David Dawson, Wolverine

Tag: Cass Tech HS (MI)

18Feb 2012
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David Dawson, Wolverine

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech offensive guard David Dawson (left, #55) committed to Michigan today

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech offensive guard David Dawson committed to Michigan today.  He picked the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, and West Virginia.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 4-star OT, #199 overall
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: 4-star OT, 90 grade, #28 OT

Dawson is a 6’5″, 305 lb. kid whom I see as an offensive guard rather than tackle.  He claims a 325 lb. bench press and a 5.4-second forty.  He spent his junior season in Texas playing at Cy-Ridge High School, but he transferred back to Detroit after football season ended and will play his senior year for the Technicians.

Dawson shows impressive footwork at times, and he shows a good understanding of protection schemes.  You can tell that he has worked extensively on pass blocking, and I also liked that he shows chemistry with his teammates.  There are some combo blocks that he works very nicely.  He also shows the ability to give a good initial punch.

Unfortunately, this is the first commit of the day that leaves a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.  Despite the offers from big-time schools such as Alabama and Florida State, I think Michigan may have jumped the gun a little early on Dawson.  In my opinion, he’s not the elite prospect that some of Michigan’s other targets are (such as Ethan Pocic, Chris Fox, etc.).  Not that Dawson’s commitment will necessarily prevent the Wolverines from grabbing those guys, but it does constrict the window a little bit.  Dawson stands up high too often, and when he’s not pulling or pass blocking, he tends to get lazy with his footwork.  His base gets too narrow and he’s passive.  He seems content with just trying to push a guy around with his upper body.  He’s not a great athlete, but he moves well enough to be a an FBS player.  I’m just not sure that the nastiness is there to finish blocks, drive guys into the ground, or get up to the next level.

Dawson’s commitment gives the Wolverines seven commits for the class of 2013.  He’s also the ninth Cass Tech Technician to commit to Michigan since 2008 (Boubacar Cissoko).

18Feb 2012
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Jourdan Lewis, Wolverine

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech CB Jourdan Lewis committed to Michigan on Saturday

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech cornerback Jourdan Lewis committed to Michigan today.  His only other offer came from Toledo, although it was widely assumed that he would be a Wolverine, regardless of who offered.  Whether that affected his recruitment is unclear.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 4-star CB, #167 overall
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: 4-star, 90 grade, #21 CB

Lewis is a 5’11”, 170 lb. corner who claims 4.4 speed.  He made 52 tackles and 8 interceptions as a junior in 2011.  He also scored 6 receiving touchdowns, 2 punt return touchdowns, and 3 kickoff return scores.

If you look at Lewis’s highlight film, there’s very little not to like.  He has excellent speed, so the claim of a 4.4 forty doesn’t seem too far-fetched.  On top of that, he has very good acceleration   When the ball is in his hands, he’s extremely dangerous, showing good vision and stop-and-start abilities.  He reminds me a little bit of Dre Bly, the former North Carolina and Detroit Lions cornerback.  Due to those ball skills, he might also be able to contribute in the return game.

There aren’t many clips of him coming up to support the run, so that’s a question that remains in my mind.  He does show a couple nice hits, especially against Farmington Hills Harrison, but even then it was evident that Lewis needs to add some strength to his frame.  He’s very narrow in the upper body and can get pushed around a little bit by bigger receivers.

Lewis looks to have a future at the field corner position for Michigan.  He will enter school when the current starter at the position, Blake Countess, is a junior. Lewis is superb in coverage and I think he’s a good enough offensive player to contribute as a receiver at the next level, but that will probably be unnecessary.

It’s amazing how many cornerbacks Cass Tech has produced in recent years.  From Boubacar Cissoko (Michigan) to Dior Mathis (Oregon) to Delonte Hollowell (Michigan) to Kishon Wilcher (Toledo) to Terry Richardson (Michigan) to Jourdan Lewis, that’s six FBS cornerbacks in the span of six years.  And that’s not including Teric Jones (Michigan, class of 2009), who came to Michigan as a running back but played some corner before ending his career early.

28Nov 2011
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Recruit Tracker: Championship Edition

James Ross tallied 10 tackles in Orchard Lakes St. Mary’s 45-7 beatdown of Mt. Pleasant to claim the D3 state title.
Chris Wormley and Toledo Whitmer lost their first and last game of the season on Saturday in the Division 1 state semifinal. “Defensively, I thought we played well enough to win, but we didn’t make the plays we needed to offensively,” said Coach Palka. Whitmer had five turnovers in the game.

Terry Richardson, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Cass Tech literally walked over to Ford Field on Saturday and surprised many by pummeling Matt Godin and Detroit Catholic Central, 49-13, to win the Division 1 State Championship. After scoring only 6 points in each of their two previous games, Cass Tech’s offense exploded against DCC for 49 points and 334 total yards. RJS had a monster game, recording seven tackles, a pick-six and a touchdown reception while rushing for 65 yards and a third touchdown. Richardson contributed with 2 tackles, a 36-yard TD grab and solid DB play. Godin had 4 tackles in the game and looked like he just saw his dog get decapitated by a semi during the post-game interview. Let me tell you something: Godin cares about winning football games. Enjoy the video below. RJS is #10, Richardson #9, Godin #62.

19May 2011
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Terry Richardson, Wolverine

Detroit Cass Tech cornerback Terry Richardson

Detroit cornerback Terry Richardson committed to Michigan on Thursday morning.  He selected the Wolverines over a long list of suitors that included Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, UCLA, and USC, among others.

Richardson stands 5’9″ and weighs 160 lbs. while listing a 4.5 forty.  He’s a 4-star recruit and the #195 overall player to Rivals.  Scout also lists him as a 4-star and ranks him as the #10 cornerback in the country.  Upstart site 247 Sports has the best opinion of Richardson, giving him a grade of 97, ranking him as a 4-star, and putting him at the #3 cornerback and #31 overall player.  So the recruiting sites like him.

There are varying reports on Richardson’s statistics, but Scout says he had 35 tackles and 12 interceptions as a junior.  I’ve also seen interceptions numbers listed at 9 and 8 for him, so it’s hard to tell what’s right.  Regardless, somewhere between 8 and 12 interceptions is pretty dang good.  He also had 20 tackles, 16 pass breakups, and 4 interceptions as a sophomore.

I have stated before that I think Richardson is the best of Cass Tech’s midget cornerbacks in recent years.  The Technicians have produced a slew of 5’6″-5’9″ cornerbacks like Boubacar Cissoko (Michigan), Teric Jones (Michigan), Dior Mathis (Oregon), Delonte Hollowell (Michigan), Kishon Wilcher (Toledo), and now Richardson.  He has the “it factor” that I can’t really explain, but he always seems to be around the ball.  One of my reservations with Cissoko was that, despite all of his technique and physical skills, he only had 3 interceptions in his junior and seasons combined.  In some ways, Richardson is the polar opposite – lacking some technique but making big plays.  However, the hip swivel is there for him to turn and run with receivers in an instant, and some good defensive back coaching from Curt Mallory should help him in that respect.

Obviously, Richardson’s size is a concern.  Big Ten corners can do just fine at 5’9″, but he’s awfully thin and needs to bulk up before he gets a chance to play.  I think Michigan fans had enough of the reed-thin cornerbacks in 2010 with Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott on the field.  Richardson also won’t blow you away with his speed, but he has enough to get the job done.

Overall, I’m a fan of Richardson’s recruitment at Michigan.  He’s a smooth athlete with a nose for the ball.  And sometimes having a knack for finding the football is more important than being 6’0″ tall and having blinding speed.

This is Michigan’s twelfth commitment for the class of 2012, and recruits have stated that the Wolverines would like to take three cornerbacks overall.  Richardson would be the seventh commitment from Cass Tech in the last five recruiting classes (2008-2012), six of whom will be on the roster together; Cissoko was dismissed from the team in 2009, but Richardson would join William Campbell, Thomas Gordon, Teric Jones, Delonte Hollowell, and class of 2012 teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone.

TTB Rating: 85

19Apr 2011
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Royce Jenkins-Stone, Wolverine

Detroit, MI linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone spits with such force that his helmet pops off

The Cass Tech pipeline continues to be good to Michigan.  Linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone committed to the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Tennessee.  His talent and those offers have added up to a 4-star ranking from both Scout and 247 Sports, while Rivals and ESPN have yet to rank him.

Jenkins-Stone is listed at 6’2″, 215 lbs. and is being recruited by Michigan to be a middle linebacker.  He had long been considered to be a Michigan lean, but he raised a bit of a stink when he wasn’t offered quite as early as he wanted.  Then the offer came early in February, and that calmed the waters.  Despite all the big-time schools that swooped in with recruiting pitches, Jenkins-Stone liked what was happening in Ann Arbor and finally pulled the trigger on Saturday.

He has the perfect frame to add weight proportionately and grow into a protypical MIKE.  With his height and musculature, I expect Jenkins-Stone to bulk up to 245 lbs. or so within a few years.  Speed and agility shouldn’t be a problem as he adds bulk.

I have a lot of questions about Jenkins-Stone, though.  Detroit prospects are difficult to gauge, and he’s no exception.  Too many Public School League players just kind of go out there, stand in the vicinity of where they should, and then take off running when the ball gets snapped.  The athleticism is there, but his technique and on-field discipline are questionable.  His stance is erratic, he leaves his feet and reaches too much when attempting to tackle, etc.  These are things that can be taught, but they’re also things that a player has to choose to learn.  Once Jenkins-Stone adds a little bit of muscle, he should be able to compete for playing time whenever he chooses to refine his technique.

As I mentioned in the Kaleb Ringer commitment post, Michigan has a plethora of young inside linebackers.  The 2012 season should have presumed starter Kenny Demens, redshirt junior Isaiah Bell, and sophomores or redshirt freshmen like Kellen Jones and Desmond Morgan. Ringer could compete at either WILL or MIKE.  That means Jenkins-Stone could be pushing for time as early as 2013, although the competition will be stiff.

I think Jenkins-Stone has the potential to be a very good player.  However, my guess is that he will take several years to develop.  Cass Tech players like Boubacar Cissoko, Teric Jones, and William Campbell have been a little slow to develop at Michigan.  The jury is still out on Thomas Gordon, who hasn’t played much in his first two years, but exists on the border of starting.  Brandon Graham took two or three years to realize his potential, depending on whether you think that happened in late 2007 or early 2008.  Dior Mathis and Daniel Easterly went to Oregon and Missouri, respectively, as part of the 2010 class, and both redshirted this past season.  Cortez Smith, who went to Indiana a few years back, was booted from the team for legal problems.  Exceptions exist – Joseph Barksdale and Vernon Gholston both had pretty early success at LSU and Ohio State, respectively.  It just seems that kids from the PSL take a little while to shake the bad habits.  But I do see leadership and passion when I watch Jenkins-Stone play, so if he can avoid some common pitfalls of inner city players (legal trouble, bad technique, etc.) and channel that passion into being the best player he can be, this kid could be a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine for the Wolverines in a few years.

TTB Rating: 86