March 7, 2012

From the film room: Chris Fox

Michigan's historic recruiting day Feb. 18 became all that much better when four-star Colorado offensive lineman Chris Fox joined five other commitments with his pledge to U-M. Fox has terrific upside ...

Our anonymous talent evaluator is a former All-Big Ten first-team performer at Michigan.

Strengths: Fox is very athletic for his 6-6, 300-pound frame. He moves laterally with good balance and can maneuver his body in open space very well for a young player of his size. He comes off the ball strong and hard with good driving feet.

Fox shows good awareness of his blocking angles to keep the defender from working under or over his blocks and getting to the ball. He moves well on his pulling blocks and does slow down when he arrives at the blocking point.

Fox has good hand placement on his opponents on both run-blocking and pass-blocking. He has a good pop out of his stance to get into his pass sets and shows nice balance when pass blocking. Like his fellow Michigan OL commits, he looks to finish his blocks with a high level of cruelty by planting the defender into the ground, which is great.

Areas of Improvement: Fox overpowers defenders with a great attack off the ball. In the process of dispatching defenders into the turf, he is doing so from a position that will be too high for the college game. When he learns to lower his hips at the point of attack, which will bring his upper body down as well, he will be even more dominant his senior year than his junior film shows.

His footwork is good for a high school player but will need to improve to ensure proper balance when he gets to the Michigan practice field. His pass sets are quick but show a false step or two, which can also be easily fixed. Lastly, his stance needs to be more consistent. His stance is visibly different when he pass sets, pulls, or drive blocks. Again, this is an easy fix.

College Projection: Offensive Guard

Michigan Player Comparison - Jonathan Goodwin (1999-2001 OG): Goodwin was the anchor on the right side of the early 2000s Michigan lines. Jeff Backus and Steve Hutchinson may have overshadowed Goodwin's play, but Goodwin is still a top-flight NFL lineman to this day.

The Bottom Line: The addition of Fox to future Michigan offensive lines will greatly increase the chances of hoisting a Big Ten Championship trophy in Ann Arbor.; Fox certainly has the Big Ten size and athleticism that Michigan will need to compete at the highest levels. He has shown the combination of football intellect, great size, and a strong desire to punish defenders. All of these attributes will set up Fox for a bright future.

He has a year and a half to refine his game and prepare himself to step on the U-M practice field ready to compete against players that are just as big and strong as he is.

Fox is joining an impressive group of young lineman that will arrive in Ann Arbor with high expectations placed upon them. The good news for Michigan is that Fox and the rest of his future linemates have all the god-given tools to achieve greatness if they take advantage of what Michigan will provide them.

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