Recruiting Rundown — Thoughts From Saturday's Army All-American Bowl
By Tony Gerdeman
The fourth of the four major high school All-American games is now in the books and once again there were some solid performances from future Buckeyes.
Despite being on the losing end as the West bested the East 24-12, defensive end Adolphus Washington (6-4 230) and defensive tackle Tommy Schutt (6-3 301) both performed well during the game.
Washington started the game and played half the snaps. He finished with a tackle and a sack, but was in the backfield throughout the game.
One of the first plays from scrimmage saw Washington rush the passer on a draw play to the tailback. He had enough sense to release from his blocker, peel back and tackle the running back after a small gain.
He got a sack on a speed rush around Zach Banner (6-9 310), who Scout rates as a five-star offensive tackle. On the very next play he stayed home on a bootleg and pressured the quarterback into the waiting arms of a teammate.
Much like Noah Spence, he will pursue down the field relentlessly. After seeing him in high school, one of his most notable qualities was the fact that he never quit on a play. He never watched, he was always chasing.
However, he watched a few times in this game, which is pretty common in situations like this, but it's not his typical mode of defense.
He did lose track of the ball a couple of times in the game. Once on a zone read he chased the running back even though the quarterback kept it. He had no idea where the ball was and chose wrong on his guess of where it might be.
The other time he lost the ball was on a pass rush. He broke free of the left tackle so quickly that he apparently thought that he missed the tailback on a draw play. He essentially stopped his pass rush and turned to look for the ball behind him. Upon seeing that the tailback didn't have the ball, he picked up his pass rush again only to see the quarterback lob the ball over his head for a screen pass.
He wasn't explosive as Noah Spence was earlier in the week, but that's certainly no knock on Washington because few people could manage such a thing. He's definitely bigger than Spence, and while he has speed, Spence looks faster.
I don't know if there is room for both Washington and Spence on the field next season for the Buckeyes. Washington looks more physically ready, but Spence has a special gear that can always be used by a team.
If Ohio State can ultimately redshirt one of these two, it will probably give us a hint as to what the coaches think of their defensive end prospects.
The other Buckeye commit in the game was defensive tackle Tommy Schutt. Schutt didn't start, but still played half of the game with the second defensive line unit.
Being a 300-pounder, his speed isn't one of his strong suits, but I was very impressed with his foot quickness. He was quick off the snap and had an effective bull rush for most of the afternoon.
He had a pretty good bull rush against Michigan commit Erik Magnuson (6-6 275), pushing Magnuson into the backfield and forcing a scramble from the West quarterback.
Even when he didn't get into the backfield on a pass play, he was still aware enough to get his hands up to try and bat the pass down at the line of scrimmage.
He had a very nice play later in the game when he got penetration into the backfield, which forced a cutback from the running back, who then fumbled the ball, which Schutt quickly jumped on and recovered.
He's more quick than fast, and he's pretty nimble for a guy that shouldn't be.
I don't know if he plays next year, however. That will depend on the continued development of guys like Joel Hale, Adam Bellamy, and Michael Bennett, and where the coaches want to play them.
Buckeye targets Joel Caleb (6-2 201) and Kyle Dodson (6-6 315) were slated to play in the game, but injuries kept them out. Caleb, an athlete out of Virginia, was rumored to possibly be making a college decision last week, but put that off and will likely wait until Signing Day.
Dodson, the offensive lineman out of Cleveland currently committed to Wisconsin, missed the game with a torn labrum.
Other Big Ten Players of Note
Unlike the Under Armour All-American Game, which had commitments from just two Big Ten schools (Ohio State and Michigan), the Army All-American bowl had representatives from Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa.
Michigan alone had five commits playing in the game. The most impressive was defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins (6-3 325). He was wasted for much of the game running stunts, but actually showed a tenacious pursuit on more than one occasion.
One of his more spectacular plays was chasing down Stefon Diggs on a fly sweep about eleven yards downfield. As Pipkins was closing on Diggs, Diggs leapt over another defender and Pipkins caught him in mid-air, forcing a fumble and dropping him like a New Year's resolution on January 4th.
He also had a sack after a long scramble by Pitt commit Chad Voytik, who is pretty mobile. He was relentless for most of the day and looks to eventually be an impact player.
I really can't see any way Pipkins isn't in Michigan's two-deep next season. With the losses they'll be suffering up front, he has to be one of their top four options in the middle.
Brady Hoke also had a pair of linebackers on the West roster in James Ross (6-0 209) and Royce Jenkins-Stone (6-2 215). They didn't show much, in my opinion, but they are both tremendous athletes. These aren't fullbacks that will be converted into linebackers, or safeties that will grow into linebackers. These are linebackers who will be asked to play linebacker. It's a whole new world for Michigan's defense.
Ross and Jenkins-Stone, along with Joe Bolden (6-2 225), who played in the Under Armour game, give Michigan three linebackers who participated in a high school All-American game this year.
The Wolverines also had a pair of offensive linemen in the game. Magnuson had his moments, but didn't necessarily stand out for me. The other lineman was one time Buckeye commit Kyle Kalis (6-5 302) out of Lakewood St. Edwards.
Kalis played most of his snaps at guard and looked good doing it. He showed pretty good mobility and never looked out of place.
He put one defender on his back, which seemed to catch the defender off guard, prompting him to get in Kalis' face about the way he was just pancaked.
Offensive linemen Dan Voltz (6-5 289), a Wisconsin commit, and Ryan Ward (6-6 270), an Iowa commit, weren't anything special. Voltz actually looked timid on more than a couple of plays.
Purdue's commitment in the game was Paul Griggs, a kicker out of North Carolina. I didn't take any notes on him. My apologies.
The other Wisconsin commit in this game was linebacker Vince Biegel (6-3 210), who played most of his snaps at middle linebacker. He looks like he'll be fine in a couple of years. He had issues with angles, but showed decent speed.
All in all, it was a fairly sloppy game, but it's at least good to know that Michigan realizes that there's a defensive side of the ball again.
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