The Wolverine

June-July 2013 - Wolverine

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  commitment profile and Da'Mario Jones (6-2) as players who can serve as jump-ball threats — or make plays after the catch. "I think most importantly, he's an impact player," Detroit Country Day football coach Dan MacLean said of Ways. "He's a big, strong guy who runs pretty well and catches the ball well, so he makes big plays. We throw the vertical pass to him — not because he can't do the other things, but that's been kind of his area of expertise — and he's really improved in the game in terms of being more physical." That Ways earned a U‑M scholarship offer as early into his football career as he did is impressive. He first participated in the sport as a JV player during his sophomore year, and his junior season was the first time he'd played varsity football. He made it count, catching 51 passes for 952 yards (18.7 yards per reception) and nine touchdowns. That caught the eye of college coaches, and ultimately earned him a U-M scholarship offer. By the time the Michigan coaching staff pulled the trigger on Ways, it was clear that he wouldn't waste much time in reciprocating that interest by making a commitment to play in the winged helmet. Ways grew up a big fan of Michigan, and always dreamed of becoming a Wolverine. However, he surprised even himself when he did make his pledge. "I really didn't think I was going to commit," he admitted. "As soon as I got down there [to Ann Arbor] and saw everything, I knew it was the right place for me. "I just felt like I was at home," the three-star receiver continued. "I had a conversation with Coach Hoke and my parents, and then after taking a tour of the facilities and campus and meeting some professors, I just felt like that was the place for me. In terms of as a football player on the field, in the classroom and socially, it was what I'm looking for in a college, and that was the best fit for me." Ways is currently ranked as the No. 54 wide receiver nationally by, but he has plenty of upside with more experience in the game. His head coach believes it's only a matter of time before Ways, who earned firstteam all-county recognition by The Oakland Press, looks like a whole new player — and that's a good thing. "I think he knows the blueprint," MacLean said. "I think obviously our impetus is hard work, and I think it comes back to your fundamentals. You just continue to hone your skills and get better. Can you become a more precise route runner? Can you get your hands more involved and ready to catch the ball? "It's the things you have to do to play at the level that he's going to go to, and I look for him to do that." Ways joins Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian four-star Drake Harris as the second wideout in Michigan's 2014 class. Both players are converts from the sport of basketball, but have the athleticism and drive to succeed on the gridiron as well. — Tim Sullivan

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