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Earlier this week, Michigan picked up a commitment from huge Utah DT Bryan Mone. What does Mone bring to the table?
UT DT Bryan Mone, listed at 6'4, 315ish, committed to Michigan yesterday. The Wolverines had been the presumed leader for the teammate of FB Sione Houma for some time, but he stretched out his recruitment long enough to be sure Michigan was the place for him. Mone becomes the 3rd commitment in the class, joining QB Wilton Speight and LB Michael Ferns.
It has seemed for quite some time that Mone would be offering his pledge to Michigan, the only question was when. In fact, in my 'Big Board' post last week, this is what I said about Mone's recruitment.
The high school teammate of FB Sione Houma may very well be the next member of the 2014 class, now that the QB situation has been resolved. He's been hinting for months that Michigan is at the top of his leaderboard, and that a commitment might not be far off.
The writing on the wall had been there for quite some time.
Anyway, I said that because it never really seemed as though Mone was seriously considering anyone else. Mone was the first kid Michigan offered in the 2014 cycle, after DLine Coach Jerry Montgomery went down to see Sione Houma in his school. Montgomery's role both in evaluating/finding Mone and getting him to Michigan cannot be understated. As Sam Webb pointed out yesterday...
So anyway, he came out to Ann Arbor in July ($) and November ($) of the past year. Some though he might commit on that November visit, and indeed he came close to it, but in the end he waited out until February. Mone chose Michigan over offers from BYU, Utah, Utah State, Wisconsin (because Andersen), UCLA, Oregon State, and Ole Miss. My guess is that offer list will boom in the coming months.
Here's what I said about Mone's talent in the Big Board post.
Mone falls a bit further than McDowell and Hand because he doesn't have quite the same physical skillset as the two. While he's certainly a unique talent, the Haloti Ngata comparisons a lot of people throw around are a little bit blown out of proportion. He's the type of high effort, versatile defender that Mattison, Hoke, and Montgomery could turn into a key asset in the future, but I'm not sure he'll ever be a first rounder.
Since I said that a week ago, I of course still stand behind that. Every year, there's a top tier of DTs with the explosiveness that could make them...well to make it easy on Lions fans...someone like Nick Fairly or Ndamukong Suh. You saw that in the 2013 class with guys like Eddie Vanderdoes, Montravius Adams, and A'Shawn Robinson. Michigan's even offered a couple of those guys in the 2014 class in Dexter Wideman and Khairi Clark.
Mone belongs right below that top tier. He doesn't have the same ceiling as those players, which is why I think some of the Haloti Ngata comparisons are a stretch. However, that doesn't preclude him from becoming a top-notch collegiate player. He uses his hands better than most collegiate prospects, shows great flexibility when pass rushing, and understands leverage. It's actually a bit strange- he comes from such a lowly touted area, that you wouldn't expect him to be nearly this refined.
Anyway, his understanding of leverage could provide him with a solid future as a NT, but his athleticism could allow him to play the 3-tech as well. Hell, he plays the 5-tech in high school, and something tells me it wouldn't be that difficult for him to do so in college. In any case, that versatility should provide him with an opportunity to play early.
And he'll need it, because Michigan is fairly well stocked with young talent in the interior of the line. Pipkins, Hurst, Poggi, Henry, and Wormley are all underclassmen who look poised to make a serious run at playing time. All of them, in my eyes, are starter caliber players. Pipkins and Hurst provide the same versatility as Mone (to a certain extent) in that they could play the Nose or 3-tech, and the other three all look like contributors at the 3-tech.
What Mone has going for him is the coaching staff loves to rotate d-linemen in order to keep them fresh, and this results in a lot of opportunity for young guys. During this past year, Washington, Campbell, Pipkins, and Ash all saw time at the Nose. If Mone can work his way past Hurst, behind presumed starter Pipkins, he could place himself in line to eventually replace Pipkins after (Mone's) sophomore year.
In any case, landing Mone is huge. I would compare it to getting Chris Fox out of last year's class. While his offer list may not have been mind-boggling, Michigan gained his commitment right before he was liable to blow up. If Fox had let his recruitment play out, there's no doubt in my mind that he would have ended up a top-100 kid with offers from..just about everywhere. I think the same can be said about Mone. He'll never be the best, but it's hard for a school not to want a top talent with an attitude like this ($).
He's a lot like Sione. In fact, the church that both of them go to is run by Bryan's dad. He's a Methodist minister. So, he comes from a great family and he's of good moral character, which you love to have that on your team. Truly, he was a leader on the line this year.
So there you have it folks. Right now, there are 2 types of players on Michigan's defense. There's the kids with decent ceilings that are reaching that because of the coaching (Desmond Morgan, Thomas Gordon, Jordan Kovacs, Brennen Beyer), and there are the great athletes that could really be something special (Jake Ryan, Blake Countess, James Ross, Joe Bolden, Ondre Pipkins). If Michigan wants to have the same stifling defense that a school like Florida State does, they need more of the latter category. With kids like Mone, they're well on their way.