|Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone committed to Michigan on Monday.|
Malzone's 247 Sports profile indicates that he has grown to 6'3" and 200 lbs. after being listed previously at 6'2", 185 lbs. He claims a 5.13 forty. As a junior in 2013, he completed 190/281 passes (67.6%) for 2,785 yards and 25 touchdowns, along with 3 rushing touchdowns. His team went undefeated in 2013 on their way to a second consecutive state championship.
ESPN: 3-star pocket passer
Rivals: 3-star, #16 pro-style QB
Scout: 4-star, #15 QB, #236 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, #21 pro-style QB, #7 in-state
Malzone has been heavily interested in Michigan for a long time and has visited numerous times. I practically memorized his stats, physical attributes, and offer list from typing up visitor lists over the last year. Michigan's coaching staff kept holding off on offering him while they pursued more highly valued targets. Shunned by the likes of Jarrett Stidham and Josh Rosen, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier decided to do some spring evaluations and watch various players throw. After returning to Ann Arbor, Nussmeier met with the other coaches and they settled on Malzone, who was likely to commit whenever the coaches extended an offer. He was supposed to visit Ann Arbor early last week but had a scheduling conflict, so today's visit to campus, offer, and commitment likely would have occurred a week ago if not for that conflict.
I wrote a scouting report on Malzone back in January when trying to rank the quarterbacks on Michigan's radar (LINK). Excerpts on Malzone:
Malzone runs a somewhat multiple offense and has experience dropping back, from shotgun, or from the pistol formation. He has a slight build and is a little short at a listed 6'2". He runs his offense very well, is a good ball handler, and seems to be in command. He's a good athlete who can get on the edge a little bit and make some things happen with his feet, but he's not a blazer. Malzone gets the ball out on time and shows good accuracy and touch. His throws on skinny posts appear to be right on the money, but I question whether he has the arm strength to squeeze those in there against faster and longer defenders. He has a little bit of a hitch in his throwing motion where he brings the ball down to throw it, not totally unlike a right-handed version of Tim Tebow. Michigan's coaching staff has been somewhat erratic with the quarterbacks they've recruited (the 6'3" sorta dual-threat Russell Bellomy, the 6'3" Shane Morris with a rocket arm, the 6'6" Wilton Speight), but I look at Malzone and see him being too short and lacking the arm strength that Michigan likely wants.As you can see, he was #6 on my list in January. After new names surfaced in the wake of Doug Nussmeier's hiring, he fell to #11 by March (LINK).
I have seen a lot of comparisons to A.J. McCarron, likely due to his relationship with Nussmeier. McCarron put up some good numbers at Alabama and became a 5th round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, so most people in Ann Arbor would probably be happy with that kind of production.
Physically, Malzone does not have an impressive array of skills. He is a decent runner in high school but won't be a running threat in college. He will be able to move in the pocket and do some bootlegs, but designed runs are likely out the window. Arm strength is also an issue. I mentioned the hitch in his delivery, which might get cleaned up a little bit once he starts concentrating on football full-time. (Malzone is also a standout baseball player but will give it up in college.) Furthermore, he has to work on using his lower body to power through his throws.
Overall, Malzone looks like a game manager. His best asset seems to be his understanding of timing, coverages, and game situations, and he looks like a cerebral player. That can go a long way but it requires a running game, an offensive line, and a good defense if you want to be a championship-level team.
Malzone will arrive in 2015 when the presumed starter will be junior Shane Morris backed up by redshirt senior Russell Bellomy (if he sticks around that long) and sophomore Wilton Speight. A redshirt for Malzone will probably be in order so he can compete for the starting job in the post-Morris era, likely as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.
This is Michigan's sixth commitment in the 2015 class and the first from within the state. The Wolverines are probably done at quarterback in this recruiting cycle unless something unforeseen occurs. Currently, the class is scheduled to be roughly 13 members (LINK), but that number will certainly grow by February.
Michigan has not targeted many Brother Rice players in recent years, but several notable Wolverines have come from there, including long snapper Jareth Glanda, former punter Ross Ryan, and early 1990's linebacker Steve Morrison. Morris has coached at Western Michigan and Syracuse in recent years, although he left Syracuse prior to the 2013 season. The Brother Rice Warriors also have a couple other FBS prospects in the form of wide receiver Grant Perry and defensive tackle Marc Miller.
TTB Rating: 73 (ratings explanation)