Webblog: Grading the Commits

GoBlueWolverine was on hand last week for the season opening performances turned in by Shane Morris, Mario Ojemudia, Devin Funchess, Terry Richardson, and Royce Jenkins-Stone.


Warren De La Salle

Shane Morris
Jr. - Quarterback
6'3, 185-lbs
Grade: A

The precocious junior quarterback didn’t do much wrong against Ann Arbor Pioneer.  It should be noted that a litany of mistakes committed by the Pioneers (two errant snaps that led directly to scores, a strip that was returned for a touchdown, an interception on the one-yard line that turned into a 99-yard De La Salle touchdown drive, and a Drake Johnson fumble) virtually handed De La Salle the game on a silver platter.  Still, all those mistakes had to be capitalized upon… and Morris did that.  Even with a lack of speed at the receiver position, he still makes the offense explosive.  He showed his rocket arm, great touch, great pocket presence, the ability to scramble and still throw down field or run for big yardage, and the leadership skills that made him one of the youngest captains in school history.  He’ll get much stiffer tests in the weeks to come, but he almost certainly will be up to the challenge.



Farmington Hills Harrison

Mario Ojemudia
Sr. - Defensive End
6'4, 225-lbs
Grade: A

The best single player on the field in the Cass/Harrison game Saturday was indisputably Mario Ojemudia.  The Technicians feared him most heading into the contest, and that concern proved to be well placed. The future Wolverine was a beast off the edge, and set up shop in the opposing backfield.  It became clear early that single blocking him was a bad idea, but even when Cass double teamed him he still managed to make plays.  His strength was really evident in the run game because like teams often do to explosive linemen that are great in pursuit, Cass ran a number of plays right at Ojemudia or to his side.  He held at the point extremely well.  He has strength that belies his 225-lb. frame, great “get-off”, and an endless motor.  Even if he is still a bit undersized as a freshman next year, his combination of intensity and explosiveness will make him a candidate for early playing time in college.  See Frank Clark.



Farmington Hills Harrison

Devin Funchess
Sr. - Tight End
6'4, 210-lbs
Grade: B

It’s clear that wiry youngster has spent time adding muscle to his frame.  His increased strength was evident on the defensive side of the ball, where he played with more desire than many expected.  He was fairly quiet in the pass game in the first half, but much of that was due to Harrison effective rushing attack and play-making wideouts.  Funchess joined the party in the second half, though, with a great route where he lulled the defensive back to sleep with a stutter-and-go pattern that resulted in a touchdown.  He is still slated to be a tight end, but it is definitely too early to totally rule him out as a wide receiver possibility.



Detroit Cass Tech

Terry Richardson
Sr. - Cornerback
5'9, 160-lbs
Grade: C

In the match-up of the night against Harrison wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, Richardson had his hands full.  Burbridge had the definite size advantage, which really showed up in the run game.  For good measure his speed and elusiveness was partly responsible for Cass’ inability to bring another man down in the box to help against the run.  Harrison’s offensive balance didn’t allow the battle between Richardson and Burbridge to materialized as often as fans would have liked, but it did occur often enough to give the future Spartan the edge.  That said, Richardson held his own.  He wasn’t dominated in the fashion that many predicted.  Again, “T-rich” held his own.  That said, his marching orders are as clear as ever… he must get bigger and stronger.



Detroit Cass Tech

Royce Jenkins-Stone
Sr. - Linebacker
6'2, 215-lbs
Grade: C

Royce had a long day in large part because the defensive line in front of him was consistently moved off the ball.  That sometimes left him and fellow back as Laron Taylor sitting ducks for Harrison blockers on the second level. The future Wolverines does bear at least some of the blame though because there were occasions where he attempted to run around blocks instead of attacking with proper leverage and shedding blocks.  One such instance resulted in a Harrison touchdown run.  Even so, it’s not a major concern.  Getting the defense on the same page is.  Jenkins-Stone took it upon himself to show some leadership by calling out his team’s practice habits.  That should lead to better play in the coming weeks for the Technicians.  That and the fact that they won’t see any team as good as the one they just faced.


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