Monday, June 15, 2015

Sean McKeon, Wolverine

Dudley (MA) Shepherd Hill tight end Sean McKeon (image via Rivals)
Dudley (MA) Shepherd Hill tight end Sean McKeon committed to Michigan on Monday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech, among others.

McKeon is 6'5", 230 lbs. He claims a 4.69 forty, a 4.58 shuttle, a 36" vertical, a 275 lb. bench press, and a 455 lb. squat.

RATINGS
ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 2-star TE
Scout: 3-star, #51 TE
247 Sports: 3-star TE

McKeon was offered relatively recently. He immediately set up a visit date to see Michigan, and that visit took place this past weekend. He slept on it for a night, and here we are. The speed of his process makes a lot of sense, not only because Michigan is his best offer, but because tight ends should be lining up to play for Jim Harbaugh.

I have an inherent trust for Harbaugh's evaluations and usage of tight ends, so I will try not to let that color my evaluation of McKeon himself. But I do think there is a lot to like. First of all, he has good size without bad weight, and he should just be able to pack on some muscle before contributing. Once the play starts, the first thing that jumps out about him is that he shows good acceleration off the ball, and I think he will be able to get separation from linebackers with that initial speed burst. He also shows the ability to adjust to the ball in the air, whether it's sliding to make a catch or going up to get it, where he can catch the ball with his hands outside the frame of his body. He is not an absolutely dynamic runner with the ball in his hands, but the first clip of his highlights shows a pretty amazing run-after-catch effort, and the offense also uses him on reverses, which is pretty rare for a tight end. McKeon is also a willing blocker who shows some pretty solid technique, and he has the feet and the hips to be effective in the run game.

On the negative side, Massachusetts is not known for its football talent, and the guys McKeon runs away from in the film are probably not going to be big-time recruits themselves. He is not a quick-twitch guy who will make people miss very often, and he is mostly a straight-line player, which is pretty standard for tight ends.

Overall, though he is a 2-star guy or unranked to a couple services, I think McKeon is a quality recruit. He reminds me of junior tight end Jake Butt in a lot of ways. Michigan should be able to get him in the flat or hit him on crossing routes, and a guy with decent speed who's 250 lbs. or so will be tough to bring down for defensive backs.

McKeon's commitment gives Michigan thirteen pledges in the 2016 class. He is the first true tight end in the class, though defensive end Rashad Weaver could be a blocking-type tight end. When McKeon arrives on campus, Butt will be a senior, and no other players have established themselves as true tight ends instead of H-backs (Khalid Hill, Ian Bunting, Henry Poggi, and Chase Winovich all seem like H-back types). The only other guy pegged for tight end is incoming freshman Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., who is 6'7", 286 lbs. and could feasibly end up at another position. If McKeon can add a reasonable amount of weight, he could find himself battling for a starting gig as a sophomore.

The last Michigan recruit from Massachusetts was 2013 defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr., and no Michigan player has ever come from Shepherd Hill.

TTB Rating: 83 (ratings explanation)

16 comments:

  1. Still not entirely sure why we're in such a rush to sign so many low rated recruits. They're not going anywhere. Even if really high-impact guys want to sign with us, pretty soon we won't have any schoolies left for them. Are we not even giving guys like that a CHANCE to commit?

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    1. Not going anywhere? He had offers from BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, and UM, and wanted to wrap up his recruiting by the end of June. He also just picked up a Virginia Tech offer last week, and others were likely to come in. The kid just posted one of fastest 40 times in the country for a TE at a Pitt camp (I think) a couple weeks ago.

      McKeon's rating is based on playing in a run heavy offense in Massachusetts. If you are expecting Harbaugh to do a cross check with Scout and Rivals on kids he is evaluating in camps this summer, it ain't happening.

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    2. I think there will still be room for those big-time players to commit if they want. One of the ideas behind sending out so many early offers (off the top of my head, we're already up to 227 for the class of 2016) is to figure out who's interested and who's not. The guys who are visiting this summer or who have scheduled official visits are interested. The guys who are saying "Yeah, I might think about Michigan" are not. I think there might be about 4-5 elite guys that Michigan has a strong chance with (Rashan Gary, Ben Bredeson, etc.); otherwise, a lot of the players are interchangeable.

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  2. Wow ... a striking difference in TTB ratings for Sean vs. Rashad. Both 2-stars, but one 83 and the other 45.

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    1. Agree with Thunder's comparison to Butt. McKeon runs very well and has good balance. And for a kid who plays in a rushing offense, he has some natural receiving skills. Nice pick up at a position of need. My guess is Harbaugh will bring in a second TE in this class too.

      By the way, Bunting will eventually be a full-size Y-TE in my opinion. The kid is already up over 240 and he appears to possess that blocking mean-streak. Look forward to seeing him a little this year.

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    2. You are starting to see Harbaugh focus on beefing up a bit. We've seen a flurry of commitments from big backs/TE/DL/OL getting us back to Stanford/Bo/Harbaugh/Michigan power football. You look at McKenon, Weaver, Davis, Reese, Onwenu and Wheatly from the previous class and these are big guys who could play a variety of positions.

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  3. My comment is similar--you start by saying,"I do not think there is a lot to like" and end with a TTB rating of a solid starter. Is this a reflection of your confidence in Jim Harbaugh's abilities as a coach or some more nuanced part of your evaluation? BTW, thanks for all your insight and good luck with the new site!

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    1. I said "I *do* think there is a lot to like."

      It's a combination of what I see in him and what I think of Jim Harbaugh's abilities to develop tight ends. I think he's a talented player, and I think Harbaugh will maximize his talents.

      Thanks!

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    2. He says " I do think there is a lot to like", there is no "not" in there.

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  4. Harbaugh has a background on the offensive side of the ball, so I get his being able to spot offensive talent -- particularly QB and TE talent -- and coach it up.

    But what about defense? Is there any indication how involved Harbaugh is on that side of the ball? Do we think he has some kind of ability to spot DL, LB or DB talent? Or do we think he pretty much leaves that to Durkin, Mattison, et. al?

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    1. I don't know how involved Harbaugh is on defense. However, as a coach, I don't think it's difficult to separate the two sides of the ball. When you're an offensive coach, you're looking at defensive guys all day long to figure out how you can beat them. You know what good athletes look like, who can move, who can bend, who can change directions, etc. Durkin, Mattison, and others probably have a stronger idea of how to teach those kids from minute to minute, but I have little doubt that Harbaugh can look at a camper or a kid on film and figure out whether he has the athleticism to play defense at a high level.

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  5. This guy is going to be a stud, All B1G or better down the road. Would be nice to see him RS but he has talent and talent gets you on the field.

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  6. Sounds like he could be pretty good. Cool! Nice work gettting all these reviews up quickly.

    I wonder what explains his low rank. I'm sure he'll get bumped to 3 stars any day, but if he's really that fast you wonder why he wouldn't be higher ranked. Bad hands?

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    1. Thanks. I was about to go to bed last night when the Viramontes thing broke, so I stayed up until after midnight to finish it. I guess that's not a good idea when I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m.

      Anyway, I'm guessing the recruiting sites are reticent to rank kids from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, etc. too highly to begin. There's a question mark about the competition level, and it's probably easier (from a "moral" standpoint) to bump a guy up from 2-star status to 3- or 4-star status than it is to start them out as 4-stars and have to drop them down.

      Personally, I don't see any reason for McKeon to be ranked any lower than a 3-star.

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    2. His offer list alone indicates that 2-star is a bit low. If that 40 time is legit, it's a slam dunk. I expect him to get the de rigueur bump. -- not that it changes anything.

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