Poll: 2015 Class Conclusion

 

I created a quick poll to see who you guys feel is the most important recruit remaining for the 2015 class!  One week until NSD! Go Blue

Harbaugh Checks out a local product

Jim Harbaugh reportedly dropped in on 2016 QB Jacob Lipetzky from Riverview Gabriel Richard HS in Michigan this morning.

“Jim dropped in to say that I need to keep up the good work in school and keep my grades up and that he’ll keep an eye on me”, Lipitzky said.

Lipitzky amassed 18 TD’s while recording 60 tackles as a safety.

Lipitzky is a name to keep an eye on as a potential walk on candidate for the 2016 class and goes to show Jim is looking all over the country for under the radar talent.

In The Film Room: 2015 SS Tyree Kinnel

Name: Tyree Kinnel

Class: 2015

Position: S

Height: 6’0

Weight: 205

 

Kinnel is a 24/7 composite four star safety from Dayton, OH that has been committed to the Wolverines since Augus 2014. Kinnel has held stead fast in his commitment through the rough months that were the 2014 season and the firing of Brady Hoke. Kinnel was being looked at by the likes of Tennessee, Notre Dame and Ohio State, and drew offers from four other schools (MSU, Arkansas, Kentucky, Notre Dame). Kinnel is a throw back, not coming off the field on defense and playing all special teams in high school. I see him fitting in just fine in Coach Durkin’s system, and after extensively watching his tape I could not be happier he has stuck with his commitment.

 

Projected Position: Strong Safety

Body: A-

Kinnel is a stout six-foot nothing. You would like to see just another inch or two of height here for a defensive back that will be asked to play closer to the line of scrimmage, but he will not be marked down too much for not having it. Already at 205 pounds, he has the size to bang with lineman and full backs at the second level and I am sure he will only continue to grow once he gets on campus and works with SC coach Tolbert.

 

Technique/Foot Work: B

Here is where you’ll find Kinnel’s lowest grade. By no means is his athleticism sub par, it is simply not spectacular. Kinnel has decent back pedal speed, although his form is a little tall for my liking. He can get out of his back pedal quickly to break on a route or fill an alley, but there certainly are players out there that can do it more impressively. Kinnel would benefit from an entire off-season in Ann Arbor, but unfortunately we will not see him until the fall.

 

Athleticism/Speed: A-

Kinnel has been clocked as fast as 4.40 in the forty, and it shows on film. Being a gunner on punt and kickoff, Kinnel blazes past blockers to make a big play for his team. He is athletic enough to avoid blocks weather its at the point of attack or in the open field. This kid can get anywhere he needs to on the field, usually unblocked. Vision is not something usually talked about with defensive players, but Kinnel has it. He takes the least obstructed route to the ball carrier in his pursuit and its fun to watch. Once he sees his opening to the ball, he’s like a predator taking down a wounded animal.

Run Support: A

Kinnel’s tape shows him playing against mostly “Air Force” style option teams, which is an amazing experience for a safety to learn to play the run. Kinnel is fantastic in run support, he is physical enough to come up in the box and take on lineman and is fast enough to beat the running back to the alley. His acceleration allows him to slow play the first two options (Fullback, Quarterback) then backdoor the running back after he receives the pitch. Kinnel’s tackling form is phenomenal as well, overall he plays the run as well as I’ve seen a high school safety.

 

Pass Coverage: B+

While Kinnel did not have a lot of opportunities to play the pass, he made of the most of the ones he had. It is difficult to be disciplined when playing an option team, but Kinnel does a fine job reading his keys and getting to his coverage area. He plays smart, after reading his keys and picking up his receiver, he will follow the quarterback’s eyes, which will often lead to him getting an interception. Kinnel has great ball skills as well, going up and high pointing the ball over receivers who are often taller than him.

Overall: B+

Kinnel is the most ready of the Michigan commits at this point. His technique is very fundamentally sound, and I’m sure it will only get better once coach Zordich and Jackson get a hold of him. A true Midwest kid, he wont shy away from anyone once fall camps rolls around. If the coaches like him enough and he can grasp the scheme right away, Kinnel could see playing time early on. I would be surprised to see him red shirted, as he could be a force on special teams from the get go. Not being early enrolled is definitely a negative however, if he were to be on campus already I would put money on him getting some early PT on defense. I loved watching this kids tape and I am sure I will love watching him in Ann Arbor for years to come.

@BleedBlueCoachT

Day 1: Road to NSD– Visits

This is a short little piece where I will touch on every player Michigan makes contact with in the days after the dead period, leading up to NSD and beyond.  Source credit to 247 Sports and Scout, along with my own sources..

2015

WR Ryan Davis (Offered) – Drevno

DE Keisean Lucier South

CB Chris Williamson – Zordich

WR Auden Tate – Drevno

CB Jarius Adams (Offered) – Durkin

RB Mike Weber – Wheatley

CB Iman Marshall

CB Nate Dalton – Mattison

DE Shelton Johnson (Offered)

2016

DE Khalid Kareem (Offered)

LB Jeffrey McCullough (Offered)

CB Chad Clay

CB Deontay Anderson

WR Reggie Hemphill- Mapps

DT Ed Oliver

2017

DB Jamyest Williams

QB Todd Centio

CB Deangelo Gibbs

LB Josh Ross

In The Film Room: 2015 ATH Brian Cole

Name: Brian Cole

Class: 2015

Position: ATH

Height: 6’2

Weight: 200

 

Brian Cole is in Ann Arbor as you read this, as an early enrollee who is rooming with Alex Malzone. Cole comes to us by the way of Saginaw Heritage High School. If you were to look up the term “Jack of all trades” in the dictionary, you will find Cole’s name next to it. Cole did it all for Heritage, playing primarily running back and free safety but he also moonlighted at receiver, quarterback and punter. I had the privilege of watching coaches tape on Cole this season, and at times he looks like a man amongst boys. Cole has played a high level of competition at Heritage, which plays in the tough and competitive Saginaw Valley League. Brian Cole is a 24/7 composite four-star, and is ranked as the number four ATH in the class of 2015. Cole held eight other offers that included Ohio State, Tennessee and MSU. He has been firmly committed since July of 2014. Cole is a true athlete and can legitimately play wherever he likes at the next level.

(Highlights courtesy of Scout/Hudl)

Projected Position: Safety/Wide Receiver

Body: A+

Cole is a physical specimen. At 6’2 and 200lbs. Cole would have above average size to play the safety position at Michigan. If he were to play receiver, he would be somewhat of a tweener. Not quite the big 6’5 Mike Evans type but also not a small slot possession receiver. Wherever Cole chooses to line up at Michigan, he will be able to hold his own.

Speed/Acceleration: A

The fastest players on the field rarely look fast. You can’t see their effort, and by effort I mean arms pumping and knees chugging along. Cole looks like he’s on ice skates when he runs. He has a reported 40 time of 4.33, which I do not doubt. A long strider, Cole pulls away from defenders with ease. If he is even with a defender, he may as well be gone because there are not many people who can match his stride length and speed. His acceleration is very good for a player with such a long gait. He can start and stop on a dime, and it all looks effortless for him.

Athleticism: A

Cole can do it all. His range defensively is ridiculous; Cole can make it from A to B without breaking a sweat which makes it hard to scheme against him. On offense, Cole will beat you to the edge then beat you to the end zone. He will occasionally use his vision and acceleration to reverse field and take it to the house. Cole is also not afraid to hurdle a low tackling defender also, showing off his 32” vertical in the process. There isn’t a place on the field Cole cannot get to faster than you, and there isn’t a play I wouldn’t trust him to make with the ball in his hands.

Run Support: C-

Where to begin..Cole’s run support from the safety position is poor to say the least. On defense, Cole is lazy. He does not read his keys what so ever, and does not react to the play in front of him. After watching an entire game of defensive film on him, I can only conclude three possibilities for why his play is poor: A. Cole is lazy B. He is a product of poor coaching C. Cole is disinterested in playing defense. As I mentioned earlier, he does not read his keys. He does not fill any run alleys, nor come up into the box to help. If the play doesn’t get past the first or second level, Cole will barely move from his safety spot. Instead of coming up for support, Cole will wait and try to shoot a gap to make a tackle down field, often times attempting to line up a big hit he occasionally whiffs on. If Cole sees the opportunity to make a big play, he will take it. Routine tackles or doing what is normally asked of his position does not interest Cole. He has all the ability in the world, its just he is simply choosing not to do it or he hasn’t been taught how.

Pass Coverage: C+

Since Cole does not read his keys, it is difficult for him to execute his pass coverage responsibilities. He will bounce on his heels while backfield peeking, which is a worst-case offense for defensive backs. If Cole sees someone running a route past him, then he takes off in pursuit. There is little contact here, as Cole is such a great athlete he does not struggle to keep up with any receiver and he has no need to bump and run or hold at all. Having elite foot speed and quickness cannot be taught, and Cole has those attributes locked up. Cole completely relies on his athleticism in the defensive backfield and uses little to no technique. There will be a big learning curve at the next level for him on this side of the ball.

Overall: B

Brian Cole is a very exceptional athlete that has spent his last few off seasons training with Saginaw Heritage’s own, former Purdue and NFL stand out Stu Schweigert. Cole has great play making ability on offense that can stretch the field vertically. Cole Is very versatile and can line up at any position. His combination of ball skills and athleticism means defenses will have to know where he is lined up at all times. Coach Harbaugh has told John Kelly that the staff will not force him into any position his freshman year, and I expect it will be the same for Cole. If Cole were to go the defensive route, he could end up or free safety or corner where his athleticism would shine. Cole displays very little football IQ on the defensive side, and I would be surprised if he chooses to play there as a freshman. I believe that Cole could be a standout on special teams from the get go. Being a gunner on punt and kickoffs or returning kicks. Being enrolled early will give him a leg up in earning some playing time on whatever side of the ball he chooses. While Cole’s defensive grades were poor and ultimately brought down his overall grade, his potential is sky high and I expect him to do great things for the Maize and Blue. It is very important to recruit well in your own back yard, especially when there are gems like Cole there for the taking.

@BleedBlueCoachT

Three ’15 Recruits That Would Impact Michigan Football Going Forward

The year has changed in number, and the new era in Harbaugh has begun.

With a new era comes a new found vision, and with the change back to college, comes recruiting.  With a month to go before National Signing Day, Jim Harbaugh must act quick in filling this class right.

It has been made public the recruits that Harbaugh has already contacted, but there are three recruits who stand out in terms of importance above the rest.  These three recruits could very well, also be the most crucial in terms of impact both on the field and off. I took a deeper look at this and ranked the three recruits in terms of importance and impact, if they were to commit to Michigan.

1. Chris Clark

Chris Clark, a tight end from Connecticut, who is widely considered the top tight end available in the 2015 class is easily the top target for Michigan as it stands and also the one recruit who is most important for the team ON the field.

In a Jim Harbaugh offense, tight ends have thrived (Ertz, Fleener, Davis).  The Tight end is arguably the most important piece of the offense because Harbaugh tends to run a ton of 2 TE sets and needs playmakers in that position.  Clark has shown that he could be a playmaker and so much more.

At 6’5 245lbs, Clark has all the tools to make any play needed, while also moving inside to block when the duty calls.  Clark would give a new dimension to the Michigan offense, along with Jake Butt.  A landing of Clark would also show that the top players in the country want to go to Michigan and could help the recruitment of others.

2. Iman Marshall

This one may come as a surprise to many of you due to the fact that the major interest from Marshall has just truly begun with the hiring of Harbaugh.  Marshall is arguably the top CB available in 2015 and would prove to be an instant difference maker in a Michigan secondary that will feature budding star Jourdan Lewis and a healthy returning superstar in Jabrill Peppers.  Peppers, Lewis, and potentially Marshall could combine to form one of the best secondaries in college football and at times make any opposing offense one dimensional.

Play, and talent aside, perhaps the biggest impact of a potential Iman Marshall commitment would come in the recruiting game.  The addition of Iman Marshall could open pipelines for Michigan in the west coast that the Wolverines haven’t seen since the days of Lloyd Carr.  The commitment of Marshall could prove to be worthy in his own class with interest coming from fellow California prospects Cordell Broadus and Colin Samuel.

A verbal from Marshall would be the ultimate game changer and would have an effect on future classes for Michigan by drawing new found interest from California and its neighboring states.

I have mentioned recently that I believe our chances with Marshall are much better than major media outlets are reporting, especially with a stellar defensive staff being constructed.  I still believe that as it stands USC is ahead by a rather large margin, while saying we have a 20% chance of landing him.  One thing to keep your eye on is how well the visit goes.  If the visit goes exceptionally well, than our chances drastically increase.

3. Mike Weber

Mike Weber’s importance is pretty self explanatory.  Weber decommitted during the Wolverines past season and since has committed to Ohio State, and Urban Meyer, Michigan’s top rival going forward.  Not only would the landing of Weber mark the first victory of hopefully many against the Buckeyes going forward, the verbal from Weber could continue the Michigan Pipeline at Cass Tech and help add a supreme talent to an already solid backfield core.  Some may view the recruitment of Weber as a pride battle, but the kid can flat out run with the best of them and is an elite talent at his position for the 2015 class.

With the many uncertainties of recruiting today, there is one given and that is that this stretch run for Harbaugh and Michigan leading up to NSD could be one of the most fun to watch in recent memory and could also bring upon just a few surprises while potentially laying the groundwork for a very successful foundation for years to come.

HUGE Coaching Update

With D.J Durkin in Ann Arbor today (Scout), Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports is reporting that Harbaugh is making a heavy push for Lance Anderson, the defensive coordinator at Stanford.

Feldman also reports the plan would be to have Mattison, Durkin AND (!!!) Anderson on the staff. Safe to say that would arguably be the best defensive coaching staff in the nation.

Also, today it was made public that Shannon Turley is the new strength and conditioning coach for the Wolverines. He was the S&C coach under Jim at Stanford.

This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on, especially with the fact I’ve been told Durkin could very well be announced as part of the staff early this week.
Go Blue!

In The Film Room: Grading 2015 Michigan Commit Alex Malzone

Name: Alex Malzone

Class: 2015

Position: Quarterback

Height: 6’1

Weight: 203

Malzone is a 24/7 composite four star, In-state commit from the great Birmingham Brother Rice program. Malzone won 39 straight games as a starter, including back to back state championships. He has been committed to the Wolverines since May of 2014. He had held offers from nine other schools, most of which were from the MAC. Malzone has been the glue of the Wolverines 15′ class since last may, holding steadfast during the firing of Brady Hoke saying he “Gave his word to a school, not to a coach”. I first saw Malzone play as a sophomore, and from his first snap he has impressed. During his senior season he threw for over 2,900 yards with thirty-eight touchdowns to only five interceptions. Malzone is an early enrollee and will room with Saginaw Heritage’s Brian Cole this winter.

 

Style of Passer: Pro

Body: B-

Even though we live in an era where the “small” quarterback can be successful you’d still be more comfortable having your guy be in the 6’3-6’6 range. Not everyone can be Drew Brees or Russell Wilson, so only time will tell if Malzone can be another in the line of recently successful smaller quarterbacks. While Malzone is not exactly lacking size,  The fact of the matter is, he could he taller and larger. You’d like to see him add some lower body muscle and reduce his risk of injury once he gets into the weight room in Ann Arbor this winter.

Arm Strength: B+

Malzone’s arm is slightly above average. He can drive the ball down the field with ease, thanks in part to his good footwork. He can put more than enough zip on the ball to complete the three step passes like slants or quick outs. Something Malzone is especially good at is timing routes like come backs or sidelines whether it’s down the field or just a few yards, he has the arm to get it there. Malzone always had a very talented supporting cast at Brother Rice, one that included Division one receivers Corey Laccanaria (Ball State) and Grant Perry (Northwestern) that at times helped him out when forcing the ball into coverage, but nonetheless he has the arm to get it in there.

Accuracy: A

This is Malzone’s strong suit, as he is a very efficient passer. He has a 66.8% career completion percentage over his three years seeing time under center, with only fourteen interceptions in over 600 career pass attempts. He has great touch on sideline throws as well as the back shoulder. Any actions/roll-outs/sprint-outs are money, as are his play fakes. But what impresses me the most is Malzone’s ability to find the open man and either hit him in stride or put the ball where no one else can get it. His touch is great, weather its a corner or flag route to the sideline or a deep slant down the field. He does have the tendency to force throws, but he had the talent at receiver to help him out in high school. At Michigan, he’ll have the talent at receiver, but the big difference will be the talent he will be going against on defense. Some of the throws he landed at Brother Rice will be going the other way at Michigan.

Mobility/Pocket Presence: B+

While Malzone will never be confused for a dual-threat quarterback, he can definitely move. He will always look to throw the ball first but when the play is completely broken down, Malzone will skirt off and has the ability to make one or two defenders miss. He is great throwing the ball when out of the pocket, weather by design of a play action or a roll out or extending the play. He keeps his eyes downfield and finds the open man with ease. Malzone’s athletic ability will also keep him out of the arms of defenders in the pocket. He is well trained, and will keep his shoulders square and eyes down the field while evading pressure.

Mechanics: B-

While Malzone’s delivery was sufficient in high school, it will need work at the next level. His delivery motion is somewhat long, and while the ball does not come out slow, he leaves  it extended away from his body for defenders to knock away. Malzone throws it like a baseball. To put it simply, his throwing motion needs to be shorter, and more compact. A few months with Michigan’s expected new offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and I expect Malzone will improve in this area by leaps and bounds. One thing Malzone does exceptionally well,  is I have yet to see him make a throw off his back foot, which is a huge no no for a quarterback and you tend to see often with younger QB’s. He steps into his throws with confidence, with square shoulders and great weight transfer. His throwing motion is the only thing bringing his grade down here, otherwise his mechanics are fantastic.

Decision Making/Football IQ: B

This is where Malzone is a little enigmatic. He will more often than not find the open receiver when extending the play out of the pocket, and he often makes the right reads of the defense in the short passing game. Where Malzone fails however is forcing the ball into not only double, but sometimes triple coverage. As I stated earlier he has been helped out his whole career by Division one caliber receivers. The more it worked for Malzone, the more he seemed to force the ball into coverage as his season went on. And while it may not seem like an issue, what with his 66.8 career completion percentage and only 14 career interceptions, a continuation of these decisions will cost him at the next level. It May just be a case of trusting his arm and receivers too much, but only time will tell.

Overall: B

This grade is a little harsh, but there are a few things Malzone will need to work on to be successful for the Wolverines. There is nothing he can do about his small stature, so he will simply have to prove that his height is not an issue at the next level. I do not think Malzone has an NFL type arm, but that does not mean he doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in college. His accuracy is everything you ask for in a quarterback, as his throws are on the money. Yes, he may force throws too often but when he does the ball is usually placed where only the receiver can get it. His mobility and athleticism for a pocket passer is a huge plus if your an offense that will run bootlegs and sprint outs, which all pro style offenses will feature. If the play breaks down and he has no throwing options, he is more than capable to take off and pick up a short first down but probably not much more. With improvements in his throwing motion and sometimes inconsistent decision making, Malzone will flourish into a starting caliber quarterback in Ann Arbor.

@BleedBlueCoachT

In The Film Room: 2015 ATH John Kelly

Name: John Kelly Jr

Class of 2015

Position: ATH

Height: 5’10

Weight: 195

Kelly is a local kid, coming out of Oak Park High School just north of Detroit. Kelly is a Three-Star Athlete according to 24/7 composite rankings. Kelly is very sought after, holding eleven offers. Five of those offers are B1G schools (Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Maryland and MSU). Other offers include MAC schools as well as Tennessee. Kelly is being pursued hard by Sparty, and up until the hire of Jim Harbaugh by Michigan, many presumed he would eventually end up there. Kelly’s interest in the wolverines has grown greatly since the hire of Harbaugh, with multiple 24/7 crystal ball flips from the Spartans to the Wolverines. A week ago, Kelly’s top three was Michigan, MSU and Minnesota. Kelly is still showing interest in those three schools and plans on taking an official visit to them as well as Tennessee before NSD in February.  it seems that Michigan is the clear leader going forward. I will cover Kelly as an offensive weapon, as he is a very versatile athlete with the potential to play more than one position. I’ve seen Kelly play in person his junior season and without even knowing who he was, he stood out to me. Kelly is being recruited by Roy Manning and Fred Jackson from Michigan. While Kelly is being recruited as an Athlete I  project him to stay on the offensive side of the ball, and that is why I will only grade him as I see him, and that is as an offensive weapon.

 

Type of back: Pure Speed

Body: A

At 5’10, 195 pounds Kelly is built very solid for a speed back. Lets put it this way: If you were to create an offensive play maker on a video game, he would look like Kelly. Solid enough to tote the rock between the tackles, tough enough to take a big hit and small enough to elude defenders. Kelly will not seek contact but is not afraid to lower his shoulder to finish a run.

Speed: A+

Kelly has been clocked at 4.38 in the 40, and I believe it. Kelly is exceptionally fast on film and in person. Playing against top tier competition in the Detroit area, Kelly routinely BURNS his opponents. Kelly is fast to the hole and even faster to the end zone. Once he breaks contain or get past the third level he is nearly impossible to catch, even if the defense has a great angle. Kelly has track speed to put it simply.

Vision/Patience: B-

Kelly’s vision is somewhat enigmatic. In the open field, his vision is superb. Weather its returning kicks or outside runs, Kelly will find a seam and turn on the jets. But as far as between the tackle runs go, Kelly struggles to find the hole, and instead of showing patience for something to develop, Kelly will often rely on his speed by changing direction and bouncing runs to the outside where they were never intended to go. Patience is not as key with speed guys as it is for the power backs, but between the tackles vision is certainly something Kelly will need to work on if he is going to play running back at the next level. Kelly is a very decisive runner and wastes no time or movements on the field.

Pass Protection: C

Very little sample size to work from, Kelly is a relatively physical back but if he was in the game for Oak Park, he is most likely getting the ball. Pass pro is often the most difficult thing for young backs to pick up at the next level, and i predict that will hold true for Kelly. There will be much work to do in order for him to be an every down back.

Athleticism: A

Kelly is everything you would want in an athlete. His runs look effortless, and his speed is phenomenal. His foot speed is great, both vertically and horizontally. Kelly does not spend much time running east/west, but he wastes no time when he does. Kelly had the footwork to play defensive back against some of the top receivers in the state, and while I believe he is too good of a play maker to keep the ball out of his hands, he absolutely has the athletic ability to develop into a shut down corner at the next level.

Hands: B

Kelly played in all three phases of the game for Oak Park. Starting at DB, tail back as well as returning kicks. His hands are soft to say the least, and his ball protections is well enough to trust him with that many touches per game. Weather Kelly has the hands to make a transition to slot receiver, that remains to be seen.

Overall: A-

Kelly is a very underrated recruit in my eyes, I see him as at least a four star prospect. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball from anywhere on the field. His track like speed makes him an absolute weapon that you can line up at any position on the field and just get the ball in his hands. Although not the same size or build, I would project Kelly in a similar role of what Dennis Norfleet does for Michigan, at the very least. With a little bit of work, Kelly could make the move to receiver at the next level. Even though I project him to play on the offensive side of the ball,  His athleticism is well above average which will allow him to play where ever he and his coaches see fit. Kelly is a must get for the Maize and Blue for 2015, and I believe he could play as a freshman on any if not all special teams units, and could potentially see time on either side of the ball, assuming coach Harbaugh will open up all positions to competition. It is surprising to me that Kelly is considered only the ninth best player in the state. Kelly is a Detroit kid, and plays as such with a scrappy, tough, no quit attitude. He would be a great fit in Ann Arbor and I think we could see him putting on a Maize & Blue cap come signing day, when he plans on making his decision.

@BleedBlueCoachT

In The Film Room: 2016 RB Kentrail Moran

Name: Kentrail Moran

Class of 2016

Position: RB

Height: 5’11

Weight: 192

Moran is a class of 2016 prospect out of O’Fallon high school in O’Fallon, Illinois. The 24/7 composite Four-Star is currently the fourteenth ranked running back for his class. Moran holds six offers, which includes three Big Ten schools (Michigan, Illinois and Indiana) as well as Kansas, Syracuse and Northern Illinois. Moran was being recruited by Wolverine assistants Jeff Hecklinski and Fred Jackson, but it remains unclear who will continue his recruitment as it seems neither assistant coach will be a hold over from Brady Hokes staff. The Wolverines certainly seem to be in the lead for Moran with in state Illinois being a close second. Moran has not officially visited Ann Arbor but plans on doing so. On December 29th Moran tweeted “ Gotta get up to Michigan with the hire of Jim! #GoBlue” and has been interacting with fans on twitter. The fact that there are two other backs in the 16’ class being pursued by Michigan does not diminish Moran’s interest. The number one back of 2016 Kareem Walker and four star Elijah Holifield are both being heavily pursued by the Wolverines. Derrick Green, De’Veon Smith and Drake Johnson will all be seniors in 16’, while Ty Isaac and Ross Douglas will be redshirt juniors so there will be plenty of room on the depth chart for more than one running back in the 16 class.

Type of back: Speed (One Cut)

Body: B+

Morans’s frame will allow him to be an every down back In the B1G. At 192 pounds as a junior, he will only continue to grow into his big 5’11 frame. He is big and physical enough to run through arm tackles and while no one will confuse him for a power back, Moran does not shy away from contact.

Speed: B+

His SPARQ verified 40 yard dash time is 4.48. Moran has a great initial burst to take the hand off and hit the hole, getting to the second level before you know it, but he is quickest to get from the second to the third level, where he is prone to slide his runs to the outside. Once he catches the edge and turns up the sideline, only a great defensive angle will catch him. His running motion is very smooth and looks effortless.

Vision/Patience: B-

Vision is one of the most important things a running back can possess, and Moran has plenty of it. Moran will stretch the defense to its edges and once a defender gets over the top on him. He’ll put his foot in the dirt and cut upfield or ever back against the grain. He does not spend much time making moves horizontally, he is very north-south oriented. Patience on the other hand is another Story. Too often he will slide a run to the edge too early, forgoing any downfield blockers that might present themselves. A little more patience at the second level would lead to longer runs for Moran.

Pass Protection: A

Although from a small sample size, Moran is excellent in pass protection. He can set the edge of sprint out passes or step up in the pocket and take on a blitzing line backer. Moran does not back down from physical play and is willing to get his hands dirty.

Hands: B

Another small sample size, Moran’s high school offense does not utilize the back out of the back field often but when it does, Moran has soft hands, that I believe are good enough to leave him in on third down passing situations.

Athleticism: B+

Moran has outstanding body control, his running motion is smooth and fluid. He runs with no wasted movement which makes him a very efficient runner. He is capable of making the first man miss while also occasionally needing more than one tackler to bring him down. Once he has put his foot in the dirt and gets vertical he is hard to bring down and even harder to catch. Any knock on Moran’s athletic ability is his lack of foot speed. He is a long strider, and while he has overall quickness as a runner he lacks lateral quickness.

Overall: B+

Kentrail Moran is a top tier tail back as a junior in high school. He possesses great vision and has more than enough athletic ability to exploit any hole he finds on the field. He is an all-purpose back at his core, and while he would rather run past you than through you, he does not shy away from contact. If he can continue to grow as an athlete and get better as a football player, I believe he will be hard to keep off the field in any situation, and that includes returning kicks. Moran would be a great addition to the Wolverines 2016 recruiting class, and I believe he would flourish in Jim Harbaugh’s offense regardless of what role he finds himself in whether it be a third down pass catcher or a work horse every down back.

@BleedBlueCoachT