Devin Bush Jr., Wolverine

Devin Bush Jr., Wolverine


December 16, 2015

Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan LB Devin Bush, Jr.

Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan linebacker Devin Bush, Jr. committed to Michigan on Wednesday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Oregon, Texas, and UCLA, among others.

Bush is listed at 5’11”, 226 lbs., though heights vary (5’9″ to 6’0″) and so do weights (215 lbs. to 227 lbs.). He claims a 4.65 forty and a 31″ vertical.

RATINGS
ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #12 OLB, #180 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #5 ILB, #184 overall
Scout: 3-star, #13 ILB
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #19 ILB, #456 overall

Hit the jump for the rest of the commitment post.

Bush was offered by the Michigan staff on National Signing Day 2015. He took a spring visit to Michigan, returned over the summer, and came to a game this fall, all on his own dime. For much of his recruitment, he was considered to be a Florida State lean; after all, his father/head coach played at Florida State and went on to a decent NFL career playing safety and special teams with the Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Cleveland Browns. There are conflicting reports about whether Bush the Younger silently committed to Michigan during his June visit to Ann Arbor, but silent commitments mean very little. Regardless, he was high on the Wolverines, who consistently placed him on a pedestal as one of their top targets in the 2016 class. The initial recruiting charge was led by then-defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who had ties from his years as Florida’s defensive coordinator. After Durkin left for Maryland, head coach Jim Harbaugh and newly appointed linebackers coach Chris Partridge kept up the pressure.

Bush is a very physical player, despite his size. In some ways, he is a lot like Michigan senior James Ross III – undersized but packing a wallop. Bush uses his hands very well to disengage from blockers, and he has the leverage to shed linemen and lead blockers. When he gets to the ball carrier, he comes full speed and runs through the tackle (a trait that separates him from an otherwise similar player in Orlando Oak Ridge’s Jonathan Jones). He takes good angles to runners, plays downhill, and is tough to shake in space because of his short-area quickness and agility. Bush also shows some nuance in his ability to rush the passer, whether blitzing off the edge or on the interior of the line.

His highlights do not show much in the way of pass coverage, which makes me think he has some work to do in this area. While he has the quickness and agility to do well, he may need to work on his awareness and reads. Bush does not have great size, so he will have to continue to use superior technique and anticipation to beat blockers and runners.

Overall, the thing that stands out to me most about Bush is that he is a weapon to counter spread offenses. People – including me – have been complaining that Michigan doesn’t have the athletic linebackers to play in space against teams like Ohio State, Oregon, etc. Well, Bush is that guy, at least in theory. He is physical enough to hold up on the interior of a defense, but also quick enough to chase runners to the sideline. We’re not looking at a clone of Desmond Morgan or Joe Bolden. The first guy that popped into my mind is former Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle, though I do not think Bush has the same flat-out speed that Rolle had; Rolle played at 5’11”, 218 lbs. and ran a 4.53 when preparing for the NFL Draft.

The exciting thing for Michigan fans is that the Wolverines may have picked up a starting inside linebacker for 2016. Not, like, in the 2016 class, but for the 2016 season. Bush will enroll early in January after playing in the Under Armour All-American Game, so he will participate in Michigan’s spring practices. With four senior linebackers graduating after the Citrus Bowl, the only player basically guaranteed to earn a starting position is senior Ben Gedeon at one of the inside spots. Michigan will likely be bringing in a 3-4 defensive coordinator to run a similar scheme to last year’s, and Bush could very well have the inside track over some uninspiring players from past classes.

As for connections to Flanagan High School, this next year or so could continue to be very interesting. Bush joins 2016 teammates Josh Metellus and Devin Gil in committing to the Wolverines. Meanwhile, there have been unconfirmed rumors floating about that Devin Bush, Sr. could join Michigan’s staff in a recruiting capacity similar to that of Partridge. On top of that, Michigan has offered 2017 cornerback Stanford Samuels III and wide receiver Clevan Thomas from Flanagan, so this may not be the end of the “pipeline” to Michigan.

TTB Rating: 85 (ratings explanation)

30 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1251
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 16, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    Has anybody figured out how many slots we have for early enrollment?

    With Kingston Davis and Bush both coming in early, who are we holding for?

    I really like Jonathon Jones a lot as an inside thumper, but I would have liked to see David Reece in this class as well. There’s a kid that drives all the way through the tackle.

    • crazyjoedavola
      Comments: 191
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      crazyjoedavola
      Dec 16, 2015 at 3:19 PM

      I think the boat on David Reese has sailed the second he demanded to be a LB at Michigan. Harbaugh wanted him at FB.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 183
        Joined: 9/3/2015
        suduri xusai
        Dec 16, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        Yeah. Reese boat has sailed, let’s move on with other targets left on the board. Man I am so excited for Kareem Walker. He might be out savior next season. Should get a plenty of opportunity to run the ball.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 26
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    Tanisr4
    Dec 16, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    Wow you high on this kid let’s hope you ate right especially since he’s a 3 star on two of the recruiting site for a kid that is so highly regarded any reason why he’s not a 4 star across the board especially by 247 which I believe now is the best site for ranking.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 142
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      coachernie
      Dec 16, 2015 at 7:07 PM

      He will be just like James Ross…not much of a factor. In fact Ross had a better vibe from the recruitniks coming out of HS.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3537
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Dec 16, 2015 at 7:15 PM

        Ross was more guru-approved. Recruiting rankings don’t always play out in college like they do on the recruiting sites.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 183
        Joined: 9/3/2015
        suduri xusai
        Dec 16, 2015 at 8:23 PM

        No need to be pessimistic. Ross is what Ross is, a decent backup who hasn’t done much but was worth the schollie. You don’t know what this kid will turn into.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Dec 16, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    MSU and OSU bring in full size game ready LB’s. I had thought Harbaugh was keen on doing the same,
    Bush would do well out west against a Rich Rod team…line him up against the Iowa, MSU and Wisconsin’s and he will wilt like Obama against Putin.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3537
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 16, 2015 at 7:16 PM

      He’s still working on Dontavious Jackson. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think a Bush/Jackson combo would be ideal to finish out LB recruiting for 2016.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Dec 16, 2015 at 8:17 PM

      What’s with that Putin against Obama thing? Let’s not bring politics into football.

  4. MGoStrength
    Comments: 13
    Joined: 12/17/2015
    MGoStrength
    Dec 16, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    This is the strength coach in me talking, but should we worry about his weight? At just 5’10″ish tall and 225 lbs, with his body type he looks like he could have some weight issues down the road unless his habits change in college. He’s not exactly a lean/muscular guy. He looks a little soft in his pictures. I’d hate to see another Derrick Green type whose weight affects his play.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3537
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 16, 2015 at 7:48 PM

      I don’t disagree. He does look a little soft. But it’s more about mentality. There were questions about Green’s ability as a runner coming out of high school because of the way he played, not necessarily because he was chunky. But Bush plays tough, despite a little bit of pudge. Hopefully, Kevin Tolbert and the crew can clean that up starting in January.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 7
    Joined: 12/17/2015
    Gobluex2
    Dec 16, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Thunder – you mentioned James Ross, who you rated quite highly as a recruit and who seemed to play quite well for an undersized freshman. But he never developed into a star and this year saw significantly less playing time than a pair of less than stellar LB teammates. What do you think held him back – coaching changes, scheme, size, athleticism? I don’t think it was his instincts. I always liked seeing him on the field (except as the buck). Thx

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3537
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 16, 2015 at 8:39 PM

      I think a couple things held Ross back. I don’t think the coaching change had much to do with it. I think his size was a bit of an issue, because he did have trouble holding up against offensive linemen who got a clean release on him. If he was filling the hole or setting the edge, he did a great job by delivering the blow, but he had issues flowing to the ball and fighting through those indirect blocks. I also think he struggled in pass coverage.

      Truthfully, though, I think he was better than Joe Bolden, who was very disappointing. I don’t really understand the Bolden thing. He was named a captain, but outside observers questioned Bolden’s abilities, and Desmond Morgan was named the team’s best linebacker at the Bust. Maybe a different scheme would have suited Ross better. After watching him play for a few years, I almost think he would have made a good 3-4 weakside outside linebacker at one point in time. But with spread offenses how they are these days, you see guys like Jabrill Peppers playing those hybrid spots rather than true linebackers. Ten or fifteen years ago, maybe Ross is a solid/star OLB. Wrong time, wrong place.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1251
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Dec 17, 2015 at 7:53 AM

        I had a bourbon fueled discussion with my buddy who sees the occasional practice. His opinion is that Bolden is a good guy, that can pull off gung-ho without irritating people and a heck of a player in the weight room and practice field, but when the lights come on, he “slows down” for some reason. There was some press somewhere about he, Kerridge and Morgan organizing 7 v 7 drills last summer.

        Kerridge evidently is a weight room warrior as well.

        I think the pickings might have seemed a bit thin for Captain last year as probably your best offensive player Glasgow, screwed up some off the field. I also struggle to understand taking Bolden over Morgan for anything, including Captain, but minutes as well.

        I have another buddy who allows this years team to select next years Captains. He makes two points, the first being that this years guys know who the Captain should be better than the incoming kids will, and second it allows the kids to be Captain for a year and influence the off season. I think it’s a borderline brilliant approach.

  6. UM_1973
    Comments: 101
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Dec 17, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    Thunder, you mentioned your ideal haul at LB is Bush and Jackson. What do you think of Jonathon Jones, the one most frequently linked to Michigan?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3537
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 17, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      I’m not as high on Jonathan Jones. He’s not as athletic as Bush, and he’s not as good of a tackler. If we were going to take another linebacker on top of Bush and Jackson (hopefully), I would want it to be an OLB like Caleb Kelly. Of course, I’m not extremely fond of Kelly, but that’s the type of player (longer, leaner, more athletic) that I would want.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5873
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 17, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        FWIW, his SPARQ score at the Opening was very similar to Bush. Kelly measured way above both.

  7. DonAZ
    Comments: 504
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Dec 17, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    There’s some questions — here and elsewhere — about being able to stop a good modern spread team. It’s in that light some comments I’ve read had questioned whether Bush is a good pickup or not.

    So what’s the formula for stopping a good spread team, such as Ohio State?

    Yeah … ideally I’d like a monster DL that causes all manner of havoc in the backfield, a corp of super-fast and big linebackers, two shutdown corners and two freak-athlete safeties. But if you had to prioritize that, how does it shake out? What’s the most important defensive element to stop a good spread, then the next most important, etc.?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 175
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Dec 17, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      DL will win that all day every day

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5873
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 17, 2015 at 11:48 AM

      Formula = Monster OL (to control the ball and clock with a punishing run game) + Monster DL (to destroy the numbers advantages the spread seeks to to create before the athletes can get to working in space).

      We had a monster DL this year, until is was shredded by injuries. Our OL sucks because Brady Hoke/Al Borges were absolutely terrible at developing and recruiting OL talent.

      Next year – I think we’ll have a dominant DL and you’ll see more of what we saw this year prior to Indiana, even against spread teams. The OL won’t be dominant, but it could be dramatically improved with 4/5 starters back and year 2 under Drevno. What would really help the run game is if they had a QB who could run – that’s force one of the in-the-box defenders to account for the QB and undo the current situation of Michigan getting outmanned in the box. That’ll open up lanes for DeVeon and company.

      Taysom Hill – you listening?

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 504
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Dec 17, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        Imagine Michigan had its entire starting DL healthy … Glasgow, Ojamudia, and Mone. Do you think that would have been enough to stop the OSU defense, all else equal?

        • DonAZ
          Comments: 504
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          DonAZ
          Dec 17, 2015 at 1:13 PM

          OSU *offense*, not defense.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3537
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 17, 2015 at 6:42 PM

          I think Michigan loses the game either way. But it would have been closer.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3537
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 17, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      Well, I’m glad that you picked Ohio State, because there are different types of spread offenses. It’s good to know exactly what I’m trying to stop.

      1. Defensive line. OSU is a run-oriented team that runs a lot of power stuff. If you’re getting blown off the ball up front, your linebackers can’t do their jobs. And then you’re in some serious trouble. Now, Michigan had a good defensive line, but they were thin and even if they had time to substitute, they didn’t have the bodies to make it worthwhile.
      2. Linebackers. Michigan’s linebackers as an entire unit have been a weak point for several of the last 10 years. You need guys who are fast and who can be physical.
      3. Safeties. As great as it is to have good cornerbacks, a team like OSU is going to hit a deep ball on the edges once in a while. The safeties need to be able to help support the run, as well as prevent big plays down the middle of the field (on pop passes and such).
      4. Cornerbacks. You have to give the other team a few completions here or there, and maybe even a big play or two. But I think you can scheme around having some mediocre corners by playing zone and by being smart. It’s not a requirement to have awesome corners to stop (or, well, slow down) a team like OSU, in my opinion.

      I don’t think there’s one “formula” for stopping Ohio State. The offense is designed to take advantage of the tweaks you make on defense. So you have to have the athletes who can do the job, and they have to be disciplined to play their role in the defense, not get out-leveraged, etc.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 504
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Dec 17, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        “… and even if they had time to substitute”

        That suggests that OSU’s tempo game prevented it? Isn’t that one of the central points of spread/tempo … to keep effective substitution from occurring? How does one combat that? Just have a really good and well-conditioned starting line to stay in pretty much all day?

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3537
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 17, 2015 at 6:42 PM

          Yes, it is one of the main points of running an up-tempo offense. In Michigan’s case, they had to send out the same guys series after series, rather than sending out a fresh group. You also get a chance to sub out during timeouts, injuries, change of quarter, etc.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 17, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    For a guy who measures at 5’9 to have almost every elite program and elite defensive minds like Saban, Narduzzi, and Foster offering him…that tells you he is an elite recruit, regardless of what the sites say.

    IDK if he’ll be ready as a freshman but this is a HUGE land for Michigan regardless. There is a major need due to what’s left “in the cupboard”.

    Hoke 4-man 2014 LB class was about as impressive as his 3-man 2013 WR class. Sometimes you can make up for quality with quantity but … not so much, in these instances.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 175
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Dec 17, 2015 at 2:25 PM

      yeah well see how it plays out but theres a lot to like on tape. bush plays physical, passionate, understands angles, demonstrates solid and physical tackling, hes explosive enough (though not elite) to get to the edge yet still play sound, inside-out football, etc. i really like his passion and his tackling. and bush appears to show better instincts than most backers m has signed of late (and instincts top the list of necessary traits at LB).

      some worries would be hes on the move and attacking the LOS at the snap in hs and not many college Ds will allow him to play that way. some do (nd and msu are examples of teams thatve busted up m with aggressive LBs attacking gaps at the snap) but usually reserved for stunting, pressuring, and obvious down and distances (goalline, short yardage, etc) – most college LBs play read and react and within fairly strict schemes so hell need to adjust to attacking downhill much less bc a false step or mistake at this level can equal TD (whereas in hs hes often able to make up for it if he didnt make the play anyway).
      and another worry would be his ability to meet blocks, maintain leverage, shed and then fire away to the ball. not that he cant, its just always a question as its a skill many hs LBs arent forced to use as much bc they just slip blocks, beat O to a spot, stone smaller hs OL, etc. bush obviously needs to add strength but hes got a decent shot at early playing time if he adapts quickly and learns to play within the D

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