Gallon committed to Rich Rodriguez in June of 2008 and had some pretty good accolades, claiming Player of the Year in Florida during his senior year. He was a single-wing quarterback at Apopka (FL) Apoka, so moving to slot receiver (and eventually outside receiver) was a fairly significant position change. His junior year entailed 1,613 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground, along with 1,071 passing yards and 8 touchdowns. He was a Rivals 4-star, the #11 athlete, and the #151 player overall and participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he was limited by a groin pull but still grabbed a 34-yard pass from quarterback Tajh Boyd.
I expected Gallon to play as a freshman, but I guess the position change was a little much for him initially. There were problems catching the ball and holding onto the ball, and Michigan had the likes of Martavious Odoms, Roy Roundtree, and Kelvin Grady that season. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Gallon played a little as a slot (4 catches, 49 yards, 1 touchdown) but contributed more as a punt returner (10 punt returns for 43 yards; 27 kickoff returns for 589 yards). In the unforgettable 2011 version of Under the Lights against Notre Dame, he grabbed 2 passes for 78 yards, including a leaping touchdown and a 64-yard catch-and-run to set up the winning touchdown; he finished the season as the second-leading receiver, behind Junior Hemingway, totaling 31 catches for 453 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had his best year as a punt returner with 19 returns for 192 yards. Gallon had a mediocre beginning of the 2012 season, but he really took off once Devin Gardner took over for the injured Denard Robinson at quarterback; Gallon made 49 catches for 829 yards and 4 touchdowns as a redshirt junior. Gallon, who wore #3 to begin his career and switched to #10 before the 2011 season, was awarded the Desmond Howard #21 Legends jersey prior to the 2013 season and responded with 89 receptions for 1,373 yards and 9 touchdowns. His 89 receptions rank #2 all-time at Michigan (behind Braylon Edwards's 97 in 2004) and his yardage total ranks #1 in school history. He had three magnificent games during his senior year. The best was a 14-catch, 369-yard, 2-touchdown, record-setting performance against Indiana; another was an 8-catch, 184-yard, 3-touchdown game against Notre Dame; the final one was a 9-catch, 175-yard, 1-touchdown outing against Ohio State, which included an 84-yard catch-and-run at the beginning of the game.
173 receptions, 2704 yards, 15.4 yards/catch, 17 touchdowns
17 carries, 97 yards, 5.7 yards/carry
32 kickoff returns, 658 yards, 20.6 yards/return
47 punt returns, 333 yards, 7.1 yards/return
Second Team All-Big Ten, 2013
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, 2012
#21 Legends jersey
Gallon's career spanned two coaching staff with significantly different offenses and visions for him. Listed at 5'8" throughout his college career, he measured in at the NFL Combine a shade over 5'7". Viewed exclusively as a slot receiver and returner by Rich Rodriguez, he turned into an extremely productive, record-setting split end and flanker for Brady Hoke. I think one of the most surprising things about Gallon was the way he developed as a receiver and turned into a jump ball hero despite being smaller than virtually every cornerback he faced. I liked him as a recruit because of his strength and running ability, but once Rodriguez was fired, I wondered how Michigan was going to get him the ball without using bubble screens. They found a way, though. I found myself at times thinking, "Just get the ball to Gallon" because he was more productive than the running backs and less prone to turnovers than Devin Gardner. I ranked Gallon #3 in the 2013 Season Countdown and said he would end up with 75 catches, 1,200 yards, and 10 touchdowns. At the time some people thought I was overestimating his production, but I actually undervalued him in receptions and yards, and I arguably could have ranked him #2 (behind Taylor Lewan and ahead of Devin Gardner). He now has the school record for yardage in a season, set a Big Ten record with his 369 yards against Indiana, and is #2 in Division I history with that yardage performance, behind only Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards and his 405 yards.
Gallon has good acceleration but questionable long speed, evidenced by his 4.45 time in the forty at the NFL Combine. As we have seen numerous times throughout his career, he can get run down from behind. Furthermore, his size will limit him from catching on with some teams, although he plays bigger than his 5'7", 184 lb. frame would indicate. He also proved to have very large hands at the Combine. I think Gallon will get drafted somewhere around the 5th round in May's NFL Draft, but I have a hard time comparing him to anyone who has had a great deal of success recently in the NFL. Tavon Austin is small but faster than Gallon. I also think Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers has better long speed, but that might be the best comparison I can derive. I think Gallon will stick around in the league for several years, but he probably won't be more than a #3 guy and perhaps a contributor on returns.
yup. as much as I love J Gallon I don't think he can flourish in the NFL. As you said, probably a 5~6th round pick with a short career. Re: his physical attributes, his case reminds me of what happened to Dave Molk, who was one of the best centers in CFB, but was a career backup with a short career in the NFL. In the league, size and speed really matter.ReplyDelete
I don't see anything keeping Gallon from becoming a starting NFL WR. He's not a deep ball threat, but the NFL became a passing league years ago and he can certainly do Wes Welker/Lance Moore things - i.e. get open on short-medium patterns and across the middle. He's tough and reliable.ReplyDelete
This, from your take on him in 2012, was very wrong at the college level, but seems appropriate for the NFL were his lack of top-end speed could limit him:
"While his size might still limit his ability to make plays downfield, Gallon should be able to get open underneath, from the slot, and on some more screen passes... Gallon is more of a complementary receiver than a future star, so his ceiling as a receiver isn't a great deal higher than what we saw last season."
One nitpick - I don't think it's fair to say Rodriguez only viewed Gallon as a slot. He only coached him one season after his red-shirt, and Rodriguez wasn't afraid of playing smaller WR outside (e.g., Odoms).
In college his size didn't hurt him because of all the other things he did so well, but in the NFL it'll be harder to shake loose from CBs, so he may indeed be a role player instead of the star he was for Michigan.