I took in a handful of games that “Michigan’s First Class” played in at the Wolverines’ inaugural Wolverine War team camp over the weekend. Photo gallery is included in the post prior to this one.
Keep in mind that they were pretty easily the best team in attendance, so the level of competition wasn’t the greatest for divining details about their play. Some thoughts on the incoming freshmen:
- Gerald Logan is a very good goalkeeper. He’s a solid ball-stopper who is able to make plays in the clearing game with his legs and passing. He’s a pretty aggressive keeper who likes to face a lot of shots, a very different mentality from Emil Weiss. Both bring something different to the table, and can contribute for Michigan next spring.
- Cooper Charlton wasn’t on the team (my understanding is that the players who have already enrolled at Michigan were not eligible to participate), but he’s a huge defender. Physically reminiscent of former defender – from the club days, but a transfer from D-1 Bucknell – Pat Stansik.
- Without being integrated into the team system, it’s tough to say what the individual defenders did and didn’t do well in terms of how they’ll be used. Almost all of them were pretty big guys, a much-needed size upgrade for Michigan. Most of them were able to throw takeaway checks pretty easily against the players they were facing. There was a bit of fancy stickwork, but nothing special for the most part.
- I saw Chris Walker play several times this year, so I basically knew what to expect: excellent stick work, but a smaller frame. Those thoughts were both confirmed, since I believe he was the smallest defenseman, but also had some of the best handles. Those stick skills will allow him to see the field, but he’s not going to be an intimidator. I know he’s thought of as more of a close defenseman, but his size and athleticism could see him fit at LSM, too.
- I had previously predicted Chaminade midfielder Matt Graham would be a d-middie, based on offensive production in high school. After seeing him in person, that’s definitely not the case. He has the stick skills that you’d expect from a player coming out of a Long Island powerhouse, and also a pretty good shot (which we saw mostly on the run) with either hand. He has more offensive punch than I’d given him credit for.
- Like Graham, there wasn’t enough information available on Hernandez to know what to expect from him, but I came away impressed with his game. He doesn’t have the polish of some of the hotbed recruits, but California is turning out talent, and he’s no exception. He is bigger and taller then I was expecting, an obvious plus.
- After not getting much action in the Under Armour All-American game, I didn’t know what to expect from Gaughan. Obviously, a collection of one school’s recruits is a less talented pool than the best players in the country, but would he stand out among them? He’s tall and thin, and has a good knowledge of the game. If the team had been coached up (instead of playing together for the first time in the games I saw), he would likely have been more involved. His frame has room for development though.
- Evan Glaser has a bit of a stocky build – or he’s just more filled out with muscle than some of his incoming classmates – and played a pretty tough game (easier to do successfully against a random assortment of high schoolers than on the D-1 field, but he was good nonetheless). He carried the ball for the team quite a bit, and can handle it well.
- Like his teammate Walker, I’ve seen Riley Kennedy play in person enough times that I wasn’t forming many new opinions about him, but rather seeing how he would adjust to a different level of talent than he saw for much of the season – both on his team and from the competitors. Like he was for Brother Rice this spring, he was a very calm, precise ballcarrier and passer. He didn’t dodge much that I saw, but his stick skills are very smooth and should translate well.
- Like Glaser, Peter Kraus is a thickly-built kid. He didn’t get as much playing time as some of the other incoming freshmen, but a big brace on one knee is probably to blame for that.
A few of the incoming guys (in addition to Charlton, of course) didn’t play: Josh Stauffer, Kyle Jackson, Brad Lott, and a couple others. Some of those guys are already in school and therefore couldn’t play, and I’m not sure the reasoning on others.
I haven’t profiled the incoming 2013 and 2014 recruits yet, so seeing them over the weekend allowed me to form some first impressions, rather than shaping what I’d already researched about them. Like with their future teammates in the 2012 class, a few guys were not there.
- Stefan Bergman is a physically intimidating defender, though he was at times caught lunging at the defender with his checks instead of keeping his feet and playing solid positional defense. In a summer camp situation (and realistically, an all-star situation), that’s bound to happen here and there.
- Will Biagi and Brian Archer were both excellent on faceoffs. I don’t think they lost one in any of the games that I watched unless they moved early, or their wing players didn’t get the GB after a long scrum. Biagi in particular impressed, and it seemed like he controlled every draw. The only serious competition these two would have had in the games I saw would have been if they’d gone against each other.
- Christian Wolter was able to uncork a couple impressive shots, though I only saw him shoot lefty that I can recall.
- Mitchell Kelln has impressive size for a midfielder, and he was one of the biggest non-defensemen on the field.
- I mentioned Michael Hernandez above, but two of his fellow members of the Alcatraz Outlaws club program – Mike Schlosser and Andrew Simor – played as well. All three showed that you don’t need to come from a hotbed to succeed at the next level (Kelln is also a California native, actually).
- As for 2014s, attack P.J. Bogle and midfielder Chase Young were the only two there that I know of. I saw Bogle play with Culver Academy a couple times this spring, and he’s a tall-ish, thin attackman who carries the ball well. Young is a miniature (couldn’t have been an inch over 5-8, and he’s very thin as well) midfielder who has excellent stick skills, and doesn’t hesitate to uncork his shot.
I know a few readers may have been in attendance at some of the games. Did anybody have thoughts they’d like to share?