids to camp and pop up higher on the radar their senior years.  Then, when a kid goes from a middling 2* to a solid 3*/low 4*, the offers come in and people stop worrying as much.

I will be honest and I don't know much about Weaver; I doubt anyone here does.  Hell, Ace seems a little stumped.  But he's a Wolverine now, and so I have irrational beliefs that he'll be a star and shock the world as an underrated player like earlier recruits like JMFR and Lord Kouvacs. 

But yeah, if the rest of the class is fliers on recruits, I'll cock and eyebrow.  But the purpose of these camps was to unearth players Michigan doesn't usually have access to, and so it seems to be working.  Maybe a couple won't work out, but it is allowing this staff to really evaluate the players it has and for the system they want, and based on what we saw between RR and Hoke, where RR evaluated guys for his system and Hoke seemed hell-bent on getting the best possible players and then fitting them in, I'll give Harbaugh the benefit of the doubt here.

Lanknows

June 14th, 2015 at 9:07 PM ^

But either you trust the coaches or you don't. It doesn't matter if the recruiting sites change their minds later.

I don't think the camps give Michigan access to these players.  They could offer them before and got commitments from southern players before.  What it gives them is more exposure and a better (up close) method of evaluation.  It helps Michigan - it makes it more likely that distant prospects get offers and it makes it more likely that they accept said offers -- but we can never credit the camps with 'producing' commitments anymore than we can credit a lack of camps as 'producing' a commitment from Denard Robinson.

bronxblue

June 14th, 2015 at 9:23 PM ^

I guess access isn't the right word, but it has the same effect as the one you mentioned.  We assume around here that a kid gets an offer from Michigan, even a lower-rated recruit, and he'll just jump at it.  But most of these kids have never been to Michigan, and while they'll say all the right things in interviews about tradition, education, etc., they still want to know to what and to whom they would be committing to, and so these camps give them that chance.  And I absolutely believe that meeting this coaches helps convince a couple of kids to pull the trigger, or at least consider Michigan as a viable option in spite of the distance and recent struggles.  And yes, obviously kids have committed before camps existed, but you might get a different type of commitment from a camp than you will just offering lots of kids from across America and getting them on campus throw more traditional visits.

Also, I disagree that having faith in the coaching staff vs. recruiting services is binary one.  No staff is perfect, and if half-dozen people saw player X and think he's one thing and a coach thinks another, chances are both sides will be right for various kids.  So blindly going by the Rivals database OR a coach's intuition isn't best, and my guess is most coaches do look at those rankings when considering certain kids.  It won't be the end-all, be-all, but if the kid has been to a couple of camps and a bunch of analysts have seen issues with technique or "football IQ" that didn't necessarily materialize during your camp, I'd hope it would give you pause.  And as a fan, I'm allowed to be critical of how coaches recruit, and sometimes that means agreeing with the general thrust of the recruiting cycle (e.g. getting speed at LB, more depth at WR) while taking issue with a particular offer/signing. 

Lanknows

June 14th, 2015 at 9:55 PM ^

People like to treat recruiting as if it was all about football program prestige, but a lot of other factors matter too.  Familiarity is a big one and you hear it all the time in "family atmosphere".

That said, a satellite camp is less "being there" than, you know, being there. Satellite camps or not, almost every commit visits.  It's certainly a benefit to have the camps -- it's another opportunity.  But people acting like these camps are THE reason Michigan is getting commitments and directly responsible are not thinking clearly (IMO).

---

By no means I'm discouraging thinking critically (of the rankings or of coach judgements). My point is that sitting around and hoping the sites follow the lead, so to speak, of coaches is not something to cheer for. All it does is illustrate the limiations of the ranking system and it certainly doesn't affect how good the player will be.  Anyway, it's entirely predictable that this guy will go up to 3-stars shortly (if not higher).  That's what happens with every Michigan kid, be it Harbaugh, Rodriguez, or Hoke.