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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alabama receiver Marquis Maze has made a commitment to Michigan. Maze is a 5'8" scatback/slot receiver/return specialist who will no doubt make one huge play during his Michigan career and set off a cascade of Maze-related puns on sports pages across the Midwest. You can see them now: "A-Maze-ing" for the local papers, "Maze and Blue" for whichever team he's just posterized.

This is the H3 version of the Carlos Brown commitment: basically the same but way smaller. Like Brown, Maze is a southerner who plays quarterback, running back, and wide receiver for his high school team because not giving him the ball is dumb. Like Brown, Maze's commitment came as a big "huh?" to Michigan fans who had heard nothing about him. The H3 bit? Maze's rep (instead of a top-100 uber-recruit, Maze is a lightly-regarded three star) and size (Maze is listed at 5'8" and looks it in the video I saw) are both much smaller than Brown's.

Argh what about Clemons and Hemingway?

The Maze commitment shouldn't affect them. Both are pure receivers and whatever impact Maze has will probably be spread through three or four positions. Even his high school team seems to deploy him in the service of shock and awe: as a junior Maze had nine receptions which averaged over 50 yards per. As a runner he found similarly unbelievable success -- 12 yards per carry -- on similarly thin attempts -- 91. (Rivals doesn't have KR/PR numbers in any detail.) Maze isn't going to carry the mail like either of those guys could.

Aargh three star hate three star argh.

I personally like the commit for both ancillary and proper reasons.

  • First: fantastic name.
  • Second: 5'8" guys who can't be tackled without the assistance of the Red Army are tremendous fun to have on the team.
  • Third: he had standing offers from both Auburn and Tennessee -- possibly a better indication of his value than a three-star ranking.
  • Fourth: he's almost a guaranteed contributor as a return specialist, and anyone who remembers the days of Diallo Johnson can make a quick comparison to Breaston and arrive at the conclusion that even if he hardly sees a snap on offense he's worth one scholarship of 85.
  • Fifth: I watched the available video from Rivals and he reminded me of Mike Hart and Steve Breaston. Before that sentence gets pasted everywhere as clear evidence of homer delusion: obviously there's a huge leap from high school to the pros. He's got a not-insignificant chance of being Carl Tabb. Still... he's got moves. You can hear Berman going "woop woop woop" in your head watching him, which is annoying (shut up, Berman! Or I'll have brain cancer at you!) but exciting.

Update: Vijay tracked down an article I couldn't find. Check the comparisons from an opposing coach:
"I don't think we've faced anybody as talented as No. 5 (Maze)," said Deshler coach John Mothershed , who has guided the Tigers to the 4A state final four times since 1998, with championships in 1998 and 1999. "Some say he's a lot like (Tyrone) Prothro, but I say he's more like (David) Palmer. He does things with a football that few can do."
I'll take two.