As a junior, wide receiver Csont'e York (Detroit/Chandler Park Academy) was on a high school team that was known for running the ball. His opportunities to snag passes and score touchdowns were limited, and he didn't have the chance to rack up the stats that garner offers like some of his fellow 2013 Michigan commits.
But out of that came something very, very good. Something that Michigan coach Brady Hoke loves about York. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver learned how to block, block and block some more.
"I wanted to be physical and help the team," York said. "I had to get used to blocking. My coach told me, 'We need you to block all the time. That's how we're going to be successful.' So I did."
It was how York knew he'd be able to make contributions to his team on every play. And when there were opportunities to go for a jump ball or make a run down the field he would, but by the end of his junior season, he hadn't earned the recognition he wanted among colleges.
"At times it was hard because I wanted the ball a little more," York said. "But I knew I couldn't have that mentality. I had to listen to coach and play with the team and for the team."
York's stats were how many blocks he made and how many yards he was able to gain for other players. Those figures always seemed to outnumber and outweigh his individual stats of receptions and touchdowns.
But those numbers changed last spring when he began playing on Detroit's Maximum Exposure 7-on-7 team with 2013 commits Shane Morris and Khalid Hill. York was targeted by Morris on nearly every play he was in and gaining chemistry with a player who would become his future quarterback, though he didn't know it at the time.
Through MaxEx the Wolverines became aware of York and in early May on a visit, York was offered. He thanked the staff and told them he would discuss with his parents and family. York knew he wanted to take time to think it over.
But the next day at practice Morris and Hill approached York.
"That day they were like, 'Why are you taking so long to commit? We need you,' " York said. "They told me that and I said, 'I didn't realize I was supposed to commit on point just because they did.' "
But when York really thought about it, he agreed. He was Detroit born and raised and had always taken note of the Wolverines. The academics were something he couldn't turn down. And the coaching staff had already made him feel like a family.
"I mean it wasn't really thinking because it was Michigan," York said. "It was Michigan. So many people want to go to that school and they have such a history."
Even with eight months of high school left York is excited to get on campus and start playing with the team. He feels calmer this season now that he's committed and has a plan. There's less pressure and he feels as though he can just go out and play the way he knows how rather than trying to impress anyone.
But one thing that hasn't changed is that he's helping his team the way he always has, with blocking. And he knows next season that’ll be just as useful as catching passes for the Wolverines.
On Monday, after the UMass game, Hoke told the media, "Watching [the receivers] block on the perimeter, I thought that was exciting. Most people don’t get excited about blocking, but I do."