|Massillon (OH) Washington's Gareon Conley is Michigan's newest commit
Conley is 6'2" and 165 lbs. As a junior in 2011, he made 26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 4 interceptions. He also had 3 receptions for 10 yards, 3 punt returns for 39 yards, and 4 kickoff returns for 142 yards.
ESPN: Unranked CB
Rivals: Unranked ATH
Scout: 4-star CB, #20 CB, #227 overall
247 Sports: 3-star CB, 88 grade
Conley was offered by Michigan in mid-February and the word out of Massillon was that he would be a Wolverine - it was just a matter of when. Even though the Wolverines have zero other commitments at the boundary corner position, it's quite possible that Conley saw all the other commitments going down and wanted to hop on the train before it got full. The coaches likely want to take two or three total corners in this class.
Conley is listed as being 6'1" or 6'2" on all the recruiting sites, and he's a long, lanky kid. He has good speed but he's not lightning fast. He does accelerate pretty well for a kid with such long legs, and it's going to be hard to beat him over the top because of his speed and length. His wingspan will allow him to jam receivers at the line and reach around receivers to tip away passes without having to interfere with the offensive player.
My concerns with Conley are twofold. First of all, how quickly will he be able to add weight? He's very thin at his height and only 165 lbs. Michigan is lacking in big corners, so much so that incoming freshman Jarrod Wilson might get a shot to play cornerback instead of free safety. J.T. Floyd will have graduated by the time Conley arrives, so that will leave Raymon Taylor as the only sizable cornerback; Blake Countess, Delonte Hollowell, and Terry Richardson are all small-ish field corner types, although Countess could probably play the boundary if necessary. This goes hand-in-hand with Conley's size questions, but will he become more aggressive with added size? There are times in his highlights where he seems afraid of contact. He's tentative when tackling, tries to drag guys to the ground, and shies away from contact when running the ball.
Overall, Conley is a very good athlete whose mentality and aggression need to catch up to the rest of what he has to offer. Once he adds the necessary weight and strength, he should improve as a tackler and run supporter. I have never seen a kid come to Michigan and fail to add weight; it's just a matter of how quickly that can happen for him. But if he doesn't become a more physical player, he will have a hard time seeing the field.
Massillon Washington is the alma mater of former Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable and former Michigan cornerback (late of Scottsdale Community College) Justin Turner.
TTB Rating: 75 (rating system)