2010 Countdown: #85 Antonio Kinard

Tag: Demar Dorsey

21Jun 2010
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2010 Countdown: #85 Antonio Kinard

Name: Antonio Kinard
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Liberty High School in Youngstown, OH
Position: Weakside linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Prediction for 2010: Junior college

Okay, the reason Antonio looks so sad in the above picture must be that he’s not coming to Michigan in the fall. The stupid thing about college is that you have to graduate high school first. Lame. Antonio, being from the Worst State Ever, has an Ohio Graduation Test to pass. This is the same test that prevented cornerback/safety Justin Turner from joining fall camp on time last year.

Kinard was likely looking at a redshirt this fall, anyway. He’s too skinny and too raw to have played as a freshman, so it doesn’t really hurt Michigan on the field in 2010. It does potentially hurt the Wolverines in 2011-14, though, because there’s little to no depth at inside linebacker. Once senior Jonas Mouton graduates, that essentially leaves Mike Jones as the only weakside ‘backer on the squad.

I am not optimistic that Kinard ends up at Michigan anytime in the future. If you look at the last few guys who have been non-qualifiers, all or most have taken their talents elsewhere. Demar Dorsey (Louisville), Adrian Witty (Cincinnati), Marcus Witherspoon (Rutgers before being booted), and Quintin Woods (nowhere, as far as I know) never stuck (EDIT: Quintin Woods currently plays for the Kansas Jayhawks). Marques Slocum attended prep school for a year, then came to Michigan only to get kicked off the team. He finished his playing career at Eastern Arizona and is currently fighting for a spot on the Washington Redskins after going undrafted in 2010.

So long, Antonio. We hardly knew ye.

10Jun 2010
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I don’t know what’s going on . . .

Hey, this looks like fun!

For being June 9, the number of college football stories going on right now is ridiculous.

Between Demar Dorsey getting his scholarship release . . .

. . . and the sanctions of Michigan’s football program . . .

. . . and all the conference expansion scenarios . . .

. . . my brain verges on explosion.

I just read a rumor that the Eastern State University Timberwolves, the Texas State Armadillos, and the Urbania Little Giants are joining the Big Ten in 2012.

Also crazy:

24Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Cornerback

Demar Dorsey: good football player, questionable dancer
Michigan picked up four commitments in 2010 from players who will likely end up at cornerback. Cornerback was a glaring need in the 2010 class, considering that the Wolverines enter this coming season with only three scholarship cornerbacks (Justin Turner, JT Floyd, Troy Woolfolk) on the roster, one of whom (Woolfolk) might play safety like he did in early 2009. These four cornerbacks might not immediately fix the defensive backfield, but they’ll at least fill up the depth chart and offer some competition.

The first player to commit was Courtney Avery from Lexington, OH. Avery played quarterback – and played it well – as a high schooler, and if he were any taller than 5’10”, he might have been worthy of some scholarship offers as a signal caller. Avery had been committed to Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal prior to pledging for Michigan, but impressed enough at Michigan’s summer camp to garner an offer. Shortly afterward, he became a Wolverine. Avery has some shortcomings as a defensive back. He is an aggressive tackler, but he’s small-ish and might lack ideal speed for man coverage. I think he’d be better off as a corner in a largely zone scheme, but he’s the type of kid who could be a solid backup and perhaps contribute as a gunner on the punt team.

Following Avery, Terrence Talbott from Huber Heights, OH, committed to the Wolverines in mid-August. (His brother, Terry, is a DT commit in this class.) Talbott is a little sturdier than Avery at 172 lbs., and he’s a bit smoother of an athlete. Talbott has good speed and excellent leaping ability. He’s also a solid tackler and potentially a player who could see some time on special teams. I like him a little more than Avery, and I also think Talbott has better man coverage abilities.

Longtime Michigan lean Cullen Christian finally committed to play in Ann Arbor around Thanksgiving 2009. At the time, Christian was the highest rated defensive back and desperately needed in the wake of Boubacar Cissoko’s departure from the team. Christian is a bigger cornerback at 6′ and 180 lbs. He has the ability play deep safety but has insisted that he wants to play cornerback, and that’s where I think he’ll stay. I have some questions about his speed, but his technique is sound; he’s a decent tackler but needs to improve in that area.

Demar Dorsey was the last cornerback to commit to Michigan, waiting until National Signing Day. Michigan fought hard to steal him from the likes of Florida and USC. He was an Under Armour All American and while he’s rough around the edges, he has swagger and speed to burn. I think he’ll be a free safety eventually, although Michigan’s most immediate need is at cornerback, which is where he’ll begin his career. Dorsey has had some off-the-field issues as a youth, but if he can keep those behaviors behind him, the sky is the limit.

Predictions: Courtney Avery will almost surely redshirt in 2010; I think he’ll be a decent backup and special teams player throughout his career. Terrence Talbott will likely join his brother and Avery in the redshirt brigade (no relation to the band, by the way), but I think he has a chance to be a one- or two-year starter late in his career. Christian will play in 2010, whether he starts or not; he reminds me of Donovan Warren in some ways. Dorsey is the most likely to play this coming season; like Denard Robinson, he’s just too talented to keep off the field. Whether he’s returning kicks with Darryl Stonum, starting at corner, or the backup deep safety, his speed and athleticism can’t spend a year on the bench.

Grade: A. Rodriguez and Co. did as well as anyone would have expected. I was underwhelmed early on when Avery and Talbott were the only ones onboard and Cullen Christian kept postponing what many thought would be an early commitment, but it all worked out in the end. In two or three years, Michigan’s secondary is going to be crawling with speedy, hard-hitting athletes.

8Feb 2010
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Demar Dorsey, Wolverine

I will unleash my 175 lbs. of fury upon you!

This is a few days old, but that’s what happens when 25 inches of snow pour down and you have to retreat to safer shelter.

On National Signing Day, Demar Dorsey from Lauderdale Lakes, FL, committed to Michigan. In the overall rankings, Dorsey is #12 to ESPN, #162 to Rivals, and #203 to Scout; many would latch onto that #12 ranking, but ESPN proves over and over again that they know nothing about recruiting, so take that with a grain of salt. Anyway, Dorsey’s commitment was somewhat of a surprise, since he wasn’t on Michigan fans’ radar until about a month before NSD. Dorsey had been committed to Florida for over a year and seemingly visited just to have a good time with his cousin, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

According to Dorsey, though, he knew during his official visit (that coincided with Michigan’s basketball victory over Connecticut) that Michigan was The Place. It’s unclear whether Florida dropped Dorsey or vice versa, but either way, he also visited Florida State and USC late in the process, so he had the experts confused; most seemed to think he’d ultimately sign with FSU.

I would be remiss not to mention Dorsey’s issues as a minor. He had some trouble with the law, but was never found guilty of any wrongdoing and participated in a diversionary program. I will not go into details, as they have been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere. I’ll let it suffice to say that Rodriguez is taking a bit of a public relations risk with Dorsey, on the heels of the Justin Feagin situation last year; however, most football coaches taken chances on talented kids with checkered pasts. Hopefully, the diversionary program worked for Dorsey and he can move on to be a productive student and citizen at Michigan.

Back to football, though, Dorsey’s position is a bit up in the air. The coaches told him he could play some wide receiver, and he could probably help in the return game, but but he’s a defensive back of some sort. Some project him as a strong safety at Michigan; others predict he’ll be a cornerback. I feel fairly confident in predicting that Dorsey will battle for playing time at the cornerback position as a freshman in 2010. Michigan has zero experienced cornerbacks returning in 2010 with the departure of Donovan Warren to the NFL. Besides redshirt sophomore J.T. Floyd, every other cornerback on the roster will have freshman eligibility – Justin Turner, Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery, and Terrence Talbott. Michigan needs to throw every available body at the cornerback spot and whichever one performs best should get the job.

Michigan’s most experienced cornerback isn’t really a cornerback, but a strong safety – Troy Woolfolk. Some have suggested that Woolfolk should move to cornerback and Michigan should play a freshman at strong safety, but that would be disastrous. The only time Woolfolk got burned at the strong safety position was in the 2009 opener when he and the aforementioned Floyd got burned against Western Michigan. In practice, Woolfolk earned the nickname “The Eraser” for his ability to cover up for everyone else’s mistakes. Experience is necessary on the back end of your defensive backfield, because young guys get out of position and get fooled by double moves, play action, etc. It’s no coincidence that Michigan’s defense went south once Woolfolk moved to corner in mid-2009.

With Woolfolk at strong safety and presumably Justin Turner at one cornerback position, the trio of Floyd, Christian, and Dorsey should fight it out for the other corner. Michigan’s coaches did everything they could to keep Floyd off the field in 2009 (they’d rather have Jordan Kovacs playing strong safety than have Floyd play corner), so I sincerely doubt he’ll start. Dorsey is a better athlete than Christian, but the latter’s coverage skills are more refined, so that’s kind of a toss-up.

Dorsey is a burner. As a junior, he finished second to Denard Robinson in the state 100 meter finals with a time of 10.60 seconds (compared to Robinson’s 10.44). He later ran a 10.55 and has even claimed to have run a 10.3, although I can find no recorded evidence of that time. This athleticism should allow him to run with just about every receiver he faces. It also would allow him to cover a lot of ground from the strong safety position.

However, we can see some of his rawness in the video below. First of all, he’s only 175 lbs. In the second still shot (the one from the Under Armour All American game), we can see his scrawny little leg; he has a decided lack of bulk. In the first highlight from the UA game, he causes a fumble on kick coverage. He does a good job of mirroring the returner, but then he reaches and grabs the jersey, flinging the ball carrier to the ground and causing the fumble; this is the tackling technique of a raw cornerback, not the strong safety who is supposed to be a team’s last line of defense. Later in the highlights, he plays a ball from the deep middle safety position. Unfortunately, he takes a bad angle to the football; instead of meeting the ball at its highest point or at least aiming to punish the receiver, he takes the path of least resistance and gets a hand on the ball after it gets past the receiver.

All of these factors lead me to believe that Dorsey will be better off starting his career at cornerback. Further evidence exists in that Rich Rodriguez said as much in his signing day press conference. This does not mean that Dorsey couldn’t move to strong safety eventually. He could probably be a pretty good strong safety with some technique and experience under his belt. But that won’t happen until at least 2011.

My projection for 2010:
CB: Justin Turner
CB: Cullen Christian
FS: Jordan Kovacs
SS: Troy Woolfolk