Now that all the hand-wringing is out of the way, let's give this kid the treatment he deserves as a Michigan commit...
|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.
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
Christian 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.
FAKE 40 TIME
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!)
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
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.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
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.