Michigan receiver Jake McCurry on his first college TD pass from Dylan McCaffrey 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 Michigan 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.
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 two-point 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 after the game. 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. And feel free to call him Jake.
“It fuels me a ton,” McCurry said. “Now that I’ve made a play, I’ve proved that I can be out there. Last game was my first time getting a lot of playing time. I kind of proved to people I can go out there and I can make plays. I definitely want more.”