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...




Scout Rivals ESPN
NR, Not in Database NR WR NR, Not in Database

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 21st, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

Exactly what evidence do you have that "this guy will clearly be a 3 star"? The recruiting sites not knowing about him doesn't necessarily mean he isn't talented. That's the issue with this whooooole string of bitching: nobody fucking knows, yet they have already determined, in their infinite wisdom and by having seen a Youtube video, that he sucks.

As far as playing on a bad team, if you think 1) the situations in basketball and football aren't inherently different in the first place or 2) a wide receiver is far more dependent on his teammates (specifically, one particular teammates) than a point guard, then I don't know what to tell you.


February 22nd, 2010 at 11:30 AM ^

Look, this goes one of two ways:

1. You accept that Rich Rod has gone 8-16 (3-13 Big Ten, 3-1 MAC) and obviously there are some giagantic, program destroying flaws in his system of recruiting and coaching.


2. You choose to believe that he was left with the worst talent in the big ten circa 2007 (despite the recruiting rankings of the remaining players) and has simultaneously been a victim of the worst luck in Michigan football history.

Before the negbanging ensues, all I'm saying with this post is that setting up a false dichotomy doesn't really help your argument much and I don't think either of the above can explain the last two years OR THIS RECRUIT. Let me repeat, I am pointing out a flaw in chitown's method of argument, not saying RR SHOULD BE FIRED FOR RECRUITING A NO STAR>>>> BLLALHHHRHHHAHRH KILLL NEGBANG RAPE!!!>@!!!!!

This commit doesn't prove "RR is the god of uncovering unnoticed prospects" nor that "RR is a fucking idiot." People do things for a myriad of complex reasons that we likely don't understand nor do we have even the means to understand it (i.e., none of us are in RR's head, so it really is a little bit impossible to pick apart his logic). Maybe he's nervous about the class with so many receivers already on board in the last two classes, maybe this guy is just that good, maybe RR woke up this morning and thought, "man, I'd like to be able to throw a jump ball when we get to the 2 yard line and can't run it in... wouldnt it be nice to not have to repeat that disaster at Illinois?" Maybe its all of those things and more. In any case he's our coach, so he gets to make these decisions for whatever rationale he wants to go with.

Still, objectively, we are recruiting a large number of sleepers by traditional Michigan standards, many more than we are accustomed to. This could be for a number of reasons, almost all of which don't fall into the dichotomy of "RR is a fucking idiot" or "RR is a genuis recruiter," but more likely the "the recruiting situation is deteriorating at Michigan due to two losing seasons in a row (for whatever reason you may wish to assign for those two seasons) and while RR would prefer to have all 5 star classes, top prospects are not uniformly buying into what we're selling anymore, thus RR is being forced to scout more and must attempt to find players who might otherwise be overlooked, but fit his system well and could be developed into contributors. He is helped in this regard by having done this no less than 4 times successfully in the past, although none of those teams had to play against big ten competition."


February 22nd, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

what false dichotomy? either Rich Rod THINKS the guy is better than the common perception, or he's an idiot that just offered a scrub a scholarship for a tight class with a bunch of WRs already on board. It's not a false dichotomy -- the obvious situation is the former. We can all debate whether or not RR's opinion is correct or not, that's the real issue.


February 23rd, 2010 at 2:32 PM ^

Like I said above, it is probably a combination of things where one lever is RR thinking the kid is better than common perception. RR might just be a coach who needs a tall receiver to go up and get jump balls when we stall on the 2 and, for whatever reason, he can't recruit a highly ranked tall WR to UM, so he goes with the slightly less attractive option with a great deal of upside. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this, I'm just saying it isn't a case of either RR thinks the kid is the next Marquise Walker or RR is a dipshit who doesn't deserve a job. He's taking a risk and people usually don't take risks unless they need to make something happen (i.e. start winning football games).

Prospects aren't recruited in a world where talent and a coach's evaluation thereof are the only things driving an offer.


February 21st, 2010 at 9:21 AM ^

I'm really liking the last kick return.

If your the kid's coach, you might want to have a talk with him about maybe using both hands to catch a bouncing football on a kickoff, but .............

The kid damn near realed it in one handed.

Then, better yet he just reaches down as calm as can be and plucks it right of the ground with that same big ass right hand.

To have that kind of confidence in your hands, makes me think this kid's hands were big even when he was little.

You don't even think about doing stuff like that unless you've been doing it for a good long time.

And, he didn't think about it either.

His hand just reached down there and grabbed that football because it knew it could.


February 21st, 2010 at 9:45 AM ^


I will take a kid with good hands and a good head on his shoulders every day of the week. His QB was not Div 1 quality and almost every pass he caught was a jump ball in traffic.

As for the amount of scholarships Michigan has available ... still along way from NEXT YEARS signing day and a lot can happen until then.


February 21st, 2010 at 9:59 AM ^

Good for you, Shawn. Even though it's not official until NSD, I welcome you to Michigan. I hope you stay after the big-time programs starting calling you to test your ego. Michigan provides one of THE best foundations to build a life upon. Congrats, again.

"Those who stay will be champions."

Elno Lewis

February 21st, 2010 at 10:07 AM ^

"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."

Really, ditto for Ricardo Miller. The Pioneer QB won a bunch of games and so hacking on him is not fair, but lets just say his strength wasn't the passing game for the most part (had lots of grit). Miller was OPEN on dang near every play! That Boisture kid throwing at Ricardo, or even Gardner? Forget about it. Conway could be even better? Wow. Gnarly if it is true.

Hope this kid goes up and gets the ball like he says. THAT would be most excellent.

No potato salad here boys and girls.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:22 AM ^

Look, after going 3-9 and 5-7, we weren't going to get two 5* OMG SHIRTLESS receivers who had offers from the likes of Florida, USC, Alabama, etc. We might get one, especially with a major player like Arnett growing up in our backyard, but not two.

This kid looks like he brings something great to the table with his hands and ability to grab it in traffic. The coaches are happy. Conway is happy. His family is happy. And I'm happy.

You should be too.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:51 AM ^

I like that he is 6-3 or 6-4 as a 17 year old. He has one more year of vertical growth, so long as he doesn't screw it up by lifting heavy weights. Once he stops growing, then he can pile on to get to 210 and dominate ala Antonio Gates WR style (as mentioned in the acerbic Hello thread)


February 21st, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

he's only 16 year old. He's already 6'2"-6'3" with 38" vertical. I can imagine that he'll grow a couple of inches and have better vert which is scary. He's already a good athlete thanks to basketball(playing for The Family is no joke, they're one of the elite AAU program in the state).


February 22nd, 2010 at 7:36 PM ^

I think one of the reasons people dont like this is that we arent in a big need for WR, not that he isnt good enough. If we are going to take a WR now they want it to be an elite one or none at all for the time being, which is understandable due to our depth at WR and our needs elsewhere, but the kid looks like a player to me with some of the most impressive have I have seen in a HS highlight tape. I'm happy to have the kid and hope he has a huge senior season and has all the other big time schools wishing they had offered him earlier

Crime Reporter

February 21st, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

Last night was one of them. Posters ripping this kid and then calling each other names. The infighting lately has been discouraging.

I feel sorry for Conway if he came to this blog last night and saw this stuff. Thanks to those that kept it classy. To the rest, take a break for a month or two and then come back refreshed. Otherwise don't come back at all.

We are in this together.


February 21st, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

he could be compared to jason witten. witten is arguably one of the best tight ends in the NFL so this is a lofty comparison. witten doesn't have elite speed. he is, however, an extremely reliable possession receiver with size (TE). he's romo's go-to-guy on 3rd down.

just sayin'


February 22nd, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

The speed Conway has now would probably be considered "elite" speed for a TE, i would hope so at least, if he lost alot of speed putting on the weight then it wouldnt be worth it IMO. He then becomes what alot of you(Not Me, I like the kid) seem to consider an average WR to an average at best TE prospect. Wouldnt make much sense


February 21st, 2010 at 1:03 PM ^

I missed the arguments from last night (though 213 posts makes me think the discussion diverged from a discussion of this kid's merits), but from the highlight video he seems like a big kid who can either play TE or outside WR. He's not going to blaze past guys, but a 6'4" target for Gardner or Forcier as they scramble around isn't the worst thing in the world.

I think everyone needs to remember that these are just high school kids we are talking about. A decade ago, these were my contemporaries, and so maybe I felt like I could judge them a bit more because I figured I was in similar situations. But as I've aged, I've come to realize that attacking the merits of high school kids because they don't meet your expectations on the field is foolish and, at times, malicious. Conway wants to be a Michigan Wolverine, and for that I will welcome him with open arms. The Internet is an ugly enough place without one of the few good sports sites (i.e. MGoBlog) becoming a rats' nest of insults and tough guys.


February 21st, 2010 at 8:54 PM ^

When the Lions drafted Mike Williams, people started saying "he could play TE!"

Just because a guy is tall doesn't mean he should forgo the WR and go to TE. If this guy wasn't stickly, and was more chode-ly, I'd say toss him into the TE consideration. But even if he gets to 220, he's still a touch underweight for blocking.

I'm all for this guy sticking with WR.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:31 PM ^

I'm fine with him playing WR as well - actually, I'd prefer him to stay a bit on the lighter side and being the go-to escape lob for the QB. I don't like when guys try to become TEs unless they are naturally big and easily take to the position - TEs do a heck of a lot more than just catch the ball, but learning how to block, chipping DEs and LBs, etc. Thinking a guy can just pick those nuances up as he goes along tends to not work out.


February 21st, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

I think a lot of people read things into my posts that weren't there. I never even said I had a problem with the offer, only that while acknowledging the limitations of my knowledge, I didn't get it. Given the information that's surfaced since then it's obvious the coaches knew a lot that I didn't when I was posting, which isn't surprising to me at all.

So knowing what I know now, I get it. This offer makes sense to me. Not that it matters.


February 21st, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

I assume there are a lot of folks on this blog from the Detroit area. Anybody here remember Herman Moore?

Yeah. Herman goddamn Moore. That's who he reminds me of.

Anybody wanna complain?


February 21st, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing, but didn't want to be the first to broach the subject since I adored those Lions teams and am probably biased. He does have that type of body control and size, though of course we'll have to see how that progresses. At this point, I'd be happy if he turns into a slightly taller Marquise Walker.


February 21st, 2010 at 5:34 PM ^

When it was third and goal from the five and the whole stadium knew it would be a lob to Walker and the corner knew he was screwed but committed aggravated assault anyway and it just didn't matter. Touchdown. And again. And again.

I would love to see the second coming of Marquise Walker.


February 21st, 2010 at 6:48 PM ^

Normally, I'd say that our coaches have yet to earn the trust...but the fact that this kid was completely unknown and earned an immediate offer tells me that the coaches instantly realized he is likely to be a special player. I'm as guilty as any in bashing 2* offers, but a random 2* would not get an immediate offer like this.

It reminds me of the Smotrycz recruitment for bball. Coach Jackson saw him while scouting a different kid. He called Beilein, who flew out and immediately offered. Suddenly, Smotrycz turned into the #50 player nationally.

I have a feeling (maybe it's a hope), that when all is said and done, Conway will not be a long shot sleeper, but a highly regarded recruit.


February 21st, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

Speed is obviously an issue, but considering his size, I think that's fine. He has poor acceleration, but decent linear top speed from what I can tell.

What does stand out is that he appears to have excellent hands. Some of the grabs he makes in those videos are absurd.


February 21st, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

Im not sure that the stats are right, not saying there wrong, just i have seen other reports, and sorry if it has already been posted on here, i read all the post in this thread, scout has this quote from him:

“I’m 6-4, I weigh 185 and I run a 4.4,” Conway said. “Well it is 4.49, but I’ll say a 4.4 (laughter). I had over 800 yards and 79 catches I believe. I do not know how many touchdowns. I think it was nine or ten touchdowns. I had I think 500 return yards both kickoff and punt returns. On defense I had two interceptions.”

Conflicting reports, just thought i would post this, take it FWIW


February 22nd, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

That makes more sense. I was surprised Tim went with a comment for the stats when the commenter didn't say where he got the information.

I suppose it's possible he's talking about his career high school stats -- if so, it would mean he had a very good sophomore season, with 68 catches and 600 yards. That means catching a lot of balls in traffic.


February 22nd, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

Yeah i thought the same thing too, but then again i dont really know why you would talk about career stats in the way he did. Makes more sense if he was talking about a season, likely last season. Either way he had one hell of a season either his Sophmore or Junior year, if not both.


February 23rd, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

Funny I think the interwebs would be ecstatic if we get this guy under Carr. I think we are conditioned to believe that Rodriguez needs speed everywhere, but shouldn't we defer to him on what his team needs? The kid looked really good when the ball was in the air and was able to take advantage of his size. The Herman Moore, Mike Williams comparisons have been made but the seem apt. The only problem I would have with this signing is he might be a bit redundant depending on where Miller and Jackson end up. Oh and can we back off calling the QB "horrid" he seems like a perfectly average high school QB, horrid is way harsh.