TomVH: What is Michigan Getting with OL Caleb Stacey?

Submitted by TomVH on March 29th, 2011 at 11:41 AM

There isn't much film or analysis on Michigan's newest commitment OL Caleb Stacey. I received an email from his offensive line coach that I thought I would share with you. His coach reads MGoBlog and wanted the fans to know what they're getting, so here's the email:


First of all, Caleb is a fairly unknown prospect nationally like I said. However, amongst the college circles he is widely popular. I believe Michigan State would have offered him within the week had he not committed. He was also receiving some serious mail from other major BCS schools. I have also talked to one of the top analysts from Ohio, he actually does a ton of work for Ohio State and he had Caleb ranked as the #6 OL in the class. In any normal year he said he would be a top 20 player in Ohio, however this year Ohio's class is LOADED, especially on the OL. Ohio might put over a dozen OL into BCS schools this year which is amazing. Currently he is ranked as #37 by most people, or in that area, and he is projected as a very high 3 star to low 4 star prospect.
Caleb's strengths:
1) Football Knowledge/Coachability - Caleb has the ability and understanding of the game that makes coaching easy. I can coach him on something and what I want done is shown right in front of me the next rep and every rep after. He listens, he learns, and he applies. He is one of those OL that only comes along once every 10 years in that regard.
2) His weight room strength/Physical play - His numbers might not be the most impressive out there, but his power in the weight room translates to the field. He is strong, overpowering, and physical. He benches 300, squats a legit 455, and hang cleans 250+. Those numbers are pretty good overall for a player, but you can tell in his play that his weight room strength allows him to over power even big kids on the field.
3) He excels against great players - We play in one of the best and most physically grueling conferences in Ohio, the GMC. Caleb has started every game since he was a sophomore and allowed zero sacks. He has played against BCS players and played great. This season he took his game to a new level and recorded 114 knockdowns, leading the team, and held the single game record with 21.
4) His footwork - I watch a LOT of film on a LOT of prospects. One thing every person who has watched him as a college coach has said is his footwork is outstanding. He moves his feet well, he gets his second step down quick, and he coves movement well. And he does it physical. He is very talented on the line of scrimmage. In college covering movement up front is what makes or breaks a lineman.
5) His ability to pull - Caleb is one of the rare young players who actually meets contact on his pulls with physical play. I preach running THROUGH contact and if you watch Caleb's film you will see his feet never stop on pulls. He literally runs through people. Many lineman make contact and stalemate or even slow down before impact. Caleb accelerates. If you were able to watch his full film you would see the results.
6) Pass Pro - He moves his feet as well as any lineman I have seen who plays out of position. He is a guard playing left tackle, which is the hardest position to pass protect from. He does a great job kick sliding back with depth and width and he is very fast at closing inside rushes. His best part though is his ability to shoot his hands at a target. His arms are insanely long and his hands are massive. Once he gets on you at this level there is no chance to get near his body and grab him. It will help him a lot when he plays guard down the road in college.
Needs to Work On:
1) Second Level - Caleb does a great job of getting on linebackers and taking up space at the second level. I would like to see him physically beat linebackers the way he does DLineman. Linebackers are naturally a bit quicker and more athletic, but Caleb is very athletic for a lineman. He does a great job of staying on them but I would like to see him finish those blocks with more knockdowns. Somewhat of a nit picky thing, but it will make him an elite player.
2) Pad Level - This is always something young lineman have a tough time with. He plays very low for being so big and so tall but every lineman can always play with better pad level. He doesn't play "high" but playing lower can make him even more dominating of a force.
Work Ethic:
I could talk about his work ethic for days on end. He refuses to be beaten in anything. Every week in game prep he takes it as a challenge. He takes it like everything is at stake. That is the kind of OLineman you want. It is a personal battle for him. His practice tempo, his game tempo, his off season training, he brings it. You might be stronger than him, you might be faster than him, you might be more athletic than him but he has that will and desire to be better than you on game day. To this point, he has always out played his opponent.
Does he compare to anyone:
Caleb reminds me a lot of a good friend of mine who played for Michigan. His name was Mark Bihl. He was an Ohio kid, he didn't get much recruiting hype, but he was a tough nosed blue collar kid who just worked hard every day of his life. I think Caleb has a much greater skill set coming into college than Mark did just because of the system we run. But Mark went to Michigan and just flat out worked his way into the lineup, and I believe became a captain there as a senior and started on OL for 2 years as a center. Caleb might not be a 5 star kid, but I guarantee if you give him the chance to compete with those kind of kids he will give them everything they can handle. That's just how his mindset is.
What is Michigan getting:
You are getting one of the finest young people I have had the privilege to coach. I have been coaching for 5 years now and I hope to continue on for a long long time. Caleb is part of a group of 6 junior offensive lineman I have returning next season that helped our school break 13 different rushing records. Of them 3 are projected as D-1 talent, including Caleb, and one of them fits in D-1aa. With all that talent and ability there is one person they all look to when things go bad or when things don't go as we plan. That is Caleb. He is just a natural born leader. There are times in a game where we need 2-3 yards and I can look out to him and see him signaling to call the run play behind him guaranteeing us we will get it. Everyone in the stadium knows who the ball is going behind but this season no one stopped it. Literally, we got our short yardage conversions behind him 100% of the time. Guys feed off that confidence and that energy. It isn't arrogance, it's confidence. That is hard to find in a young lineman because usually they are quiet guys. Caleb speaks through actions. To me, he reminds me of the Michigan lineman I grew up watching. Those guys in the mid 90's and early 2000's where they just  physically dominated. Where everyone in the stadium knew it was going to be power, or iso, or zone and those guys up front just thrived on that and dominated. Being a Michigan lineman was the definition of toughness when I grew up, when I was recruited by them, and when they were winning championships. Caleb wants to be part of that reborn attitude and I think he is a perfect fit for it.
Caleb is actually a really talented basketball player but opted to not play this season to focus on football training. He had even played some point guard in a pinch when he was younger. Just goes to show how good of an athlete he truly is.


Mr Mackey

March 29th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

That's very exciting. Seems like a player who could be a big difference-maker on the field by his junior year or so, but has even more to offer off the field

Robbie Moore

March 30th, 2011 at 8:49 AM ^

...who this coach is who was once recruited by Michigan. So I went to the Oak Hills website only to discover that the football team has 16...sixteen!...assistant coaches. 

Thanks coach for taking the time.

OMG Shirtless

March 29th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

The fact that he's from Ohio and his coach said he needs to work on his pad level gave me flashs of CoachBT, but this email appears to be written in english as opposed to whatever you'd consider CoachBT's language of choice.


March 29th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

Great read. 

And right before that sentence that made Brian throw up in his mouth.. just a little, there was a sentence (that we will hear a billion more times this year) that made all the current OL flinch from the backhanded slap.   I think I would have to take it as a little bit of an insult this inference that the current linemen aren't "tough", or "physically dominant".  I guess even OL coaches don't recognize donkey beatings when they see it.



March 29th, 2011 at 12:07 PM ^

 I'm really impressed that Caleb's coach took the time to write this up for us.  Speaks volumes about both Caleb and his coaches.  

As always, Tom VH, thanks for sharing.

Six Zero

March 29th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

This isn't just Tom-level quality content-- this is incredible, insider-level breakdown from the kid's own coach!  Great example of how the dedicated sports blog concept can literally remove all middle men and give us the facts from the horse's-- err, coach's-- mouth.

As for you, Mr. Caleb Stacey's OL Coach, thanks for taking the time to put that together.  I've written enough to know that your piece took some effort and time.  On behalf of the rest of the blog, we applaud you and your contribution!


March 29th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

What a glowing letter.  Mr. Stacey's OL coach must really enjoy working with him from day to day and I for one eagerly anticipate seeing Mr. Stacey overprotecting/pulling with the best of them after the customary redshirt year.


March 29th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

One thing I note repeatedly is that "O-Linemen don't have stats". Sounds like our coach here is tracking knockdowns for his O-linemen. Is this a reliable stat with which to gauge linemen, and is there a regular source for this kind of info?


March 29th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

either this coach has been sipping some fred jackson koolaid or caleb is a huge get. either way this made my day a little better.( and a little worse, Im probably going to bomb this micro exam but instead of studying im reading this)


March 29th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

Fred Jackson offers sparkling platitudes about his current players when asked, but does not generally develop a well-conceived and powerfully executed synopsis of a single player's game.  

A great deal of time and thought went into this, and that should tell you all you need to know about Caleb.


March 29th, 2011 at 1:34 PM ^

Is there a person on this board who wouldn't hire Caleb for anything regardless of the job description based on that letter of recommendation? We're trying to hire a nanny right now - he's hired.


March 29th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

The Oak Hills O line coach should be given a lot of credit.  I know he said he's only coached for 6 years, but he was a two time all-conference guard at a major D-1 school and he spent some time in the NFL.

Caleb is lucky to have that kind of coach.


March 29th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

Exactly the type of kid we want at Michigan - a leader and a worker, with talent.

Omameh, Lewan, Barnum, Molk, and Huyge are going to be a bulldozing, jet fueled wrecking crew of an OL this year.  And the former three will make great mentors for Caleb when he arrives (Molk, Huyge are seniors).  Really excited, very appreciative of the write-up coach.


March 29th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

That was super. Thanks Tom. I know a guy who has a businss that demolishes brick buildings in urban areas. Sounds like Mr. Stacey could save on the diesel fuel and just take them apart with pads on. He also sounds like the sort of guy who gladly would.


March 29th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

but by his coach.  Sounds like the kind of man we'd want coaching future Wolverines.  And yes, he can also write!  Hope he's a teacher in the classroom as well.  Gives one faith for the future.

Have a great senior year, Caleb.  Glad you can concentrate on it without having to worry about where you're going from there.  As you know, we love our O-linemen up here.

Hardware Sushi

March 29th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

Dang, what a write-up.

Besides Caleb's obvious ANGRY KILL MOAR qualities, I'm most excited about the way Caleb's coach describes his hands/arms. It's really interesting to me that people place so much emphasis on the height and weight combo when arm length and hand technique are so important.

Give me the 6-4/6-5 guys with the same wingspans as 6-7/6-8 guys. Lower center of gravity, typically quicker, same reach/protection (especially on the outside, although won't apply as much since Caleb projects inside).

I'm very excited to hear this about Caleb. Thanks Tom and Coach.


March 29th, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

Excellent stuff. I wish every prospect's coach gave us a scouting report like that, particularly if they have the pedigree his does. Glad Stacy is part of this class- I'd take another Bihl any day. Reestablishing Michigan's line as the best in the conference (and at times, nation) is a must!