Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #40 Maurice Ways

Maurice Ways
Name: Maurice Ways
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Beverly Hills (MI) Detroit Country Day
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #85
Last year: I ranked Ways #70 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Ways was a bit of a late bloomer coming out of high school. Early in his high school career, he was splitting his time between basketball and football, and he thought he might make a career out of his court exploits. In his final two years, he decided to concentrate on football and realized that there are a lot of talented guys out there who are 6'4". It made sense to predict a redshirt for him last year as he continued his adjustment to playing wide receiver at a high level.

Ways is not lacking in physical skills. He has the height, the build, the speed, and the leaping ability to be a standout in the Big Ten. The biggest question mark about him has been his hands. He had a case of the dropsies in high school, and those problems have reportedly persisted in the early stages of his college career. Michigan's receiving corps is almost totally unproven, and I think Ways has the potential to be a major player going forward. That may not happen this year - or ever - but someone has to step up, so it might as well be him. One of this staff's strengths is supposedly their ability to coach up undeveloped players, and I think Ways's physical assets make him a prime candidate to benefit.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver


  1. I'm not expecting him to be exceptional all the time... but I do expect him to have a breakout game where he racks up 170 yards and 3 touchdowns.

    1. whoa. That would be...awesome, and completely out of nowhere.

      I don't think any of our WRs will have break a 150 yard game this year.

  2. I like this spot for him. I really think that our receivers will look much improved this year. Darboh, Canteen, Chesson to start it all off, but then I think once we go 4 wide Ways will be first off the bench. Hard to say about where Brian Cole fits in.. we have had Canteen and Ways make some waves during the spring then either not do anything or get red shirted time September rolls around. Either way I think we have more than enough talent. Just haven't had the best coaches or opportunities to showcase their abilities. Then you can't forget about Drake Harris.

    1. I'm with you on the optimisim. Michigan, even with the poor recruiting under Hoke, can still put athletes out there that are superior to most of their opponents.

      Assuming there is a coherent offensive system in place finally, these guys should exceed the meager expectations.

    2. I wonder if there's grad transfer WR Harbaugh might be looking for. It'd be really safe to have one. And I agree Michigan will improve vastly. I am thinking of 10-2 regular season.

  3. I'm afraid his 'hands of stone' will limit him. It never seems to get better.

  4. If Ways had the speed to go with his impressive size, he would have gotten a lot better offers. As it was it was mostly MAC schools and a couple meh programs on the fringes of Big Ten country (Kansas, Pitt, Rutgers, Iowa.) Either those hands are a SERIOUS issue or the physical attributes are getting overstated. Neither portends well for his potential contributions at Michigan.

    I certainly agree that SOMEONE has to step up at WR, I just don't see any reason to think it is Ways. Since he went to a high profile local school - I think these guys are often overrated by fans - I think the hypetrain came into the station at full speed. More importantly, Ways fits the profile of most Hoke era WRs - tall, long, and slow. A long-striding theoretically-leaping specialist who never, you know, gets open, or catches passes. This seems like yet another guy that Hoke went out on a limb for, trying to find Calvin Johnson (except slow).

    Last year we saw Canteen, who was way undersized and thin, play immediately over him because he is more skilled and faster. As Canteen adds strength to his frame that gap should only grow.

    I do like Ways more than Dukes, Jones and other typical Hoke recruits. He deserves our patience, but this ranking is too high for him in 2015. In terms of bringing something that Darboh and Chesson already don't, I'd look to Harris or Cole, even if they have a higher probability of catching zero balls.

    There is no prediction for catches. Does that imply he won't see the field? If so, this is too high for someone like that. Seems like just an oversight...

    I think he should be a decent 5th WR, but I don't think it'll matter to Michigan too much if it's Jones, Dever, or Dukes instead of him. He profiles as just a guy. If he can develop better hands - he should contribute. If he can't he'll be on the Dukes track of irrelevance, quickly passed by classmates and younger players.

    1. I disagree about Ways's speed. I'm not concerned about his ability to run. He's not DeSean Jackson, but he's not Jeremy Jackson, either.

      Canteen played in the slot. Ways plays outside. They're two different positions. That's like saying Mason Cole passed up Patrick Kugler.

    2. I agree what difference does it make if he can get open but drops half the balls that hit his hands.
      I grew really tired of Funchess last year because of his drops. I still think he was over valued in the draft and will end up out of football in a couple years.

    3. @Thunder

      That 'he's a slot' argument fails when our WRs line up in different places. Hemingway, Gallon, Funchess all worked inside and outside. Mason Cole is never going to shuffle back and forth between center and tackle in the same drive, but Canteen/Darboh/Cole could be anywhere on any given down. Slot is an alignment more than a position.

      Slavish devotion to orthodox positional categorization...SMH.

      I'd be shocked if Canteen doesn't line up as the outside WR at times this year. Somebody like Dever might be limited to a slot role, but not Canteen.

      RE: speed. Again - the (lack of) offers speak volumes.

      @Anon - I agree with you about Funchess. For all the talk of him being a 'freak' his combine results showed that his speed was mediocre at best for an NFL WR. His path to excellence there was at TE, but he didn't want to put in the work to become a good blocker.

    4. The lack of offers MIGHT speak volumes. The thing is, you don't know whether it would be speaking volumes about his speed or not. Your implication is that players can't be fast if they don't have big-time offers from all over the country. There are too many examples to even bother countering your point.

    5. My point is that if you are fast AND 6'3 you will get offers from all over the country.

      I can think of only three reasons why not:

      1. major off-field issue. We have no reason to think this applies to Ways.
      2. under-the-radar recruit. Played at one of the highest profile schools in the state, so no.
      3. physical issue. Injury or late development. Doesn't appear to apply either.

      So, the only issue is hands...or speed...or both. I think coaches can teach route running and blocking but hands are more intuitive. You can't teach speed or height.

  5. We can say what we want about the receivers but one thing we have to remember is the QB play a WR can't prove his self if he can't get the ball case n point look at the WR's we had over the years Greg Matthews Jeremy gallon junior hemmingway u can even throw in TE with butt an before him Kroger these guys were studs when we did get them the ball easily could have been 1000 yrd receivers with a good QB. Robinson wasn't a QB jus an athlete Gardner was the same I think if Ruddock starts we will have a 1000 yard recevier and with o'korn it will be the same we have a stable of studds who egar to prove themselves knowing that ball gonna get tossed around thats gonna make them compete an its gonna open the ground game

    1. Dude, get a dictionary and acquaint yourself with punctuation marks..they are your friends..

    2. Now we know what Anon looks like: He's the "Get A BRAIN ! MORANS" guy.

      Punctuation marks may be your friends but they still live by certain rules. Ignore them or don't...

  6. Think bout this Ohio even with bad QB plays never killed us we were in every game people say its a talent gap but as bad as we been the games we played don't show it and I think when urban was at Florida he had more talent an look what we did to him in the gator bowl n he had a Heisman QB with a true QB we will manage the game better give that relentless defense more rest n we will beat Ohio with a true QB we a top 5 team easy

    1. Not sure what you mean by a "true QB" but I agree a better passer will help the WRs. That said - so does a killer running threat. The difference between Roy Roundtree under Rodriguez (when Denard was running crazy) vs Roy Roundtree under Borges (when Denard was tied down) was night and day. That had nothing to do with a "true QB" and everything to do with coaching, scheme, and OL play. Wisconsin can pass, not because they have great passers, but because their traditional running attack is so well executed and consistent. etc.

      Rudock isn't an all-american difference maker. He's a solid experienced QB who hopefully can avoid mistakes and make good decisions within the system. Our passing game will be effective if our scheme is coherent, our run game consistent, and our pass-blocking improved. If not, it won't matter how 'true' our QB is.

    2. Things are shaping up to be a great 2015. OL is a year older with a phenomenal OL coach, a seasoned QB, and upperclassmen RBs who were 5-star recruits. We'll surprise a lot of people. No doubt about it.