Scouting Report: Naseir Upshur

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16Apr 2015
Uncategorized 3 comments

Scouting Report: Naseir Upshur

Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep tight end Naseir Upshur with former
Michigan tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno in June 2014 (image via

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Name: Naseir Upshur
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 233 lbs.
High school: Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep
Position: Tight end
Class: 2016

Notes: Holds offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Maryland, Massachusetts, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, UCF, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin. . . 22 catches, 640 yards, 11 touchdowns; 20 tackles, 6 sacks as a junior in 2014 . . . Claims 4.7 forty . . . 4.47 shuttle . . . 26.7″ vertical . . .  Rivals 4-star, #3 TE, #61 overall . . . Scout 4-star, #10 TE, #212 overall . . . 247 Sports 4-star, #7 TE, #208 overall

Strengths: Thick, powerful lower body . . . Adept and potent blocker . . . Drives feet after contact . . . Blocks through the whistle . . . Impressive straight line speed . . . Tough to bring down for defensive backs . . . Good agility . . . Solid route runner . . . Understands how to threaten and beat coverages

Weaknesses: Rather short for tight end . . . Does not possess ideal length . . . Limited catching radius . . . Body catcher . . . Does not extend hands well

Projection: Tight end/H-back. Upshur has the tenacity to become an inline tight end and blocker, but he lacks ideal size for the position and might top out around 240 lbs. He probably projects best as a complementary tight end or an H-back type who can go in motion, line up as a wing, work out of the slot, etc. He is not a mismatch in the passing game because he lacks the explosiveness and catching radius to beat well trained pass defenders. However, he could be effective on seam routes, an occasional bubble screen, bootlegs, etc. He will also be a strong point in the running game, where he can latch onto and overpower second-level defenders. If offense doesn’t work out, Upshur could also play defensive end, where he has some explosiveness and a nose for the ball.

Reminds me of: Khalid Hill. Upshur’s size is similar to that of Vernon Davis, but he lacks the same kind of speed. Hill is a similar type of player in regard to pass catching and overall physical profile, but Upshur is more explosive and a stronger blocker.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Steve Lorenz recently predicted that Upshur would end up committing to Michigan. Jay Harbaugh is his recruiter and has been coming after him hard. He essentially has his choice of schools, and there has been some talk about him playing with Maryland quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is bound for somewhere other than Ann Arbor. Overall, Michigan is one of his top few schools right now and at least has a strong chance to secure his commitment.


Hudl highlights.

15Apr 2015
Uncategorized 5 comments

John O’Korn, Wolverine

Houston transfer quarterback John O’Korn

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Houston quarterback John O’Korn is transferring to Michigan. You already know this if you are a Michigan football blogosphere fanatic, but I didn’t want to write a commitment post until things were more concrete. So here we are.

O’Korn is a 6’4″, 220-pounder who attended Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas before committing to Houston; he also had offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Mississippi State, and North Carolina, among others. Coincidentally, he played at the same school as incoming graduate transfer Jake Rudock. O’Korn started for Houston as a freshman after the starter got knocked out with concussions; O’Korn was named American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year for his performance. He then lost his starting job in the middle of his sophomore year and is now headed to Ann Arbor.

Hit the jump for more on O’Korn and his future at Michigan.

ESPN: 3-star, 77 grade, #38 pocket passing QB
Rivals: 3-star, #31 pro-style QB
Scout: 3-star, #38 QB
247 Sports: 3-star, #24 pro-style QB, #519 overall

As a freshman, he went 259/446 (58.1%) for 3,117 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. As a sophomore in 2014, he was 90/173 (52%) for 951 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in seven games.

O’Korn is a good-sized quarterback who fits the physical mold of a pro-style quarterback. While Houston is more of a spread team, O’Korn was in a pro-style offense as a high schooler, so dropping back from under center, ball handling, etc. should not be major adjustments. He has a strong enough arm for college football, although not a cannon; he should be able to make all the throws necessary for Harbaugh’s offense. He shows some very nice touch on his throws and won’t try to laser in passes to wide open receivers. As a runner, he’s a strong kid who can shake off some tacklers. He’s not afraid to lower his shoulder if necessary – or sometimes even if it’s unnecessary – and he has enough athleticism to move the chains if defenses don’t respect his ability to scramble.

On the negative side, O’Korn has a bit of a three-quarters delivery that might see some of his passes get batted down. He also tends to fall off to his left side when throwing left, which can cause the ball to sail high and generally be inaccurate. Mechanically, he made significant strides from high school to Houston, but he still showed some issues with footwork. His biggest issue as a sophomore was that he seemed to be staring down his receivers, allowing defenders to converge on his intended target.

One thing to consider regarding O’Korn’s decline was the offensive coordinator change between his freshman and sophomore years. Doug Meacham was transplanted from high-octane Oklahoma State to passing game coordinator at Houston in 2013, and O’Korn enjoyed a great deal of success under him. After that season Meacham was hired away by Gary Patterson at TCU, where Meacham’s offense turned Trevone Boykin from mediocre (7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions) into a potential Heisman candidate (33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 707 yards rushing). Meanwhile, replacement coordinator Travis Bush was not retained by new Houston head coach Tom Herman and, as far as I can tell, has not found a new job yet.

Overall, I think Michigan did a good job of bringing in O’Korn, who has a similar skill set to what Harbaugh brought in at Stanford. As an athlete he compares favorably to all but Shane Morris and Zach Gentry of Michigan’s other quarterbacks, but O’Korn is a better decision maker than Morris and more experienced than both. He will have to sit out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules, and he will be a redshirt junior in 2016. Unless Morris or an underclassman wins the job this year and plays well, I would guess that O’Korn would be the opening day starter going into 2016.

As of right now, there are six quarterbacks scheduled to be on the roster in 2016: Shane Morris (Sr.), O’Korn (RS Jr.), Wilton Speight (RS So.), Zach Gentry (So.), Alex Malzone (So.), and Brandon Peters (Fr.). Michigan is already technically over the limit for scholarships in 2015, so there will have to be some attrition – or some walk-on scholarships yanked – before this season begins. Either way, the quarterback cabinet is pretty full and it would be pretty surprising if Michigan went after another high school quarterback in the 2016 class besides Peters.

TTB Rating: 81 (ratings explanation)

14Apr 2015
Uncategorized 3 comments

Top 247 for 2017 released

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell (image via Twitter)

247 Sports released its top 247 prospects for 2017 (LINK).

Here are the players who have been offered by Michigan:

2. A.J. Epenesa – DE – Illinois
3. Josh Myers – OT – Ohio (Ohio State)
4. Calvin Ashley – OT – Florida

8. Marvin Wilson – DT – Texas
9. Hunter Johnson – QB – Indiana
10. Anthony McFarland, Jr. – RB – Maryland
13. Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR – Michigan
15. Shaun Wade – CB – Florida (Ohio State)
16. Najee Harris – RB – California
17. Osiris St. Brown – WR – California
18. Devon Hunter – ATH – Virginia
20. D’Andre Swift – RB – Pennsylvania
22. Jeffrey Okudah – S – Texas
23. Jeff Thomas – WR – Illinois
28. Isaiah Pryor – S – Georgia
33. Joseph Lewis – WR – California
39. Stanford Samuels – CB – Florida
42. Greg Johnson – ATH – California
44. Tyrell Ajian – ATH – Ohio
46. Dylan McCaffrey – QB – Colorado
47. Richard LeCounte – ATH – Georgia
48. Maleik Gray – ATH – Tennessee
55. Darnay Holmes – ATH – California
58. Brock Wright – TE – Texas
68. Jake Moretti – OT – Colorado
76. Anthony Hines – LB – Texas
77. Juwan Burgess – WR – Florida
81. JaRaymond Hall – OT – Michigan
87. Marcus Williamson – CB – Ohio
88. Hezekiah Jones – WR – Texas
99. M.J. Webb – DE – Texas
106. Jamyest Williams – CB – Georgia
111. Josh Ross – LB – Michigan
125. Kedrick James – TE – Texas
136. J.T. Cauthen – WR – North Carolina
139. Paris Ford – S – Pennsylvania
150. Todd Sibley – RB – Ohio
178. Corey Bolds – DE – New Jersey
180. Jaylen Kelly-Powell – S – Michigan
183. Corey Malone-Hatcher – DE – Michigan
229. Darnell Ewell – DT – Virginia
240. Juan Harris – DT – Iowa

14Apr 2015
Uncategorized 4 comments

Joey Burzynski, #56

Joe Burzynski (center, image via MGoBlog)

Burzynski attended Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad and was not recruited out of high school.

Burzynski walked on to Michigan’s football program for Rich Rodriguez’s final year in 2010. Too small and light to play, he redshirted. Still very light as a redshirt freshman, he played backup left guard in four games. He finally hit a reasonable playing weight (295 lbs.) in 2012 and saw action as a backup in eight games. During the 2013 season that saw an array of players moving about on the offensive line, Burzynski played in four games and finally earned a start against Indiana . . . and promptly tore his ACL, missing the rest of the season. As a fifth year senior in 2014, he played in just two games, one of those a start when Graham Glasgow was suspended for the season opener.

2 starts, 18 games played

Academic All-Big Ten (2011-2014)

Burzynski seemed like one of those players who was around forever, and then he practically disappeared as a senior. In 2012 and 2013, it seemed like he was a play or two away from getting in the game. This past season he was an afterthought. It used to seem quite rare that walk-ons were elevated to starter status, but we have seen that become a trend in the past several years, including Nick Sheridan, Kevin Leach, Jordan Kovacs, Graham Glasgow, Ryan Glasgow, and Burzynski occasionally. Not much can be said for Burzynski as a player, whom Brady Hoke seemed to love but was just so-so as a contributor at the Michigan level. He generally seemed to know his assignments, but he was not strong enough or big enough to get much movement. Kudos to him for making a five-year college career out of football.

Burzynski’s football career is presumably finished.