Scouting Report: Marshall Mich.'s Doug Van Dyke

Doug Van Dyke's high school career came to an end on Saturday. GoBlueWolverine was at the game -- and provides an exclusive scouting report on the top Michigan recruit from Marshall, Michigan. Now that his season is over, Doug's college career is just around the corner ...

This past Saturday afternoon, Marshall High School hosted Jackson Lumen Christi in a thrilling state playoff game. Despite a rowdy home crowd, and great play from 6-5, 245 pound Doug Van Dyke, Lumen Christi emerged victorious. Marshall appeared to be in control at halftime, but sloppy third quarter play allowed Lumen Christi to build a lead. Marshall fought back, but their comeback, which came down to the last minute of the game, fell just short 25-21. As Doug told us, "We had too many turnovers in the second half."

Van Dyke (#56) leads the Marshall defense on the field

Most recruiting publications list Van Dyke as a top defensive end, or as a top tight end (he is The Insiders #81 prospect as a DE, and Tom Lemming lists him as the #7 TE). Interestingly though, he doesn't play either of those positions at the high school level. As a senior, he actually played defensive tackle and offensive tackle. A major reason for this is his size. Doug was the biggest man on the field Saturday. Traditionally, players get bigger in college, and 'move down': safeties become linebackers, linebackers become defensive ends, and defensive ends defensive tackles. The great advantage with a player of Van Dyke's capabilities is that he could play any one of four different positions at the next level. He has the speed and athletic ability to play defensive end or tight end in college -- but with his big frame he may out grow those positions and play defensive tackle or even offensive tackle.

Van Dyke has the frame to play many different positions in college

Because he was playing offensive tackle, it was not possible to assess his hands or route running as a potential tight end (although the speed and athletic ability he demonstrated on the defensive side of the ball would certainly translate to the tight end position). As an offensive tackle, Van Dyke was a good run blocker, doing a good job of driving his man. But where he stood out as an OL was with his pass blocking. He'll need significant strength gains for the run blocking to translate to the college level. But his athletic ability would allow him to become a very good pass blocker. However, to become an offensive tackle, he would need to get a lot stronger and bigger. Most likely, Van Dyke will play defense when he gets to college.

Van Dyke shows his blocking ability

From the start of the game, Van Dyke stood out on defense. He was involved in tackles on each of the first three plays. While he didn't keep up that impressive pace, Doug made an inordinately high number of plays for a defensive tackle ("I had ... 12 tackles I think," he told us). He exploded off the ball with great quickness, and despite being a very tall 6-5+, he was able to consistently maintain a low pad level. His speed, quickness, and athletic ability were very impressive for player of his size. Most likely, we thought as we were watching him, in college Van Dyke will start out at defensive end. But if he gains considerable weight, there's a good chance that he'll grow into a defensive tackle. His frame can definitely support the weight gain, although of course he'll need to get stronger. Doug expressed to us the same opinion about his future position, offering, "I'll start at defensive end. But I know I might grow out of it."

Van Dyke beats his man and makes the tackle in the backfield

The player I was most reminded of while watching Van Dyke was Michigan's junior defensive tackle, Norman Heuer. Van Dyke has a very similar body type, and is about the same size as Heuer was as a freshman. Van Dyke seems to have the edge in speed and athletic ability, while Heuer might have come in with superior strength. As a result, both defensive tackle and defensive end are legitimate possibilities for Van Dyke's college career. Once again Doug was on the same wavelength as us, for when he chatted with us about his college position, he ended with, "(Michigan) Coach Brady Hoke says I remind him of Norman Heuer." And as far as getting stronger he said, "Now that the season is over I get serious about lifting; I have to gain all the weight back that I lost during the season."

Van Dyke leaps to tip the Lumen Christi pass

My only real criticism of Van Dyke was with his ball pursuit on plays that went away from him. On sweeps that went away from him, or on passes down-field, Doug would often stop and watch the play. In Michigan's match-up with Minnesota on Saturday night, defensive end Larry Stevens made a touchdown saving tackle on the Gopher's running back, 26 yards down field. This is the type of pursuit that Van Dyke will need to develop at the next level. The Wolverine coaches stress that their players continue to work 'to the whistle', so Doug will certainly advance in this ability if he picks Michigan.

Van Dyke on the punt rush

As far as Doug's recruiting ... we talked to Doug about that as well of course. We'll print his latest -- including visits and a favorite -- in a separate post soon.

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