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Apple Valley (CA) Apple Valley quarterback Jayden Denegal committed to Michigan on Wednesday evening. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Auburn, Georgia, Michigan State, and Utah, among others.
Denegal is listed at 6’4″ and 215 lbs.
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #9 pocket passer, #163 overall
Rivals: 3-star, 5.7 grade, #19 pro-style QB
247 Sports: 3-star, 89 grade, #17 QB
Hit the jump for more.
Denegal threw in front of Michigan quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss at a satellite camp, piquing Michigan’s interest. He set a visit date for this week, opening up a chance for him to be see by head coach Jim Harbaugh. After working out for the staff in Ann Arbor, he was offered and immediately jumped at the opportunity to wear the winged helmet. His other primary contender seemed to be Michigan State, although it seems UCLA was on the verge of offering him, as well.
Denegal has good height – he’s listed at 6’4″ or 6’5″ – and uses it well, standing tall in the pocket. He’s thickly built and his weight is anywhere from 215-230 on various sites; there has been some talk that he shed weight after getting too big. I like Denegal’s ability to throw speed outs, as he gets himself lined up well and manages a strong, overhand delivery. On deep throws to the sideline, he puts a good arc on the ball and gives his receivers a chance to make a play.
In general, I am not a fan of Denegal’s mechanics other than on his one-step speed out throws. His footwork is inconsistent, and he’s very bouncy; rather than taking tiny steps and sliding in the pocket, he tends to just hop up and down going through his reads, which can lead to issues with timing and vision on spatial relationships. Too often he tends to drop his arm to a sidearm or three-quarters delivery, especially on deeper throws, which tends to take some speed off the ball. It can also lead to batted balls at the line of scrimmage and inaccuracy downfield. I also like to see quarterbacks who are quick to make decisions based on pre-snap reads, and there are too few of those throws on his highlight film for my liking. Lastly, Denegal is not a mobile quarterback; he runs okay for a high schooler, but he will not be able to escape the pass rush very easily in college.
Overall, while Denegal is a 4-star prospect and the #19 overall QB in the class, I had hoped for a different outcome in Michigan’s quarterback recruiting for 2022. The Wolverines were always going to struggle to land an elite passer in 2022 after signing J.J. McCarthy in the previous class, but Denegal is a project. I’m of the mindset that Michigan should only really be taking projects if they’re athletic projects, guys who can either make plays in the running game or have the potential to play another position (WR, TE, etc.). Wilton Speight is the ceiling here – not the expectation, but the ceiling – but only after a few years of seasoning.
I have to question Michigan’s recruiting strategy here. The Wolverines brought in a Greg Roman disciple (Matt Weiss) to be the quarterbacks coach, and it was supposedly – according to insider Sam Webb – in order to incorporate part of the Baltimore Ravens running game. The Ravens use multiple tight ends, motions, and the quarterback in the running game. So it made sense that Michigan pursued Nate Johnson (now committed to Utah) heavily. But now the Wolverines are going with a pure pocket passer who can’t execute or create big plays in the run game. Naturally, Michigan fans might want a higher rated player, but there are players ranked right around the same spot – Katin Houser (Boise State), Beau Pribula (Penn State), Zion Turner (uncommitted) – that offer more athletic upside or at least better pocket passing capabilities.
Michigan now has ten commitments in the class of 2022.
TTB Rating: 45
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