Micah Mazzccua, Wolverine

Micah Mazzccua, Wolverine


February 25, 2019
Baltimore (MD) St. Frances OG Micah Mazzccua (image via Detroit News)

Baltimore (MD) St. Frances offensive lineman Micah Mazzccua committed to Michigan on Monday evening. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Maryland, Syracuse, Temple, UMass, and Virginia Tech.

Mazzccua is listed at 6’5″ and 289 lbs.

RATINGS
ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 3-star, 5.6 grade
247 Sports: 3-star, 85 grade, #86 OT, #800 overall

Mazzccua was offered by Michigan in late January, and early indications were positive for the Wolverines, especially because he was not getting a ton of attention on the recruiting trail or from other programs. It also helped that St. Frances’s co-head coach is Biff Poggi, a former Michigan staffer and the father of former Michigan fullback/defensive lineman Henry Poggi. It doesn’t hurt that St. Frances linebacker Osman Savage is committed to the Wolverines. Mazzccua (and a bunch of other St. Frances prospects) visited Ann Arbor two weekends ago.

Mazzccua has a good frame, and even though I’ve seen him listed anywhere from 289 to 305 lbs., he looks like he could comfortably carry some more weight. He played in Philadelphia before transferring to St. Frances prior to his junior season, but as a junior, he played some left guard and some left tackle. He shows a willingness to be a relentless blocker, and he plays to the whistle. He’s good at fitting onto double-teams and driving his feet with short, choppy steps.

There are some shortcomings with Mazzccua; some of them are physical, and some of them are technical. He can be a little slow off the ball, especially when working to his outside (left side). That presents a problem with the ability to reach block, but it really presents a weakness when he’s asked to slide in pass protection. He needs to stay lower in both the running and passing game, but especially in pass pro, he opens up the gate too much because he’s slow out of his stance. He also needs to work on his pulling technique.

Overall, Mazzccua has potential as an offensive lineman, but he’s limited. I see him as an offensive guard or perhaps a center. He lacks the foot speed to play on the edge, even though I think he has enough length to play tackle. There are a lot of technical things that he needs to improve. He can get there, but it might take a few years. I see him roughly in the same vein as Stephen Spanellis, although Spanellis had a little more bulk coming out of high school.

Michigan now has seven commitments in the 2020 class, and Mazzccua is the first offensive lineman. The Wolverines took six offensive linemen in 2019. Savage and/or Mazzccua would be the first player(s) from Maryland to sign with Michigan since Spanellis in the 2016 class.

23 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1138
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:41 PM

    I like the Spanellis comparison. Were it not for Caser Ruiz, Spanellis might be the best Center we’ve had since Molk left in 2011

    *yeah, I know Cole played C in 2016, but I think Spanellis could be just as good, maybe better

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 48
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Julio
    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:18 PM

    Thunder, you probably noticed that this offer was greeted poorly by some on MGoBlog (including Maizen, whose approach to life seems remarkably WCB’s).

    It’s admittedly “meh” by some standards. Would you care to comment on what Michigan’s motivation would be for offering a guy like this so early in the process? I don’t completely buy the “pipeline” idea and, IIRC, you don’t, either.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 933
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Feb 26, 2019 at 6:22 AM

      Life? Sorry, dude…you don’t know anything about my life, or how I approach it. Why do so many people on the internet think they know someone because of a few posts on one topic on one website?

      As far as football, your thinking is much like mine. This is another meh recruit that there was no good reason to offer at this point. Taking commits from guys like this is the reason we got wound up over whats-his-name hyphen Hickson or whatever.

      We will never win championships with guys like this starting at OT.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2812
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 26, 2019 at 9:48 AM

      I don’t believe in the pipeline thing, either, because “pipelines” never last. The Cass Tech connection has been somewhat fruitful for Michigan, but when you’re talking about out-of-state or out-of-region schools, they never turn into pipelines. We thought we would have a pipeline at Gilman…which didn’t happen. We thought we would have pipeline at Dr. Phillips…which didn’t happen.

      That being said, it’s not too early for an offer like this. If he truly is the #800 player in the country, Michigan’s going to get a few of those, regardless. If they honestly think he’s worth offering a year before signing day, then I would rather have their evaluations than count on Rivals’s evaluations. We’ve seen plenty of Michigan recruits rise in the rankings throughout the recruiting cycle. I’m not saying that WILL happen, but it might.

      I think one motivation with this, though, is that Michigan just took six offensive linemen in 2019. They’re probably not going to get a lot of high interest from guys who want to PLAY RIGHT NOW when they just took six OL guys in the previous class. I expect fewer than 6 OL in this class, and they might not end up being the stud high school guys, because those guys are going somewhere with holes where they can be plugged in immediately.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 26, 2019 at 9:55 AM

        Pipelines are a pipedream.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 26, 2019 at 10:03 AM

        I don’t think a top-tier OL recruit is going to be worried about the size of the class immediately above him as much as the returning starters. Jack Stewart and Zach Carpenter aren’t scaring guys like that off. It’s Ruiz, Mayfield and Steuber that will dictate available opportunity in 2020. Harder to beat out an upperclassmen than a guy 1 class ahead of you.

        Knowing that we lose at least 3 starters should be appealing to anyone who wants to play right away. Though if that’s really your objective you want to be signing as late as possible.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2019 at 9:51 AM

      We can absolutely win a championship with a guy like this at OG is what I think WCB is saying.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1138
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 26, 2019 at 8:10 AM

    If he can play Center, this was a good commitment

    • Avatar
      Comments: 933
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Feb 26, 2019 at 9:20 AM

      If he can play center really well, sure, but how many really good 6’5” centers are there?

      In any case, that would just perpetuate the same problem of always having to do a patchwork job at OT because we recruit guys for that position who are not natural college tackles.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2812
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Feb 26, 2019 at 9:39 AM

        I’m confused. What does this commitment have to do with a patchwork job at OT? I said he looks like a guard (or center), and every other report I’ve seen says he’s likely a guard or *maybe* a right tackle. There’s been no indication that I know of suggesting the coaching staff is recruiting him for tackle.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 933
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Feb 26, 2019 at 11:11 AM

          You cite 247, which lists him as an OT. Sure, that could change once he gets to college, but t leaves us with one of two possibilities. Either the coaches are recruiting a guy to play tackle who doesn’t project well at that position, or they are taking up another OL scholarship with a guy they have no plans to play at tackle, both of which leave us with the aforementioned patchwork job.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 199
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Feb 26, 2019 at 11:13 AM

    I really don’t WANT to be negative but I also like to consider myself honest. My honest evaluation of 3 star players like Khaleke Hudson, Mike Sainristil, Michael Barrett, Josh Uche and some others were quite glowing. I was actually excited. I was even hopeful for Nate Johnson and McDoom, and those didn’t work out. But, when I see a dud I’ll project a dud (Kurt Taylor, Mben-Bosse, German Green, Mike Morris). When I say I’m really worried about this recruiting class it’s more for the lack of high-end talent that it seems UM is recruiting.

    Typically, there is optimism going into a new recruiting season but ever since Myles Hinton chose Stanford it seems like high hopes are dwindling. UM typically starts well in recruiting and ends up with lower ranked reaches like Hickson and Vincent Gray. Sort of last minute fill-ins. Now it seems as though UM is reaching EARLY. It’s not Mazzccua’s ranking that’s the problem… it’s the film. It’s bad in my opinion. He’s slow-footed and only an average athlete. He’s not the prototype Tackle you’d want, nor is he athletic enough to pull it off. Most of his highlight are double-teams on opponents and it’s not like he’s flattening them either. Sure, he ran over a couple 160 lb safeties but even my highlight film from the mid 90’s has that! The pipeline to St. Francis is a bit of a joke too. That’ what optimists latch onto to salvage hope. Sure it helps to know a high school coach but it makes close to 0% difference of future star players.

    I know some people don’t like WCB’s opinions but sometimes there’s some truth to it. Stop being a fan and be a realist. Comparing the successful programs with UM’s and there’s some major recruiting differences and thus… championship differences.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2019 at 12:20 PM

      “Not being a fan” is good way to describe it.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 26, 2019 at 12:18 PM

    For those using this commitment as an opportunity to stress about the class as a whole, I would suggest not getting too worked up about any individual recruits when we’re nearly a year away from signing day. It might be worth considering this quote (via WolverineWire):

    “He’s a great dude,” Mazzccua said of Warinner. “He told me what offense they run and how they’d want me to play there. (The staff) set expectations for me and like me as a person and player.”

    That might not mean anything at all, but I’m hopeful that the coaching staff are being more transparent and clear with recruits on the margins.

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 26, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Michigan’s recruiting class rankings since Harbaugh got settled in: nationally and (Big Ten)

    2016: #8 (#2)
    2017: #5 (#2)
    2018 #22 (#3)
    2019: #8 (#1)

    It’s way too early to really care but, just to offer some perspective:

    2020: #11 (#2)

    Zooming out to the big picture: these track pretty closely with how Michigan has performed on the field — a top 10 program that is clearly behind it’s rival (a top 5 program).

    That’s no surprise to anyone who thinks recruiting matters.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 26, 2019 at 1:13 PM

      What I think gets lost in the looped discussion that happens with every 3 star commit (even the ones we obsessives talk ourselves into being underrated) is:

      -You get to the top 5, not by replacing the 3-stars with slightly higher rated 4-stars, but by winning the battles for the blue chippers that are within reach. You’ll always lose some of these but this is where recruiting is won or lost from Michigan’s perspective. It’s the head-to-heads against OSU, ND, Stanford, Alabama, etc.

      -A 3 star commit is almost never taking a 5 star’s place. That L was taken earlier, usually many months before when blue chipper X chose to go to elsewhere. Michigan isn’t replacing that guy with a different blue chipper. The pool is too shallow, at least if you are talking about guys M has a realistic shot with. Maybe 20% at best of elite prospects outside the region are going to realistically consider M. They need to win a share of those, including top tier Ohio kids, and lock-down locally. They only get so many shots so when Michigan finishes 2nd for a blue chipper, THAT’s the time to fret.

      -Some number (usually 5-10) of 3-star recruits are a given — they’re always going to be part of the class, even when it’s top 5. The 3-stars should be evaluated not based on ranking but by fit. Are they program guys (high character, versatile, ready-to-contribute), addressing a critical positional need, or high-upside lotto tickets? If yes – don’t stress.

      Major L’s in 2019 included Brown, Barnett, and Karloftis.

      Major L’s taken in the 2020 recruiting cycle include Myles Hinton. Justin Rogers looked to be in that bin for sure until this last week or so.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 26, 2019 at 1:20 PM

        The thing I’ve noticed about 2020 is that Michigan seems to not even be in the top 2 or 3 with many of the top 150 guys. That concerns me. It probably puts more focus on the in-state blue-chippers that Michigan is already behind on.

        The fringe commitments are probably a symptom of the lack of blue chip interest. I don’t have any problem with them locking down commitments from fringe guys as long as they are clear about their intentions and the tentative position in the class.

        But, again, Michigan has a top 11 class at the moment with 4 commits from 4 stars, albeit none in the top 150.

        A strong season would probably make a big difference. As with everything related to this program — need to beat OSU.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4288
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Feb 26, 2019 at 1:21 PM

        I forgot the biggest L of 2020 – Harrison Bailey.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 18
        Joined: 11/15/2015
        brandywine
        Feb 26, 2019 at 1:35 PM

        This is great perspective.
        It’s fairly silly to me to get worked up about this commit. This is a staff “option”. Michigan will continue to recruit more refined prospects on OL, and if Micah fails to improve and develop like they are betting he will likely not end up in the class.

        Yes, the realization is that Michigan’s standing in recruiting at this moment in the cycle is weak compared to other top programs and is not getting great attention from top 150 players. Excelling in the upcoming season will always be the driving factor in recruiting.

        Also the strategy of identifying lower ranked prospects with potential early in the cycle is clearly a conscious one by the staff, but is likely not shared by the OSU, Clemson, Bama etc of the world. It’s what these coaches bring to the table. I think they understand that Michigan’s place in the recruiting world is fickle compared to other powers and this is a way to even the field.

  7. UM_1973
    Comments: 78
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Feb 27, 2019 at 12:33 PM

    I think the reason fans are “freaking out” each time we sign a 3-star recruit is because OSU has been signing 4/5 star recruits and the result on the field shows. It is also because Harbaugh’s evaluation of recruits have been average so far. Not bad but not great either.

    The fans have never freaked out when John Beilein signs a 3-star because of his track record. We remember Teske, Jordan Morgan, Tim Hardaway Jr, Caris Levert and Spike. Even Trey Burke was a borderline 4 star who ended up as National Player of the Year. I think until Harbaugh starts winning the Big Ten, these concerns about signing 3-star recruits early will always show up (and rightfully so).

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 27, 2019 at 1:29 PM

      Fans don’t freak out when Beilein fails to win the Big Ten or loses sometimes to Wisconsin or MSU. They accept that Beilein’s going to recruit some 3-stars like Austin Davis, Ibi Watson, Ricky Doyle, or Max Bielfeldt . They don’t expect Michigan to out-recruit Duke and Kentucky.

      Michigan basketball has finished 9th, 8th, 5th, and 4th in the Big Ten since Harbaugh was hired. Fans manage to appreciate the coach and enjoy the team.

      Basketball isn’t football. I know that. Basketball has reasonable expectations, a positive atmosphere, a supportive fanbase. Football has 1/2 a national championship in 70 years but fans feels entitled to complain when the team doesn’t finish in the top 5.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 27, 2019 at 1:42 PM

      Given basketball has gotten to the final four 5 times in the last 30 years while football has finished in the top 4 just once, one wonders if there isn’t a relationship between success and lower expectations/more positive fanbase.

      I guess it’s a chicken/egg thing.

      Might also be that basketball has been more up and down while football has been more consistently upper-middle-class. Maybe Michigan football just needs another Rodriguez/Hoke transition to really gets fans to support the team.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Feb 27, 2019 at 1:50 PM

      Turning a handful of 3-stars into 4-stars isn’t going to beat OSU.

      Michigan needs to beat OSU with the guys they have. Michigan needs to beat OSU in head-to-head recruiting battles for blue-chippers. 3-stars are not the problem.

      Everytime a future players commits and fans use that as a reason to get on message boards to complain about the team, the coach, the players, etc., they chip away at the program’s prestige and culture.

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