NC DB Channing Stribling, listed at about 6'2, 170, committed to Michigan on Wednesday after blowing up at UM's camp during this past week. His offer and subsequent commitment come from relative obscurity- despite coming from a highly scouted school in Butler HS, his name wasn't mentioned among some of the more highly touted kids coming from the program over the past couple of years. Among those players, Michigan has targeted QB Riley Ferguson, QB Christian Lemay, LB Kris Frost, WR Uriah Lemay, LB Peter Kalambayi, S Robert Blanton, LB Hawatha Bell, and S Spencer Adams. Although Michigan's come close with a couple of these kids, it's good to finally land one (aside from Jamar Adams, the only other Butler product to matriculate to Ann Arbor in the modern era).
In any case, there really isn't much to write about Stribling's career or recruitment. He played WR and DB for Butler, and wracked up offers from Ball State and then Old Dominion, Charlotte, and Howard. From a highly scouted school, it's the type of offer list you'd expect from a kid who THOSE schools aren't even sure about-they just want to get a foot in the door. With that in mind, this is by no means a carbon copy of Jeremy Clark. People probably saw Stribling's junior film, probably knew his name, and some had even had him camp at their schools. I understand that he likely had a very strong camp, but this isn't the mold of the familiar 'sleeper' or 'diamond in the rough'. If I had to guess, Stribling's just spent more time this offseason on his technique and conditioning.
Since Stribling is 6'2 and lacks elite top end speed, he'll probably end up at the boundary corner position. As JT Floyd leaves this offeason, he'll at least be given a superficial chance at winning the job during fall camp, although it seems more likely that Raymon Taylor or Terrence Talbott takes that spot. In that situation, he'll likely take a redshirt and spend a year bulking up his lean frame. After two years, Taylor (whom I assume will win the job) will also leave school. At that point, there should be an open competition that will include fellow CB commit Gareon Conley and whomever else Michigan recruits between now and then. I'm pretty high on Conley so I think it'll be an up-hill climb for Stribling to nab playing time, but it's not impossible.
As far as his highlight tape goes, it's just what you'd expect it to be- promising, but not close to a finished product. His top end speed is questionable, but he does display a lot that you'd expect would help him on the defensive side of the ball; fluid hips and great suddenness that should allow him to break well on passes. The 'fluidity' point really can't be overstated. I don't think he'd ever add much to the return game, but he is pretty hard to bring down in the open field. He does a good job of high pointing the ball, but will need to work on his focus and strength in bringing the ball down. All in all, I'm pretty surprised he doesn't hold more offers from local schools like UNC, but I can understand why the big dogs haven't come barking like they have for Ferguson, Kalambayi, or Lemay this year.
So there you have it, folks. No matter how many of these commitment posts you read, the conclusion is always going to stay the same- we don't have a good idea, the coaches do. Still, with most of the needs of the class filled up, it doesn't hurt to grab a guy like this, ala Willie Henry. Stribling probably won't see the field for 3-4 years, but the upside is decent enough that this shouldn't be the last time you hear his name.