Yesterday was the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game, which I was able to sit down and patiently watch for the first time in years. Here I’ve collected some thoughts on the Michigan commits who played, as well as some other relevant guys.
Jaylen Kelly-Powell – S – Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: There were reports throughout the week that Kelly-Powell was playing some cornerback and struggling. He ended up playing safety in the game, but he lined up in man coverage on slot receivers at times, too. He didn’t play a great deal, but when he did, he wasn’t great or terrible. He had some decent coverage a couple times and didn’t register on the stat sheet from what I saw.
Kwity Paye – DE – Warwick (RI) Bishop Hendricken: Paye didn’t start, but he played a fair amount as a rotation guy in the first half. He showed some quickness off the edge and made a TFL when chasing the ball from the back side, though he was unblocked on the play. He also had a QB hurry that forced an incompletion. Paye has some quickness, but he gives up on plays too easily. That happened in practice and in the game. He needs to play with more tenacity. I did not hear about any injuries to him, but for whatever reason, I did not see him in the second half of the game.
Hit the jump for my thoughts on Cesar Ruiz, Luiji Vilain, and more.
Cesar Ruiz – C – Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy: Ruiz started at center for Team Highlight and rotated every other series throughout the game. Teams in these All-American games aren’t allowed to run odd-front defenses, so he was uncovered for the entire game, which makes things easier. Still, he has good size and strength, and his snaps were solid. He did miss one block that I saw against Marvin Wilson, but otherwise, I think Michigan got themselves a very good center/guard prospect.
Luiji Vilain – DE – Alexandria (VA) Episcopal: Along with Ruiz, Vilain was the standout for Michigan. He played both left and right end at times, and he did so very well, for the most part. At somewhat around 245 lbs., he was outweighed by offensive tackles like Austin Deculus and Jedrick Wills, so his effectiveness against the run was spotty. However, his speed rush had them reeling, and he showed a quick inside move as well. He was praised throughout the week for his performance and his use of his hands in practice, and that showed in the game. I counted 7 QB hurries and 1 tackle in the game. It’s important to keep in mind that these games favor the defense, but 7 quarterback hurries are impressive noneteheless.
Jeff Thomas – WR – East St. Louis (IL) East St. Louis: Michigan was recruiting Thomas when he was a youngster and Brady Hoke was the coach, but Jim Harbaugh backed off. He has had some off-the-field issues, but he has always looked like one of the most electric players in the class. In fact, I have yet to see someone who’s more dangerous in the open field. He won the MVP of this game with 3 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 79- and 44-yard scores.
Isaiah Wilson – OT – Brooklyn (NY) Poly: It’s not clear whether Michigan still has a shot at pulling in Wilson after his commitment to Georgia, although I would say the chances are almost non-existent. But I was still interested to see him play, and he did about how I expected. After checking in at 6’8″, 355 lbs. for the week, he looked a little bit out of shape and very raw in pass protection. He leaves his hands down by his side and doesn’t get them inside when he punches. He also needs to work on his footwork. He has a ton of potential, but he’s raw.