|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