Saturday, April 18, 2015

Carter Dunaway, Wolverine

Carter Dunaway with Jim Harbaugh (image via Twitter)
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Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice tight end Carter Dunaway committed to Michigan on Friday night. The 2017 prospect had no other offers at the time of his commitment.

Dunaway is 6'6", 232 lbs. and, according to Maxpreps, had 1 catch for 9 yards (plus a two-point conversion) as a sophomore in 2014.

Hit the jump for more on Dunaway and his commitment to Michigan.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: Unranked
Scout: Unranked
247 Sports: Unranked

Dunaway is the son of former Michigan tight end Craig Dunaway, who caught 55 passes for 775 yards and 8 touchdowns for Bo Schembechler in the early 1980s. Carter's older brother, Jack, will be a preferred walk-on defensive end out of Brother Rice this coming fall (LINK).

Carter was offered two weeks ago on the weekend of Michigan's spring game. He was essentially considered a shoo-in for Michigan at the time, and that assumption turned out to be spot on.

Not much is known in the recruiting world about his abilities. He obviously has good size for a high school sophomore, and he has good bloodlines with his dad (who went on to spend one year in the NFL) and a brother who's a pretty good athlete. He spent his sophomore season mostly watching senior tight ends Brian Fortin (18 catches, 195 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Michael Roney (22 catches, 366 yards, 2 touchdowns) catch passes from Alex Malzone, who is now playing quarterback for Michigan. That obviously worked well for Brother Rice on their way to a 10-1 record, but it doesn't tell us much about Dunaway.

In my years of following and analyzing Michigan recruiting, this is the biggest head-scratcher I have seen. Brother Rice is a solid program in the state of Michigan, but even at national powerhouses, I have never seen Michigan offer a scholarship to a third-stringer. Personally, I believe that players are made on game day, and presumably without much film (Carter does not have a highlight video), the coaches were going off of meeting him, perhaps watching him work out, and the advice of non-staff members (Dunaway's family members, coaches, etc.). Certainly Michigan's staff could have waited until a few games into Carter's junior season to see how he fared before pulling the trigger on an offer.

But Jim Harbaugh chose not to do so. I mean, we're talking about Jim Harbaugh, who is extremely competitive and a tight end whisperer. There are four options here:

  1. Harbaugh's legendary intensity has been overcome by Michigan nostalgia, and he offers any and every Michigan legacy.
  2. Harbaugh likes what he and his staff have seen of Carter Dunaway in workouts enough to the point that game film and experience are superfluous.
  3. Michigan could feasibly have a giant 2017 class, so there are bound to be a couple flyers.
  4. Harbaugh can turn anybody who's 6'6" into a stud tight end.
I am inclined to believe that Jim Harbaugh can identify and develop talent, which explains his successes at San Diego, Stanford, and San Francisco. Having no film on which to judge Carter Dunaway, at this point I have no choice but to smell what Jim Harbaugh is cookin'. But I am cautiously intrigued.

Regardless, Michigan's number of 2017 commitments now stands strongly at one. The Wolverines currently have 26 players with junior eligibility on the roster (LINK), so that's the starting-off point for the size of the 2017 class. Transfers, injuries, redshirts, etc. can add to or deplete that number, although usually that number goes up. This may be a reason why Harbaugh is bringing in a solid class of preferred walk-ons in 2015, because some of those guys might become scholarship players soon if Michigan can't legally sign enough players to refill from the monster class of departures.

In addition to Malzone and preferred walk-on Jack, the Wolverines also signed wide receiver Grant Perry out of Brother Rice in the 2015 class.

TTB Rating: 100*

*Just kidding. I won't give out TTB Ratings for 2017 kids until the 2016 class is complete.


  1. I can't wrap my head around Harbaugh getting all misty-eyed nostalgic and offering legacy players for no good reason. So I agree in this case it's #2 -- there's *something* Harbaugh and staff see in Dunaway at this stage. Maybe it's just a hunch based on attitude, work ethic, and his current body.

    If Harbaugh is as competitive as he seems, then one element of his competitiveness is his legacy as a coach. It's hard to imagine he'd suddenly do sentimental things that could risk his team and his legacy. It doesn't seem like that's in his character.

  2. In Harbaugh I Trust

  3. 1. is absolute nonesense. If that's true, he would've gave a scholarship to his older brother who's going to be a walk-on. 2 is probably the case. The kid is a rising junior, so let's see how this thing goes. I wonder if there's any TTBer who lives in Oakland County and actually saw this kid play. I hope to get more info as he starts the fall season.

  4. 6'6" and 230 ... that's a big sophomore. It's at least possible that he has some (physical) growth potential. What if shows up at 6'9" and 280 in 2017? :)

    1. I guess we'll cross that bridge if we get there. His dad was 6'3" and his brother is 6'3", so Carter is already an outlier. He probably won't get much taller, but we'll see.

  5. I actually do live in Oakland county, and one of my buddies is a coach over at U of D(who went to St. Mary's) im sure he love the chance to go see his former team play there rival.

  6. I just watched Dunaway's camp tape... the minute 15 second one on the mgoblog commitment post...

    He is slow. He was getting tired during the drills. His catching looks fine, and he looks to be a huge body, but dude needs to work on some serious conditioning, both speed and strength training.