Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Under Armour All-American Game analysis

Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Bryan Mone, and Jared Wangler at the
2014 Under Armour All-American Game
The 2014 Under Armour All-American Game took place on Thursday afternoon, and it was a showcase for four current Michigan commits. All of Michigan's commits were on Team Nitro, which lost the game by a score of 31-21. Some brief analysis of what I saw:

LB Michael Ferns: Ferns didn't even record a single tackle in this game. Probably because he sat it out due to injury.

QB Wilton Speight: Speight was named a captain for Team Nitro and earned the start at quarterback. He finished just 2/6 for 63 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also had 3 carries for 8 yards. Offensive lines consistently struggle in these games because they don't have time to work together, and that was pretty obvious as Speight never really had a chance to set his feet and scan the field. I thought Speight did a nice job of keeping his eyes downfield when the pressure was coming, which was often. He shows a little bit of mobility, but that's mostly going to be when defenses completely forget about him being 6'6" and able to run a little bit. He's a better runner than John Navarre was, but perhaps a notch below Steven Threet. Speight has a nice overhand delivery from the pocket that defenders will probably struggle to bat down, but he can throw from different angles on the move. He made a poor read on a redzone passing attempt that resulted in a pick for Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra cornerback Adoree' Jackson, but he also made a very nice throw while running to his right for a long gain.

CB Jabrill Peppers: Peppers didn't really make any highlight-reel plays in the game, but he didn't get embarrassed, either. Well, except for one play on which he showed very nice change-of-direction skills only to dive at the Team Highlight receiver's ankles and miss the tackle. Aside from coming up quickly, what I liked about that play was that Peppers hopped right up and attempted to chase down the receiver as he raced down the left sideline. The New Jersey native ended the game with 2 kickoff returns for 65 yards, 3 tackles, and 1 pass for -2 yards out of a Wildcat formation in the first half. Peppers also blocked a field goal at the end of the first half, but that's not exactly allowed in all-star games like this one. Overall, it was a solid but unspectacular showing.

OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty: Of the guys who played, I thought Bushell-Beatty looked like the biggest project. He looked overweight, out of shape, and slow of foot. Of course, he's a high schooler coming off of a long run to a state championship, so I don't expect him to be in peak physical condition at this point in the year. However, he looks like he has a long way to go. He was standing up way too high while run blocking, which severely limited his lateral movement and left him flailing at air. He was also beaten badly on a speed rush that resulted in getting Speight blindsided. It should also be noted that Bushell-Beatty is generally considered a 3-star prospect who was facing some elite talent, and I don't think it's a stretch or an insult to say that he was overmatched.

DT Bryan Mone: I saw less of Mone than anyone else, partly because it was just difficult to see jersey numbers at times. He's large and solidly built, but he's more about power than anything else at this time. Mone has added a lot of weight in the past year or so, and he's lost some of the athleticism that made him such a beast as an underclassman. He does not appear to be a huge threat to be a penetrator, as he mostly eats space at the line of scrimmage. That resulted in 2 tackles during the game.

LB Jared Wangler: Wangler was wandering the sidelines due to a separated shoulder.

WR Drake Harris (not pictured): Harris sat out his entire senior season due to a nagging hamstring injury. Since he was not going to be able to play, he did not attend the game.


  1. I thought the same thing while watching Bushell-Beatty. He looked even slower and stifferf than LTT did as a senior. Maybe it's the hyphen.

  2. Thanks, that's a sobering alternate view to hear for those of us who didn't watch the game, compared to the fluff from Michigan recruiting gurus on Twitter (JBB was great in practice, Peppers and Speight awesome, etc).

  3. I thought Mone did a pretty good. Am I the only one to think that? We need players like him to eat spare, considering Q Wash is gone and Pipkins coming off an injury

  4. I thought Mone did a good job. He ate up space and we will definitely need guys like that considering Q Wash is gone and Pipkins is coming off an injury

  5. Mone did OK, I saw him beat his guy pretty good on a pass play, but he was too slow, and too late to even have a chance at the sack.