Jibreel Black, Wolverine

Tag: 2010 Recruiting

26Jan 2010
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Jibreel Black, Wolverine

Jibreel Black: football player, Wolverine, jungle sniper
Jibreel Black, a 6’2″, 253 lb. defensive lineman from Cincinnati, OH, committed to Michigan on Sunday. He’s the 26th addition to Michigan’s 2010 class.

Black is a 3-star defensive end to Rivals and a 4-star defensive tackle to Scout. It seems a bit up in the air as to what position he’s going to play at Michigan. Some seem to think that he’ll pack on some pounds and play 3-tech defensive tackle for the Wolverines, and some think he’ll lean out and remain at strongside defensive end, the position he played in high school. If it means anything, his brother Larry is a 6’2″, 306 lb. redshirt freshman defensive tackle for Indiana.

As a junior, Black racked up 76 tackles and 8 sacks. He added 61 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior. Michigan offered him prior to his senior season, so the coaches have been going after him for a while. Black has suffered from a bout of indecision, however. He’s been committed to Indiana and, most recently, Cincinnati before settling on Michigan. There’s only a week before National Signing Day, but I’m not going to trust that he’s set on Michigan until he faxes that letter of intent to Ann Arbor. He might end up back with Cincinnati or Indiana, or perhaps he’ll entertain his offers from Illinois, Michigan State, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others.

As for projecting him forward, if Black remains at Michigan, I expect that he’ll step into the 5-tech defensive end spot previously held by Brandon Graham. When watching his film, he looks almost like a clone of Graham. He’s short-ish and thickly built. Perhaps the best thing I see on film is the way he keeps his shoulders square to the line. Too many talented athletes in high school fire off the ball and shoot straight for the ball carrier, but college opponents will take advantage of that lack of discipline. His fundamentally sound positioning shows that not only is he coachable, but the biggest obstacle for him might be his strength and conditioning. He does play a little upright, but at only 6’2″ and going up against tackles who are three to five inches taller than him, leverage shouldn’t be a major issue. I’m sure Michigan’s coaches will work with him on staying lower, being explosive, and using that leverage to the best of his ability, but that’s not a big concern.

Black will probably redshirt in 2010. He’s got some bad body weight on him and needs to lean out. There’s very little depth at defensive end, but I imagine the 5-tech defensive end spot will be played by Ryan Van Bergen. Will Heininger is an experienced backup, and Anthony Lalota will be a redshirt freshman, but he’s a project. I think Ken Wilkins, who’s 246 lbs. and a workout warrior, will eventually be a 5-tech. But Black might be the best of the bunch.

21Jan 2010
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Jake Ryan, Wolverine

Everyone smiles when they leave Ohio
Jake Ryan, from St. Ignatius High School in Westlake, OH, committed to the University of Michigan on Sunday. Ryan is a 6’3″, 225 lb. linebacker and Michigan’s ninth defensive commitment of the last ten. He’s rated as a 3-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals.

Ryan’s teammate, Scott McVey, was the more heavily recruited player at St. Ignatius, but Ryan outplayed him during their 2009 season. McVey had an offer from Michigan but chose Ohio State and, thus jinxed by God, suffered nagging injuries as a senior. While McVey played middle linebacker in St. Ignatius’s 3-3-5 stack defense, Ryan mostly played right outside linebacker.

Other schools to offer Ryan included Bowling Green, Toledo, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan. But when he officially visited this past weekend, Rich Rodriguez extended an offer that got accepted almost immediately.

In interviews with Ryan and his high school coach, they have said that Michigan recruited him as outside/rush linebacker. That seems to be in line with the Quick end position, currently manned by rising sophomore Craig Roh. However, that seems odd, considering that no less than four other players in the class of 2010 have been recruited to play Quick at various times: Jordan Paskorz, Ken Wilkins, Antonio Kinard, and Davion Rogers. A recent Rivals article quotes Kinard as saying he’ll play WILL, so that makes a little more sense. And personally, I think Paskorz is better off as a defensive end. But still, I have questions.

Regardless, I think Ryan is best suited for middle linebacker. He seems to do a good job of diagnosing plays and taking good angles toward the ballcarrier. He has a solid frame and could easily play at 240 or 245. He’s reported to run a 4.6 forty yard dash, but I question that time.

Ryan is stiff in the hips. He moves well for a high school linebacker, but he looks like a defensive end who’s playing out of position at outside backer. He does not have great lateral speed, and I do question his tackling ability. Despite a couple highlight films I’ve seen, I haven’t seen a single de-cleater. All of his tackles seem to be him falling on a player who’s already going down or grabbing a runner and letting his 220-225 lbs. drag down the ball carrier. He doesn’t have the aggressiveness I would like to see in a kid that size at the linebacker position, but he was suffering from a wrist injury, so that might have made him a bit tentative.

Ultimately, Ryan is either a Quick linebacker or a MIKE. I’m leaning toward the MIKE position because of the shortage of inside linebackers on the roster, but it won’t surprise me either way. No other player who was recruited for the Quick position has the ability to play middle linebacker, so either Ryan plays there or Michigan better go after some good inside linebackers in 2011.

Image via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

20Jan 2010
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2010 Recruiting Class Positions

Judging from the best of my knowledge, interviews I’ve seen and read, and the current depth chart, I’ve placed Michigan’s 2010 recruits at the positions they are most likely to play. Things can and will change, but as of this point, the Wolverines’ class of 2014 looks like this:

QB: Devin Gardner, Conelius Jones
RB: Austin White, Stephen Hopkins
OC: Christian Pace
WR: Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Jerald Robinson
SR: Drew Dileo, D.J. Williamson

DE: Terry Talbott*, Jordan Paskorz**
DT: Richard Ash*
OLB: Davion Rogers, Ken Wilkins**
WILL: Antonio Kinard
MIKE: Jake Ryan***
SAM: Josh Furman
CB: Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery, Terrence Talbott
FS: Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson
SS: Ray Vinopal

P: Will Hagerup
K: N/A

*Could play DE or DT
**Could play DE or OLB
***Could play OLB or MIKE

18Jan 2010
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Davion Rogers, Wolverine

Davion Rogers shares a story about a fishing trip
Davion Rogers, a linebacker from Harding High School in Warren, OH, committed to Michigan yesterday after an official visit. He just recently procured an offer from the Wolverines after having been committed to West Virginia. Rogers’ teammate is D.J. Williamson, a Michigan wide receiver commit.

Rogers is a 3-star linebacker to both Rivals and Scout, ranked as the #26 outside linebacker to Rivals and the #96 player at his position on Scout. Along with being a former Mountaineer commit, Rogers had also been reported to have interest in his Michigan State offer.

Michigan’s coaches recruited Rogers for the Quick end position, currently manned by Craig Roh. When Roh arrived in the summer of 2009, he was 238 lbs. Rogers is currently 6’6″, 210 lbs. and needs to bulk up before he can expect to contribute. Physically, he’s very reminiscent of former Michigan outside linebacker Shawn Crable; Crable was listed at 6’6″, 230 lbs. coming out of high school, but he ended up around 245.

Watching film of him, Rogers has incredible physical talent. The most impressive thing about him is his speed. He’s able to catch up to skill players from behind. His wingspan also helps him latch onto and wrap up players who might be out of a shorter player’s reach. Once he gains strength, that wingspan should also afford him the ability to keep offensive tackles out of his chest.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons that Rogers gets to show off his speed so much is that he tends to take poor pursuit angles. That’s typical for many talented athletes, but it’s something that will have to be corrected. Hopefully, his speed will result in a similar awesome play to Crable running down Michigan State’s A.J. Jimmerson from the opposite side of the field a few years ago. Rogers also tends to reach when tackling. He leaves his feet or stops his feet in order to reach out and tackle, which will be a problem against stronger, faster players.

Rogers is a few years away from contributing. Craig Roh has a similar skill set and his backup, Brandon Herron, offers a different type of skills. It should take a year or two for Rogers to gain enough strength to contribute, and his techniques will have to develop and mature as his strength does. Considering Brandon Herron will be a redshirt junior in 2010, I expect Rogers to redshirt as a freshman and then compete for playing time in 2012 when Roh is a senior and the whole world is wiped off the planet except John Cusack.

22Dec 2009
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Richard Ash, Wolverine

Michigan’s new defensive lineman.

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.