Monday, July 1, 2013

Noah Furbush, Wolverine

Kenton (OH) Kenton linebacker Noah Furbush
(image via Scout)
Kenton (OH) Kenton linebacker Noah Furbush committed to Michigan on Monday morning. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Tennessee, among others.

As a junior in 2012, Furbush had 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. This spring he attended a combine where he measured in at 6'4", 236 lbs. He also ran a 4.78 forty, had a 31" vertical, ran a 4.22 shuttle, had an 8'10" broad jump, ran a 7.37 L-cone, and threw a Powerball 36'9".

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #21 ILB
Rivals: N/A
Scout: 3-star, #59 OLB
247 Sports: 3-star, 87 grade, #53 OLB

Furbush was offered by Michigan back in April. He visited Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, and Tennessee in the meantime, and he camped at Ohio State, but no offer came from the Buckeyes.

Furbush is obviously a big-bodied kid, and he's a heavy hitter. He does a good job of getting extension and using his hands to shed blocks. That long reach also helps him wrap up ball carriers. He does a good job of staying low and using leverage against blockers, which is pretty impressive for someone as tall as he is. There's one highlight where he shows nice awareness to get his hand up to bat down a pass and makes the interception after the deflection; otherwise, his pass coverage abilities aren't really highlighted.

I see good see-ball-get-ball instincts out of Furbush, but he's a half step slow with his read-and-react skills. Michigan is reportedly recruiting him for the middle linebacker position, so that might be an issue. I also don't see great change-of-direction skills from Furbush, which is a bit of a concern in pass coverage or if he has to redirect in traffic.

Overall, I'm a bit torn on Furbush. As mentioned above, he's supposedly being recruited for middle linebacker, and I don't think he's a good fit there. I don't see the play recognition skills to play there, and once he adds more muscle to his frame, he would be very  big for a MIKE. We would be looking at a Brian Urlacher-sized linebacker without as much athleticism. In my opinion, Furbush is a strongside linebacker or a weakside end. He might be one of those guys who should start off at SAM and eventually put his hand down once he develops. I would have a higher opinion of him as a prospect if he weren't slotted to play in the middle.

This gives Michigan fourteen commitments in the class of 2014, plus grayshirt defensive tackle Brady Pallante. Furbush joins MIKE recruit Michael Ferns III and SAM prospect Chase Winovich in the class. Furbush is the first player from Kenton since Tony Osbun in 1977. Michigan also pursued Kenton quarterback Maty Mauk in the class of 2012, but Mauk chose Missouri instead.

TTB Rating: 64 (ratings explanation)


  1. I've got to say I am relieved to see this post, but for the wrong reasons. My initial evaluation of Furbush was that he looked to be more of a WDE rather than a SAM. The fact that he is reported to be recruited for the inside just makes matters worse. I had quickness and play recognition as weaker areas, and felt he was more effective when attacking the play from the line, rather than diagnosing the play from the LB position.

    For a while this morning I thought I was losing my mind seeing all of the positive reactions about his commitment. I don't mean to knock the kid as he still is a talente athlete, just wasn't as excited and felt that there were more fitting prospects. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one who isn't thrilled about his commitment. Just doesn't seem like a good fit.

    1. He looks like a SAM to me and supposedly showed good coverage ability and lateral quickness at camps. While he's no James Ross, his play recognition is not terrible. Agree with Thunder that MIKE might not be a good fit, but saying he needs to have a hand down is going way overboard.

      Best regards,

      SAM I AM

  2. TTB -

    When you look at Ferns, Furbush, and Winovich as the three LB in the class....where would you play the three of them? It seems like Winovich is small for SAM but is being told he should play there. Furbush is big for MIKE but is slated for there. And Ferns seems to be a jack of all trades but master of none. I'm wondering why the coaches would even state a strong positional preference for kids at this stage or with their varied skills/size. I'm surprised they wouldn't just say "talented enough to play multiple positions, we'll need to see what makes the most sense when they arrive."

    Clearly Mattison and Hoke are good at their jobs, so why would they make these odd projections when even the arm-chair scouts can see why these guys might not be ideal fits for their slated positions?

    (Note - I'm excited about all three prospects and think that LB will sort itself out just fine, I'm just surprised at the projected positions.)

    -- AC1997

    1. I don't think the coaches have made "a strong positional preference" for most of these kids. They can't make statements about recruits in public until signing day.

      It seems like they give a vision/plan for every kid so that he has a goal and works hard toward it, but they recognize flexibility and often talk about it on signing day. e.g., Hoke's description of Shallman after all the comments coming out that he was being recruited as a RB.

    2. I would probably spread them out to Winovich at SAM, Ferns at MIKE, and Furbush at WDE. I might put both Winovich and Furbush at SAM and see how it shakes out.

      I don't know that the coaches are showing strong positional preferences. Unless you hear it straight out of the coaches' mouths, I think you have to be careful about stuff like that. The coaches could be saying "Hey, we want to try you out at MIKE or maybe have you play the SAM." Then the kid says he's being recruited as a MIKE, and the internet goes crazy. You never know.

  3. Was hoping you'd give me a reason to be excited about this. Alas - we've missed on a lot of the elite LB targets, moved on to the 2nd string guys, whiffed on some of those, and now we're in "filling a spot" territory, with generic 3-star types. Furthermore, this is a troubling sign to me about Poole and/or RJS. The coaches have hit LB hard since coming to town and in this small class, to see that continue, it's not real encouraging.

    Nothing against Furbush, I'm sure he can develop into a decent player, but I'm not enthralled with recent turn of events at LB.

    You may just end up being right about Ferns potentially playing a role right away too...

  4. Sounds like a SAM to me too, but I'm not going to worry about that. Most of these kids are pretty big and could feasibly play multiple spots.

  5. Pretty much agree 100% with this analysis. My guess is that he still ends up at SAM down the road where his potential is higher.

  6. Actually Furbush reminds me a little of Jake Ryan when I saw the Ryan film coming out of high school. Seems to have a good motor and likes to play physical.

    That being said I agree with the author that he doesn't look fluid enough for the MIKE but looks like a guy you can bulk up and play the strongside linebacker or weakside defensive end. Definitely can blitz but is uncomfortable making horizontal adjustments.

    From the last few recruits it looks like UM is confident in its depth and are taking some chances on guys with high ceilings. The last 3 guys (although I haven't gotten a good look at Watson) all have some physical talent (size, speed, athleticism) and can be bulked up.

  7. I noticed several comments around the apparently mis-slotting of Furbush as a MIKE. Would your TTB rating be higher if he were slotted as a SAM or WDE?

    1. Exactly the question I was going to ask.. What would his TTB grade be if he was coming in for SAM?

    2. Yes, my rating would be higher if he were slotted elsewhere. Probably no lower than mid-70s.

    3. His athleticism isn't exceptional, and like you said his read and react skills aren't good. His tape is full of him making tackles; it is not full of highlights. At MIKE I like him less than you do. At SAM I feel he might be slotted in the low to mid 60s.

      Overall - not excited about this prospect.

  8. How would you compare furbush to Alabama's dante hightower he was a huge linebacker and did well

    1. Hightower was a helluva quick twitch athlete, running a 4.65 ish forty at 260+ lbs. Furbush growing up to be that would be the stuff defensive coordinator dreams are made of.

  9. I don't dislike this pick up at all as Furbush is a powerful kid that will thump you to the ground and as such fits quite nicely with the defining theme for Michigan football that Hoke is seemingly attempting to accomplish.

    I look at our roster for next year and I think that all three of these guys are going to compete at SAM before it's over.

    Rodriguez did a lot of talking about wanting to be 22 deep on defense although he never came close. If you start Ferns, Winovich and Furbush all out at SAM having moved both Gedeon and the likely shorter than advertised Mcray inside this year, you're now looking at a depth chart for the front seven with a chance at being two plus deep with an honest to God football player that can play BIG football at every position.

    We should be able to rotate fresh legs all across our front seven for the entire game. Now the question is, just exactly how to go about doing that against serious spread/pace teams.

    At some point it's likely to come down to a questions about our next MIKE after hopefully Bolden. I'd bet that of the names we know, it'll be Ferns. That leaves the maybe a hair slight Winovich and the maybe a half step slow Furbush at SAM. That's not a horrible situation to be in, I would think that Mattson can handle it now that he has a little experience.

    I would have really liked to have Owens ..... obviously he agreed with me on that looking like a Miami LB thing.