If you were skeptical, uncertain, unsure or otherwise, take this time to officially hop on the Alex Malzone bandwagon. That is, if you haven't already.
I haven't. So I'm writing this to explain why, and to explain why I'm seriously thinking of changing my mind.
First of all, I wasn't sold on the bump from 3- to 4-star prospect. I believed that a 3-star ranking suited him well, regardless of where he was committing. Nonetheless, his pledge to Michigan's 2015 class was immediately followed by props from all the majors: Rivals, Scout and 247Sports.
He's good, and one of these days, he's going to be really good. The 6'1.5", 200-pound Birmingham Brother Rice star recently turned heads at the Elite 11, prompting some to compare him to a "throwback" Wolverines quarterback. I'm not going that far just yet, but I suppose he has some of those traditional qualities that fans love. I can see Malzone developing into an excellent player.
I guess I'll give the guy a break.
I wanted to get this out of the way, and it doesn't have much to do with getting on Malzone's bandwagon. But it was baseball...
Baseball and football aren't a good mix for Malzone, writes Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. Even Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl champion and quarterback guru extraordinaire, says that mixing the two--at least for quarterbacks--gets a little dicey.
However, take a look at some of the backgrounds of past greats, and you'll see that a fair share of them once pitched or played a position (ex. Stafford caught Kershaw). It's a damaging motion--perhaps the most of any sport--but throwing a baseball develops incredible arm strength and accuracy, especially when rolling over to a much larger ball.
Now, losing the mechanics? Yeah. Definitely. Lose most of those. But don't completely rule out a little baseball training, and don't forget the sport that probably helped you get some zip on a football.
Per Snyder, Dilfer had the following to say about baseball/football.
My disclaimer: Dilfer's highly qualified. Me? I don't know about that. But I do know a few things, and I'm completely sold on the benefits of baseballs and arm strength. I recommend it for anyone who plans to throw anything.
It’s just an adjustment. They’re both rotational movements. Obviously, the football throwing motion is much more compact than the baseball throwing motion. ... In baseball you have more time, so those long moving parts create more speed, which is good. In football, you want less moving parts — limited movements is the term we use — and with limited movements, you’ll find more consistency.
Remember that he's also an ambassador of the program. This inside recruiting thing isn't new, but I'm liking it more and more each year. The magic of social media...what's not to love. They're creating a timeline of contact on Twitter, allowing us to speculate even harder about who's going where and why.
All Aboard, Elite 11ers
Not going to lie, the guy earns points for baseball...
Tossing a trio of picks isn't something to rave about. But there's an explanation, and I guess it affords some sort of comfort knowing that Malzone's lowlights weren't due to a careless nature.
Elite 11 coach Jordan Palmer says Alex Malzone's 3 interceptions were not his fault & they will not count against him in the final rankings.— Josh Newkirk (@JoshNewkirk7) July 10, 2014
Excluding the miscues, Malzone was about as in-tune as one could be, especially during such a highly publicized event. Sure, it was only 7-on-7 competition. Guys aren't drilling one another and quarterbacks aren't in fear for their lives, but it's a competitive environment.
Every prospect is looking to shine--just so happens that Malzone, who I've underestimated all along, was among the brightest in Oregon. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a wagon to catch...
Follow Maize 'n Brew's Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81