Michigan Football Showcase - Skill Guys Pt 1

GoBlueWolverine was on hand for the Michigan Football Showcase put on by the Lifting as We Climb Foundation. The skill players took the field in the afternoon and took the event to another level. Competition was high thanks to a few top flight receivers showing up to silence doubters and a few corners rising from obscurity to show that they're among the best in the Midwest. (Part 1 of 2)

DeAnthony Arnett - Saginaw

The young man had something to prove on the day, and he did just that.  Just a few hours after he and his basketball team defeated Detroit Denby and only hours before his Sunday afternoon basketball practice, Arnett made his way to the Showcase and put on a memorable show.  The 6-0 175-pounder is not a burner as far as speed is concerned, but that wasn't evident in the way he scorched defensive backs all day long.  Eilar Hardy, check. Delonte Hollowell, check.  Everyone else that stepped to the plate, check.  The traits that make Arnett so effective are his outstanding fluidity and precise route-running.  He keeps opponents on their heels and keeps them guessing about what route he'll run next.  Those that guess are at his mercy.  Arnett is a big double move guy, so matching aggressive DB's against him was like sending lambs to slaughter.  He is a technician with release moves, which made getting good jams on him very difficult.  There's a lot of polish on this youngster.  DeAnthony normally isn't normally a talkative kid, but on this day he spoke up… both with his mouth and with his play.

Shawn Conway - Birmingham Seaholm

Like Arnett, Conway came in with a chip on his shoulder, and boy did he ever silence a lot of doubters.  He didn't come until after church, but he made the most of his time at the event.  Anyone that slept on his speed (legit 4.5) was in for a rude awakening.  A long strider, Conway glides on the football field.  He eats up cushion in only a few steps, which seemingly caught opponents off guard time and time again.  In the early going he seemed to get on top of DB's at will and was open deep in the secondary on virtually every play. However, as he got more and more reps defenders began to bail out immediately on the snap of the ball.  That made it tougher for him to gain that deep advantage.  He still managed to gain it at times, but because his arsenal consisted mostly of the fly pattern and the comeback… DBs got better at anticipating what he was going to do.  That didn't make him ineffective though.  It just made the degree of difficulty of he catches higher.  He delivered on a number of leaping contortionist grabs that highlighted both his vertical and his huge hands.  Once this kid refines his route running ability (i.e. the technical aspects of his game) he has a chance to be really really good.  It was definitely an impressive introduction to the big time football recruiting scene. Stay tuned for Showcase highlights and a video interview coming later in the week.

Kenny Mullen - Ft. Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers

Why this youngster doesn't possess any offers is a mystery.  DeAnthony Arnett cited him as the corner that gave him the most problems and so did Conway.  Mullins is only about 5-10, but has great hips and showed the best burst of any corner present.   He also has good strength.  Those traits allowed him to stick with receivers much better than his contemporaries.  The knock on him is his size, but on this day he proved that he plays much bigger than he actually is.

James Farrow - Minnetonka (MN)

Farrow had a really good day.  He's a legit 6-0+, has 4.5 forty speed, and plays with great technique.  He wasn't quite as quick as Mullins, but his length made him tougher to beat at times.  He had nearly perfect coverage on Conway on a fly pattern… and only an outstanding catch by the Michigan commit beat him.  Farrow stepped right back up to the plate the next time, but the outcome was different.  His stride for stride positioning and long arms forced an incompletion.  After getting beaten by Arnett and Shaquille Washington he kept stepping back up to the plate and eventually experienced success.  His tools combined with his size definitely make him one to watch.

Greg Brown - Fremont (OH) Ross

The Michigan commitment started out slowly… seeming to almost going through the motions to begin the day.  Once he got warmed up and increased his intensity, his level of play rose.  Brown appears to have added muscle to his frame and looks to be about 5-11 and 185/190 lbs.  The added bulk doesn't appear to have muted his speed (4.5) or quickness either.  He excels when he can muscle receivers at the line, but he also showed loose hips and a nice recovery burst out of breaks in off coverage.  It's all about consistency in both focus and intensity with this youngster.  When he doesn't play with those traits he resorts to guessing, clutching, and grabbing.  When he concentrates he is much more fluid both physically and mentally.  By the end of the day he was making the kinds of plays on balls that we saw him make routinely at Michigan's camp last summer and was one of the best performers out on the island.

Delonte Hollowell - Detroit Cass Tech

Hollowell had a tough time in one-on-ones against the likes of DeAnthony Arnett and his precise routes and Shaquille Washington and his blinding quickness.  Compared to Greg Brown, the Cass Tech standout isn't as fluid in his backpedal and is tighter in the hips.  When he gets his hands on receivers he is able to use is impressive strength and long arms to hinder opponents long enough to get his hips around.  That was much more of an issue in one-on-ones than it was in seven-on-sevens.  In seven-on-seven Hollowell's performance improved significantly.  Both his high IQ and understanding of coverages was apparent, as he jumped a number of routes to break up passes and almost hauled in an interception before dropping it.  Within the framework of a defense his good straight-line speed and strength are bigger assets because he knows where his help is.  That, in turn, allows him to play more aggressively.  He is a textbook boundary corner in a cover 2 scheme.  He could also excel as a bandit or spur in Michigan's 3-3-5 look.

The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, Inc. (LAWCF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created, organized, and managed by five Hampton University graduates. Established in 2004, the organization is primarily made up of young business professionals under the age of 30, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged, low-income youth. The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, prides itself on being a "youth to youth" mentoring organization, with a specific mission to uplift disadvantaged, "at risk" youth between the ages of twelve and eighteen.

For more information on the Foundation, please go to http://www.liftingasweclimb.com

For information on the Sound Mind Sound Body camps, go to http://www.smsbcamp.com

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