Collin Michael: One To Watch For 2012

Lexington, Ohio, quarterback Collin Michael might have been the biggest surprise performer at the Combine in Cincinnati. Michael, coming off an impressive freshman season, turned a lot of heads with his size and his strong arm. Bill Greene caught up with Michael and filed this report.

It's not often you see a freshman make a strong impression at a national combine, but that is exactly what Lexington, Ohio, quarterback Collin Michael did at the Combine in Cincinnati.

Michael spent his freshmen season backing up superstar Courtney Avery, but he showed enough, in limited action, to already be a player to watch in the 2012 recruiting class.

"First off, Collin is a great kid who wants to be the best," said Lexington head coach B.J. Payne. "He listens to what the coaches are telling him and he watches what Courtney [Avery] is doing to be successful. Collin has everything the colleges are looking for in a quarterback, from his height to his strong arm. He starts on the varsity basketball team and is a real good athlete. He has a chance to be a great one for us and I couldn't be more impressed with how he's handling himself."

When asked how he performed at the combine, Michael humbly stated that he wasn't all that impressed with his performance. It should be noted that he drove all night from Ft. Wayne, Indiana after appearing in an AAU basketball tournament. Michael arrived in Cincinnati in the middle of the night and performed the next day in basketball shoes, not football spikes.

"I did average, I would guess," he said. "I missed some throws I should have made and I wasn't as consistent as I'd like to be. I didn't feel like I had my timing down today and I know I'm better than I showed today."

As the youngest player in a camp full of stars, one might expect Michael to be intimidated by the surroundings. That was definitely not the case.

"I wasn't intimidated at all even though there were a lot of great quarterbacks here," Michael said. "I love the competition and I liked being out there with guys like Devin Gardner and DaMarcus Smith. I just came from a basketball tournament that featured great talent and that's where I want to be. I like going against the best to see where I need to be in a few years."

Michael, 6-foot-4 and 205-pounds, is benefiting daily from playing in such a great program as Lexington under Payne, one of the top coaches in Ohio.

"I learn a lot from Courtney Avery and I try to do the things he does from a technique standpoint," Michael admitted. "Courtney has a presence and a coolness that let's him create things out of nothing if he has to. He also is very sound with his technique and I learn from him every day. I'm happy to back him up for another year and then take over as a junior. Coach Payne has helped me so much and I owe him a lot in terms of my development. Hopefully we can get back to the playoffs this year and win it all."

Although extremely humble, Michael did talk specifically about his strengths and weaknesses as a young quarterback.

"I think my determination is my greatest strength, whether it's to win or to work to get better," he stated. "I'm always working harder to be better, so I need to improve in every area really. I'm really working on my footwork and my quickness right now. I think playing basketball makes me a better overall athlete. I want to play football in college some day, but if I keep growing and end up 6-foot-9, I might look at basketball. Right now I love playing both sports and I'm glad I don't have to choose between the two of them."

SCOUTING REPORT: Michael was FAR better than he let on at the Combine in Cincinnati. He was surrounded by a strong quarterback class, possibly the best I've ever seen at a Scout Combine, but he more than held his own. To think that Michael has three more years of high school left is unbelievable. At this stage of his development the only freshman quarterback I would rank higher would be former Ohio State starter Justin Zwick. I would rank Michael slightly ahead of current Kentucky, and former GlenOak, quarterback Mike Hartline. Michael has every single attribute he needs to succeed at the quarterback position. He only needs to keep working on refining his skills to be the player he needs to be. The only criticism I saw was the habit to drop his shoulder in throwing the football occasionally, which led to inaccuracy and lost velocity. Michael will clearly be a player we will track over the next three years.

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