Caden Kolesar, Wolverine

Caden Kolesar, Wolverine


December 11, 2018

Caden Kolesar (image via Detroit News)

Lakewood (OH) St. Edward athlete Caden Kolesar committed to Michigan on Tuesday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Akron, Army, and Bowling Green. It’s unclear right now whether Kolesar is committed as a scholarship player, grayshirt, or preferred walk-on. (UPDATE: Kolesar confirmed he will be a preferred walk-on.)

Kolesar is listed at 5’10” and 195 lbs. He claims a 4.61 forty, a 4.18 shuttle, and a 32.7″ vertical.

RANKINGS
ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 2-star S, 5.4 grade
247 Sports: 3-star, #173 ATH, #2201 overall

Hit the jump for more on Kolesar’s commitment.

Kolesar is the son of former Michigan wide receiver John Kolesar, who played at Michigan from 1985-1988. The elder Kolesar averaged 23.4 yards per catch on 61 receptions throughout his career, and he scored 13 career touchdowns. The younger Kolesar has visited Michigan during the recruiting process, but he was not pegged as a likely offer candidate. Ohio regional recruiting analyst Bill Greene has been high on Caden throughout, but obviously only some lower-level FBS programs came through with offers.

Kolesar was a very productive player for his high school team, notching 150 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 13 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 rushing touchdown, 1 punt return touchdown, 1 kickoff return touchdown, and 1 blocked kick. He was named First Team All-Ohio on defense and his team won the state championship. He has an excellent shuttle time and a decent forty time. On film Kolesar is a nosy safety who’s not afraid to step up and support the run from the safety position. He shows solid change-of-direction skills and his low center of gravity helps him stay with receivers in and out of their breaks. With the ball in his hands, Kolesar is a decently tough runner who shows some moderate long speed.

One concerning thing about Kolesar is his size. While he’s listed at 5’10”, the aforementioned Green says he’s 5’8″ or 5’9″, and the shorter end of that spectrum seems most likely. The shuttle time is good, but that doesn’t always show on the field. He can be a little indecisive with the ball in his hands, which makes the change-of-direction skills a little less relevant. Defensively, he shows good instincts and reacts well to his receivers, but his ball skills are a little limited, perhaps because of his lack of height.

In my opinion, Kolesar looks like a special teamer and role player at the next level. Some people may point to Jordan Kovacs, but Kovacs was taller. As a receiver, I don’t think Kolesar is superior to walk-on Jake McCurry. I see him playing on coverage units. Greene thinks he will make more of an impact at slot receiver, but I’m not sure how he fits on either side of the ball. He can play slot receiver, but he’s not a difference-maker on offense.

Assuming Kolesar is a grayshirt, that means he will not participate with the football team in 2019 and he will become a scholarship player in 2020. Michigan did something similar with kicker Jake Moody in the 2018 class, but when a scholarship spot opened up, Moody was given a scholarship during the season.

Kolesar is also a teammate of 2019 Michigan commit Quintel Kent, a wide receiver.

TTB Rating: 60 (ratings explanation)

31 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 4576
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 11, 2018 at 1:33 PM

    Quite a write-up for a gray-shirt. Let’s hope it works out as well as Moody.

    Interesting to see Michigan continue to allocate scholarships to shorter hybrid athletes that can potentially fit at DB or WR (or APB). Seems they have identified a need here and are targeting it aggressively (a la WR a couple classes ago).

    I see it as a promising sign and continue to be perplexed at how much value/concern fans put into height.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4576
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 11, 2018 at 1:36 PM

      To be more clear – I appreciate the level of detail for a low-ranked recruit. It may not matter in the end but it’s good to know the story of a kid who will be given an opportunity.

      I remember watching his dad play with Harbaugh. One of my first football memories.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2914
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 11, 2018 at 2:22 PM

      Well, being a grayshirt basically means he’s a 2020 scholarship commit, so we might as well talk about him in that way. Except grayshirt guys aren’t going to decommit between 2019 and the 2020 signing period. I do hope he turns out as well as Moody turned out, but grayshirt kickers and grayshirt players at other positions are different animals. Kickers often have to come from walk-ons/grayshirts because there are so few spots allotted.

      I’m not sure quite what need is being filled by someone like Kolesar, other than wanting someone to be a program/glue guy. If you want a safety, you can recruit a safety. If you want a slot receiver, you can recruit a slot receiver. If you want a punt returner, you can recruit those, too.

      I’m also not sure why height can’t be a concern. It limits the overall weight you can put on, and it also limits your matchups. It can be made up for in other ways sometimes (speed, agility, leaping ability, etc.), so you have to look for ways these prospects can do that. In other words, there might be 100 guys who are 5’8″ with his speed/agility, 80 guys who are 5’9″ with his speed/agility, 60 guys who are 5’10”, 40 guys who are 5’11”, and 20 guys who are 6’0″-plus. What makes the 5’8″ Kolesar more worthy of recruiting/offering than the 5’11” or 6’1″ guys?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4576
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 11, 2018 at 4:05 PM

        ON HEIGHT

        Collectively (with Jackson, Johnson, Johnson III, Turner, Sainristil, Kent, Velazquez) there are a lot of short DBs or WR/RBs in the class, even with Gray gone. Some of them are pretty set in position while others are unknown.

        It looks like a trend to me. I think the staff sees a need for shorter, quicker players who many would lump into the slot/nickel classification. To me, it reads as embracing the evolution towards hybrid players who can do a lot of things in space. They want guys who are versatile – proverbial “football players” – not guys who are specialized to one position. They always have like that, but in this class they’re looking at shorter versions.

        I have no idea if Kolesar can contribute in that kind of a role but I don’t see height (or weight) as an issue. He’s listed at 5’10 and 195 which is pretty typical and consistent with other recruits. Khaleke Hudson was 5’11 205 as a recruit. If you’re saying he’s not athletic enough, why not just say that?

        Exaggerated measurables? Everybody kills pe…lies about how big they are.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2914
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 11, 2018 at 5:13 PM

          I did say he’s not athletic enough. Not for being 5’8″. You can be tiny if you’re Darren Sproles. If you don’t have that extra factor (speed, agility, etc.) to make up for being 5’6″ (Sproles) or 5’8″, then there’s not a ton to work with.

          If height and/or athleticism weren’t an issue, Michigan wouldn’t be up against the likes of Army for his commitment.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 4576
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 11, 2018 at 5:43 PM

            Then the issue is athleticism, not height.

            If Kolesar was 7 feet tall it wouldn’t change much on the gridiron…and he’d probably be playing basketball instead.

            Sproles size wasn’t a detriment – it was an advantage.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 2914
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Dec 11, 2018 at 5:49 PM

              No. If he were 6’2″ with a 4.61 forty, a 4.18 shuttle, and a 27″ vertical, then he would be able to match up with receivers better, and he would have a better catch radius as a receiver. But then he’d have Stanford, Penn State, and Michigan (among others) beating down his door for months and years, because his name might be Cornelius Johnson (4.62 forty, 4.3 shuttle, 32″ vertical).

              Sproles’s size was an advantage for him, but he also was more decisive, had a 4.49 forty, and had a 3.96 shuttle.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 4576
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 11, 2018 at 6:28 PM

                Height is helpful at WR but speed, leaping ability, instincts, arm length, etc.are all a bigger part of effective catch radius.

                The NFL doesn’t have a bunch of 6’9 WRs because height just doesn’t matter that much. DB even moreso.

                Generally, the bigger you are the harder it is to change direction quickly. And the easier you are to hit.

                This is why the NFL continues to get shorter at RB, WR, LB, S etc.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4576
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 11, 2018 at 6:32 PM

                  Where height matters in sports the athletes are generally getting taller due to superior nutrition, training, and information (scouting/exposure/communication).

                  OL are getting bigger and bigger because that’s a spot where mass is critical. Basketball players are taller than ever, because height matters there.

                  Meanwhile, most NFL positions are getting shorter.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2914
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Dec 11, 2018 at 10:04 PM

                  You’re dancing around the point.

                  Player A: 5’8″, 190 lbs., 4.6 forty, 4.2 shuttle, 35″ vertical, good hands
                  Player B: 6’3″, 215 lbs., 4.6 forty, 4.2 shuttle, 35″ vertical, good hands

                  Which one do you want? You want Player B. Everybody does. It’s a rhetorical question.

                  The NFL is getting shorter because the rules are emphasizing speed/skill over brawn, so the 5’10” guys with the 4.1 shuttles are better than the 6’3″ guys with 4.44 shuttles. I’m not disputing that, but there’s a point of diminishing returns.

                  Of the 16 guys with 1,000+ receiving yards in the NFL this season, the only ones below 6’0″ are Tyreek Hill and Brandin Cooks (both listed at 5’10”). Average height for men in America is 5’9″, so why aren’t the oodles of 5’9″-and-under American males dominating the sport? They’re presumably just as fast/quick or faster/quicker than the guys who are 5’10”, 6’0″, 6’1″, etc.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1203
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Dec 11, 2018 at 11:41 PM

                  Dancing around the point is Lank’s favorite. His strategy is replying so many times with so much useless info that the debate dies off

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4576
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 12, 2018 at 12:09 PM

                  Speed and quickness and size matter – those things are correlated to height but height isn’t the thing that actually matters in football.

                  Saying height is the problem for a player that lacks other abilites is missing the point. This isn’t basketball where every inch at every position is advantageous.

                  A 5’10 DB isn’t too short.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4576
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 12, 2018 at 12:17 PM

                  Our best LBs and CBs have been 5’10 and 5’11. There’s no reason to doubt a S because he’s that height or an inch off.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2914
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Dec 12, 2018 at 12:30 PM

                  You are doing a fantastic job of tap-dancing around everything I’ve said.

                  I give up.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 4576
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 12, 2018 at 2:01 PM

                  Don’t know what you mean but OK. I tried to explain in detail and I tried to put it bluntly. It’s about ability.

                  If you have 6’3 190lb DB who runs a 4.7 40 you’re never going to say: “If only he was 3 inches taller he’d be good”. That would be ridiculous right?

                  No different for a 5’7 190 lb DB who runs a 4.7 40.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4576
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM

        ON GRAYSHIRTS

        Kolesar seems like a replacement for Hill – who apparently they are still trying to get back. Obviously a big talent downgrade there, but instead of closing the book with a 5’11 3-star replacement, they can continue to recruit Hill and other elite prospects while putting Kolesar on the backburner. Imagine if Michigan had given up on Aubrey Solomon and given his spot to a cut-rate replacement.

        As for treating a grayshirt like a 2020 recruit… Given roster turnover under Harbaugh, I’m not sure I look at it that way. He’ll probably be a 2019 recruit but even if he isn’t Moody, he’ll be part of the program in 2019. Even if he isn’t a full-fledged part of the team he’ll participate and train in many of the same ways. If the fit isn’t there they’ll know about a year sooner than your typical fringe recruit (e.g., Kurt Taylor being on scholarship for 2 years).

        If it doesn’t work out, he won’t stay on scholarship. That’s just how Harbaugh does things. I’d bet the conversations between JH and the Kolesar family were pretty frank on this, as they tend to be with people with a lot of history together. He’ll get a shot, but nobody is guaranteed 4 years.

        If it works out, great – he’ll be on scholarship, which is generally the case for PWOs too. It’s more like PWO deluxe to me.

        Grayshifting is a way to keep recruiting without screwing anyone or risking a public flogging by yanking a scholarship on signing day. I see it as taking away from a scholarship that would probably go to a walk-on otherwise. So it’s more like a PWO deluxe.

        Regardless of the outcome in this case, grayshirting makes sense to me strategically and I hope they keep using it for a couple guys per class. You keep spots open for signing day flips. You get a free year of development which functionally gives the program more scholarships. As a bonus you might even get a 6th year from a significant contributor, creating a Men vs. Boys situation.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1033
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 11, 2018 at 4:49 PM

          Grayshirting is just an attempt to make yourself feel smarter and better and recruiting than you really are. An elite program (which we allegedly are) doesn’t need that kind of dodge. You bring in talent, and you plug it in.

          Men vs Boys? When have we EVER had that situation?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 4576
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 11, 2018 at 5:49 PM

            It frees up scholarships that otherwise get burned on development time. It’s mostly a tool used by smaller schools to gain an edge. A program like Oregon State (who is going to recruit mostly 3 stars anyway) can use it to gain an advantage in experience by buying itself more development time.

            It’s the inverse of a red-shirt, which burns scholarships on non-productive players, except both offer the potential for a long-run payoff.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1033
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Dec 11, 2018 at 8:27 PM

              Which was my point. And the question remains…when have we EVER had a “Man vs. Boys” situation by keeping a guy around for 6 years?

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 4576
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 12, 2018 at 12:01 PM

                It’s not a tool M has used. They haven’t even gotten a red-shirt on any half-decent OL prospect.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2914
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 11, 2018 at 5:05 PM

          If he ends up being a grayshirt, he won’t be a part of the program in 2019.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 4576
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 11, 2018 at 5:43 PM

            The program is a lot more than the kids on scholarship.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1033
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Dec 11, 2018 at 4:44 PM

    A lot of minutiae being discussed here for a very, very marginal recruit. Why not just come right out and say, “crap, is this what we’re left with?” Yeah, I know people want to be positive, but everyone who reads this is disappointed. Be honest.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2914
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 11, 2018 at 5:22 PM

      It turns out he’s just a preferred walk-on, so I don’t think anyone should be disappointed.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4576
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 11, 2018 at 5:52 PM

        I agree but felt the same about the gray-shirt.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1033
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Dec 11, 2018 at 8:25 PM

        If he’s what we get to fill the gap left by Hill, yeah…they kinda would be…

      • Avatar
        Comments: 209
        Joined: 12/19/2015
        Extrajuice
        Dec 12, 2018 at 5:34 PM

        Yay! I’m back to feeling indifferent.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4576
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 11, 2018 at 5:51 PM

      I wasn’t disappointed at all.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 277
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Dec 12, 2018 at 6:03 AM

      On the other hand as a PWO I am not disappointed at all when reading what Ohio area coaches are saying about his football skills. Which are he is a definite safety (and special team) scholarship possibility eventually. Let him earn one.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 209
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Dec 13, 2018 at 4:50 PM

    According to Jonathan Simmons on Maize N Brew, Caden is grayshirting and WILL count as a commit for the 2020 class. Originally, he was a PWO but not anymore.

    Yikes. Don’t like this at all but there’s always a couple of these kids every year that I don’t believe are good enough to play at UM. They usually filter themselves out.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4576
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 14, 2018 at 3:11 PM

      “They usually filter themselves out.” is a nice way of saying it. One way or another non-contributors tend to get filtered out before their 4-years are up.

      Gray-shirts put a scholarship-year discount on the process.

      It’s a holiday sale time! 25% off marginal recruits! A free gift card for a 6th year of eligibility available for qualified owners.

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