As a veteran NFL scout now serving as a scouting consultant on the college and NFL levels, I focus on about 500 or so of the top high school prospects, as established by the college coaches I assist.
It is from that list that I begin my process of evaluating players over the summer to determine who meets the “football criteria” of being able to best contribute at the major-college level, leaving the grades and character to the coaches who ultimately have to coach them.
Here are my scouting summary notes on three members of Michigan’s recruiting class.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (6-2, 190), Detroit Cass Tech
A rangy wide receiver with separation speed. I like his explosive first step and change of direction to separate vs. man coverage. He understands how to get open vs. zone coverage and has big, natural hands and the body control to make difficult catches. He is physical in the run game and tracks the ball well.
Peoples-Jones is raw as a route runner and struggles to effectively stem his routes underneath. He escapes press coverage with speed, and will need to add some bulk and strength to his frame.
I like his size/speed combination and see him as a playmaker who is a vertical threat.
C Cesar Ruiz (6-4, 336), Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
He is a good pivot player with enough strength and power to play early.
Ruiz is smart, strong and understands angles and assignments well. He gets good movement at the point of attack in the run game. He has active hands and can jolt defenders in pass protection. I like the way he finishes his blocks.
His pad level will get a little high at times, and he will fall short on the reach block too often.
I like his size, strength and awareness, but he needs to improve his flexibility and quickness. Still, I see Ruiz being a productive Big Ten anchor player.
OL Ja’Raymond Hall (6-5, 272), Oak Park (Mich.) High
Tough, physical player who needs to continue to develop his technique to maximize his potential. He comes off the ball well with leverage and shows good slide and recover.
Hall’s frame needs more mass and strength. As with most young lineman, his biggest challenge is consistently staying low and keeping his pad level down.
I like his frame and his natural ability. Once he improves his strength, technique and pad level, he should develop into a consistent Big Ten tackle.
To read scouting reports on the rest of Michigan’s recruiting class, visit www.LandryFootball.com
If you want true evaluations of recruiting, you can receive them from amateurs or from someone who has been a major-college recruiting coordinator and NFL scouting director and now serves as a scouting/coaching consultant to major-college programs and NFL teams. Have access to your own NFL and college scouting department for less than a yearly magazine subscription. By joining today, you’ll receive 25 percent off for a year; use the code = Gridiron.
Chris Landry is a veteran NFL scout who has worked for the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. Previously, he ran the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and served as an assistant at LSU. Landry is a consultant for multiple NFL teams and major college programs.
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