Carter Dunaway, Wolverine

Tag: Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice

18Apr 2015
Uncategorized 8 comments

Carter Dunaway, Wolverine

Carter Dunaway with Jim Harbaugh (image via Twitter)

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Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice tight end Carter Dunaway committed to Michigan on Friday night. The 2017 prospect had no other offers at the time of his commitment.

Dunaway is 6’6″, 232 lbs. and, according to Maxpreps, had 1 catch for 9 yards (plus a two-point conversion) as a sophomore in 2014.

Hit the jump for more on Dunaway and his commitment to Michigan.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: Unranked
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: Unranked

Dunaway is the son of former Michigan tight end Craig Dunaway, who caught 55 passes for 775 yards and 8 touchdowns for Bo Schembechler in the early 1980s. Carter’s older brother, Jack, will be a preferred walk-on defensive end out of Brother Rice this coming fall (LINK).

Carter was offered two weeks ago on the weekend of Michigan’s spring game. He was essentially considered a shoo-in for Michigan at the time, and that assumption turned out to be spot on.

Not much is known in the recruiting world about his abilities. He obviously has good size for a high school sophomore, and he has good bloodlines with his dad (who went on to spend one year in the NFL) and a brother who’s a pretty good athlete. He spent his sophomore season mostly watching senior tight ends Brian Fortin (18 catches, 195 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Michael Roney (22 catches, 366 yards, 2 touchdowns) catch passes from Alex Malzone, who is now playing quarterback for Michigan. That obviously worked well for Brother Rice on their way to a 10-1 record, but it doesn’t tell us much about Dunaway.

In my years of following and analyzing Michigan recruiting, this is the biggest head-scratcher I have seen. Brother Rice is a solid program in the state of Michigan, but even at national powerhouses, I have never seen Michigan offer a scholarship to a third-stringer. Personally, I believe that players are made on game day, and presumably without much film (Carter does not have a highlight video), the coaches were going off of meeting him, perhaps watching him work out, and the advice of non-staff members (Dunaway’s family members, coaches, etc.). Certainly Michigan’s staff could have waited until a few games into Carter’s junior season to see how he fared before pulling the trigger on an offer.

But Jim Harbaugh chose not to do so. I mean, we’re talking about Jim Harbaugh, who is extremely competitive and a tight end whisperer. There are four options here:

  1. Harbaugh’s legendary intensity has been overcome by Michigan nostalgia, and he offers any and every Michigan legacy.
  2. Harbaugh likes what he and his staff have seen of Carter Dunaway in workouts enough to the point that game film and experience are superfluous.
  3. Michigan could feasibly have a giant 2017 class, so there are bound to be a couple flyers.
  4. Harbaugh can turn anybody who’s 6’6″ into a stud tight end.
I am inclined to believe that Jim Harbaugh can identify and develop talent, which explains his successes at San Diego, Stanford, and San Francisco. Having no film on which to judge Carter Dunaway, at this point I have no choice but to smell what Jim Harbaugh is cookin’. But I am cautiously intrigued.
Regardless, Michigan’s number of 2017 commitments now stands strongly at one. The Wolverines currently have 26 players with junior eligibility on the roster (LINK), so that’s the starting-off point for the size of the 2017 class. Transfers, injuries, redshirts, etc. can add to or deplete that number, although usually that number goes up. This may be a reason why Harbaugh is bringing in a solid class of preferred walk-ons in 2015, because some of those guys might become scholarship players soon if Michigan can’t legally sign enough players to refill from the monster class of departures.

In addition to Malzone and preferred walk-on Jack, the Wolverines also signed wide receiver Grant Perry out of Brother Rice in the 2015 class.

TTB Rating: 100*

*Just kidding. I won’t give out TTB Ratings for 2017 kids until the 2016 class is complete.

3Feb 2015
Uncategorized 6 comments

Grant Perry, Wolverine

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice wide receiver Grant Perry

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice wide receiver Grant Perry committed to Michigan on Tuesday. He had previously been committed to Northwestern, and he also had offers from a bunch of MAC schools and Nevada.

Perry is a 6’0″, 180 lb. player who caught 105 passes for 1,727 yards (15.3 yards/catch) and 20 touchdowns as a senior in 2014, and he added a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown.

ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #128 WR
Rivals: 3-star, #80 WR
Scout: 3-star, #58 WR
247 Sports: 3-star, 85 grade, #133 WR

Perry was all about Michigan for the entire recruiting process, and he stayed in touch with the Wolverines throughout. A high school teammate of Alex Malzone – who committed to Michigan last spring – the two seemed nearly inseparable. In some respects, Malzone is who he is because of Perry, and Perry is who he is because of Malzone. Unfortunately, the offer didn’t come for Perry, so he had to explore his MAC options and then finally earned an offer the Northwestern Wildcats, to whom he committed in December. It seemed to be an unsatisfying end to his recruitment. Michigan hired a new staff, and they pursued some higher-profile targets to no avail. Finally, on the Sunday before National Signing Day, head coach Jim Harbaugh called him up with an offer. Perry decommitted on Monday and then publicly announced his commitment to Michigan on Tuesday.

Despite being a nondescript 3-star recruit with a fairly unimpressive offer list, Perry does offer some positive qualities. First and foremost, I believe, is his attention to his route running. He does a very good job of setting up defensive backs. He gets vertical and stacks the defender when possible, which allows him to get separation coming out of his cuts. He also varies the speed of his release nicely, which at times helps the route combinations develop and leaves the defender guessing. As a go-to guy who caught 105 passes, one has to assume that he has excellent hands. His film shows him adjusting well to the ball in the air and catching it from various angles, including coming down over the top of his head, which is the most difficult catch to make. I also like his quick feet and ability to shake defenders in tight spaces.

On the negative side, Perry is probably closer to 5’10” or maybe 5’11”, which is obviously not great size for a wideout. That also limits the potential weight he can carry, and while small guys can be good blockers, it does potentially limit whom he can block effectively. Perry also does not have ideal speed. He will be able to get separation from some defensive backs because of his route running, and he will be a mismatch for linebackers in the middle of the field because of his quickness and ability to change direction.

At this juncture in the recruiting process, Perry is about the best that Michigan could fans could reasonably expect. That’s not an insult, but Perry has somewhat limited upside because of his lack of size and speed. He’s not the next Braylon Edwards or Mario Manningham. However, he compares favorably to former Michigan wide receiver Drew Dileo, who was a sure-handed target and returner. Dileo was also a non-descript 3-star who had offers from Tulane and Stanford, the latter of which is a tough academic school like Northwestern. Both players have in common that academics are important and their football IQ shows itself on the field. We have yet to see how Harbaugh will use his receivers in the offense, but Perry has some value as a possession guy, a 3rd down target, and perhaps as a punt returner. The New England Patriots have been an NFL blueprint for using tight ends and little slot guys (Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola) to work short routes and the middle of the field. There’s also a potential situation where Malzone could be targeting Perry at some time, and their history together could prove fruitful on the field.

Perry is Michigan’s tenth commitment in the class of 2015 and the first wide receiver (California wideout Deontay Burnett is no longer part of the class). He is the second commit in the class from Brother Rice, and he joins a decent line of players from the school that includes end Paul Jokish, linebacker Steve Morrison, punter Ross Ryan, and long snapper Jareth Glanda.

TTB Rating: 71 (ratings explanation)

12May 2014
Uncategorized 9 comments

Alex Malzone, Wolverine

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone committed to Michigan on Monday.

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone committed to Michigan on Monday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Pitt, Wake Forest, and a number of MAC schools.

Malzone’s 247 Sports profile indicates that he has grown to 6’3″ and 200 lbs. after being listed previously at 6’2″, 185 lbs. He claims a 5.13 forty. As a junior in 2013, he completed 190/281 passes (67.6%) for 2,785 yards and 25 touchdowns, along with 3 rushing touchdowns. His team went undefeated in 2013 on their way to a second consecutive state championship.

ESPN: 3-star pocket passer
Rivals: 3-star, #16 pro-style QB
Scout: 4-star, #15 QB, #236 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, #21 pro-style QB, #7 in-state

Malzone has been heavily interested in Michigan for a long time and has visited numerous times. I practically memorized his stats, physical attributes, and offer list from typing up visitor lists over the last year. Michigan’s coaching staff kept holding off on offering him while they pursued more highly valued targets. Shunned by the likes of Jarrett Stidham and Josh Rosen, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier decided to do some spring evaluations and watch various players throw. After returning to Ann Arbor, Nussmeier met with the other coaches and they settled on Malzone, who was likely to commit whenever the coaches extended an offer. He was supposed to visit Ann Arbor early last week but had a scheduling conflict, so today’s visit to campus, offer, and commitment likely would have occurred a week ago if not for that conflict.

I wrote a scouting report on Malzone back in January when trying to rank the quarterbacks on Michigan’s radar (LINK). Excerpts on Malzone:

Malzone runs a somewhat multiple offense and has experience dropping back, from shotgun, or from the pistol formation. He has a slight build and is a little short at a listed 6’2″. He runs his offense very well, is a good ball handler, and seems to be in command. He’s a good athlete who can get on the edge a little bit and make some things happen with his feet, but he’s not a blazer. Malzone gets the ball out on time and shows good accuracy and touch. His throws on skinny posts appear to be right on the money, but I question whether he has the arm strength to squeeze those in there against faster and longer defenders. He has a little bit of a hitch in his throwing motion where he brings the ball down to throw it, not totally unlike a right-handed version of Tim Tebow. Michigan’s coaching staff has been somewhat erratic with the quarterbacks they’ve recruited (the 6’3″ sorta dual-threat Russell Bellomy, the 6’3″ Shane Morris with a rocket arm, the 6’6″ Wilton Speight), but I look at Malzone and see him being too short and lacking the arm strength that Michigan likely wants.

As you can see, he was #6 on my list in January. After new names surfaced in the wake of Doug Nussmeier’s hiring, he fell to #11 by March (LINK).

I have seen a lot of comparisons to A.J. McCarron, likely due to his relationship with Nussmeier. McCarron put up some good numbers at Alabama and became a 5th round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, so most people in Ann Arbor would probably be happy with that kind of production.

Physically, Malzone does not have an impressive array of skills. He is a decent runner in high school but won’t be a running threat in college. He will be able to move in the pocket and do some bootlegs, but designed runs are likely out the window. Arm strength is also an issue. I mentioned the hitch in his delivery, which might get cleaned up a little bit once he starts concentrating on football full-time. (Malzone is also a standout baseball player but will give it up in college.) Furthermore, he has to work on using his lower body to power through his throws.

Overall, Malzone looks like a game manager. His best asset seems to be his understanding of timing, coverages, and game situations, and he looks like a cerebral player. That can go a long way but it requires a running game, an offensive line, and a good defense if you want to be a championship-level team.

Malzone will arrive in 2015 when the presumed starter will be junior Shane Morris backed up by redshirt senior Russell Bellomy (if he sticks around that long) and sophomore Wilton Speight. A redshirt for Malzone will probably be in order so he can compete for the starting job in the post-Morris era, likely as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.

This is Michigan’s sixth commitment in the 2015 class and the first from within the state. The Wolverines are probably done at quarterback in this recruiting cycle unless something unforeseen occurs. Currently, the class is scheduled to be roughly 13 members (LINK), but that number will certainly grow by February.

Michigan has not targeted many Brother Rice players in recent years, but several notable Wolverines have come from there, including long snapper Jareth Glanda, former punter Ross Ryan, and early 1990’s linebacker Steve Morrison. Morris has coached at Western Michigan and Syracuse in recent years, although he left Syracuse prior to the 2013 season. The Brother Rice Warriors also have a couple other FBS prospects in the form of wide receiver Grant Perry and defensive tackle Marc Miller.

TTB Rating: 73 (ratings explanation)