Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chris Bryant, Wolverine

Yes, Chris Bryant's high school team
was the Wolverines, too.

Chris Bryant, a 6'5", 330 lb. offensive lineman, committed to Michigan on Friday night.  It had been rumored for many months that Bryant was a Michigan lean, and he finally made the public announcement.  Bryant is from Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, IL.

The hulking lineman is a 4-star prospect to Rivals (which projects him as an offensive tackle), but both Scout and ESPN give him a 3-star rating (as an offensive guard).  He also had offers from Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Stanford, among others.  The other finalists for his services were Arizona, Illinois, and Pitt.

I find the above rankings to be a little funny.  Bryant's body type obviously leans toward playing guard at the next level, but the two sites who project him as a guard gave him only three stars.  Conversely, the one site that oddly ranks him as a tackle gives him a very high rating.  That seems to be backward, but oh well.

Clearly Bryant has some work to do on his body.  There's a humorous quote from a interview where Bryant says, "I'm not a sloppy 330, I'm built."  Well . . . he's a little bit sloppy.  Not too many high schoolers are 330 lbs. and "built."  In fact, I might even go out on a limb and say zero of them are.  High school kids don't have the hormones, time, or inclination to be a built 330 lbs.  So Phil Pfister he's not, but if a kid wants to think he looks sexy with a big belly, who am I to stop him?

The bottom line is that Bryant is a very powerful kid.  He has a reported bench press of 395 lbs.  His squat number of 420 lbs. isn't extremely impressive, but when you consider the fact that he's lifting his own 330 lbs. plus another 420, well, that's not bad.  When you watch Bryant's film, it's evident that he plows over defensive linemen.  He's the type of lineman that demoralizes you by blocking you into the ground and then hitting you again and again when you try to get up.  Eventually players just bide their time until the whistle blows.  He's not quite to the level of Taylor Lewan in nastiness, but he's pretty close.

The thing I like most about Bryant, though, is his footwork.  For such a big kid, he moves his feet superbly.  Unlike fellow class of 2011 behemoth Aundrey Walker, Bryant keeps his feet moving throughout the play.  Whereas Walker gives opponents a shove or two and expects them to give up, which they often do, Bryant drives his man or keeps his feet moving laterally in short, choppy steps.  (Bonus: I ranked Bryant just ahead of Walker and just behind recent USC commit Cyrus Hobbi back in January.)  His excellent footwork and potentially overwhelming size and strength should turn him into an excellent offensive lineman at Michigan.

Bryant will need to play a little bit lower and condition his body, but from all accounts, he is a high character kid.  I expect that he'll get his weight under control, improve his lower body strength, and be a multi-year starter at Michigan.  He'll almost certainly redshirt in 2011 and watch Patrick Omameh and Ricky Barnum man the guard positions in 2012, but as a redshirt sophomore in 2013, Bryant should be in line to step into the starting group.  He's not the all-around athlete that former 5-star William Campbell is, but as strictly an offensive lineman, I would take Bryant 2011 over Campbell coming out of high school.

This is commitment #17 for Michigan.  There are three or four spots remaining in this class, one of which would likely be reserved for Traverse City offensive lineman Jake Fisher.  A commitment from Fisher would likely end offensive line recruiting, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the coaches pursue a lower level player over the next few days if Fisher doesn't give off positive vibes to the Michigan staff.

TTB Rating: 87

The link HERE is a good highlight film but can't be embedded, so here are some clips of him at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Ann Arbor:


  1. Huge get for the program.

    I like the notion that Michigan should pursue a 4th OL even if Fisher isn't part of the class. Though, is there time to get a Plan B player given Fisher's process? While we've seen many new names pop up over the last few weeks, it seems unlikely that would happen again this close to signing day; especially considering no time left for visits. Perhaps there's some 2 or 3 star types who've been to camps and would drop everything from one Brady Hoke phone call. I'd be surprised.

    It seems as though Willingham, Clark, Rawls, Fisher, Bennett and Cooper are the only remaining names on the board. The priority remains Fisher.

    That 6 targets and 17 commitments. Numbers will almost certainly not be a problem because they won't have 100% success rate. That said, if Michigan gets good vibes from Fisher, Bennett and Cooper, I suspect someone like Clark or Rawls could see their offer pulled (or modified to a gray-shirt or preferred walk-on status) by signing day. Alternatively, I'd imagine they could take some current walk-ons and 5th year's away for a while if they're forced to. Give the offers back whenever the inevitable attrition over the next 8 months occurs. Its unlikely that it becomes a problem though.

    I think they're just crossing

    Regarding Campbell - the move to OL never made much sense because 4 other interior OL are in the same graduating class as WC (Omameh, Barnum, Khoury, Mealer). Its unlikely he was going to beat out any of these incumbents and like them, he's gone by the time they need a new starter (2013).

    Meanwhile, DL is wide open in 2012 when Martin and Van Bergen graduate. Campbell's only competition at DT will be Washington, Ash, and whatever recruits they land - none of whom are at all proven. We have to hope that the OL move was a wake-up call for Campbell and that this coaching staff can turn him into a quality player by the time he's a senior.

  2. will u b giving ur "best of" awards after signing day? just trying to look forward to, those were good last year


  3. @ Lankownia 6:27 p.m.

    I don't foresee any grayshirt/pulled offer shenanigans, but anything's possible.

    As far as late offers go, those things happen all the time. A guy like Willie Beavers, who's visited Michigan before, might be able to be reeled in at the 11th hour. Not that I have any inside info about Beavers, but that's the type of kid I'm talking about.

  4. @ horn 9:31 p.m.

    Yes, I will be doing a "Best of" post. Thanks.

  5. so im assuming no other DT prospects are on ur board except cooper? i think u guys REALLY need a DT commit this class. another question: are u going to have a 2012 big board? or should i just go back to mgoblog to look at theirs *shudders*


  6. @ horn 11:38 p.m.

    I agree that we need a DT. As far as I know, Michigan hasn't really been recruiting any other DTs. It's probably Cooper or bust, although we might be able to pick up a MAC-level type of kid.

    I already have a 2012 big board (sort of) at the top of the page. It's not that thorough, but I'll worry about sprucing it up after NSD.