Taylor Lewan – Oh my. How this kid slid under the radar for so long is beyond me. He is without question one of the best players in attendance. His feet and lateral quickness are as good as advertised. He and teammate Craig Roh avoided each other all day, but observers got a chance to see Lewan at his best when he squared off with Sam Montgomery. The two talented youngsters locked horns quite frequently. Montgomery's speed and quickness will tax the best of offensive tackles, but those attributes didn't provide him the same kind of advantage against Lewan. The Greenwood, SC native was able to get around the edge a few times, but Lewan got the better of this match-up. When it came to run blocking Lewan showed a few minor chinks in his armor. His coaches were drilling him on technique and got on him a few time about finishing blocks. Montgomery made him pay for not doing so on a few occasions. Lewan's response to being admonished for not finishing late in the practice? He pancaked Justin Chaisson on the next snap. This kid is a flat out stud. A redshirt year with work on strength & conditioning and technique, and he'll be ready to go.
Craig Roh – Think Aaron Kampman. This kid has that kind of motor and that kind of get-off. He just keeps coming and coming. His tenaciousness is so apparent that even Sam-there's-no-one-better-than-me-Montgomery took notice. Roh is light right now… maybe even lighter than advertised… so anchoring against the run game can be a challenge. But the upside here is clear. On a side note, Roh and Lewan are like a traveling comedy show. They will be great locker room guys. Roh might even break out a few dance moves… as you'll see in an upcoming video.
Sam Montgomery – Much to my surprise, Super Sam wasn't much heavier than Roh. As a result he had the same issues anchoring against the run as the future Wolverine. That said, in terms of raw athleticism, you'd be hard pressed to find any better than Montgomery. His straight-line speed is elite for the position, which is probably why he his high school coaches felt so comfortable playing at linebacker. Sam will have to diversify his repertoire of moves at the next level… but remember… he is a kid that got into football late. Technique will come. He has the desire, he has the physical tools, and he has the swagger. Barring injury, he'll be an impact player. Right now LSU is the clear leader and Michigan is bringing up the rear of his top five. While those odds are daunting, his January 9th visit could weigh heavy. A positive sign for Michigan fans in this race is Montgomery now indicates that his mom will make the trip with him.
Quinton Washington – Washington is gifted interior lineman. He has good lateral quickness and is a powerful drive blocker as well. He is one of the few linemen that will step into a college setting of his choosing next year and be physically ready to compete from day one. What truly is he a devastating lineman on the move. Defenses will hate to see him pulling around the corner or making it to the second level of the defense. Michigan still has a puncher's chance in this one, and offensive line coach Greg Frey is the reason why .
Isaiah Bell – It was said that he is growing into the linebacker position. Whoever said that spoke the truth. Bell was the biggest DB on the field. Surprisingly, he said he has actually lost weight and is down to 208. He'll have to pack on even more muscle to play the position at the next level, but that he carries it so well right now is a positive sign for the future. At safety he'd surely be a contributor, but probably would not be the difference maker that a guy like Ray Ray Armstrong will be. However, at linebacker Bell has a chance to be an impact player. He is a physical presence, he has good hips (as evidenced by the coaching staff's willingness to line him up over the slot), and good speed for a linebacker. When you add in his freakishly long arms it's easy to see why the coaching staff is so excited about playing him closer to the ball.