MO WR Jehu Chesson, listed at 6'3, 183, committed to Michigan a few days before Christmas, giving the UM faithful an early holiday gift. He picked the Maize and Blue over many offers, but his final list included Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, and Missouri. You could probably maybe consider Chesson another kid who saw his place in the class appear after truly showing up at Michigan's camp ala Channing Stribling or Jeremy Clark, although Chesson was a bit less under the radar than those two.
Chesson is a kid who began the process earlier than some of his peers, first camping at Michigan in the summer of 2010, while the program was still under the direction of Rich Rod and friends. He then performed well at the Army Junior Combine and received his Michigan offer in early June, although rumors coming out of Michigan's summer camp in 2011 said his performance there was what really solidified his place near the top of Michigan's WR board. As time rolled on and fans became more and more concerned about the WR position, as it became obvious that guys like Aaron Burbridge and Stefon Diggs were not coming here, Darboh and Chesson slipped into the fold in December in what should be a solid tandem for the future. He ended up selecting the Wolverines over a group that included Missouri, Illinois, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Iowa, and especially Northwestern.
First, all you need to know to like him.
A workin' man: "I work for my community center. Yesterday what I was doing was being a referee for basketball, and then on Friday night I was a DJ for a father-daughter dance . . . and then over the summer and spring break - a lot of kids go out of town for spring break - but I usually volunteer to be a camp counselor and hang out with the kids, which is pretty fun.
Like Amara Darboh, Chesson is from Western Africa (Liberia). Here's a piece on Jehu Chesson I (his father)'s journey from Liberia to St. Louis.
Initially, he came to St. Louis in the early 1980s as a foreign exchange student. After he graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School, he returned to Liberia where he pursued a Bachelor in Science degree in Economics from Cuttington University.
During the early 1990s, he was working in the financial industry when a civil war broke out in his home country. Chesson joined the Lutheran World Service via the United Nations as a relief worker. He delivered relief supplies to war victims for three years.
Due to a desire to further his academic pursuits, Chesson accepted another opportunity to study abroad in the U.S. and returned to St. Louis. Chesson's wife, Yvette Anderson-Chesson, and son, Jehu Chesson II, joined him later from Liberia. He earned a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
And, all you need to know to like his football ability. That 87 rating would place him as the 6th best prospect in the class, behind a bevy of guys who are not three stars.
But anyway, you likely all read Magnus' work on your own time, so let me add my own thoughts. The obvious reasons for his increase in popularity following his senior year were his various track exploits. From Chesson's ESPN scouting profile ($)..
He has some value as a vertical target due to his frame/speed combination, but we are not convinced he is a great speed guy rather a competitive one.
He is not a huge homerun threat in space, but given his size he is pretty nifty and can gain valuable YAC and move the chains.
Yet, his production in Spring would seem to contradict that. So what happened?
Hitting another gear senior year: "Well, it really is all mental. . . . My junior year, they [the coaches] never really put me on special teams because they didn't want me to get hurt. But then they put me on special teams my senior year, actually in the last couple of games, and every time I got the ball I would score, except for once. Those [plays] aren't even on my highlight tape because I couldn't figure out how to put them on. But it was just what the team demanded of me mentally and physically because every single game I played both ways. I played safety on defense; I was sometimes the kicker, and then on kickoffs I was the return man. I just played what the team needed me to play, and that leadership role just kind of took over."
There is a noticeable difference between the explosion shown in his junior and senior highlights. My thinking is that once he gets into a college program, questions about his speed will permanently disappear. On top of that, the largest knock on Chesson is his lack of elusiveness after the catch. The last guy who I recall having that as a sort of question mark on his resume? Yeah, he did things like this.
Obviously, they are two very different types of players. But I'm not concerned. I'm also very high on Chesson's leaping ability, something he shares with the aforementioned wide receiver. The main knock on him, at this point, is that he's 'lanky'. His fellow WR, Darboh, came in approximately 40 pounds heavier than him. While I don't expect Chesson to need to hit 220, I'd imagine he'll want to get up to 205ish before seeing the field.
So yes, I do expect Chesson to redshirt this year. His long term potential may be just as high as Darboh's (or higher?), but his peer came in with a much more college-ready physique. While I think Darboh has a good chance at seizing Roundtree's place in the offense once he leaves, Jeremy Gallon will be a senior during Chesson's RS Freshman year. He will compete with Jackson, Dileo, Robinson, Miller, and whatever freshmen are brought in to replace Gallon in the offseason. After that, it could be a Darboh/Chesson tandem for years to come. Certainly doesn't sound bad to me.
So there you have it, folks. Chesson's lean athleticism will need some coaching, refining, and additional weight, but Chesson is simply the second part of a stellar WR duo brought in by this staff. On top of that, he's almost certain to be a non-risk off the field. He simply seems like a kid who has his head on straight, and one I'm proud to have at Michigan.