Position Change Fallout

Tag: Wyatt Shallman

27Feb 2014
Uncategorized 18 comments

Position Change Fallout

Desmond Morgan (#44)

There have been a couple major position changes and a couple minor ones during the offseason. In an attempt to allay some people’s fears, here are my thoughts on how things are developing.

Ross Douglas from CB to RB. Michigan failed to nab a running back in the 2014 class, largely for a lack of trying. There were some candidates out there that the Wolverines simply chose not to pursue, and then rising senior Thomas Rawls chose to transfer to Central Michigan. Michigan needed to add some depth at running back, and Douglas was a pretty good one in high school. I do not think Douglas is in danger of turning into a feature back anytime soon, but he may provide some change-of-pace skills for Michigan’s Thunder Squared combination of Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith. Douglas played some running back on the scout team last year, and I think this switch is likely to stick, at least until Michigan has a chance to bring in more running backs in 2015 or 2016. He could also be a guy who bounces back and forth from offense to defense.

Wyatt Shallman from RB to H-back. I have long believed that Shallman would not make much of an impact on the running back position, except perhaps as a short yardage guy. I think the need for a short yardage back is relatively non-existent with Green and Smith on the team. Additionally, new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier seems like a guy who’s going to run a lot of single back sets and a lot of spread formations, meaning the fullback will likely be phased out for the next couple years. The 6’3″, 243 lb. Shallman could help out as a blocker and pass catcher out of the backfield, and he has the size to be a second tight end on the field like an Aaron Shea.

Keith Heitzman from DE to TE. Heitzman was the starter at strongside end to begin last season, but a hand injury combined with competition from other players bumped him down in the lineup. With other guys emerging at strongside end (Brennen Beyer, Taco Charlton, Chris Wormley), Michigan has the flexibility to put Heitzman at tight end to shore up the position after Jake Butt’s ACL injury. Butt might be back by week three, but Heitzman could be a long-term solution as a blocking tight end, since junior A.J. Williams has struggled in his first two seasons. Heitzman played tight end in high school, and while he probably won’t run away from anyone or dazzle people with his moves, he should be a quality in-line blocker and has the potential to catch a pass here or there.

Jake Ryan from SAM to MIKE. Royce Jenkins-Stone from MIKE to SAM. James Ross from WILL to SAM. Desmond Morgan from MIKE to WILL. Did I catch all the moves? I think so. A couple of the younger inside linebackers are staying inside, so I won’t bother analyzing that. The new starting lineup will look a lot like the old starting lineup, except Morgan will be on the weak side, Ryan will be in the middle, and Ross will be on the strong side. Head coach Brady Hoke announced that Michigan would be running more Over looks in 2014, which means that the protected linebacker (formerly WILL James Ross) will now be middle linebacker Jake Ryan. This also likely changes Michigan’s front seven slightly, from a “hold your gap” defense to more of a penetrating unit. Against base 12 personnel previously, Michigan had six defenders from tight end to tackle (four defensive linemen, the WILL, and the MIKE). In an Over look, the defensive front will have seven defenders inside that box (four defensive linemen and all three linebackers). This should allow Ryan to roam from sideline to sideline while keeping Ross relatively clean, and Morgan will still be the guy who has to take on lead blocks from fullbacks, which he does fairly well.

9Jan 2014
Uncategorized 27 comments

Who should be happy/sad about the Doug Nussmeier hire?

Could Shane Morris be the next A.J. McCarron?

Fifth year senior quarterback Devin Gardner. Gardner has one final chance to show his stuff at quarterback, and I think Nussmeier will bring a more cohesive offense to Ann Arbor. Gardner can run out of the shotgun and pistol, and he’s not bad throwing from under center. I expect Nussmeier to simplify Michigan’s blocking schemes, which should help out the young linemen and the quarterback. The new offensive coordinator also likes to push the ball down the field (as did Al Borges), which suits Gardner well because he has a strong arm and throws a nice deep ball.

The offensive line. Michigan’s young offensive line was terrible this past season, and it appears that Nussmeier may bring in a new offensive line coach to help him out. Whether coach Darrell Funk remains or not, I expect that Nussmeier will want a little more beef up front, and his coaching pedigree at Alabama suggests that he can help those guys achieve a new level of success.

Sophomore running backs Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith. Nussmeier utilized the inside zone game and zone sweeps to great effect at Alabama, which recruited Green out of high school. Both Green and Smith fit the role of good inside zone runners, because both of them are north-south runners capable of running through tackles. Green has the better speed of the two and would likely be more effective on the zone sweeps.

Sophomore quarterback Shane Morris and freshman quarterback Wilton Speight. Nussmeier has tutored numerous successful college quarterbacks (A.J. McCarron, Jake Locker, Drew Stanton, Jeff Smoker) and spent time with the St. Louis Rams under passing game guru Mike Martz. I can see Morris as a McCarron-like Game Manager Plus, a guy who can not only take care of the football and keep his team in the game, but make some downfield throws to really stress defenses.

Redshirt freshman H-backs Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman. Nussmeier likes to use his H-backs as lead blockers, wings, slot receivers, etc. Hill and Shallman appear to be good fits for this role, more so than the fullbacks who have been playing the past couple seasons.

Redshirt junior running back Justice Hayes. Nussmeier does not appear to be a fan of scatback types, at least not for featured roles. Hayes was reported to be moving to slot receiver, although he started Michigan’s bowl game at running back. His chances of winning the running back job next year likely took a hit with this hire.

Junior fullback Sione Houma and redshirt junior fullback Joe Kerridge. Nussmeier is a proponent of a one-back offense and doesn’t have a whole lot of use for true fullback types. The hire will almost certainly diminish their role in the offense, which was already more significant than it should have been based on Michigan’s personnel and abilities.

5Jun 2013
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2013 Season Countdown: #85 Wyatt Shallman

Wyatt Shallman

Name: Wyatt Shallman
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 245 lbs.
High school: Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Position: Running back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #33
Last year: Shallman was a senior in high school. I gave him a TTB Rating of 65.

Shallman committed to Michigan in February 2012, joining his former teammate Matt Godin as a Wolverine. Michigan’s coaching staff offered him as a running back, despite a reported size of 6’3″ and 245 lbs.; information has since indicated that he was more like 225 lbs., which makes the tailback position a little more feasible.  But throughout the recruiting process, Michigan fans have been contemplating whether he’ll play running back, fullback, H-back, tight end, defensive end, or outside linebacker.

I have taken some heat from various corners of the internet for discounting Shallman’s chances of making an impact at tailback.  It’s extremely rare that a guy who is 6’3″ and 225 lbs. coming out of high school ends up as an impact college runner, let alone if he’s closer to 245.  I do think he can play  tailback in certain situations, such as short yardage and goal line spots. However, I also think he’ll have some other talented runners to beat out in the coming years, including a higher rated, more explosive player in the form of Derrick Green, who happens to be about 220 lbs. himself.  Shallman should be able to redshirt while the coaches figure out where he fits best.

Prediction: Redshirt

22Mar 2013
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Poll results: Best running back in 2013 class?

Derrick Green

Derrick Green – 78%
My thoughts are pretty clear from these guys’ commitment posts and the general attitude toward these players that Green would be my choice as the top running back in the 2013 class.  Green has steadily improved throughout his high school career, going from guard to eventually being one of the top few backs in the class.  He has the size, speed, and attitude to carry that success into college.  I don’t think he’ll be the greatest back in the history of college football or anything, but I do think he will have a good career in the winged helmet.

DeVeon Smith – 17%
Smith is a guy who’s a little smaller than Green, and while he runs with an attitude, he lacks some big-play capability because of a lack of speed.  Big runs out of Smith are going to have to come on the heels of several broken tackles.  Some people like to compare Smith to Mike Hart, but Hart had to break a lot of tackles to become Michigan’s all-time leading rusher because of a lack of explosive speed; if Smith lacks some of the vision and toughness that Hart had, he’s going to struggle to become the lead guy.

Wyatt Shallman – 3%
Shallman had been insistent that he was recruited to be a tailback, but as time has gone on, it seems more and more clear that he will end up as a fullback or H-back, or maybe somewhere else entirely; after all, he did play defensive end as a high schooler.  Shallman has a chance to be an effective player, but chances are slim that his career will surpass either of the aforementioned backs’.

1Feb 2013
Uncategorized 7 comments

Scout: Class of 2013 Michigan Final State Rankings

Warren (MI) De La Salle quarterback Shane Morris is the top player in the state

Scout finalized its 2013 in-state rankings.  Here are some notes on a few players of Michigan interest:

1. Shane Morris – QB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Offered, committed to Michigan.
2. Steven Elmer – OT – Midland (MI) Midland: Offered, committed to Notre Dame.
3. Jourdan Lewis – CB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Offered, committed to Michigan.
4. Jon Reschke – LB – Bloomfield (MI) Brother Rice: Offered, committed to Michigan State.
5. David Dawson – OG – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Offered, committed to Michigan.
6. Dennis Finley – OT – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Offered, committed to Michigan State.
7. Delano Hill – S – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Offered, committed to Michigan.
8. Wyatt Shallman – FB – Novi (MI) Catholic Central: Offered, committed to Michigan.
9. Khalid Hill – TE – Detroit (MI) East English Village: Offered, committed to Michigan.
13. Da’Mario Jones – WR – Westland (MI) John Glenn: Offered, committed to Michigan.
23. Berkley Edwards – RB – Chelsea (MI) Chelsea: Brother of former Michigan WR Braylon Edwards, committed to Minnesota.
26. Andre Turner – DE – Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park: Teammate of WR commit Csont’e York, committed to Western Michigan.
28. DeJuan Rogers – CB – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Teammate of commits Lewis, Dawson, and D. Hill; committed to Toledo.
37. Josh Cox – S – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Teammate of QB commit Shane Morris; committed to Central Michigan.
64. Matt Linehan – QB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s: Son of Detroit Lions OC Scott Linehan, committed to Idaho.

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