Michael Furtney knew he wanted to play at Wisconsin before the Badgers offered him a scholarship. So when Furtney earned that coveted offer, he needed only six weeks to pick Wisconsin and shut down his recruitment.
Furtney, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Milan, Mich., is eager to learn from a unit that is as talented as any in the country this season. For more on Furtney, you can check out his story here.
Furtney also recapped his recruitment with Land of 10 and shared stories and advice he learned throughout the process. Here is his recruiting rewind:
Q: If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
Furtney: I feel like one of the main things for me was never get disheartened. There were times where I went to camps where I felt like I played my best football, and people around me would leave with offers, and I’d leave with no offers. At times, I would be disheartened or upset about something.
But I remember talking to my dad in the car on the way home. And he was kind of like, ‘Trust the process.’ If I can come up with one thing, it’s trust the process. I know the 76ers say the same thing. But that was my motto my whole entire recruiting process. I had a poster in my bedroom that said it, so I never forgot it. That was one of those things was trust the process. Keep on working. It’ll always work out in the end.
Q: You must have been a sophomore when you were going to camps and not getting offers, right?
Furtney: I went to probably a camp or two per week leading up to my junior year. Throughout the whole summer, I only took one weekend off because I had to for my high school team. I was going to camps like one or two a week, along with my normal things with my football team. That was when I was really heavily into the recruiting process.
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
Furtney: A lot of schools showed me a lot of great things about their programs. But when it came down to it, there couldn’t have been anything else, to be honest. It was almost like from the beginning, Wisconsin was always the thing that I measured every other school against. No matter how good another university was, I just couldn’t find anything better.
Q: Did you ever have a top 5?
Furtney: Not really. I had a list and I kind of slowly marked it down and got down to it. When I got down to around my top 10, at that point I already knew.
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
Furtney: I guess I’ve met coaches’ families. That’s not really something creative. But that’s important to me. It’s a cool thing for me. I enjoy seeing that other aspect of coaches besides just kind of like, ‘Hey, they’re my coach.’ I’m going to see that parent part of them. A couple schools around were doing that. So I guess that wasn’t super unique to one school.
Q: Who was the funniest, most entertaining coach you can remember during the recruiting process?
Furtney: I feel like the funniest coach is, I think, still over at Bowling Green. His name was Coach [Stephen] Hamby, their O-line coach. He was a funny guy. I remember one time he came and visited the school and we sat in my coach’s office for like an hour and a half. And I swear the whole entire time, we were just cracking jokes. He was probably the funniest.
Q: What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
Furtney: I don’t really have any regrets in my recruiting process. I feel like I went about my recruiting process exactly how I liked it. I wanted to make sure I made the best decision in the end, and ultimately I feel like I did that. So, no regrets here.
Q: What was the funniest story that happened on one of your recruiting trips?
Furtney: I feel like it was kind of like a funny concept. When I went on this big giant trip and it was four days and I went to five colleges. It was like 30 hours worth of driving. I guess the concept of that one was pretty funny itself.
Q: Where did you go?
Furtney: I went down to Vanderbilt. Then I went to Missouri, to Iowa State, to Minnesota and to Wisconsin and then I went home. It was kind of like the last recruiting trip I went on. The next recruiting trip I went on was to Wisconsin to commit.
Q: Which coach was it the hardest to say no to that you weren’t coming there?
Furtney: I feel like the hardest coach was over at Indiana. Coach [Nick] Sheridan, who recruited my area. He grew up less than five minutes away from where I grew up. He knew people. He was family friends with one of my teachers.
It was just one of those things where I developed a good relationship with him. He knew my coach. It was one of those things that kind of made it hard. They were toward the beginning of my recruiting process. We come from the same town. It was hard to say, but he definitely gave the right response and was really happy for me, which made it a lot easier. It was cool.
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
Furtney: I feel like every school, if they weren’t interested in me, it was for a reason. If they weren’t going to be a part of my recruiting process, I was OK with it because they had made their decision. In the end, I got the school I wanted. So it didn’t really matter.
Q: Which head coach of a team that you did not sign with was the nicest?
Furtney: I feel like one coach that was a really good all-around guy was the Syracuse head coach [Dino Babers]. When I sat down in his office, he’s just a real genuine guy. He tells you how it is. But he was just an all-around good guy. He talked about how he grew up in a military family, and his dad was in the military.
It kind of compared to how my own dad was in the military, which was cool to kind of see the comparisons. He was one of the nicest coaches I got to talk to throughout. I got to talk to a lot of great head coaches, for sure.