Joel Honigford, Wolverine

Joel Honigford, Wolverine


June 29, 2016
Joel Honigford 64x

Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway offensive tackle Joel Honigford (image via 247 Sports)

Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway offensive tackle Joel Honigford committed to Michigan on Wednesday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, TCU, Tennessee, and West Virginia, among others.

Honigford is 6’6″, 278 lbs. He claims a 5.1 forty, a 4.79 shuttle, a 240 lb. bench, a 330 lb. squat, and a 29″ vertical.

RATINGS
ESPN: 4-star, 86 grade, #26 OT, #199 overall
Rivals: 3-star, #46 OT
Scout: 3-star, #47 OT
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #73 OT, #692 overall

Hit the jump for more on the commitment.

Michigan offered Honigford back in April, and he visited Ann Arbor in early June. In the meantime, I had heard some rumblings about Ohio State potentially offering, which would probably be his choice if given the option. Recently, he released a top four that included Ohio State, even though they still hadn’t offered. With the way they’re recruiting right now, they don’t need to go too far down their board to pull in the guys they want. I wasn’t expecting him to pull the trigger just yet, but here we are.

Honigford is the kind of tackle prospect I like. Of course, there’s something to be said for the guys who come out of high school at 6’6″, 310 lbs. with great feet, but I like guys who are a little lighter and more athletic who can pack on weight. It’s a body type and athletic profile like those of Taylor Lewan and Jake Fisher, for example. Honigford has that long, lean body that looks like a future left tackle. He shows a good kick step with the quick feet to stay with pass rushers, and he stays nice and balanced in pass pro. He does a good job of keeping his hands inside and timing his initial punch well. Once he locks onto defenders, he drives his feet and can run them out of the play. In the run game, Honigford bends well and finishes his blocks there, too. He rolls his hips to get leverage on defensive linemen, and he keeps a nice, wide base to stay attached.

The biggest thing lacking in Honigford is strength. His listed 240 lb. bench press and 330 lb. squat is not particularly impressive for a guy entering his senior year, though those numbers might be outdated. Still, in his junior film, he just lacks the functional strength to move the guys he’s going to see at the next level. By the time he hits college, he’ll be above 270-ish pounds, which will bring some oomph with it. He needs to keep hitting the weight room. There are some small tweaks I would like to see him make with his footwork in the run game at tackle, and I think he probably needs a major overhaul of his pulling technique if he were to transition to guard.

Overall, Honigford’s maybe not as nasty or athletic as Taylor Lewan, but I would put him a notch or two below. I think he’s someone who could play either tackle position, or he could be a pulling guard with some work. I like him as a blind-side pass protector, and he has good run-blocking skills. By the time he hits campus, Grant Newsome will be a true junior. Give Honigford a couple seasons to bulk up and refine his technique, and he may be battling it out with Ja’Raymond Hall to be the heir apparent at left tackle.

Michigan now has 17 commitments in the 2017 class, including three offensive linemen (Ja’Raymond Hall, Andrew Stueber, and Honigford). Honigford also represents the first commitment¬†from Ohio since Nolan Ulizio toward the end of the 2015 class. The Wolverines are looking for roughly six offensive linemen in 2017, so I don’t expect them to slow down much on the recruiting trail. Michigan needs at least one center, but the other players can be a mix of sizes and talents since failed offensive tackles can often move inside to guard; in other words, I still expect Michigan to continue to pursue players like Henry Bainivalu, Chuck Filiaga, Kai-Leon Herbert, Tedarrell Slaton, etc.

TTB Rating: 82 (ratings explanation)

9 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 118
    Joined: 10/22/2015
    SinCityBlue
    Jun 29, 2016 at 4:50 PM

    Seems like you are high on the potential for this guy which makes me motivated. I don’t think every prospect has to be a 5*. My question is this, is his ceiling high enough so that there are no regrets after signing day if we were to miss out on another higher rated prospect like an Isaiah Wilson or someone similar because of this signing?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3849
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 29, 2016 at 8:56 PM

      Well, nobody’s signed until National Signing Day (or until they enroll early). So there’s always a possibility that someone in our current recruiting class could get “processed.” But assuming your hypothetical comes true…

      …I’m not totally sold on Isaiah Wilson. I say that with the caveat that I haven’t seen a ton of film on Wilson. He’s almost the opposite of Honigford: Wilson is a big guy who probably needs to shed/redistribute some weight, and he’s not a guy who finishes his blocks that well (from what I’ve seen). I do think there are higher upside guys than Honigford, so I think we MIGHT regret not being able to sign another high-profile guy. But that’s pretty much the case for any recruit except the #1 guy. If you get the #2 quarterback or the #3 running back, you might be disappointed that you didn’t the #1 guy at either position.

      FWIW, I don’t think Honigford’s presence will prevent us from getting one of those other top guys (Slaton, Bainivalu, Wilson, Herbert, etc.). Some of those guys are bound to go somewhere else, regardless of who’s already committed.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:22 PM

    Encouraging to read such a positive post on a guy with middling rankings. Not having quite the mean streak of Lewan might be a good thing given some of the ugliness we saw from him (on and off the field). Of course if he can PLAY like Lewan did that would be fantastic.

    I increasingly view OL recruiting as a massive crapshoot. Seen too many guys who sound like sure things be disappointments (Kalis, Kugler, Barnum) and head-scratchers turn into all-conference caliber players (Molk, Omameh, Glasgow). So yeah, bring on the numbers on the OL, and keep them coming until we get the OL situation fixed.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jun 29, 2016 at 7:34 PM

      Well, it seems to be a crapshoot for US. Alabama and OSU keep reeling in 5 star OL recruits and turning them into All-Americans and NFL first rounders, so someone’s getting it to work. We’ve had one top-rated OL recruit after another coast through their career as a journeyman or bust out completely.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3849
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Jun 29, 2016 at 8:48 PM

        OSU has also taken guys like Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein, etc. and turned them into decent players.

        And I get why recruiting is important (obviously – look at this website!), but the most important thing is that Michigan produces good offensive lines/linemen. If every OL recruit flames out and we find 5 Graham Glasgows, then things will be okay. I know that’s not realistic or possible. I’m just saying that there are other ways to produce offensive linemen besides recruiting 5-stars. Michigan State and Iowa are two examples of teams in our conference who have taken 3-star, underrated guys and/or position-switchers and also turned them into All-Americans and NFL first rounders. It would be nice to be Alabama, but I’d probably be okay with being Iowa, too (on the offensive line only). If Michigan had Iowa’s offensive line production, we’d win a lot more games because we have superior skill guys and better athletes.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 183
          Joined: 9/3/2015
          suduri xusai
          Jun 30, 2016 at 3:05 AM

          This is absolutely correct. OL recruiting is so tricky and I feel like OL is more dependent on coaching than any other position. Remember all that talent we had in 2013 and 2014 along with garbage performance… We almost lost to Akron because of the garbage OL… I just pray that Drevno knows what he is doing and will turn these guys into solid players.

  3. Tartarsauce
    Comments: 77
    Joined: 1/22/2016
    Tartarsauce
    Jun 29, 2016 at 8:28 PM

    This is the type of Ohio kid that MSU has been landing who turns out to be a monster. Great pickup.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Jun 29, 2016 at 9:41 PM

      Agree.

      And great writeup Thunder

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