Monday, April 18, 2011

Kaleb Ringer, Wolverine

Clayton, OH linebacker Kaleb Ringer

Kaleb Ringer, a linebacker from Clayton, OH, committed to Michigan on Friday night.  It had been strongly rumored, hinted at, etc. for about a month that Ringer would commit to the Wolverines.  He finally made it "official" on Friday, even though a newspaper reporter jumped the gun early last week.  Other options included Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, and Toledo.

Ringer is listed at 6'0" and 219 lbs.  As a junior, he had 85 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 touchdown.  According to Scout, he's a 4-star recruit and the #8 middle linebacker prospect in the country.  The other recruiting services haven't bothered to rank him yet, but when they do, I doubt they'll place him higher than Scout did.

He's a thick kid who can drive runners back into the hole and stop their forward momentum.  He stays low and drives through ballcarriers.  He also seems to do a pretty good job of wading through the trash to find the ball.  However, the criticism I've heard most often - and something I agree with - is that he lacks a great deal of speed and athleticism in the open field.  Ringer is not a naturally gifted, fluid athlete.  He's your quintessential thumper.  Typically, a kid his size would end up at WILL, but I'm not sure he has the athleticism to do what a weakside linebacker would need to do.

The Wolverines seem to be loading up on inside linebackers recently, with incoming freshmen Kellen Jones, Desmond Morgan, and Antonio Poole; and 2012 commits Ringer and Royce Jenkins-Stone, both of whom committed this past weekend.  With the exception of Poole, all of them seem like future MIKE linebackers.  Kenny Demens will be a redshirt junior returning starter in 2011 and likely stick around into 2012, which means Ringer should have a chance to redshirt as a freshman.  The only other middle linebacker on the roster beyond 2011 should be Isaiah Bell, who will be a redshirt junior when Ringer arrives on campus.

TTB Rating: 64


  1. I don't watch a lot of recruiting film but I watched Ringer's. I agree that he is not the most physically gifted recruit to come to UM. But boy, he reads his keys and gets to the ball in a hurry. He seems to diagnose plays well and not get fooled by play fakes. Maybe he is the anti-Ezeh/Mouton... I can see why the coaches are taking him, even though roster is filling up with LB's. After recruiting all of these athlete-projects over the last several years, it's nice to see the coaches bring in LB recruits with demonstrated instincts for the position.

  2. Ringer's a good addition to the class. Until we get Morgan, Jones and the others on campus the Michigan roster has exactly one proven player at MLB -- and even he is a part-time starter last year facing a new scheme and coaching staff. There's an immediate opportunity for a backup MLB and if Ringer has skills as a run-stuffer he could move himself ahead of the pack.

    I think this, along with the RJS commit, underscores the notion that the staff probably took a few too many LBs in last years class, though its hard to criticize them if they saw a need.

    Bottomline: I trust this coaching staff to make judgments on defensive personnel. If they like what they see from Ringer as a potential MLB then I'm glad to have him signed on, regardless of what his other offers look like.


  3. @ Painter Smurf 1:37 p.m.

    Agreed. I was growing tired of Rich Rodriguez recruiting safeties to play linebacker. I'm not sure what Mike Jones and Brandin Hawthorne are going to do for Michigan. I have higher hopes for Isaiah Bell, but he's been a project, too. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Rodriguez recruit who's making the biggest impact at linebacker right now is...Jake Ryan, who actually played linebacker in high school.

  4. @ Lankownia 3:17 p.m.

    I guess I didn't make it explicit in my post, but Ringer was recruited as a WILL. I think that's where he'll get his first shot to play, but personally, I'm not sure if he fits at WILL. But I guess we should operate on the assumption that he'll be a backup WILL, not MIKE.

  5. Interesting - Ringer at WLB is news to me, I had been reading MLB everywhere for Ringer and your comments are consistent with that.

    I agree with you about the position switches. It just adds a major element of uncertainty and risk - you can't assume a guy will transition the way you might hope. RR's staff seemed indifferent to that and then didn't do exacerbated the problem by moving people around even after they arrived here, mid-season even at times.


  6. @ Lankownia 8:32 p.m.

    I've seen it elsewhere, but it was also in today's Rivals article on Ringer:

    "He told me he wanted me to play the spot that [Jameel] McClain was in. He said they see me moving to the outside and playing WILL, which is what my high school coaches are going to do anyway so I get a little preparation before I leave."

  7. I've got to be honest. I am not particularly enthusiastic about Ringer. He just seems too limited athletically to be a good starting LB.

    I saw that he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash and had a 25" VJ at a combine. Those are DT type numbers, not LB.

    I hope like heck that Ringer proves me wrong and I will be cheering for him as long as he wears the winged helmet, but I have serious doubts that he will ever make much of a contribution at UM.

  8. @ Anonymous 9:03 a.m.

    To be fair, I believe the 4.9 forty time came between his freshman and sophomore years. I don't think you can judge too much about a 15-year-old's forty time. Regardless, Jonas Mouton ran a 4.87 at the NFL Combine. And while Mouton isn't a superstar, he was a pretty solid college linebacker.

    I agree that he's somewhat limited athletically. I just want to make sure his measurements are taken in context.