New Blue, Henry Poggi

Henry Poggi, listed as 6'4, 260ish (there's actually little variation with regards to that), announced his commitment to Michigan yesterday morning, spurring a twitter clash between the two 4-year olds hiding in the man suits. It's times like this that I'm glad my actual interaction with recruits is at a minimum, but that's all I have to say in that matter. In any case, Poggi is the third big time national recruit (yes, that's completely subjective) to select Michigan this cycle, following the leads of CO OL Chris Fox and PA OL Patrick Kugler. The criteria for such praise includes (a) not being from the midwest and (b) fielding offers from major national programs. It is these types of recruits that push you beyond conference dominance, into the realm of national dominance. There's a reason that every major national power, besides Texas, relies on kids from half-way across the country to keep their rosters loaded.

Poggi has been exceptionally quiet throughout his recruitment. However, in retrospect, perhaps we (read:I) should have been more optimistic about him from the onset. (/Boom Michigan Arrogance) From his first interview with Scout ($)

Football is one aspect of Poggi’s life but he is very serious about his academics as well.

"I take school very seriously. My degree is very important to me. I want to study finance. I am a big math guy so numbers are in my future."

He still has some time to go but Poggi already has a good outline of what he is looking for from his future school.

"It is important that it be a family atmosphere. The coaches need to be good guys that care about their players. I want to have a good relationship with my position coach. There has to be good academic support from the school and it has to be a priority with the coaches as well. I will look for a place where they are teaching the right thing to the players, that is important to be a good person first and a good player second."

I know, I know, every kid says he loves academics, but they rarely go into semi-convincing detail. And yes, I know that it is both incredibly ignorant and arrogant of me to assume that Michigan can do this better than anyone else. What do you expect?

Anyway, back to the details of his recruitment. You know a kid is big when his first offer comes from Alabama. He followed that up with offers from Iowa (where one of his brothers plays), Auburn, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, and UVA, among others. Alabama looked like they had a leg up for a while, but the UM staff pushed hard for visits, and Poggi came up to Ann Arbor on three different occasions, including the Purdue game last year. He visited most of the schools that offered him, including Ohio State and Alabama, but ultimately picked the Maize and Blue shortly after visiting Tuscaloosa for the final time. I'm fairly confident that we won't hear much more about Poggi (besides on-field dominance) until Signing Day-as a kid with two brothers and a father that have gone through the recruiting process many times, it seems like a well though out decision, and a final one.

Part of the benefit of having your dad as a coach, as well as two older brothers who play the game, is that your technique is likely to be far more refined than some of your peers. This holds true with Poggi, as he shows some of the best technique of any defensive lineman Michigan has landed in the past few years. He uses his hands well, stays low with consistency, but still keeps his eyes up. I've found that a lot of high school kids who become aware of the benefits of leverage tend to dip their head and lose awareness of their surroundings, which isn't true of Poggi. Unlike others, I think Poggi could make an impact at the 5-technique before sliding to the inside. He certainly isn't any less athletic than Van Bergen, and could use the playing time to get himself acclimated to the pace of the college game. Regardless, he will eventually end up on the inside, where the future looks solid, if unspectacular. He may be a kid who wills himself to 10+ TFL years, but I think he's too slow off the line of scrimmage to ever be a first-round type of stud. It's a weakness that can be worked on, but the returns are often fairly minimal.

Like I said, I think Poggi has a chance to make an early impact at the 5-technique spot. Once he gets on campus, he'll compete with the likes of Wormley and Strobel (coming off of redshirt years?) for a place in the rotation of the defensive line. If he's able to show the coaches something that the others are not, he could find himself getting 10-20 snaps a game, spelling whoever replaces Roh. If he doesn't, he'll be granted a redshirt year to bulk up and hasten his advancement to the middle of the line. Once Jibreel Black leaves, I think he'll have just as good of a shot to win a starting job as anyone.

So there you have it, folks. Poggi may not be dripping with upside, but he's very much like James Ross in that the chance he doesn't become a solid contributor seem slim. He's a coach's son with a non-stop motor and work ethic, and doesn't seem like he'll ever become an academic risk. As far as rankings go, the commitment of Poggi likely solidifies Michigan's eventual ranking to be in the top-4 or 5, depending on the fluctuations after All-Star games, senior years, etc. The addition of players like LaQuon Treadwell and/or Derrick Green will help solidify a shot at landing the number one class in the country, for those who care.

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