Final TTB Ratings for 2017

Final TTB Ratings for 2017

April 24, 2017

James Hudson III is the biggest riser in the Final TTB Ratings

SITE NEWS: First of all, Mike scored an interview with former Michigan tight end Bennie Joppru, so head on over to the message board to suggest some questions (LINK). Second, we have 49 avatars uploaded right now, so when one more user feels frisky, we’ll have the drawing for the $50 Amazon gift card.

It takes a while to review 30 recruits’ senior film, not to mention the time to try to piece it all together. So a couple months after National Signing Day, here I offer the final TTB Ratings for the class of 2017.

A note on the ratings: These are Michigan-specific ratings, so a guy who would be an instant starter at Eastern Michigan might not be quite so much of an individual standout playing against Michigan’s opponents . . . and he might even have a hard time getting on the field over some other Wolverines. It’s tricky trying to determine how the depth chart will shake out over the next three to five years, but I’m here for the heavy lifting. For more of an explanation, check out this page here (LINK).

Hit the jump for the Final TTB Ratings in the class of 2017.

Cesar Ruiz – C: 99
I’m keeping Ruiz right where he started. He might not be a first-rounder in the NFL draft, because centers tend not to get picked very high. But with this coaching staff, he should be ready for the NFL in four years.

Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR: 89 92
I still don’t believe that Peoples-Jones will put up the impressive kinds of numbers that will launch him to All-America status in college, but he should be a very productive wideout who will be a good NFL prospect.

Dylan McCaffrey – QB: 91
I don’t necessarily see McCaffrey as a national superstar and future #1 overall pick, because teams usually don’t seem to draft quarterbacks that high who don’t have elite arms. McCaffrey is polished and confident and a good athlete, but his arm strength and release are only above average, not elite.

Ambry Thomas – CB: 90
Thomas’s athletic skills combined with this coaching staff should produce outstanding results.

Luiji Vilain – DE: 84 90
If you start on the defensive line at Michigan, you’re bound to be pretty damn good. Vilain might have to wait a couple years until a spot opens up, but then he should be terrorizing opposing quarterbacks full-time.

Aubrey Solomon – DT: 94 89
I really like Solomon, but with the way Michigan rotates defensive linemen, I don’t know if he’ll put up the kind of numbers that one might expect from an All-American.

Chuck Filiaga – OT: 86
Filiaga has a lot of upside, but he has a lot of technical things to work on. He’s similar to Ben Bredeson in stature, but not quite as technical right now.

Nico Collins – WR: 85
I think this is pretty spot-on for Collins. He’s not an extremely natural receiver or superb athlete who will push his way into elite status, in my opinion, but he’ll be tough for opponents to match up against. He’s not as advance of a route runner as Tarik Black.

James Hudson – DT: 71 85
Is he Willie Henry, or is he an offensive lineman? I don’t know, but I thought he improved a bunch as a senior and looks like an explosive player on either side of the ball.

Joel Honigford – OT: 82 84
In case you didn’t catch it when I wrote a post on scouting offensive tackles (LINK), I’m pretty high on Honigford’s athleticism. Even if he ends up at guard or center, I like how the kid moves.

Oliver Martin – WR: 83
There’s talk that Michigan might move toward more of a spread offense, and I would be okay with deploying at least a third wide receiver if that guy is someone like Martin (or a couple other guys on the roster). It’s easy to get slot guys the ball often.

Drew Singleton – LB: 83
I can’t really justify moving him up or down since he missed his senior year due to an ACL tear.

Tarik Black – WR: 79 82
Black is a little shorter than the 6’4″ he was listed at as a recruit, and I actually find that reassuring because he should be able to maintain some of his relative athleticism.

O’Maury Samuels – RB: 88 82
I don’t like Samuels any less as a prospect, but Michigan and Jim Harbaugh aren’t known for producing big-time running backs. I think he’ll be a good player, but he might not separate himself from the pack.

Andrew Stueber – OT: 78 82
The more I’ve seen from Stueber, the more I’ve grown to like him. He’s not the flashiest guy, but he could end up being Michigan’s starting left tackle if Filiaga has to move inside or to right tackle.

Kwity Paye – DE: 81
Paye was a pretty good high school running back, and I like moving those guys to defensive end or linebacker. He’s very raw, but his acceleration off the edge is going to be tough to handle for some offensive tackles.

J’Marick Woods – S: 78 80
I like the Earnest Shazor comparison, even though Shazor overrated himself a little bit and left early for the draft . . . and then didn’t get drafted.

Brad Hawkins, Jr. – S: 79
I’m liking Hawkins a little more as a safety down the road than I did previously, even though he played wide receiver in 2016. I think his year off helped him a little bit physically. Hopefully he got his academics in order, since he needed a year at prep school.

Joshua Ross – LB: 75 79
I like his instincts and the way he hits. I didn’t like him quite as much as I liked his brother, James Ross III, as an underclassman, but I think Joshua caught up to him as a senior.

Donovan Jeter – DT: 83 78
I think Jeter will eventually turn into a 3-tech defensive tackle, but even if he doesn’t, I don’t know if he’ll push ahead of some of the other talent. I think he’ll be a good rotational piece, though.

Benjamin St-Juste – CB: 78
St-Juste should be a good boundary corner at the next level.

Ja’Raymond Hall – OT: 77
This seems to be a good spot for him. He might end up inside at guard, and I like some of the other guys in this class better.

Jaylen Kelly-Powell – S: 81 77
I don’t see Kelly-Powell being a difference-maker in the Big Ten, but he’s smart, feisty, and somewhat athletic.

Ben Mason – LB: 74
The best case scenario – to me – is that Mason plays fullback for most of his career, but I still think he’s a solid linebacker prospect who seems Desmond Morgan-ish but taller.

Brad Robbins – P: 70
This is a shot in the dark on a punter. Not many punters get drafted, but I think he’ll be pretty solid for the Wolverines.

Jordan Anthony – LB: 78 69
I’ll be glad for Rivals to prove me wrong, but Anthony looks short-ish to me and doesn’t have great burst.

Phillip Paea – DT: 76 68
I still see Paea more as an offensive guard, or maybe a center. Michigan is supposedly bringing him in as a defensive guy, but he would still be a 76 to me if he were headed for offensive line.

Deron Irving-Bey – DT: 59
Irving-Bey is staying right here. I like the Greg Banks comparison.

Kurt Taylor – RB: 57
I think Taylor should be a decent third down back, a guy who can block, catch some screen passes, and run an occasional draw. He’s not a front-line back, in my opinion.

Corey Malone-Hatcher – DE: 73 49
I don’t necessarily plan to do this every year, but I think this is where Malone-Hatcher will top out in his career at Michigan. I hope he proves me wrong.


  1. Comments: 7
    Joined: 4/12/2017
    Apr 24, 2017 at 6:51 AM

    Based on tape, and his tape is about as difficult to gauge as Mike Hart, due to the level of competition he was playing against. However, the one thing that jumped out; actually the same as was the case with Mike, is that despite the competition, he busts his ass on every play. Additionally, he is faster than Mike was, but a decent amount and his strength is equal. Mike did some amazing things – like managing to keep his body an inch off the ground – when science would dictate he should have been down a yard earlier, so I’ll never compare the athleticism because Mike got so much due to heart. The effort would dictate a similar type of drive and if it does, he could become a tremendous back.

    • Comments: 8
      Joined: 4/6/2017
      Apr 24, 2017 at 11:04 AM

      Who are you talking about?

      • Comments: 3845
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Apr 24, 2017 at 12:41 PM

        I believe he’s talking about Kurt Taylor.

    • Comments: 7
      Joined: 3/13/2017
      Apr 25, 2017 at 12:56 PM

      I kept reading trying to figure out who he’s talking about. It never happened. I’m assuming one of the RBs?

  2. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Apr 24, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    I mostly agree here.

    I’m not sure they can get Jeter big enough to go inside, but that opinion is only based on thinking that he looks pretty skinny on of his high school reel. Not much of a source really. Besides, I’m pretty happy to have him at either end position, probably more so at anchor.

    I’m not sure that Kwity Paye is as big as advertised. While RB to DE certainly has worked at TCU, for the moment, I think he’s an LB prospect.

    Phillip Paea sure is a demon pulling, he has the quickness, power and recognition skills to just obliterate people in space.

    I like Iriving-Bey better than Thunder does. I think he has a good chance to be a 70+ kid for us.

    With regards to Corey Malone-Hatcher, when you look at all the defensive ends, you have to think that he just has to get to 285/290+, lose very little to no quickness, become a technician and move inside, or he doesn’t make the field. That’s a tall order right there.

    I think Jordan Anthony benefitted from an excellent high school defensive line. I will say that he does get there and then makes people fall down.

    I thought it was good news about Brad Hawkins going to safety. A simple look at the depth chart for both wide receiver and safety suggests that one more somebody needs to trot on over to see Coach Zordich. I can’t think of anyone ever having played the position at 6’5″, but it strikes me that a 6’5 210 lbs. safety that can wrap up could be very tough to play against. Tight end mismatches would be decidedly less so.

    When you think it through, it’s just nuts to attempt to define incoming 18 year old kids coming in to a BIG college football program. Fun ….. but nuts.

    • Comments: 182
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      Apr 24, 2017 at 8:28 AM

      yeah malone-hatcher could prob help out at TE too but unless he bulks up and plays inside, i dont see him making much of an impact on the edge. im sure he could contribute there but hell never be a difference maker, especially with some of other available DE talent

  3. Comments: 359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Apr 24, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    Every year lately we are worried about our OL. You’ve rated this class on average as having all B1G potential. With the horses and with Frey back, fingers crossed.

    I am concerned that our highest ranking LB Singleton is coming off an ACL injury. Does anybody have updates on his recovery?

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 24, 2017 at 9:51 AM

      He is recovering well. He should be ready to go for the fall.

  4. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Apr 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Thanks for yet another great series!
    What don’t you like about DPJ?
    Filiaga looked rough in both all-star games I watched; we should be patient
    I don’t know much about Honigford or Steuber. If you had to pick, which OL contributes first, and when?
    Which DL gets on the field first?

    • Comments: 1
      Joined: 4/12/2017
      Apr 24, 2017 at 9:22 AM

      What suggests that he doesn’t like him? He’s rated a 92, which is pretty darn good. I believe the ranking was based on his predicted production at UM, which he suggested he wasn’t likely to pull in a 100 catches/year based on the offense we run.

      • Comments: 1863
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Apr 24, 2017 at 9:35 AM

        The question is what doesn’t he like, ie, strength v weakness

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 24, 2017 at 9:53 AM

      It’s not that I dislike much about DPJ, although I’m not in love with his run-after-catch skills. It’s mostly that I don’t think he’ll be extremely productive in Michigan’s system, since it’s a run-first offense.

      Agreed on Filiaga. He gets overextended quite a bit and crosses up his feet.

      I think Stueber will contribute earlier, mostly because I think he’s a little more filled out than Honigford.

      Aubrey Solomon is going to be the backup NT from day one, in my opinion.

      • Comments: 191
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Apr 24, 2017 at 1:23 PM

        I agree with you initial thoughts on Stueber, he really does look like a lineman that started turning Stanford into a good team 10 years ago or so… nothing flashy but gets the job done.

  5. Comments: 10
    Joined: 4/6/2017
    Apr 24, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Ouch on CMH! I think it’s a given he will redshirt this season, though.

  6. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Apr 24, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    Don’t have too much to argue about. I haven’t watched tape on Anthony.

    From what I’ve seen 84 is a high.

    From what I’ve seen I think 86 is a bit high. Maybe the potential is there, but I haven’t seen it yet. With Greg Frey who knows though.

    From what I’ve seen 59 is a low. I knew Greg Banks in college, he was a good guy. Didn’t care for his girlfriend much… she was a pretentious “athlete” who talked down to other people because of her “athlete” status. And by athlete, I mean she was a coxswain.

  7. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Apr 24, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    These are my favorite posts. Thanks Thunder. Have you done this in past years? I don’t remember you giving a final update but I enjoy a review of the class.

    A few comments on guys: I think Filiaga and Nico are a little too high. Think they will be solid contributors but lower 80’s/high 70’s for me. If Hawkins stayed at WR I’d see 79, but his HS tape as a senior is probably closer to high 60’s. Not much of it either. Kelly-Powell should be in the 60s. Doesn’t have the size or speed to make a major impact. I agree on Jordan Anthony. Never understood the hype. Finally, Kurt Taylor is ranked too high on your list! Can’t wait until Ruiz gives up his first sack (which probably won’t happen with your rating) and someone on this board calls you out!

    For the record, I’m not all gloom. I’d have Oliver Martin in the mid-high 80’s. Drew Singleton, if 100%, would be slightly higher maybe even high 80’s. CMH would at least get to 65! There’s gotta be something with all those offers.

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Apr 24, 2017 at 11:49 AM

      I don’t think it’s doom & gloom. Historically speaking, at least a third of the class won’t amount to much. Which one’s work out is the challenge, as some outperform their rankings, while others flame out or just never really contribute

      GO BLUE

      • Comments: 182
        Joined: 9/15/2015
        Apr 24, 2017 at 11:56 AM

        spot on…its a #s game at some point

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 24, 2017 at 12:40 PM

      I have done this in the past, at least for most years since I started. Clicking on this tag will give you a look at the past final ratings:

  8. Comments: 2
    Joined: 4/24/2017
    Apr 24, 2017 at 8:19 PM

    Players I believe have the best potential; OL-Ruiz, Honigford. WR- DPJ, Black. RB-Samuels. DL-Solomon, Hudson, Vilain. LB-Singleton. CB- Thomas. S-Woods. Players after a year or two of training; QB- McCaffrey, OL-Stueber, Filiaga, Hall. WR- Collins, Martin. DL-Paye, Irving-Bey. LB-Ross, Anthony. CB-St. Juste. Wild Cards; Taylor, Mason, Jeter, Hawkins, Kelly-Powell, Paea, Malone-Hatcher. and of course Robbins because special teams is always a Wild Card.

  9. Comments: 7
    Joined: 3/13/2017
    Apr 25, 2017 at 3:04 PM

    My favorite part of this site is seeing Thunder’s evaluations of the incoming players. I’ve looked back at some past years and they are very accurate (except maybe undervaluing Evans). These are always awesome to read!

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 25, 2017 at 4:14 PM

      Thanks. I think sometimes the level to which a strength or a weakness can affect a player’s overall ability can get skewed a little bit, but generally, the things I identify do indeed end up being strengths or weaknesses. I did apparently miss on Evans; I thought his size/lack of strength would prevent him from being a #1 guy at running back.

  10. Comments: 11
    Joined: 9/18/2016
    Apr 26, 2017 at 12:56 AM

    I have to question your reduction on Solomon. I understand the system and rotation of talent Michigan will carry on the d-line. However the NFL drafts on talent and potential and I doubt he would be penalized for not racking up the stats due to rotation. Hurst for example if he had come out this year was going to go 2nd round and he did not even start. It may make more sense for the post season awards.

  11. Comments: 11
    Joined: 9/18/2016
    Apr 26, 2017 at 12:57 AM

    I am curious what your ranking on Kalis was?

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