|Sylvania, OH safety Allen Gant|
Allen Gant, a safety from Southview High School in Sylvania, OH, committed to Michigan publicly on Tuesday morning. He committed to Michigan's coaches last Wednesday. Gant selected Michigan over offers from Ball State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Stanford, Toledo, and West Virginia.
Recent measurements supposedly size Gant at 6'2", 210 lbs. and running in the 4.6-second range. He's listed as a 3-star safety to Scout, but Rivals and ESPN each list him as a wide receiver. 247 Sports lists him as an "athlete" which isn't helpful at all.
Gant's father is former Michigan safety Tony Gant, who played in Ann Arbor from 1982-86, making 150 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions for Bo Schembechler. The elder Gant was 6'2" and 180 lbs. until his senior year, when he shrunk by two inches.
A few months ago, I was asked whether I thought Gant would get an offer from Michigan, and I said I thought he would be a guy the Wolverines might offer late in the process. And although the class seems to filling up quickly - thus bringing the coaches closer to being "late in the process" than anytime in recent memory - I was still surprised when Michigan's offer came through in mid-May.
Gant isn't an elite athlete. His biggest assets seem to be his size and strength, which is fine except Michigan seems to be rife with guys who have the size to play outside linebacker, but the speed to play . . . outside linebacker. Each of Michigan's safeties has toyed with playing linebacker, and here's another one. When you watch the film below, highlight #1 shows a kid who gets off the line like he's running in quicksand. By the end of the play, he has failed to outrun a nondescript, short, white kid. Play #2 is on the highlight film because Gant makes the interception, but that backpedal isn't smooth and he gets the pick because the ball is underthrown. The bottom line for his high school team is that he made the play, which is kind of the point of playing football. But when the receivers are faster and the quarterbacks are better, Gant won't be able to get away with plays like that.
As I said above, his size and strength are the aspects of his game that have garnered rave reviews. He seems to have thickened up since his junior season ended, and one message board poster who claims to have intimate knowledge of Gant's training regimen relates news of 10-15 lbs. of added muscle this off-season and a 36" vertical jump. Those numbers are all well and good, but it causes me a little bit of concern when it seems that Michigan's current safeties are lacking somewhat in speed, ball skills, etc. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison insists that his safeties must be able to play both safety positions, but I can't imagine Gant trying to cover the middle of the field without putting the defense in jeopardy.
The coaching staff has done an excellent job in recruiting so far in the 2012 cycle, but I can't help being a little wary of the pursuit of Gant. Perhaps the fact that his father was a Wolverine played a part in his recruitment. To put it another way, I don't see another safety on the offer board who's quite as limited athletically as Gant seems to be. But perhaps it's just a coincidence that the least athletic safety on the board happens to be the son of a former Wolverine.
Gant is the 13th public commitment for Michigan in the class of 2012. The Wolverines should have at least five remaining spots to fill before February, but that number is bound to swell like always.
TTB Rating: 59 (Click here for the rating system)