The play at 1:26 proves that Ways is ready for college ball. He makes a difficult catch over his shoulder (this ball probably left his sight for a split second) then walks the sideline into the end zone. He has a high ceiling.
I had the opportunity to speak with Detroit Country Day wide receiver prospect Maurice Ways, who filled me in on the details of his recruitment, his relationship with Michigan, and much more.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I've only been playing football for three years; last year was my first year of varsity. My first love was basketball, and I really wanted to play college basketball. When I got to Country Day my coaches told me I could be really good if I worked at football, so I took it all in and started working really hard. Especially last summer, when it was my first year on varsity, I shot up and exceeded my own expectations. It got my confidence up and motivated me, the fact that I could be great if I worked hard at it. I'm just working hard and trying to get better for next season.
It's not too uncommon for basketball players to translate to the receiver position in football, and you definitely look athletic on film. Do you have any basketball offers?
I have one: Central Michigan. It's really not too serious, but they've taken a look here and there.
Did you grow up a fan of a certain college?
Oh yea, I grew up a huge Michigan fan. I was raised on it. Every Saturday at noon or 3:30 we'd watch the Michigan game, it was a big thing for our family. My first Michigan game was in 2007 when Michigan played Ohio State. Me and my dad went, it was crazy. It was cold outside and the atmosphere was unbelievable, and I just thought wow, what if I get a chance to play in this game? That would be amazing, so the fact that it could actually come true is amazing.
Would you call Michigan the dream offer?
Yea, definitely. It would definitely be a dream come true. I'd have to consider my options if they do offer me, but it would definitely be up there. That's really where my mom wants me to go. It would be a great offer and opportunity, and if it happens that's great but if it doesn't I'll just keep working.
Describe yourself as a player. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I'm a big receiver; I'm pretty tall. I like to go up and get the ball and make a play on it at its highest point. I really enjoy blocking for my teammates, making the extra play or the extra block for them. I catch the ball with my hands, and I just react to what the defense gives me. I don't have the technique of receiver down yet because I've only been playing for three years, but once I really start getting the fundamentals down and become a student of the game I'll feel the game better.
Anything else you feel like you can improve on?
Yea, breaking tackles and getting my lower body strength up in the weight room, and also my footwork.
Do you have a chip on your shoulder because you aren't included in the early rankings for your class?
Of course I feel like I have something to prove and I want to prove it to myself. I think it helps me, it makes me work harder and makes me hungry. Some people are the most talented but you can outwork them. You can be ranked in the top 200, but when it's time to play football we'll see if the ranking is right. At the end of the day I'm trying to work hard and reach my goals; the rankings don't really matter to me.
Tell us about recruiting. What are you looking for in a school?
Academics are first and foremost: I want to get a good education and have a great career after college. I want the coaches to care about us on and off the field, and I want our team to have trust and have each others' backs. Overall just a place where I can see myself for the next three to four years.
Have you talked to any Michigan recruits, or talked to other recruits about Michigan?
I haven't talked to anyone who plays or played a sport at Michigan, but I know Lawrence Marshall. He and I haven't talked a lot about Michigan, but we have talked about it.
Iowa just offered you. How do you feel about that offer?
The Iowa offer was huge. It was my first Big Ten offer. I was really honored and glad to have a Big Ten offer. I had a short conversation with the coach too.
Will distance be a factor?
I'm not really sure in terms of distance just yet. I don't want to go so far that I'm unreachable, but I don't want to be too close where I'm not even away from home. It's a fine line of what's too far and what's far enough, but I'll make the right choice for me and my family.
Is there anyone in your family who has an impact on your recruitment? How much of a role does your family play?
My family is extremely close. There isn't a specific college they want me to go to, they just want me to make the best decision for me and for us as a family. If I find that one school that has what I'm looking for then everyone will be happy.
How would you describe your relationship with the Michigan coaches?
I don't really have one. I haven't talked to the coaches on the phone, but I've received letters from them and was invited to their camp.
You camped at State this past summer. Tell us about that experience.
It was good, it was my first football camp. I made a nice connection with their receivers coach. It was my first fundamentals camp also, so I worked on my technique and learned about receiver. It was a really good experience.
Do you fee like you'll be offered by State at some point in time?
I'm actually going to the game Thursday when they play Wisconsin. I definitely have a good relationship with the coaches. I think they'll offer sometime in the future but I don't know when.
Are you excited for Michigan's camp?
Yea, it's a chance for me to prove myself against the best competition at the camp, and more than anything I want to learn and see what I need to do to become a better receiver. I want to be a student of the game.
Who else has offered you?
Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green and Iowa.
How quickly would things change if Michigan came through with an offer?
I probably wouldn't commit right then, I don't want to commit too early. They'd definitely be in my top group right there and then. I just want to learn more about their program.
Do you have a timeline set?
Hopefully I'll have my decision made before the start of my senior season; I don't want the added drama but I also don't want to rush my decision. I'll know when the time is right.
Do you plan on going to Nike camps or anything?
I'm going to the Rivals camp in Chicago and the Nike Sparq camp in Chicago as well. So those are my two big camps that I'm going to.
Moe is an extremely well-spoken young man with a great attitude. I was surprised to hear that he has only been on the football field for three years: he already looks more polished on film than some other prospects in his class. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Michigan State offered, and I'm hoping that he comes out strong at Michigan's summer camp as well. The Wolverines will probably take three receivers in this class and Ways looks capable of earning one of those spots. He's also genuinely concerned about academics and grew up a Michigan fan, so an offer from the Wolverines might be too much for him to turn down.