The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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COMMITMENT PROFILE Gareon Conley's Potential Outweighs Production ington cornerback Gareon Con- ley committed to Michigan March 10, he was far from the most heralded member in the Wolverines' class of 2013. Brady Hoke's coaching staff had previ- ously reeled in 12 four-star pros- pects, bur Conley was unranked — and since his commitment has picked up just a three-star rating. When Massillon (Ohio) Wash- recruiting accolades fool you. According to Massillon Wash- ington coach Jason Hall, there is more to Conley than first meets the eye. "He broke a finger, and he's However, don't let the lack of you he's got a lot of growth. From day one when he gets to Michigan to day 15 in camp, that kid will get better. He's going to be a big-time player." In addition to developing his skills on the field, he'll have to put in some work off it — both in the weight room and the cafe- teria — to be ready to contribute in college. "He's a guy you want to get a tough kid," Hall said. "He played the next week. The only thing it hindered him on was playing receiver, which killed us. He's a lights-out player. We've just got to make sure we don't break any fingers this year." In nine games for the Tigers, on your training table and bulk up some," Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helm- holdt said. "He's never going to be a 200-plus pound kid, he's just not built that way. As long as you fill him out, he'll be OK. I think corner is where he'll stay." There is no shortage of tal- Conley made 30 total stops, three tackles for loss and one sack. He also intercepted four passes (which he returned for 101 total yards) and returned three punts for 39 yards. On offense, the injury held him to just three catches for 10 yards on the year. Conley has only played corner- Conley, a three-star prospect according to, recorded 30 tackles and four interceptions during his junior campaign while playing with a broken finger. back for one season, and struggling through a broken finger is not the optimal circumstance under which to adjust to something new. With a year man in high school, so he has only played football for two years," Hall explained. "He's only played corner for one year. Whatever you're watch- ing on film, you're seeing a kid who's played very little. That just shows ner blitz. However, it would be nice to see more pure tackling than his highlight film displays. He will need to improve his impact and leg drive when he tackles instead of hanging onto ball carriers and dragging them to the turf. With time in the weight room, his tackling skills should improve. Michigan Player Comparison: Jamar Adams developed into a consistent per- — Analysis From when it comes off the quarterback's hand. When he plays zone defense, he keeps good spacing while keeping his eyes in the backfield. When playing man defense, his impressive size and speed allow him to harass wideouts in their routes and defend the ball at its highest point. His break on the ball is quick with no hesitation. He shows good vertical ability and uses his hands well to swat the ball away from receivers. Looks good coming off the edge on corner blitzes and shows good closing speed. Areas Of Improvement: The film shows Conley making a nice tackle off his cor- Strengths: Conley displays great instincts for where the ball is going to be FILM EVALUATION of experience in the secondary and a clean bill of health in 2012, he has the potential to put up big numbers. "He didn't play football as a fresh- PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM to ring a bell with Michigan fans, though, is defensive end Shawn Cra- ble, who was a four-star prospect in 2003 and started on the Wolverines' defenses in 2006 and 2007. In fact, a connection to Crable helped open Conley's mind to head- ing north to Ann Arbor. Northeast Ohio is typically not kind to the Wol- verines, but with Crable's influence that could be changing. "Gareon's well aware of Michi- ented football players coming out of Massillon Washington. Wide receiver Devin Smith is a starter at Ohio State and defen- sive back Justin Turner was a four-star prospect in the class of 2009 before off-the-field troubles led him to transfer from Michi- gan. The name that's most likely gan's academic reputation, and he's also related to Shawn Crable," Hall said. "Shawn's always around, so Gareon has had interest in Michigan for a long time." Michigan's current coaching staff and their genuine personalities has also played a role in improving the Wolverines' recruiting in the state of Ohio. Hoke's roots are in the Buckeye State, and as long as he's the coach in Ann Arbor the staff will recruit there as hard as anyone in the country. Conley's commitment in itself is former in the defensive backfield from 2004-07. He was All-Big Ten in his junior and senior seasons. Conley has to develop physically to get to that point, but the athletic potential and instincts are there. 48 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2012 not a sign of the floodgates opening, but taken as a smaller piece of the re- cruiting picture it bodes well for the future in Ann Arbor. — Tim Sullivan

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