Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ondre Pipkins, Wolverine

Missouri defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins

Defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins from Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO, committed to Michigan on Monday.  He selected the Wolverines over Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  His ratings:

ESPN: 3-star, #45 DT
Rivals: 4-star, #19 DT, #246 overall
Scout: 4-star, #12 DT, #102 overall
24/7 Sports: 4-star, #16 DT, #147 overall

Pipkins stands 6'3" and 320-ish pounds.  He has a 5.15 forty yard dash, benches 385 lbs., and squats 520.  He spent some time as a youth in Michigan, attending high school in Rochester Hills for a while before moving to Kansas City for his junior year.  He had a particular attraction to Saginaw, a city that produced one of his idols (LaMarr Woodley) and a family friend/mentor (Roy Manning).  Pipkins even hopes to wear Woodley's #56 in Ann Arbor.

There's not much of a question where Pipkins will play in college.  The answer is pretty clear: nose tackle.  With his height and girth, he will be very difficult for interior linemen to root him out and overpower him.  Height is the main reason William Campbell has struggled at defensive tackle so far in his career, because being a 6'5" nose tackle is extremely difficult.  Pipkins should have no such issue.  The first thing I see that I like about Pipkins is his stance.  He puts a lot of weight on his front hand and sticks his butt slightly up in the air.  With his weight distributed that way, he has no choice but to fire off low and fast.  Beyond that first step, he continues to stay low, moves his feet well, and uses a variety of moves to rush the passer.  Reports indicate that he has been nearly unstoppable at camps this summer and should make a leap upward when rankings are redone.

I would like to see Pipkins work on delivering a better initial punch with his hands.  He often lets offensive linemen make first contact with his chest, which slows him down a little bit.  He makes up for it after initial contact by using swim moves, the push-pull technique, ripping, etc., but the first move is the most important.  If a defensive lineman's first move isn't effective, the quarterback should be able to get rid of the ball if one of his first couple reads is open.  Pipkins will also need to keep an eye on his weight.  He seemed to put on some bad weight over the winter, although recent reports and photographs suggest he's turned some of that flab back into muscle.  The new coaching staff seems less concerned about having underwear models at all 22 positions, so having a couple extra pounds shouldn't be as big of a hurdle as it once was.

Pipkins has a good frame, pretty solid technique, and good athleticism.  He doesn't have the overall quickness that current Michigan nose tackle Mike Martin possesses, but he's bigger and offers the same kind of leverage advantage (Martin is 6'2").  Getting big athletes to play low is such a difficult technique to learn, and Pipkins already seems comfortable with that aspect, which is a huge bonus.  With Martin graduating after the 2011 campaign and a dearth of options behind him (Quinton Washington and Richard Ash will be a redshirt junior and a redshirt sophomore, respectively, in 2012), Pipkins has a chance to be a four-year starter at nose tackle.  By the time he graduates, he ought to be somewhere between good and very good.

This is the first pure defensive tackle of the class, and Pipkins gives Michigan 22 recruits in the class of 2012. The last Michigan recruit to come from the state of Missouri was Brett Gallimore, an offensive lineman in the class of 2004.

TTB Rating: 82


  1. Big get for Michigan.

    As a side note, are you planning to update your commit rankings as the year progresses? For example, if Ben Braden comes out and has a monster year and looks like a world-beater, or if Kyle Kalis's arm falls off, are you gonna adjust their rankings or let them stand as-is?

  2. Not sure how many sacks this guy will get but I think he'll be excellent at clogging up the middle and disrupting the line of scrimmage opening things up for other guys on the line. I'm curious, given a choice for an interior lineman would you have chosen Pipkins or Danny O'Brien, Magnus?

  3. What's a prospect have to do to get a 90+ on the TTB? This guy is a manchild bulldog.

  4. @ Anonymous 7:10 PM

    Magnus has Kalis and Ross in the 90's.

    Honestly, I wonder how anyone can really evaluate Pipkins with the dearth of video for him on the interwebz.

  5. He'll end up being the best player of the '12 class.

  6. @ BISB 3:32 p.m.

    I will update the ratings if/when I see film of these kids' senior years. I try to base ratings more on film and less on combine numbers, so there's really nothing to change over the summer if I've already seen their junior year film.

  7. @ Paul 4:40 p.m.

    I would have chosen Pipkins over O'Brien. I wouldn't mind adding O'Brien to the class, though, because I still think Michigan needs another DT in this class.

  8. @ Anonymous 7:10 p.m.

    First of all, if I rate a guy as being worth a 90+ rating, then that means I think he has a good chance of being a first round draft pick.

    Secondly, take a look at Michigan's first rounders from the DT position. The list consists of...

    ...nobody. Alan Branch was close a few years ago, but even the good ones in the past 20 years (Will Carr, Renes, Taylor, Watson, etc.) have been 4th rounders or lower.

    Meanwhile, although he'll probably move up, the scouting services have anywhere from 11 to 44 defensive tackles ranked ahead of Pipkins. I don't think it's a stretch to say he doesn't grade out as a probable future 1st rounder, although I'm not saying it's completely impossible.

  9. @ Michael 12:04 a.m.

    It sure would be nice to have Pipkins turn into a stud. My money's on James Ross for that honor, though.

  10. Magnus, with the recent news about Schutt, I'm curious to know where you would have ranked him with Pipkins and O'brien.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. @ Anonymous 11:58 p.m.

    I think Schutt is a better overall player than Pipkins and O'Brien, but I think Schutt is more of a 3-tech DT and Pipkins is a true NT. With Godin, Wormley, and Strobel having the ability to play 3-tech DT, I think NT was a bigger need.