Hello: Maurice Ways Comment Count

Brian April 26th, 2013 at 9:58 AM

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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.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
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

Film

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.

OFFERS

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.

That was not likely to matter since he's given multiple interviews in which he says he's a huge Michigan fan.

HIGH SCHOOL

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.

STATS

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.

VIDEO

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.

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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.

Comments

maize-blue

April 26th, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^

He looks very fluid and smooth on the field. I would bet he moves up to a 4 star after his senior year. Him and that QB at DCD, I think its Weigers, should put up big numbers this year. I can't tell how fast he is but he can get behind the secondary regularly, at least in high school. I'm trying to look at him without my homer glasses on but he looks to be one of those diamond in the rough prospects that Hoke & Co. are good at picking. 

Ali G Bomaye

April 26th, 2013 at 10:40 AM ^

He looks like he has great straight-line speed and leaping ability.  However, I don't know if I'd call him "fluid" - on the tunnel screen at about 2:40 of that video, he has a couple nice stiff-arms, but doesn't look great at dodging around guys in space (especially since he's a better athlete than any of the guys trying to tackle him).  But he could easily be a 4* just on his speed and ability to jump up and get the ball.

FreddieMercuryHayes

April 26th, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

That was one of the things that jumped out to me, is that he has, and I mean this almost literally, no moves in the open field.  He does that stop moving, short, choppy, step thing when a defender gets near him like he wants to juke, but really doesn't know how to.  Now, that could change with more development considering he's only been playing football for like 2 years.  I think we could really use one of those kind of receivers to pass to underneath and then be a YAC machine.  Leapers and jump-ball threats we have a plenty.

WolvinLA2

April 26th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

I don't think that's going to come from Ways.  Harris is a much more agile receiver than Ways, and guys like York and certainly Jones from last year have more athleticism that will make them more of a "turn a short pass into a long gain" type of WR.  

Ways is going to be a guy who only gets yards after the catch when he gets hit in stride and keeps running, which is OK, because he has that catching radius thing the other guys don't.  

WolvinLA2

April 26th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

Does Cranbrook even have a football team?

And just because you picked one private school who doesn't have a good football team, doesn't exactly prove anything.  In most bigger cities, the private schools are much better than the public schools.  

I'm surprised this is even a discussion because it's not like DCD is new to being good at sports.  And it's not like we don't have a ton of recruits from private schools either.  Ask Blake Countess or Henry Poggi or Blake Bars or Kalis or Biggs what football is like at rich kid schools.  Or Juwann Bushell-Beatty and Jabrill Peppers.  This is not a new phenomenon.  

Vote_Crisler_1937

April 26th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

Certainly there are bright talented athletes who get scholarships to DCD but at the same time, I played with, and worked on class projects with, some DCD kids who played Big Ten football and they def ain't come to play school. IIrc 1-2 of them got kicked off the team in college for weed related offenses. So DCD gets lots of smart athletes but will also take the kids Cranbrook never would.

clarkiefromcanada

April 26th, 2013 at 11:20 AM ^

Brian:

"Tacopants"? Tacopants is Jason Avant's eleven-foot tall imaginary friend. Chad Henne spent much of 2005 hitting him between the numbers, which are unfortunately eight feet off the ground and made of dreams. Blessed with infinite eligibility and the ability to sneak on and off the field without alerting the referees -- made of dreams, remember -- Tacopants has taken a lesser role in the offense as Henne matures but still pops up at inopportune times. The term has its genesis in this post.

 

Erik_in_Dayton

April 26th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

Henne used to sometimes overthrow balls well over receivers' heads, especially in his soph. year.  Someone (Brian?) would say that he was throwing to Tacopants, an 8-foot-tall (I think) receiver.  I think Jason Avant was somehow worked into the joke too.

EDIT:  Beaten to the punch...Tacopants was eleven feet tall?  I think we're getting a little carried away here.  It's not like we're talking about Bill Brasky. 

jballen4eva

April 26th, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

When I first saw that reference on this site, I was confused, because "taco pants" meant somethng else entirely to me:

"The super tight and stretchy leggings or pants, such a yoga pants, that have become popular as women's outerwear circa 2008.

The form fitting qualities of these pants outline and accentuate the vagina or 'taco.'"

 
 
At first I figured maybe mgoblog was questioning the receiver's manhood in failing to leap high enough, which was odd because I never thought leaping really high was a traditional test of manhood. 
 

ijohnb

April 26th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

and Chad Navarre were both very effecitve quarterbacks, true, but when your throwing the ball to the likes of Marquis Terrell, Mario Avant, and Steve Arrington you really just have to throw the ball up.  Hopefully Shane Gardner can connect with Drake Ways and Jehu Darboh at anything close to that kind of clip.

Swang on These

April 26th, 2013 at 10:25 AM ^

Glad to have Ways in the fold.

On a related note, after reading that 247 note that compares Ways to Derek Kief, does anyone have an idea why the staff chose not to pursue Kief? He visited Michigan a while back and has a loaded offer sheet.

wiper

April 26th, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

when they're playing the 'meow' game in super troopers and the guy gets in one last "MEOW!" to the driver??

you def should have just one last "CATCHING RADIUS MEOW" at the end. 

Indiana Blue

April 26th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

I'm very excited to see some height moving back to the wide outs.  The big strong split ends with some speed can destroy average secondaries.   It will be up to Devin (for 1 - 2 seasons)  and Shane to get them the ball over the next 4 - 5 years.   Now that's a positive look to the future !

Go Blue! 

OmarDontScare

April 26th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

Don't forget 6'7 Speight.

While the W/L column is uncertain in the next few years, the one thing im sure of is that we'll be the largest, most physical team in the nation. The size we're bringing in at nearly every position (esp. Offense) is absurd.

QB, RB, OL, TE, WR....that's like all the positions on offense...so yeah

Hail-Storm

April 26th, 2013 at 10:40 AM ^

This red zone offense should be killer. They could run a variation of a spread (Gardner would still be under center so not a true spread) with two pass catching TEs both over 6'6" (plus Butt who is a similarly skilled athlete) that could both block or release and cause a mismatch against LBs who could be both slower and much shorter. Plus you could have two huge receivers on the outside, that would cause additional mismatches on fade routes to the corners. And finally the other team would have to worry about a run up the gut by Green and the talented OL. And one final cherry, with Devin, is a rollout to the edge. I'd hate to be a defensive coordinator game planning for this.