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Posted on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 9:30 a.m.

WR Amara Darboh 'shocked' teammates, named Michigan's most impressive freshman on 1st day

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan receiver Amara Darboh was impressive in his first official college practice.

Bill Neibergall | The Des Moines Register

The Michigan football team is in search of a third starting wide receiver and, although it's far too premature for a true leader to emerge, one player is off to a fast start.

He happens to be a true freshman.

Amara Darboh earned rave reviews from teammates for his play Monday in the Wolverines' first fall practice. Senior receiver Roy Roundtree called him the best freshman of the day, regardless of position.

"He had a couple catches that shocked us," senior quarterback Denard Robinson said. "He competed today. You could tell he wants to play."

Michigan is dealing with turnover at receiver, after graduating top wideout Junior Hemingway and dismissing projected starter Darryl Stonum. Roundtree and junior Jeremy Gallon are returning starters, but who plays alongside them?

It would be big for Michigan if Darboh were capable of the job because he's, well, big.

Darboh checks in at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. For comparison, Hemingway, another big-bodied wideout, played last season at 6-1, 222 pounds.

"He's really fast and strong," said Roundtree, who is rooming with Darboh during camp. "Amara, he just showed out today. I feel like he's really being comfortable. I told him, 'It's football, man. It's just a faster pace.' And he did it."

The senior has been impressed with Darboh, but acknowledges he has a ways to go before he has a handle on the mental aspects of the position.

"I quizzed him last night to make sure he was on his Ps and Qs," Roundtree said. "He asks a lot of questions, but he did a great job.

"His head is spinnin', just like all the other freshman. Asking questions. But he's a great kid."

Darboh was born in Sierra Leone, but moved to Des Moines, Iowa, after his parents were killed in the African country's civil war.

He will battle for time with returner Jerald Robinson, as well as possibly Devin Gardner. The quarterback has been practicing at receiver, although it's unknown whether he's making the move full time or situationally.

There's also another freshman, Jehu Chesson, who was not as impressive as Darboh on the first day but showed flashes of talent.

"He can spread the field," Roundtree said. "Skinny guy, but he's tall and can run great routes. He goes up for the balls like Coach (Jeff) Heck(linski) wants him to. He's going to be good.

"I feel like they recruited two great wide receivers."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Sat, Aug 11, 2012 : 8:47 a.m.

Bruce asked "And is DR looking to pass first and then run or is he still primarily looking to run?", implying Denard has been up to this point "primarily looking to run". I didn't answer the question because it's like me asking if the sky is still filled with clouds or is it still mostly giant raisins. The premise isn't true to begin with, so it's a bogus question. Let me enlighten you. You dinosaurs think that all offensive plays are either passing plays OR running plays. This often isn't true in a spread option offense. You're obviously familiar with plays that have the standard "primary receiver read, secondary receiver read, dump-off" progression, right? Well, in the spread option offense, they look more like "primary receiver, secondary receiver, run C gap", or "hand-off C gap, keep off-tackle, bubble screen." As in, a QB run is part of the designed progression of a play instead of the QB getting happy feet and bailing on his reads. Denard has never been the type of QB to stop reading and improvise. In fact, for most of his career, when a pure passing play was called, he'd often stay with it TOO long, choosing to stay behind the line looking for a receiver instead of heading downfield. I'm willing to be none of you can find 5 instances in his entire Michigan career to this point where he ran a passing play but didn't finish his progression, choosing instead to run. NOT when the run was part of his specified progression, but when it was a pure passing play.

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

Darboh will be the next #1 jersey WR at Michigan.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:39 a.m.

Roundtree, Gardner, Darboh and Gallon. Not a bad lineup, lots of talent. Even Drew Dileo brings some football smarts and speed to the lineup.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

Those who have just arrived will be champions. Hail!


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Love the idea of playing Gardner at WR. We've got to get his athleticism on the field


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

So maybe we go from what if when Stonum was dismissed to things quite possibly could be looking up. For Mich. to stay competitive with the big boys, Mich. will need depth. I like the insinuation of this article at wide receiver.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

This Darboh kid may be one of the steals of this recruiting class for Michigan. With his physical size and catching ability, he could become another outstanding possession receiver like Jason Avant. Of course we'll need to see how he holds onto the ball when hit hard. But it sounds like Darboh has a bit more speed than Avant. I'm anxious to see what Michigan does with Devin Gardner at WR. He has the ability to be a great deep threat with his size and long stride. And that's a weak point on our roster right now at least. Chesson may help us out there too eventually.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:32 a.m.

My man, "the Way" wants everybody to explain their posts to him. Maybe we should just check with him BEFORE we post something. How about you try answering you own question, Way? Can you think of a reason WHY you would send a receiver across the middle but not a backup QB taking some snaps at WR across the middle? Plus which one has more experience with D-Rob and understands the offense a lot better which is why "81" wanted to see DG at wideout? Any "Way" you look at it "81" was just going with the story about the first practice.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Darboh is actually faster than Devin Gardner. Why would Darboh be a possession receiver while Gardner is the deep threat?


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

It seems the WR position will be abley filled per Junior Hemingway's graduation with potential from Darboh as well as Devin Gardiner. Keep Roy Rountree's abilit in the mix and don't forget some of the great catches Jeromy Gallon made last season. Yes, we'll need to see an improved passing ability from Denard and I am sure he worked very hard on that during the summer.

Bruce Kennedy

Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 2 p.m.

I just hope DR has worked on his foot work so he can set properly and throw long enough and accurate enough to get these guys the ball. Please cut down on the interceptions. And is DR looking to pass first and then run or is he still primarily looking to run?


Sat, Aug 11, 2012 : 8:50 a.m.

"When the WCiMFH was here there were many times that D-Rob showed no interest in passing, at all. Because of "the way" he was coached he didn't feel comfortable reading pass defenses and checking down to receivers." Funny, considering he had 2500 yards passing that year and a higher efficiency rating that Tom Brady or Chad Henne ever did. You're literally just making things up now.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:47 a.m.

AZ that's not HIS WAY, and that's the ONLY WAY THE WAY wants it remembered. When the WCiMFH was here there were many times that D-Rob showed no interest in passing, at all. Because of "the way" he was coached he didn't feel comfortable reading pass defenses and checking down to receivers. To his credit he knew that running was his first, best option. What a shame that he was wasted his freshman year watching too much and playing too little. It almost staggers the imagination how badly he was coached his first year. At least that's "the way" I see it. TiM Go BLue!


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

The Way...can you explain? Bruce was simply asking a question. If you have the answer, perhaps you could answer it rather than jumping down his throat.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Denard has never, EVER been the type of QB who would look to run first. Never. Even when RR was here. Learn a bit about the offenses he's been in and a little something about the plays being called before you comment.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Yeah Denard, stop and plant your back foot before throwing the ball to a covered receiver while being blitzed. lol


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

He can choose to run first and then pass all he wants. Just so long as he stops and plants his back foot before throwing.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Remember the Iowa game, last season when Denard was trying to pass the ball before running. He did much better when he opted to run then pass. I am sure Denard will use his experience to judge better when to throw or run. Let's hope so.