Alex VanSumeren just finished eighth grade and will play football this fall at Essexville (Mich.) Garber as a member of the Class of 2022.
His older brother, 3-star tight end/linebacker Ben VanSumeren, committed to Michigan on Dec. 17 and signed as part of the Class of 2018 three days later.
With Alex following directly in Ben’s footsteps at Garber High School, he is also thinking about joining the Wolverines someday.
“I am obviously interested in Michigan,” Alex said. “It has world-class academics, great football tradition and great coaches. It’s the team I grew up rooting for.”
When Ben was making his college decision, he had offers from Michigan, Iowa, Western Michigan, Cincinnati, Harvard, Columbia, Iowa State, Navy and Yale, but picked the Wolverines.
“I’m proud of him,” Alex said. “He’s been a good role model and I share the same desire to compete for a great school, wherever that may be.”
Even if Ben were not attending Michigan, Alex said he still would like to attend school and play in Ann Arbor.
“Michigan would be one of my top choices regardless if Ben was there or not. I hope he has a good experience.
“I’ve heard from several schools already, which I don’t want to name. My main focus is developing and getting better.”
Alex is already 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, which is bigger than his brother Ben, who is 6-3, 228 pounds. Alex’s strengths are quickness and hands for his size, but he is not done growing and is unsure of his true position. He could end up at tight end, defensive end or tackle.
“I have a clear-cut goal and I know what it takes to accomplish that because I watched what my brother did to accomplish it,” Alex said. “I haven’t played with him, but I’ve learned a lot from watching him like work ethic, aggressiveness, physicality and studying the game.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been in Alex’s life for six months, since the Wolverines started recruiting Ben in December 2017. During the Best of the Midwest camp at Grand Valley State University, Alex got a chance to rekindle his relationship with Harbaugh.
“I met many coaches and appreciated all their advice,” Alex said. “I have spent the most time around Jim Harbaugh. I’ve had mainly general conversation with him. He’s a regular guy, very intense. He wants to win as much as anyone.”
Alex said he will be making “several trips” to Ann Arbor to visit his brother and as a recruit.
Ben was ranked No. 626 in the 2018 class, No. 50 at the athlete position and No. 12 in Michigan, according to the 247Sports composite.