Maurice Douglass did not see this move coming.
The Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) football head coach had two players verbally committed to Illinois in the Class of 2013.
Key word is had two players committed. The number is now down to one.
Defensive back Reon Dawson reneged on the verbal commitment he made to Illinois last May and decided on Monday he'll play his college football at Michigan after a visit to Ann Arbor last weekend.
Defensive lineman Jarrod Clements is still solidly committed to Illinois, Douglass said, and is expected to sign with Illinois when National Signing Day takes place Wednesday, Feb. 6.
But he'll be the only player from a superb Trotwood-Madison program — the Rams finished 12-3 last fall and earned state runner-up honors in Division II, which came after the Rams went 15-0 and won the Division II state championship in 2011 after placing second in Division II in 2010 — to do so now after Dawson's flip-flop.
"I wasn't expecting him to make that switch," Douglass said. "After he got back home, he played it out and felt that was the move he needed to make personally. He's a good kid. When you're young like that, sometimes you can be swayed a little bit by decisions of other people."
Case in point: Mike McCray. The Trotwood-Madison linebacker pledged to Michigan last March. He has played football with Dawson — whose lead recruiter at Illinois was defensive back coach Steve Clinkscale — for the last eight years, and the two are close friends.
"I think that kind of helped him make the decision (to choose Michigan)," Douglass said. "I think it was probably a really, really hard decision for him. Like I told him, it's like you've been engaged to a girl for the last six or seven months, and when it comes time to get married, you get cold feet, and then decide to marry another girl."
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman's first full recruiting class is now down to 24 players, with 10 already on campus for the spring semester.
The Class of 2013 at one point had eight defensive back commits — a priority for Beckman since Illinois lost Terry Hawthorne, Patrick Nixon-Youman, Justin Green and Supo Sanni to graduation — but is now down to six.
Another defensive back commit, safety Joshua Jones of Walled Lake Mich., is listed as a soft verbal to Illinois now by several recruiting services and has plans to visit Michigan State this weekend.
"It had to be a tough decision (for Dawson)," said Douglass, who compared the 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound Dawson to Antonio Cromartie of the New York Jets. "I know he had a close relationship with Coach Clinkscale, Coach Beckman and his staff."