Future Wolverines Shine in Ohio Classic

GoBlueWolverine ventured to the Buckeye State Friday night to get a glimpse of the future, as five future Wolverines participated in the North-South Classic at Ohio Stadium. Jibreel Black was the clear standout, earning defensive MVP honors, but a few of his future teammates acquitted themselves very well also.

Jibreel Black:  Consider this thought for a second.  You're Jibreel Black and you've been selected for the Ohio North-South classic, but you don't start, you play out of position, and yet you still earn defensive MVP honors?  That's exactly what happened Friday night.  Facing a mammoth offensive front, Black had his work cut out for him – especially considering at the three-technique.  After a few possessions, Black got it going.  He stayed low and was able to use his strength to get under the pads of the South's offensive linemen and get beyond the line of scrimmage.  Combine that with his quickness off the ball and ability to play with his hands in the trenches, and you have the makings of a prospect that could contribute early and often at Michigan. Black had a number of sacks and tackles on the game, but his most memorable contribution may have been the may have been the play of the game.  Late in the fourth quarter during a crucial drive he split the guard and center on 4th and 1, and tackled the running back behind the line of scrimmage. 

Antonio Kinnard:  "TK" started at the right outside linebacker position, but made plays all over the field.  Despite a frame that currently stands at 6'4" 203 pounds, Kinnard didn't hesitate to throw his body around and mix things up in the trenches.  He has a great motor, and has good enough speed to track plays from behind.  He also made some big hits on special teams, but his best moment occurred late in the fourth quarter when he intercepted a pass and returned it for 45 yards for the score. 

Terrence Talbott:  The versatile defensive back didn't start, but he saw a lot of action at free safety and cornerback.  Not much action came his way, but he did make a few tackles in the run game.  Talbott is really quick, but may lack the necessary strength to contribute as a freshman and could use a redshirt year to improve his size.

Courtney Avery:  A starter at corner, I was eager to see how Avery would fare given his lack of experience at the position.  He held up pretty well, giving up just a catch or two.  The future Wolverine was strong in coverage, but what he does need to work on is tackling.  There were too many plays in which he made good contact, but failed to wrap up or drive his legs through to finish off a tackle.  Size and ability wise, he's there – especially in coverage.  He just needs to hone his technique.  Expect Avery to seriously contend for playing time in the fall.

Jake Ryan:  Ryan didn't display the speed and explosiveness that you see on his impressive senior film, but the rules of the game did limit him a bit so that may have factored into it.  That said, Ryan did make a few tackles in the run game and on special teams.

Other News & Notes

  • Terry Talbott was slated to play alongside his brother, Terrence Friday night, but he reagravated a groin injury at the beginning of the week.  Terry made the difficult decision to sit this one out, not wanting to jeopardize his health before heading to Ann Arbor in June.

  • Michigan early enrollee and Ohio native Christian Pace drove from Ann Arbor to Columbus to check out some of his future teammates.  Pace made his way down to the field after the game to personally congratulate the guys, specifically Courtney Avery who he already has a friendship with.

  • After talking at length with linebacker Antonio Kinnard, it's interesting to note he's a transplant from the South.  He actually lived in South Carolina, but moved to Ohio the summer of his eighth grade year.  Obviously he spent the next four years attending Youngstown Liberty.

  • With his son Jewone Snow playing in the game, it was no surprise that Garland Rivers to be in attendance.  Though clearly there to support his offspring, the former Wolverine and All-American defensive back made it clear where his allegiance lies.  He made it a point to stop Kinnard and the other future Wolverines to wish them well before leaving Ohio Stadium.

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine throughghout the week for video from the North-South Ohio Classic, including interviews with all fo the future Wolverines.

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