I truly believe that Royce is one of the better players in the state and one of the best linebackers in the country. He's a pure athlete and has great strength and speed. I am a huge fan of aggressive guys that aren't afraid to attack the line of scrimmage in the run defense or can drop back and play coverage and Royce is one of these players. Versatile linebackers are hard to come by, but I believe that Michigan got one in Royce. Royce also happened to play some Running Back for Cass Tech, had good speed, and could catch the ball, so he's versatile in that aspect. He tends to overrun plays, but I think it's due to his aggressiveness so he could work on his patience in defending the run. I believe that Royce is very coachable and can improve while he's at the next level. Greg Mattison is a phenomenal defensive coach and he will get the best out of Royce. I may be considered by some to be a little bit too "high" on Royce, but he just has that kind of potential. He's not quite developed yet, but his potential is astronomical.
Here are the basic stats on Jenkins-Stone:
Royce is a 4* across the board and is ranked in the top 10 at his position by all the major scouting services except 247. All of the sites have him listed at 6'2" and about 215 pounds. The sites also said that he's a great tackler, very instinctive in run support, and very athletic. Royce can diagnose plays very quickly and flies to the ball. He's a bit weak in shedding blocks, but he usually beats them on sheer speed and athleticism. Once he gets to the next level, he will have to take on offensive guys and get better at shedding blocks. Royce also cracked the ESPN150, similar to fellow 2012 linebacker commit Joe Bolden. He can play inside or outside, so Michigan will have their pick at where they want to use him. He's got good length and being only 215 pounds, he will be able to add some weight. He has good speed, running sub 4.5 40-yard dash. There has been some debate over that number as I've seen some sites just over 4.5 and just under as low as 4.46. Either way, he has good speed. Royce also is able to drop into coverage and has solid ball skills. He also has great gap discipline and doesn't miss assignments very often, but does tend to overrun plays at times due to his aggressive nature. Look for Royce to learn to be more patient and diagnose plays better. If he is to play at the Inside Linebacker position for Michigan, that's something he will need to improve on. I've seen comparisons to Takeo Spikes and that's pretty good conversation to be a part of, in my opinion.
Royce could make an impact at Michigan but I don't see it until he's a sophomore. I expect him to get the redshirt as Michigan is pretty set at linebacker. Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon anchor the outside, which will already make it pretty hard for him to see playing time. Add on the fact that he's a bit on the smaller side, is pretty raw, and needs to develop his understanding of the game and you have the clear scenario for a redshirt. He may have more raw talent than any other linebacker in Michigan's 2012 class, but I just don't see him being ready to use that talent enough in 2012 to get some serious playing time.
Over the years, Michigan has been loaded with guys from Cass Tech and they usually turn out to be good ones. Royce is rated as one of the top linebackers in the country for a reason so when we get to see him, get your popcorn ready. Don't expect to see much of Royce this season as he likely seems headed for a redshirt, but he should be a good one as he continues to develop.
Here's his highlight video: