Big visitor weekends have become a thing of regularity for the Michigan fan base. Hoke and co. manages to bring in top national talent such as Da’Shawn Hand and Jabrill Peppers on a seemingly regular basis. However this week, our attention is drawn to today where 5-star (247Sports Composite) CB Jalen Tabor will be making a trip to Ann Arbor. He is 6’1” and 182lbs according to 247Sports, and is rated as the #16 player nationally according to the composite. Jalen plays for Friendship Collegiate Academy in D.C. and currently holds offers from 24 schools including Michigan, Alabama, Florida, FSU, ND, OSU, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech.
The Rival Camp Series defensive skills award winner (Richmond, VA) displays many of facets to his game that garner his fifth star from the recruiting services. Like many 5-star recruits, Jalen is bursting with versatility and potential – two aspects that can’t really be coached. His highlight tape show him mainly at corner, although he does play some WR, returns kicks, and has the skill set and size to play safety at the next level as well.
As you would expect from a 5-star CB prospect, Jalen has speed. His tape shows great straight-line speed, and an even more impressive quickness in his cuts and reactions to routes. He shows very fluid hips when transitioning out of a back pedal and his play in coverage has a very instinctual feel to it. Overall, Jalen has the physical tools and shows the ability to be the lockdown corner that Michigan has been missing for years.
Playing WR in high school really benefits Jalen’s play at CB. He has soft hands and does a good job at catching the ball away from his body. Jalen displays an exceptional awareness for the ball that is probably assisted by his time on the other side of the ball. On the few passes that teams throw his way, Jalen is usually in position to get a hand on the ball and does a great job of converting those plays into turnovers. Unless Jabrill is secretly manning the other CB position, I don’t understand why anyone would even throw in his direction.
When looking at him on paper, one feature that sticks out about Jalen is his height. 6’1” corners with his abilities are extremely rare, and having that height allows him to match up against players who have good speed and size. I am a little skeptical of him being over 180lbs, but if so Jalen looks to have the frame that could support 10 pounds of strength that could help him shed blocks and be a more effective tackler.
Having the size that Jalen possess is beneficial to stopping the run, and that is another aspect that looks the part on his highlight film. Jalen seems to be a half second ahead of the field when making reads, and does a good job of closing in on the ball carrier quickly. He is an effective tackler that can make plays on the ball carrier in space, without help.
Being a player of his caliber, it is much easier to rave about his abilities than to identify his weaknesses. When watching his film, there were only a few minor issues that ended up in the “Needs Work” section. First off, Jalen can get a little loose in coverage on occasion, and rely on his recovery speed to make the play. This could be an attempt to get the QB to throw his way, but in college he won’t have the luxury of allowing space then making up for it. Secondly, he tends to tackle without wrapping up a decent amount. I found this to be more of an issue with discipline and less with his skills, and should not be viewed as anything more than a blemish on a very impressive video. His ability to shed blocks was the other main critique that I had on his game. With more time in the weight room and learning techniques, I doubt to see this become an issue in college.
Jalen is a prospect that I haven’t heard much about when it comes to Michigan. His name pops up from time to time, but nothing seems to come from it. As it is with many recruits who aren’t as big on Michigan initially, this visit will likely be a good indicator of where his recruitment will go with regards to Michigan. The 247Sports crystal ball shows a 60/40 split between Florida and FSU, so it is clear that Michigan will be making up for lost ground here.
Jalen is an excellent prospect, and one deserving of the lofty praise from the main recruiting services. He has the size to play boundary corner, ability to play field, and could easily project to either position along with a handful of others. Having this mix of size and speed would be crucial when manning up against players such as ND commit Ian Bunting… oh wait, nevermind. Stay tuned for a visit reaction from Jalen Tabor, along with all other news regarding Michigan football and basketball. As always, Go Blue!
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