Bradenton (FL) Braden River defensive end Taylor Upshaw committed to Michigan on Friday. He flipped his commitment from Florida – which is going through a coaching change – and picked the Wolverines over Arizona, Cal, Clemson, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pitt, Tennessee, UCF, USF, and Wisconsin, among others. Normally I wouldn’t include Cal in a list of noteworthy offers, but that’s where his father – NFL veteran defensive end Regan Upshaw – played his college ball.
Taylor is 6’5″, 240 lbs. He claims a 4.93 forty, a 30″ vertical, a 310 lb. bench, a 510 lb. squat, and a 300 lb. power clean.
ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #65 DE
Rivals: 3-star, #24 SDE
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #33 SDE
Hit the jump for more on his commitment.
Michigan has sent out a couple offers at Braden River over the past couple years, but nothing had been reported on any kind of developing relationship until Upshaw was offered in late October. The coaching staff may have been smelling blood in the water with Florida’s up-in-the-air coaching situation – Upshaw committed in June to shark-loving Jim McElwain, who has since been relieved of his duties. Things progressed quickly, Upshaw immediately scheduled his official visit, and he committed on the day of his arrival.
Upshaw has a large frame – he’s listed at 6’4″ or 6’5″, as well as 240-245 lbs. That includes a fairly thick lower body with long legs and plenty of room to grow in his upper body. The #1 thing that stands out about him is the use of his hands, which may be attributable to the fact that his dad was an NFL pass rusher. He uses a nice chop move to knock blockers off balance, and he locks out blockers well. He has decent straight-line speed.
Otherwise, I expected more from an NFLer’s son. Upshaw is a little slow and tentative out of his stance. He stands up too high and is a little stiff-legged. He does not play with a sense of urgency and seems to be a split second slow to react. He also does not run through tackles, instead leaving his feet to swing ball carriers to the ground. He’s somewhat of a finesse player when he should be dominant with his size and relative athleticism.
Overall, I’m somewhat indifferent on Upshaw’s commitment. He will get top-notch coaching at Michigan from Don Brown and Greg Mattison, who have turned non-scholarship players like Ryan Glasgow into quality players. But of all the scholarship guys currently on the roster, Upshaw probably has the least impressive film. He reminds me of former Michigan defensive end/defensive tackle Greg Banks. Banks was a 2005 signee who started 9 games (all as a fifth year senior in 2009), making 56 tackles, 8.5 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 pass breakups throughout his career.
Michigan now has 16 commitments for the 2018 class. Upshaw plans to enroll early, so he should arrive at Michigan in January. The Wolverines only have one other defensive lineman in this class (DE Aidan Hutchinson), and I think Upshaw will end up as one of those guys who can play strongside end or 3-tech defensive tackle as he grows. He is the third commitment from the state of Florida in 2018, joining cornerback/safety Sammy Faustin and quarterback Joe Milton.
TTB Rating: 62 (ratings explanation)
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