Shawn Conway, ex-Wolverine . . . sort of

Shawn Conway, ex-Wolverine . . . sort of

December 7, 2010
Michigan fans won’t be seeing these hops on the football field anytime soon.

I received a message from a reputable source a couple weeks ago that this would happen, but it was being kept on the down-low.  Now it has become public.  Class of 2011 wide receiver recruit Shawn Conway will not qualify by NCAA Clearinghouse standards.  He still plans to play football at Michigan in the future, but he’ll have to attend junior college before doing so.

I am not counting on Conway playing at Michigan anytime in the future.  I am certainly a fan of his abilities, but junior college players rarely are recruited or accepted to Michigan.  Conway would have to earn his associate’s degree at said junior college before even having a shot to transfer to the Ann Arbor campus.  Michigan is historically a difficult school into which to transfer, which is why not many JUCO recruits are pursued by the coaching staffs.  The last JUCO transfer to get into Michigan was linebacker Austin Panter in 2007, but he was the first since the early ’90s.  It is possible, however, that since Conway knows he wants to attend Michigan, he can find a JUCO academic program whose credits will transfer to U of M.  I’m not holding my breath, though.

This leaves Michigan with zero outside wide receivers in the 2011 recruiting class.  It has been apparent that the coaches wanted at least two receivers in the class, and the news about Conway was probably the reason that Michigan offered California wide receiver Devin Lucien in recent weeks.  It might also be why Justice Hayes was welcomed into the fold with such open arms when he decommitted from Notre Dame a couple weeks ago; Hayes is more of a slot receiver, but has the size and ability to play outside, too.

Conway is the second subtraction from the 2011 class within a week.  Over this past weekend, quarterback Kevin Sousa changed his verbal pledge from Michigan to Wake Forest.  This also continues a disturbing trend of Rich Rodriguez recruiting academic question marks.  Class of 2009 cornerback Adrian Witty failed to qualify, and four players disappeared from the Class of 2010 due to grade issues (Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, Conelius Jones, and Davion Rogers).

I expect that Michigan will continue to recruit Lucien and North Carolinian Kris Frost, who doubles as a linebacker prospect.  Florida slot receiver Prince Holloway is also a potential option.


  1. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 4:53 AM

    Where is the disconnect? Does Rodriguez go against better advice and recruit kids that are at a risk of not qualifying? Or is that advice not even there?

  2. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    >>This also continues a disturbing trend of Rich Rodriguez recruiting academic question marks.

    This recruiting class is looking worse and worse by the day. Doesn't RR's staff realize by now that the standards are higher here at UM? Maybe I'm just imagining things but I don't recall Carr's classes having so many misses on academics.

  3. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    @ Alex 11:53 p.m.

    I'm really not sure what goes on there. Even *I* have known that Conway's grades were iffy for a long time, and I'm not in contact with his coaches and administrators. So it kind of boggles the mind that they would have taken him as a commit. That being said, this is more of a public perception sort of thing. Since he didn't actually sign a LOI with Michigan and take up a spot in the recruiting class, it's really no harm, no foul.

  4. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    @ Anonymous 12:17 a.m.

    Well, take this with a grain of salt, but I work with some [jilted] WVU fans and they say, "As long as you can play football, Rodriguez will recruit anyone." This can probably be said about the vast majority of coaches out there, but Rodriguez had a prior reputation of taking questionable kids amongst WVU fans.

    Lloyd Carr didn't have as many issues with academic non-qualifiers. There were 4 alone in the 2010 class, 1 in 2009, and 1 in 2008, if I recall correctly. One per class isn't too bad. Four is ridiculous.

  5. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    "Since he didn't actually sign a LOI with Michigan and take up a spot in the recruiting class, it's really no harm, no foul. "

    This seems to be the case repeatedly. No real harm is done. If the kid qualifies, then great, Michigan gets someone they wanted. If he doesn't, just allocate the scholarship to another player, or, if they're actually part of the recruiting class (as Witherspoon and Rogers were) then you give the scholarship to a walk-on for one year and use the spot in next year's recruiting classes.

    Its not a good thing, mainly because the coaches have wasted their time – but that the case with any recruit who doesn't end up contributing to your team (for whatever reason, including picking another school).

    I'd argue that its been a dumb strategy to take risky commitments over the last couple years, because the roster has been low on scholarship players due to all the transfers and premature departures. But under normal circumstances, it doesn't do much harm.

    Rodriguez MAY not recruit as academically impressive athletes as Carr did, but thusfar, it seems that the character of his players has been pretty high (Cissoko and Feagin being the outliers). And academically the word has been that the GPA is as good or better than before, so it's not like RR recruits can't hack it.

    I don't see this as a real problem, other than arming RR-haters with another flimsy bit of evidence for their case.

  6. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    I'd also question the need for outside receivers. The last class had 4 outside receivers and (i believe) 3 of them red-shirted. Furthermore, we've seen (from Odoms and Roundtree) that the slot and outside WR position are somewhat interchangeable. The slot WR position is overstocked (Dileo, Gallon, Robinson, Roundtree are all underclassment) and Hayes is on the way.

    Not that adding a WR would be a bad thing, it just seems low on the priority list. If a high caliber player wants to come here – great, but theres no need to start shooting offers out to a bunch of 3 star WR just to check fill the position.

    I'd be happy to add one other WR (Lucien?) to Hayes and call it a WR class.

  7. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:37 p.m.

    It's not a flimsy bit of evidence for RR-haters. We're talking about 4 potential contributors who disappeared from the Class of 2011. Instead of giving those scholarships to talented guys who might contribute down the line, those 4 scholarships are now probably being used for borderline contributors like Zach Johnson, Kevin Leach, Floyd Simmons, etc. I don't mean to take anything away from those guys, but they're walk-ons for a reason.

  8. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:51 p.m.

    I would argue that the need for outside wide receivers is fairly significant. Stonum, Hemingway, and Odoms will all be seniors in 2011. That leaves Stokes, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson, and DJ Williamson as the only remaining WRs. None of those guys has done a thing, and several of them have rather low ceilings.

    I know it seems that the WR and SR positions are interchangeable, but that's not necessarily the case; Odoms is a bit of an enigma because he's physical enough to play WR, but that's not the case for Terrence Robinson, DJ Williamson, etc. Odoms' position is ideally the SR, but they moved him outside to make room for Roundtree, who blew up in the last 4 games of the 2009 regular season.

  9. Comments: 21385
    Dec 07, 2010 at 10:40 PM


    The 4 scholarships were not lost but deferred for one year. They'll be used in 2011 instead of 2010, so we have the benefit of a bigger class. They COULD have contributed (in Dorsey's case – probably would have) but they also could have just redshirted (like Kinard and Jones). Its not as though you're replacing 4 years of Demar Dorsey for 4 years of Floyd Simmons. In Dorsey's case it was worth the risk, because his replacement would have likely been a generic 3 star or 2 star recruit. Jones maybe should never have been recruited.

    There IS a cost, but it will be small in most cases. This year though…If coach RR had the foresight to see Emilien, Turner, and Woolfolk disappear he probably would have went for some safer options.

    Re: WR depth.

    Thats 5 guys for 2 positions, plus a host of slots that can fill in as well. Add 1 recruit and you're going 3 deep, looking a year out. At most positions that would be considered totally acceptable. Compare to say TE, which has only 2 upperclassmen and one recruit and doesn't have another position that overlaps its skills. No recruits have done a thing either, so that won't really change.

    I agree that some guys are better SR than WR, just as some players are better OG than OT, but there is SOME degree of interchangeability, certainly in a pinch, if all 5 or 6 WR get hurt, you can use an SR.

    I suspect the coaching staff may be phasing out the TE spot, which is sort of a shame, IMO. They may also see Miller and Jackson as guys who can play like TEs down the line.

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