2010 Recruiting Grades: Slot Receiver

Tag: Kelvin Grady

3Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Slot Receiver

Two slot receivers joined the class of 2010, both of whom committed early in the process.

New England Patriot receiver Drew Dileo

The first is Drew Dileo, a 5’10”, 175 lb. player from Greenwell Springs, LA. Despite not having overwhelmingly impressive offers, Dileo can fill a role at Michigan – punt returner. Since Steve Breaston left after the 2006 season, Michigan has suffered from poor to mediocre punt returning. The role was assumed by guys like Donovan Warren (who took a lot of chances), Greg Mathews (sure-handed but slow), Martavious Odoms (whose butterfingers only show on punt/kick returns), and Junior Hemingway (again, slow). Dileo can play slot receiver, but his earliest chance to contribute will probably be on special teams.

It’s a good thing this photographer had a high-speed shutter.The second commitment at slot receiver comes from D.J. Williamson, from Warren, OH. Williamson is listed at 6’1″ and 172 lbs., meaning he’s thin and willowy. He has state championship track speed, but unfortunately, that speed hasn’t necessarily shown itself on the football field. Since his commitment, he struggled through a senior season in which he was injured and his quarterback play was subpar. He could play out wide or in the slot, but said on National Signing Day that he’ll start off inside.

Predictions: Dileo reminds me of New England Patriots receiver . . . Troy Brown. He’ll probably redshirt in 2010, as guys like Odoms and Jeremy Gallon could handle the punt returning duties. But at some point in his career, we’ll likely see Dileo deployed as a sure-handed, occasionally exciting returner. Williamson as a slot receiver intrigues me. When he appeared to be an outside receiver in the making, I thought he would get outmuscled and I’m not impressed with his route running. He has reportedly suffered from the dropsies at times, but if he can get that problem worked out, Williamson could be a speedy Roy Roundtree in the slot working against slower linebackers and safeties. As it is, I don’t see him contributing for a couple years.

Grade: B. Neither player is an immediate-impact sort, but they don’t need to be with guys like Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrence Robinson, and Roy Roundtree ahead of them (in addition to Teric Jones and Kelvin Grady, who could play slot). Dileo fills a hole, and Williamson has the speed to make a few big plays before all is said and done. Ultimately, this is a position/class where Rodriguez could afford to “miss” with a player or two and not suffer greatly in the future.

10Jan 2010
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What Could Have Been . . . Marquis Maze

Marquis Maze
Wide receiver Marquis Maze was committed to be a member of the 2007 recruiting class. Recruited as a wideout for Michigan, he always seemed to be a bit undersized; he was 5’8″ and 160 lbs. during a time when Michigan was annually churning out 6’3″-ish wide receivers like David Terrell, Marquis Walker, Braylon Edwards, and Adrian Arrington, among others.

Before signing day arrived, though, Maze decommitted from the Wolverines and decided to attend Alabama. He redshirted as a freshman in 2007 and has earned more and more prominent roles the past two seasons.

Unbeknownst to him, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr would be replaced by Rich Rodriguez in December 2007, who would bring an offense in which Maze could have thrived. Rodriguez was reduced to playing a true freshman (Martavious Odoms) and a bigger receiver who was a misfit (Toney Clemons) at the slot receiver position in 2008. Odoms did well, but Clemons floundered and transferred to Colorado prior to the 2009 season.

This past season as a redshirt sophomore and now listed at 5’10” and 180 lbs., Maze started at wide receiver and recorded 31 receptions for 523 yards (a 16.9 yard average) and 2 touchdowns, including an 80-yarder. Oh by the way, he also won a national championship.

Meanwhile, the majority of Michigan’s snaps at slot receiver went to the trio of Kelvin Grady, Martavious Odoms, and Roy Roundtree. Those players combined for 64 catches, 808 yards (12.6 yard average), and 5 touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Roundtree turned out to be the most explosive of the three, leading the entire team in each category and besting Maze in receptions (32 to 31) and touchdowns (3 to 2).

Maze is a big-play threat for the Crimson Tide, but his presence on the Michigan team in 2009 probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference. He would have been more valuable in 2008, when he likely would have started for then-freshman Odoms. Still, Maze has a good thing going at Alabama, and Michigan has some promising athletes going forward into the 2010 season. This is a departure that most Michigan fans shouldn’t – and probably don’t – regret.

Image via nydailynews.com