|Novi Catholic Central defensive end Matt Godin committed to Michigan|
Novi, MI, defensive end/defensive tackle Matt Godin publicly committed to Michigan on Thursday morning. He had been a silent commit for a few weeks. If you missed the obvious, glaring hints that all pointed to Matt Godin as the silent verbal, then you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Scout ranks him as a 3-star and the #39 defensive end in the country. 247 Sports gives him 4 stars and puts him at #239, barely slipping him into their "top 247" list. Rivals and ESPN are non-committal.
Godin is 6'5" and 253 lbs., runs a 5.03-second forty, and runs a 4.66 shuttle. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Michigan State, Missouri, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin. As a junior for Catholic Central, he had 66 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison told Godin to prepare for playing the 5-tech defensive end/defensive tackle position. The 5-tech lines up on the outside shoulder of the strongside offensive tackle, where he'll have to stand up against the run. In particular, he'll have to stand up to double-teams on power runs. His position will be occupied by Ryan Van Bergen in 2011, who was coincidentally almost Godin's exact same size as a recruit - 6'5", 260 lbs. Van Bergen was a quasi-linebacker in high school, playing virtually every position in the front seven for his Whitehall football team. And although I wasn't extremely high on Van Bergen - who has trumped me by turning into a solid player - I'm even less a fan of Godin's game.
Yep, this is one of those recruits about whom I dare to say . . . meh. I'm inclined to give Mattison (and Brady Hoke) the benefit of the doubt when recruiting defensive linemen, because they've coached good ones - great ones, even - and been a part of some great defenses. They're clearly good at what they do. But occasionally there's going to be a guy who doesn't excite me. Most of these 2012 guys get me excited about Michigan's future, but here's why I have serious questions about Godin:
His "highlight" reel includes several plays where he's a half step behind everybody else when getting off the ball. You can watch his (presumably less heralded) defensive line mates get out of their stances before him, and that's a concern for me. Defensive (and offensive) line coaches everywhere say that the first guy to get his second foot down will win the battle. I would guess that Godin only wins that race 50% of the time, although he wins the battle more often than that because, well, he's 6'5" and 253 lbs. and it's his highlight reel. I've played against Detroit Catholic Central enough - and seen them in enough state championship games - to know that the players they put on the field are as strong as oxen, and Godin does his fair share of pushing people around. But I see all kinds of fundamental issues that will get him beat at the next level: standing up too high, getting off balance, using a spin move against running plays, allowing himself to get reach blocked, etc. The litany of errors on a highlight film scares me a little bit.
Another concern for me is his production level, albeit against good competition. A good pass rush from a strongside end - who's essentially a 3-4 defensive end - should be considered gravy, because those guys aren't really put on the field for their ability to get to the quarterback. Getting sacks is the job of the 3-tech DT, the weakside end, and blitzing linebackers. But as an FBS prospect against high school competition, he ought to have more than 2 sacks. And he probably ought to have more than 66 tackles. There may have been some mitigating circumstances, but those numbers aren't spectacular. Some Michigan fans have suggested that Godin could grow into a 3-tech defensive tackle, but that 3-tech has to create a pass rush, whether by pure force (hopefully Will Campbell) or by quickness off the ball (think John Randle). I'm not sure if Godin posses the pure strength or quickness to give us anything from the 3-tech. Furthermore, CC has enough talent on its football team that Godin shouldn't necessarily be the focus of an offense; his highlight film doesn't suggest that he's facing constant double-teams.
Ending on a positive note, the last guy Michigan got from Catholic Central was Mike Martin, who has turned out to be a very good player. If Godin can take a page out of Martin's book and become a beast in the weight room, then some of Godin's fundamental problems and lack of athleticism may be mitigated. He doesn't have to be a superstar if he can hold his ground against the run. And with his size, he doesn't have to be a freak athlete. Hopefully, he can turn into a solid player in Ann Arbor.
Godin's commitment gives Michigan 11 players for the 2012 class, which is six short of its projected size of 17. That number will surely increase, but in the meantime, expect the coaches to pursue commitments from two or three more defensive linemen (one more strongside end, plus a couple defensive tackles).
TTB Rating: 65