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New Blue, Tyree Kinnel

Michigan adds a four-star safety from Ohio

Gregory Shamus

OH S Tyree Kinnel, listed at 6', 190ish, committed to Michigan on Saturday while taking an unofficial visit. Kinnel becomes the sixth member of the 2015 class and the second defensive back, following fellow Ohioan Shaun Crawford. When all is said and done, it seems likely that Kinnel will end up rated somewhat similarly to 2013 DB Delano Hill, although that's not to say they're the same player, more similar is the caliber of schools pursuing them outside of Michigan.

Does anyone remember when these recruiting stories used to be fun? With all of these commitments more than a year before NSD, there's not really much of a story for these guys. Sigh. It almost makes me miss the mediocrity of the Rich Rod regime. Kinnel's story follows along the same bland story line that just about every 2015 commitment not named George Campbell followed; He always loved Michigan, got a few other offers, but ultimately knew that Michigan was the only one he wanted. His commitment has seemed inevitable for a few weeks running now.

What does that commitment mean, though? Well, it depends on your optimism, really. When you're looking at his film, he seems like he might be a little bit better than Allen Gant, but then you read this (h/t MGoBlog)..

He knows how to disguise coverages and he knows how to read opposing offenses. As his position coach, I've given Tyree the permission to call audibles on our coverage.

..and I mean, come on. That's just not something high schoolers do. Safeties are the metaphorical watch dogs of the defense and if you can see what's coming and adjust accordingly, that's 75% of what you want there, and how Jordan Kovacs ends up playing better than a laundry list of players more highly touted than him. That mental aspect is (supposedly) what's kept recent highly-touted safeties like Marvin Robinson and Jarrod Wilson off the field while not so uber-talented guys like Thomas Gordon become mainstays.

It's the physical part of his game that isn't quite as exciting. He's not an elite athlete, doesn't close as well as fellow DB Shaun Crawford, and still lacks some tackling technique. He won't bring the same nausea inducing boom as many SEC safeties will, but hopefully he'll compensate with fewer mind-bending coverage lapses. All in all, it's the perfect addition to a roster that already has a couple of young stars (Thomas, Hill, whatever 2014 guy we get) in the making. The consistency Kinnel should hopefully provide will push the rest of the safeties to refine their mental game or risk losing a spot to the steadier force. Kovacs 2.0? A bit too early to project. But hopefully!

As far as when he'll fit into that role, well, hopefully it'll be a while. The distinction between safeties in our defense is becoming less...distinct. However, there should be a lot of bodies ahead of him when he comes to campus, including a starter in JR Dymonte Thomas, with hopefully a SR Jarrod Wilson next to him. JR Delano Hill, RS JR Jeremy Clark, and whoever joins the 2014 class will provide depth. All of those upperclassmen should provide ample space for a redshirt. His RS FR year he'll keep Hill and Thomas honest, then he'll compete for a job when they leave. Despite his limitations, a three year starter role isn't entirely out of the question.