August 17, 2006

'Maze' and Blue: Athlete joins Wolverines

Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson first visited Birmingham (Ala.) Tarrant high school recruit Marquis Maze last winter, and on a subsequent visit in May he had good news for the three-star prospect - U-M wanted to offer him a scholarship. Maze took his own trip to Ann Arbor this past June, but made the coaches sweat a bit before offering his verbal commitment on Wednesday. He is the 11th U-M commitment in the Class of 2007.

"The Michigan coaches had read a report on the Tennessee site, Volquest.com, that sounded like I wanted to go there. They were real nervous about that, so I kind of laughed before telling Coach Jackson, 'I've got good news for you,'" Maze relayed.

"I really liked everything about Michigan -- the school, the coaches, the atmosphere. I wanted to commit before my school year started and I've just know that [U-M] was the place for me."

Maze officially had to tell head coach Lloyd Carr before he was in, but that was a phone conversation he was looking forward to.

"When they first started recruiting me I liked a lot of things about Michigan, but I really liked the coaches," he said. "It was really cool being able to tell Coach Jackson and Coach Carr that I was coming to Michigan."

Maze is listed at 5-foot-8, 160 pounds in the Rivals.com database, but he said he has grown to 5-9 and currently weighs three pounds heavier. He's been hand-timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.37 seconds. That speed came in handy a year ago when he caught nine passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns (an average of more than 50 yards per catch).

"I was the team's deep threat," Maze said. "A lot of opponents played bump and run coverage because they thought they knew I was going deep but they couldn't keep up with me."

Maze also put his speed to use at tailback, kickoff returner and punt returner. Used primarily at running back by Tarrant High School, Maze rushed for 1,109 yards and 19 touchdowns on 95 carries (11.6 yards per attempt). He had three total touchdowns on returns.

Answering the question everyone wants to know - which position did U-M recruit him for - Maze said he was offered a scholarship as an athlete, and feels he can do just about anything Michigan asks of him.

"My friends say I play like Reggie Bush - I can run some out of the backfield, but I can play receiver too and create mismatches with linebackers and safeties," Maze said. "Michigan's coaches told me they see me playing some receiver, some running back and maybe even some on defense. They said once I get up there they'll try me a bit at everywhere and find the spot that best fits me."

Maze enjoys playing both receiver and running back, but understands he may be better suited for the offensive backfield in college because of his lack of size. He'd prefer to play offense to defense, but isn't opposed to playing both.

"The coaches said they liked that I have the athletic ability to play all over. I might have more of a body of a running back but I trust the coaches completely and know they'll put me in the right spot."





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