The Wolverine

May 2016 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 93 of 177

  COMMITMENT PROFILE Even though he's a Notre Dame legacy — and was accompanied on a Midwest visit swing by grandfather Tom Gatewood, who was the single- season receiving record-holder for the Irish from 1970 until 2006 — there was something about Ann Arbor that Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy running back AJ Dillon just couldn't turn down. "I committed to Michigan be- cause I felt like even if for some reason I couldn't play football any- more I would still enjoy being in Ann Arbor and a part of the com- munity," he said. " I ' m h u m b l e d and hungry for the possibilities at The Big House. "The city of Ann Arbor isn't exactly like the city where I'm from, but it didn't feel like it was somewhere I hadn't been before. I felt like I would know the area, be able to navigate very easily and just be myself." The 6-0, 228-pounder — who is ranked as a four-star talent, the No. 1 player in Massachusetts and the No. 16 running back nationally by Ri- — brings an enticing physi- cal package to the Wolverines. Already college-sized as a high school junior, he has the power to run over defend- ers at the high school level. He's also shifty enough, and fast enough, to go to the end zone untouched. "He's a one-cut-and-go back style- wise, but he's also able to run power and go straight downhill or off- tackle," Mid-Atlantic re- cruiting analyst Adam Friedman said. "He can learn and be effective at blocking. I don't know if he's going to get a ton of run right away, but he should be a major contributor by his second year. "I think he's a contributor in his first year because that's the nature of the [running back] position. He could start his sec- ond year on cam- pus, whether he's a redshirt fresh- man or true sophomore." Dillon rode that impressive suite of physical skills to 1,886 rushing yards (10.1 yards per carry) and 26 touchdowns in just nine games as a junior. Despite that big-time produc- tion, there are naturally questions about who he did it against — and how that will translate to college. He was co-MVP of both the Independent School League and New England Prep League while leading his team AJ Dillon Will Carry The Rock At U-M Dillon, the nation's No. 16 running back according to, rushed for 1,886 yards and 26 touchdowns in just nine games as a junior. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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