Goodbye, Henry Poggi

Tag: senior profile


15Jan 2018
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Goodbye, Henry Poggi

Henry Poggi (image via Freep)

HIGH SCHOOL

Poggi committed to Michigan in January of 2012 as a part of the 2013 class (LINK). I gave him a final TTB Rating of 79 (LINK). He played defensive tackle at Baltimore (MD) Gilman, where the head coach was his father, Biff. The elder Poggi liked Michigan’s coaching staff at the time (Brady Hoke and Co.), and he eventually came to work at Michigan as a staffer under Jim Harbaugh before returning to coach Baltimore (MD) St. Frances. The younger Poggi was an Under Armour All-American at defensive tackle, and he fended off advances from Alabama late in the recruiting process to stick with his Michigan pledge. Ironically, Alabama wanted him as an H-back, and Michigan fans thought that was funny because he was a defensive lineman all the way. And then . . .

COLLEGE

Poggi redshirted in 2013, as expected. As a backup defensive tackle in 2014, he made 2 tackles. Then Hoke was fired, and in came Jim Harbaugh, who flipped Poggi to H-back. He started four games during the 2015 season, making 1 catch for 2 yards and generally struggling as a blocker. However, his blocking improved in subsequent seasons. He had 1 carry for 4 yards and 6 catches for 45 yards in 2016. And in his final year, he had a 2-yard touchdown run against Maryland, his home-state team, and he caught 2 passes for 21 yards on the year.

CAREER STATS

4 tackles
2 carries for 6 yards (3.0 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown
9 catches for 68 yards (7.6 yards/catch)

AWARDS

Robert P. Ufer Bequest for enthusiasm (2017)

SUMMARY

Poggi’s career was somewhat unexceptional, especially when looking back and seeing that he was an Under Armour All-American and recruited hard by Alabama. One would expect that a high school All-American would turn into a high-quality player in college, and that never seemed to be the case. He was a little-used backup defensive lineman early in his career, and Jim Harbaugh needed a big, bruising fullback to run his offense when he arrived in 2015. If he had stayed on the defensive line, there’s a good chance that he would have turned out to be a good defensive player, because that’s what Greg Mattison does with defensive linemen. He never seemed to fit the mold of a true fullback for Michigan, though, at 6’4″ and 257 lbs. Early in his career, he had difficulty identifying which defender to block and trouble with the technique of getting the job done. And while that eventually improved, he was never a dual-threat guy to hurt teams with the ball in his hands. Fellow position-switcher Khalid Hill always seemed more effective, and Poggi took playing time away from Hill. And looking at it from Poggi’s perspective, I wonder if Michigan really handcuffed his chances of getting to the NFL by moving him to offense.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . . 

. . . being an awkward fit at fullback. I’m down with occasionally moving a guy like William Carr or Refrigerator Perry to running back/fullback on the goal line, but playing a 6’4″, 257 lb. defensive lineman at fullback for three years seems like an odd move. Poggi played fine and it’s not really a knock on him, but it’s just a rarity in college football.

PROJECTION

As I mentioned above, I wonder if the move to fullback was a death knell for his opportunity at an NFL career. NFL teams generally keep approximately one fullback on the roster, and they are also rarely of the 6’4″, 257 lb. variety. Poggi has very little experience blocking as an in-line tight end, and he probably doesn’t have the athleticism to be an NFL H-back. While there was a lot of competition for playing time on the defensive line at Michigan, that would have fit his body type better, and he would have received the full Greg Mattison Effect that has sent the likes of Ryan Glasgow, Willie Henry, and others (who were higher rated) on to NFL careers. I don’t see Poggi getting drafted, and I don’t really envision him having a long career as a free agent.

11Jan 2018
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Goodbye, Mike McCray II

Mike McCray II (image via Land of 10)

HIGH SCHOOL

McCray attended Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison and was a part of the 2013 graduating class, just a few years after Michigan wide receiver Roy Roundtree graduated from Trotwood-Madison. McCray is the son of a former Ohio State captain, so it was thought that he would end up a Buckeye, but Ohio State never offered the younger McCray. He picked Michigan over offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, along with many others. I gave him a final TTB Rating of 74 (LINK).

COLLEGE

McCray redshirted as a freshman in 2013. In Brady Hoke’s final year as coach, McCray played special teams and as a backup linebacker, most notably blocking a punt against Appalachian State in the opener that was returned for a TD by Ben Gedeon. However, a pre-existing shoulder injury was aggravated in the spring of 2015, and he redshirted that year; there were rumors that the shoulder injury would end his career, and indeed he wore a harness on his shoulder for the next two years. When he did return in 2016, he was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten with 76 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (including a TD against Florida State in the Orange Bowl), and 9 pass breakups. He followed that up with another Honorable Mention All-Big Ten season in 2017, finishing with 84 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup.

CAREER STATS

161 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (for 36 yards and 1 TD), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 8 pass breakups

AWARDS

Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2016, 2017)
Team Captain (2017)
Robert P. Ufer Bequest for enthusiasm (2017)

SUMMARY

McCray had a career that I feel I have come to expect from Michigan linebackers. Michigan isn’t the Miami Hurricanes when they had a steady flow of elite ‘backers for many years. They never have been. McCray is a guy who didn’t contribute much during his first few years on campus, but when it was time for him to play, he did an admirable job. Despite being listed at 6’4″ and 248 lbs. – pretty large for a college inside linebacker – he was surprisingly adept at reading quarterbacks’ eyes and defending the pass. On top of that, he’s #12 in career tackles for loss at Michigan, though admittedly the school didn’t start tracking that stat until the mid-1990s. I feel he got a bad rap at times for his struggles to cover running backs out of the backfield on wheel routes, but those plays are designed to take advantage of 6’4″, 248 lb. guys trying to cover the likes of Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley out of the backfield. Defensive coordinator Don Brown basically said, “Yes, they’re going to hit some plays against him, but I’ll take my chances.” At his size, if McCray had the speed and athleticism to cover Barkley or Cook on wheel routes, we would be talking about a potential first or second round pick.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . . 

. . . his punt block against Appalachian State in 2014 that was returned for a touchdown by Ben Gedeon.

PROJECTION

McCray was a productive inside linebacker who looks like a 3-4 inside linebacker at the next level. He’s not an edge rusher, and I wonder if Michigan kept him at WILL linebacker instead of MIKE to cut down on how much contact he would take with a bad shoulder. He’s not your typical WILL, and his primary backup is the shorter, smaller former safety Devin Gil. McCray may have been a SAM linebacker in a 4-3, but some of those guys have disappeared or morphed into different body types now that the NFL is a passing league. McCray has the size and athleticism to play in the NFL. I think he has pretty good awareness and is more of a zone coverage guy than a man coverage player. He should be a third day pick in the NFL Draft as long as his shoulder holds up to teams’ scrutiny.

26Apr 2017
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Goodbye, Dymonte Thomas

(image via Pinterest)

HIGH SCHOOL
Thomas attended Alliance (OH) Marlington and committed to Michigan in September of 2011 (LINK) as a part of the 2013 class. I ended up giving him a TTB Rating of 89 (LINK). I really didn’t put together much of a scouting report on him, because he committed early, before much film surfaced on him playing defense. As Marlington’s best athlete, they basically played him at middle linebacker, allowing him to make plays all over the field. He was also an outstanding running back.

Hit the jump for more.

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13Apr 2017
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Goodbye, Channing Stribling

Channing Stribling (image via MGoBlue)

SITE NEWS: I’ve been asking you to upload avatars, and many of you have. Yesterday I promised to pick a name out of first 25 users who made an avatar, and the winner was BigSouthFork. But he’s such a nice guy that he donated the $25 back to the site. That makes this a bit easier, then: When we get to 50 avatars, there will be a $50 gift card up for grabs.


HIGH SCHOOL
Stribling attended Matthews (NC) Butler and was part of the 2013 recruiting class. I gave him a TTB Rating of 77 (LINK). Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote about him back in 2012:

Stribling is a pretty physical player, especially for playing his junior season at 160 lbs. or so.  He’s a willing tackler who wants to come up and hit, but he gets overpowered a little bit at times.  That should change as his body matures and he starts to add weight.  Where he currently lacks the confidence to wrap up ball carriers and instead chooses to go low and dive at legs, he should eventually be a solid run supporter.  Stribling has decent hips and ability to change direction, but his mental discipline helps him there.  He seems to read plays well and recognize developing route combinations.  When the ball is in the air, he shows an ability to go after it, timing his leaps well and using his length to disrupt receivers and bat the ball.

COLLEGE
Despite thoughts that Stribling might redshirt, he played a fair amount as a freshman. He made 16 tackles and 1 forced fumble as a freshman, though probably the most memorable play was when Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson outjumped him for a key reception in the loss to the Nittany Lions. As a sophomore in 2014, Stribling made 7 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in a pretty forgettable season. In 2015 he became a part-time starter (4 games) and made 17 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 3 pass breakups while splitting time with Jeremy Clark. With alternating injuries to Jourdan Lewis and then Clark, it’s not clear whether Stribling would have been a starter on the outside in 2016, but he ended up starting every game, anyway. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten for making 28 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, and 13 pass breakups.

CAREER STATS
68 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 6 interceptions (91 yards), 16 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble

AWARDS
Second Team All-Big Ten (2016)

SUMMARY
You can see by reading Stribling’s commitment post that I generally had a fond opinion of him from the beginning. He was a camp offer in the summer before his senior year, and people were worried that he didn’t have much of a recruiting profile, but he’s yet another example of a camp offer working out in Michigan’s favor. I was critical of Stribling early in his career, because he didn’t make some plays that he probably should have – he was an “almost” guy, as evidenced by him not making any pass breakups until his junior season. He even tweeted about me at one point during the 2015 season. Then as an upperclassman, issues with tackling became apparent. He made a particularly feeble attempt to tackle against Michigan State in 2016, and it almost seemed like he was trying to preserve himself. Overall, though, Michigan had some very good cornerback play over the past couple seasons, and the combination of Stribling, Jourdan Lewis, and Jeremy Clark was probably one of Michigan’s top few trios they’ve ever fielded at one time. Stribling graded out as the #2 coverage corner in 2016 (LINK), and he was a key component of Michigan’s win over a good Wisconsin team. This was a pretty darn good career for a scrawny, little-known kid who just happened to camp in Ann Arbor back in 2012.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . .
. . . the play that got tattooed on Allen Robinson’s side. Not because it was a terrible play – a true freshman Stribling was bested by a talented, bigger, older player – but because it’s a really lame-ass tattoo:

PROJECTION
Stribling had a fine college career, but where he has always been lacking – even going back to high school – is strength, athleticism, etc., the physical aspects of playing cornerback. Despite having decent height at 6’1″, he was below 180 lbs. for most of his college career, only did 5 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine, and ran a reported 4.68. Donovan Warren put up some arguably more impressive numbers on a bum leg several years ago, and he didn’t get drafted. On the plus side for him, Stribling was coached by Jim Harbaugh, Don Brown, D.J. Durkin, and Greg Mattison, a crew that has more pull than the guys who coached Warren his final couple seasons. I think Stribling will get picked in the latter half of the draft.

11Apr 2017
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Goodbye, De’Veon Smith

De’Veon Smith (image via FanSided)

To encourage users to upload avatars, I will be choosing a number out of a hat for a $25 Amazon gift card. Any user with an uploaded avatar will be eligible to win, and the numbers will correspond with your sign-up date. So if you were the first user to upload an avatar, you will be #1 (that’s you, GKBlue). If you were fifth, you’ll be #5 (like MGoDude). The first drawing will take place when we reach 25 uploaded avatars. Right now we’re at ten. Of course, if you haven’t signed up for the site, you can’t upload an avatar. Once you do sign up and sign in, you can edit your profile by clicking on the bar at the top of your browser. Happy avataring!


HIGH SCHOOL
Smith attended Warren (OH) Howland and was part of the 2013 recruiting class. Here’s my commitment post for him (LINK), replete with a bunch of accurate statements about his game. The one thing I whiffed on was the final TTB Rating of 63 (LINK), in which I assumed he would be a backup for most of his career while sitting behind Derrick Green. Oops. More on that later.

Hit the jump for more on the career of De’Veon Smith.

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