Monday, August 13, 2012

Recapping 2012 Commit A.J. Williams

Moving on to the tight end position for the 2012 class.  First on the list of the two commits is tight end A.J. Williams out of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Brady Hoke snatches another good prospect out of the state below.  Everybody knows that Ohio is a serious talent pool of high school players and Brady Hoke continues to snag some good ones.  A.J. is a monster kid especially for a tight end at around 6'6" and 275 pounds.  That gives him more an offensive lineman size, which should be well suited for the physical Big Ten play.

My breakdown of A.J. is really quite simple.  He is huge.  When I was watching tape, I literally thought there was a 6th offensive lineman on the field.  You've heard of the term blocking tight end.  Well, if you looked it up in the dictionary, you would probably see a picture of A.J.  The kid is quite the load to handle and can definitely do his share of blocking in run and pass protection.  As a Senior, A.J. did happen to play Offensive Tackle and he was purely dominant.  Given the solid depth on the offensive line for at least the 2012 season, he probably won't be playing there.  I don't see A.J. switching positions anytime soon, but he will be doing a lot of blocking without a doubt.  He's a big bodied kid, so when he does go out for a pass he's an absolute nightmare to cover.  He's got decent quickness, having clocked a 4.9 40 Time, but is still big and is way big for a Safety to try and cover.  Look for him to be used in a variety of ways in Ann Arbor.

Here are the basic stats for Williams:





Height
6’5”
6’6”
6’6”
6’6”
Weight
265 lbs
260 lbs
275 lbs
255 lbs
Position
TE
TE
OT
TE
Rating
3*
4*
4*
3*
Position Rank
#36
#22
#27
#24
National Rank
NR
NR
N/A
NR





So a bit of disparity in the expert rankings and as you can see. Rivals actually listed A.J. as an Offensive Tackle.  Michigan recruited him as a TE and the other three sites have him listed as such.  From the listings, you can see he has some incredible size.  A mid-ranked guy with a couple of 3* ratings and a couple of 4* ratings. He's a top 25 Offensive Tackle per Rivals and a top-50 rated Tight End.  All of the experts praised his blocking abilities and Rivals quoted him having a "mean streak."  Weakness would definitely have to be technique in his route running, but he does have good hands and can catch the ball.  I was really intrigued that Rivals actually listed him as an Offensive Tackle.  He did play there as a Senior, but he's still primarily a Tight End and that's what Michigan brought him in to play.

Given his big size, I'm not sure if the coaches will have him slim down or if they like where his weight is at.  It's been said that A.J. and fellow Tight End commit Devin Funchess could both see playing time in their freshmen year.  Michigan is somewhat thin at the Tight End position given the fact that Kevin Koger graduated.  He was a big weapon for Michigan and Denard Robinson last year so getting someone to fill in that gap will be vital and the new recruits might have to do so.

Tight ends are a very important part of the offense and they are a big time bail out for the quarterback in crucial situations, especially when they get down into the red zone.   I think that the fact A.J. is such a good blocker could lead to some early playing time  There are never any guarantees for freshman, but A.J. has the chance for a decent 2012 season.  He probably won't have any flashy stats, but he could definitely see the field early and often in his career.

Here is his highlight video:

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