This list is completely arbitrary and not a genuine analysis of the relative merits of state fossils.
The HTTV 2013 Kickstarter closes at 4 PM, so if you want in, click away. We have reached the stretch goal and will put down a basketball/hockey magazine in pretty printed material, so if you're just interested in piles of mags there is no rush. The Kickstarter is a slight discount on mag+shipping normally, though.
- want this year's shirt or the photobomb shirt,
- want it signed, or
- want your name in it
The Kickstarter is your only avenue.
We added a couple of options for you at the bottom end of the scale, and if you get a package $50 or above we will eat the extra shipping costs.
Multiple Copies Folk
Unfortunately, Kickstarter doesn't have a convenient way to order multiple copies of the same package. We will have a preorder page on UGP shortly that will better fulfill your needs.
According to Sam Webb, Michigan just picked up their eighth commitment of the 2014 class—and third in the last week—in Paramus (NJ) Catholic OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty. Bushell-Beatty joins Mason Cole among offensive line commits in the class; like Cole, he also has an elite high school teammate being recruited heavily by the Wolverines—in his case, five-star corner Jabrill Peppers, for whom the recruiting tides appear to be shifting in Michigan's favor.
Update of the informative variety:
|3*, #45 OT||3*, #29 OT||
4*, 83, #10 OT,
4*, 90, #17 OT,
There's a clear split in Bushell-Beatty's rankings, though Scout is more of an outlier here than they initially appear—the #28 OT on Rivals is a four-star, so JBB is just one spot away there. ESPN and 247, meanwhile, have him easily within their top n lists. The reason for the divide is almost certainly that Bushell-Beatty has played all of one season at the varsity level; until he amasses more game film and hits the camp circuit, opinions could be all over the place.
There's a similar disparity when it comes to his measurables: Rivals and Scout both list JBB at 6'5", 295 pounds, while ESPN and 247 both have him at 6'7", with the former listing him all the way up at 330 lbs. and the latter at 310.
You'll be shocked to read that a player who's got one season of varsity football under his belt is described as "raw"—here by NJVarsity.com, which listed JBB as #14 in-state junior in March ($):
14.) OL Juwan Bushell-Beatty - Paramus Catholic
Bushell-Beatty has a Division 1 frame and moves decently for someone his size. He is still a bit on the raw side, but last year was only his first playing at the high school varsity level. What he showed last year was just a glimpse as he has plenty of room to grow as an offensive tackle. He is just learning the finer points of the game but has enough athletic ability and natural tools to be considered a solid BCS-level prospect.
ESPN's evaluation suggests that Bushell-Beatty could end up at either guard or tackle in college, depending on his development in pass protection ($) [emphasis mine]:
Bushell-Beatty possesses good height and bulk as an O-Line prospect and with some time in a college weight program looks to have a frame that can still support a little more good size. In the run game he can smother defenders and gain more positional leverage, but when he gets good placement with his hands and keeps his pad level down he can push defenders off the line. He does need to work to improve placement and pad level as he can pop up, get tall, not roll his hips into blocks, stop his feet on contact and not consistently create the push he is capable of. When blocking down can wash defenders down the line of scrimmage. Can work to second level with good control and get a hat on targets in his track. In pass pro can use his length and strength well. Uses his reach well and displays very good upper-body strength and can deliver a violent punch that can knock edge rushes off course. Flashes the ability to punch and lock on, but would like to see that more from him. His kick step is effective enough, though he can turn shoulders a little quickly and be a bit of a waist bender but makes it tough for rushers to get into his frame. Flashes the ability to slide with rushers once locked on but demonstrates adequate lateral mobility. Displays good awareness and some finishing nastiness.
It's not a surprise to see pad level as an issue for a raw tackle prospect who may still be growing; that's something that should improve with experience, and same goes for most of the technical issues that ESPN points out in JBB's game. It sounds like his run blocking is currently ahead of his pass blocking, which is typical for a player at this stage and also bodes well should he kick down to guard.
Given this quote from Bushell-Beatty's head coach, it sounds like he's taken quite strongly to football after some initial trepidation, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):
“We were like listen buddy you’re playing football,” [Paramus Catholic head coach Chris] Partridge said. “I give him all the credit in the world. We weren’t easy on him. He pushed through it and it wasn’t easy for him. He pushed through it and he’s mean and he’s getting it and it’s good to see that as a coach. We took a chance with starting him and giving him that spot and it worked out.”
“He was very raw,” Partridge began. “He’s now getting better and better. He’s a kid that can develop and be a big-time national kid. If he makes the strides he made from last year to this year he’ll blow up.”
In case you're non sensing the theme at this point, JBB is very much a developmental prospect. With his frame and raw potential, he could grow into a special player, but he's going to need a few years to refine technique—with Michigan's recent offensive line recruiting, there are few places better suited to letting a prospect marinate for a while before they're ready to see the field.
Bushell-Beatty's list reveals that Michigan isn't the only school that sees big-time potential in him—Florida, Florida State, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, and West Virginia also extended offers before his commitment, and he also fielded interest from Ohio State, Penn State, and Pitt.
Led by Jabrill Peppers, Paramus Catholic won last year's state title in the New Jersey Non-Public Group 4 division, which includes football powerhouses like Don Bosco Prep. Despite their recent success, Paramus Catholic hasn't produced a ton in the way of BCS recruits—before this 2014 group, only 2011 four-star DT Marquise Wright (Rutgers) and 2010 three-star OL Dan Foose (Florida State) committed to BCS schools since 2002, per the Rivals recruiting database.
Offensive lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
No available 40 time, not that offensive linemen tend to run 40 yards in a straight line during game situations unless they happen to be donkey-riding Manti Te'o.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
It's hard to say anything definitive about a prospect who's played one year of varsity football. That said, I like what I see from Bushell-Beatty, who's got an ideal lineman frame and appears to be a natural when it comes to certain aspects of line play, most especially in how he uses his hands. He'll have to develop significantly in pass protection to become a blindside tackle option; the potential is there, but it seems more likely he'll slot in at right tackle (or left, if lefty Shane Morris is the QB) or bump down to guard.
Regardless of where he ends up, JBB will assuredly take a redshirt year and likely a couple years after that before he competes for a spot on the two-deep; Michigan has too much depth and talent on the line to expect a relative football newcomer to make a serious push for early playing time.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The Wolverines now have a couple of commits who could play multiple positions on the line: Mason Cole is likely a guard but could also play tackle, while JBB is ideally the opposite if he develops. Michigan should take one, perhaps two, more lineman and be set for this class, especially considering they took a sixth OL last year.
The other upshot, of course, is that Michigan has another edge in the recruitment of Peppers. At worst, the Wolverines appear to be neck-and-neck with Stanford, and only one of those schools has Peppers' high school teammate in the fold. I still expect Peppers to visit Palo Alto before making a decision, but it's looking increasingly likely that he ends up in Ann Arbor. Yes, that would be very nice indeed.
Running back: I guess we should get one
Jonathan Hilliman has two Is in his last name.
ESPN's Jared Shanker reports Michigan was visiting NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman recently. Sort of:
Michigan was at the school of RB Jonathan Hilliman today, who at the beginning of the month put Michigan No. 2 on his top 10. He said today that he would no longer rank his top seven (his original top 5 of OSU, UM, Bama, Rutgers, Stanford plus Vandy and BC) but those are the schools he is focusing on. That is very subject to change, though.
He did not get to see the Michigan coaches today, however, as they came after school and Hilliman was already gone.
They were also checking out a couple teammates, one the a spectacularly-named 2015 CB named Minkah Fitzpatrick. Hilliman is a consensus three-star who claims mega offers: not only the midwest powers but Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Florida, etc. Sometimes those lists are a little inflated—or a lot—but Hilliman is getting Florida coaches in and the Bama 247 site seems to think got a real offer, so…
In any case, with the Smith/Green duo of a year ago and a couple of promising 2015 kids waiting in the wings, tailback is not a huge priority for this class. They'll take one.
Hand continues giving interviews, not eating reporters
Unfortunately, VA DE Da'Shawn Hand didn't respond to an ESPN guy's question about how he feels about being #4 on the ESPN 150 with "TOO LOW /consumes reporter." He did talk his top five, sounding more enthusiastic about Alabama and Florida than he did previously but reiterating he's changing his major from engineering to sports management—Michigan has a whole school for that—and talking about the Wolverines thusly:
The coaches are genuine; the players love the coaches. The town itself. It's cold, but I can get used to that. Everything… the sports management professor was amazing; he blew me away.
Hand talks up South Carolina's food. On VT:
Bud Foster's my favorite coach. When I go there I feel like I'm at home. It's like going to your grandparent's house. And then you don't have to worry about any coaches changing positions or anything or getting fired. … nobody's leaving.
One point is awarded to whoever that kinesiology professor is. Here is some super-bonus deduction: Hand mentions that he still needs to talk to the Alabama guy in that field, says the South Carolina guy is a good guy but not "amazing," and seems to have changed his major plans after his Michigan visit. (He hasn't been to Florida yet.) That bodes well for M.
Here's a guy at OSU's ESPN site telling Buckeye fans to brace themselves as "Hand is likely gone to Michigan." /selfhighfive
Google Image Search for Chase Winovich: slightly terrifying
The M Block has acquired optimism in re: PA LB Chase Winovich, a consensus three-star that is nonetheless the subject of a heated recruiting battle between Michigan and Ohio State. Pitt is the other school in his top three($), and while the Panthers actually have a good track record against Michigan for WPIAL kids* it doesn't look like Winovich is going to stay in-state. He just made a second trip to Ohio State and is returning to Ann Arbor May 10th.
As for that optimism, the M Block:
The M Block has uncovered some information regarding the final linebacker spot in the 2014 class and we feel very confident that it could belong to Chase Winovich. Several sources close to the situation have informed us that Winovich will visit Michigan on May 10th and will have a chance to commit while on that visit.Obviously these situations are never 100% guaranteed but this one seems to be headed in that direction.
And a reiteration:
I talked to 2014 LB Chase Winovich last night...I'm standing by my prediction that he'll be a Wolverine.
HOWEVA, Rivals got a different vibe($) from their just-completed Pittsburgh camp, wherein Winovich said it was "always a dream" of his to go to OSU. Commit Michael Ferns was working on him and Winovich said that M visit "could be a watershed visit"—Rivals' words, not his—with a decision soon to follow. Momentum is with OSU, declareth Rivals.
Winovich would be an interesting addition to Michigan's class. At 6'4", 205, he's got a lot of filling out to do and likely projects to the SAM spot most had assumed the 6'3", 230 pound Ferns was headed for. If Michigan adds him they'd likely bring in Ferns as an MLB.
Winovich plans to pull the trigger in July.
@JabrillPeppers Bro Follow Back We Might Be Team Mates One Day ...
I'd be surprised if Watson is uncommitted into June.
Side note: Watson is about to be a father. In Let's Get Way Ahead Of Ourselves Theater, that provides plenty of motivation since it seems like the place he lives is not one he'd like to stay. If he does develop into a guy with significant NFL interest, he's probably not going to pull a Lewan. This has been Let's Get Way Ahead Of Ourselves Theater.
*[Jonathan Baldwin comes to mind most prominently.]
Between two Ferns: the camp
So Ferns showed out for Rivals and came away with an invite($) to the "Rivals Five Star Challenge," which is one of these nouveau invite-only camps like the Opening. Mike Farrell on Ferns:
"He is the stereotypical Big Ten linebacker," Farrell said. "He is explosive to the football and takes great angles. He is hard-nosed and physically impressive. He is exactly what you expect when you think of a major prospect from this area at that position."
I think that's supposed to be nice, but after this most recent NFL draft I am not entirely sure. The other guy to get an invite was PA S Monate Nicholson, who's taking his recruitment easy, man. Tim Sullivan notes that he's still in contact with Darrell Funk($) and tentatively plans a summer visit.
Speaking of that Peppers fellow
Not even the birth of TomVH's daughter (congrats!) could move NJ CB Jabrill Peppers's announcement date up to last weekend, but he did rumble about getting things over with a lot faster than anyone expected. Also via the M Block:
Jabrill Peppers head coach says "He is getting close to a decision. He will prob make his decision in early June to focus on Sr. year."
(Peppers retweeted that, FWIW.) That would be very good for Michigan. He's got a Stanford visit upcoming… in July($). Either that gets bumped up or it's all over but the awkward self-high-fiving at your computer.
TomVH also talked to Peppers on an ESPN podcast. He's noncommital for the most part, but does say he'll only take two officials… if he goes that long uncommitted.
UPDATE: Sam Webb talked to Peppers' coach($), who says that a Stanford visit will occur before any decision is made.
Show's over folks
WR commit Drake Harris:
I'm not talking to anymore coach's I'm happy with the decision I made, and nothing is going to change my mind
Send your missives, Mississippi State, and they will be ignored. Meanwhile, some guy asked Harris "do you even lift bro?" Harris said he just started a month and a half ago.
I am not paying attention to 2016 recruits($) until they are out of the womb, okay? If I was, I might mention that there's an instate WR kid at Farmington Hills Harrison named Desmond Fitzpatrick who is probably going to be one of the top five kids in the state. But I won't, because that kid is still in the developmental stage where he's got flippers.
Happy trails to NC RB Elijah Hood, who committed to Notre Dame, which makes me sad since it's basically irrelevant. Boo on you, end of ND series. Also happy trails to PA S Dravon Henry, who didn't include Michigan in his top four.
Michigan is still looking at($) MI TE Kyle Rachwal as a FB or LB after confirming to him that Ian Bunting fills their single spot at TE.
Welcome to College Football Blood Bowl. Warhammer 40k is generally too dorky even for me, but if you're vaguely familiar with their science fiction orc-dwarf-elf-demon football spinoff "Blood Bowl"* something is probably nagging you about those CoFoPoff** logos. This is why:
Spikes coming out of a ball.
BONUS: is it bad that I wasn't sure which logo Seth was talking about when he said one of them looked like, er, the other end zone, if you know what I mean?
CONSPIRACY THEORY BONUS: all of their images are coming from ESPN's CDN.
*[Yeah, seriously. 40K is what happens when you put all science fiction and fantasy races/tropes into a blender. As I said: too dorky even for me.]
**[I can't call something "College Football Playoff" you guys.]
Surveyin'. Michael Rothstein annually polls the outgoing seniors about things both important and not so much*. Getting unvarnished opinions on breakout players and the like is always interesting. Your predicted breakout player is Gardner, with Gallon trailing some ways back. It sounds like they're doing everything possible to extend that insane 1300-yard pace($) Gallon was on with Gardner as his QB:
"I got two. Devin and Jeremy Gallon, by far. The way they came in during the offseason, they do things people probably wouldn't expect. The way Devin is throwing the ball now. I told Gallon, if you look at the stats, he [Gallon] had 100 [receiving yards] against Alabama, a hundred-something against South Carolina. Nobody in the Big Ten can stop you two next year."
"Jeremy Gallon and Devin Gardner. They are both hard workers. When we were sleeping during the summer on Saturdays, they were up, throwing the ball. They are a great combination together and both competitive and both smart players."
Meanwhile, Willie Henry is the surprise pick as your best redshirted freshmen, albeit more narrowly. Braden, Chesson, and Jeremy Clark follow. Henry also got a breakout player vote.
"This is going just off observation, but Willie Henry. He's a guy I went up against every day in practice, didn't get to play this year but a really, really talented kid. I'd venture to say as talented as some of the guys I played against this year. There is huge potential there and I feel he can have a great career at Michigan."
He's called "strong an ox" and "an animal." Motor is brought up as an issue. Henry certainly looked the part at the spring game, albeit mostly on the sidelines.
Part II is also interesting($). Anon on Funk:
"He's extremely thorough and he watches a play and throughout that play, he can see what all five offensive linemen did. It's crazy and I don't know how he can do it but just watching a play live, he understands and has the vision to see what happened the entire play. I don't know if he would be the best coach to manage all the bureaucratic stuff that comes with being a head coach, but he knows football as well as anybody."
*[The annual bitching about the liberals in Ann Arbor is hilarious. You can probably figure out which offensive linemen are the ones carrying that grudge.]
Bad pun. No, this isn't about Moe Ways, it's about Adreian Payne, who is still on the fence about his NBA decision two days before the deadline. I think he should go if only because I'm sick of always thinking I've misspelled his name and being correct about that 75% of the time. Also, without Payne MSU's frontcourt next year looks like this: Alex Guana, Kenny Kaminski, Matt Costello. His departure would be kind of a big deal.
The word from every source close to Payne is that it's "50-50" he returns to Michigan State.
MSU is amongst the favorites with him and in a second-tier pack without. I don't know, I look at a 6'10" guy who can jump as high as GRIII and has just found three point range and I'm taking him in the 20s. I mean, if Robinson was going to be #15 or whatever with an efficient 13% usage rate, Payne's at 20%, shoots 84/58/38 and boards extensively. Oh and he's four inches taller. GTFO! It's for your own good!
Mark Donnal talking. With UMHoops. Projected role:
What do the coaches have you working on this summer?
“I’ve been working on pick-and-pop. That’s one of the things they said me and Derrick would probably be doing — a lot of pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop sets like that. I’ve just been working on my mid-range jumpshot, my post moves, my hook shots both right and left. Those are the main things I’ve been working on.”
Donnal has some nice post skills and can shoot out to three point range. Athleticism is the main concern with him. Most people, including me, have been projecting a redshirt just because Michigan is pretty stocked at the 4 and 5 this season. Donnal is the sort of guy who probably won't be high on NBA radars no matter how good he is in college, so the idea of a fifth year there is appealing. But as we saw this year, if you've got a guy who can give you minutes as you go deep into the tournament you've got to play him.
Hello/goodbye Rutledge? Mike Spath reported that Jared Rutledge would take a year in the USHL for extra seasoning; Rutledge told the Daily he was sticking around; Spath said that was not the case. Yost Built has more details on an odd situation.
One guy who's not coming in for sure: Bryson Cianfrone. Spath reports($) he'll reclassify to 2014. Smart move for a guy who has talent but struggled with the level of competition in the USHL this year. Michigan has plenty of depth at forward this year, too.
Making friends. Winning hearts and minds. I actually agree with Mark Emmert when he says opposition to the recruiting deregulation he slammed through is the following:
“[The] counting of phone calls and text messages and emails … is frankly crazy,” Emmert told a group of bowl executives. “Literally, you have to hire someone to count your cell phone calls and to look at your phone records.”
… At least 75 Division I members had to weigh in by March 20 to force an override vote of the legislation. Emmert blamed football coaches for the pushback saying, “it's insane.”
It's just that maybe a guy invariably described as "embattled" should maybe seem a little less unhinged, is all. More hinges. Less waving around.
Etc.: Zak smack attack get back you don't want that. Pitt football players busted with 20 bags of heroin! That'll wrap up the Fulmer Cup in April. Dave Brandon says the idea he would run for Senate is "silly." SILLY LIKE A FOX.
Just a few more days to get in on the pre-sale of HTTV and the now-happening Hail to Hoops and Hockey and the Victors and Michigan Wooo. (working title). A lot of you held off on the second book until you were sure it was gonna get made—head over there --> and you can change your contribution to get in on the pre-sale. It'll cost about $18.50 total to get it mailed after the kickstarter.
Filed under 'V' for 'Viking'
It's the week after the Spring Game, so the OT rules have been lifted on the board and the diaries have kinda fallen back into meta things and wallpapers (jonvalk's) mostly. Everyone can pick their favorite distraction between hedging on MSC's replacement, dickering around with MGoPoints, or bringing music to Brazilians.
My distraction was this thread put up by OHbornUMfan trying to make an alphabetical Michigan Football rhyming book. I got carried away:
A is for the Andersons, who called each other "bro." Kurt played center in aught-one, and Erick starred for Mo.
B is for the Brackinses, the Vols can have them back. No matter how you spell the name the player is all-MAC.*
C should be for Carter, or Lloyd or Chappuis. But it goes to Carson and Criswell, to make their coach happy.
E we know for Edwards, of the singular jersey num--. The father he, played in Rose Bowls: three, victorious in 1.
F we'll have a falling out if ever you should say, a greater QB ever played than Friedman in his day.
G is for Glenn Edward, a name you'd never know. For though he was our greatest man, we've always called him "Bo."
H we have for Hammersteins behind the scrimmage line. Mark there saving Harbaugh's ass, and Mike there curving spines.
…and here a second honoree I simply must propose: for 'Hello-Heisman' Desmond Howard, he of that famous pose.
…and GAWD YOU GUYS I KNOW we'll never get to I. But cumong: Henne, Hart and Hutchinson, and that Willie Heston guy!
I is Jarrett Irons, from Woodland, Texas came. With he and Steele and Swett and Sword we won with just our names.
J could be a Johnson, or Jones: we've had our share. But here I'll take a Jackson, the one at corner not on air. (Marlin/Keith)
K is for Ron Kramer, and "end" he's called in song. "That guy who can do everything" I guess was just too long.
…and let's salute the Kolesars from Bob of Seven Oaks.* There's Bill the tackle and his son John, who caught that Harbaugh post.†
M is written wide in block and on the seal again. It kicks off Messner, Mandich, Molk, but always Michigan.
N is Harry Newman remember when I said, that we'll have words if Friedman falls; we'll have to start that thread.
O is Obi Ezeh—almost had you there, again! It stands for Bennie Oosterbaan, three-time All-American.
P is Mr. President, also known as Gerald Ford. Before the Constitution, he defended Willis Ward.
Q Shit this one's hard: maybe go with Quinton Washington? Well yeah, if our line stands up this year, he goes right with the rest of them!
R we save for Robinson, don't make me tell you why.
And S is for his massive smile; that's how much we love that guy!
T is for Terrific Tom, the best you'll ever see. Harmon starts with 'H' it's true, but Touchdown's spelled with 'T'.
U is for "unmitigated", forever paired with "gall", since Ufer first applied them to Ohio State that fall.
V is "Van", that's Dutch for "from" or "white guy who plays D." We've had our share but the best from there of course was RVB.
…it also stands for "Viking," comma, "pet of Brady Hoke." Another name for Everitt, a scary looking bloke.
W I leave to you say reverentially. He had a better year than Peyton, evidentially.
X is that one empty seat, for what is writ upon it. Each year we save a bench for Fritz and the wings upon our bonnet.
Y can only be one guy unless you are insane. He built this program and its house; the barn now bears his name.
Z took time to get to, the reason that that is: Zoltan Mesko punted it in two thousand and six.
Notes & Errata:
*I had classes with both brothers—I'm the year between them in age—and they're both incredibly nice guys I enjoy giving crap to. I didn't know Tim Brackens; he's an innocent victim.
** The 1942 line was called the "Seven Oaks Post."
† …in 1985 to beat Ohio State.
Rules are keep the rhyming scheme. I give myself diarist of the week because apparently M-Wolverine is catching up to me.
Your moment of zen:
Detroit Country Day receiver Maurice Ways has committed to Michigan. Surprise! He's the second receiver in the class, joining Drake Harris, and is in much the same mold: long, rangy, downfield threat.
Let's do it.
|3*, #50 WR||3*, #54 WR||NR||3*, #86 WR, #9 MI|
Yes, sometimes Michigan does recruit consensus three stars. Ways is currently one of them. He doesn't look like one on film, though. He's long, lanky, and lopes away from the competition with long strides; he's a guy who makes you think "catching radius" all the time. He looks like a guy who would get an early offer from Michigan.
The catch appears to be, uh, catches. The stuff they don't put in the highlight film, like a this Country Day playoff game($) Tim Sullivan caught last year:
Junior wide receiver Maurice Ways caught two passes for 29 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception. He also dropped four passes. …
Ways definitely looks the part of a big, physical wide receiver at 6-3, 185 pounds. Though he's not a burner, he has good speed and agility. The question mark on Ways will continue to be his hands (he had a key drop in a previous game as well). He's reminiscent of former Michigan standout Braylon Edwards in that he'll make spectacular catches regularly, but drop easy balls with just as much frequency. Of his four dropped passes, at least two should have been reeled in, and he had a good chance at the other two, as well. He needs to improve his concentration in order to realize his potential as a wideout.
Oh, look, hives! On my skin! Thinking about that dropped pass against OSU that should have gone to Jason Avant! Hello, hives! We are going to die, all right?
The other game Sullivan caught($) also featured a crucial drop. Ways didn't get as much separation as you'd like but at 6'3" with a "very long wingspan" and leaping ability, he is a matchup problem, hopefully one like the guys Ways models himself after:
“I model my game after Calvin Johnson with our same body types and play-making ability,” said Ways. “I watch film on him a lot and try to emulate my game after his, and also A.J. Green.” … “Basketball was my first love,” Ways said. “But I noticed that I had talent in football and could go further in this sport. Rebounding in basketball is like going up for a jump ball. Blocking out is like blocking a defender.”
As long as he's catching the ball.
Ways has a good excuse for the drops and route-running issues: he's raw. He was gunning for a basketball scholarship when he entered high school and only focused on football last year:
"This is my first year on varsity," he explained. "… It's a big role, and I had to mature fast, had to learn the offense fast. The game speed is faster than JV of course, and the physicality is better. It makes me have to think more to try to manipulate defense in terms of route running."
Somewhat oddly, Trieu's take on Ways's Scout profile lists "hands" as an asset.
Kid with a great frame and height. Has filled out his body, but needs to continue to do that and add strength. Shows good ball skills and uses his natural athleticism to track down the ball and can go up and get it in traffic. No timed speed on him, but shows ability to get downfield on film and also makes some things happen after the catch. Relatively inexperienced, so needs to continue to work on route running and technique. - Allen Trieu
247 predicted he would be a riser this spring:
Maurice Ways, WR, Franklin (Mich.) Detroit Country Day
If you follow recruiting even passingly in the Midwest, you’ve heard of the big, talented Derek Kief at wide receiver. We’re hear to tell you that you need to know the name Ways too if you don’t already. … With the way he moves on film, the ball skills he shows and the big play ability he threatens, Ways could see his offer list triple over the next month.
Both Steve Lorenz of 247 and Sullivan projected that their rating services would move Ways up in the near future. How much? The guess here is that vague four-star-but-not-ranked area.
Rutgers, Iowa, and Kansas were the other BCS schools. Ways had a number of MAC offers as well. He visited Ohio State a couple times; the Buckeyes seemed to have sincere interest but had not offered yet. The wanted him to camp.
You are aware of Detroit Country Day, surely. They were state runners-up last year. Michigan's only recruit in the past decade or so to come from DCD was Kenny Demens, thought they have acquired a number of walkons—including the spectacularly-named O'Neil Swanson III—in recent years.
Ways had an impressive 51 catches for 957 yards and 9 touchdowns last year. It helps that he had Rutgers commit Tyler Weigers throwing to him. Not a lot of schools in Michigan have a D-I to D-I connection going on.
Before that, he was on JV.
FAKE 40 TIME
Doesn't have one. Divide by zero fakes.
Rivals has a couple games of full-game highlights($) behind their paywall. It has some of those aforementioned drops. Braylon vibe: confirmed.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THING
Ways is a member of the Greg Oden "is that guy 45?" club.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Ways will be put in the same opportunity-laden environment as a freshman that Harris will be. Amara Darboh is poised to lock down a starting job with a strong performance this fall, and Jehu Chesson will have a couple years on this class's PT candidates. Other than that, it's wide open with the three sleeper sorts from last year going up against the more athletic 2014 guys. I'd guess Ways gets a redshirt unless he ends up ahead of Harris. With Harris higher-ranked and planning to enroll early, that's approximately a 1/3rd shot.
Long term, he has plenty of upside what with the size and catching radius, and no one actually know how fast he is. You'd think that would be one of the easiest things to get right, but when Chesson was a recruit the main knock on him was his speed. Chesson tore up the track after his LOI and is now getting buzz from players and coaches as a fast-as-hell deep threat($). Also: Braylon. So… yeah.
He should spend the next year having the jugs machine throw babies at him. We'll see where we go from there. Could be big time, could be Tyrece Butler 2.0. Filed under boom or bust.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Ways and Harris help restock Michigan's outside receiver corps pending the departure of Jackson, Gallon, and Dileo in the offseason. That only gets them to seven players for 2.5 starting spots, so they're still looking. They could use a slot, and FL WR Artavis Scott fits that bill nicely. PA WR KJ Williams, another lanky outside threat, may have missed the boat. Mutual interest with AZ WR/TE Mark Andrews also just ended abruptly.
I actually wouldn't be surprised if Michigan took a fourth receiver somewhere along the line unless attrition is super-low. The numbers everywhere else project to be fine, and depth at WR comes in handy.
By the way, Michigan pass targets in the last two classes go 6'7", 6'4", 6'4", 6'6", 6'4", 6'3", 6'2", and 6'2". Al Borges is going to find Tacopants and starve him off the roster.