Monday, May 9, 2011

Pharaoh Brown, Wolverine

Pharaoh Brown (left) is multi-talented (image via

Lyndhurst, OH, defensive end Pharaoh Brown committed to Michigan on Saturday.  He joined Mario Ojemudia, a fellow defensive end from Farmington Hills, who committed on the same day.  Brown chose Michigan over offers from Arizona State, Boston College, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia, among others.

Brown is listed as a 6'6", 220-pounder.  He plays both quarterback and tight end for the Brush Arcs, which is a very odd combination.  I honestly don't know if I've seen a high school quarterback double as a defensive lineman.  And this comes on the heels of a class that included Desmond Morgan, a quarterback/linebacker from western Michigan.  Scout ranks Brown as a 3-star prospect and the #45 defensive end in the country, while 247 Sports ranks him as a 4-star and the #10 tight end.

Rivals says that Brown is a strongside defensive end, but I disagree with that.  He's pretty skinny at only 220 with that height.  And if you look at him, he doesn't seem to have a whole lot of junk in his trunk.  Sometimes you can tell whether a guy has the frame to add weight by looking at his hindquarters, and there's just not much there.  The kid should be able to bulk up to 250 or so just by developing his upper body and thickening up, but counting on him to be a 280-pound 5-tech defensive end is asking a lot.

As for his play on the field, he's another kid who's extremely raw.  It's okay that Michigan's coaches are taking a risk with an undeveloped player here, because there's plenty of talent ahead of him in the form of Craig Roh, Jibreel Black, and Brennen Beyer.  Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers.  He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.

Brown does, however, have a tendency to play very high.  That might be a problem for him, especially while he tries to bulk up over the next few years.  At 6'6" he's probably taller than just about everyone he faces in high school, but nowhere in his highlights have I seen an awareness of pad level or an attempt to use leverage. Part of that is probably because his speed prevents him from having to outmuscle opponents very often, but that technique will have to be learned before he gets on the field in college.

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison told Brown that he would be playing the hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end position.  Not that I expect it, but there's always the possibility that he could play tight end, too.

I like the Brown recruitment.  He's clearly a superior athlete, and with his size and speed, the sky is the limit.  There are several areas that need to be honed (size, strength, shedding blocks, pad level, etc.), but the depth at weakside defensive end gives the coaches the luxury of recruiting a project like Brown.  Hopefully the kid is able to harness that talent, but all of Michigan's eggs aren't in Brown's basket.  Low risk, high reward.  Furthermore, he's a quarterback.  I like kids who play quarterback in high school, even if they end up on defense.  Quarterbacks understand the game, because they have to think the game on every single snap.  They also tend to be leaders, because they've been put in front of a team, coaches have said "You've got to set an example," and other players have been looking up to them for years.  That's not to say that every quarterback is a great leader, but most seem that way.

This gives Michigan 10 commitments for 2012, with a projected number of 17.  However, that number will probably increase in the coming months due to a small trickle of attrition.

TTB Rating: 82

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  1. Magnus,

    Do you think he is underrated by Scout? They have him listed as a 3* but he looks way too talented to be ranked that low.

  2. @ M 8:53 a.m.

    I don't really look at Brown as being underrated. I think there's a good chance that he'll move up with a good senior season, but he's undersized and lacking technique. A 3-star rating seems pretty accurate, because he's not an immediate impact type of guy.

  3. Didn't John Navarre also play DE/QB?

  4. @ Anonymous 10:07 a.m.

    I believe so, but I never saw him play in high school.

  5. I thought the ideal SAM LB was 6'6" 250 athlete like Sean Crable. Why aren't people projecting Pharaoh Brown (6'6" projected 250 athlete) as the SAM? Is it because we already have 4 LBs in this class and we don't want to think we have 5? If Pharaoh is a WDE, then I am having a hard time distinguishing the prototypical qualities of the WDE v. SAM.

    Please distinguish these two positions. One is better straight line attacker v. better lateral movement?

  6. @ TriFloyd 11:54 a.m.

    Yeah, I think Brown might a little overmatched in coverage. Crable was a SAM, but Brown might be a little too big (eventually) if he really is 6'6". Lateral movement might be a problem for someone that size.