Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rashad Weaver, Wolverine

Cooper City (FL) Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver (image via
Cooper City (FL) Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver committed to Michigan on Sunday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Air Force, Illinois, Syracuse, and Temple.

Weaver is 6'4", 245 lbs. He claims a 4.9 forty, a 4.66 shuttle, and a 27" vertical.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 2-star WDE
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: Unranked

Weaver was a total unknown to me until he participated in the Florida satellite camp. It looks like he was also unknown to most of the recruiting world. But when a player is looking at offers from the ones listed above plus some FCS schools, a scholarship from Michigan looks pretty darn good. Weaver was thought to be considering an immediate commitment to the Wolverines, but he ended up taking about a week before pulling the trigger.

Weaver has a thick frame that looks like it will probably continue to fill out and add weight. He has a long wingspan and can get his hands in the throwing windows. He also shows some decent speed in the open field if he can beat the blocker in front of him. He can be an aggressive hitter who makes the quarterback or running back feel some punishment if he gets a clean shot.

Unfortunately, he is also a very raw player. When it comes to technique, virtually everything needs to be tweaked - from his stance to his initial steps to his hand placement to the angles he takes to the ball. He plays 3-4 defensive end in high school, which is probably pretty similar to what he will play in college. However, he often fails to get his second step down unless he's speed rushing on the outside, and he tends to stand up too high off the snap. He does not use his hands well and instead tries to shoulder past offensive linemen.

Overall, Weaver seems like a boom-or-bust prospect in more ways than one. If he cleans up his technique and adds the necessary strength, he could be a very good strongside end in a 4-3 or a 3-4 end. In fact, his body type is pretty ideal for those types of positions. With the way his body is built, he could even turn into a 300-pounder, because I think he looks a little like Chris Wormley coming out of high school. On the other hand, his technique and the way he plays reminds me even more of another Ohio defensive end, Chris Rock, who left Michigan early and walked on at Ohio State, where he never played a meaningful snap. Weaver also has a chance to play some tight end, where he would presumably more of a blocking tight end, although offensive highlights are few.

Michigan now has twelve commits in the 2016 class. He is the first defensive end in the class, and it's a position that needs some replenishing. Michigan took two defensive ends in the 2015 class, but the position is rather thin with senior Mario Ojemudia and junior Taco Charlton the only experienced ends at this point. Michigan is even more in need of Buck linebacker types who can speed rush the passer. After Rich Rodriguez concentrated heavily on Florida, Brady Hoke focused his efforts on the midwest. Jim Harbaugh is back to a more national approach, and this is the fourth commitment in the 2016 class from the deep south (two from Alabama, two from Florida), joining the four who committed near the end of the 2015 cycle (three from Florida, one from Alabama).

TTB Rating: 45 (ratings explanation)


  1. That may be the lowest TTB rating we have seen in a while. I'm guessing you think we could have waited for a few dominoes to fall before offering this guy?

    1. exactly. We all know Rich Rod and Hoke took a chance with a few and never panned out. We'll see what happens with this one.

    2. I believe that's the lowest rating I've given out since Kaleb Ringer. Yes, I do think we could have waited for a few more dominoes to fall. But I will say that I trust Harbaugh based on the guys he brought in at Stanford. He knows what he's doing, but I'm just evaluating based on what I see on film.

    3. Big difference here though is Harbaugh and his staff are hitting the road hard and setting up camps just to evaluate prospects in person. This staff is on a different level in terms of recruiting effort. JH is not randomly throwing out offers to every kid in Florida from behind a desk a la RR.
      The key with a lot of southern kids (at least for the short-medium term) will be identifying hidden-gems and offering before they become front-burner recruits for the local schools. He'll eventually have more success with the higher profile guys, but that will take some time. And those guys generally don't commit early unless there is a perceived scarcity of spots. UM is not there yet.

    4. @Painter, Hoke and RR visited and watched recruits, too. I get your point about Harbaugh being a better evaluator but it's not like Hoke and Rich Rod only used Scout to send out offers.

    5. when sud x is the rational one...

    6. When it comes to recruiting effort, JH > Hoke > RR.

      RR had two or three coaches (Dews, Gibson, and to a lesser extent Frey/Jackson) who handled almost all of the recruiting contact. As a policy, neither coordinator traveled much or took the lead role in recruiting individual kids, which is insane IMO. RR had a track record for offering a ton of kids without doing his homework first. It is also well attested that he did not put the time in to develop relationships with Michigan and Ohio coaches. And RR did not do a great job of managing on-campus visits, he delegated too much of the visits to Barwis (granted, Barwis was a good salesman). RR is doing a lot better now that he can plug holes annually with JuCo kids. There is significantly less effort and a much shorter wooing period involved with JuCo's, and they cover up recruiting mistakes with HS prospects.

      Hoke ran a much more organized and hard-working recruiting operation. He got a higher percentage of the staff deeply involved. He put the effort in developing relationships with HS coaches, mended a lot of fences, put an emphasis on assessing character and attitudes of prospects. And he took the on-campus visit experience to a new level. Hoke was obviously not an X's and O's guy (unlike RR) and rightly turned his personal focus to recruiting. One thing Hoke did not do was venture often out of his comfort zone in the B1G footprint. He also did not have a legit QB-evaluator. And they also pulled the "offer four kids, first two to commit are in" sweepstakes crap on a couple occasions, which is bush league IMO.

      JH is on a different level. Just look what he has done with QB recruiting. He has been scouring the country personally playing catch with QB prospects. He threw together a satellite camp tour in a matter of a couple months. And he is doing all this while meshing a diverse staff with a lot of NFL guys and transforming a program for the future in his first off season. Everyone watches film, but recruiting is a lot more than that.

    7. PS's description does not match what I've read/heard. For example - what is listed as lead recruiters on the recruiting sites. Jim Stefani complained that RR didn't use his recruiting services -- Hoke did. So that's one (admittedly anecdotal) bit of contradictory evidence.

      Anyway, it doesn't matter how 'organized' somebody is if they can't develop their players. For all the numbers and organization Hoke brought to the OL it was Rodriguez who recruited a bunch of NFL players right off the bat while the best (only?) hope for a legit OL talent under Hoke is Mason Cole.

      We don't know anything about JH's recruiting at Michigan yet except that he's willing to take a chance on lower rated kids. It seems like he is doing the offer 4 kids thing more than Hoke did. The number of offers that have gone out are unprecedented. So, again, some of these assertions just appear to be made up.

  2. Well this guy has some definite smarts if the Air Force Academy, Cornell and Temple wanted him. At least he'll pick up the schemes quickly.

  3. You seem more confident than others that he is a DL.

    Michigan has taken three WDE/RLB/Buck in the last 2 classes. I'm not sure that's as huge of a need as people think -- though it's fair to say it is until one of those guys proves themselves.

    I generally like ATH types, but I'm a little worried about how many positionless players there are in this class. There is something to be said for taking a guy who knows his position well so that he gains experience and knowledge at these positions and can focus on refining skills rather than being built from the ground up. This is something Rodriguez got killed for.

    I think a balance of both is valid and there are still plenty of spots left in a class that will probably end up close to around 25...

    I think Harbaugh knows he has some goodwill built up and is willing to take a chance on boom/bust prospects. Hoke left him with a good core of talent (outside of the skill positions that is) so Harbaugh can build his lines and defense over time with players that fit his mold. He does need to land some instant impact WRs and LBs though.

    1. Well, the majority of his highlights (except for two plays, I think) are on defense. He also told someone that he was being brought in with the plan to start out at DE.

      He's not a Buck linebacker, and I don't think he's a WDE. His frame is too big. If he does play defense, I think he'll be 275 lbs., minimum. He might stay a little thinner if he plays TE just to keep up his speed.

    2. The difference with RR was that he recruited a lot of kids who did not appear to have the raw material for any specific position, other than hybrid roles (slow safeties, small LB's/RB's/WR's, etc.). Whether you like Weaver or not, he is the opposite. As Thunder points out, he will be big enough to slot into multiple spots.

      In this kid's case, it is likely that Harbaugh felt he was on the verge of blowing up based on what they saw at the camp. I read somewhere that Weaver grew up primarily as a basketball guy and only started focusing-on/playing football mid-way through HS, so that would account for less than polished junior film.

  4. He looks to me like a big galumph that could pretty easily become a real big galumph. I wish they had some film of him blocking somebody.

    In retrospect, I'm thinking my 66 was way high, i do think 45 is low because of the smarts as demonstrated by an offer from Air Force, assuming that is indeed the case. Now, I'm thinking splitskeys ..... 56.5.