Friday, April 22, 2011

A.J. Williams, Wolverine

Cincinnati, OH tight end A.J. Williams

Cincinnati tight end A.J. Williams committed to Michigan on Friday.  He chose the Wolverines over offers from Arkansas, Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia, among others.  He's a 3-star recruit and the #15 tight end to Scout, but he has not been ranked by Rivals, ESPN, or 247 Sports.

The 6'6", 260-pounder lists a 4.9 forty, a 235 lb. bench press, a 415 lb. squat, and a 30-inch vertical leap.  Some analysts have suggested that he could grow into an offensive tackle, and that's not completely out of the question for a player his size.  However, Michigan's coaches currently intend for him to be a blocking tight end.

The high number of offers to tight ends in this class suggests that Michigan would like to take at least two players at the position, and the skill sets of those offers tell me that they would like at least one blocking tight end and one pass receiving threat at the position.  Williams is the blocking variety and has stated that the coaches want to use him to pave the way at the point of attack.  When he arrives on campus in 2012, the depth at tight end will consist of fifth year senior Brandon Moore and sophomore Chris Barnett.

Williams is the fifth player to commit to Michigan in the class of 2012.  There are roughly 12 more spots to fill, although further attrition from Michigan's current roster is likely.

There's very little available film on Williams.  The video below from Scouting Ohio offers some insight into his talents, but it's too grainy and short to allow many conclusions.

TTB Rating: Incomplete, due to lack of film


  1. OK, so you've said 5 scholarships for TE would be excessive, in part because walk-on's can be used for blocking and depth. Now Michigan looks to have 5 next year (Moore, Barnett, Miller, Williams, Funchess) and TomVH thinks Thompson is still an option for a third TE in the class. Granted that Miller and Funchess look right now more like H-backs or 2nd (receiving TEs) than in-line every-down TEs, and Williams may ultimately end up at OL but...

    what are your thoughts? Is the offense going to use a lot of 2 TE sets? Is 3 TEs in the class an option given that Thompson is reported to be a heavy lean and arguably the highest rated of the TEs?


  2. @ Lankownia 1:08 p.m.

    I said that 6 would be excessive. I wasn't necessarily counting Ricardo Miller as a tight end because I haven't really seen him play TE (just H-back).

    But yes, I do think that there will be a lot of two tight end sets. And as I mentioned in the Funchess post (which I put up while you were leaving this comment), I do think that Ron Thompson could still be added to this class. However, I think we'll have to lose some more players to attrition to make that feasible. Of course, it's likely that we do lose more players, but I can't see Michigan using 6 scholarships on linemen, 3 on tight ends, and 3 on linebackers. That would only leave five spots for every other position. Probably a moot point, though.

  3. This guy is an OT all the way. He is barely 17 and already as big as Matt Spaeth. As a general rule, if a HS recruit is bigger than most current college players, a position switch is forthcoming. I can see a TE turning into a blocking specialist once he is in the program, but I cannot imagine the coaches targeting one in the recruiting process.

    I think the UM coaches will "say" they are looking at him as a TE. But then when he is up to 280 during his freshman season, they can act surprised and move him to OT. The good thing about a recruit like this is that he will not scare away any OT recruits (he's a TE!) and he won't scare away any athletic TE recruits (he's a blocking-specialist TE!).

  4. Theres been some suggestions that TE should really be considered 2 positions, not unlike outside and inside WR in the spread; The inline blocking TE and the H-back/receiver.

    Personally, I see a lot of value in having an OT-who-can-catch on the line, particularly if you want establish yourself as a power running team.