Scouting Reports: FB/LB Obi Ezeh

This week GoBlueWolverine's NFL correspondent Allen Trieu attended the Grand Rapids Catholic Central @ Grand Rapids Creston game to scout Michigan recruit Obi Ezeh. Trieu doesn't pull punches with his reports – here is what he thinks of Ezeh.

Ed. Note: Allen Trieu is an NFL analyst who will be lending his expertise to GBW this fall. He milieu is evaluating college players for the NFL, so his scouting reports are not enthusiastic 'hype'; instead they are qualified and careful evaluations of what a player does well and what he needs to improve upon.



Grand Rapids Catholic Central @ Grand Rapids Creston, 10/14/05

Obi Ezeh Scouting Report

Coming into the game, we knew that we'd see Obi at running back and linebacker and that Michigan was primarily recruiting him at linebacker, although they've expressed the possibility of him also playing fullback or even tight end. Obi injured his ankle early in the year and missed two games. He still isn't completely at 100%, but in talking to people close to the program, tonight he was at the healthiest he'd been all year. The game ended up being a 35-0 rout in Catholic Central's favor. Still, we got to see Obi on both sides of the ball until the middle of the 4th quarter. He started the game playing mostly offense and substituting on defense. As the game went along, he stayed in the lineup longer on defense. On offense, Catholic Central runs a lot of sets with wingbacks, so while Obi is essentially playing fullback, a lot of the time he is the lone back set behind the quarterback. A few times, the wingback would motion behind Obi, creating a traditional I-Formation and making him the lead blocker. As a lead blocker, when he locked on, he showed good strength and kept his man at bay. He wasn't overpowering though and didn't seem overly aggressive on his blocks. He looked solid in pass protection, where he would often be lined up just behind the tackle, and was basically playing an H-Back/tight end type role. Early in the game, Creston stacked the middle pretty well and was penetrating Catholic Central's line. Hence, Obi's first few carries (simple dive plays) were stuffed. Finally he broke out on a counter, where he showed decent speed around the corner and then punished defensive backs in the open field. He stiff-armed one defender away and the last man back, a safety, got him around the ankles. Creston's defenders were doing a good job of not tackling him high, as he is so strong that hitting him low was the only way to go. However, on a toss play later in the game, he got around the edge and was met by a couple Creston defenders who tried to go at his legs. The first defender bounced off his legs and hung on for dear life. Obi broke that tackle, another arm tackle, juked the last defender and was off to the races for a long TD run. All in all, he showed good potential as a ball carrier and pass protector from the fullback position; what we didn't get to see tonight was him in the passing game.

On defense, he was playing from a two point the entire night, but was coming off the edge a lot. When he was in the game, they were featuring more of a 3-4 look and he was their rush LB. He would show blitz on every play, but would occasionally drop into coverage. As a rusher, he showed good ability as a blitzer, but what was more impressive was his read/recognition ability. The tendency is for an edge rusher to be too aggressive and explode off the snap leaving them too far upfield to make a play. Obi would come off the snap hard, but he would quickly read draws that were coming in his direction and stay home. He was a sure tackler in the open field and showed a great motor in pursuit. When he would show blitz and drop into a zone, he did a nice job. He stayed disciplined and turned his man over to other zones at appropriate times. He made a great INT on one play where he dropped into the zone, read the QB and jumped the receiver's route. A few times, when Creston would go to more of a spread out look, Obi would cover the slot receiver and did a pretty decent job of running down the field with some of Creston's speedy slot guys.

Overall Evaluation

Obi showed a lot of potential. He is a big kid (6'1+ and 220+ pounds) and a good athlete and really shows some toughness and smarts on the field. In talking to his parents and Obi after the game, you can tell he has a great support system around him and that he has a good head on his shoulders. This is a hard working, upstanding young man who is coachable and will be a positive influence on his team. As for his prospects in Maize and Blue, he's used to playing that edge spot in the 3-4, so if Michigan continues to go with that look he has experience there, but he also has some potential to move inside and that may be where he winds up. Don't completely rule out fullback either though, as he showed a lot of ability with the ball in his hands and that is a position of need as well for the Wolverines.

The Latest on Ezeh's Recruitment

Catholic Central has one more regular season game, which is next week against Grand Rapids Christian. Obi said that he will make his decision after that game. "I will sit down with my parents and come to a decision," he said.

Other Players of Note in the Game

Senior Creston WR Jovonne Augustus was a player who impressed in camps and has an offer from EMU and interest from Notre Dame and Illinois among other schools. He showed a good burst off the line and great athletic ability in a large (6'5) frame. He'll definitely need to add weight and strength to his lanky frame, but the tools are there. He lacks consistency though, as he didn't always appear interested. Some plays he would block well, others he would jog off the line and fail to engage any defenders. Twice on deep balls, where he didn't think he was getting ball, he slowed down and then had to speed back up to try to catch the pass. He did show good niftiness after the catch but carried the ball away from his frame which could lead to fumbles.

Each team had a sophomore who saw a lot of playing time. Catholic Central's Jason Harvey stepped in for Obi Ezeh when he was injured and showed promise early in the season. He didn't get the ball a lot tonight, but looked good on the defensive line. At 5'11, 241, he definitely has the size to develop into a strong fullback prospect. For Creston, while Augustus has all the ability, their most polished and natural receiver was Jermaime Prebble. He had several catches, including a nice leaping grab where he had to extend himself and adjust his body. He gave consistent effort as a blocker on running plays and looks to be a solid prospect for the future. I didn't get an exact measurement on Prebble, but he looks to be about 6'0-6'1.

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