Dearborn junior receiver Tommy Guajardo has gained a great deal of confidence after working hard in the weight room and on his game during the offseason, putting himself on the radar of multiple Power Five conference coaches.
Guajardo transferred to Dearborn from Edsel Ford prior to his sophomore season and then had 20 receptions for 400 receiving yards and four TDs while playing at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds.
Guajardo is now 6-3 and 230 pounds and ran a 4.7 40 at Notre Dame’s Elite Camp on June 9, then put on a show at Michigan State’s 7-on-7 camp the following week. The majority of the Spartans coaching staff watched him play against Muskegon Mona Shores in that 7-on-7 camp, and then Mark Dantonio invited him to come to his office at the end of the day.
“I was going to Edsel Ford and it just wasn’t a good fit for me, so I transferred to Dearborn,” said Guajardo. “I had limited talent and never lifted weights before and was moved up to varsity and played receiver. I had 400 receiving yards and four touchdowns and started getting recruited by schools I had never heard from before.
“I was later contacted by Central Michigan and then I started getting serious in the weight room and really worked on my game during the offseason. It was like, ‘Playing Division I college football is really what I want to do.’”
So Guajardo, who could bench just 155 pounds a year ago, got into the weight room on a regular basis and squatted 315 pounds 10 times when Northern Illinois coaches took a trip to Dearborn High in May. He can now bench press 275 pounds, and 225 pounds 10 times.
“Northern Illinois came to see me in May and was talking about how athletic I was then offered me,” said Guajardo. “It was my first offer and I was really excited about it.”
He has since been offered by Eastern Michigan, as well.
Guajardo improved his skills while competing for Legacy Detroit in 7-on-7 competition this past winter, playing at Brighton’s indoor facility and winning the state and Midwest titles.
Then, Guajardo got the thrill of a lifetime in mid-June in the 7-on-7 competition at MSU.
“We played Muskegon in the first game and I had a pick-six as an outside linebacker, then went to offense and (Dearborn quarterback Nick Tafelski) threw a fade ball and I caught it for a touchdown.
“We played Muskegon Mona Shores in the next game and I was on the sidelines and I turned around and Coach Dantonio was there and asked me if I was Tommy Guajardo, saying he heard I played well (against Muskegon) and wanted to watch me play. Just about his whole staff was there, too. On the first pass I caught a touchdown pass.”
Later in the day, MSU director of player personnel and recruiting Sheldon White told Guajardo that Dantonio wanted to meet him in the coach’s office.
“(Dantonio) wanted to know what my grade-point-average was, told him it was a 3.0 and he said it was decent, but Michigan State expects better,” Guajardo said. “He told me to stay out of trouble because he can’t take troublemakers. He told me they were very interested in me and that this was first base of the process, to keep in touch. It was such a great experience.”
While Guajardo will play receiver this season, college coaches are looking at him as a tight end and linebacker or safety at the next level. Boston College has also shown interest with its coaches making multiple trips to Dearborn High.
“I really want to show what I can do this season, have a breakout year,” Guajardo said. “I’ve worked so hard on my game to get to this point and now I’m going to put everything on the line.”
Dearborn sixth-year head coach John Powell can’t wait to see Guajardo play this season. He has had multiple Division I players in past season, including Ali Fayad, who started as a true freshman last year at defensive end at Western Michigan, Michigan State sophomore offensive tackle Mustapha Khaleefah and Purdue fifth-year senior guard Bearooz Yacoobi.
“The coaches at Michigan State said he had the best ball skills at their 7-on-7 camp and their entire staff watched him play,” said Powell of Guajardo. “He’s the most athletic kid with the type of size he has since I’ve been here.”