Joey Velazquez, Wolverine

Joey Velazquez, Wolverine

June 22, 2018

Joey Velazquez (image via 11 Warriors)

Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales linebacker/safety Joey Velazquez committed to Michigan on Friday morning. He had previously been committed to Ohio State to play baseball only. He picked the Wolverines over Cincinnati and Indiana, among others, and he plans to continue his baseball career in Ann Arbor as well.

Velazquez is listed at 6’0″, 205 lbs. As a baseball player, Velazquez has been timed at 6.84 in the 60, and his throwing velocity has been measured at 85 miles per hour as a left-handed outfielder. His measureables are even more impressive when translated to football, where he has a 4.54 forty, a 390 lb. bench press, a 570 lb. squat, and a 600 lb. deadlift. He ran for 356 yards and 7 touchdowns on offense as a junior, and he made 50 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 4 pass breakups on defense.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 3-star S
247 Sports: 3-star, 87 grade, #52 S, #651 overall

Hit the jump for more on Velazquez’s commitment.

Velazquez wasn’t on recruitniks’ radar until Michigan offered when he visited campus in April. The coaching staff decided they liked him as a Viper prospect and kept pursuing him as one of their top prospects for the Viper position, which is a hybrid safety/linebacker. West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield’s Lance Dixon was reportedly their top target at the position, but the Wolverines are playing from behind with Penn State and Wisconsin out front. Velazquez is visiting Michigan this weekend, and he decided to commit on the visit.

Velazquez is a solidly built hybrid player. He has decent height and a good frame, and he should be able to carry some additional weight without sacrificing mobility, perhaps topping out at 215-220 lbs. He’s a very physical player, which you can see when he takes on pulling linemen multiple times and puts them on the ground with a shoulder. As a tackler he does a nice job of getting low and running his feet. He shows some good anticipation and timing in zone coverage and changes direction well to break on balls thrown underneath.

On the negative side, Velazquez is sometimes uncertain when diagnosing run vs. pass and can get stuck in No Man’s Land. His man coverage skills could use some work, and that probably won’t be a huge strength for him because he doesn’t have extremely fluid hips.

Overall, Velazquez is a very good all-around athlete. He has the skills one would want in a hybrid linebacker – the ability to take on blocks, tackle, blitz, and cover a little bit. If Michigan were recruiting him for a true safety position or a WILL linebacker spot, I probably wouldn’t be extremely high on him, but he should fit in well at the Viper position.

Khaleke Hudson will be a senior (or in the NFL) by the time Velazquez arrives on campus, and there is no heir apparent currently on the roster for the Viper position. That means Velazquez could play very early in his career. Michigan doesn’t over-recruit the Viper spot, so there will probably only be 2-3 potential players at the position at any given time. In some ways, that guy is the stud player on the defense who racks up all kinds of gaudy numbers, just like Hudson and Jabrill Peppers have done over the past two seasons.

Michigan now has 11 commits in the 2019 class, and Velazquez joins Charles Thomas as the only two linebackers in the class so far. Michigan is also recruiting 2019 defensive tackle Rodas Johnson from DeSales. Michigan has landed a couple players from DeSales in the past decade or so, including defensive end Chris Rock (who transferred to Ohio State as a walk-on) and offensive guard Patrick Omameh (who has had a decent NFL career). Earlier this week, Michigan landed another player from Columbus in 2020 wide receiver Kalil Branham (LINK).

TTB Rating: 82 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 14
    cayman go blue
    Jun 22, 2018 at 7:10 PM

    This is Blue in Paradise from MGoBlog…

    I have posted a lot about this kid over on MGoBlog – I LOVE this kid’s game and have a gut feeling that he is going to blow up into a star. He is going to be the next Khaleke Hudson and he is absolutely tailor made for the position.

    • Comments: 262
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Jun 22, 2018 at 11:29 PM

      I like him too – not sure whether he has any one amazing trait, but he seems to do a lot of things well. Think his senior film will be interesting, as he’s a guy who spends a lot of time on baseball. His football game may take a step forward now that he knows he’ll continue in college.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 23, 2018 at 7:56 AM

      Welcome to posting on TTB! Thanks for signing up.

    • Comments: 71
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jun 24, 2018 at 1:21 AM

      Everyone is saying they thought Hudson looked so much better on film so I figured I’d go back and check on Magnus’ Hudson commitment post. I was surprised to see that he only got a 77 in the initial post, though he bumped it up to an 80 in the final ratings post even though he was projected to SAM or nickel CB. In his defense, it was before we saw Brown’s defense in action at Michigan and Peppers at the Viper spot.

      • Comments: 1356
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Jun 24, 2018 at 7:59 AM

        Quicker, faster, significantly more violent, Hudson beat blockers to the hole and then blasted people when playing defense. Then if he couldn’t juke them out of the way, he just trucked em with the ball in his hands.

        Good idea posting this, I’d forgotten how fun Hudson’s HS film was.

        And make no mistake, I’m not down on Velasquez, even a little. I just don’t like him to the tune of 82 on Thunder’s scale despite the fact that “the Viper” in this defense is set up to accumulate the real gaudy numbers. I will say this in praise of the kid, he comes in careful and sure, wraps people up and causes them to fall down. i don’t see him being a kid making the mistake of blowing past a play because he is hungry to blast somebody. Hudson has occasionally made that mistake.

  2. Comments: 1356
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Jun 23, 2018 at 7:31 AM

    I’m not seeing this one, as much as I would like to.

    Much like a commenter from somewhere, some number of years ago who was at the time evaluating Jake Ryan, I’m seeing no de-cleaters. I do see the kid shedding a couple pulling guards, but he has his hands inside his numbers on his own chest and those are 250 lbs. kids as opposed to 310 lbs. men. I think he gets swallowed up doing that at the next level.

    Then, given relative life and career expectancies, you have to be dumb as a stump not to concentrate on baseball.

    Just saying’.

    I think he’s an ok Viper prospect maybe, I’d probably take him in a big class but i don’t see 82 on Thunder’s scale here.

    Hoping to be wrong for the sake of the program, hoping he’s just a helluva baseball player for the sake of the kid.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 23, 2018 at 7:54 AM

      I don’t really understand the comment about shedding offensive guards. That’s all you see from just about any high schooler. Very few high schoolers are shedding 300-pounders on the regular, so it’s all a matter of projecting. He’s also only about 200 lbs., and he will presumably get bigger and stronger in college. Along with that, I don’t think we saw Jabrill Peppers and Khaleke Hudson destroying blockers in high school, but lo and behold, they did/are doing just fine at Viper in college.

      I kind of agree on the baseball thing, though. I like football more, but if I have a chance to go pro in either one at this point, it’s probably baseball. It would be pretty awesome to be the first guy in a while to do both, even though numerous guys before him have failed to have success in both sports.

      • Comments: 1356
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Jun 23, 2018 at 8:05 AM

        I’m talking about technique and am prepared to concede that the technique I got is prehistoric, but I want my hands available to to deflect or grab something and pull as opposed to being stuck on my chest, that’s all. And while I know that technique is the point of practice and recognize that the kid engages a blocker and isn’t getting buckled, I wonder some on this one.

        At this position, I prefer some of the guys we’ve looked at where here comes the blocker wondering where the hell that kid went, as opposed to being taken on.

        • Comments: 182
          Joined: 9/15/2015
          Jun 23, 2018 at 10:42 AM

          you lost me on technique comment…not sure what shedding technique youre trying to describe.

          i like velasquez and his potential though hes a different type backer than peppers or hudson

        • Comments: 14
          cayman go blue
          Jun 23, 2018 at 11:13 AM

          My football knowledge isn’t advanced enough to comment on technique; however, I would point out that he was a high school junior playing football part-time. So there is plenty of time and coaching in his future which I imagine should be able to work out any technique type issues.

          What I love about this kid is the fact that he is an elite athlete and just seems to have an nose for the ball. He is everywhere on the single game reels – last guy where I saw that was Khaleke.

      • Comments: 14
        cayman go blue
        Jun 23, 2018 at 11:18 AM

        The football vs baseball debate is an interesting one. Baseball overall is a safer sport (although we are talking about a sport where someone is throwing a hard ball 95 mph a foot from your body. However, it is much harder to get to the Majors in baseball than to make the NFL.

        1. Less roster spots (approx 50% of NFL spots)
        2. International competition- there are millions of Latin American and Asian kids playing baseball. Nothing like that in football.
        3. Longer careers- which is great for the guys who make it. But not so much when you are trying to break into the league.

        To me, it is just a matter of which sport you love and which one you are better at.

  3. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Jun 25, 2018 at 10:02 AM

    390 bench, 570 squat, 600 deadlift for a combined 1,560 lbs. World record is 1,874 pounds for the drug-tested 220 lbs weight class. 83% of that at 17 years old is freaking impressive.

    From tape I think 82 might be a couple points too high. He may be able to put on a few pounds, but he has a decent weight for the position now, and his strength numbers are crazy. It’s one thing when people need to fill out and put on some muscle, but he’s already very strong.

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