Quick Analysis Series: Da’Mario Jones

Da’Mario Jones may be a player that few Michigan fans have heard of, but that’s not a bad thing. Jones is a player from Westland, Michigan, and he is a player worth keeping an eye out for. Jones isn’t a scrub either, having offers from some Big Ten powers over the last few years, Michigan and Michigan State, but also has offers from some non-automatic BCS qualifiers. Among those non-AQ’s are Bowling Green and Central Michigan, and was actually committed to Central Michigan before he committed to the University of Michigan.

Jones is a player who clearly has his best football ahead of him, a lot to do with the fact that he will still grow some more and hopefully add to his frame. He’s 6′-2, 192 pounds right now, and if he grows a little more, he could do wonders for himself, and the quarterback throwing him the football. Shane Morris or Devin Gardner would love throwing to a receiver who’s around 6′-4 or 6′-5 who could rip the ball out of the air on jump balls, something Jones is already good at. Jones isn’t the guy who’s going to blow past you while he’s running down field, but he’s definitely fast enough to play WR in college. Something that does go under the radar for Jones’s game is that he possesses the ability to catch the ball in traffic, something that you’ll have to get used to as a wide out playing in the Big Ten. He also has a knack for getting open while running routes. It seems as if he just finds the hole in the defense and is a nice safety blanket for his QB. He has the ability to run a number of routes, and this helps him while getting open, also setting up one on ones with defensive backs. He really is more of a possession receiver than a speed receiver, and that’s something every offense needs. Jones reminds me of former Wolverine and NY Giant, Amani Toomer.

While Jones does do a lot of things well, he does a few things that you’d like to see improvement on. He really needs to work on catching with his hands, rather than catching with his body. This could hurt him at the next level, and possibly lead to interceptions down the line. He’ll need to work on the inconsistencies because he really could turn into a special wide out if he just uses his hands more, and his body less. If he could make defenders miss more, he has a shot to have a huge YAC (yards after catch) and make some plays for UM’s offense. Jones also will have to work on his build in college, adding some extra muscle and weight isn’t always a bad thing for a receiver, and Jones will need to add some in order to try to contribute his first few seasons in college.

Overall, Da’Mario Jones seems as if he could add to this Michigan offense, and help the QB’s out tremendously. Having a tall, possession receiver is a quarterback’s dream. While he does have a few things that should be adjusted, he has a shot at making an impact further down the line for the Wolverines. Jones also knows what playing at Michigan could mean for him; He denied offers from several BCS teams on January 30th, just to continue being apart of Team 134. Jones is a player who just really does grow on you after you watch his highlight tapes, and after the 3rd time watching, he could develop into a nice player at Michigan.

As always, Go Blue!

Basketball: Michigan Routs Northwestern 68-46

Bring on the Hoosiers!

The top-ranked Michigan Wolverines dominated the Northwestern Wildcats at Crisler Center tonight by a final score of 68-46.

Trey Burke led the attack with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals as the Wolverines (20-1, 7-1 B1G) won this one going away.

Northwestern (12-10, 3-6 B1G) was outmanned and outgunned right from the opening tip tonight, even with the absence of Jordan Morgan for Michigan tonight.

It was the second straight game that the Jon Horford/Mitch McGary combo stepped up and filled a huge role for the Wolverines, with Horford getting the start for the injured Morgan. Those two will be a big key for Michigan on Saturday at Indiana.

Michigan continues to thrive on superb production from their freshman class, and the deeper we get into this season, the better they play.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is a special group of guys and that they are the most talented team in the nation. If a guy like Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway has an off night, other guys are there to step it up.

They will have to going forward if Michigan is to be considered a national title contender.

The Wolverines now enter a stretch of conference play that will be a huge test for this team. Over their next four games, they play at Indiana, home vs. Ohio State, at Wisconsin, and at Michigan State.

Expect an NCAA tournament-style of intensity coming down the stretch in the Big Ten. What they experience throughout the rest of the conference season will only make them better come March.

As long as they keep getting large contributions from guys other than Burke and Hardaway, they will be just fine. This is the team to beat in the country as far as I’m concerned.

It’s going to be a fun ride from here on out.

Saturday night’s game at #3 Indiana will be on ESPN. Tipoff is at 9pm

Quick Analysis Series: Ross Douglas

Ross Douglas is a unique type of football player. He was once a commit of Penn State before they were hammered with the sanctions of the fall out from Jerry Sandusky, and what had happened in Happy Valley. Once the sanctions were issued to PSU, Douglas decided to de-commit and commit to the University of Michigan.

While Douglas will be playing cornerback in college, he was a two-way beast while playing high school ball. Douglas played running back and cornerback for his high school team, so you know there has to be some sort of speed from this talented ATH. He runs a 4.50 40 time, which isn’t incredibly awful, and it won’t blow you away either. He has good speed for a player at his position, which is something you’d want to see out of a cornerback. Good size at 5′-10, 181 pounds, and is very physical for a CB. I don’t think that he should be placed one on one with players, but he is a nice complement to a defense, mainly because he is an inch or two taller than some corners coming into college. Douglas should be the type of player who comes out of high school, into college, and plays the nickel position early. A lot of that has to do with the lack of “shut down” ability, but Mattison could tinker with him and his mechanics a bit, and hopefully it will develop some of that shut down skills. Douglas, to me, is more of a player who is a compliment to defenses, rather than the star of one. That’s not saying Douglas can’t play because he can, however, he isn’t a player like Darrell Revis, or Prince Amukamara was at Nebraska.

Douglas will improve once he gets to the college level and could focus mainly on his defensive skills, something that he didn’t get to do while in high school. Mattison will fall in love with this guy, he is a strong player for his position, and shows that he could make tackles in the open field, and while plays are still developing. He isn’t going to blow you away while watching the film, he’s not that type of player, but he is just an overall good football player. He plays the ball well, but not as well as you would like out of a commit that you’d like to see dominate his side of the ball. He doesn’t really do anything flashy or head-turning, but is a solid player that could contribute to the defense that is coming into Michigan. His lack of fluidity while covering is something he will have to work on, but his recovery speed will help that out while he is still learning.

Overall, Douglas is a player who is just solid across the ball, and should be a nice addition and compliment to Mattison’s defense. Not that he couldn’t play early, it is just that he will have to learn on the fly, and play nickel if he’ll want to play early. He is a player with great upside, and should be nice to have during his tenure in Ann Arbor. He has the ability to be a good corner, and he reminds me of former Wolverine, J.T. Floyd. With a defensive line class that is coming in with big names and high hopes, he will get his fair share of opportunities to intercept passes because of the pressure that will be applied to the quarterback, and will get his opportunity to intercept passes that are thrown up or thrown away. Douglas has the skills, and hopefully he finds a nice home at one of the corner positions by the time he’s graduated.

As always, Go Blue!

Game Preview: Top-ranked Wolverines take on Northwestern

The #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines (19-1, 6-1 B1G) come into their matchup with Northwestern (12-9, 3-5 B1G) with a lot of momentum going their way.

Landing the top ranking in the polls since the days of the Fab Five is a big deal for the program, but John Beilein and the Wolverines believe something different. Their main concern is being the best at the end of the Big Ten season.

Almost every game in the conference this year means something and will be a fight. Tonight’s game against Northwestern is the rare exception to that rule.

These two teams last met on January 3rd in Evanston, where Michigan dominated the Wildcats 94-66. The game was never in doubt. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr combined for 44 points and all five starters finished in double figures. Expect much of the same tonight at home.

Something Northwestern did not have in the last game was their leading scorer, senior guard Reggie Hearn. He leads the Wildcats at 14 points per game, but it will likely take a career night by him and his other teammates to upend the Wolverines.

The biggest key to tonight’s game will be focus. With a road showdown with #3 Indiana looming on Saturday night, the Wolverines cannot afford to look ahead. I don’t see that being an issue, either. The coaching staff will have Michigan ready to go.

The game tips at 6:30 on Big Ten Network.

Quick Analysis Series: Deveon Smith

Anyone want to take a guess at what is going to be extremely fun to watch in a few years? You guessed it, Deveon Smith running with Derrick Green behind that huge offensive line at Michigan. Smith is a lovely compliment of speed to Green’s strength, and should be extremely successful, as well as hard to defend. Smith is a player who isn’t blazing fast, and you could see it on film, but it is fast enough to outrun players. There was several times, while breaking down the film, that I had to pause it and re-watch the same play, or just shook my head for a few plays after seeing Smith make defenders look like amateurs.

Smith possesses the kind of speed that, if you’re not careful, he could end up in the endzone a few times before the clock hits 0:00. That’s not saying he’s lightning fast, but he is a sneaky type of fast that DC need to watch out for. He is a back that prides himself on making players miss, but he is much more than speed. He is a pure athlete and it’s nice to see him not only rely on speed. He could make defenders miss with juke moves, or shed them while running, but still be able to continue his runs. Smith reminds me a lot of Michigan great, Mike Hart, and we all remember what Mr. Hart did while he attended classes at Michigan. If Smith taps into the potential he has, running behind that line of Logan Tuley-Tillman, and David Dawson to name a few, you’ll be hearing the name Deveon Smith quite a few times before his graduation of the University of Michigan.

One thing that concerns me about Smith is that he may rely a bit too much on just running at times, and doesn’t really go after players with different moves to keep them on their toes as much as I’d like to see. He has all the skills in the world in the open field and while holding the football, but I’d like to see him try to expand on more than just trying to run defenders over. Smith wasn’t blessed with open field elusiveness, and I’d like to see him try to work on that, if possible. He’s a downhill, north and south type runner, and I think he should try to make his skill set a bit more advanced. He’s not that back that will be running 60 yards on one play, he’s the kind of back that will try to pound it through the line and defenses linebackers, to try to make them tired before he strikes.

Overall, Smith will be a productive back while at Michigan, but I won’t go as far as saying he could be a player that is going to start immediately. Smith is going to have to share carries with some of the players at UM, such as Derrick Green, and Fitzgerald Toussaint, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He could learn a lot from the two runningbacks, and he could really make his mark on 3rd downs early in his career, and eventually earn split carries down the line. Smith is a great talent, and should be sure to entertain while playing in college, but entering college, I don’t see him being an instant starter. Smith will have to learn and wait, but if he is patient, a few years from now Green and Smith will be a deadly combination.

As always, Go Blue!

Getting to Know 2013 Basketball Committ Derrick Walton

Michigan Basketball has a lot going for it right now. They are one of the top teams in the country and a definite national title contender. A big reason for their success the last few years is from the production from their freshman class.

Next year is no exception. They have a solid class coming in next year, led by Chandler Park Academy point guard Derrick Walton.

According to Scout.com’s 2013 rankings, Walton is the 7th ranked point guard in the nation and 45th ranked overall. When you look at his skill set and watch him play on film, it is easy to tell that he will fit nicely in John Beilein’s system.

Derrick Walton is a smart player who has the ability to hit the outside shot, which is a signature trait of Beilein’s offense.  He is a presence on the floor, and he makes his teammates around him better.

Last night, I was able to chat with Derrick on a variety of topics, including his recruitment and what he likes about the Wolverines:

  • What made Michigan your school of choice?

“The playing style was perfect for me. I loved the coaching staff and mostly the school itself.”

  • Was anyone else in the mix towards the end? Or were you pretty much set on Michigan?

 “It was pretty much Michigan, but other schools were still recruiting me.”

  •  What do you like about John Beilein and the rest of his staff? I saw something on Big Ten Network after the game Sunday on Bacari Alexander and he seems like he would be an awesome guy to play for too.

“They are honest with me and really cool. The entire staff treats you like one of their own kids. It’s just a family-like environment. But yeah, coach Bacari is a really funny dude. I can’t wait to play for him.

  • What do you think you can contribute to coach Beilein’s system?

 “I believe I can make plays within the system and my ability to break down my defender will only help.”

  •  What are you most looking forward to about playing at Michigan?

“The atmosphere”

  • For sure. There’s a ton of tradition and great fans. Is there anything you’d like to improve in your game heading into next year?

“I would like to just improve overall. Get quicker, stronger, and faster.”

  • What’s it like to play for your dad? What sort of relationship do you guys have?

 “It’s cool. We usually get along really well.”

  •  One last thing. What are your thoughts on this year’s team?

“The team is playing great. I think we are national title contenders without a doubt.

  • Thank you for your time. Best of luck with everything and hopefully we’ll be able to talk to you again in the future.

 “No problem. Thanks”

Derrick Walton is going to be a good player for the Wolverines. It is likely that Trey Burke leaves for the NBA this season, which would give Walton a chance to play right away. He and Glenn Robinson III should combine to be one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten next season. He will fit in nicely on a team that thrives on team-first players.

You can follow me on Twitter @Anthony_Broome and our site @BBlueRecruiting.

Quick Analysis Series: David Dawson

Highlights of Dawson from Cass Tech’s 2nd round 2012 playoff game vs. Dearborn.

Today I will be breaking down Cass Tech’s David Dawson. Dawson is the number two rated offensive guard in the nation, and well deserving. Dawson is a mammoth of a man, weighing in at 282 pounds, and standing tall at 6′-4, great size for a player entering that position his first year in college. Dawson is a player that won’t make you jump out of your seat as you watch him play, but he possesses all the necessary skills to be a very good player at the next level. He is quick off the ball, and once he is engaged with an opponent, he pretty much has the play wrapped up, and that player is not going to make the tackle. He has great strength, as he should with that size, and uses it on every play. Whether it be runs or passes,  Dawson is effective in both. Dawson also performed very well against good competition at the Nike OL-DL one-on-ones. He held his own on majority of the plays, and showed he is a good competitor. He is playing offensive tackle in high school, but will make the switch to guard in college, at least for the time being. There is a possibility that Dawson could move back to tackle at Michigan, but he needs to work on keeping his blocks more often than not, and be able to show he can protect the quarterback on a regular basis. He definitely has the ability to move back to tackle, but it may be a process, which is why guard may be his best bet to succeed at Michigan.

Dawson is a great football player, but he has a few things he should work on while in college, mainly maintaining his blocks for the longest time possible, and not giving up on the block. He does a great job of engaging players, but staying with his block is something that should be sharpened up. He will also not be at the prime pad level you would like an offensive lineman to be at from time to time, and a big reason is that he is a big fan of the 2 technique, the position where an offensive lineman doesn’t have his hand on the ground. His technique is a big reason why he comes off the ball and engages very well, but at the same time, it hurts him a little bit too, so a normal 3 technique will help with the pad level issues.

Overall, Dawson will be a wonderful addition to the 2013 class, and will help both Devin Gardner and eventually Shane Morris in the backfield. Opening holes for players like Derrick Green, Deveon Smith, and Fitzgerald Toussaint is a big plus for him and his work ethic. Also, Taylor Lewan will help making the transition to tackle a little easier for Dawson, and he should want to jump at the chance to learn from a future first round pick. If Dawson could continue to work, and grow as a football player, the sky is the limit for this young man, but he will need to continue to work. I feel as if he’s a huge part of the offense for the Wolverines when he gets to campus, and also a big reason Derrick Green will be joining him on campus. Dawson took over the Shane Morris role of recruiting while they were at the Army All-American game, and UM fans could thank Dawson for having Green running behind him. He is gifted, and will continue to prove why he is deserving of his ESPN and Rivals ranking.

As always, Go Blue!

Getting To Know: Parrker Westphal

^ a link to his sophomore highlights.

Parrker Westphal is arguably one of the top talented recruits in the 2014 class in the secondary.  Not too mention, he is rather high on Michigan.  For a few months now, Parrker has been a top target on Michigan’s board and the interest is mutual.

At 6 ft, 175 (Scout) Parrker is a big corner who is a definite playmaker.  From watching his film, you see a few things. 1) He is a corner who knows how to tackle.  Often, a lot of top high school cornerbacks, don’t always wrap up but hitting high or low Parrker always executes in top form with his tackling.  He drives you back and wraps you up.  He also is able to make plays and hit step up in the backfield and make a TFL. 2) Parrker is very athletic.  He can make plays on both run and pass plays.  He reads the offense nicely and knows where to be on every play.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to chat with Parrker and ask him a few questions on his recruitment.  Without further a do, here is my short interview with Parrker Westphal..

-On what schools stand out to him, “I currently have no leaders at this point.  All my offers stand out evenly.”

-His thoughts on Michigan, “It is a prestigious school, that has a strong academic program, great fanbase, and great athletic facilities.  They have ALOT to offer.”

-On whether the fact that his position coach, played for Michigan has an effect on his view on Michigan, “A very positive effect, but nothing too huge.”

-On a decision date. “I currently do not have a set decision date, but I would prefer to make my commitment sooner rather than later.”

-Strengths and Weaknesses of his game, in his own words, “Being physical at the point of attack and big play defender.  I feel I need to work on everything in my game, you can never be too good at something. I need to work on getting stronger, faster and quicker. Perfecting my technique and footwork. Trusting my eyes.”

-A possible visit to AA. “I plan on making it up there sometime next month.”

Parrker is a very genuine young man who is smart both on and off the field.  He is a top talent at this stage and knows that everyday is an oppurtunity for growth.  Although he says that he has no leaders, I firmly believe that Michigan does hold a slight advantage.  Sam Webb, with his work, has also added to my belief.

I could see Parrker announcing his commitment before his senior season, and as for now, I feel that Michigan sits very well for his services.  I will stay in touch with him as time goes on.  Michigan could soon gain one of the top CB’s in the country soon.

As always GO BLUE! You can find me on twitter @BleedBlue_Gill and follow our site @BBlueRecruiting.

Basketball: Michigan Likely #1 After 74-60 Win Over Illinois

Not since the days of the Fab Five has the Michigan Men’s Basketball team been the top ranked team in the country. There is a very good chance that changes tomorrow.

The #2 Wolverines went down to Champaign, Illinois Sunday night and beat a struggling Illini team 74-60 in dominating fashion.

In a game where Trey Burke led the team in scoring with 19 points, he was almost an afterthought tonight. This was a total team victory for the Wolverines, led by freshmen Nik Stauskas (14 pts) and Glenn Robinson III (12 pts).

Junior center Jordan Morgan went down with an ankle injury 90 seconds into the game, which gave Michigan a chance to showcase the big men on their bench.

Mitch McGary was again a spark for the Wolverines, being the first guy off the bench after Morgan’s injury, with 6 points and 8 rebounds in 16 minutes.

The guy that was really able to step up in the absence of Jordan Morgan was sophomore Jon Horford. He chipped in with 7 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes. Hell, even freshman Max Bielfeldt got in on the fun tonight with 4 points in 6 minutes (and a hilarious sequence of two trips to the free throw line).

Two of the key things that Michigan had to do defensively was improve their perimeter defense, which they did today (Illinois shot only 24% from beyond the arc), and shut down senior guard Brandon Paul. While Paul did have 15 points, he was only 5-12 from the field and was not really much of a factor in this game.

Something that was said during the game broadcast really hit home with me. Michigan has three players (Hardaway, Robinson, and Horford) that come from NBA pedigrees. It would be very easy for these guys to feel privileged and be selfish players, but that could not be further from the truth.  This team is full of guys that will sell-out for the best interests of getting that win. It is a big reason that the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country.

Five Observations from Tonight’s Game

Fellow Bleed Blue contributor Adam Midden was actually in Champaign for the game tonight and these were five things he noticed from Michigan’s 74-60 victory.

  • The trio of McGary, Horford, and Bielfeldt was huge in this game tonight filling in for Jordan Morgan.
  • The switch to zone defense in the first half made a big difference for the Wolverines. Zone pressure in the second half helped them open up the lead.
  • McGary’s tip back was a huge turning point in the second half of the game.
  • Trey Burke and Glenn Robinson III were fantastic tonight, but the MVP of the game was Nik Stauskas.
  • The freshmen continue to come up big for the Wolverines. McGary, Stauskas, and Robinson combined for 32 points tonight.

Michigan’s next game is Wednesday night against Northwestern. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30pm and it will be on the Big Ten Network.

Hello Wolverine Nation

Hello, my name is Adam Midden. I just joined Bleed Blue Recruiting as a contributing writer and I can say I’m honored to be part of something so great!! I’m currently a college student in Illinois; while I recover from an ACL injury I suffered in late summer. I’m being recruited by the University of Michigan, Adrian College (MI), University of St. Thomas (MN), and the University of Minnesota to play baseball beginning next fall.

I see so much potential for BBR in the future, that i just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get on aboard with the guys. I’m very glad Kyle, Anthony, David, and Brian have allowed me to join with them on providing Wolverine Nation with all of the news you guys want to hear! So hopefully you all love the work we do and before you know it this group might grow into something great!!

Thanks for having me and God Bless!

#WeOn #GoBlue