Kai-Leon Herbert, Ex-Wolverine

Kai-Leon Herbert, Ex-Wolverine


January 22, 2017




Kai-Leon Herbert isn’t a guy who does hats

Plantation (FL) American Heritage offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert decommitted from Michigan on Sunday. Herbert is a 6’5″, 284-pounder who’s a 4-star, the #28 offensive tackle, and #252 overall.

Herbert committed to Michigan in July of 2016 (LINK). If you follow recruiting closely, you may remember that he made a The Walking Dead spin-off video for his commitment. It was one of the more creative commitment videos I’ve seen. I gave him an 86. Not for the video, but as a TTB Rating. He’s a legitimate left tackle prospect, though he could play guard as well. But in the months since, his commitment has been viewed as very soft. I said several months ago that I didn’t think he would stick with Michigan, and I even put in a Crystal Ball in on January 11 for him to commit to Florida. I don’t know all the reasons behind his choice, but there have been rumors that he was not comfortable with the number of commitments Michigan had on the offensive line and their continued pursuit of linemen.

Frankly, I don’t know why linemen aren’t pounding down the door to play offensive line at Michigan, especially to play offensive tackle. Michigan has limited options at both tackle spots, and they lose three senior starters from 2016. In fact, Michigan’s best option at left tackle might be to bump center Mason Cole out there and let an unproven player snap the ball. Playing time is right there for the taking if you put in the work to beat out some . . . unheralded options.

Michigan now has 26 commits in the 2017 class, including potential tackles Joel Honigford, Chuck Filiaga, Andrew Stueber, Ja’Raymond Hall, and potentially even James Hudson III, the last of whom was primarily recruited as a defensive tackle. Honigford is almost certainly destined for a redshirt, Filiaga won’t be ready to play left tackle, and Hall probably needs some time, too. Out of the incoming freshmen currently committed, Stueber might be the most ready to step in immediately and play.

I posted an If I Had My Druthers piece on the offensive line last week (LINK), and Mekhi Becton seems the most likely to join the class. However, he took an official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, and a flurry of nine Crystal Balls have come in so far today for the Hokies, who now hold 75% of the picks. It will be interesting to see if Michigan expands its offer board in an attempt to get another linemen to take an official visit before National Signing Day, since only one visit weekend remains.

18 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1240
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jan 22, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    It’s crazy. I get that Bama beat us for Leatherwood, but Stanford got some studs; where are ours? I would have thought a Harbaugh/Drevno roster would be built on the OL first, and a guy like wilson would have been forced to Georgia because of the line of superior prospects he’d get stuck behind. Instead, he just wanted them more

    “Frankly, I don’t know why linemen aren’t pounding down the door to play offensive line at Michigan, especially to play offensive tackle”

  2. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 249
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Jan 22, 2017 at 11:46 PM

    I honestly don’t think UM pursued Herbert all that hard. Based on some of the more recent tape out there, he was looking more and more like an out-of-shape project. What a waste of a well-done commitment video.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2957
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 23, 2017 at 7:47 AM

      I think Michigan did pursue him pretty hard. But if we’re talking about being out of shape, that same criticism – or worse – could be applied to Chuck Filiaga.

      • Painter Smurf
        Comments: 249
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Painter Smurf
        Jan 23, 2017 at 12:28 PM

        Filiaga carries his weight much, much better than Herbert does. Just watch that 5-star challenge rivals video. Filiaga is solid from head to toe. Herbert has skinny arms, skinny legs, big gut.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA0FffrQw8w&app=desktop

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2957
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 23, 2017 at 1:31 PM

          Herbert definitely needs time in a college S&C program, but skinny legs and arms don’t bother me for a high school offensive tackle. Those things fill out as kids become 20- to 22-year-olds. The athleticism thing is the issue. I agree that Filiaga is solid, but sometimes that spells doom. If you look at guys like Chris Fox, Chris Bryant, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Ben Braden, etc., being huge in high school doesn’t always translate to success in college.

  3. JDNorway
    Comments: 8
    Joined: 10/3/2016
    JDNorway
    Jan 23, 2017 at 4:14 AM

    They could also move Paea to the OL, no?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1170
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Jan 23, 2017 at 7:12 AM

      On his junior film, he’s really good at pulling, finding and then burying a moving target. Supposedly, he’s up around 300 lbs now.

      I think no matter where he plays, we’re gonna wish we had another one just like him to line up on the other side.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2957
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 23, 2017 at 7:46 AM

      I like Paea better on the OL, actually, but he’s not a tackle.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 4649
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jan 23, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    This last 4 weeks has been an outright disaster for Michigan football. Lost Peppers (to injury and then the NFL) and lost Orange Bowl. Lost Fisch, Wheatley, and other coaches to promotions. Other than landing Filiaga, Michigan has seen itself removed from the picture (or seriously downgraded) for most of it’s top targets. The coaching staff appears to have misplayed their hand in regard to OL and DT recruiting.

    On top of that we learned (rumors) that Clark and Newsome won’t be back, further downgrading the two most worrisome position groups on the roster. The DB numbers are scary. The recruiting approach is baffling.

    As much as I want to be excited about the rumored addition of Grey Frey it’s hard to be overly positive given the rough shape the OL personnel is in.

    I hope we are in for some pleasant surprises between now and signing day. Gay or Solomon commitments would bring some solace but I expect it’s going to be mostly under-the-radar late additions to fill out the class or banked scholarship. After that — Cross your fingers and hope for some grad transfer reinforcements for OL or DB.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2957
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 23, 2017 at 11:22 AM

      Yeah, I kind of agree that the last four weeks have been disappointing. But that’s pretty much par for the course at this time of year. I mean, sometimes you get good hires like Don Brown or big recruiting news like Devin Asiasi. But in most years, this is a year when your biggest recruiting targets commit elsewhere, people leave, etc. For every Devin Asiasi signing on, there are five Willie Gays and Isaiah Wilsons and Najee Harrises. In the past few years, we’ve missed on Roquan Smith, Mike Weber, Dontavious Jackson, Mecole Hardman, Jonathan Jones, Connor Murphy, etc. around this time of year. We also lost Greg Jackson last year, who was replaced by Brian Smith (who?), and Willie Henry left early for the draft (not on the same level as Peppers, but still a very good player).

      So…it’s depressing, but meh. I’m used to it.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4649
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 23, 2017 at 1:08 PM

        I’m pretty unfazed by the coaching turnover, so the disappointment is more about the Orange Bowl/Peppers events and Clark and Newsome being gone. Newsome wasn’t too much of a surprise (esp w/his RS available) but Clark was (to me anyway). These hurt where it hurts most.

        As for recruiting – I take your point that we should expect to miss on most top recruits, but you also expect to be landing a few of them. Michigan isn’t trending well with anyone who can be described as a Plan A target.

        Late additions the last 2 years:
        2016: Nordin, Gary, Hill, Long, Eubanks, Hudson, McDoom, Asiasi, Dwumfour
        2015: Wheatley, Johnson, Gentry

        These are players where Michigan won competitions with elite programs. There were others who can be classified as Plan B options (not included above) like Dwumfour (who we stole from PSU).

        This is not looking anything like the last 2 years. While it didn’t happen a lot with Hoke – who preferred having his class locked up early – near signing day is where Michigan has landed some of it’s best players including Gary, Peppers, and Robinson.

        Hopeful for some good news in the next 2 weeks…

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 4649
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 23, 2017 at 1:18 PM

          Neither Alabama nor Stanford offenses look like what most NFL teams run. When you say pro-style you mean 80s or 90s NFL I think, but pro teams are mostly run-and-shoot (albeit usually with a TE) or spread-pass.

          *The Alabama we saw under Kiffin appears to be a bit of an outlier. They seemed to go back to more of a 90s NFL offense with Sarkisian. I expect more of the same vintage/conservative Saban offenses next year.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 4649
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 23, 2017 at 1:19 PM

            This is response to the Alabama/Stanford recruit well while running pro style comment.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4649
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 23, 2017 at 1:09 PM

        I should note that Cole and especially Hurst returning can be considered good news as either one could have been drafted.

        Also the potential transfer of this OT from Clemson would be big, but we can’t celebrate yet.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 4649
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jan 23, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    “Frankly, I don’t know why linemen aren’t pounding down the door to play offensive line at Michigan, especially to play offensive tackle. ”

    I suspect it is the coaching. The offensive style isn’t appealing to a lot of kids and Drevno’s resume isn’t particularly outstanding (there are pros and cons to having NFL experience and one con is you can’t point to as many players you turned into pros). Let’s be honest and objective for a minute and admit that the Alabama and Ohio State offensive systems are more enticing than Michigan’s. People playing offense like to score and Michigan’s offense has been unexceptional since 2010.

    Hopefully Frey and Hamilton will help.

    Playing time is there but it’s clearly not enough to consistently land elite offensive talent.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2957
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 23, 2017 at 11:31 AM

      I don’t really buy that. I mean, maybe the coaching, lack of 1st rounders lately, etc. is an issue. But it’s not the style. Alabama and Stanford both recruit very well on the offensive line, and they both run similar offenses. Alabama has opened it up a little more recently, but it’s mostly a pro-style offense.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4649
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 23, 2017 at 1:11 PM

        I think the track record of Alabama and Stanford speaks for itself. This used to be true for Michigan.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 4649
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 23, 2017 at 1:20 PM

        A heavy power offense doesn’t preclude you from recruiting well, but it can be a hindrance. A successful offense will recruit well, regardless of style.

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