Richard Ash, a defensive lineman from Pahokee High School (Pahokee, FL), has committed to Michigan. He had been committed to West Virginia University until he realized that he would have to live in West Virginia, where the women look like they came straight out of The Hills Have Eyes.
Ash is listed at 6’4″ and 263 lbs. At that size, one would think that he would bulk up a little bit to play the 3-tech defensive tackle position recently occupied by Ryan Van Bergen. However, he has a bit of chub on him that will be whittled away by Mike Barwis, and 263 lbs. isn’t a bad size for a strong-side defensive end. After all, that’s about the same size as Brandon Graham.
Watching Ash’s film, he’s a good athlete who’s going to require a lot of refinement. Although he’s a 4-star recruit to Rivals, he’s raw. He has good explosion off the ball, and he possesses good lateral quickness as well. There’s also one play where he sniffs out a middle screen, tips the ball to himself, and runs the other way with it. Like I said, he’s an athlete.
But when he finally earns playing time at Michigan, I’m sure we’ll see a very different player. He has kind of an awkward stance where his butt sits lower than his shoulders, which forces him to stand straight up as soon as the ball is snapped. As a high schooler who is physically dominant, he can get away with belly-bumping offensive linemen out of his way, but he will get absolutely mauled if he plays like that in college. When he learns to play lower, he’ll probably also learn to use his hands better to disengage from blockers. He tends to play “patty cake” with blockers and sometimes stops his feet on contact. In order to see the field at Michigan, he’ll need to learn to go hard on every single play.
Ash will give Michigan four players from the same high school; he’ll join sophomore running back Vincent Smith, sophomore linebacker Brandin Hawthorne, and junior slot receiver Martavious Odoms on the Michigan campus. The Wolverines have also offered Chris Dunkley, a 4-star slot receiver who transferred from Royal Palm Beach, FL, but Dunkley’s recruitment probably won’t be affected by Ash’s commitment.
I expect Ash to end up at 5-tech defensive end, Brandon Graham’s old position. I think he could easily transform his body into a 265 lb. strongside end, whereas I see Terry Talbott as a 3-tech DT. We could still see Michigan add a couple more defensive linemen in the 2010 class, particularly NT prospect Johnathan Hankins from Detroit and DE Clarence Murphy from Florida.
P.S. The picture appeared because it popped up when I did a Google image search for “Richard Ash.” I’m not sure what Richard Ash has to do with Kim Jong-Il, but I’m guessing the FBI is checking into that right this very moment.
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