Friday, April 10, 2015

Matt Falcon, Wolverine

Southfield (MI) Southfield running back Matt Falcon
Southfield (MI) Southfield running back Matt Falcon committed to Michigan on Wednesday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Arizona State, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Oregon, among others.

Falcon is a 6'1", 215 lb. prospect. As a junior in 2015, he had 75 carries for 1,109 yards and 7 touchdowns. He claims a 4.41 forty.

Hit the jump for more on Falcon and his commitment to Michigan.

ESPN: 3-star RB
Rivals: 4-star, #13 RB
Scout: 4-star, #8 RB, #149 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, #10 RB, #263 overall, #7 in-state

Falcon has been on the big-time recruiting radar for a long time, but an ACL tear during his sophomore year sort of delayed his true arrival. While he had been in contact with the previous coaching staff, they never offered. Shortly after National Signing Day 2015, Jim Harbaugh's staff extended an offer. He visited Michigan several times, but on Monday, Alabama running back Kingston Davis committed to the Wolverines. With just one running back spot left, Falcon went ahead and picked Michigan two days later.

Back in February I ranked Falcon the #3 player in the state (LINK). Despite the knee injury, he was extremely productive in 2014. He has good straight-line speed, makes some nifty moves in the hole, and runs with good body lean. He shows a strong array of skills that should allow him to be a three-down back who can gain short yardage, make people miss, outrun people, and break tackles in the open field.

The only real concern I have about him is that knee injury. It seems like anyone who tears an ACL tears it again at some point, so it might not be a question of "if" but "when." Of course, the hope is that he can be permanently healed, but we'll see.

Overall, I really like the pickup of Falcon. He has the skills I want to see in a Michigan running back. Michigan has lacked a big-time running back for a while, although there are a couple guys with potential currently on the roster. The Wolverines have had a history of great running backs, but the last time they had a successful, prototypical back was perhaps Chris Perry in 2003. (I might argue that Brandon Minor had the potential, but he never had the production, for various reasons.) Falcon and a couple other backs on the roster represent an opportunity to return Michigan to the level they were at before the Rich Rodriguez years. For many years, Michigan was a running back factory, but now schools like Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia have jumped well ahead of the pack.

Michigan is scheduled to need 15 players in the 2016 class, although that number will increase over time. He is the second running back, and that should fill up the class at the position. Regarding Southfield High School, they have churned out a lot of talent in the past few years, including sending defensive end Lawrence Marshall to Michigan in 2014. The 2015 class at Southfield was perhaps the best ever, but it would be a good school at which to build a pipeline.

TTB Rating: 85 (ratings explanation)


  1. Great stuff, Thx as always... Is he the highest rated RB, your ranking.. Since loyd carr?
    Or did u have green ranked higher than 85...

    1. Derrick Green was rated at 92.

    2. It was also noted that Ty Isaac would have been ranked above Derrick Green (92) had he originally committed to Michigan.

    3. Are you sure Thunder gave Green a 95? I would have given him a 75 based on his highlights.

    4. My ratings are not based entirely on the player himself. They are based on the surrounding roster, the scheme, etc. I try to project where I see them headed in their career, which is why I don't give out TTB Ratings unless/until they commit to Michigan.

      I gave Green a rating of 95 largely because of the offensive line recruiting that Michigan has done. If the offensive line is good, it's going to make Derrick Green look good.

      I also gave Green a rating of 95 because there was no Ty Isaac committed. If they both had committed in that 2013 class, I would have downgraded Green and put Isaac in the 90's.

      Hopefully that helps people understand my rationale.

    5. I know, right. But it's true, the ratings are on the offer board pages, click above on 2013.

    6. Instead of applying the number and using the term 'rating', which implies a objective evaluation free of context, you might just call it what it really is: a prediction. I think this would be a little more clear to new/lazy/casual readers. Or, if you cared to get fancy, some graphic the spans the continuum from All-American to butt-forever-glued-to-bench.

    7. I actually think it would be more useful to provide a kind of "prospect rating" that is more of a ceteris parabis rating - your opinion of the prospect regardless of the system/team/depth chart.

      The current system is great when viewing a player at a single point in time but doesn't really allow you to compare ratings of past players.

  2. Thunder,

    I suggested this before and still think it is a good idea. But on the offer board pages, I think it's a better idea to have commits names linked to their commitment posts instead of their highlights. Easier to link back and find what was originally said. Or if you want both, perhaps link the name to the highlights and the TTB ranking to the commitment post.

    1. You're definitely right. I have plans to change up the offer board design a little bit when the site gets redesigned, and a link to the commitment posts is part of it.

  3. Falcon sounds like a legit prospect and (other than Gentry) the first big pull from Harbaugh, whose overall recruiting performance has been very underwhelming in the very early stages. [You can make a case for Wheatley but he was considered a lean for a while and with the family/legacy ties you can't exactly call that a major pull. Johnson was probably the next closest to being a big catch.]

    I get that there is now a legitimate system in place and clear vision for success. This is very important. We need to land 3-stars who fit the system perfectly. But we still should/want to get recruits at a level superior to your typical MSU class. (i.e., a couple studs mixed with mostly in-state top 15 guys.)

    Stealing someone away from Louisville is different than landing a guy with offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas, or Oregon. Falcon falls closer toward the latter camp, so I'm excited about this. Still, I'd like to see more of it, and it should start with knocking out at least 3 if not 4 of the top 5 in-state players.

    Falcon makes one (depending on your source.) Hayes seems like a situation that could be resolved but who knows about that drama, and the appeal of USC is hard to dispute. Corley and Kareem's offer lists are absolutely elite and each should be a priority given the struggles at DE and WR recruiting the last few years. Jordan is a priority as well until such time as the OL is established to the level necessary for UM's desired scheme to be effective. Onewenu is 320 lbs with Alabama and OSU offers -- enough said.

    I'm not usually a lock-down-the-state guy when it comes to recruiting. I just want the talent, whether it comes from Toledo, Traverse City, or Timbuktu. But it has to be acknowledged that the last couple classes have missed on a lot of elite talent while OSU fires on all cylinders. More importantly, It's a strong year for Michigan talent. UM can't afford to let these guys slip through the cracks unless they are replaced with better out of state prospects (unlikely.)

    So, hopefully Falcon is just the beginning and we don't see too many more scholarships going to Louisville/MSU caliber players and more going to Alabama/Notre Dame types.

    1. Agreed and it will happen once Harbaugh starts winning. Recruits already know what they get getting by going to Alabama, FSU, OSU, etc. Harbaugh just got to win, and we can land elite recruits come NSD.

    2. Well, I don't know why that would be true for Harbaugh when it wasn't for Hoke, Rodriguez or Carr.

    3. Well, Hoke and Rodriguez never really got things going for any sustained amount of time, and Rodriguez's best season was one game over .500. As for Lloyd Carr, he did a good job within the state. I don't think he missed out on that many elite targets, and he recruited nationally. I really don't mind missing out on Ronald Johnson since we got Donovan Warren. Neither one was a great college player, but both were pretty good.

    4. I am talking just about recruiting in general here. Those guys all got elite talent right off the bat. They didn't need to win first, they just needed Michigan's prestige and hope for a better day.

      Harbaugh hasn't really done that. Yet.

    5. I don't recall Rodriguez or Hoke getting "elite" talent their very first recruiting class. Both RR and Hoke came in January and had a few shorts weeks to pull together a class. Harbaugh the same.

      Now, one could argue that Urban Meyer did that his first year. He had two five-stars and a fairly loaded class of 25 his first recruiting cycle. Three differences -- he was announced in the previous year, not in January of the class year; he was coming off two NCs at Florida, which is an even higher plane from Harbaugh; and Ohio State had one explainable bad year while Michigan (particularly for Hoke and Harbaugh) was in a down patch.

      I'm not saying Harbaugh has burned up the recruiting trail with his first class. But I think he has all the potential to do that.

      And a 12-win season in 2015 isn't required ... what's required is clear evidence that Harbaugh is turning things around. That means -- (a) convincingly beat the teams Michigan should beat, and (b) play 60 minutes of competitive football in those games where Michigan is outmatched. Do that and recruits start taking a close look at Michigan because a lot of players want to be part of a program on the rise.

    6. @Don,

      Rodriguez delivered the #8 class in 2007 and the #11 class in 2008, after a horrendous 2007 season. Hoke delivered the #6 class in 2012, filling almost all of his scholarships before the successful 2011 campaign. Demonstrating on-field success isn't a prerequisite to landing a highly regarded class at Michigan.

      So, I don't agree when somebody says "Harbaugh just needs to win", when Hoke and Rodriguez didn't have to.

      Michigan should not 'outmatched' against anyone they play. If Michigan 'convincingly beat's teams it should beat, 12 wins would be the expectation. Other than OSU, Michigan will have more talent and better coaching (at least on paper) than anyone on the schedule in 2015.

  4. Getting a couple stud RB's is great news. I just hope one separates themselves unlike the situation we have at present.