After Michigan landed a pair of four-star commitments from linebackers Jaydon Hood and Junior Colson over the holiday weekend, the Wolverines 2021 recruiting class is optimistic for what the future holds— especially Mansfield (Mass.) High defensive end T.J. Guy.
“I definitely think the 2022 defense and on is going to be really good and really special,” Guy told Wolverine Digest. “We have a lot of playmakers.”
Guy is one of those talented playmakers, and he looks like a prospect destined to exceed where he is currently ranked at. Standing at 6-5 and 245 pounds, Guy is a three-star prospect on 247Sports.com who committed in mid-April, but his potential far outweighs that listing.
“I feel like I’m definitely something bigger than what they have me ranked at,” Guy said. “They’re going get a player that is going to work hard and be a great player out of it. I don’t pay attention to [rankings] too much.”
As a two-sport athlete who plays basketball during the winter, Guy is an agile defensive end that has the versatility to play in multiple spots for the Mansfield defense, which bodes well for his potential down the line.
“I’m a guy that can get to the quarterback off the edge or inside,” Guy said. “I am a good leader. I am just really helping my guys all the time. I feel like I’m good setting the edge outside, or anything that coach asks me to do, I can do on the defensive line.”
According to Mansfield head coach Mike Redding, Guy is likely to add weight over the course of the next year, and his frame could lend itself well to the strong-side defensive end position by the time he reaches Michigan. But regardless of where Guy is positioned on defense, he wants to play more than anything else.
“I’m interested in playing anywhere Michigan asks me to play,” Guy said. “I feel like coach Redding is definitely right because having no basketball at Michigan, I would be able to put on muscle, and I can be a better edge rusher or a strong-side defensive end type of player.
“I can definitely move around a bit too,” Guy said. “I can play outside linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle or anything. Sometimes we will have, if there’s an option [offense], I’ll have quarterback responsibility or it’s just pass rush.”
T.J. Guy always sees room for improvement
From a larger perspective, Guy’s success at the high school level is impressive considering he has only played football for three seasons. Prior to that time, Guy was subject to weight restrictions and could not participate, so he’s learning many aspects of the game on the fly.
And if that was not difficult enough to manage, Guy has done so lately despite the coronavirus quarantine, working to improve both his physical conditioning and his mental preparation for the 2020 season.
“I’m really focusing on the deeper skills you need to play the game, like all the small muscle movements that you need to be faster, moving your feet and your hands,” Guy said. “It’s stuff you really have to study at the next level. I feel like I need to work on my mobility a little bit more and how I actually set the edge. If I’m just playing up on the tackle, then I’m getting my hands on the guy and everything, so I can do what I want to do.”
Coach Redding mentioned that Guy has a non-stop motor and is always anxious to begin his next athletic competition, whether that is football or basketball. Redding specifically recalled how Guy transitioned to basketball immediately after winning a state championship in football to cap off the 2019 season.
“He works hard with us in-season,” Redding said. “In Massachusetts, we played in the state championship on Friday night, and he was playing in a basketball scrimmage on Sunday. The coaches asked if he would take a week off, and he said no, that he just wants to get going and get in shape.”
That level of desire why Guy was voted as a team captain by his teammates.
Michigan adds a driven, tenacious defensive end
That same work ethic attracted Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to Guy, who was a one-time Boston College commit. Guy decommitted from Boston College 12 days after Michigan offered, and the Wolverines had been in hot pursuit of his pledge ever since. Guy eventually committed to Michigan on April 17, and Guy spoke about why the U-M program stood out despite all his offers.
“It’s a great school,” Guy said. “They have 100% graduation rate since coach Harbaugh has been there, so that definitely made an impact on me and my family. It lets you know they have success playing college football even at the highest level. I just really feel like I can develop into a really good player there. They put out a lot of good [defensive] linemen, and I think they can make me one of the best.”
Before reaching Ann Arbor, Guy has worked on building as close of a relationship as possible to the U-M coaching staff. Shaun Nua will be Guy’s position coach at the next level, and the two regularly stay in touch with phone calls and FaceTime sessions to stay on the same page. Guy updates Nua on his development, and Nua shares plans for the future Michigan defensive lineman, but the two also talk a lot about life and off-field subjects too.
In terms of his senior season, Guy has his sights set on winning the Gatorade Player of the Year award to culminate his high school career. That is a lofty benchmark for any prospect, but Guy is not just any prospect. He is an athletic, versatile and productive defensive end that is willing to put in the legwork in order to gain an edge.
That is the type of approach Guy currently brings to the football field for the Hornets, and it is the same brand of determination that he is committed to showing at Michigan.
What are your thoughts on Michigan commit T.J. Guy? Does he remind you of any former Michigan players? How do you see his U-M career turning out? Let us know!