Many fans may not have known the name Shawn Conway prior to his commitment yesterday, but his game had long ago caught the attention of college coaches… especially those at the University of Michigan. The Birmingham Seaholm standout first came to the attention of the Maize & Blue during their 7-on-7 camp last season. At that point he truly was a big and talented athlete that no one knew about. The question was, why?
"My freshman year I was at Cass Tech and then I transferred to Cody High School so I did not get to play my freshman year," Conway explained. "Then I transferred over to Seaholm my sophomore year and they did not let me play until the last two games of the season, so I did not really get a chance to play much my sophomore year. My junior year I started and worked a little bit."
A little bit is an understatement. The talented youngster made an impact on both sides of the ball, but did the majority of his damage as a playmaking wideout.
"I'm 6-4, I weigh 185 and I run a 4.4," Conway said. "Well it is 4.49, but I'll say a 4.4 (laughter). I had over 800 yards and 79 catches I believe. I do not know how many touchdowns. I think it was nine or ten touchdowns. I had I think 500 return yards both kickoff and punt returns. On defense I had two interceptions."
Conway's athletic excellence isn't limited to the gridiron. He is also a standout Seaholm's basketball team. Early last week he took his explosive high wire act to Lake Orion where he went for 35 points and 14 rebounds. He followed that up with a 24 point 14 rebound effort against Berkeley. Impressive numbers to be sure, but even more impressive is the fact that those efforts weren't anomalies. Conway averages a double/double (22 points and 14 rebounds) for the 17-1 Maples.
With Rich Rodriguez's known affinity for dual sport athletes, Conway's hardwood exploits likely increased his appeal. During Michigan's junior day yesterday the Wolverines' headman let the talented youngster know exactly how much.
"I basically just walked in and as soon as I walked up all the coaches addressed me by name," Conway recalled. "They all shook my hand and looked in my eyes. I was like wow! Coach Rodriguez, he pulled me aside and we went into his office and everything. He was showing me around and everything. Then he told me that there was only going to be two receivers from my class that were going to get a scholarship from Michigan this year and he offered me one. I accepted it!"
"I had no idea it was coming," he continued. "This morning when I woke up I was just expecting to go down and visit and see how everything looked. I had no idea I was going to get an offer today."
Conway was just beginning to shed his "under the radar" status when the Wolverines came calling, but the opportunity at Michigan was just too much to pass up.
"I was hearing from Florida, Purdue, Illinois, Syracuse, Bowling Green, a whole bunch of other schools," Conway stated. "They had a lot of interest in me. Florida wanted me to come down to their one day camp in the summer. But Michigan called me first."
Part of what made the decision such a no-brainer was Conway's rapport with the players and coaches in Ann Arbor.
"Actually one of the kids that I went to Cass Tech with (Delonte Hollowell)… he had already committed," said Conway. I was talking to him and I asked him what made him to commit. He basically told me it was the love that the coaches gave him. The facilities and everything, the school tradition, things like that. The strength coach was really high energy and everything. I won't ever forget that (laughing). They said I would have a lot of work to do academically when I come to Michigan and I'm prepared to do it. You've got to stay focused in school to play college football. He said it was all of those things. I agree 100% on that. Plus I know a couple of other guys who go to Michigan. William Campbell, I know him. I know one of the quarterbacks, his name Thomas Gordon, that goes there. And one of the running backs, Teric Jones."
Now Conway is one of Michigan's future receivers and this 16 year-old (who won't turn 17 until mid June) is committed to working hard so he can make the same impact in Ann Arbor that he is currently making in high school.
"This is my game… if you put it in the air you know I'm going to go get it," Conway said matter-of-factly. "It does not matter who is checking me or where the defender is. I just like for my quarterback to have confidence that if they get in trouble and the play breaks down, just throw it up and give me a chance with it. I'll go get it!"
Conway will be in attendance at next Sunday's Michigan Football Showcase.