Willie Henry, Wolverine

Tag: Glenville HS (OH)

30Jan 2012
Uncategorized 4 comments

Willie Henry, Wolverine

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry
(image via 247 Sports)

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry has given his verbal commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.  The 6’2″, 270-pounder picked Michigan over Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Pitt, Syracuse, and others.

Recruiting rankings:
ESPN: 3-star, #97 DT
Rivals: 3-star
Scout: 3-star, #38 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, #75 DT

Henry earned an offer this past weekend when he took an official visit to Ann Arbor.  He had previously visited Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, and Pittsburgh, and the pick was probably going to be Pitt until Michigan jumped into the fray.  When Michigan came forward with an offer after it became clear that at least a few of their high-profile targets would choose other schools, Henry didn’t take long to decide.

The quick defensive tackle boasts a 4.78 forty yard dash, and that is indeed his biggest strength – speed.  I’m particularly impressed with how quickly Henry gets off the ball and penetrates into the backfield.  There are multiple highlights where he sprints downfield when blocking.  Not only does that show his speed, but it also shows effort.  You can’t teach speed, and when you combine that with desire, it’s hard to stop.  I like how hard he works and the way he celebrates after making good plays.  It’s pure excitement, but not the “look at me” variety.

Henry does not come without flaws, however.  He’s a very raw prospect when it comes to technique.  He doesn’t use his hands well consistently, and too often he allows offensive linemen to get into his body.  As a small-ish defensive linemen, he can’t afford to lose that technical advantage.  He also tends to play a little high at times, which will get him blasted out of position against bigger, more powerful offensive lines.  I would also like to see Henry show a little better play recognition.

Overall, I love the offer to and commitment from Henry.  He’s exactly the type of prospect that is ripe for the picking at this time of year – an athletic project who, if he pans out, has a chance to be a real difference maker at the next level.  He needs to add weight and will likely redshirt, but his ability to get off the ball and chase from behind makes him a potential TFL machine.  While he reminds me of a slightly larger Terry Talbott (a 2010 commit who never played a down for Michigan), I think Henry has a higher ceiling.  He’s likely headed for the 3-tech position that Will Heininger occupied this past season.  I think he even has the ability to play the 5-tech defensive end position, but Michigan should have that position well covered with the other recruits in the class.

Henry is the 24th commitment of Michigan’s class.  Glenville is the alma mater of Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, and also the home of fellow 2012 Michigan target De’van Bogard, who is headed to Ohio State.

TTB Rating: 76

3Feb 2011
Uncategorized 1 comment

Frank Clark, Wolverine

Frank Clark is narrow.

Frank Clark, a linebacker from Cleveland, publicly committed to the Wolverines on Wednesday morning.  Clark had been rumored to be a silent commitment since the weekend of January 21st when he made an official visit to Ann Arbor.  Hailing from Glenville Academic Campus, the 6’3″, 210 pounder is Glenville’s first product to sign with Michigan since Pierre Woods in 2001; Glenville typically funnels its players to Ohio State or . . . well . . . anywhere but Michigan.

A 3-star prospect to each of the three major recruiting services, Clark chose Michigan over offers from California, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina, and others.  But each recruiting service ranked Clark at a different position – linebacker, tight end, and defensive end.

In Brady Hoke’s press conference today, he called Clark a linebacker.  So I’m going to assume he’s a linebacker.  And I’m going to base my opinions on seeing approximately 60 seconds of film on Clark, who doesn’t have a great deal of film out there in cyberspace.  So here we go:

I’m somewhat indifferent.  There’s a quote from Ed Orgeron (the famed USC defensive line coach, Ole Miss head coach, renowned recruiter, etc.) in Meat Market that says something like, “You can’t look at technique stuff when you’re recruiting.  As a coach, you have to think you can coach him up.”

Well . . . that’s probably a good thing for Clark.  He seems to be a decent athlete (a reported 4.52 in the forty, which is a good time but probably a bit of a lie), but he’s about as raw as raw can be.  As a defensive end, he gets his shoulders turned regularly.  He’s not an extremely aggressive tackler.  He doesn’t wrap up ballcarriers.  Maybe Glenville doesn’t employ a defensive line coach.  I don’t know.

To be honest, I can’t really project Clark anywhere.  He could be a strongside linebacker, where he would be rushing the quarterback off the edge.  He could be a weakside linebacker, too, but I haven’t seen him take on any lead blocks from fullbacks, fill any running lanes, etc.  He could be a career special teamer, since he’s decently fast and might be able to hit hard. 

Regardless, he’ll probably need a few seasons to bulk up and learn whatever position he plays.  My expectations are low, but Ed Orgeron probably has a lot of deep thoughts about a kid like Clark, thoughts that are unintelligible to northerners.  If you’re a fan of The Office, take Andy Bernard’s accent when he was playing Belles, Bourbon, and Bullets; lower his voice an octave; speed him up by 50%; and toss some kitty litter down his throat.  That’s a pretty close approximation of Orgeron.

Or you can Youtube him.  That would probably be easier.

Yep, it was.

TTB Rating: 59