Lineman David Dawson the most impressive Michigan commit at Columbus recruiting event
Shane Morris is the big-time quarterback with the big-time arm, and drew the spotlight this weekend during a pair of recruiting events in Columbus, Ohio.
Rightfully so, too, after the Michigan football commit won MVP of Friday's Elite 11 regional, then was named one of the top quarterbacks at Saturday's Nike Football Training Camp.
Yet, David Dawson might have been the Wolverines' most impressive recruit in Columbus.
The offensive lineman and Detroit Cass Tech star flashed power and speed during the Nike event, and finished off the day by besting defensive line MVP -- and Ohio State commit -- Billy Price.
"It's a non-padded camp, so the defense should win more often than not in line drills," Scout Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said Sunday. "But he went out there and really was the most impressive lineman. He beat Billy Price head-to-head at the end of the day.
"I think that really sealed the MVP for him, when he won that rep."
Dawson was joined at the Nike camp by fellow Michigan commits Morris, Taco Charlton (defensive end), Mike McCray (linebacker), Khalid Hill (tight end) and Logan Tuley-Tillman (offensive line).
They were competing for spots in The Opening, a national camp held at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon. Morris, Dawson, Charlton and McCray each earned invites.
Trieu said while Morris draws the most attention, Dawson has made the most gains this offseason and is becoming a force in the Wolverines' heralded 2013 recruiting class.
"He's really taken it to another level," Trieu said. "He plays tackle normally, but I project him as a guard in college, and that's what he played in Columbus. He looked fantastic."
Dawson is ranked the No. 1 guard in the country, according to ESPN, and headlines the best offensive line class in the country at this point. All five commits -- Dawson (No. 92 overall player), Tuley-Tillman (97), Chris Fox (105), Kyle Bosch (112) and Patrick Kuger (121) -- rank among ESPN's top 150 players.
That forms a powerful group, and one that could eventually be protecting Morris. The Warren DeLaSalle star is ranked among the top-five quarterbacks in the country, although struggled during a recent event in Dallas.
But he redeemed himself during the Elite 11 on Friday in Columbus, beating out quarterbacks from Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame to earn entry into the Elite 11 finals -- a matchup of the nation's best passing quarterbacks.
On Saturday, he earned an invitation to The Opening with a second consecutive impressive performance.
"This was definitely the best I've seen him in a while," Trieu said. "I think this is the first time he's come out with a specific goal -- he wanted to win that MVP -- and I think that kind of next-level focus elevated his game.
"He's always been a gunslinger, but this time, it wasn't just, 'I'm going to rifle everything.' He showed touch. He's taken something off it to make it a catchable ball."
That process of striking a balance between power and touch is typical for a high school quarterback with a big arm, Trieu said, adding, "these guys with the fastball, they need to know when it throw it, and Morris is starting to figure that out."
McCray also had a big day at linebacker, and was named MVP of that position.
Trieu said the one Michigan recruit who struggled in Columbus was Tuley-Tillman.
"Not his best day, but he's also coming back from a shoulder injury," Trieu said. "Some of the speed rushers gave him trouble. But he was always considered more of a long-term guy anyway. He'll be fine."
One thing the 6-foot-7 Tuley-Tillman has going for him is size. The Peoria, Ill., native is up to about 305 pounds, after playing last year around 275.