|Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson linebacker Chase Winovich (image via Detroit News)|
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson
Notes: Holds offers from Akron, Arizona, Arkansas, Boston College, Bowling Green, Florida State, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pitt, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia . . . As a junior in 2012, had 77 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries . . . Claims a 4.65 forty . . . ESPN 3-star, 73 grade, #30 OLB . . . Rivals 3-star, #30 OLB . . . Scout 3-star, #28 OLB . . . 247 Sports 3-star, 87 grade, #49 OLB
Strengths: Good speed for an outside linebacker . . . Shows good discipline and fundamentals on stance and pre-snap positioning . . . Quick feet . . . Able to side-step blockers to make plays in backfield . . . High-effort player capable of tracking plays downfield and sideline to sideline . . . Willing to be physical . . . Does well at avoiding trash in traffic
Weaknesses: Very slight . . . Lacks some functional strength . . . Struggles to take ball carriers down initially . . . Does not use hands well to shed blockers . . . Could stay lower and drive his feet through contact . . . Sometimes just latches on and goes for a ride
Projection: Outside linebacker. Winovich clearly needs to add bulk to his frame, since he is reed thin and has the lower body of a safety. Although pass coverage is not highlighted in his film, his length and change-of-direction skills should make him at least decent in that area. He has a good nose for the ball and should be plus pass rusher if he can work on using his hands and, of course, add strength and mass to his frame. There is also a slight concern about how much weight he will be able to add without losing his best qualities, which are his quickness and speed. At his height he should end up around 240-250 lbs. by the time he's a college upperclassman. Since there's so much physical development in the works, it's hard to project what kind of athlete he might be; however, I think he could be a BCS all-conference type of player if he can maintain his athleticism.
Reminds me of: Shawn Crable. Crable had chicken legs but good length and a very developed upper body; he also had good speed and a knack for getting skinny to avoid blockers and shoot gaps.
Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Ohio State and Michigan appear to be the front runners, with Pitt running third. Winovich visited Michigan last weekend and left with positive vibes, but he grew up as a Buckeye fan. A friendship with committed linebacker Michael Ferns III may prove to be beneficial for the Wolverines' chances.
You can view Winovich's highlights here.