June 6, 2008

Gallon seeks improvement on and off the field

Rick Darlington had a plan. He would line four-star athlete Jeremy Gallon under center and turn his feet loose. Only occasionally would he opt for the pass. But Gallon surprised him, completing 65 percent of his attempts without a pick in 2007 …

"When we put him at quarterback, we had no idea he could throw the football," said Darlington, his coach at Apopka (Fla.) High School. "He's too small to play that position in college but he doesn't care. He's excited about becoming a slot guy for Michigan. He's very quick, fast and quick, and it's hard to get a handle on him."

The 5-8, 165-pounder with 4.40 speed - according to Darilington - projects like West Virginia sophomore back Noel Devine. That's becoming a common trend amongst U-M's recruits as the Michigan coaches seek elusive athletes that cannot be caught from behind.

Quarterbacks coach Rod Smith gets credit for snagging Gallon, establishing a relationship even though Gallon has yet to visit Ann Arbor.

"The important thing with Coach Smith was sharing how Jeremy could receive an education," Darlington said. "It wasn't all football with them. They've got a great support staff in place and Jeremy is confident that if he goes up there to Michigan he will succeed in the classroom."

Qualifying, however, might be a concern, Darlington admitted. Florida's three big in-state schools backed off of Gallon because of poor grades. The four-star recruit, ranked the No. 79 player nationally by Rivals.com, just recently took the ACT and will take the SAT Saturday.

"If he was a guy that was an absolute green light he'd have a lot more offers because he's special," Darlington said. "After he committed, we sat down with his parents and his guidance counselor and outlined a plan. I think he will put in maximum effort because he really wants to be a Wolverine, and with me, Coach Smith and his parents pushing him he's going to have a lot of external motivation."

A freak athlete, Gallon is bigger than his listed size. In offseason conditioning, he posted the highest weight-lifting numbers (proportion to body weight) in six of eight exercises. He power cleans 310 pounds, runs a 3.88 shuttle and has clocked a career-best 4.38 40-yard dash.

"People think because he's small, he's weak, but that's definitely not true," his coach said. "Just try to bring him down with an arm tackle - he'll run right through you."



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