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Scouting Michigan’s newest commit: 2021 four-star DE Quintin Somerville

Somerville’s advanced technical skills will allow him to see the field early at Michigan.

Tom Lemming

Defensive line coach Shaun Nua landed his first big-time recruit on the trail that is all his own when 2021 four-star Quintin Somerville committed to Michigan on Saturday. Nua used his existing relationship with Somerville from his time at Arizona State and an excellent visit last April, which still resonates with him over a year later, to seal the deal.

Somerville has been considered a top 100 prospect for most of the time he has been on the recruiting services’ radar, starting out at No. 5 overall in the initial class of 2021 rankings. However, he has recently started to slide to the 150ish range he is at now because of questions about his size.

There has been much contention about how tall Somerville actually is. He was previously listed as 6-foot-3 on his 247Sports profile, but that was changed to 6-foot-1 during their defensive rankings update last month. Having those long limbs helps defensive ends create separation from blockers and allow them to stack and shed, so those couple of inches are important. But it has also been reported that a school measured him as 6-foot-2.5 on a visit, so that number is up in the air.

Somerville plays for Arizona powerhouse Saguaro, who has won the previous six state championships before losing in the final last season. As a junior, Somerville tallied 68 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble on a loaded defense that included five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo, four-star safety Jacobe Cobington and four-star linebacker Damian Sellers.

Since Saguaro is such a well-known team, I was thankfully able to find a full game of theirs from 2019 on YouTube, their matchup against hated rival Chaparral. Saguaro defeated Chaparral 38-24, with Somerville being credited with five tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks, although that last number is generous. Unfortunately, those sacks couldn’t come against four-star Ohio State signee Jack Miller, who was injured.

For most of the first quarter, Somerville lined up at defensive end against their left tackle, who did a good job of latching on to Somerville and not letting him go.

Jonathon Simmons

This happened enough where I was concerned about Somerville’s ability to disengage from blockers and became impressed with Chaparral’s left tackle. But then a play later on in the game showed an issue Somerville was probably dealing with all night: blatant holding.

Jonathon Simmons

Still, Somerville had his victories. He stacks and sheds here to make a tackle. If he can use his arms like this consistently, the concerns about his length are moot.

Jonathon Simmons

In the pass rush game, Somerville was even more savvy. He has a variety of pass rush moves in his arsenal that includes a rip, swim, and push-pull move. The former is his most effective, as evidenced by his only true sack on the game.

Against the right tackle this time, he stays away from the tackle’s punch with his quick get-off and rips with his arm to prevent him from latching on. After bending around the edge, Somerville is impeded by a teammate getting shoved over, but doesn’t give up on the play and eventually recovers to record the sack.

Jonathon Simmons

At some points throughout the game, Somerville slid inside to face off against Chaparral’s right guard. A three-play sequence with Chaparral backed up against their goal line showcases Somerville’s strengths and weaknesses well.

On the first play, Somerville uses great hand placement and upper body strength to shove the guard back, then ripping through to get right in the quarterback’s face and force an off-target throw.

Jonathon Simmons

The next play is a run, where Somerville is doubled by the guard and tackle. He tries to keep a low and wide base, but ends up ceding ground. He spins off at the end to get in on the tackle but doesn’t affect the play much. He was washed a few times against doubles, and I would like to see Somerville develop his lower body strength more to stand up better against them. He does only weigh 230 pounds right now, so bulking up will help make him more stout.

Jonathon Simmons

Finally, after a penalty and a timeout, Chaparral returns to the pass on third down. This time, Somerville uses a swim move. Well, he basically shoves the guy with his free arm and has to swim his arm over the top to get by freely. The running back comes up to chip him and Somerville has to push him away to get in the quarterback’s grill again. The pass sails and Chaparral has to punt.

Jonathon Simmons

To recap, Somerville is an advanced pass rusher at this stage in his career. He is technically sound in his hand placement and counter moves and is able to get offensive linemen off balance with his quickness and instincts. He possesses good upper body strength and motor, but will have to develop his lower body more and put on some weight to hold up in the run game. His ceiling is probably capped by his lack of length and elite athleticism, but he has a high floor.

He will probably play anchor at Michigan, with the ability to slide inside on pass rush downs as a five-tech, similar to Aidan Hutchinson. If he is able to put on the weight, I would like to see him slide down more often than not, where his positive traits would be amplified and you don’t need those long arms to get around 6-foot-7 tackles.

Projecting when he can see the field is a bit tough since it depends on how the projects Michigan has taken in the last few cycles have developed. Will Aaron Lewis and Kris Jenkins Jr stay on the outside? Will David Ojabo stick at end or move to the SAM? Is Braiden McGregor going to play on the strong or weak side? There are a lot of moving parts, but I think Somerville can see some snaps early on because of his technical skill, before growing into a starter later on.