It was tenth grade when I first received an offer to play football for the University of Michigan. I remember calling my parents to tell them about it, and just how excited they were. But, unlike previous calls I made regarding offers, my dad said he wanted to discuss this particular one with me.
Later that evening, he sat me down and educated me about the history of Michigan football, further explaining just how great of an institution it was academically. He also explained what a special opportunity it would be to play for and learn from someone like Coach Harbaugh — that he’s cut from a true football cloth, having learned the game from the great Coach Schembechler.
Playing for great coaches and being placed in the right structure has always been important to me; it goes back to my early years of Pop Warner football. Playing for the White Oak Warriors in my hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland, under Coach Steve Norcio, whom I consider my first great coach, we won the 2008 Pop Warner Super Bowl in my first year. Coach Norcio taught us the right way to play this game as a team. Many of us were shaped by that experience and have gone on to have major success. I will be the third member of that championship team to actively play for a Big Ten football team, which is something I’m very proud of.
Then there was my time spent playing for Coach Bob Milloy at Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. To this day, I am still proud of the work I put in, and I’m thankful for the investment our coaching staff – Andy Stefanelli, Bob Clark, Eric Allie, Sal Gorgone and Tony Ashley – made to develop me as a young player.
From there, it was IMG Academy, which has truly been a launching pad for this experience. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the support of head coach Kevin Wright and linebackers coach Tommy Langford. They have been instrumental in my success while away from home. My time at IMG has fully prepared me for the next level, and for that I am grateful.
The recruiting experience has been something I’ll never forget. I’ve had the opportunity to visit some wonderful universities, to meet some truly great people and to enjoy many different college atmospheres. I’ve been truly blessed to meet tons of coaches over the course of my recruitment, and they have all left a lasting impression on me in their own way.
I am excited to take my next step as a player and student at the University of Michigan. The first time I visited campus, I was amazed. I got chills walking onto the field at The Big House.
The people I met there, from the coaching staff to the support staff to the assistant staff, we had a great time. We had fun. It just felt right. It just felt like a place I wanted to be.
It felt like family.
The way Coach Harbaugh motivates guys to play and fight for him is inspiring. And with the way our class is coming together, we can definitely be a force. I can’t wait to get in there and play for Coach Brown; we have such a good relationship.
Charles Woodson. LaMarr Woodley. Desmond Howard.
I’m ready to set my own path and create my own legacy among the Wolverine greats.