Class of 2014: By the Numbers

Tag: Blake O’Neill

17Feb 2020
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Class of 2014: By the Numbers

Jabrill Peppers

SITE NEWS UPDATE: Last week I asked for help paying the $1,250 Flywheel hosting fee (LINK), and you guys donated $1,066.77. Thanks to Luis and Mark for the most recent donations! This is the last time I’ll explicitly bring this up before moving on because I’m appreciative of all the generosity so far, but if you want to help cover the last $150 or so, it would also be appreciated.

I recently did a summary of the 2015 class that was an interesting look back at their five years on campus (LINK). The class of 2014 was Brady Hoke’s final complete class before he was fired, so here’s a look at how that group fared over five years. Michigan landed 17 players in the pack, which ranked 20th in the country according to the 247 Composite.

Hit the jump for the rundown.

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11Mar 2016
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Goodbye, Blake O’Neill

Blake O'Neill 771x

This headline is a bit over the top, but that’s what the New York Post does sometimes.

Previously: LB Desmond Morgan

We weren’t aware of O’Neill as a high schooler, since he attended school in Australia. He was a team captain for his high school Australian Rules football team, and he was a shot putter.

At Weber State in 2014, he averaged 44.1 yards/punt, which was #6 in the country. He also had a 17-yard run and a 23-yard pass on fake punts. Because of his unique academic situation due to being Australian, he used a grad transfer after one year at WSU to end up at Michigan for the 2015 season. Michigan – under one-year rental John Baxter as special teams coach – converted to a rugby-style punt to suit O’Neill’s talents. He started every game at Michigan, averaging 41.3 yards/punt on 53 attempts.

Hit the jump for the rest of the senior profile on Blake O’Neill.

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18Oct 2015
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Michigan State 27, Michigan 23

Blake O’Neill is surely having a rough time right now (image via MLive)

Worst. Ending. Ever.

  1. Michigan State’s backwards-punt-fumble return for a touchdown with zero seconds left in 2015.
  2. Colorado’s Hail Mary touchdown victory from Kordell Stewart in 1994.
  3. Appalachian State’s blocked field goal in 2007.

I have not been alive forever, but those are the three worst finishes to Michigan games that I can remember. I’ll throw in an honorable mention to Spartan Bob and T.J. Duckett, but the above three are worse, in my opinion.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

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4Jun 2015
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Phil Steele’s 2015 Pre-season All-Big Ten team

Is Joe Bolden really Michigan’s best player?

Phil Steele released his pre-season All-Big Ten teams (LINK). Since these are almost all potential opponents this season, instead I’ll highlight guys whom Michigan recruited out of high school. Ohio State leads the way with 15 players on the four teams. Michigan State is second with 13. Rather than listing all of the teams ahead of Michigan, I’ll just say that Michigan’s six players on the list are only ahead of Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue.

Corey Clement – RB – Wisconsin
Leonte Carroo – WR – Rutgers
Taylor Decker – OT – Ohio State
Joey Bosa – DE – Ohio State
Anthony Zettel – DE – Penn State
Adolphus Washington – DT – Ohio State
Vince Biegel – LB – Wisconsin

Nick Vannett – TE – Ohio State
Dan Voltz – C – Wisconsin
Darius Hamilton – DE – Rutgers
Ed Davis – LB – Michigan State
Joe Bolden – LB – Michigan
Mike Caputo – DB – Wisconsin

Robert Kugler – C – Purdue*
Kyle Kalis – OL – Michigan
Chris Muller – OL – Rutgers
Vincent Valentine – DT – Rutgers
Desmond Morgan – LB – Michigan
Eli Apple – DB – Ohio State

Amara Darboh – WR – Michigan
Billy Price – C – Ohio State
Malik McDowell – DT – Michigan State
Lawrence Thomas – DT – Michigan State
Yannick Ngakoue – DE – Maryland
David Santos – LB – Nebraska
Jabrill Peppers – DB – Michigan
Blake O’Neill – P – Michigan

*Was not recruited by Michigan, but is the brother of Michigan center Patrick Kugler

11Apr 2015
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Blake O’Neill, Wolverine

Blake O’Neill

Weber State punter Blake O’Neill is transferring to Michigan. He has spent just one year playing American football and will be eligible as a fifth year senior graduate transfer in 2015.

As technically a redshirt junior in 2014, he punted 62 times for 2,737 yards (44.1 yards/punt). He had a career long of 74 yards, landed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line, and kicked 18 punts more than 50 yards. That punting average was #6 in the Football Championship Subdivision and #1 all-time at Weber State. Standing 6’2″ and 215 lbs., he ran a fake punt 20 yards and completed a 17-yard pass on another fake punt against Montana State.

O’Neill brings an array of punting talents to Michigan. He can deaden the ball near the goal line, punt directionally, boom it deep, and generally limit return yardage. The nice thing about punting is that it translates well from one level or team to the next, so regardless of whether he’s playing at Weber State or in the Big House, his kicks are going to travel a long way if that’s what he wants.

Michigan has had good punters for a while, including Zoltan Mesko and Will Hagerup in recent years. Unfortunately, Hagerup was inconsistent at times and even missed the entire 2013 season due to suspension. However, punt coverage was spotty last year, which should improve with the arrival of O’Neill as well as full-time special teams coach John Baxter.

O’Neill gives Michigan three scholarship specialists, including incoming freshman kicker Andrew David and redshirt sophomore long snapper Scott Sypniewski. However, O’Neill also puts Michigan at 87 scholarships for the upcoming season, which means that two players need to come off scholarship before the fall. There is at least one player who could become a medical casualty (Chris Fox), and there are a few walk-ons who have had scholarships in the past that might have to pay their own way (Graham Glasgow, Ryan Glasgow, Joe Kerridge).

TTB Rating: 86 (ratings explanation)