Walk-on McCurry gets first TD, but not ball

The Detroit News - - College Football - BY AN­GELIQUE S. CHENGELIS The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — His name is Ja­cob, but you can call him Jake. In fact, he’d pre­fer it.

Jake McCurry isn’t a house­hold name among Michi­gan fans, but he did catch the at­ten­tion of UM’s de­fen­sive play­ers last sea­son when he went against him as the scout team re­ceiver. He also was the scout team spe­cial teams player of the year last sea­son.

So while they knew about McCurry, most Michi­gan fans did not. Un­til last Satur­day.

McCurry scored an 18-yard touch­down on a pass from backup Dy­lan McCaf­frey in the Wolver­ines’ 49-3 rout of Western Michi­gan. It was the first col­le­giate touch­down for both.

The Wolver­ines face SMU on Satur­day at Michi­gan Sta­dium. Michi­gan coach Jim Har­baugh was pleased that against the Bron­cos the Wolver­ines were able to get 74 play­ers in the game, in­clud­ing 18 who be­gan their col­lege ca­reers as walk-ons.

“Ini­tially, I just wanted to see Dy­lan be­cause I’m pretty close with Dy­lan and it was a spe­cial mo­ment that he threw me the ball,” McCurry said of the mo­ments af­ter the re­cep­tion. “That’s all I re­mem­ber re­ally think­ing, ‘I want to see Dy­lan and give him a hug’. I was just ex­cited. That’s re­ally the only way to de­scribe it.”

He didn’t keep the ball. Didn’t even think about it.

“I should have,” he said. “Maybe they have it, I’m not sure. Peo­ple were ask­ing me if I kept the ball and that didn’t go through my head at all. It was my first game play­ing at the Big House, too. That would have been a good one to keep.”

Sev­eral peo­ple sug­gested to him that any foot­ball would have suf­ficed. In fact, he and some of his teammates went to team­mate Jess Speight’s home, and his father, Bobby Speight, pointed out a ball that former Michi­gan quar­ter­back Wil­ton Speight has en­cased. It com­mem­o­rates the two­point con­ver­sion he com­pleted at Min­nesota in 2015 when he played in re­lief of in­jured started Jake Ru­dock.

But it wasn’t the ball.

“He just picked up a ran­dom ball and it’s in a con­tainer in their house on dis­play,” McCurry said, draw­ing laughs.

McCurry might not have kept the ball, but he has em­bed­ded in his me­mory his first touch­down for Michi­gan.

“I’m not re­ally sure where I am in the pro­gres­sion,” McCurry said, de­scrib­ing the play. “I knew I was one of the main routes. I re­mem­ber look­ing at the lever­age the DB had, and it was a quick play. We got it right there and ran it. I looked at the lever­age he had, and I re­mem­ber I had to get out­side and try to stack him a lit­tle bit. That’s re­ally all I thought when I was run­ning the route.”

He hadn’t vi­su­al­ized the mo­ment.

“I never re­ally thought about my first touch­down ever,” he said. “I never re­ally thought about what my first play would be or my first catch. That never re­ally crossed my mind. That was def­i­nitely a spe­cial mo­ment.

“It was specif­i­cally spe­cial with Dy­lan. Other guys on the field who are my best friends like Joel Honig­ford , Oliver Martin, I think An­drew Stue­ber might have been out there, Tru (Wil­son), guys that I’ve hung out with a lot and close to.”

McCurry re­ceived plenty of calls and texts. He grew up in Pitts­burgh be­fore mov­ing to Solon, Ohio in fifth grade. He heard from friends in Penn­syl­va­nia he hadn’t com­mu­ni­cated with since he was a young­ster.

“Peo­ple were tweet­ing at me I haven’t talked to in 12 years,” he said. “That’s spe­cial just be­cause (they) see I made it to this cer­tain point where they’re notic­ing me.”

Michi­gan’s de­fen­sive backs no­ticed McCurry last year on the scout team. Now he wants peo­ple to get ac­cus­tomed to see­ing him on the field more of­ten.

“It fu­els me a ton,” he said. “Now that I’ve made a play, I’ve proved that I can be out there.”

David Guralnick/Detroit News

Michi­gan wide re­ceiver Jake McCurry is hugged by teammates af­ter his first ca­reer touch­down.

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