Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shane Morris, Wolverine

Class of 2013 quarterback Shane Morris committed to Michigan on Tuesday

Warren, MI, quarterback Shane Morris, a class of 2013 prospect, committed to Michigan on Tuesday.  He's a 0-star recruit to Rivals, but Scout thinks he's a 0-star.  However, 247 Sports is the outlier here and gave him a 0-star ranking.  ESPN was too busy working on its poker coverage to bother acknowledging Morris' existence.

He's 6'3", 183 lbs. with a 4.63 forty, a 4.6-second shuttle, and a 28" vertical.  Morris selected Michigan over offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Toledo.

He finished his sophomore year 102-for-180 for 1,150 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions, in addition to 2 rushing touchdowns.

It's very, very difficult to project a player as a sophomore in high school.  Kids hit growth spurts, their bodies fill out, sometimes they mature, sometimes they plateau, etc.  However, it's easy to see why Morris would have garnered so much interest this early in the recruiting process.  He looks like a very mature passer.  He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc.  Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball.  When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there.  When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it.  That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time.  In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.  I'm also impressed with the quickness of Morris' release.  He doesn't hold the ball at a consistent spot, which is something that I'm sure he'll work on in the future; however, even if he lets his arm drop, he gets the ball out quickly.  There's just something unique and smooth about a lefthanded quarterback's throwing motion, and he's no exception.

Morris moves fairly well within and without the pocket, but this is not a kid who's going to create many plays with his feet.  He's comfortable throwing on the move, but the speed and creativity probably won't be there to make him a consistent running threat.  His footwork is a little sloppy in the pocket, which is another thing that should improve with time.  I would also hope that Morris continues to thicken up and get stronger, although it's hard to knock a 6'3", 183 lb. sophomore in high school for a lack of size.

Honestly, I don't have a good grasp on where Morris will be ranked next year or what his future looks like.  And if anyone claims they do, they're fibbing.  This is rare territory for Michigan.  A few years ago, I was on a message board with Michigan fans who were talking up a safety from Florida who liked Michigan.  They said he was 6'3", 220 lb. freshman with 4.4 speed and would be a surefire 5-star.  As you might have guessed, that player was Marvin Robinson.  You know, the 6'1", 200 lb. Robinson whose speed (or lack thereof) puts him in a constant discussion to potentially move to linebacker.  So when you read these projections that Morris is going to be super awesome and such, take them with a grain of salt.  He's far from a finished product.

I do like Morris.  He has some impressive physical qualities, and from everything I've seen and read, he seems like a quality individual.  I would guess that he will be highly ranked, but without being up to speed on all the quarterbacks in the 2013 class - which very few people are - it's hard to say whether he's a top five or top ten quarterback.  I would be surprised if he's not a top-10 quarterback recruit by next year, but honestly, that's just a semi-educated, wild-ass guess.

Morris is the first commitment for the class of 2013.  In fact, since it comes approximately 21 months before National Signing Day, this is the earliest commitment Michigan has received since Rivals started keeping track.  This is a way too early projection, but the class of 2013 looks like it will start off at about 18 players.  Once you figure in attrition and potential non-renewed fifth years, that's going to be a pretty big class.  Morris would be the first Michigan player from Warren De La Salle since Mark Torzy back in the mid-'70's.

You can now follow Touch the Banner  on Twitter.


  1. I'm not sure how I feel about this. What if the kid hits a plateau and ends up as a MAC quality recruit?

  2. @ Anonymous 8:44 a.m.

    There's always that possibility. The coaches do have some recourse because they can't officially offer him until August 1, 2012, anyway. They could either back off of him or they could just not send him an official offer when the time comes. There's nothing that's binding for either party.

  3. While I like the idea of him committing early I would really doubt that this commitment is not conditional from the coaches side. He will have to show improvement and increase to the level of being a D1 player at a big program. I must admit that this group of coaches seems pretty set on the type of guys they are looking for so to even extend an offer to him (although it really can't be yet) must say something to what they have seen. Hopefully this works out for them.

  4. Pretty amazing highlight tape for a sophomore. Personally, I would not worry too much about him hitting a plateau. He already demonstrates the good arm & nice touch combo. Also looks like he has good pocket presence, some improvisational abilities, and can find a second or third option. To me, that is pretty much the complete skill set that UM needs to work with. Even if he has a rough junior year for some reason, I don't see that changing anything significantly. A prospect this young is obviously a risk, but I would be more worried if it were at a position where continued physical maturation was more critical. He is already 6'3", has a good arm, and moves well - those would be sufficient physical tools if he were a senior.

    Do you think UM takes a QB in the 12 class? The more I think about it, I am inclined to guess they will skip it this year. It would be nice to recruit one for depth purposes, but with so many other needs and with good recruits knocking at the door, it may be lower priority. It would be nice to know how much confidence the coaches have in Bellamy - was he more of a filler recruit or does Borges really believe he was a steal...

  5. I think there are two levels to this commitment: his potential and the stunning reversal in State of Michigan recruiting fortunes engineered by this staff. His potential will be what it will be, and it is very hard to believe - wild ass guess or no - that he will not at least rise to the level of a Bellomy-type recruit by the end of high school, which we can honor.

    But what this does is feeds the buzz. This staff is recruiting like Michigan just came off of a 10-2 season. While the onus will be on them to not tank this season, what can we project when they DO deliver the on-the-field product?

    As an amateur recruiting maven, I have seen when there is a quality to a staff that "gets" the school they represent and that quality translates into a high batting average of kids with a innate interest in the program - you have seen this with OSU and Texas and Michigan in the past. Hoke et al have this quality.

    IF the football product on the field is good, this projects to downright silly recruiting prowess.

  6. @ Anonymous 9:14 a.m.

    Even official, written scholarship offers are conditional. They're not binding for the school, in case the player totally slacks off.

  7. @ Painter Smurf 9:32 a.m.

    I definitely think Michigan will take a quarterback in the 2012 class. They have taken a QB for 14 straight years. Morris isn't a sure thing since NSD is two years away for him, and there's always the possibility that Denard, Gardner, or Bellomy transfers or gets injured in the meantime.

  8. There's no telling how he will develop physically or how he will mature in the next 2 years, but I first saw his highlights after looking at so many of the 2012 prospects and his film stands out as better than most or all of them. Every 2012 qb I watched made me wince when they'd stare down their target for several seconds before a throw or half their passes would be jump balls and the other half were to wide open receivers. This kids maturity and polish stand out in the tape, but even more so his accuracy. He throws open his targets and puts accurate passes where they need to go in tight coverage. Best thing about this young prospect is he's made himself this good, wants to make himself better, and wants to play for Michigan.

  9. They have to take a QB in the '12 class. To me its not even a discussion worth having. Morris makes an elite QB in '12 even less likely but also less important. But you still take a guy, for depth and insurance, no matter how tight the numbers get for the recruiting class.

    I've always argued that Michigan wasn't going to land an elite QB in this class anyway (because of Robinson plus Gardner having 3 or 4 more years on campus.) I was surprised to see them even come close on a guy like Pike.

    What will be interesting to see is if they land another athlete (like Coney or Fuller) or go with a pro-style guy (like Appleby or O'Connor). They may just wait it out and see what happens. I think they can afford to do so. The offers are out to high end guys and if they commit, great...if not you wait till senior seasons and offer some guys who really stepped up.

    Big picture - the QB position is a real strength for the program: present, near future, and distant future - things look good.


  10. Michigan is already lined up to take 2 qb's this year and might land 3 or 4. We have a qb who'll play DE at Michigan, we have a qb who'll play FS, we have cb prospects who were starting qb's. We have 3 scholarship qb's who're currently underclassmen, 2 walk on qb's, and a 2013 prospect on deck. If we take a 2012 qb he'll be 6th on the depth chart. It might be a good idea to take another, but it's not necessary. We do have other depth needs and we're taking a smaller class this year. That said, Tom Brady was our 6th string qb once upon a time....

  11. @ Michael 1:28 p.m.

    What are you talking about? You're not seriously suggesting that Pharaoh Brown, Courtney Avery, etc. might play quarterback...right?

    We've taken a quarterback for 14 straight years. History suggests that we'll take one again in 2012.

  12. @ Thunder

    History also would have us with a still intact bowl streak.

    I do agree that we don't have to take a quarterback this, but if there is one out there that the coaches feel confident in then they have to take him for the depth at the position. If there is not a solid one they want then why waste a schollie on a kid who may never see the field when there are a few other positions that could use the depth.

  13. @ Anonymous 2:08 p.m.

    What's your point? Your comment about bowl games is irrelevant. First of all, we didn't have a choice whether to keep our bowl streak going or not. And secondly, if we started betting at 14 years that we would keep our bowl streak going, I would have won another 19 bets before I got one wrong.

    It's not wasting a scholarship. That type of thinking doesn't make any sense. Morris isn't in the bag. He literally can't be obligated to play for Michigan for another 21 months. He could change his mind, tear both ACL's, Gardner could transfer, Bellomy could get homesick, etc. You need depth. A lot of people probably thought James Rogers was a waste of a scholarship...until he earned the starting job as a senior and led the team in interceptions. History says we'll take a quarterback, and logic tells us that it would be a good idea.

    We have THIRTEEN linebackers to fill just three spots, and we have EIGHT tailbacks to fill just one spot (although a couple guys will rotate in). Why would we go more than four deep at linebacker and then be stingy about quarterback, the most important position on the field? That's completely and utterly illogical.

  14. @ Thunder

    My comment about Bowl Games is no more irrelevant than yours is about taking Quarterbacks. History is history regardless of who makes it or breaks it. At some point in time history begins and then at some point in time that historical marker ends. It is just the way life is. I was not making the point to see who would have been right longer, more that at some point a historical streak may end.

    You are right about me being wrong with a "wasted" schollie. I did not mean an overall waste as much as a non-efficient use of scholarships if there are other areas that need to be filled in as well. I would present it this you take a 2 or 3 star Quarterback because history says you should or do you take the 3 or 4 star Offensive Lineman because you will need them too.

    I think you have to take the best player available at a spot you need to fill. The coaches have shown that they are interested in taking a quarterback if one presents that has the skill set they are looking for. We were also under the assumption that they would not take 3 TE's or a zillion LB's. They have obviously outlined areas of need and will fill them with what they can.

  15. @ Anonymous 2:27 p.m.

    If you can't see that "14 straight years of taking a quarterback" is more relevant than "our 33 year streak of bowl games ended in 2008", then I don't know what to tell you. One is a choice that coaches have made year in and year out. One is the result of losing too many games (which is presumably not by choice).

    You're right that history is history, but trends are trends. I have 14 years of a trend on my side. The odds are on my side.

    Your question "Do you take a 2 or 3 star Quarterback because history says you should or do you take the 3 or 4 star Offensive Lineman because you will need them too?" is based on a false premise. Nobody's saying that they SHOULD take a quarterback because history suggests it. What I'm saying is that if it's been done since the mid- to late '90's, then there's probably a good reason for it. And if we're going to be short anywhere (QB or OL), then I'll take the OL. Scholarship linemen can be shuffled around. An OT can play OG in a pinch, or vice versa. You can't plug in a TE or WR at QB and expect to have success.

  16. Its worth noting that when Tom Brady was recruited he was not particularly well regarded and was headed to a team already deep with 3 quarterbacks. The depth chart included 2 young players from the previous 2 classes with a lot of potential (both became NFL QBs: Brian Griese had the bloodlines, and Scott Driesbach was a big-time recruit.) So why bother with some marginal 3 to low 4 star recruit from California when you have needs at other positions? The team already had Griese, Driesbach, plus Loeffler, a competent veteran backup and future QB coach.

    Why bother? Because you never know. Driesbach got hurt and after Griese won a national title, Tom Brady turned out to be better than stud recruit Drew Henson.

    Its the most important position on the field, as Thunder said, this is not the spot to cut corners. While we like to think we know who the QB will be, the assumed Gardner to Morris transition may be more like the Driesbach to Henson transition, where the less hyped recruits in between become like Griese and Brady. So don't underplay Bellomy or the 2012 class QB just because you like how Gardner and Morris look in high school.


  17. I don't remember Tom Brady being a marginal recruit. In 1995, there was a lot of talk about how we had a complete stud QB taking a redshirt.

    If that 40 time is real, then that's really impressive. Enough to provide a dual threat if the pocket breaks down or if he can run the read option.

  18. I love your blog and read every post you've made, but shame on you for making fun of a last year sophmore quarterback when Rivals, Scout, and whoever else you follow Lag behind on ranking even the top 100 seniors in the country. I know you know had an article about him being on of, if not the best QB of his class. He's pledged to be a member of the program and shouldn't be made light of. I know it's early, he's 16 and may change his mind, however, think if he read that. We'd lose a recruit.

  19. Love the left handed release, always looks so smooth. Looks like the offense will be in good hands

  20. @ Anonymous 5:30 p.m.

    Thanks for the compliments, but I'm not sure what you're talking about. Are you talking about the fact that I called him a "0-star recruit"? If so, that was just a joke because he, quite literally, has zero stars due to his youth. I thought that was clear, but maybe I misjudged.

    If you're talking about something else, let me know, because I'm kind of confused by your post. I do think Morris is a good player, which is why I said that I think he'll be a top 10 quarterback in 2013.

  21. Definitely. When I hit on the Brady thing that's what I meant: they might not need one but they may still take one. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek about us recruiting 3-4 qb's/our recruits who're former qb's. We are taking several, but they'll all play defense. I'm just thinking that we have a rush to commit and with depth concerns and scholarships running out the coaches may have a choice of accepting an extra player, or offering and then accepting Appleby. If they're near full and they have to choose between another qb or f.i. Ron Thompson, or Greg Garmon, or Terry Richardson, or Burbridge, or an extra D-tackle like Jaleel Johnson I think they may skip the take-1-every-year trend to better the team. Special circumstances in this years class and all.

  22. @ Michael 5:52 p.m.

    Okay, but you were talking about positions of NEED earlier. Ron Thompson doesn't play a position of need. He's a tight end, and we've already got three of them spread over two classes. Same thing with Garmon - we've got 8 on the roster for 2012. Same thing with Richardson - we just brought in 4 freshman corners. Defensive tackle is a position of need, so I'll give you that...

    ...but what's more important, depth at DT or depth at QB? The QB is always more important. That's why they get paid the big bucks, win all the Heismans, get the girls, etc.

  23. Brady was recruited primarily by USC (which averaged around 6 or 7 wins a year in the 90s) and Cal - in-state programs that were, at the time, far off the elite. Obviously he had a decent arm, but his HS team was around .500. Brady was not considered much of a catch when he was brought on. He would have been a 3 star prospect if they had those rankings back then.

    In 1995 all the talk was about Driesbach. No one thought much of Brady, then he was beaten out by Griese and he contemplated a transfer. Few, if any, fans ever thought he was a stud until he started playing like one in games.


  24. Thunder, I posted about the zero star comments. The rest of the article is completely legit, and this is the reason I always read your update's on my favorite program. However, I would like you to imagine being 16 and committing to a program that you probably grew up loving. Teenager's are easily swayed by the general populace's opinions. Maybe I'm biased because I decided to withdraw a scholarship for swimming and move on with college free of sports because of being slighted by my local paper, and the lack of respect I recieved. I've always apreciated the humor (slighty atractive bombshell michigan girls) I'm just saying kids are impulsive and the entry to the article jerked me until I moved on to the rest. That being said, even myself at 22 years old was impulsive enough to feel bad at what could be percieved at poking fun. Thanks for the reply, I apreciate the respect, and congrats at the Maize n' Brew offer. Cheers and I hope you continue your climb in recognition as the go to place to UM Football. I hope you don't percieve me as a grudging lazy athlete, I just regret what I did and hope the best for a young athlete.

  25. Which position is more important overall won't dictate who they'll take so much as which kids they like the most for the few spots available this year. (We already have qb depth and they'll be risking D'rob even less than before.)Austin Appleby could very well be the next Tom Brady, but if he's only average and they feel some other kid is the next Ndamukong Suh or Antonio Gates they'll probably take him over picking another qb just to keep a streak going. Al Borges and Greg Mattison still might recruit to fit their systems in this class, or maybe the coaches expect some attrition at one position and recruit accordingly. In this race to sign up we may get redundant commits at LB or DB or TE but Hoke likely wont turn them away. He likes "athletes" like RB's because they can play anywhere. Maybe Greg Garmon and Brionte Dunn both commit, or 3 DE's all commit, it also looks likely that we could land 1 CB and 2 Safeties in this class before the other kids start signing up. I can imagine them skipping a qb if more than 18 scholarships don't open up. They're aiming for 22 or 23, but it could be as low as 20. If it's only 20 or if too many talented kids sign up before the qb's are ready to settle down then they might skip one this year.

  26. @ Michael 7:30 p.m.

    Okay, I get it. You don't think we need a QB. I think we do.

    We'll see in February.

  27. Michigan needs a QB in this class. If Bellomy were a blue-chipper I'd feel differently, but he's not.

  28. I went back from yesterday and took a long hard look at what we have currently listed on the 2011 roster along with what we have listed as 2011 commits (who still have yet to make it to A.A. except Greg Brown). I will change my tune with you Thunder and agree that we should definitely take a QB in this class. I know I said history....yada yada yada.....but we have a glaring hole in a couple of spots. QB is a short fill on the list along with FB and Punter.

    With the 2011 recruits and the 2012 verbals we have a boatload on defense which worries me a bit. Are the coaches that unsure of the talent we currently have or are they expecting mass exodus from the team leaving gaping holes. I am expecting that some of those LB we have listed will eventually end up at DT or DE and that the CB and S positions will be shifting guys around.

    We will have 5 QB's on the roster this year after the summer if they all make it back. 1 FB on the roster and this is a place of need in this offense from what I hear. 1 P and 5 PK. I can see some of those PK being let go with their lack of effectiveness. We also have 4 LS on the roster??????

    Where do the remaining spots go for the 2012 class?

  29. Anonymous@10:05am

    Broekhuizen doubles as a punter. He may not be Zoltan 2.0, as Hagerup is growing to be, but he's serviceable for the most part. We do need someone after Hagerup, but we have a few years and specialists aren't exactly difficult to come by.

    Fullback is a position that can be filled by either a walk-on or a big halfback. No concern there.

    Saying "we already have depth at QB" isn't entirely true. I don't know about you, but I don't see Bellomy as the future...more like a safe bet. I thought Gardner would get his medical redshirt purely because Alabama gets away with 12 every year, but if he doesn't, then we're looking a tad thin in coming years.

    We need a quarterback.

  30. Lankownia,

    Brady was not a "3-star" recruit. He was certainly a notch below Henson in terms of hype and yes was not a monster recruit but if my memory serves he was listed as the 4th or 5th best pro-style QB in the nation. These days that would be a solid 4 star. Of course, for UM, that was only a "decent" recruit at the time given the long line of successful QBs.


  31. I seen him play before I knew he was going to be a top recruit. He is going to do incredible things as a Jr, Sr. and all his days at Michigan.

    This is #1 QB for the class of 2013 IMO

  32. John Vitale - DLS class of '83. Co-Captain/-All-American for Michigan in '88