Plantation (FL) American Heritage offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert committed to Michigan on Wednesday at noon in the form of this entertaining video:
He picked the Wolverines over offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others. He’s 6’5″, 284 lbs.
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #15 OT, #106 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #10 OT, #61 overall
Scout: 4-star, #22 OT, #183 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 76 grade, #72 OT, #683 overall
Hit the jump for more on Herbert’s commitment.
Michigan was one of Herbert’s earliest offers back in May of 2015. He had at one time pegged Miami as his favorite school, and Florida reportedly led in his recruitment at one point. Michigan successfully recruited his class of 2016 teammate, tight end Nick Eubanks, and he has several other teammates (including 2017 offensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton, who has previously named Michigan his leader) being recruited by the Wolverines, too. Herbert attended one of Michigan’s satellite camps and then paid his own way to Ann Arbor for a visit in mid-June. Shortly afterward, he announced that he would be making a commitment on July 6. At that point I put in a Crystal Ball for Michigan. His other two finalists were Florida and Miami, notably neither of which is destroyed in the video above.
The main reason I like this kid’s game is his hustle. He doesn’t stop moving his feet, and he chases guys who get away from him. You can work with that kind of attitude on the field. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s long and lean with good athleticism. He has good arm length for the left tackle position, and I like his pass blocking technique for the most part. He stays light on his feet and mirrors defenders adequately after a nice kick set. He also has a good first step in the run game and runs his feet after contact. He should be a good drive man on double-teams, and he’ll finish blocks.
The weaknesses are fixable because of his athleticism, but there are some technical issues, especially in the run game. Herbert needs to take better angles on reach blocks; sometimes when he intends to cut off penetration, he ends up executing a down block because guys get too deep. That will need to be cleaned up so he can deal with bigger, faster, and stronger defensive linemen. He also stands up too high at times and his pad level needs to be lowered in the run game, though he shows enough knee bend and hip flexibility to be able to execute blocks in the run game properly. He can be a little bit of a finesse guy, but I think he can get away with it because he has the feet to work his hips around and should be able to develop the upper body strength to deal with defensive ends in college.
Overall, I think Herbert has a lot of upside. Rivals has him rated too high at #61, but I think 247 ranks him too low at #683 overall. Scout has him the most accurately ranked, in my opinion, as a top-200 prospect. I like that he’s a lean prospect who’s in the process of filling out his body, rather than a bloated guy who needs to shed weight. Herbert could potentially slide in at either guard or either tackle spot, though I’m leaning more toward left tackle down the road. If he gets two seasons behind Grant Newsome, then he could potentially be the successor at left tackle in 2019.
Michigan is throwing a lot of offensive linemen at the shortage created by a couple shallow offensive line recruiting classes, especially at the tackle position. After taking mostly interior guys in 2016 – including Stephen Spanellis, who could play right tackle in a pinch – the Wolverines are taking a bunch of potential left tackles (Herbert, Ja’Raymond Hall, Joel Honigford) who have flexibility to play elsewhere on the line. Failed tackles can often move inside, so I like this personnel strategy. Michigan will probably take six linemen in 2017, so there’s still room for additional players. The Wolverines are probably aiming for a center (a.k.a. Cesar Ruiz) and then looking to fill out the class with a blue-chipper like Henry Bainivalu, Chuck Filiaga, Alex Leatherwood, Tedarrell Slaton, etc.
Michigan now has 18 commits in the 2017 class, and the class technically only has 19 spots (LINK). Attrition will expand that number, perhaps up to the high 20s like last year.
Other American Heritage prospects with offers include:
- 2017 LB James Houston IV, OT Tedarrell Slaton, CB Marco Wilson
- 2018 CB Tyson Campbell, CB Patrick Surtain, Jr.
TTB Rating: 86
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