Da'Shawn Hand isn't Jadeveon Clowney
ESPN runs a weekly #AskLoogs piece in which fans tweet questions to national analyst Tom Luginbill. The most recent edition covered Da'Shawn Hand's abilities, comparing them to those of Robert Nkemdiche and Jadevon Clowney:
No. On pure ability, we haven't seen anyone the last eight years with his talent level, not even Robert Nkemdiche although he is a very, very close second. Da'Shawn Hand is a talented prospect, but is not blessed with the same stature or foot speed as Clowney. Hand is a hybrid player dependent upon scheme. If he were to attend Alabama or Florida we don't feel he'd be a fulltime down lineman, we think he'd be a rush linebacker (Star or Jack) in a multiple 3-man front look. If he were to attend Michigan, we feel he would be a fulltime defensive end. However, he plays the position from a down stance much more like a 5-technique than a 9-technique yet he does not have the physical bulk yet to hold up as a five on an every down basis. Our concern with Hand has always been pad level and hip tightness. He is not an overly flexible lineman. His strengths are power, great hands and the ability to collapse the pocket. He is very strong. At some point he is going to bulk up into a 260-pound guy or more and then he might fit nicely as a 5-technique.
I agree with Luginbill for the most part. Hand doesn't have the frame or flexibility of Clowney and Nkemdiche, and he doesn't have the same ceiling, either. This might be the first time I've read about Hand having poor pad level, which just doesn't seem to be true.
Overall, don't expect Hand to come in and be a demigod and defensive end. He might start out on the weak side, where he can help Michigan's pass rush with a bull rush and quickness, eventually sliding over to the 5-tech position to dominate in the run game. He has a very, very high ceiling, but it isn't quite the same as those who came before him.
Jabrill Peppers: Too Damn Good
We can't expect Hand to come in and dominate on day one, but it isn't unrealistic to expect it from Jabrill Peppers:
Only been half a quarter and Jabril Peppers has 3 WOW plays. Starts at CB from Day One at Michigan. Bank that.— Bill Greene (@BillBankGreene) September 28, 2013
I'm not quite ready to "bank that." I am, however, ready to bank on Peppers starting at some point next season, with the possibility of it coming on opening day. He is faster than everyone on Michigan's roster. He's already stronger than some of Michigan's young linebackers, let alone all of the receivers and defensive backs. He has enough talent to score ridiculous touchdowns while injured:
Touchdown jabrill peppers on a flag route. Looks like he's about 75%, but still making plays. Paramus Catholic up 30-10— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) September 28, 2013
Amazing how quickly the complexion of the game changed so abruptly when he went out. Paramus looked on its way to a blowout up 16-0.— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) September 28, 2013
The only thing holding Peppers back from playing on day one will be his familiarity with Michigan's scheme and the cornerback position in general. His intelligence and ability to learn–his coaches laud his football IQ and work in the classroom–will both help him overcome and find the field early.
I really do believe that Peppers will be the top overall player in his class when the All-American bowls are wrapped up.
Check out pictures of his performance this past week here.
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind, Starring Freddy Canteen
Freddy Canteen's film was near impossible to find before he committed to Michigan. Lo and behold, tape is suddenly falling out of the sky:
Canteen is another player to add to the list of 2014 commitments who will see the field next season. Yes, you can bank that. He shows on film what he does in camps, which isn't always the case for skill players. He's more explosive than I had anticipated, has fairly reliable hands, is definitely longer than most receivers his height, and those routes. He could be a special slot man at the next level.
Harris Leads Commitments on Field... Again
Michigan's commitments have been led by one of Damien Harris or Wilton Speight every week. Things aren't about to change:
Leading rusher Damien Harris had 8 carries for 114 yards and 4 TDs vs South Laurel.— Southern Football (@MadSouth_FB) September 28, 2013
I believe that all came in the first half; he's basically playing Tecmo Bowl:
http://t.co/n4ctYLtPg9 RT @MadSouth_FB Leading rusher Damien Harris had 8 carries for 114 yards and 4 TDs vs South Laurel.— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) September 28, 2013
Someone put ankle weights on that young man to even things up a bit.
Other things have been happening outside of Harris running wild on defenses. First and foremost, Drake Harris is still injured but will make his return next week. Tyree Kinnel recorded six stops on defense before returning an interception back for a touchdown, and George Campbell caught 7 passes for 120 yards and a score. Check the link for more on the commitments' performances.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Four-star Michigan SDE/3T target Hjalte Froholdt, whose name sounds like it comes directly from Lord of the Rings, has final highlights out from his season in Denmark. Michigan is believed to be the leader for his services.
Tom VH of ESPN covers the gap in recruiting between the B1G and the SEC, Michigan's next move in the rankings and more.