March 16, 2009

Williamson adds to Warren's proud history at U-M

Michigan wide receiver commitment D.J. Williamson did not put up overwhelmingly big numbers in 2008, but that should change next fall. The 6-1, 172-pounder will receive plenty of opportunity to showcase his talent …

"We didn't have the quarterback last year to really air it out like we wanted to, but we will this fall, and D.J. is a kid that demands more opportunity," head coach D.J. Dota said.

"He's a slasher. We used him a lot on bubble screens but he runs a 10.8 100-meter dash so he's some that we can use vertically too. He has great hands, is a good route runner and because he's a former tailback, he has outstanding vision and a real explosion once he gets the ball in his hands."

In 2008, Williamson caught 36 passes for 376 yards (10.4 yards per reception) and three touchdowns.

The Raiders used bits and pieces of a spread offense last fall and will make a permanent switch in time for Williamson's senior year. Dota is already planning on ways to make best use of the standout's strengths.

"I really feel like he'll be a great matchup at the slot receiver position in Michigan's offense," he said. "That's the offense we're going to use this fall and we think he'll exploit linebackers and safeties that can't keep up with his speed.

"He can get bigger and more physical too. He's probably closer to 180 pounds right now and he could carry 190 pounds without affecting his speed. He just never gets the chance to work out because he goes from football to indoor track to outdoor track.

"But he's a kid that is going to work to be his best in the weight room, in the classroom and, especially, on the football field."

The Warren, Ohio, native drew attention from UCLA, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State but Michigan was the first to offer and he really did not consider going anywhere else. Dota guarantees his star will not be changing his mind, putting to rest worries of a decommitment.

"Going to Michigan has always been a lifelong dream of his," he said. "They were his first offer and he didn't even think twice about it. He definitely had some other big-name suitors but he has spent his whole life dreaming of playing for Michigan, and now he can."

Few from the Buckeye State ever grow up with a desire to wear the maize and blue instead of the scarlet and gray, but Warren is a unique place. Located about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland, Warren has produced nine Wolverines, including cornerback David Arnold (1985-88), safety Alfie Burch (1990-93), linebacker Carl Diggs (2000-03), linebacker Prescott Burgess (2003-06) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (2005-07).

"There have been a lot of Warren kids that have gone there and been successful," Dota said. "That's the thing I like about sending kids to Michigan - they finish college better players and better people.

"D.J. is a good kid. He's a happy-go-lucky personality, laid back; nothing bothers him. He knows there is some competition there but he feels he has what it takes to become the next Warren alum to have a successful playing career at Michigan."

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