Six-foot-five, 250 lb. defensive end Chris Rock committed to Michigan on Friday. He’s the first BBQ at the Big House attendee to commit this year, having visited Michigan for a cookout the previous weekend. While Rock hails from the nether reaches of Hell (a.k.a. Columbus, OH), he didn’t have an offer from Ohio State. However, he did choose the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
St. Francis DeSales is a private school of about 1,000 students, and the football team finished second in the state during Rock’s junior year. As a sophomore, Rock had 60 tackles and 16 sacks. He nearly equalled those stats as a junior, racking up 15 sacks in the follow-up effort.
Judging from Rock’s offer list, he looks like possibly a low 4-star prospect. Right now he’s a 3-star to Scout and ranked the #49 defensive end, although rankings this early are questionable. Nonetheless, Rivals will be releasing its rankings later this week, so we’ll see where he starts off in their listings.
To be honest, I’m not enamored with Rock. A large part of that is due to the fact that his highlight film is full of offensive linemen completely forgetting to block him. I find it difficult to get excited about a player who accrues a bunch of sacks while barreling unimpeded into the offensive backfield.
That being said, DeSales has produced a significant number of FBS prospects in the past few years. From 2008-2010, the school churned out seven FBS players, five of whom went to Big Ten schools; that includes Patrick Omameh from the class of 2008, a current guard for Michigan. When teams gameplan for the junior and senior playmakers on a team, that gives the unknown underclassmen a chance to shine. That might explain why Rock goes untouched in probably 75% of his highlights.
My biggest issue with Rock is that he stands straight up on the snap. He’s able to push around weaker players when playing so high, but if he tried to push around a 310 lb. Big Ten tackle like that, Rock would get tossed around like a rag doll. He doesn’t use his hands well to shed blocks, and he also finds himself losing contain a little too frequently. He has decent speed for a 250-pounder, so he can make up for his poor fundamentals at times. But some of his habits are less than ideal.
Rock is a strongside defensive end prospect. He reminds me a little bit of Anthony Lalota, another raw defensive end that Michigan recruited in the class of 2009. Whereas Lalota will remain at defensive end for the remainder of his career (in my opinion), I think Rock could grow into a 3-tech defensive tackle, much like what Ryan Van Bergen played in 2009. I think Rock’s upside is rather low. He could be a decent college starter, but he doesn’t have the instincts or athleticism to be an elite player for Michigan. This is a solid commitment because Michigan needs defensive linemen, but I don’t think Rock is a game-changer.
TTB Rating: 58
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