Signing Day Capsule: Antonio Bass

<strong>Antonio Bass</strong> was one of the best-kept secrets in the recruiting world last winter, and that may still be the case. There are still a number of recruiting followers that don't know how good this young man really is. That, however, is not the case for the Michigan football staff. The Jackson, MI native was a priority from day 1 and is one of the top players in the Wolverines 2005 class.

Antonio Bass
Wide Receiver
Jackson HS
(Jackson, MI)
NR: ****
Position Rank: 9 Profile link:
(includes links to all GoBlueWolverine Stories on this player)
Antonio Bass Profile Player Video:
Antonio Bass Video #1
Antonio Bass Video #2

His Recruiting Story:
Antonio Bass emerged from relative obscurity last winter to become one of the most sought after prospects in 2005 class. Ranked the #2 player in the Michigan high school class of 2005, Bass played quarterback in an option styled attack at Jackson high. With his desire to play quarterback at the college level already expressed, programs that utilize similar systems subsequently wooed him. Though Michigan was the favorite for his services throughout his recruitment, they always made it clear that they were recruiting him as an WR/athlete and not a quarterback. That provided an opening for two teams to muddy the waters considerably.

Early on in the process it was the Virginia Tech Hokies with their promise of making him the next Michael Vick. Eventually, the distance from home proved to be too large a factor. As his process wound down, the Michigan State Spartans (a team that he had not seriously considered previously) jumped heavily into the fray. Spartan coach John L. Smith used his explosive and versatile offensive attack as a selling point. Bass was enamored with Smith's system and when the charismatic coach switched from recruiting him as an athlete and began to recruit him exclusively as a quarterback, it almost landed the Spartans what would have been the catch of their recruiting class.. As enticing as the offer was, it wasn't enough to overcome the pull to Ann Arbor. Citing his relationship with the players and coaches at Michigan, and his overall comfort level in Ann Arbor, Bass decided to become a Wolverine on December 22nd, 2004.

He will line up at wide receiver for the Maize and Blue and see a little time at quarterback in specially designed packages.

GoBlueWolverine Commentary
At nearly 6-2 and 200 lbs., Antonio can blaze the forty in 4.4 seconds and jump over 35 inches. While that combination is pretty rare, there are still a number of other highly regarded prospects nationally that can legitimately boast similar attributes. What separates Antonio from even that class of players and makes him one of the truly elite prospects in the country is his inline quickness. Bass has the uncanny ability to stop and start on a dime. He can freeze defenders with a shake and then reach top speed in just a few steps. That is something generally seen only in much smaller players, so he very is unique in that regard.

When you combine his speed, size and elusiveness with power, you get an accurate picture of what Antonio brings to the table. Defenders can get lulled to sleep thinking that he is just a finesse player but that’s huge mistake. He is also a very physical runner that can be punishing at times. He literally drags players around at the high school level. Simply put, he is a defensive nightmare when he has the ball in his hands. He is the type of player that coordinators have to account for on every play. He’s a true difference maker.

Antonio’s skill set reminds me most of another high school quarterback/receiver that went on to almost win the Heisman trophy six years ago. Peter Warrick had the same electric ability with the ball in his hands that Antonio does. The former Florida State star would have taken home the esteemed trophy all of those years ago if it were not for his off-field troubles. The scary thing is, Antonio is both bigger (6-2 vs. 5-11) and faster (4.4 vs. 4.5). The key now will be how fast he grasps playing a new position.

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