Dytarious Johnson, Wolverine

Tag: Prattville (AL) Prattville

7Jun 2015
Uncategorized 11 comments

Dytarious Johnson, Wolverine

I can’t find a picture of Dytarious Johnson, so here’s a picture of a shirtless Jim Harbaugh instead.

Prattville (AL) Prattville linebacker Dytarious Johnson committed to Michigan on Saturday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama State, Memphis, South Alabama, Troy, and others.

Johnson is 6’1″ and 215 lbs. He claims a 4.5 forty, a 32.5″ vertical, a 315 lb. bench press, and a 405 lb. squat. As a junior in 2014, he had 82 total tackles.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 2-star OLB
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: Unranked

Johnson had been picking up offers from smaller schools for a while. He visited Michigan in April with teammate and fellow Michigan commit Kingston Davis, and the coaching staff told him they would evaluate him at the Prattville satellite camp. The camp took place on Friday, Michigan extended an offer on Saturday, and Johnson committed. Both players played with Keith Washington in high school, a player who was their team’s quarterback and a part-time cornerback before signing with the Wolverines in February.

I had been aware of Johnson’s existence since he visited Michigan, but without much of a recruiting profile, I did not expect Michigan to pull the trigger on an offer, at least not this early. Now watching his film, it’s clear to see what the coaches like in him. For being a linebacker, he’s a very smooth runner who moves like a strong safety. The first highlight in his film below is of him playing man coverage on a slot receiver, staying right on his hip on a wheel route, and tracking the ball down in the air; he tips it to himself and races about 75 yards to the endzone. He also likes to hit, and he takes good angles to the football. One thing I also like is that he seems to understand his role as an outside linebacker, and he does a very good job of maintaining leverage and fighting off blocks to keep outside contain.

The athleticism is there, but some basic fundamentals are lacking. His stance and footwork will probably need to be adjusted, but that will come with reps and coaching. He will also need to get stronger and add a little bit of weight.

Overall, if you told me this was a 4-star recruit, I would not have batted an eyelash. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be a star, but college teams like speed and he has it. College teams like physical players, and he’s physical. He can play and tackle in space, and he can be an asset in pass coverage. There’s not much to dislike. As an outside linebacker, he should be able to do those things, and if he ends up at inside linebacker, he’s a guy who should be able to go sideline to sideline.

Michigan now has ten players in the 2016 class, and Johnson is either the second or third linebacker, depending on whether David Reese plays defense or fullback. With four senior linebackers graduating and other contributors in their upperclassman years, Michigan is going heavy on linebackers this year and might take five. This is the fourth player Michigan has picked up since last Tuesday, joining a string of commitments that includes Michigan offensive guard Michael Onwenu, Indiana running back Kiante Enis, and Indiana slot receiver Chris Evans.

TTB Rating: 77 (ratings explanation)

6Apr 2015
Uncategorized 13 comments

Kingston Davis, Wolverine

Prattville (AL) Prattville running back Kingston Davis (center, image via 247 Sports)

Prattville (AL) Prattville running back Kingston Davis committed to Michigan. He chose Michigan over offers from Louisville, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss, among others.

Davis is a 6’1″, 225 lb. prospect. As a junior in 2014, he rushed for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to a state championship. He claims a 4.5 forty. The quarterback on the team was Keith Washington, an incoming freshman for the Wolverines who will play corner in college.

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

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 3-star RB, #24 in Alabama
Scout: 3-star, #100 RB
247 Sports: 3-star, #3 FB, #1101 overall, #42 in Alabama

Davis was not really on Michigan’s radar until they went into Prattville for Washington, who was committed to Cal at the time. In the process of flipping Washington, they also offered Davis in early February. It was – and is – his biggest offer. In March he set up the visit for the spring game, and he apparently really enjoyed the visit. After a day or two of swirling rumors that he would commit, he tweeted it out on Monday morning.

Davis is a well developed kid (see the picture above) whose body is already prepared for college. Along with a strong upper body, he has thick thighs and a good base. As a runner, the best part of his game is that he runs with his shoulders square to the line at all times and has good body lean. He runs behind his pads and will lower his shoulder to power through tackles from linebackers and defensive backs. He also has a good feel for seeing the hole, sliding laterally to get there, and pressing upfield. Davis also shows a couple nifty spin moves in the hole, rolls out of the grasp of defenders, and even displays an occasional stiff-arm. He falls forward after contact and should gain an extra yard or two while being tackled. Meanwhile, he catches a couple passes in his highlights, including a jumping one-hander on a screen pass.

On the negative side, Davis is not a speed demon. He is a bruiser. He rarely leaves high schoolers in the dust, which means it will be even tougher for him to break away in college. Obviously, Michigan is not recruiting him for his speed. This is potentially problematic for Michigan, because the Wolverines currently lack a speed back or a home run threat out of the backfield, unless redshirt sophomore Ty Isaac can be that guy for a couple years. Some analysts have projected Davis at fullback, but he has made it clear that he wants to be a tailback in college.

Overall, Davis seems to fit what Jim Harbaugh wants in a running back – a sturdy, between-the-tackles guy who can move the pile and maybe break off a long run if blockers get a hat on a hat. Davis won’t create those plays on his own, though. I think Davis is a little quicker than De’Veon Smith and tougher to take down that Derrick Green. The first guy I thought of when watching his highlights was former Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill, who was a little bit shorter but had the same kind of game.

Michigan now has five commits in the 2016 class, including an entire backfield committed in one weekend – Davis, Reese, and quarterback Brandon Peters. Washington was the first recruit from the state of Alabama in over a decade, and now Davis gives Michigan two consecutive years with an Alabama native. Several more Alabama players have been offered, but all seem to be long shots. Michigan’s staff is scheduled to do a satellite camp in Prattville this summer, so this could be the beginning of a fruitful relationship with the deep south, a notoriously difficult area to reach for northern schools.

The 2016 class is currently scheduled to be 15 players strong, so with five guys in the fold, the class is one-third full. The total class size will surely continue to grow with attrition, early NFL departures, injuries, etc. It’s unclear right now whether Michigan will continue to recruit other running backs, although I would certainly like to see the Wolverines get the home run hitter they have been lacking in recent years.

TTB Rating: 80 (ratings explanation)

4Feb 2015
Uncategorized 3 comments

Keith Washington, Wolverine

Prattville (AL) Prattville quarterback/cornerback Keith Washington

Prattville (AL) Prattville cornerback Keith Washington flipped to Michigan from Cal on Wednesday morning. He also had offers from Indiana, Louisville, Miami, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas Tech, among others. At one time Washington had been committed to Duke.

Washington is 6’2″, 170 lbs. and claims he can run the forty in the 4.3 range. He was primarily Prattville’s quarterback, so defensive stats are limited. As a senior in 2014, however, he was 92/162 passing for 1,718 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions; he also rushed 152 times for 1,201 yards and 20 touchdowns. He helped lead the team to an 11-3 record this past season, his third as a starting quarterback.

ESPN: 3-star, 75 grade, #117 ATH
Rivals: 3-star, #26 ATH
Scout: 3-star, #147 CB
247 Sports: 3-star, 82 grade, #118 ATH

Washington did not appear to be on Michigan’s radar until late January, even after he committed to Cal on January 25. With things looking bleak for other cornerback prospects, Michigan’s staff sold him on the program, despite the fact that Washington has never set foot in Ann Arbor.

The first thing to note is that Washington has been committed to Duke, Cal, and Michigan. Those are some of the better academic institutions in all of the whole FBS, so he must have a pretty decent head on his shoulders. He also looks like a pretty decent quarterback who could probably play the position at some FBS schools, so his understanding of the game should be better than the average guy corner entering college. He also has good speed, although the 4.3 thing is a little too low for belief. He is tall and lanky, which should help him when trying to defend jump balls and such.

I question whether Washington has the hips to be a big-time corner. He’s a little bit stiff in the upper and lower body, and he does not transition out of a backpedal very well. As one might expect of someone who’s primarily a cornerback, he also lacks tackling technique and doesn’t pack much of a punch. Some of these things are technique issues – and strength and conditioning issues – that can be helped with some time in college.

Overall, I look at Washington and I see Jeremy Clark, who’s a 6’4″ safety for Michigan. Clark also got a shot to play corner when he first arrived on campus, although he was a little more physical than Washington is. It’s a little bit difficult to project how a quarterback will transition to defense, but he has some physical skills, appears to have a good mental makeup, and should have some time to let his body and skills mature before Michigan needs him on the field. Washington is a guy who seems like he might not play significant time until he’s maybe a redshirt junior or so, but Michigan will need cornerbacks sooner than that. Blake Countess will graduate after 2015, and Jourdan Lewis will be a junior this year.

Clark is the only cornerback in Michigan’s 2015 class and joins safety Tyree Kinnel as the two defensive backs. He is also the first player to come out of Alabama since Max Martin in 2004. Perhaps coincidentally, Michigan has already extended an offer to Washington’s backfield mate Kingston Davis, a 2016 running back who’s a powerhouse at 6’1″, 230 lbs. The presence of Washington might help the Wolverines in their pursuit of Davis.

TTB Rating: 68 (ratings explanation)

You can see his offensive highlights here (LINK) but here are his defensive highlights: