Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Final TTB Ratings for 2014

Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Bryan Mone, and Jared Wangler
Drum roll, please.

It's that time of year, time for the final TTB Ratings of the 2014 recruiting cycle. Everyone signed his National Letter of Intent back in February, you say? Pshaw. Not Malik McDowell. Nope. McDowell is still holding out and likely to be attending Michigan State in the fall. I was waiting to see if he would compromise with his parents and sign a NLI to Michigan, but that window passed on April 1st.

So here they are. Check out the rating scale (LINK) if you're unfamiliar or just want a refresher. Keep in mind that these ratings take into account the other players on the roster. So for example, the second-best middle linebacker on the roster might find himself sitting on the bench for several years not because he's terrible but because the other guy is really good.

The 2015 TTB Ratings will be coming soon, now that the 2014 cycle is finished.

CB Jabrill Peppers - Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 100
I'm keeping Peppers right where I ranked him initially. He still looks like the best player at his position in the class, and his versatility (he could play safety, return punts and kicks, and perhaps play some offense) makes him an even more valuable commodity. (Commitment post.)

WR Drake Harris - Grand Rapids (MI) Christian: 93
I have no reason to downgrade Harris from where I ranked him after his junior year, except for the fact that he missed his entire senior season with a hamstring injury. The injury concerns me and is still nagging him this spring, but it's impossible for me to say whether that will affect him going forward in his career. Considering injuries can derail anyone's career, I'm going to leave Harris at this rating and hope that he recovers and develops fully. (Commitment post.)

DT Bryan Mone - Salt Lake City (UT) Highland: 79 88
Watching Mone from his junior to his senior year, he looked to have added some weight and lost a step. When he played in the Under Armour All-America Game, I thought he looked slow and a little lethargic, but that was roughly two months after his season ended, so maybe he was just out of shape. Either way, I see a guy on film who can stay low and who uses a violent hand strike to disengage from blockers. While he can probably be whipped into shape a little bit, he's not a nose tackle who will amaze people with his athleticism, but he should be an active clogger up the middle. (Commitment post.)

OG Mason Cole - Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake: 87
Another guy who has already received some practice hype as an early enrollee, I like the way Cole bends and I like his lateral quickness. He has been playing some tackle this spring, but I'm not sure if that's his long-term position because he's not the longest guy around. Wherever he ends up, I think he'll be a good player down the road. (Commitment post.)

LB Michael Ferns - St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville: 83 85
Ferns can be slightly hesitant to diagnose plays, but otherwise, I think he has almost everything the coaches would want in a linebacker. He could be more physical when shedding blocks, but I think that's something that can be taught for him. Otherwise, he runs well, does a good job in space, and is a forceful tackler. (Commitment post.)

WR Freddy Canteen - Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: N/A 83
Film on Canteen is scarce, and what I saw of him early basically came from his quarterback's (David Sills') highlight tape. I can't say whether spring practice hype has altered my viewpoint on him, but it has been positive. Regardless, I commented on his quickness and route-running ability when he committed, and that seems to be giving Michigan defensive backs problems so far, too. He reminds me of Wes Welker with his quick feet and could be effective in the slot like Roy Roundtree was back in 2010. (Commitment post.)

WR Maurice Ways - Detroit (MI) Country Day: 77 81
I might be a little higher on Ways than the recruiting services, but I really like all three wide receiver recruits in the 2014 class. Ways has reportedly had problems with his hands at certain points, but he didn't concentrate solely on football until his junior year. His hands improved as a senior, and he reminds me of a Marquise Walker type who has good enough speed and size to threaten deep but won't be a big-play machine. (Commitment post.)

LB Chase Winovich - Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson: 79
The more I've seen of Winovich, the more I've become convinced that he'll be a solid player. I really see him as a SAM in an Under defense, so I'm not sure exactly how he fits if Michigan goes to an Over look semi-permanently. He definitely needs to get stronger, because he's a willing hitter but ball carriers just don't go down with the ease they should when he hits them. (Commitment post.)

QB Wilton Speight - Richmond (VA) Benedictine: 77
I feel comfortable with this rating. I still don't see "star" written all over Speight, but he should have a couple years under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (who will probably be a head coach somewhere by the time Speight graduates), sit behind Devin Gardner and Shane Morris, and then have a couple years to compete for the starting position. He has good arm strength and has improved his mechanics over the past year, and he has already shown good leadership skills with the way he helped recruit in the 2014 class. (Commitment post.)

TE Ian Bunting - Hinsdale (IL) Central: 78 75
Bunting played more tight end as a senior than he did as a junior, when he was exclusively a wideout. He still has a lot to learn about blocking, so it would probably behoove him to redshirt, add some weight, and learn blocking techniques. He doesn't have the physical mentality that I saw out of Butt, so I have some questions about whether he can break tackles and block like a Big Ten Y tight end would need to do. He doesn't have the speed to split out like Devin Funchess has done. (Commitment post.)

DE Lawrence Marshall - Southfield (MI) Southfield: 72 74
Marshall's highlights are a series of plays on which he is unblocked or has to fend off terrible attempts at chop blocks. He does have good speed and leaping ability, but disengaging from blockers is a question mark. For that reason, he reminds me a bit of Mario Ojemudia coming out of high school. I rated Ojemudia as a 78, and he's still looking like he'll be a backup to Frank Clark with two years of eligibility left. I liked Marshall's senior film better than his junior year, but not by a ton. (Commitment post.)

DT Brady Pallante - Naples (FL) Barron Collier: 70 69
I've said before that Pallante reminds me of a slower Mike Martin. He's got the leverage, the hand violence, and the knack for shedding blocks. He won't be the biggest guy, and his lack of explosiveness will prevent him from being the TFL machine that was Martin. I don't see Pallante as a star, but I do see him as a solid rotation player down the road. I'm knocking him down just one peg because I don't see him having much NFL draft potential with his size. (Commitment post.)

OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty - Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 68
After watching his senior highlights and seeing him in the Under Armour All-America Game, Bushell-Beatty looks like a guy who might be more suited to playing inside at guard. I would have concerns about him being quick enough to play on the edge, and he's more of a waist bender than a knee bender. With the other talent surrounding him, I think he might get pushed to the back of the pack, although he could be one of those guys who emerges as an upperclassmen to fill a void. (Commitment post.)

LB Noah Furbush - Kenton (OH) Kenton: 64
Furbush reminds me an awful lot of Brennen Beyer, who has played linebacker and defensive end at Michigan. I was fairly high on Beyer coming out of high school, but his play in college has been somewhat forgettable. Furbush was recruited as MIKE, but he looks like a future defensive end or maybe a SAM linebacker if Michigan runs the Under front. (Commitment post.)

LB Jared Wangler - Warren (MI) De La Salle: 59
Wangler, who played defense mostly as a safety in high school, lacks the foot speed to be a safety in college. He will probably bulk up a little bit and play linebacker. Initially, I thought that he played like a SAM linebacker in a WILL's body, but with Michigan's supposed move to the Over front, I think Wangler fits well as a SAM, period. I think he is limited athletically and doesn't have the biggest frame, but he has a chance because he's a heady, aggressive player. Regardless, the Wolverines have brought in some good talent at linebacker over the past couple years, so it may be tough for Wangler to move past them. (Commitment post.)

S Brandon Watson - Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: Incomplete
I still have not seen enough of Watson to offer an opinion here. He has been playing safety this spring and reports have been positive, but practice reports are to be taken with a grain of salt. (Commitment post.)

16 comments:

  1. Wow this looks like a very good class, most of them over 80. What is your TTB rating for coach Hoke? Lower than 80?

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  2. Bushell-Beatty stands a little knock kneed in the photo above, which is frequently ..... in my experience ..... a sign of slow.

    He's gonna need to learn to love the weight room.

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    1. I don't have anything scientific to back up your claim, but I've always been a little knock kneed, and I've always been slow.

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  3. Is Bunting going to be able to redshirt with Butt's injury and Funchess primarily playing WR?

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    1. We'll see. Butt is supposedly going to be back fairly early in the season, and they've added Heitzman to the TE position. If they can get by with Heitzman, Williams, Paskorz, and Hill for a few weeks, then maybe Bunting can redshirt.

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    2. Isn't Paskorz gone?

      Also, I have a feeling that Heitzman is going to do well (though perhaps not great) at that position. With blocking, at least ...

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    3. Yeah, Paskorz is gone. I keep forgetting that he left. He was probably in line for some increased playing time this year.

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  4. Now....... onto the 2015 ratings!

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    1. They'll be up tomorrow morning, bright and early at 6:30 a.m.

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  5. I think you've got Harris and Canteen reversed here. Canteen has a bunch of indicators pointing to why he is underrated. Harris, I just don't have a great feeling about. For one thing, he thinks MSU is a better bball school than Michigan, so it's reasonable to question the mental aspects of his game...

    I think you're too high on Ways. People forget that Marquise Walker was a 5-star recruit, one of the top 20 recruits in the country overall that year and in the top 2 or 3 at the position. Every big and slow WR gets compared to him, but he was fast enough to have a productive NFL career. Very underrated by M fans because of the steady stream of WR talent we had around that time. Besides Gallon, we haven't had a WR that good in many years.

    Speight and Bunting are a little low IMO. Agree with the bottom of your list.

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    1. That might be about Harris and Canteen. We'll see.

      Marquise Walker didn't have an NFL career. He literally never caught a pass, and I don't know if he ever played a game. Mario Manningham was pretty darn good in 2007 and had 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns. Roy Roundtree also had a pretty good season in 2010, although obviously he was somewhat limited, talent-wise.

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    2. Walker was a bit of a bust for where he got drafted (OK, he was a total bust). But he was in the league and got paid to play football for a couple years.

      I'd say Manningham was safely better than Walker, but Roundtree was just a guy.

      Re: Canteen - I've been high on him all along, but at this point my expectations are through the roof. It wouldn't surprise me if he led the team in receptions (with Funchess leading in yards). They could make a pretty nice tandem, with Darboh/Chesson/etc. providing depth around them.

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    3. Roundtree has the #16 receiving season in Michigan history, and his 13.0 yards/catch were just .3 yards behind Walker's average. On top of that, Roundtree was the recipient of a lot of short passes that were basically long handoffs, whereas Walker never caught a bubble screen in his life. Furthermore, Roundtree had more career yards than Walker did at Michigan.

      I realize none of this has anything to do with Ways, but if we're going to talk up Walker as a stud, then Roundtree isn't far behind (or ahead).

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    4. Yes, I'm a fan of Roundtree and he had a nice productive career for Michigan with some memorable moments. However, we also know that he was a 3-star recruit and didn't sniff the NFL - so his talent is limited, as you said. While he was at Michigan he had a very bad junior year and was demoted to backup. (The rate of balls thrown to him that he caught was atrocious, and while we can blame QB issues for that, his teammates fared much better.) He put up huge stats in Rodriguez's offense as a soph, but often on plays where he was left uncovered. He has some of the easiest 80+ yard catches I've ever seen. This is a context where a statistical comparison is all but meaningless.

      Comparing their Michigan careers, it might be fair to say they were similarly productive. But Walker was the far better player and more talented. Roundtree was a bit lucky to be at Michigan in a time where the WR talent was low and the offense was exceptionally productive.

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