What Could Have Been . . . Marquis Maze

Tag: Martavious Odoms

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

22Dec 2009
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Richard Ash, Wolverine

Michigan’s new defensive lineman.

Richard Ash, a defensive lineman from Pahokee High School (Pahokee, FL), has committed to Michigan. He had been committed to West Virginia University until he realized that he would have to live in West Virginia, where the women look like they came straight out of The Hills Have Eyes.

Ash is listed at 6’4″ and 263 lbs. At that size, one would think that he would bulk up a little bit to play the 3-tech defensive tackle position recently occupied by Ryan Van Bergen. However, he has a bit of chub on him that will be whittled away by Mike Barwis, and 263 lbs. isn’t a bad size for a strong-side defensive end. After all, that’s about the same size as Brandon Graham.

Watching Ash’s film, he’s a good athlete who’s going to require a lot of refinement. Although he’s a 4-star recruit to Rivals, he’s raw. He has good explosion off the ball, and he possesses good lateral quickness as well. There’s also one play where he sniffs out a middle screen, tips the ball to himself, and runs the other way with it. Like I said, he’s an athlete.

But when he finally earns playing time at Michigan, I’m sure we’ll see a very different player. He has kind of an awkward stance where his butt sits lower than his shoulders, which forces him to stand straight up as soon as the ball is snapped. As a high schooler who is physically dominant, he can get away with belly-bumping offensive linemen out of his way, but he will get absolutely mauled if he plays like that in college. When he learns to play lower, he’ll probably also learn to use his hands better to disengage from blockers. He tends to play “patty cake” with blockers and sometimes stops his feet on contact. In order to see the field at Michigan, he’ll need to learn to go hard on every single play.

Ash will give Michigan four players from the same high school; he’ll join sophomore running back Vincent Smith, sophomore linebacker Brandin Hawthorne, and junior slot receiver Martavious Odoms on the Michigan campus. The Wolverines have also offered Chris Dunkley, a 4-star slot receiver who transferred from Royal Palm Beach, FL, but Dunkley’s recruitment probably won’t be affected by Ash’s commitment.

I expect Ash to end up at 5-tech defensive end, Brandon Graham’s old position. I think he could easily transform his body into a 265 lb. strongside end, whereas I see Terry Talbott as a 3-tech DT. We could still see Michigan add a couple more defensive linemen in the 2010 class, particularly NT prospect Johnathan Hankins from Detroit and DE Clarence Murphy from Florida.

P.S. The picture appeared because it popped up when I did a Google image search for “Richard Ash.” I’m not sure what Richard Ash has to do with Kim Jong-Il, but I’m guessing the FBI is checking into that right this very moment.