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July 18, 2013

Video: Moe Ways puts on the clamps

2014 Michigan commit Maurice Ways is a wide receiver for Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day. However, he showed at a recent 7-on-7 that he's not bad on defense, either.

Ways Report

While the video focuses on Ways' defense, the more interesting aspect of the 7-on-7 from a Michigan fan's perspective is, of course, how the 6-3, 195-pounder looked on offense. That's where he'll see the vast majority of his time this fall for Country Day, and that's where he'll play at Michigan.

To make a long story short, Ways looked very good. The level of competition - the Yellow Jackets scrimmaged Riverview High School, Melvindale High School, and Dearborn High School - was not the greatest, so physically there were few players who could match up with a Division I caliber recruit (much less three, including Rutgers-bound quarterback Tyler Wiegers and future Boston College running back Richard Wilson). He was physically dominant, as should be the case when he isn't going against other top recruits.

Of course, he wasn't able to capitalize on all those opportunities last fall, so he's made consistent improvement during the offseason - especially since the end of his basketball season, which culminated in a state title for the storied DCDS hoopsters - which Michigan fans love to hear.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues with Ways last year was a tendency to drop some easy passes. While it's too soon to pass judgment when the pads haven't come out of storage yet, that doesn't look like it will ever be an issue again. Without the threat of taking a big hit, he's more than willing to extend for the ball, and he catches everything with his hands (and eyes, with great concentration) rather than letting it get into his body.

From a speed standpoint, Ways has always been a fast receiver, but learning how to harness his natural explosiveness has been one area that would help Ways get better very quickly. It's tough to say based on the level of competition just how much he's improved there. He was getting off the line and on top of defensive backs with ease, but there's no telling how that will translate against other Division I athletes. He got deep time after time, and used his body well to find openings on shorter routes.

He was targeted about a half-dozen times during the first scrimmage, where he impressed. Twice, he was able to easily beat defenders deep, and was a few yards behind the defense. On one of those instances, the ball was slightly underthrown by Wiegers, and the opposing defensive back did a nice job to prevent Ways from coming back to the ball, resulting in an incompletion. Just a couple plays later, the pass-catch duo went right back to the well, and this time Wiegers found Ways in stride for the easy score.

It's what Ways did on shorter routes that was perhaps just as impressive. He had nice catches on both the left and right sidelines, and though he couldn't turn them upfield for yards after catch, he made the most of what the play called for. Consistently getting open and catching the ball on those plays is all you can ask of Ways.

One play, however, showed a glimpse of the future for Ways. On a short hitch route in the middle of the field, he felt for a hole in the Melvindale zone, and made the catch in some space. He immediately turned it upfield, and split a couple different groups of defenders for a 40-yard touchdown. The opportunity and ability came together to show what Ways will be capable of.



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