2018 Early Signing Day Summary: The Class of Intrigue — Part I — Summary
The Class of Intrigue:
GBMW Readers: Thank you for all of your kindness. Here follows an analysis and opinion piece concerning the 2018 class that is now mostly in the bank. The method is a dialogue between the two authors CoachBT and Doc4Blu.
Doc: Coach, the first effort by the NCAA at having an early signing day is now over. My initial determination is that the effort was successful, and there can be pluses and minuses listed galore. First, I think the timing of the signing makes perfect sense. All or almost all of the state titles should have been decided, most players probably have not played for a month, and if a guy really was leaning toward the early date, then there was ample time to assess and make a determination that was satisfactory. Guys who hate the grind of the process get it over with before the holiday season and can start the process of true preparation. The only down side I see is there will most likely be a case of buyer’s remorse that props up that might be might be under the heading of “that is not what we were told.” So, what are your thoughts Coach?
CoachBT: 100% agreement Doc, positives and negatives. Allows staffs to concentrate on few possibles rather split time between committed and possible signees. It does give less time to evaluate some of the later offers which could cause issues later.
Doc: We will give our initial thoughts on this group at the end. Coach, since the Michigan faithful have a broad, really broad, view of some of the lower star-ranked players that were recruited late in this signing period, let us start with this group. Michigan as we have discussed numerous times, still has a clear deficiency in grabbing the plug and play offensive linemen that do not need two or three years to become high level starters like the typical Iowa and Wisconsin types.
Any team will recruit the heck out of cornerback each year, and so did Michigan. Quarterback seems covered and last year’s crop of nice wideouts means that UM can have the small luxury of taking a small number. Running back is on the teeter-totter as far as making any assessment of the current guys and the newcomers. It is easy to hit on a long shot or easy to miss on a high star at that position the way Michigan uses its primary backs. Each of the last two years, Michigan has recruited a few impact players, literally up from none during the preceding few years. There are a few candidates that may eventually fit that moniker, but so far there is no Peppers, Gary, or Solomon type in this group. But that can change.
So Coach, regarding what is needed to proceed onward and upward, how would you view this class as (1) fitting obvious needs, and (2) having to potential to be a group that improves and fits in?
CoachBT: Michigan needs a few elite level skilled athletes. Can be at wide receiver or running back. Michigan needs the type of player who makes rival defensive coordinator’s sit up nights trying figure out how to defend them. Getting two and possibly three QB’s is huge. Getting the two instate tackles was also big. Landing another would be helpful.
Doc: So, Coach here is a list of the recruits that provided some shock to Michigan. The list does not include all of the guys listed as two or three stars by the established sites. But instead the list includes the guys that have “inspired” the most intrigue.
The Intriguer list:
Ben VanSumeren: Fullback, H-back, tight end, linebacker, special team type. Workaholic, good size, fits a need, clear athletic measurable. Many contend he is faster than Ben Mason. Physical over fitness type.
Luke Schoonmaker: Tight end, tall, good frame, good athlete with nice speed, has not played much tight end (he is one of the intrigue, future vision types), located in a Bermuda triangle recruiting zone, offered by some strong academic schools (UM, Navy,
UConn, Mass, IU).
Hassan Haskins: Running back, improved speed over the years, nothing fancy, good lean, sheds a lot of first hits, more of the big back type. Many like him in the US of A but he looks like a type of guy who would play for Stanford. He does not break ankles, but is really good at gaining enough of a slight move to create a chance for more yardage.
Taylor Upshaw: Previous multi-sport guy, NFL genes, latecomer to football, good size, potential to add more weight, Florida flip, lots of teams found out about Taylor, many offers.
Ronnie Bell: (Hasn’t signed his LOI yet). Out of nowhere, lowly ranked by sites. Had an incredible senior year. Bell high-points the ball very, very well, decided he likes football and flipped out of a basketball signing. Literally a jump out of the gym type.
There are some commonalities with all of these guys. Moderate to low rankings, good smarts, each has a story, and each has pretty much obvious upside. They all know there is something to prove and they will have the chance. From a pool of this talent, the usual expectation is one will ascend to unexpected levels, two torso will be sound players, and a couple will not see much of the field due to guys with more ahead of them or other factors.
NOTE: Four of the five are offensive recruits.
So, Coach you can go first this time. Let me know the guy on the list you think will over his Michigan career have the most impact, and which guy on this list is the most intriguing. This question may be answered by one and the same guy for both traits above
or it could be two different guys.
CoachBT: VanSumeren is the safest choice. Very good chance he contributes, and fairly early. I am going to go with two others as having best shot at being major contributors.
Bell: If he had concentrated on football he would of been a top recruit. He has the necessary skill to be a plus player. Many major colleges use being basketball player as a huge plus for wide outs. I agree with that assessment. Question will be can develop the
finer kills needed to play to go with the acceleration and jumping skills.
Agnew: Similar to Bell. If he had concentrated on football he would be a big time prospect. Similar to Bell needs a huge dose of S&C and fundamental refinement. Cannot deny he has the necessary skill set it takes to play major college football.
Doc: My choice for most impact is Ben VanSumeren. My reasons include need, the fact that Harbaugh is not afraid to throw a fullback into the mix early, his size, and a skill set that to me is a little more versatile than Ben Mason’s. There are simply more ways for him to see the field. Ben may not grab the headlines of the others, say a Bell or a Haskins, but seeing the field in so many capacities should give him an early start to find and hold a niche, and eventually log more plays than any of the other “intriguers.”
For most intriguing the pick is Ronnie Bell. There are never any guarantees, but Bell has the physical tools, clearly better than some Michigan recruits from years ago. If he stays healthy and receives very sound coaching and refinement, he really could become type of special. He is the type of guy, with good listening and extreme dedicated work, who might be tough to keep off the field due to practice day moments that raise more than eyebrows.
Haskins will probably play, he is a banger, not as much as DeVeon, but he seems to hold a possibility to possibly sidestep a direct hit. It will take a nice mixture of solid line plays and development for Haskins to separate from any other back in the stable.
Upshaw is a classic Don Brown developmental type, and the good thing is he has the time luxury to nurture his skills and technique. He seems to have a little more raw athletic talent than some roster defenders, who are themselves, pretty athletic.
Doc: Thanks Coach, in the next installment we will address the defense.