Michigan Football Showcase (Line Standouts)

GoBlueWolverine was on hand for the Michigan Football Showcase put on by the Lifting as We Climb Foundation. There were over 300 participants, and the linemen took the field first. An out-of-state lineman stole the show, an in-state lineman raised his stock dramatically, and we caught a glimpse of the future when a few 2012 prospects and one 2013 prospect impressed during drills and competition.

Chris Bryant  - Chicago Simeon

Bryant, quite simply, was the best lineman (on either side of the ball) in attendance.  Standing  6-5 and weighing in at 330 pounds he was an intimidating presence.  If his ability to toss opponents  around like rag dolls wasn't enough, the big man was relatively light on his feet.  Bull rushing this youngster was an exercise in futility.  Speed rushers had the best shot at taking his crown, but the big man showed the ability to open his hips well while showing good feet and maintain his advantage… some of the time.  The chink in Bryant's armor is his technique… it's inconsistent.  One example is sometimes in pass pro he lunges at the defenders almost as if he were getting out to run block.  A few times it gave the defender enough of an advantage to win the match up.  Those instances, though, were few and far between. Bryant's stock is surely up.  Waaaay up!  He noted an interest in visiting Michigan.  Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine throughout the week for highlights of Stewart's performance as well as a video interview.

Bryan Bell  - Walled Lake Western

Bell will surely go down as one of the biggest risers on the day.  The Walled Lake Western standout looked more like 6-3 280 instead of 6-5 290, but was nonetheless impressive in one on ones.   He was among the more agile big men in attendance, and rarely if ever got beat by a defender trying to out-quick him.  He moves his feet extremely well and was up to the task when opponents tried the speed rush, spin moves, or combinations of the two.  He had a few memorable match-ups with Muskegon defensive lineman Damon Knox.  More on Knox in a moment… for now just know that pairs good size with notable decent agility.  Contrary to Stewart, Bell has excellent technique. He was not able get around the edge on Bell with his speed rush.  Toledo St. Johns DL Jack Miller was stalemated when he tried a few finesse moves.  The first to beat Bell was Knox with a bull rush.  He only succumbed to defensive linemen that were able to overpower him when coming straight at him.  That is nothing that can't be corrected with more time in the weight room.  Offers should be around the corner at this youngster.  He could be an atypical guar prospect in that he could develop into much more than just a run blocker… he should be a pretty good pass protector as well.

Jordan Diamond – Chicago Simeon (2012)

Store this name in your memory bank for next year. Diamond is about 6-6, 260 and athletic.  As a matter of fact, he may have been the best athlete of all the linemen.  Like his Simeon teammate, Chris Bryant technical breakdowns beat him more than opponents did.  One of his frequent errors was keeping his hips square instead of opening up against pass rushers.  Damon Knox was able to blow by him in one of the day's earlier match-ups for that very reason.  Diamond is a quick study though.  After a little coaching he was opening up and using his long arms to keep defenders in front of him.  He should be one of the Midwest's top linemen next year.

Damon Knox - Muskegon

Knox is put together well…  lean, fast, and strong.  His speed off the edge was too much for some offensive linemen and his strength was too much for others… but against the best opponents his lack of a go-to pass rush move left him stalemated.  Once he develops a repertoire of pass rush moves he could become more of a presence in opposing backfields.  As it stands though, he is still good looking prospect.  The Wolverines appear to be keeping an eye on him.

Others of note

Kyle Lints – Traverse City St. Francis

– This slender defensive end (6-3, 195) has a motor that never quits and an array of pass rush moves to boot.  He was him one of the more of the effective pass rushers on the day.  He'll need to add significant weight to be a college defensive end though.

Evan Winston – Muskegon Heights (2012)

– Another 2012 kid that really stood out on the day.  Winston will be one of the top players in the state of Michigan's seemingly loaded sophomore class.  He looks to be about 6-4, 220, with good speed, and outstanding quickness.  His quickness off the snap was tough for many opponents to deal with.  When he adds more size and strength… look out.  On a side note, he was raving about the Maize & Blue while at the event.

Elijah Daniel – Avon IN (2013)

– Daniel is the younger brother of Georgia freshman Montez Robinson, and it's clear that athleticism rums in the family. Ordinarily a 2013 kid wouldn't receive mention, but this precocious youngster is such an impressive athlete that it would be wrong to not mention him.  He appeared to be about 6-3 and 210 pounds, and though he was playing defensive end, he appeared to be nimble and agile enough to play linebacker.  He still has to fill out physically, as he was overpowered at times (Chris Bryant mauled him during one of the OL/DL rotations0.  Still the raw tools are there and he will only get better with time based on the progress of his siblings.  Another of his brothers, 6-3, 215 lb. Armonze Daniel was one of the top linebackers in attendance Sunday.  More on him later.

The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, Inc. (LAWCF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created, organized, and managed by five Hampton University graduates. Established in 2004, the organization is primarily made up of young business professionals under the age of 30, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged, low-income youth. The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, prides itself on being a "youth to youth" mentoring organization, with a specific mission to uplift disadvantaged, "at risk" youth between the ages of twelve and eighteen.

For more information on the Foundation, please go to http://www.liftingasweclimb.com

For information on the Sound Mind Sound Body camps, go to http://www.smsbcamp.com

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