Yesterday marked a big day for Bethesda (Md.) Choate Rosemary Hall offensive tackle Tristan Bounds as he was named to the SI All-American Watch List due to his on-field prowess and clearly visible potential. As one of several Michigan commits to be named SI All-American candidates, Bounds was pumped up over the news but also found reason to use the announcement for motivation as well.
“I feel blessed,” Bounds told Wolverine Digest. “I praise God basically for everything that happens to me. I was just super excited. It's an honor and it proves that my hard work is paying off, but it's also motivation because at the end of the day I am on the watch list. It's a watch list. I'm not an All-American yet, so that is something I wrote down my freshman year that I wanted to do, and I have some work to do to get there.”
As a high ceiling player at 6-8 and 286 pounds, Bounds is currently unsure on whether or not his senior season will proceed as planned. At the moment, Choate Rosemary Hall recently cancelled their inter-scholastic football competitions against other programs, but the team is still cleared to practice among itself. So, Bounds is using that opportunity to improve on his skill set and feed his competitive nature.
“For me, it's really just getting stronger and trying to hammer down some technique,” Bounds said. “Even just reading how I was blessed to be on that list by Sports Illustrated, but just if you read through it, a big tick on me is my strength and my mobility, so those are two of the things I'm working on the hardest to really put me to the next level. The things I've tremendously improved on is adding muscle and continuing to put it on.
“I'm just trying to put myself in the best position to play once I get to Michigan,” Bounds said.
Back in April, 10 Michigan players were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, a group that includes four offensive lineman, so Ed Warinner has built a reputation of excelling in the player development category. Bounds took notice of that, and he's been able to sample Warinner's coaching acumen over the last couple months.
“I had a great relationship when I committed, that was a big part of it. He's a great guy and has been helping me with technique and things that I need to be working on as well as just continuing to develop the relationship with him. So, I'd say it's grown a lot, and I'm really looking forward to get to play for the guy.”
And as Bounds' relationship with his future position coach grows, so too does his bond with the other 19 prospects in the 2021 class that are committed to Michigan.
“I've definitely been talking to some of those guys that are committed,” Bounds said. “Right now, the consensus across the group is to continue to work hard and be ready when our time comes when we get on campus or for our respective senior seasons. I'm not a big social media guy, so I'm not on that stuff, but in the communication I have had with those guys it's all been really positive.”
Here is a look at how the SI All-American team broke down Bounds' game:
Frame: Extremely tall. Average width across shoulders and chest. Long, developing arms. Slender, tightly-wound thighs and trunk. Ample room remaining to add much-needed mass.
Athleticism: Adequate overall mobility. Good quickness in phone booth; keeps feet active. Struggles to move in space due to tight hips, lack of general flexibility. Average play strength at best. Not explosive.
Instincts: Overly reliant on length. Best described as “catcher” at this point in development; doesn’t generate much power from lower body. Can drive-block defenders past second level when engaged. Good reach blocker due to length. Has trouble redirecting in pass protection.
Polish: Emphasis on base, playing low will be constant from college coaches. Must add weight, power before seeing field consistently. Needs to hone punch; should be devastating weapon. Shows some promise in kick slide, but middling flexibility mitigates potential effectiveness.
Bottom Line: Bounds is fascinating offensive line prospect with clear strengths and weaknesses. Ceiling seems high due to rare length and significant growth potential, but more weight could further chip away at mobility. Projects as depth piece at worst for Michigan, with starter upside at right tackle.
With Bounds as one of four Michigan offensive line commits, which prospects would you like to see U-M add before the cycle is over? Do you think Michigan is more in need of a guard or a tackle at this juncture? Let us know!