Position Change Fallout

Tag: Royce Jenkins-Stone

27Feb 2014
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Position Change Fallout

Desmond Morgan (#44)

There have been a couple major position changes and a couple minor ones during the offseason. In an attempt to allay some people’s fears, here are my thoughts on how things are developing.

Ross Douglas from CB to RB. Michigan failed to nab a running back in the 2014 class, largely for a lack of trying. There were some candidates out there that the Wolverines simply chose not to pursue, and then rising senior Thomas Rawls chose to transfer to Central Michigan. Michigan needed to add some depth at running back, and Douglas was a pretty good one in high school. I do not think Douglas is in danger of turning into a feature back anytime soon, but he may provide some change-of-pace skills for Michigan’s Thunder Squared combination of Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith. Douglas played some running back on the scout team last year, and I think this switch is likely to stick, at least until Michigan has a chance to bring in more running backs in 2015 or 2016. He could also be a guy who bounces back and forth from offense to defense.

Wyatt Shallman from RB to H-back. I have long believed that Shallman would not make much of an impact on the running back position, except perhaps as a short yardage guy. I think the need for a short yardage back is relatively non-existent with Green and Smith on the team. Additionally, new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier seems like a guy who’s going to run a lot of single back sets and a lot of spread formations, meaning the fullback will likely be phased out for the next couple years. The 6’3″, 243 lb. Shallman could help out as a blocker and pass catcher out of the backfield, and he has the size to be a second tight end on the field like an Aaron Shea.

Keith Heitzman from DE to TE. Heitzman was the starter at strongside end to begin last season, but a hand injury combined with competition from other players bumped him down in the lineup. With other guys emerging at strongside end (Brennen Beyer, Taco Charlton, Chris Wormley), Michigan has the flexibility to put Heitzman at tight end to shore up the position after Jake Butt’s ACL injury. Butt might be back by week three, but Heitzman could be a long-term solution as a blocking tight end, since junior A.J. Williams has struggled in his first two seasons. Heitzman played tight end in high school, and while he probably won’t run away from anyone or dazzle people with his moves, he should be a quality in-line blocker and has the potential to catch a pass here or there.

Jake Ryan from SAM to MIKE. Royce Jenkins-Stone from MIKE to SAM. James Ross from WILL to SAM. Desmond Morgan from MIKE to WILL. Did I catch all the moves? I think so. A couple of the younger inside linebackers are staying inside, so I won’t bother analyzing that. The new starting lineup will look a lot like the old starting lineup, except Morgan will be on the weak side, Ryan will be in the middle, and Ross will be on the strong side. Head coach Brady Hoke announced that Michigan would be running more Over looks in 2014, which means that the protected linebacker (formerly WILL James Ross) will now be middle linebacker Jake Ryan. This also likely changes Michigan’s front seven slightly, from a “hold your gap” defense to more of a penetrating unit. Against base 12 personnel previously, Michigan had six defenders from tight end to tackle (four defensive linemen, the WILL, and the MIKE). In an Over look, the defensive front will have seven defenders inside that box (four defensive linemen and all three linebackers). This should allow Ryan to roam from sideline to sideline while keeping Ross relatively clean, and Morgan will still be the guy who has to take on lead blocks from fullbacks, which he does fairly well.

19Jul 2013
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2013 Season Countdown: #41 Royce Jenkins-Stone

Royce Jenkins-Stone

Name: Royce Jenkins-Stone
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Linebacker
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #52
Last year: I ranked Jenkins-Stone #66 and said he would redshirt if possible. I guess it wasn’t possible because he played special teams all year.

Royce Jenkins-Stone heads into his sophomore year weighing and heighing the same weight and height he did going into his senior year of high school. I said last year that he would have to be able to make an impact on special teams in order to avoid a redshirt, and that sort of happened but he also sort of didn’t make any tackles, either. He was just a guy running down the field on coverage units. After saying that he wanted to be the next Ray Lewis, Greg Mattison telling him he could be, and choosing #52 on the path to that goal, he left the spring as the #2 weakside linebacker behind James Ross.

Based on what I’ve seen so far – on special teams, in the spring game, from high school – I’m not sure where Jenkins-Stone fits. He’s not speedy enough to be a good fit at WILL. He’s not instinct or big enough to be a good fit at MIKE. And he’s not long enough or hefty enough to be a good fit at SAM. With two classmates (Ross and Joe Bolden) already having earned significant playing time at the inside spots, it will be an uphill battle for him to get on the field. He also may be facing competition from redshirt sophomore Antonio Poole and incoming freshman Ben Gedeon. I think Jenkins-Stone will continue to help on special teams, but I’m not sure if he can contribute on defense just yet.

Prediction: Backup weakside linebacker, special teams contributor

10Jul 2012
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Royce Jenkins-Stone Answers Your Questions

Jenkins-Stone at FB at Cass Tech HS, registering 309 yards and
5 touchdowns his senior year.  Image via the Detroit News.

Freshman linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone has plenty of swagger – which extends from the football field all the way into the kitchen.  “I can throw down – everybody loves my cookin’,” Royce said.  “I can barbecue, and I can cook just about anything.”  But Royce’s confidence on the field and in the kitchen hasn’t come without a lot of hard work and ambitious goal setting.  He’s been doing “explosiveness training drills” and intense workouts in the hopes of making it to the NFL.  Royce has also been spending hours in the kitchen and around the grill in the hopes of eventually becoming a chef.

As a naturally outgoing and social guy, Royce was recently kind enough to take some time out of his evening to talk about football, cooking, the West Side Cubs and a variety of other topics.  In doing so, he answered several questions posed by TTB readers.

Strengths, weaknesses, technique:  “I’m good at tackling; I’m good at rushing the quarterback.  I’m good with using my hands, but I still want to learn because there’s always room for improvement with everything.  That technique is what’s going to get me through.  It’s what gets everybody through – great technique and great footwork.  So those are the things I know I’m going to need to work on. . . . My athleticism is what got me all my big offers – that and being bigger than everyone else.  But everyone’s as big as me or bigger than me in college, so that’s why I’ve got to learn good technique and footwork – to get past those big O-linemen.

Height, weight, workout:  “I’m 6’2” and 215 lbs. . . . No, the coaches haven’t talked to me about that yet [target weight], but I’m pretty sure I need to go up some more.  I know I’ll put on weight my freshman year.  Everybody does.  So I’m just working out with my trainer and trying to keep my speed up.  I do crossfit training, and that’s a pretty intense workout.  It’s like ring drills and stuff like that.

Position:  “The coaches – well, they really haven’t told me yet – but I’m pretty sure I’m going to start off at outside linebacker because I think I’d fit best there right now. . . . So I think I’ll start off at that outside linebacker spot because you got Kenny Demens in front of me.  Either that or we’re sharing time.  And I wouldn’t mind doing that.  I’m just trying to do the best I can as a freshman and get my name out there, and fill in where I can, as quickly as I can. . . . I feel that I should start off at the outside linebacker spot because I’m so athletic and I’m good at rushing the quarterback, and once I get a feel of the defense I’ll move to the middle linebacker spot when the coaches feel that I’m ready. . . . They recruited me as a middle linebacker, so hopefully I’ll make my way to that spot soon. . . . Greg Mattison told me I look like another Ray Lewis.  He thinks he got his Ray Lewis for college.

West Side Cubs:  “They’ve always been a winning program, and everybody wants to be a Cub.  Growing up, you either didn’t like the Cubs because they were winning all the time or you did.  They taught us all that you never give up.  You want to always be a winner in life and in football.  They instilled in us ‘God, books and ball.’  They always preached that.

Nickname:  “I haven’t got a nickname yet. . . . I haven’t heard any nicknames yet.  I don’t know where that one [the Law Firm] came from.”

Roommate, major:  “I’m rooming with Amara Darboh.  He seems like a pretty cool guy.  I talked to him on the phone a couple of times, but we were both breaking up. . . . I’ve signed up for Kinesiology and Personal Training for right now.”

25Jun 2012
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2012 Season Countdown: #66 Royce Jenkins-Stone


Name: Royce Jenkins-Stone
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #52
Last year: Jenkins-Stone was in high school.  He had 84 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries; 309 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns; 4 receptions, 43 yards, and 1 touchdown.

Jenkins-Stone is a hulking middle linebacker prospect who should be a very imposing figure once he adds some weight.  He was given some high praise early on in the recruiting process and, for whatever reason, didn’t produce a great deal during his senior year.  Don’t get me wrong – those numbers above are very good, but they’re not off the charts like many expected.  There didn’t seem to be a great deal of on-the-field maturation between his junior and senior seasons.

Going into his freshman season, Jenkins-Stone has an uphill battle to climb for playing time.  He was recruited for the MIKE position, but the starter is Kenny Demens and fellow freshman Joe Bolden enrolled early and received a lot of hype.  And while the depth isn’t great at MIKE, there are other options that could slide over from WILL, such as Desmond Morgan and Brandin Hawthorne.  There has been some speculation that Jenkins-Stone will play SAM, and that does make sense.  The only two SAMs on the roster are redshirt sophomore Jake Ryan and redshirt junior Cam Gordon; last year’s other SAMs, Brennen Beyer and Jordan Paskorz, moved to defensive end and tight end, respectively.  I actually like the idea of Jenkins-Stone playing SAM because he’s not great at diagnosing plays, but either way, he’s bound to be no higher than third string.  That means he will have to make an impact on special teams or redshirt.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

16Jun 2012
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Ask a Question: Royce Jenkins-Stone

Image via a major Detroit newspaper not named the Detroit News

I should be talking with incoming freshman linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone in the next day or two.  If you have any questions for him, leave them in the comments section and I’ll address them in the interview.