McGrath responded with a no thank you, hes all blue..
The [Michigan] Wolverines may be flexing their muscle on their Midwest stomping grounds, but they are still working hard to exhibit their prowess on the national scene as well. That much was evident early in the recruiting cycle for 2014 when the first offer for the class was extended to Salt Lake City (UT) Highland DT, [Bryan Mone]. A former high school teammate and close family friend of Michigan freshman [Sione Houma], Mone was finally able to make it to Ann Arbor for his first up close view of the Maize & Blue and came away extremely impressed.
“It’s crazy,” Mone said after witnessing the Wolverines’ thrilling 38-31 victory. “It’s a long way from home, but it’s nice. Really nice! It was a really good experience. First time I’ve ever been on the east side. The weather was beautiful because in [Utah] it was snowing, so (Michigan) was really nice. It was really good. I loved it.”
Saturday’s nail-biter featured an uncharacteristic performance by a defense that had held each prior Big Ten opponent under their scoring average by a tangible amount. Even so, the Wolverine defenders held together and in the end made big plays with the game on the line. That feat left an indelible mark on Mone.
“They played with trust,” he said. “They play like brothers and were trusting one another. The defense was solid. The defensive line… I saw them in pre-game warm-ups and their drills were just amazing. I loved it.”
Before and especially after the game the Michigan coaching staff made it a priority to let Mone know they want him to be a part of that line’s future.
“I talked to Coach Montgomery, Coach Hoke… all the coaches were showing me love,” he stated. “It was really cool. Coach Hoke told me the top thing about being a Michigan player is your character. He was just talking about how you should act and what you should be like. Coach Montgomery is humble guy, really nice, and just really cool to be with. I like them a lot.”
That his good friend Houma speaks highly of the brass in Ann Arbor only serves to enhance that positive impression. As a matter of fact Houma’s mere presence enhances his view of Michigan altogether.
“Wow… when I saw (Houma) I just wanted to give him a big kiss,” Mone said laughingly. “He is loving it (at Michigan) so far. It just feels like home to me.”
That’s great news for a team that was one of this talented youngster’s earliest offers, but stood out as his most distant suitor. When recruiting first began Mone made no bones about proximity being a factor.
That, though, was before his trip to Ann Arbor. That begs the question; is [Colorado]… [the school he once proclaimed his leader]… still on top?
“No,” he replied.
What about Utah... the school that [recently described as his favorite]?
“No,” Mone quickly added.
So who is the leader then?
“Real talk… it’s Michigan,” he said matter-of-factly. “That defense is straight solid. That’s why I’m loving it. Like I said, they play with trust and that’s why I like it. I have Sione (at Michigan) too. It kinda feels like home… for real.”
It’s an enviable perch for the Wolverines to be on to be sure, but there is still work to do.
“I (also) like [UCLA], Utah, [BYU], and [Utah State],” Mone reported. “I don’t know about (a decision timetable) yet. I just want to go talk with my mom and dad first. Hopefully everything turns out good.”
“I have decommitted from [Ohio State].”
That simple statement from Southfield (MI) star [Lawrence Marshall] un-rang a bell had been resonating loudly throughout [Michigan] in days since he made his pledge to the Bucks. The 6-4 230-pounder had been wowed during a whirlwind visit to Columbus, and in retrospect believes his commitment resulted from being caught up in the emotion of the moment.
“I told the head man in charge… I told Urban Meyer,” said Marshall regarding his change of heart. “I just told him I wanted to decommit and wait out my decision. He said; ‘Okay.’ He understood and I appreciate that. Then I called Coach Dantonio and then I called Coach Hoke and told them the news.”
Marshall’s family was instrumental in getting him to rethink and take a hard look at whether he’d made the most informed choice. He eventually concluded that he hadn’t, thanks in large part to trips to [Michigan State] and Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
“I went up to Michigan State and saw how they were, and I went up to Michigan and saw how they were, and I was like “I just made my decision too early,’” Marshall admitted. "I (initially said) I would wait it out until after my football season. I had a great time (in Columbus last weekend) and it was crazy, but it was just going too fast. I’m trying to slow it back down.”
The Spartans were thought by many to be the early favorite for the four-star DE thanks to their distinction as his first major BCS offer and the presence of good friend, former Southfield Lathrup LB, [Jamal Lyles]. Marshall himself shied away from naming Michigan State his frontrunner, but he readily acknowledged that his boyhood affinity for the Green & White. During his visit to East Lansing Tuesday for the Michigan - Michigan State he was reminded of just how much he still likes the Spartans.
“The game was crazy,” Marshall said excitedly. “The game was CRAZY! It was a great basketball game with [Keith Appling] and [Trey Burke] going head to head… two great point guards. Then I had a sit down with Coach ‘D’ and was talking to him. He was just telling me the ins and outs of how he felt. He was just talking to me as a person, not as a football recruit ... and he just opened my eyes. “
“He said, ‘You’ve got to find the truth in people. You’ve got to figure out if they’re really there for you or if they just want you because you’re a kid from Michigan.’”
“I’m just trying to see each campus. I’m just trying to go see other schools as of right now. Ohio State... they’re still one of my favorite schools… don’t get me wrong. Coach Urban Meyer is a great coach, Coach Coombs is a wonderful coach, and the d-line coach is a great coach too. Everybody is a great coach. There is nothing against Ohio State at all. I just want to wait out my decision right now and take it slow.”
Marshall’s time in Ann Arbor Wednesday further cemented in his mind the need to do so. He had gained a much greater appreciation for the Wolverines in recent months thanks to their persistent courtship, but during his latest visit they took things to another level.
“Just being up at Michigan (Wednesday) opened my eyes (more),” stated Marshall. “Talking to players like [Denard Robinson]… he is from Florida and he was telling me the good and bad and just being real with me. Seeing everything, talking to the coaching staff… all the coaching staff was up there and I was talking to everybody.”
“I literally spent the whole day with Brady Hoke. I was with him the whole day. I was also with Coach Montgomery, Coach Mattison, and Coach Jackson. I got up there like 4:30pm and I left Michigan around 8:30. It was one-on-one (attention) the whole day.”
Both in-state schools will have yet another opportunity to impress in the very near future.
Said Marshall, “I’m going to be at Michigan State this weekend, I’m going to be at Michigan next weekend, and then we’ll go from there.”
He hasn’t yet set up a return trip to Columbus, but anticipates doing so sometime soon. He also hopes to add one out-of-region school to his visit itinerary.
“[USC],” he said referring to another of his childhood favorites. “You already know!”
“My reaction was excited and a little shocked,” Jackson told GoBlueWolverine, “because on signing day I talked to all the coaches. I talked to the head coach (Brady Hoke), defensive coordinator (Greg Mattison), DB coach (Curt Mallory), and then I got to talk to the recruiting coach (Dan Ferrigno) in my area. So it was a big deal, because even though they are still recruiting and waiting for the ’13 class to sign, I still got a chance to talk to them—and they offered. That showed me they are very concerned with me and they like me a lot.”
A four-star prospect and No. 8 CB in the latest 2014 Scout 300 player rankings, Jackson said the Michigan offer came after the team watched his impressive game film.
“I think so,” he said. “because they were saying when they saw my film, I was a freak of nature. Of course it’s a highlight film, so they said, ‘Okay, it’s a highlight film.’ But then they saw the game film and said I did the same thing I did on my game film as my highlight film. So they were like, yeah, I am really like an impact player and can come there right away and do the big things.“
At 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, Jackson played wide receiver, punter and kick returner on Serra’s state championship run last season.
“Individually I had 18 touchdowns offensively,” he said. “I had about five returns for touchdowns and 10 total, but a few got called back. Defensively I had 76 tackles, two forced fumbles, a sack, and I had five interceptions.”
While Jackson excels at wide receiver , he admits playing defense is a better fit for him in college.
“I think I can do defense and special teams,” he said. “If they want me to come in on a package on offense that would be good. I am not looking to play both sides of the ball in college. I’m not one of those players who wants to do that. But I just want to come in and contribute however I can. But I think defense is going to be my main thing when I get to college.
“I definitely want to be returning (kicks) in college. You know, kickoff, I like to come down on kickoff coverage and make some tackles, and on punt (coverage) too. I played punter. Just being on special teams, I enjoyed it. It was fun being on special teams this season.”
Schools of Interest
Jackson said his list of favorites schools in no particular order include: UCLA, Michigan, LSU, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A & M.
“From the programs, I am looking to make sure they have people with the same goals as me, the same demeanor and same athletic ability,” he said. “Then I am looking at the coaches to make sure they’re telling the truth and everything. And another thing, if I can see myself living there after I graduate from school.”
While he resides in California, he grew up in the Belleville, Ill, and says distance will not factor in his decision.
“I don’t think location will be a factor, because I am from Illinois,” he said. “I have just been out in California for a year, since my sophomore year. So I don’t think location will be a big deal for me ‘cause I am (already) far away from home, Illinois.”
[Wilton Speight] Connection
On National Signing Day 2013, Michigan landed the commitment of Richmond (Va.) Collegiate quarterback Wilton Speight, who was the second U-M commit to their 2014 class, and who happens to train in Los Angeles, Calif. once a month at the ‘DreamMaker Foundation’ with famed quarterback guru Steve Clarkson. With this California connection, the future Wolverine signal caller is putting his recruiting pitch on Jackson.
“The contact has been just staying in touch, basically,” Jackson said. “We just want to get a good friendship, just in case we do see each other in person we can hangout. We have been talking about Michigan a lot. So it’s more of a friendship, and we’re talking about recruiting process and see how we’re going to do.”
Due to conflicting schedules, Speight and Jackson have yet to meet up, but that could change in the near future.
“He was out here but I was at the UCLA junior day, so I didn’t get a chance to see him,” Jackson said. “He was working out. Probably, mainly in the future we are going to try to get with each other and chat it up and stuff like that.”
Jackson plans on taking on all of his five official visits and some unofficial visits during the course of the next year. He said he would like to take an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor this summer.
“I am going to keep everything together, because I just want to enjoy this process. So I am just going to wait until signing day,” he said.
Bolingbrook (Ill.) junior defensive back [Parrker Westphal] made a return trip to [Michigan]Sunday.
“The visit was good, we left at 5-am to get to Michigan,” Westphal said. “We spoke with some of the coaches, went to the basketball game, and then I got to talk to some of the commits.”
Even though Westphal has been to Michigan several times, there are important things that he learns each time he returns.
“One thing that I enjoy about visiting is that I get a better feel for the coaches each time,” Westphal said.
Westphal also has one other visit planned for the next several weeks.
“My next visit is going to be March 1st, I am going to visit [Northwestern],” Westphal said.
There are several things that Westphal is looking for while he is taking these spring visits.
“When I am visiting campuses I am looking to see how the players interact with each other,” Westphal said. “And how the coaches interact with the players as well.”
And in the not so distant future, he is going to start thinking about narrowing down his double-digit offers.
“My plan for committing is to narrow down my list and make a decision sooner rather than later,” Westphal said. “Really when I feel the time is right is when I will decide.”
Stay on FOX Sports NEXT as Westphal draws closer to a decision for the latest updates