The Pittsburgh Steelers had Texas A&M running back Christine Michael in for a pre draft visit on Monday, and once again, our scouting buddy Dave-Te\’ Thomas was kind enough to give us his detailed scouting report profile on him, which you can read below. Make sure to listen to the latest episode of the podcast as we had Thomas on for nearly a full hour talking about the Steelers draft and prospects.
Texas A&M University Aggies
West Brook High School
Lost in the “media hoopla” that converged on College Station during quarterback Johnny Manziel’s march towards capturing the Heisman Trophy, along with the national attention draft analysts provided All-American left offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Michael also had to deal with a pair of suspensions that limited him to just two starting assignments as a senior in 2012. The result was his worst season during his four-year career as an Aggie, as he finished third on the team with just 417 yards on 88 carries.
With his one-time dream of closing his career as a franchise-type ball carrier erased, Michael was relegated mostly to short yardage duties during his final season. The lone bright spot to that role change was that he heard his number called often inside the red zone and more importantly, at the goal-line. He would deliver in that limited role, as his twelve touchdown runs rank 15th on the school season-record list.
It was a disappointing senior season for Michael, as he struggled to adhere to team rules handed down by the new staff and “butted heads” with head coach Kevin Sumlin during fall camp. Michael was not pleased that he received just thirteen carries in the season opener vs. Florida and the following day, Sumlin informed the media that Michael and safety Steven Campbell were both being suspended for the upcoming Southern Methodist clash.
Michael was not allowed to travel with the team, but continued to remain in his head coach’s doghouse due to an inappropriate tweet that he made while watching the Aggies’
48-3 rout of SMU. That message (tweeted during the game: “Man, run the ball”) did not go unnoticed by the coach. Sumlin made certain that the team knew he did not need Christine Michael\’s advice.
The Texas A&M head football coach said during his weekly press conference that he was aware of his suspended running back\’s instructive tweet during the game. Sumlin said he had addressed the matter with Michael. The player was given two choices – join the team in preparing for the Aggies’ next game vs. Arkansas by fastening his chinstrap and play as his new coaches demand, or simply fade into the background while younger players earn the valuable carries in Southeastern Conference play.
“We\’d like to get him more involved as we go,” offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday. “We\’ll see if that happens.” In a prime example of the tough love Michael\’s tutors were showing him during his senior campaign, Sumlin said that the ball carrier, who former coach Mike Sherman once said had bouts of immaturity, would remain the team\’s “third back” behind junior Ben Malena and freshman Trey Williams.
“We\’ve got three good backs, and I\’ve said from Day One that all three were going to play,” Sumlin said. “Christine hasn\’t made it through a full season in the last (two) years. He needs the other two backs to play, and we need it from a team standpoint because of his injury issues.” Sumlin shrugged off any suggestion that Michael\’s blocking in particular must improve for more playing time. “The line of questioning is headed down the wrong road regarding performance,” Sumlin said. “It\’s hard for you to perform if you\’re not at the game.”
Michael would start just one more time, coming in the final regular season clash vs. Missouri. That start was quite a surprise, considering Michael was ejected from A&M’s previous game, vs. Sam Houston State, for throwing a punch. Michael was ejected at the end of a play during which Johnny Manziel threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans to put A&M up 14-0 in the second quarter.
The running back and some Sam Houston players were pushing each other before Michael threw the punch and was ejected. He was also given a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Michael told the Dallas Morning News during the week of practices leading up to A&M’s 41-13 victory over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl that he “was not as close with Kevin Sumlin as he had been with previous coach Mike Sherman.”
While the staff said that he was not being suspended, Sumlin elected to leave the senior on the sidelines and he did not appear in what would have been his final collegiate contest, as he watched his teammates celebrate their victory that earned them third place in the final national poll. Michael finished ninth in school history with 529 carries for 2,791 yards (5.28 ypc), as his 34 touchdown runs tied for fifth on the Aggies’ all-time record list.
Before he joined the Texas A&M program in 2009, Michael starred at West Brook High School, where the Beaumont, Texas native was coached by former Texas A&M great, Craig Stump. The three-time All-District selection and two-time District 21-5A MVP was rated the 28th-best running back in the nation by Rivals.com. As a sophomore, he ran for 1,342 yards and 21 touchdowns on 149 carries (9.0 ypc) and also scored once on nine receptions. His junior campaign saw the ball carrier carry 180 times for 1,171 yards (6.6 ypc) and 28 touch-downs. He added seventeen catches for 259 yards (15.2 ypc) and four scores in 2008.
As a senior, Michael garnered Super Prep All-American, All-District 21-5A, All-State and Beaumont Enterprise All-Southeast Texas Offensive Player of the Year honors. The National EAS Speed-&-Strength Award winner and Austin American-Statesman Texas Fab 55 choice was a starter and captain at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. During his final season, which was cut short due to the result of storm damage from Hurricane Ike, he appeared in nine games, but still managed to amass a career-high 1,412 yards and 25 touchdowns on 172 attempts (8.2 ypc) and snare 22 balls for 212 yards and a score.
Michael exploded on to the collegiate scene in 2009, as he was named the Big Twelve Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches and the Dallas Morning News. A third-team Freshman All-American pick, he started four of the twelve games he appeared in. His 844 yards on the ground rank as the fourth-best season total by an A&M freshman, carrying 166 times (5.08 ypc) and ten touchdowns, including a school record 97-yard score vs. Baylor. Out of the backfield, he made fifteen catches and averaged 22.33 yards on nine kickoff returns, finishing with 1,111 all-purpose yards.
Michael shared tailback duties with Cyrus Gray in 2010 and was leading the team with 631 yards and four scores on 126 attempts (5.01 ypc) over the first eight games when he was lost for the remainder of the season after suffering a broken right leg vs. Texas Tech. He returned on kick 16 yards and also had thirteen receptions before being sidelined.
In 2011, Michael earned six starting assignments during the Aggies’ first nine games, but he suffered a left knee anterior cruciate vs. Oklahoma and again missed the end of A&M’s schedule. He finished second on the team with a career-high 899 yards on 149 attempts (6.03 ypc), finding the end zone eight times on those totes and again on a reception, as he added 35 yards on eight catches.
Trying to salvage his career, Michael accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game. Scouts have never questioned his playing ability, but the week-long practices were a perfect opportunity for the Aggie to display those skills. Despite being built more in the lines of a fullback, he has always been able to maintain a low pad level attacking the rush lanes and knows how to use his body for leverage. He has the nimble moves and vision to locate cutback lanes and is quite patient following his blockers, especially on red zone or goal-line carries.
More quick than fast, Michael has efficient jump/cut moves and while a one-speed type of ball carrier, he has the burst and acceleration to make second level defenders miss. But, with his upper body power, size and pad level, he is much more effective running between tackles than on the occasions he attempts to bounce outside. He has good body lean when falling forward and while not a fancy route runner, he does have the hands and extension ability to catch the ball in stride and move the ball in a short area passing game.
All of those traits were on display at practice leading up to the East-West Game. “Michael has been the top back in practices,” Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said during the drills before the contest. ”He has a powerful frame and he’s displayed an explosive burst to and through the hole. He doesn’t have natural hands out of the backfield, but he’s still a very intriguing prospect His career at A&M was marred by injuries and a few off-field issues, but his stock is on the rise. I talked to one team that has him graded in the second round.”
Michael started 18-of-40 games at Texas A&M, carrying 529 times for 2,791 yards (5.28), both ranking ninth on the school career-record list…His 34 touchdowns on the ground rank 15th among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision performers and tied Curtis Dickey (1976-79) for fifth place in school history behind Jorvorskie Lane (49; 2005-08), Darren Lewis (44; 1987-90), Rodney Thomas (41; 1991-94) and George Woodard (35; 1975-77)…
Caught 44 passes for 323 yards (7.34 ypc) and a touchdown, as his 210 points scored rank 14th in Aggies annals…Returned ten kickoffs for 217 yards (21.7 avg) and touched the ball 583 times, amassing 3,331 all-purpose yards, an average of 83.28 yards per game…Had nine 100-yard rushing performances during his career and scored multiple touchdowns on the ground in eight contests.
Michael appeared in eleven games, starting the season opener vs. Florida and the regular season finale vs. Missouri, but was suspended for a violation of team rules vs. Southern Methodist, was ejected from the Sam Houston State clash for fighting and the staff elected to not play him vs. Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl…Finished third on the team with 417 yards on 88 carries (4.74 ypc), but he scored twelve times on the ground, tying Cyrus Gray (both 2010 and ’11), Courtney Lewis (2003), Rodney Thomas (1994), Anthony Toney (1985) and Greg Hill (1991) for 15th on the school season-record chart…Gained 48 yards on eight catches (6.00 ypc) and recorded a solo tackle vs. South Carolina State…Generated 465 all-purpose yards, an average of 42.27 yards per game…Scored 72 points…Ran for at least one touchdown in nine contests, including three games where he scored twice each…He had back-to-back games with a pair of touchdowns – vs. Mississippi State (50 yards on 11 carries) and Alabama (12 runs for 27 yards…Picked up two more scoring scampers, including a 38-yarder on just four chances for 60 yards vs. Missouri…Ran for a season-high 40-yard touchdown vs. Louisiana Tech, gaining 65 yards on 12 tries…Had another long touchdown jaunt from 34 yards out, as he accounted for a season-best 75 yards on nine carries vs. Auburn.
Michael was well on his way to a 1,000-yard rushing season before a knee injury vs. Oklahoma ended his year…The junior had rushed for 899 yards and eight touchdowns on 149 carries (6.03 ypc) in the first nine games of the season, earning six starts…Caught eight passes for 35 yards (4.38 ypc) and a score…Recorded a solo tackle vs. Missouri and scored 54 points while collecting 934 all-purpose yards, an average of 103.78 yards per game…Ran for over 100 yards in four contests, including rushing for a career-high 230 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries vs. Arkansas. His 230-yard performance tied
Curtis Dickey (vs. Texas Christian in 1978) for the third-best rushing effort by an Aggie, topped by only Bob Smith (297 at Southern Methodist in 1950) and Darren Lewis (232 vs. Texas Tech in 1990)…Had a pair of touchdowns on 14 attempts for 85 yards vs. Southern Methodist and tallied 105 yards on 21 tries with a score vs. Baylor…Followed with 142 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries vs. Iowa State…Recorded his third consecutive 100-yard day, and third in four contests, as he toted the ball 21 times for 104 yards vs. Missouri…His season ended with 88 yards on 17 attempts before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee vs. Oklahoma.
Michael\’s sophomore season was cut short when he broke his right leg in the Aggies\’ win over Texas Tech and was lost for the season…Gained 631 yards on 126 carries (5.01 ypc) with four touchdowns in the first eight games, which included six starts…Made thirteen catches for 174 yards (13.38 ypc), adding a 16-yard kickoff return to pile up 821 all-purpose yards, an average of 102.63 yards per game…Opened the season with three-straight 100 yard rushing performances, as he 22 attempts for 105 yards and a pair of scores while pulling in a 46-yard pass vs. Stephen F. Austin…Followed with 14 tries for 107 yards vs. Louisiana Tech and gained 119 yards with a score on 21 tries vs. Florida International…
Fell short of the century mark during his next appearance, picking up 97 yards on 24 attempts vs. Arkansas…Snatched four passes for 94 yards and rushed 14 times for 52 yards vs. Missouri.
Michael was named the Big Twelve Conference’s Offensive Freshman of the Year by both the league\’s head coaches and The Dallas Morning News, adding The Oklahoman\’s Big Twelve Freshman of the Year accolades…Chosen to College Football News’ Freshman All-America third-team and ESPN.com\’s Big Twelve All-Freshman team…Played in twelve games, starting four contests – vs. Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia…Led the team with 844 yards on 166 carries (5.08 ypc) and ten touchdowns, as his yardage figures are the fourth-best in a season by an A&M freshman…Had fifteen receptions for 66 yards (4.40 ypc) and gained 201 yards on nine kickoff returns (22.33 avg)…Scored 60 points and tallied 1,111 all-purpose yards, an average of 92.58 yards per game…Recorded a pair of 100-yard rushing performances…Made his collegiate debut with 93 yards and a score on 11 carries, 9 yards on a catch and 58 yards on three kickoff returns vs. New Mexico…Had 17 rushes for 94 yards, four kickoff returns for 118 yards and 26 yards on two grabs vs. Utah State…Registered his first 100-yard rushing performance with 22 attempts for 121 yards and two touchdowns vs. Texas Tech…Scored two more times vs. Baylor, rushing for a school record 97-yard score to finish with 116 yards on eleven runs vs. Baylor. He is only the sixth player in school history to gain 90 yards on a rushing attempt, topping the previous A&M long of 95 yards by D’Andre Hardeman at Baylor in 1996.
2010 Season…Michael suffered a right leg fracture vs. Texas Tech (10/30), missing the team’s final five games, vs. Oklahoma, Baylor, Nebraska, Texas and Louisiana State.
2011 Season…Michael missed the Aggies’ final four games vs. Kansas State, Kansas, Texas and Northwestern when he suffered a left knee anterior cruciate ligament tear vs. Oklahoma (11/05).
4.49 in the 40-yard dash…1.59 10-yard dash…2.63 20-yard dash…4.31 20-yard shuttle…
7.08 three-cone drill…34-inch vertical jump…9’5” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times…31 5/8-inch arm length…9-inch hands…73 5/8-inch wingspan.
Michael attended West Brook (Beaumont, Tex.) High School, where he was coached by former Texas A&M great, Craig Stump…The three-time All-District selection and two-time District 21-5A MVP was rated the 28th-best running back in the nation by Rivals.com…As a sophomore, he ran for 1,342 yards and 21 touchdowns on 149 carries (9.0 ypc) and also scored once on nine receptions…His junior campaign saw the ball carrier carry 180 times for 1,171 yards (6.6 ypc) and 28 touchdowns…Added seventeen catches for 259 yards (15.2 ypc) and four scores in 2008…As a senior, Michael added Super Prep All-American, All-District 21-5A, All-State and Beaumont Enterprise All-Southeast Texas Offensive Player of the Year honors…The National EAS Speed-&-Strength Award winner and Austin American-Statesman Texas Fab 55 choice was a starter and captain at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…During his final season, which was cut short due to the result of storm damage from Hurricane Ike, he appeared in nine games, but still managed to amass a career-high 1,412 yards and 25 touchdowns on 172 attempts (8.2 ypc) and snare 22 balls for 212 yards and a score.
Agricultural Leadership and Development major….Son of Mary Gilder and Andrew Michael…Born 11/09/90…Resides in Beaumont, Texas.