Hello: Taylor Upshaw

Submitted by Ace on November 27th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

While the game itself didn't go as planned, last weekend was a success on the recruiting trail, as Michigan made significant progress with some high-profile visitors (more on that later this week) and added a pledge to the 2018 class. While on an official visit, Bradenton (FL) Braden River defensive end Taylor Upshaw announced on Friday night that he'd flipped his commitment from Florida to Michigan.

Upshaw is the son of Regan Upshaw, a first-round pick out of Cal who had a productive nine-year NFL career at defensive tackle. He's Michigan's 16th commit in the 2018 class and the second at DE, joining in-state four-star Aiden Hutchinson. Sam Webb reports Upshaw will enroll early.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #24 SDE 3*, 78, #65 DE 3*, 86, #34 SDE,
#819 Ovr
3*, #24 SDE,
#616 Ovr

Now that Scout has been mostly integrated into the 247 network, Scout rankings are no more. RIP. The three remaining sites all have Upshaw as a three-star well off the four-star pace. There's a significant split between Upshaw's rankings and the quality of his offer sheet.

Upshaw looks like a future strongside end. He's listed between 6'4", 235 (Rivals) and 6'5", 240 (247), and he has a frame that looks capable of carrying quite a bit more weight.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

SCOUTING

Upshaw has one of the more unusual recruiting profiles I've come across. While he's the son of an NFL player and the younger brother of a Clemson walk-on, he didn't play organized football at any level until his junior year of high school:

Bradenton (Fla.) Braden River High School 2018 DE Taylor Upshaw never played a down of organized football until the first two games of this season.

"I never even played Pop Warner," Upshaw said. "I was playing basketball, some other sports. My father (Regan Upshaw) played in the NFL for nine years [the 12th overall pick in 1996, he played on five different teams]. And my brother is a walkon at Clemson. That motivated me to make a switch to football."

While Upshaw has picked up considerable interest from power programs, there's little-to-nothing in the way of scouting reports from the recruiting services. The most detail comes from periodic Vanderbilt 247 recruiting board updates:

By the end of his junior season, the 6-5, 240-pound rush end had picked up seven scholarship offers due to his range, length and motor. Now that number has extended to nearly 30 offers with his most recent coming from Florida on May 25th. ... Vanderbilt loves his upside as a edge rusher and potential to develop into a physical run stopper, and would like to get him on campus this summer. 

Given the lack of info, let's go straight to film. Upshaw has Hudl highlights posted from the first three games of this season:

You can get a better idea of what he's working to improve from some summer practice clips:

Upshaw is raw, as you'd expect from a relative latecomer to the game. He shows the ability to fire low and quickly off the snap; he's far from consistent at it, which isn't exactly unusual. He can also do a better job of using his hands. He relies heavily on his athleticism and strength for now. The good news: he's got plenty of both. His closing speed is impressive, and blockers move backwards when he gets under their pads—sometimes even when he doesn't.

Upshaw is a developmental prospect, but one with a high ceiling. He looks like he could grow into a 270-280 pound strongside end and still maintain his pass-rushing upside, and his natural strength should make him a solid run defender.

OFFERS

Upshaw holds offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, Cal, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, NC State, Navy, Northwestern, Oregon State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Miss, UCF, USF, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest. 247 shows that Florida State, Georgia, and Miami showed interest but didn't offer. 

HIGH SCHOOL

Braden River hasn't been a huge talent producer with just four Power Five commits (including Upshaw), all three-star prospects, since 2002, according to the Rivals database. They had an excellent year in Florida's second-highest classification this season, however, going 10-2 and making it to the regional semifinals, where they lost to Venice, which is currently awaiting their state semifinal game.

STATS

According to MaxPreps, Upshaw has 33 tackles, seven TFLs, 4.5 sacks, and an interception (returned for a TD) in 11 games this season. He had 4.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and three pass breakups in his first year of football as a junior.

FAKE 40 TIME

Upshaw's Hudl page lists an unverified 40 time of 4.93 seconds, which gets one FAKE out of five. He looks pretty fast for a big guy. His Hudl page also reports a 30-inch vertical, 315-pound bench press, 300-pound clean, and 510-pound squat. Michigan's strength and conditioning program can work with that.

VIDEO

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

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Given his late start as a football player, Upshaw is one of the better bets for a redshirt even though he'll enroll early. There'll be plenty of depth at SDE to allow that to happen; Rashan Gary and Carlo Kemp return to form the two-deep, Deron Irving-Bey could get some snaps coming off a redshirt, and Hutchinson is more likely to be the pull-redshirt-in-case-of-emergency option.

From there, Upshaw's career requires even more projection than normal for a high school recruit. I really like his upside; a childhood playing basketball has clearly paid athletic dividends, he's got a huge frame and NFL bloodlines, and he's just beginning to tap into that potential. It might take a few years, but I expect he'll be a major part of M's D-line rotation as an upperclassman.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan is up to 16 commits in a class that should reach the low 20s. Top remaining targets include defensive tackles Tyler Friday, Michael Thompson, and Rick Sandidge; defensive ends Eyabi Anoma and Jayson Oweh; wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase; tight end Tommy Tremble; and offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere.

Here's the class as it currently stands:

Comments

Blue in Paradise

November 27th, 2017 at 3:53 PM ^

starting in his 3rd year on campus.  Jim S, from the Fort, has been raving about Upshaw for months and that guy literally keeps his eye on like 500 recruits a year each and every year.

 

bamf16

November 27th, 2017 at 5:20 PM ^

At 4:15, you called it "shitty."

 

Then less than an hour later you backtracked so far as to define "shitty" as "not an elite recruiting cycle."

 

Then you digressed further with, "we could just allow the first 11 guys who sign up to play on each side of the ball."

 

Take a break...perhaps this just isn't for you.

Lawyer12

November 27th, 2017 at 5:26 PM ^

There is no backtracking. It is a shitty recruiting cycle (for Michigan) by any measurable standard. I hope each of the recruits does well, and I will be rooting for them. That said, we have signed few elite athletes. So you can take your opinion “what’s for me” and comment as you like. But, I said nothing wrong and I don’t take any of it back.

Occam's Razor

November 27th, 2017 at 5:38 PM ^

Have you Googled the kids left on the board? They're all .95 rated or higher outside of Tremble. 

We knew going in this class was going to build depth at positions that can be redshirted. 

Not going to find high impact players wanting to come here when each position is full. Look forward to 2019 for that. 

If we hit on half of those kids, and pick up some sleepers who have de-committed from other schools, this class is easily top 15, which is fine given 2016 and 2017. 

 

1WhoStayed

November 27th, 2017 at 11:04 PM ^

I don’t understand why any true Michigan fan would pick a HELLO post to dump on the recruiting class.

This thread should be a happy place. And a happy moment for us fans. (Much more than that for Upshaw!)

There’s plenty of posts that invite criticism and hand wringing. This isn’t one of them.

My biggest beef (and yes - internet) is that EVERY dang thread has to be shit on by someone. Would be nice to have some threads where people can share positive vibes!

I’m very excited about the future. Next year will be my 40th as a season ticket holder and there have been highs and lows. But that’s sports. And I love where we’re headed.

matty blue

November 28th, 2017 at 9:24 AM ^

espn currently has our class (before this commit) at 13th in the country, 3rd in the big ten.  that is, by definition, a "measurable standard."  calling a class that could very easily get into the top 10 "shitty" by an actual measurable standard is...well, pretty shitty, if you ask me.  especially when you drop it in a "let's welcome the latest new michigan man" post.

BrightonB

November 28th, 2017 at 2:44 AM ^

Who's to say about any recruting cycle.  There are 3 stars and walk ons on teams all the time that turn into big time players and 5 stars that stink it up.  As far as I am concerned a good "star" rating can mean jack squat.   I know we have had our fair share of trash talk about JH and coaches etc etc.   IMO -  JH and staff KNOW how to recruit.    Ben Mason - 3 / 4  star - Freshman .. was excellent IMO for instance at FB this year.  Found him in Newtown, CT.   T. Black is from Cheshire Academy.  I live in Cheshire, CT and I can tell you that is a SMALL school he was playing at.  These guys find talent. 

JH when he first came aboard had no time to fully recruit  .... I don't count that class.  He and his staff have done very well the past 2 years.  We will see that come to light 2018 / 2019. 

My only hope is a couple more good O lineman come on the board in this coming class. 2019 we already have an great looking O lineman on it with Nolan Rumler.

Upshaw looks like a strong and solid player ... D Brown and boys will have him ready along with Gary to mentor him.  =)

war-dawg69

November 28th, 2017 at 9:07 AM ^

Harbaugh played with and against and also coached with and against the best players in the world. He and his countless staff know what they are looking at. I am almost 100 % sure they can evaluate players better than not only you, but anyone on rivals or 247. If you think stars are all that you better take a peek at Wisconsin.

Because of the two proceding classes Harbaugh can afford developmental guys because they don't need to see the field for three years. He is looking at size and speed with some of these guys. Call them high ceiling or the sky's the limit type players.

The top teir guys will be coming on board shortly. Add in Friday, Chase,one or both DE's mentioned, Tremble, Maybe another top DT, Frere and presto you have a top ten class with a mix of top teir guys and guys who are less polished or maybe play out of position, but have great size and speed. This class will produce some outstanding players who you will see on Sunday for sure and I am talking about the three star guys.

Sure I want all the Rashan Gary's of the world, but man I get jacked up to see a kid who wasn't rated that high become an all big ten player or even an all american.

Ya we lost four games this year. Of course we would have had a better showing with better QB play, but if you look at next years team I really think we can go undefeated. Harbaugh knows what the frick he is doing. There will be some new names on defense next year and it will be better and I mean better in maybe number one in everything. Watch a three star who will be playing by the name of J. Woods. Saw his high school tape, and saw the same thing that I see with guys like Schoonmaker and Faustin. They can flat out play football and are really going to shine.

Call me a homer, but Michigan football is going to become the dominate football program in the big ten for years. Listen to some of the kids who are graduating or moving on. They can see the talent level and coaching and where it is going. I feel good about this class and let's see how it ends up, but you and everyone else will be seeing Michigan football teams that are bigger, stronger and faster than everyone in college football.

mgobaran

November 28th, 2017 at 9:59 AM ^

People like Khaleke Hudson rise out of nowhere this late every year. And we still have 5-6 spots to fill. 

Also, son of a 9 year NFL Veteran is NOT the thread to be doing this in. 

We have a top 100ish TE out of Texas. Three blue chippers out of the heart of SEC country, the top 3 guys in Michigan. Our class is ranked 14th which isn't ideal, but far from "shitty" and our remaining targets are ranked 42, 69, 160, 41, 129, 58, 64 and a 500 Ranked TE being pursued by Mich, ND, UCLA and Georgia. Land 2 or 3 guys and this is a top 10 class... 

Red is Blue

November 27th, 2017 at 4:33 PM ^

I know we use a lot of TEs, but we've got 4 RS Sophomores and younger who played well this year and a couple of more recruits coming in (not to mention an incoming tackle I understand to have positional flexibility to potentially play TE).  Why is another one on the list?

what would Bo do

November 27th, 2017 at 5:05 PM ^

We've already seen a package with 3 fullbacks on the field at once.  8 blocky/catchy types saw the field this year.  Both non-Mason fullbacks graduate and Bunting may get a firm handshake.  At worst, we're replacing what we lost in that department.  There are criticisms that could be made of this class (lack of highly ranked offensive skill player, no real edge rusher, etc.), but too many blocky/catchy types in Harbaugh offense doesn't seem like a good one.

Navy Wolverine

November 27th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

I'm really excited about Upshaw. He fits the 2018 mold of somewhat under the radar kids with big upside. A lot of people have been showing some concern about this class but I think we will look back and realize there will be some really good players here who will be ready to play when all of the kids from 16 and 17 move on. All I know is that if Don Brown wants him then I am good with that.