2017 Recruiting Grades: Offense

2017 Recruiting Grades: Offense


February 9, 2017
Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Rivals)

QUARTERBACK: A-
Commits (1): Dylan McCaffrey
Decommits (0): N/A
Why? McCaffrey was a U.S. Army All-American and there have been whispers that Jim Harbaugh believes McCaffrey is the best high school quarterback prospect he’s seen in a long time, maybe going back to Andrew Luck. So there’s that. McCaffrey has the height, the bloodline, and the athleticism to be a very good quarterback. However, there are questions about his arm strength and mechanics. So while Harbaugh really likes him, I would have preferred someone like Davis Mills, who chose Stanford instead.

Hit the jump for the rest of the offensive grades.





RUNNING BACK: B+
Commits (2): O’Maury Samuels, Kurt Taylor
Decommits (1): A.J. Dillon
Why? I’m higher on Samuels than some. People have knocked him for playing against poor competition in New Mexico, and there’s something to be said for that. Quarterback Zach Gentry came from New Mexico in 2015, and not only has he failed to see the field, but he has been switched to tight end and wide receiver in the meantime. But not all players who played poor high school competition can be discounted. Samuels at one point held the highest SPARQ score in the country, and he ran a laser-timed 4.4 forty. Speaking of poor competition, Mike Hart is Michigan’s all-time leading rusher, and he played against some weak high school opponents in New York. Taylor has garnered some mentions of Hart. He’s kind of a pinball type of player without great speed, but not all those players can be great in college. I have my doubts about Taylor’s abilities, but he’s all about Michigan. (For the record, so was Michael Ferns III…and now he’s a backup tight end for West Virginia.) Dillon was my second-favorite running back commit in the class behind Samuels, but he departed for Boston College. Meanwhile, Michigan made a run at #1 running back prospect Najee Harris, who was rumored to have silently committed to the Wolverines at one point before sticking with his Alabama pledge.

FULLBACK: F
Commits (0): N/A
Decommits (1): Chase Lasater
Why? Maybe this is too harsh of a grade, because there’s a chance that linebacker recruit Ben Mason might end up playing fullback. But for now, I’m sticking with the belief that Mason is a linebacker, since that’s where he was promised to get a shot first. Meanwhile, Lasater is probably the more athletic of the two, but he ended up at Florida Atlantic. Sometimes you don’t need a fullback in a recruiting class, but Michigan’s two fullbacks (Khalid Hill, Henry Poggi) will both graduate after 2017 and there’s no one in the pipeline.

WIDE RECEIVER: A+
Commits (5): Tarik Black, Nico Collins, Brad Hawkins, Oliver Martin, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Decommits (1): Jeremiah Holloman
Why? There’s some argument about whether this is Michigan’s best wide receiver recruiting class in history, and both sides have a point. Even if it’s not, it’s close enough to give this a very high grade. Peoples-Jones is the jewel of the class, but Michigan has a little bit of everything – tall guys, short-ish guys, fast guys, possession guys, good blockers, good route runners, etc. In fact, the only really negative thing one can say about this class is that there are too many guys. Without enough playing time for them all, some are all but certain to wash out.

TIGHT END: D
Commits (0): N/A
Decommits (1): Carter Dunaway
Why? I was not high on Dunaway, anyway, so losing him wasn’t a big deal. But Michigan is rumored to be on the verge of losing Devin Asiasi to a transfer, and I think it’s a good idea to take at least one tight end in each class. They’re guys who can move to defensive end, fullback, etc. if they don’t pan out at tight end. Michigan seemed to have a good chance of reeling in Californian Josh Falo, but they backed off and he signed with USC.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B
Commits (5): Chuck Filiaga, Ja’Raymond Hall, Joel Honigford, Cesar Ruiz, Andrew Stueber
Decommits (1): Kai-Leon Herbert
Why? Michigan really needed to address the offensive tackle position in this class, preferably with an early contributor, and I’m not sure they did. Filiaga is big but needs work. Honigford is a little thin but has good athleticism. Hall might be more likely to end up at guard, and Stueber is someone who has the potential to surprise some people. Michigan whiffed on Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) and Mekhi Becton (Louisville) and lost Kai-Leon Herbert to Miami late in the process. There was talk that the Wolverines wanted 7 or even 8 offensive linemen, and they ended up short. On the plus side, there’s a lot of live ammo here with oodles of potential, and Ruiz was the class’s #1 center.

46 comments

  1. Comments: 74
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    AC1997
    Feb 09, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    Hmm…..Fullback gets an F but TE gets a D? I guess you’re looking at the roster depth chart of existing players. I’m not as worried about fullback because I think Mason might end up there, I think you can find a PWO to contribute there, and I think Kingston Davis might still move there.

    Otherwise I agree with your grades pretty well. I’m excited about McCaffrey even if he needs a little work. It is hard to argue with his family’s bloodline and I love QBs that commit early and help recruit the rest of the class. I also love guys that are willing to come in and compete with other top ranked recruits at their position.

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 141
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Feb 09, 2017 at 8:45 AM

    Just throwing this out there… I don’t strongly disagree with Thunder or AC.

    RB, FB, and TE are probably to me a C.

    RB may have been a B if Dillon would have stuck. I am hopeful that Samuels makes us forget him and Najee of course. i am skeptical of what Taylor can bring to the program. Average haul for Michigan.

    FB and TE – We all think we see people currently on the roster that can move into these positions.There has been heavy recruiting at the TE position over the last couple of years. Of course none of us want to lose Asiasi. I for one liked Lasater.

    Don’t know that we can neg the coaching staff for what they probably percieve as roster management since no major gets were coming and the WR haul is indicative of spreading things out a bit under Pep next year.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 280
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      DonAZ
      Feb 09, 2017 at 9:39 AM

      I too wonder if the recruiting we saw this year is an indication of a sea-change in offensive approach. Perhaps not because of Pep … maybe the hiring of Pep was because Harbaugh was going to spread it out more.

      • GKblue
        Comments: 141
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Feb 09, 2017 at 9:42 PM

        Yes DonAZ I agree.You worded this better than I did. I did not intend to credit Pep with the origin of the change only that it would occur under him as passing coordinator.

    • Comments: 2294
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 09, 2017 at 11:07 AM

      Who would you push out of the class to make room for Dillon?

      • Comments: 1894
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 09, 2017 at 11:26 AM

        Considering Brad Robbins was a very late add on National Signing Day (actually, a week afterward), then he seems like an obvious choice.

        • Comments: 2294
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 09, 2017 at 1:41 PM

          Sure. Taylor would be another answer, but it seems the coaching staff preferred him.

          I would argue a scholarship punter is going to make a much bigger impact than a 7th or 8th RB.

    • Comments: 2294
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 09, 2017 at 11:10 AM

      This change in offensive philosophy is an interesting theory. I hope it’s true but am a little skeptical as it’s not a very Harbaugh/Bo/Stanford thing to do.

      I think recruiting Martin had more to do with the failings at OL leading to an opening in the class. When your choices are a WR you love vs stealing DBs or OL from the UConn’s of the world you take the talent and sort out the rest.

      • Comments: 1894
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 09, 2017 at 11:26 AM

        It might be more in line with what he did with the 49ers, though. Kaepernick is more athletic than Wilton Speight, but McCaffrey and Peters are guys who can probably run a few more zone read options and such.

        • Comments: 2294
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 09, 2017 at 11:36 AM

          To me the QB-run plays are a separate issue from skill position personnel. If they are moving to more 3-4 WR packages I would assume it’s mostly to enhance the passing game.

          Given the personnel they have – it mostly makes sense. Their most talented RBs are space players (Samuels and Evans), they have a boatload of skilled (albeit inexperienced) WRs and their FB/TEs are complementary players. Most important of all they will have a veteran QB with excellent decision-making and a shaky OL. A quicker-hitting passing game is probably more workable than a power-running play-action passing scheme. You need a great OL to make the latter work which is why I harp on getting more recruits there. Next year it is very clear they won’t have the OL to run power successfully. So maybe a shift is coming…

          • Comments: 311
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Feb 09, 2017 at 7:42 PM

            Can Speight get the ball out quick enough? Werent two of his biggest problems hanging on too long and too much trajectory?

            • Comments: 1894
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Feb 10, 2017 at 7:41 AM

              Yeah, he doesn’t have great arm strength, and he did hold onto the ball too long sometimes. It made for few interceptions (6, IIRC), but he’s not much of a risk-taker. I’m not saying I want him to go all Brett Favre and try to fit balls into tight windows, because he doesn’t have the arm strength to do that. But I think the two things are somewhat connected.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 280
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Feb 09, 2017 at 12:48 PM

        Lanknows: “a little skeptical as it’s not a very Harbaugh/Bo/Stanford thing to do.”

        True … but there’s a voice in my head saying Harbaugh truly is morphing. I have nothing to go on but a hunch.

        It’s hard to deny the success of a more open style. Clemson won with it; Alabama under Kiffen moved to that, etc. Plus, if we take Harbaugh’s comments about seeking the best athletes first and foremost, then that athleticism might best be utilized in a more open formation.

        I’m somewhat encouraged by it, to be honest.

        • Comments: 2294
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 09, 2017 at 1:40 PM

          I believe Harbaugh is flexible, and Hamilton and Frey are new blood. But I also have a hard time seeing him run too far away from 2TE sets and FBs. Easy to react to the current class and reach this conclusion, but IMO that’s just not very likely with Drevno around too.

          Jay Harbaugh and Frey are not going to be calling plays. It’s Harbaugh and Drevno and Hamilton – who all worked together at Stanford before. If Hamilton had a track record for something substantially different I’d be more inclined to believe this theory.

          I could see an evolution here (with say the Peppers package replaced by 4-wide packages) but I think Michigan is still going to do the Stanford power personnel thing most of the time.

          Also – I do think Michigan has to have an identity rather than just following whatever the latest trends are. So I don’t really want them to just do what Clemson and Bama did (which was mostly standard stuff anyway).

          • DonAZ
            Comments: 280
            Joined: 8/12/2015
            DonAZ
            Feb 09, 2017 at 2:12 PM

            Well, I saw Harbaugh having lunch with Mike Leach, so I think he’s going empty backfield and five-wide. Air raid, baby … air raid! 🙂

            (Agree there’s no rip-and-replace going on with Harbaugh. This is likely an addition to base set. We’ll still see 2 TE and a FB.)

          • GKblue
            Comments: 141
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            GKblue
            Feb 09, 2017 at 2:17 PM

            Lanknows: “I believe Harbaugh is flexible, and Hamilton and Frey are new blood. But I also have a hard time seeing him run too far away from 2TE sets and FBs”

            My guess is you are exactly right on both ends of this statement. Harbaugh wants it all. My biggest concern with this approach is having enough time to install and ingrain in a youthful offense this flexibility. Also, I am not sure if Speight or (not having seen Peters) our QBs are up to this task.

            If we can pull it off I’m all for flexibility as opposed to fixed tendancies.

            • Comments: 2294
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Feb 09, 2017 at 2:23 PM

              Share your concern. Seen the variety work at times but other times you wonder if they shouldn’t focus more on the base. Tough balance to find.

            • Comments: 2294
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Feb 09, 2017 at 2:25 PM

              I think Speight is up for it. Promising debut, flashes of excellence, 2 more years at Michigan.

              I know not many are going to agree with this, but the Michigan offense the next 2 years is going to go exactly as far as Wilton Speight carries them.

  3. Comments: 311
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 09, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Why, oh why does Kingston Davis resist the move to FB? He’s tailor-made, and would be looking at up to 4 years of starting, along with a bunch of TDs and short-yardage carries… much better than what he’ll find in the Sunbelt

    • Comments: 2294
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 09, 2017 at 11:17 AM

      Because he was recruited by a bunch of D1 head coaches to play RB, including Michigan.

      Of course I hope the move to FB works out but he’s not the first or last RB who doesn’t react well to a role that all but ensures he’ll go undrafted in the NFL instead of being the Heisman contender and high draft pick he surely imagined himself to be when he was being recruited for that role by high profile teams. Easy for us to say “dude you weight 245 pounds and you’re stuck behind 5 other guys”.

      Hopefully the coaching staff has the Jarrod Bunch and Aaron Shea highlight package set up for the kid.

      Anyway, this goes to show you why you need some “program kids” like Taylor who will run through a wall to play at Michigan.

      • Comments: 1894
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 09, 2017 at 11:24 AM

        The problem is that Taylor doesn’t have position flexibility. He’s a running back or nothing. If you’re going to recruit a “program guy” who’s willing to run through a brick wall, then it would be nice if he has the abilities to play multiple roles. I’d rather have Taylor be the “I only want to play running back” guy than Davis.

        • Comments: 2294
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Feb 09, 2017 at 11:40 AM

          True but if you see a dude with less size and talent playing ahead of you because he’s attacking his blocking assignment with an enthusiasm unknown and reliably catching passes out of the backfield, you might be more inclined to change your attitude re: the less glorious parts of being a RB.

          Taylor is probably too small for FB but you never know if he ads 20 pounds he might be functional in a part-time role — or maybe he’s a 3rd down back sort — or a hybrid player in a 1-back package.

          I see the reasons for doubt, but I have faith in our coaching staff and it’s not like Michigan was the only program that offered the kid. If he sits on the pine all next year I’ll sign on with the skeptics.

  4. Comments: 2294
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 09, 2017 at 11:06 AM

    Fun post. Especially for those of us who need time to shift gears to 2018…

    QB: Mills was targeted by the M staff too, he was probably their top prospect as well. I wasn’t sure if McCaffrey warranted a B+ or an A- given his ranking, but I thought locking him up early and hanging on was good enough to bump to the higher grade. The bloodlines thing gets overrated often IMO and in this case it doesn’t necessarily translate to QB, but it is a detail in his favor.

    RB: Taylor seems underrated by the fanbase, if not the sites. A quick glance at his highlights shows a shifty runner with good vision and hands. Samuels athleticism is exciting.

    FB and TE grade is too hard. They let Lasiter and Dunaway go and I doubt either comes back to haunt them. TE is well stocked even without Asiasi as McKeon and Eubanks give Michigan two versatile players who will be freshman next year. This is like giving somebody a failing grade for a class they did didn’t take… because they already have AP credits.

    WR grade is generous considering M only landed 1 player who is a top 100 composite recruit. The Walker/Terrell class was two top 100 guys, no actually two top 10 guys. THAT is an A+. This is an A, IMO, but I want to hand out A+ only for once-in-a-generation classes. I do think the coaches did about everything they could, but the talent pool is the talent pool. Furthermore, they took too many guys and are asking for attrition or relying on position changes that may or may not pan out.

    OL comes down to a definition of success. Michigan got a lot of guys (if you count Paea) – but that’s not hard to do. Other than Ruiz they missed on all their first tier targets, they lost guys they thought they had, and they failed to aggressively pursue some highly rated guys that at least expressed public interest. It wasn’t just the late losses but the early approach of narrowing focus down to a smaller group. A B grade is very generous no matter how you slice it.

    In short I think there is too much grading by volume here. Volume is determined by need and Michigan can always fill out a class any way they wish if they are willing to dip down to 3-star recruits. The more meaningful measure of success is quality and getting the guys you prioritize and target.

    • Comments: 1894
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 09, 2017 at 11:29 AM

      I totally disagree on the FB thing. Michigan has two senior fullbacks and nothing behind them. They need replacements, so right now, it will be up to walk-ons, 2018 signees, or position switchers to start in 2018. I see where you’re coming from with the TEs, but we needed a FB. Like I said in the post, if Mason has privately agreed to play fullback instead of working at linebacker, then that takes care of the issue. So far I haven’t heard that’s the case, though.

      • Comments: 2294
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 09, 2017 at 1:27 PM

        Position switches and walk-ons are the primary method of getting FBs. Other than Houma – who ended up being a RB as much as FB by the end of senior year – ALL of our recent FBs have been like this. And going back through the last 20 years the number of pure FBs Michigan recruited amounts to a small handful.

        I’m not disputing the need, I’m just not seeing a scholarship HS kid as the answer – since that’s not what usually happens.

        Plan A is the position-switch solution. You were dubious of Khalid Hill’s ability as a ball-carrier and I was dubious of 270 pound FBs, but the coaching staff has made it work pretty well so far. No clue if the next FB is a current RB, TE, DE, LB or what but there’s a high likelihood someone on the roster will play FB and play it well.

        Plan B is a walk-on. Kerridge is in the NFL and Bobby Henderson looked very capable last year if Plan A hadn’t worked out so well. There are more options forthcoming as the walk-on program seems robust.

        I’m very confident Michigan staff have some specific candidates in mind on the current roster. Failing Plan A and Plan B Michigan can probably move on to Plan C and find itself a grad transfer FB, even from a lower division.

        Recruiting a kid for FB is probably Plan D (or at least below B). This is why I wouldn’t grade the class so severely. Michigan willingly chose to not pursue the spot. They did that for a reason.

        • Comments: 514
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Feb 10, 2017 at 12:47 PM

          Agree on the FB, though would prefer that we stop wasting roster space on the position altogether and start running a 21st century offense. Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen any time soon under Harbaugh, but even so, trying to recruit scholarship FBs is pretty much a waste of time. There are at most only a handful of recruits in the whole country every year who actually WANT to play FB in college, and not all of them would necessarily be good at it at the next level. You can always convert a failed TE or LB to stock that position if you really want to, or even a RB like Shallman (although it didn’t work out in his particular case).

          I do think we missed on a TE, though. Even though it didn’t look like we needed one on the roster, you really need to cover every position in a 30 man class, because you have a lot fewer scholarships in subsequent years to fill those holes. And now we’re in the position of having to take 2 TEs in what will be a much smaller class in 2018, one to replace Asiasi, and the one we would have needed to sign normally in 2017/18, but didn’t get this year.

          • Comments: 2294
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 10, 2017 at 1:19 PM

            On TE: don’t you think the red-shirts effectively give M 2 TEs in the class ’17 class?

            TE is a position where you can red-shirt a guy or not, so I don’t agree that you have to take one every year. You can take them in chunks and distribute via red-shirt.

            • GKblue
              Comments: 141
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              GKblue
              Feb 10, 2017 at 1:46 PM

              Consider also that these “chunks or lack of chunks” are influenced by staffs eval of the available recruits in any given class and their interest in our program.

              I like the use of redshirts at TE where needed for S&C and to balance the roster.

          • Comments: 2294
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 10, 2017 at 1:27 PM

            Don’t agree we have to take 2 in 2018. What is the desired number of TEs on a roster? I am pretty sure we have that number already.

            We have 1 JR (Bunting), 2 sophomores (Wheatley and Gentry) and 2 freshman (Eubanks and McKeon). If Asiasi is indeed gone then we will be a little light (5 guys) and need to take somebody to replace him, but one guy does the job.

            If we take 2 TEs in 2018 then we will have 7 on the roster. That is too many. If we are also going to take some fullbacks and have 12 or 13 WR and 8 or 9 RBs, you can’t devote 30 scholarships to offense skill positions with sacrificing at QB, OL, and defense.

            • Comments: 514
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Feb 10, 2017 at 2:03 PM

              Normally I would say 5-6, but in the kind of TE-heavy offense that Harbaugh favors, probably more like 6-7.

              I certainly don’t think we should take “some” fullbacks, and probably not any. And yes, 13 WRs would be too many, but we will have a maximum of 11 going into 2017 (10 if Perry gets the boot, as I expect), and probably at least one if not both of Ways and Harris will also be gone after 2017, despite having another year of eligibility, so I think you’re over-concerned there. We’re not going to get up to 9 RBs any time soon either, if ever.

              • Comments: 2294
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 10, 2017 at 2:46 PM

                In 2017 we will have 27 combined RB/FB/TE/WR (counting Asiasi). Let’s call this a reasonable overall target for skill position scholarships.

                For 2018 we will lose 2 RB (Johnson, Isaac), 2 FB (Poggi,Hill), 2 WR (to grad transfer or position change) and 1 TE (to transfer, probably Asiasi). That’s 7 guys to replace.

                I will assume 1 is coming from a position change to address FB, though it may be more. 6 scholarships.

                2 RB
                1 FB
                2 WR
                1 TE

                That would replace the skill mix we have. IMO that is too many RB and WR unless we are changing offensive scheme, in which case it is too many TE or FB.

                Takehome: 1 TE is all we need to get to 6 and that assumes Asiasi is gone. It is very hard to make an argument that 2 TEs are needed when everyone still projects to be back in 2018 and only 1 more loss beyond that is guaranteed in 2019.

              • Comments: 2294
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Feb 10, 2017 at 2:49 PM

                I would argue that 27 is actually a few too many. Michigan has a lot of good young players at the skill positions and should be focusing on adding numbers at positions where there are huge questions (OL and DB especially).

                http://touch-the-banner.com/forum/topic/2018-recruiting-class-roster-needs/

                • Comments: 514
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Feb 10, 2017 at 6:20 PM

                  As has been noted previously for other positions, comfort with a particular level of recruiting depends a lot on success rate in developing recruits into quality starters. We will have our best sense yet under Harbaugh in 2017 of how good this staff really is at that.

          • Comments: 2294
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Feb 10, 2017 at 1:37 PM

            Furthermore, we should acknowledge that H-back types need to fall into this group. If you use big guys like Poggi and Hill at FB they are quasi-TEs that limit the need for ‘pure’ TEs. They both graduate next year and need to be replaced, but this again falls to the position-switch FB conversations.

            Mason seems like a big dude for a FB role, so he might be a jumbo FB/H-back type that will replace Poggi/Hill. Eubanks could get there too. And we could replace Poggi with another ‘failed’ DL prospect, as Michigan has loaded up on DL in the last few classes and not all these kids are going to get time.

            I would be shocked if the 2017 season did not see some position switches to FB/H-back/TE. When that happens I think the roster numbers will look a lot more favorable for these positions and you will not see the need that you see by just looking at today’s depth chart.

            • Comments: 101
              Joined: 9/15/2015
              ragingbull
              Feb 12, 2017 at 11:15 PM

              yeah i could see a guy like malone-hatcher eventually switching to FB / TE role on O. or maybe they try someone like wangler at FB since its doubtful he earns real minutes at LB (though hed be a smaller, lighter hybrid option at that spot on O).

              i only mention malone-hatcher as hes got great potential size (and maybe the skill set, he certainly doesnt mind playing physical) and strikes me a selfless team guy whod do what it takes, plus i dont see him earning major minutes at DL (at least not for few years), in my opinion hes clearly the least gifted DL in the 2017 class (the rest of the guys offer better combos of current ability, versatility, and future projected impact after development). hopefully im wrong though and he blows up and passes guys like villain, paye, kemp, jeter, etc bc i think many those dudes have a real chance to be impact players after mattison works his magic and they get some reps.
              theyve brought in decent numbers at DL and youre right, not all those dudes will make it and contribute at DL.

              mason is the other obvious name given hes already played FB / TE in high school. but im sure harbaugh constantly evals his roster and depth chart and tries to find best spots for everyone – and if theyre team players and unselfish dudes willing to switch roles, theres a good chance it happens at some point.

              bottom line – harbaugh seems like the type thats constantly evaluating and projecting and makes great effort to find best possible roles for all guys and get as many guys possible contributing. hes proven hell think outside the box and find roles for tough, smart, willing athletes. and thats a great thing

      • Comments: 2294
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 09, 2017 at 1:27 PM

        I do agree that we shouldn’t assume Mason is going to be a FB, especially given the recent experience with Shallman. But if not him, it’ll be someone else.

  5. Comments: 81
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Feb 09, 2017 at 11:10 AM

    Kingston Davis doesn’t want to be a FB because he probably doesn’t like to block. That’s 90% of what a FB does. You can’t make a guy WANT to block. Especially for some kid that’s probably carried the ball 20 times per game and wasn’t expected to do it. I don’t remember him playing linebacker in high school but that would be a good indication of his abilities.

    It’s like asking Brett Hull to pass the puck or Andre Drummond to take the technical foul shots for the entire Pistons team. It’s not what they’re good at and probably have no passion to do so.

  6. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 135
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Feb 09, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    TE strategy seemed to be stud or nothing, which I agree with. McKeon is apparently getting his redshirt and I have heard the coaches like him. If they are in better position on a couple good TE’s in the next cycle and can reel them in, TE depth won’t miss a beat.

    As for FB, they will figure it out. There are so few kids coming out of HS who actually want to be FB’s. A lot of FB’s seem to be converts from other positions (including UM’s two primary FB’s). Agree that Davis will move there or ride the pine. UM has like 6 walk-on FB’s and there are more PWO’s in this class who have potential there as well.

    RB to me is more of a “C”. They got two sleeper candidates for whom there was not a ton of competition. It may work out, but reeling in a top 15 or so RB every year should be the goal on paper.

    • Comments: 81
      Joined: 12/19/2015
      Extrajuice
      Feb 09, 2017 at 12:14 PM

      I agree that the RB ranking may be too high. I think C or C+ would be more accurate. I like Samuels speed and athleticism but I just don’t see him breaking many tackles. He runs through a huge hole and outruns a bunch of slow kids. I just don’t have enough to go on to get overly excited yet. Wish I’d see some highlights of him breaking tackles and changing direction or making something out of nothing.

      As for Taylor, I enjoy his enthusiasm for UM but his low production and lack of anything impressive (other than his massive arms) is alarming. Another thing that bothered me was that someone posted his bench press reps and he claimed he did like 20+ reps of 225. However, the video clearly showed he rarely extended his arms. Maybe because he’s done too many curls!

      • Comments: 1894
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 09, 2017 at 12:50 PM

        One thing that I think might be overlooked is the fact that Michigan didn’t expand its offer board late in the process. Even after they lost out on Dillon, they were content to go for all (Harris, Akers) or nothing. They could have sent out more offers or picked up their interest in Eno Benjamin, but they didn’t. So if you’re in “trust the coaches” mode, that may be worthwhile.

        I think Samuels has some good change-of-direction skills, but generally, if you’re faster than everyone you’re playing against, you don’t need to juke a ton of people or reverse field and cut back. I understand where you’re coming from when you say “I don’t have enough to go on” yet, but I do think that skill is there. It’s just not apparent because he doesn’t need to use it. Aroldis Chapman might have a pretty darn good knuckleball in his arsenal, but when he throws fastballs at 103 mph, maybe it’s not necessary to break out the knuckler.

        As for the bench pressing thing…it’s rare that running backs need to use their bench press muscles on the field. He might not extend his arms, but biceps are pretty important for a RB when it comes to holding onto the ball, carrying it high and tight, etc. I’d rather have a RB with strong biceps than a RB with strong pecs.

        • Painter Smurf
          Comments: 135
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          Painter Smurf
          Feb 09, 2017 at 1:25 PM

          I am not surprised that UM was pickier with their third RB spot than they were with their first. It struck me that the coaches told Dillon there was a chance he’d wind up at LB, which they knew he did not want and ultimately lead to his de-commitment. It was interesting to hear in the signing day interviews about how imprecise the coaches were with the recruits about their positions. Seemed like a lot of signees were not actually sure where they would be playing. That the coaches got real specific with Dillon about LB leads me to believe they did not see him as a priority RB recruit. You know the staff felt there was a good chance that Kingston Davis would be better fit at FB, but they sure as heck did not tell him that during the recruiting process.

        • Comments: 81
          Joined: 12/19/2015
          Extrajuice
          Feb 09, 2017 at 2:05 PM

          Regarding Taylor’s bench press, I know that it’s not that important. I was just venting my despise for social media and attempts to exploit themselves. Especially when their exploits are done improperly. Hope the kid succeeds.

          • Comments: 1894
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Feb 10, 2017 at 7:44 AM

            I’m smellin’ what you’re cookin’.

        • Comments: 805
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          Roanman
          Feb 13, 2017 at 7:44 AM

          I think Samuels has some real interesting change-of-direction skills.

          He has just a devastating little jump cut thing where he can go East-West in the blink of an eye, and for 3-4 feet to boot, because he’s just so twitchy and strong. But watch him lose his balance when he tries to cut not very much after having shifted into that gear he has that is just a rumor to the rest of us.

          I first thought, “Well, you just tell him that once he has shoved it into fifth, just forget about the rest of it and run like hell.” But stuff like that is frequently more instinctive than cognizant, and the body sometimes isn’t as coachable as the mind.

    • Comments: 2294
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 09, 2017 at 1:30 PM

      If there was a need at RB I think a C would be fair. But we have plenty of options and Walker and Davis were red-shirted.

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