Hello: Ross Douglas

Submitted by Brian on July 24th, 2012 at 12:55 PM


watchu talkin' bout, Penn State?

Well, I was wrong about Penn State implosions not having a direct effect on Michigan's roster: OH CB Ross Douglas decommitted from Penn State two seconds after the sanctions were announced, got an offer from Michigan today, and committed about two seconds after he got it.

Douglas is a four star at three of the four recruiting sites; at 5'10", 180 he's more in the Courtney Avery mold than the lanky guys Michigan's already acquired. More details in an INFORMATIVE UPDATE forthcoming.



#21. Does a lot of tailbackin' in high school. via


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7
3*, #42 CB 4*, #22 CB, #222 overall 4*, #30 CB 4*, #25 CB

Ross is a four star to everyone but Scout; no one puts him in the top 200. FWIW, Ross was in the initial 24/7 top 247, right at the tail end. He's probably just outside it right now.

Given his size, which is listed at 5'10" and gives off a vibe of generosity, the rankings imply his skill level is high but the height puts a cap on his ceiling.  The level of disagreement here is far smaller than for, say, Gareon Conley, who is either awesome or not awesome depending on who you listen to.

ESPN's evaluation backs up the high floor, low ceiling guess:

Plays and pursues fast but lacks ideal top-end speed and does not project to be lock down cover corner in college you want to leave on an island. Shows a good nose for the ball and is at his best playing the pass in front of him. Displays good footwork and balance as well as closing burst. Lacks a tight, fluid waist and doesn't always look smooth in transition when locked down in man but he can recover with burst and proper inside positioning to make a play on the ball. Does a good job using his hands and leverage in tight coverage. Aggressive and effective in press; will reroute and take away the inside release. Competes for the jump-ball when challenged deep in one-on-one coverage but can struggle versus taller receivers. We didn't see great leaping or ball skills. This is a solid second level defender.

Douglas attended the Columbus NTFC at which David Dawson and Malik McDowell drew raves, and did well for himself:

4. Ross Douglass, CB, Avon (Ohio) High School – The defensive back group in Columbus was very strong and had a lot of depth to it. On this day, Penn State commit Ross Douglas was our pick for the top player of the talented group. He doesn’t have the height and length that is ideal in a corner prospect but he was the most fluid and natural defender in coverage at the event.

Douglas has great feet, flips his hips with ease and he also has some make-up speed to recover in tight spaces. The only thing he seems to be missing is that prototype height.

Another evaluation:

DB: Ross Douglas, 5-10, 179, Avon (Ohio)
Breakdown: It was Douglas' ability to cover in the slot that grab the eyes of the coaches. He is very quick and showed an understanding of zone coverages.

And Barton Simmons responds to a question:

Douglas is awesome he's just a little bit undersized.

Helmholdt on the NIKE camp:

Douglas is so consistently clean in coverage that you almost forget he is out there. Not hearing your name called is a good thing at the cornerback position, and the public address announcer is not saying "Douglas" very often. The 5-10, 175-pound prospect is not a flashy player. He stays in great position in relation to the wide receiver throughout routes and makes throwing the ball in his direction very unappealing. Douglas has all the speed he needs to stay with receivers and his technique is near flawless.

We're getting a picture here. It's a picture of Courtney Avery.

FWIW, he attended The Opening, and told Allen Trieu($) that he plans to enroll early:

"The plan right now is to graduate early. I'm on track right now. I'm taking a summer class and I'm doing very well in it, so I'm on track to do that. They said if I come in and just bust my tail, there will be an opportunity for me and that's exactly what I'm going to do."

No reason that plan would have changed, unlike his plan to go to Penn State. Douglas said he was "120% solid" to PSU in April, but the situation changed slightly after he said that.


Douglas obviously had a Penn State offer. Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Tennessee also offered. Michigan and other regional powers had not checked in with offers but they didn't have much time: Douglas pulled the trigger on his PSU commitment in February and was on the market the second time for all of a day.


Junior year:

* 38. Ross Douglas, defensive back, Avon – Douglas (5-10, 180, 4.4) was a third-team All-Ohio pick in Division II. Douglas helped Avon reach the Division II state title game. As a junior, he carried 175 times for 1,019 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 10 catches for 150 yards and another score. On defense, he had 40 tackles, 13 pass break-ups and one interception.

Yes, that is Bucknuts ranking him the #38 player in the state.





You'll be surprised that the soundtrack is RAWK instead of rap. I was, at least.


Douglas's commitment gives Michigan a whopping four cornerbacks in the class. Douglas is the second short guy (Jourdan Lewis is the other) to go with tall guys Channing Stribling and Gareon Conley. Meanwhile, only JT Floyd exits after this year. Michigan is loading up at corner.

So it might be tough for all of these guys to see the field… except when it's not. Cornerback is a spot with three starters these days, and Michigan is preparing for the days when they'll take on some future NFL quarterback in a BCS bowl. I get it. I remember Football Armageddon. I like it.

Michigan has three distinct corner positions:

  • Field corner: plays to the wide side of the field, often against the best WR the opponent has to offer. Less run support responsibility.
  • Boundary corner: plays to short side of the field. Usually a bigger guy better on the edge.
  • Nickelback: plays over the slot. Has safety help virtually all the time. Priority is underneath routes and quickness. Doesn't have to be tall.

Douglas seems like a nickel, Lewis a field corner, and the other two boundary corners unless one of them turns out to be really really good in which case he can play field corner and flapjacks for everyone.

At nickel, Douglas has to deal with one year of Courtney Avery and a couple of Delonte Hollowell; after that he has a surprisingly clear path to a starting-ish job. I think Michigan would prefer it if they had two bigger guys on the outside, but the emphasis placed on that third corner spot is obvious… and reassuring.


Here's your upshot: Michigan is done save for a receiver they hope will be LaQuon Treadwell.


Douglas's commitment all but erases any chance Michigan will go after a Penn State transfer who has more than one year of eligibility left. They want to add a receiver, they probably will get Treadwell, and they are already banking on attrition to get the 24 guys currently budgeted on campus. They're preparing for a reasonable level now, but adding further guys would be pushing it*.

Exception: if Frank Clark's stuff escalates into a career termination event Michigan may look to a Zettel to nerf the damage.

*[Obligatory oversigning note: Michigan is not going to sign guys they don't have room for because of Big Ten rules, and they converted all their scholarship offers to multi-year. The risk here is pissing off a kid you promised a scholarship to, whereupon he goes somewhere else. That's an order of magnitude less cynical than the Alabamas of the world. But it is something less that perfect moral rectitude and makes me a little uncomfortable.]


Section 1

July 24th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

who will the EE's be?  I recall there being some kind of limit on the total number of EE's allowed, but I don't think that there is any set number; it only has to do with overall scholarship numbers at the time that the players enroll (which is almost always before NLOI day).


July 24th, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

As you suggest, I think the limit is administrative, rather than practical. As in, you can have as many players enroll early as are willing and able to enroll early, but you only get to count 3 (I believe) against the previous year's recruiting class. It's functionally a way to exceed the 25 commit limit by counting recruits in the previous class.

Now, since Michigan's class was so big last year, I'm not sure there's room to count even three EEs against the class.


July 24th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I didn't think his scholarship counted against this years class or the overall. So he is a free be and he won't count on scholarship till next year. That was part of the PSU punishment.


July 24th, 2012 at 9:52 PM ^

You don't have to say you're sorry about my wrongness. I just realized he is still in high school and not a transfer.

I should have read the other thread first, but when a hello post pops up in your face you just have to click on it.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

Good pick up. I was hoping he'd make his way into our class before he committed to PSU. FWIW, he's also a good offensive player. Good at making people miss and finding extra yards.


July 24th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

Kinda naive to assume we won't have a single decommit or piece of attrition from the normal roster between now and February.

Dollars to doughnuts we have at least two more commits in this class.



July 24th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

What you're forgetting is we need 4 guys to leave just to make room for a 24 person class (as of today, we have room for 23 in this calss).  So yes, it would be naive to think that we won't lose one guy, but we need way more than that. 

To get room for two more commits in this class, as you suggest, would mean we lose 5 guys from our current roster between now and February.


July 24th, 2012 at 5:42 PM ^

Hoke won't oversign.  We have 20 spots as of today.  Mike Jones will likely be an unrenewed 5th, making 21.  It's possible, if not likely, that either Lewan or Toussaint leave early for the NFL.  After that, if two other guys bail for the normal reasons (grades, behavior, not getting PT) we can sign a class of 24. 

My guess is we lose one guy we kind of all saw coming (like Isaiah Bell) and another we maybe didn't (like Carvin Johnson).  But almost every year we lose a guy just before of during fall camp and another shortly after the season (or semester) ends. 


July 24th, 2012 at 5:58 PM ^

This kid is a solid pick up.  Looking at his film, what stands out to me is that he has very long arms for his height and he swings them quite nicely when he runs.  Other than that he takes very nice angles to the ball and is very sound in his coverage technique...more so than most HS DBs. he really does know how to play football..... Gareon Conley is similar in that both have sound technical games at CB.

Ross is an interesting RB as well, shows power and deceptive speed... IMO he looks thicker than 179, or at least has the frame where he could bulk up to 210 and be a RB prospect if needed... however he has more upside at corner. 

Mr. Yost

July 24th, 2012 at 8:29 PM ^

We weren't getting Fuller or McQuay...we were behind in both of those. Fuller just said he's got a top 2 in VT and Clemson...McQuay seems to have us closer, but still in the #3 spot (he wants to stay south).

We were likely going to go 0-2. So with that said, Douglas fills that spot. Now we add Treadwell and wrap things up with a top 5, maybe top 3 class.

Mr. Yost

July 24th, 2012 at 10:46 PM ^

We needed a nickel...I've been saying this for awhile. I think Courtney Avery is the most underrated player on our defense. I'd put him up against any slot WR in the B1G. I don't think he's as good at field or boundary CB...but as a nickel, he's very good. Hopefully Hollowell and Douglas can match and raise that level of play.


July 25th, 2012 at 8:36 AM ^

He looks like a smart kid and one who is decisive.  I like his quotes today:

“I decided quickly because, when I committed to Penn State, Michigan was my second choice. It was almost like a no-brainer for me to go there.”

“Of course it was difficult because I committed on Feb. 29, I was committed to them for almost five months,” I just was thinking about it all since I committed in February and didn’t want to be a part of it, really.”


July 24th, 2012 at 10:10 PM ^

While I am truly sorry for the path that led you to Michigan, may this opportunity allow you four, perhaps five, incredible years. I hope that you will look back on your time at Michigan as some of the best years of your life. 

Welcome to Michigan. 

Go Blue!