Hello: Shawn Conway

Submitted by Tim on February 20th, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Now that all the hand-wringing is out of the way, let's give this kid the treatment he deserves as a Michigan commit...




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Conway has flown very far under the radar thus far. The national sites hardly knew who he was before tonight, but the local writers have been on him for a while. I'll caution you, nearly every link in this section is going to come from Scott M. Burnstein of the Oakland Press:

That all said, when the curtain finally does come down on Conway's HS football career in the fall of 2010, he could wind up being one of the best players in the county, not to mention the state, certain to earn offers to play at the next level. Maples head coach, Chris Fahr, believes right now, even minus the experience and exposure factor, Conway is one of the ten best players at his position in Michigan... he can go deep or across the middle. he's not afraid of contact like some other finesse wideouts his size/caliber and he's said to have big hands, a big heart, and a true passion for the game... Playing on defense, Conway has the potential to be a lockdown corner, already slated to take on the opposing team's best receiver.

He doesn't look fast on his highlight video, but Burnstein insists that he's got some speed:

Watch for a big game from Seaholm's Shawn Conway, a wiry and wicked speedy wide out that tore up a scrimmage against Divine Child last week

In fact, his speed can be compared to a fast animal! HIs jumping can be compared to an NBA Hall-of-Famer! His hand size can be compared to a notable ape of cinema legend! His reality can be compared to a guy with half an ear!:

I was out at Seaholm practice this morning and let me tell you, junior wide receiver Shawn Conway is the real deal holyfield. This kid runs like a gazelle, has hops like Kobe Bryant, and hands the size of King Kong.

A couple mgomembers have seen the kid play, and both speak to his leaping ability and physical talents.

Conway has not only outstanding physical skills (especially great hands), but also the ability to inspire others around him to greatness:

His breath-taking skill was evident during the practice session as he caught almost every ball that came his way, a lot of them in traffic, and displayed a magnetic leadership ability that drew the best out of the players around him.

Burnstein even has a great idea for a Christmas gift for Conway:

To Birmingham Seaholm's Shawn Conway, I would give a deadly-accurate quarterback to play with for his senior season on the gridiron next fall – this kid is the genuine article on the football field, not to mention the basketball court, and is undervalued because most of his surrounding Maples teammates have trouble competing at anywhere near his level of play

conwayhope.jpgChristian Davis of CandGnews.com talked to Seaholm's coach, who singled out Conway as the key offensive player for the Maples. Side note - per the quotes above, I'm fairly certain coach Fahr's actual quote was "inexperienced." He had to sit most of his sophomore year after transferring from Cass Tech.

“He’s one of the most experienced players I’ve ever coached,” coach Chris Fahr said. “He’s tall, fast and very athletic, and makes a lot of great plays on the field.”

Conway also contributes on the basketball court, where he's known as an "athletic and wiry forward" who plays the wing and is an accomplished dunker. The message boards say he's an AAU teammate of 2011 Michigan Hoops commit Carlton Brundidge, but I can't find any confirmation.


True to his sleeper status, Conway had only one offer. He accepted the scholarship from Michigan as soon as he received it.


According to mgoMember m83econ, Conway didn't have a whole lot of production as a junior:

Conway had 11 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 games last year.

For those curious why a seemingly (or "allegedly" for those among you who still don't believe it) talented player didn't rack up some more impressive accomplishments on the field, I'll leave it to recruiting guru Jim Stefani:

Conway is a fine talent who also happened to have the misfortune of not having a QB who could consistently get him the ball this season.

Stefani is one of the best at identifying high school prospects, so trust this guy's opinion. Seaholm's quarterback was a noodle-armed sophomore who was forced into the lineup by injury. He'll return in 2010, hopefully much improved from the experience.


Jim Stefani credits Conway with a 4.5-second 40-yard dash time. As you'll see in the video below, that's... questionable. I'll give it three FAKES out of five. (Update: see below).


Junior year highlights, complete with horrid QB play.

(Note: look at those hands!)


People are quick to bag on this kid because he's an unknown with a junior highlight reel that doesn't exactly wow your socks off. Still, I think we're too quick to write him off (just as we're quick to deify every 5-star prospect we hear about with a short highlight video). That's not to say "hurr star system sux because braylon edwards," but we should allow him to at the very least be evaluated before condemning him.

Still, based on that video, the speed thing looks like it might be an issue, and makes me wonder if he'll move to tight end down the line (or even a defensive position). He doesn't have a whole lot of weight on his frame, so if he can do that without losing any more of his speed, he could end up being the next TE/H-Back/WR hybrid-type substance, a la Kevin Koger.

Unless he spends his senior year running past DBs and proving that he's ready to play immediately, Conway is almost sure to end up redshirting as a freshman, whether he ends up as a tight end or wideout. Under Barwis, he'll either get bigger or improve his speed for a year, while also learning the playbook. After that, he'll slowly work his way into the lineup, and is a serious "boom or bust"-type prospect.


Michigan won't be taking any more sleepers in the receiving corps (assuming they look at this kid as a sleeper, of course). They have had a couple wideout-heavy classes in a row now, so they'll probably hold another outside receiver spot only for a top prospect, such as DeAnthony Arnett or DaVaris Daniels.

The class is now up to 3 commits in 14 spots. Though the total number is certain to grow with normal attrition, scholarships are at a premium in the class of 2011. Offensive line and the defensive front seven will probably (hopefully) be the main focus for a while now.


Tom talked to Shawn, so here's their conversation:

Tom: Were you at Michigan today for the junior day when you committed?

SHAWN: Yes, and they just offered today. Coach Rod offered me as an outside receiver. They saw me in the 7 on 7 last summer, and they watched my film, and they really liked it. They told me that they were offering two players at outside wide receiver, and that I was one of them.

TOM: Did you expect the offer was coming, or was it a surprise?

SHAWN: I had no idea I was getting an offer. I knew that if they offered I would take it. My dad was there, and he said let’s do it; so we took it.

TOM: Not a lot of people really know about you, how would you describe yourself?

SHAWN: I’m a hard worker, and I’m 6’4 with a 38 inch vertical. I tell my quarterback, if you feel pressure, just throw the ball up, and I’ll go get it. I’ll go up and make a play. My best 40 time was a 4.49, but on average it’s a 4.56

TOM: When will you be up at Michigan next?

SHAWN: I think I’ll be there next weekend. My team is going to play in the 7 on 7.

TOM: I know you play basketball, too. Is that going to be an option at Michigan?

SHAWN: Coach Rod said he wouldn’t mind if I tried to walk on the basketball team, so I will definitely try to do that. Carlton (Brundidge) plays on my AAU basketball team, he was the first one I called when it happened. He was just really excited, and he said we should room together. We’ll see, I’m just excited about all this.



February 20th, 2010 at 11:54 PM ^

Based on the video evidence (just like everyone else it seems) I am a bit confused as to why he has been offered so early with what seems to be Blue Chippers.

On the other hand, If he truly has not been playing FB that long, he could turn out to be that 1 in 100, diamond in the rough. So far I have been impressed with kids that RR and his staff have picked up as "sleepers".

Video evidence, not great... Trust in our Coaches, very much so.

Plus it will most certainly help that he will have Tate's sniper arm sending him balls.


February 21st, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

on this recruit at all, the pendulum really seems to be swinging the other way in terms of the annoying propagandizing. The blind RR support is now clobbering the blind RR denigration.

Believe it or not some of these "sleepers" won't pan out. Hell, some of our stud recruits won't pan out. "Trust the coaches" will turn out to be true some of the time, and sometimes the coaches will be wrong. If we can accept that it may quell some of the overly-passioned and less-reasoned responses on both sides.


February 21st, 2010 at 12:54 AM ^

I agree with what you're saying, but would like to add a couple of things:

1) Rich Rodriguez is not your average coach. The coaching profession unequivocally regards him as one of the best in the game. Anyone who has seen his WVU teams in BCS games against the likes of Georgia and Oklahoma, teams with "more talent," will tell you that maybe RR has some idea of what he's talking about when it comes to identifying players.

2) It is so unbelievably early in the recruiting process that it's absurd to start making generalizations about this recruiting class. Sam Webb has said repeatedly that this class will ultimately come down to how Michigan does on the field in the upcoming season. Frankly, I'm not "excited" about this recruit, but I'm also going to trust the coach at Michigan more than the opinion of anyone on this board.


February 21st, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

...sleepers will pan out, and some of the stud recruits will pan out. It's really a guessing game until they get on campus and compete with the rest of the team.

Most of the 'blind RR supporters' seem to be saying "I trust the coaches" or "if the coaches think he's good that's good enough for me", which is very different from commanding someone to "trust the coaches". If you don't want to trust the coaches, fine. If you do, fine. Feel free to express your own opinions. But either way, we're in the same place until these kids show what they've got in practice or a game. I don't see how that makes RR support blind by default

Also, given that these recruits won't be on campus for another year or more, the only thing i would be preaching is patience (not that you were being preachy or anything).


February 21st, 2010 at 1:08 AM ^

Look, my issue is why people feel the need to go out of their way to denigrate the kid. "Trust the coaches" or not, really, what does a word any of us feels about the kid matter? What is our opinion worth? About 1% of us are qualified to comment on whether the kid is worth anything. I'm not. I'll wager you're not.

So, rather than fill 198 comments on that other thread about THIS IS BULLSHIT YOU'RE ALL SHEEPLE, why can't people just shrug and move on? If he pans out, he pans out. If he doesn't, he doesn't. If RR succeeds, he'll stay. If not, he won't. Our "public" stance on this board won't fucking matter a lick. Who the fuck cares if "MICHMANWOODSONHART1997" supports the signing of this guy, really? We got him, he's coming. Nothing I say, and nothing you say, and nothing Brian says, or anything is changing that.

Let's see how he does.


February 21st, 2010 at 12:16 AM ^

All I know is, the kid is 6'4'' and has a 38'' vertical. He said he runs a 4.56, but thats really no big deal, because college you can get by being physical and jumping high. I think he could be the next #1.


February 21st, 2010 at 1:44 AM ^

Conway is 6'4", almost 200 lbs, has a 38" vertical and runs a 4.56... as a JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL! And he has plenty of time to get even bigger and faster before he comes to Michigan.

Plus, he's an instate kid that's obviously a Michigan fan since he committed the same day he was offered.

Now that he's a Michigan commit, I wouldn't be surprised to see other big name programs, including Michigan State, start looking at this guy.

Welcome to Michigan Shawn.


February 21st, 2010 at 1:25 AM ^

Honestly, I am absolutely thrilled to have this kid.!!!!
At first, I did not understand why we would throw out an offer to an "unknown," but after watching his film, I realized... WE HAVE NO ONE LIKE THIS ON OUR TEAM...we really do not have any tall receivers who go up and get it... matthews did it sometimes, but not like this guy... I think he'll be great.... also, if he goes to camps, etc... I think he can be a 4 star guy... (Cam Gordon was, and his film is not too impressive)


February 21st, 2010 at 1:29 AM ^

OK, so Shawn comes to Michigan. He's not expecting an offer. But he gets one! He's excited he calls his friends, his team-mate (Carlton Brundidge). He gets a call from a guy from a Michigan blog, too, to get a few words from him. Pretty exciting shit for a high school football player, right? Michigan, offer, press calls...holy shit, right?

So he goes on the internet to check out the blog to see how his interview went, and to see it posted. He's clicking around the site, and sees ANOTHER thread devoted to him. This one 180+ comments!

Oh wait...many of them are shitting on him. Welcome to Michigan, Shawn!

panthera leo fututio

February 21st, 2010 at 2:32 AM ^

The presence of a song from 808s and Heartbreak bolsters my hypothesis that lower guru ratings correspond to more emo hypetracks.

Music and my scientific acumen aside, Conway looks like he could be a really good athlete on the outside once he gets in a serious strength program.


February 21st, 2010 at 2:37 AM ^

With the ability to catch the ball in traffic he could still grow into an efficient tight end, despite his lack of speed. He could become another Jim Mandich or perhaps Jerame Tuman. There's nothing like having a dependable third-down "possession" receiver. He'll probably grow to 6-5 or 6-6 and could even become a dynamite strong safety. In any case, he's closer to a blue chip than a sleeper. He's already a playmaker.


February 21st, 2010 at 3:36 AM ^

The key for the next recruiting class I really feel like is the OL. We have other needs to be sure, but after two small hauls of linemen, we need to focus on stalking some of the top guys in the country. We also needed a big WR, although not at the same level as we need OL. This kid looks to have the tools, is local and frees up the staff to focus even more on OL once he's locked up.

What would really make me happy here would be hear the words "Early Enrollment". Instate kid, likely he could use some time playing with a good QB to get used to actually having the ball delivered to him, get this kid in early and it's all good.

(Also I totally buy the bad QB thing. On my football team our leading tackler one year was the fullback. Yes the fullback. Both our QBs were human turnover machines and the Fullback had the lovely task of tracking down whichever LB or DB picked off the QB and clobbering him. Our WRs got no love, because the ball rarely made it within 20 feet of them.)

Also one has to consider our WR depth chart. As per the 2010 Recruit Tracker, we took one 4* WR, two 3.5* and two 3* WRs. We have 6 more Class of 2014 WRs, plus Stokes in Class of 2013 sitting in reserve. I'm not sure if 5* WR nationally known WRs are exactly going to be in a massive hurry to come here and sit behind 12 other WRs (assuming no one goes to DB). It's a good time to invest in some sleeper WR talent. The big names from 2011 will likely go to schools that have openings for them and will put them on the field, whereas we're more in the "take kids, redshirt them and develop them" stage of WR recruitment.

Moe Greene

February 21st, 2010 at 8:24 AM ^

This board, it seems, doth overreact a bit much.

Last year, it was "Where's the Defensive Recruiting?"
Two months ago, it was "O Let's Do It!"
Now it's back to "WTF Coach?"

This winter of our discontent cannot give way to an autumn of miracles soon enough.


February 21st, 2010 at 9:12 AM ^

I have no problem with this recruit in another year, but as the 3rd recruit in a class of 14? His best quality is he is a hard worker is like asking if the girl is pretty, and they tell you how nice she is. Coach only recruits hard workers or they won't make it at Michigan, so I expect that, don't get excited about that.
The article goes on to say that he may be a top 10 receiver in the state of Michigan. With 14 spots open if you aren't a top 10 in the country, we are offering you too early.

Again I'm sure he is a great person (I love that he commited on the spot and grew up loving the maize and blue), but if you offer a price for a car and the guy takes it immediately you probably offered too high. This guy clearly looks like a guy that will get interest from the in state schools could have committed to Central Michigan, and then if we had a slot in January we could have stole away. This recruit either shows the lack of confidence that Rich Rodriguez has in the ability to get top talent this year, or that he found the next Larry Fitgerald. I'm hoping it is the latter. If so, please kid transfer to a school that throws the ball so you can actually play receiver.


February 21st, 2010 at 9:16 AM ^

Look, this goes one of two ways:

1. You accept that RR believes him to be appreciably better than "unranked, untouted.

2. You think RR is a complete fucking idiot who would offer a bad player at a position he doesn't need, when there are better options on the table.

Which makes more sense?


February 21st, 2010 at 9:36 AM ^

Yep, I do believe that recruiting a guy that some call a top 10 talent, at his position, in the state of Michigan in December is a little incredible when there is limited physical evidence outside of what has been seen on a practice field in 7on7 drills. If he is that great why isn't he dominating inferior talent in an inferior league like Hardaway is doing in FL, in a bad conference on a bad team? Dileo's stats were amazing at Receiver, Rusher, and Returners because he was the top in a small conference on a team without top talent. It is a lot easier to explain that recruit in April where he had only offers from Tulane and Stanford than this one.

I'm not making the arguement that Coach can't find the diamond in the rough, but this diamond would have been just as likely to pick his life long dream after Sr. evidence that he has taken the next step, and top 10 WR's in the NATION recruiting has been exhausted.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Let's say UM waits until a few weeks into his senior season before offering. By now, the kid has been to a couple summer camps, maybe added some size to his frame (both through natural growth as well as S&C), and healed up from a couple nagging injuries. He starts to get attention from some other big programs. He gets off to a decent start for his high school team, and by the time UM is ready to offer, he is also being courted by some other schools who have things UM can't offer: a warmer climate, perhaps, or early PT at receiver. Maybe we still get him, maybe we don't. But if RR wants him, then the smart move is to lock him up asap.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:03 AM ^

This guy will clearly be a 3 star, and even that is probably only because Michigan offered him or he would be unranked, so where is your evidence since Coach Rodriguez got to Michigan that he has done such a great job cultivating 3 star recruits?

Vincent Smith? Jury is still out if he can stay healthy and return from an ACL injury. You can't tell me that Coach Rodriguez picked him to be an every down back when he recruited him.

Actually the only 3 star that I can make the case for is Martavious Odoms at this time out of 12 tries (Rivals 3 stars in 2008/2009) in his first 2 classes. Right now the rest have just been depth, so again with that said, I think it is too early with only 14 slots to make an offer to this recruit.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:17 AM ^

1. You accept that RR believes him to be appreciably better than "unranked, untouted.

I think we can all assume that you sign up for #1 from your responses on this and the Rush to Judgment post, and while I do also, a quick search of 3 star talent, doesn't make a great case at this time. I was trying to find actual evidence for your and my statements vs. impassioned opinion.
No seizures I promise, but since I’m leaving 80 degree AZ for 20 degree Chicago this week, the shock to my system might result in those tomorrow.