Ranking the Harbaugh commitments
Our very own Nick Bodanyi took a look at Michigan's football commitments so far under Jim Harbaugh in his most recent edition of "Tuesday Morning Brews." (FREE)
He ranked the commits from top to bottom, starting with at the top through number-14. Here are some snippets of what he had to say about some of Michigan's top prospects:
1. Zach Gentry (Rivals: 5.9) Quarterback - 2015
It would be hard to find a more hyped statement than this: his frame is reminiscent of Cardale Jones, but the intuitive comfort in avoiding tacklers and running in space brings Braxton Miller to mind. Simply put, Gentry is a great, great prospect, and I'm not surprised to hear the coaching staff is similarly high on his abilities.
Upon closer inspection, a few other things stand out about his game. He likes throws to the boundary far downfield, which are some of the most difficult throws for a quarterback to make. He shows good timing on those throws. Unlike many mobile quarterbacks, he keeps his eyes downfield when scrambling and tends to make good decisions between run or pass. Gentry also throws accurately on the run. This might be coincidental, but the result of all this is that Gentry rarely takes dangerous throws; he's always looking for a big play (one-on-one deep) or space to run while avoiding tough throws into a place full of defenders. He can zip the ball into tight spaces as well, though this might be his weakest area and he tries not to.
Finally - the athleticism. He's not blessed with breakaway speed in the same way as Braxton, but he is intuitive in juking out players to make them miss, then running by them in a hurry. Being 6'6", 230 (and possibly as high as 6'8", 240) would seem to imply that he can take some hits; however, he doesn't intentionally subject himself to body blows for minimal gain. This is a rare prospect with physical gifts, but also an understanding of when and how best to use them. There are things he needs to clean up - certain technical issues, and understanding more complex offenses and defenses - but the comfort level he's shown so far is encouraging.
3. Ben Bredeson (Rivals: 6.0) Offensive Line - 2016
Bredeson, a 6'4", 280-pound tackle out of Wisconsin, has been called one of the best line prospects in the Midwest. Once he gets into a college S&C program, he has a great chance to be one of the best linemen in college.
He has some positional flexibility, but between his height and skills I see Ben ending up at guard. He's tenacious against defenders, driving them into the ground every chance he can get. Even though he already has plenty of strength, another couple years could see him balloon up to 310 or 320 pounds and hold his own against college nose tackles.
My favorite part of his repertoire is that he's great in space; he always gets his hands on smaller defenders and immediately changes their trajectory. He has the footwork to track and keep up with anybody, and can maintain leverage and power even in between steps. Between the pile-driving, the tenacious attitude, and the overall athleticism, I could see Ben turning into a great all-around player that Wisconsin will wish they had.
6. Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (Rivals: 5.8) Tight End, Defensive End - 2015
Like Michael Onwenu, Ty Wheatley Jr. is a great prospect on either side of the ball. As a tight end, he shows enough blocking ability to compete at a college level on Day 1. Though the route-running and catching look a little more labored and deliberate, he's very capable of getting open and catching passes thanks to his long (6'6", 255), athletic frame. It's hard to imagine him not playing at tight end, where he's capable of making an impact in Ann Arbor right away.
But, it's also hard to imagine him not ending up at defensive end. His defensive film stopped being posted by senior year (a hint that Wheatley was dedicated to the tight end spot), but multiple scouts who've seen him in person said he belongs there.
"Wheatley was far and away the best player at [our] camp," said Rivals' Adam Friedman in March, praising his strength and refined technique. Scout had this to say: "Wheatley has the size to overpower an offensive tackle, and also can use his speed to get around the edge. In addition, he can run a play down from behind and is versatile enough to move inside and play defensive tackle if he adds the weight."
For what it's worth, Wheatley is a bona fide play-maker at tight end who looks like a potential All-American there if he gets more instinctive and refined on offense. All that takes is time and reps; the willingness and talent are there already. And, Wheatley can switch back to defensive end later on if Michigan needs him.
For the full list of 1-14, be sure to check out the rest of his article here. Also, be on the lookout for part-two of his ranking when the next edition when he picks up where he left off next Tuesday.
Updated class prediction
It had been awhile since we put out a 2016 football recruiting class prediction. The last time one was posted, the busy month of June had just started and Michigan's class was still relatively small.
Now, we find ourselves with the class inching towards being around the number we expect it to be around signing day.
There were some big changes made to the list with guys who are still on the board and a few commitments that may not be with the class come signing day.
Check out the fourth-edition of our 2016 class prediction here. (FREE)
The latest with Mitchell, Butler
Class of 2016 wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell (Egg Harbor City, New Jersey) is one of the big targets on the board still at the wide receiver position. Many expect him to be a part of the class before it is all said and done, and it appears he will be making a return trip to Ann Arbor on Saturday.
Saturday I will be back at Michigan for a visit with Mom !!! 〽️ #GoBlue— Ahmir_SoDevoted (@TheDeuce_2_Nice) July 21, 2015
This continues to look like a battle between Michigan and Ohio State, which is actually where he will be on Friday evening. Where we stand today, I will still give the edge to the Wolverines, but we will see how the weekend of visits go.
Cornerback Tony Butler (Lakewood, Ohio) is a name many people have been keeping an eye on, especially after he decommitted from Pittsburgh. He is set to make his college decision sometime in August or September, and last week he revealed his top four. (FREE)
July 17, 2015
Michigan appears to lead, as evidenced by the list and also by the 88-percent of the selections in their favor on the 247 Crystal Ball.