Michigan goes big in receiver recruiting, says speed is 'overrated'
They seem to be big on size, but lack elite speed.
That doesn't concern receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski.
"Speed is overrated," he said last week. "Obviously, it's something we have to have. But speed is overrated. How can you truly judge the speed of a high school kid on the perimeter when maybe he touches the ball three times a game?
"If you can't catch, we have issues, right? All of our guys, if you watch them on high school film, they have great hands, they extend, they adjust to the ball, they track the ball very well up in the air -- they go up and they catch it. We can judge that on film. So, let's get the best hand-eye coordination guys -- guys that can go catch the football -- and let's bring 'em in here and then lets develop different areas."
Michigan's receiver class includes Da'Mario Jones of Westland John Glenn High School; Csont'e York of Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy; and Jaron Dukes of Columbus, Ohio.
None is known for his speed, and none is ranked among the nation's 50 best receivers according to Rivals. Dukes is considered the best wideout in the class, ranked 60th in the country.
But the Wolverines think they still found some good ones who fit their mold: Big guys who are strong in the air.
Jones is 6-foot-2, York is 6-3 and Dukes is 6-5. Include 2012 receiver signees Amara Darboh (6-2) and Jehu Chesson (6-2), and Michigan has added five wideouts the past two years who each stand at least 6-2.
And that's no accident.
"When he walks through that door, he should look like a Michigan wide receiver," Hecklinski said of Michigan's philosophy on recruiting receivers. "That thought, when a kid walks in and you say, 'Does he look like a Michigan Man?' That's important to us. That's very important to us because he represents us."
Hecklinski said Michigan will continue to recruit size at the position, citing former wideout Junior Hemingway as the archetype -- a 6-2 player who didn't have blazing speed, but was tremendous in beating defensive backs in the air.
If a recruit has those skills, the Wolverines believe they can teach the rest.
"It's an undercoached position in high school football -- not by anyone's fault, it's just the nature of the beast at receiver right now," Hecklinski said. "Let us coach technique, let us coach what we want. But if you can catch the ball, there's a place for you. Drew Dileo, Jeremy Gallon, they're not tall. But what do they do? They catch the ball."
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