ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Did you ever wonder what the recruiting process is really like for prospective college football players? With that in mind, we reached out to this year’s incoming freshman class at Michigan in search of a little bit of personal insight on the process.
Land of 10 surveyed some of Michigan’s Class of 2017 recruits with questions about the recruiting process — ranging from which coach on Michigan’s staff they formed a strong relationship with, to which incoming recruit in this year’s class was their favorite.
This marks the first in a 7-part daily series, and here is is the first set of questions we asked several of Michigan’s recruits:
Which Michigan assistant coach was most important in your recruiting? How did that relationship develop, and why is that relationship so important?
*Note: All ratings are from 247Sports composite ranking system.
Deron Irving-Bey, 4-star DE, Southwestern Commencement Academy (Flint, Mich.)
“Coach (Greg) Mattison.
“At first I didn’t know who coach Mattison was. I didn’t know who anybody was, but as I got to know him I looked up everything he did and that he had some rare accomplishments. Plus, he’s put a lot of great defensive linemen in the NFL. Plus, he’s a good person. He’s a real great person. Our bond got better over the recruiting process.”
Donovan People-Jones, 5-star WR, Cass Tech (Detroit)
“All of them were equally involved. I was in contact with the whole coaching staff.
“I met them, and right when I met them I said we’ve got to develop a relationship. As time went on the relationships developed.”
Phillip Paea, 3-star DT, Berrien Springs (Mich.)
“I haven’t talked to too many assistant coaches, but I talked mostly to Coach Mattison. He was always there to greet me at the door when I got there, or I talked a lot to my cousin, Bryan (Mone, a current Michigan DT).
“Coach Mattison tried to get to know me better, and he called my mom a lot, and sent my mom notes and cards for special days, or just to say hi. Seeing that, it encouraged me more to come here.”
Jaylen Kelly-Powell, 4-star safety, Cass Tech (Detroit)
“I had a relationship with everybody, really. I can honestly say everybody. Tyrone Wheatley, coach (Don) Brown, coach (Jim) Harbaugh, coach (Michael) Zordich, coach (Brian) Smith. We talked about film and a lot of things. How were we playing? Things like that.
“That’s important because I wanted to see what school had a plan for me, when I came in.”
James Hudson, 4-star DT, Central Catholic (Toledo, Ohio)
“I formed a great relationship with Coach Mattison. Me and coach Mattison, before I committed, we were talking almost every week. We were pretty close. I was talking to coach Zordich a lot, too. He’d come to the school a lot. That’s who I really connected with before I committed.
“That’s important. Having a bond with your position coach is huge because other than your strength coaches and your tutors, that’s who you’ll be with the most.”
Josh Ross, 4-star LB, St. Mary’s Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
“Honestly, all of the coaches kind of recruited me the same. The main two were Don Brown and Jim Harbaugh. Those were the main two. I went straight up there a couple of months after they got in office. I talked to Don Brown and that’s when I committed.
“Coach Brown and I have a great relationship. He’s a great guy and a great coach. It was a great in-home visit. He came to my house for a visit and it was great talking to him. Every time I see him we watch film.
“I feel like it’s very important to know your coach and know him well, but you can’t get too attached because coaches can leave at any time. Just go in, work as hard as you can and don’t try to necessarily lean on the coaches. Lean on the tradition of the school. Lean on the academics and that type of stuff.”
Land of 10’s Rachel Lenzi contributed to this report.