- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- 2014 defensive back Tim Cason (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) knew the missing ingredient that would turn up the heat on his recruitment.
He already held offers from Toledo and Bowling Green and had interest from Ball State, Michigan State, Indiana, Nebraska and Michigan. But his recruitment hadn’t exploded like other kids from the Detroit metro area.
So when he was contacted about trying out for the MaxEx 7-on-7 team, Cason jumped at the chance. It was the team that Michigan commits Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle), Jourdan Lewis (Detroit/Cass Tech), Csont’e York (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) and Khalid Hill (Detroit/East English Village Prep) had played for. Teo Redding (Detroit/Consortium College Prep) was committed to Central Michigan. And the list went on with others who held big offers.
“I was looking into seven-on-seven teams and with most teams, I was looking at the guys they were putting into college and it was pretty rare that they were putting guys in college, as far as football [scholarships],” Cason said. “But I looked at MaxEx and half of their top team was going to college on scholarships.”
The exposure at national tournaments would help his recruitment, but that wasn’t the only factor.
With MaxEx’s rigorous training and practice schedule, Cason would be able to match up on a regular basis with players like 2014 Watch List member Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech).
“Playing with MaxEx and going up against those guys every single practice and then when we have tournaments, that’ll make me better as a DB rather than just practicing by myself,” Cason said. “I think it’ll be very valuable and help me out with my season next year.”
During Clarkston’s season, coach Kurt Richardson saw that as the competition during the season elevated, so did Cason’s play. And he knows that if Cason can spend a winter training with the best in Michigan that his on-field play next year will reflect that.
“The better competition he sees, that’ll make him a better player,” Richardson said. “We didn’t see a lot of good quarterbacks early and then at the end of the year we did and he definitely got better when we saw better people.”
Richardson had always seen the natural athleticism in Cason, who runs a 4.45 in the 40 and a 3.8 in the shuttle drill. Cason’s feet have always stood out and Richardson said they’re “just a blessing that he has” that allowed Clarkston to put Cason on an island this season.
And with a season training with MaxEx and the growth as a player and in his recruitment that he’ll most likely see, Richardson could be welcoming back a completely different player next fall.