You may have missed it, but Michigan picked up its second defensive tackle commit in the 2022 class a couple weeks ago. River Rouge (MI) three-star Davonte Miles is different than most prospects Michigan has taken to play defensive tackle in the last few years.
Miles does mostly play defensive end for his high school, but at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, he is much closer to tackle size. In River Rouge’s strange-looking version of a 3-4 defense, Miles plays something similar to an anchor in Don Brown’s scheme, lining up to the strong side of the formation between the guard and tackle usually.
I was able to watch River Rouge’s most recent game this season, their third-round playoff victory over New Boston Huron. Right now, Miles is an inconsistent player who shows flashes of why he has so much Power 5 interest.
Let’s start with the first play of the game, where Miles — wearing No. 90 — knocks the right tackle over with ease. He’s got a huge advantage in size and he makes it look easy pushing him over to set the tone.
Miles combines his superior strength with a great burst off the line, which gets him into the backfield often to disrupt plays. In this clip, Miles is the down lineman on the logo at the top of the screen. The tackle passes by him intentionally to get to the second level, where the tight end lined up behind the guard and tackle is supposed to come down on a wham block.
But Miles gets through the line too quickly for the tight end to get a good piece on him. This forces the pulling guard to block him too and the filling linebacker to make the tackle for a two-yard gain.
As someone with his size, Miles struggles to keep his pad level low and better leverage his strength. He stands up too high out of his stance, which makes it easier for offensive linemen to engage him and stay in front.
Watch in this play as Miles, who is the down lineman on the near side of the field, gets way too high out of his stance. This causes his hand placement to be at the top of the tackle’s shoulder pads instead of in his chest. From there, Miles tries to use a rip move to get by. But his hands are too high and he stays high instead of dipping his shoulders, so he fails to disengage completely and gets to the quarterback too late.
There are a couple of plays that encapsulate his strengths and weaknesses at the same time. On this pass play, Miles gets off the ball quickly and rocks the left tackle back with his pure strength. He actually has good hand placement, but doesn’t have a plan of attack to disengage and stays stuck to the tackle for the whole play.
Later in the same drive, Miles is lined up on an inside shade of the left guard. He again uses his quickness to blow by the center trying to slide and pick him up. But he rushes too far upfield and the quarterback steps up to scramble away. Miles turns around to chase him, but his change of direction is slow and he loses ground.
This second play is probably more useful to look at since Miles will be playing inside more often than he does right now. In the interior, I think Miles’ quick step and strength will help him stand up to double teams, but he will have to work on his pad level so he can effectively leverage his strength and get skinny to split those blocks.
His slow change of direction will also not matter as much since he won’t have to bend around the edge like a defensive end would. But he will have to learn not to shoot so far upfield and take himself out of the play.
Given this lack of nimbleness and overall inconsistency, I can see why Miles is ranked as a mid-tier three-star right now. I do think he has a lot of untapped potential, though, and possesses plenty of traits that can make him a contributor for Michigan.
Even with two already committed, Michigan is still looking for at least one other defensive tackle in the 2022 class. If the Wolverines can land someone more polished, Miles is a great developmental prospect who can be shaped for a few seasons before seeing the field.