With two wide receivers from the class of 2014 already enrolled and another on the way, Michigan has one of the most talented wide receiver hauls in the nation this year. Once Detroit Country Day wideout Maurice Ways officially signs and faxes his Letter Of Intent to the University of Michigan, he will join Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen as part of the Wolverines' future pass catching unit.
After a productive junior season put Ways on Michigan's radar, the 6'4", 200 lb. wide receiver sought to cement himself as a top target for the Wolverines. Although Ways' junior tape is quite impressive, the pinnacle of his talent was yet to be reached, and would only be achieved through perseverance.
"Just a lot of hard work and dedication contributed to getting better and improving on my game," said Ways. "I followed my potential in my game after last year and I figured if I work hard and dedicate myself to get better as a student of the game, then I could really elevate my game. I've gotten better in a lot of areas from year to year and I'm just going to keep working hard to hit my peak whenever that may be."
The improvement that Ways made from his junior to senior season was evident and it paid dividend on the field in 2013. As a much stronger, more athletic pass catcher, Ways reeled in 55 catches for 1,261 yards and 16 total touchdowns. These numbers dwarfed his junior production and he resembled a completely different player, a much-improved version of his former self.
"I had a couple guys that would work with me individually one on one," said Ways. "A couple coaches that would help me catch the ball. They showed me what I needed to work on physically and that I needed to get my hands stronger so I could be imposing on a defense. I rededicated myself to the way I run, train and work on my speed and catching. Things like that that contribute to making myself successful as a wide receiver. I want to get better and be the best and great at what I do. It's my mantra to work hard at the next level so I can play next year."
As stated, the goal for Maurice will be to impact Michigan as soon as he can in whatever capacity that may be. Michigan is quite clearly bringing in physically-superior athletes when compared to previous classes, and Ways is a poster child for this reality. As a long, speedy receiver that uses his strength to out-work defensive backs on down-field patterns or in the red zone, Ways sees his physical talent as a decisive factor in his favor against opponents.
"I will probably be split outside," said Ways. "I will probably play how Devin Funchess played this year. I want to be that deep ball threat because [Michigan] liked a receiver that could grind and get those extra yards. I will be a playmaker that wants the ball when the game is on the line. I can make a play with the game on the line wherever that may be. I'm willing to work hard since my ultimate goal is to be the best receiver I can be and make my mark on Michigan."
Since Ways was present for every Michigan home game this year, he has a very good idea of what it takes to make his mark in Ann Arbor. As opposed to most who took in Michigan games this year, Ways took a more calculated approach to watching the Wolverines play.
"I watched every game closely, but I watched each game a different way," said Ways. "I didn't watch as a fan, I watched as a player. I was learning to see what offense they were running and how they were beating teams. Having that recruitment pressure off so I could focus on football and my last year of high school was good. I liked being able to prepare myself and have more time than other guys who committed late."
As a Michigan commit since April 25, Ways has had a long time to build his relationship with the Wolverines staff. This relationship began under the guidance of former offensive coordinator Al Borges, but will continue inside the framework of new OC Doug Nussmeier's offense. Given Nussmeier's track record as a successful developer of talent, Ways is excited for what he will bring to Michigan and likes what he has seen so far.
"He was in my house for a visit a couple weeks ago," said Ways. "What he said about the offensive scheme and how he plans on teaching it is very good. He's going to make our offense very easy to learn. I'll be sure to get my feet wet and get acclimated with everything. I'm excited. I think he's going to take it in the right direction. He improved Alabama, and I think he will do the same if not better. I'm excited for how he will take me and Team 135 for Michigan's future."
It is no secret that Maurice is going to fax his Letter Of Intent to Michigan early this morning, but many Wolverine faithful will be anxiously awaiting the announcement of another dominant in-state talent- Southfield defensive end Malik McDowell. Ranked as a composite five-star according to 247sports, McDowell is choosing between Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Florida State later today.
"I'm not sure," said Ways. "I saw he came out with a top 5 a few days ago, so I'm sure we are somewhere in the discussion. I've heard that he was able to see Alabama and all those special places. I hope he will come in and work hard and be hungry and he can be a great asset to the team. I feel like he will commit to Michigan, but then again every payer has to do what is best for them and their family. I'm just going to wait with everybody else and see what he picks."
Whether McDowell becomes a member of Team 135 or not, the Wolverines have secured a commitment from a local wide receiver that is more than determined to make a splash in Ann Arbor in Moe Ways.