- Tom VanHaaren, RecruitingNation
Michigan landed an out-of-state prospect with offensive lineman Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny), but it was as close to an in-state prospect as you can get. Kugler, whose father is Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler, has moved from state to state, but says he mainly grew up in Michigan.
He grew up watching the Wolverines and the Spartans, and now with his commitment to Michigan gets to live out a lifelong dream.
"You grow up watching these games hoping one day you'll play in them, and now I'll be playing in the Michigan-Michigan State game, and the Michigan-Ohio State game," he said. "My dad is 100-percent supportive, and he loves Michigan. He honestly thought that was the place I would end up committing to."
His father didn't just think he would end up a Wolverine because of his familiarity with the program, but because of the coaching staff and the past season the team had. While his dad wasn't on the visit with him because of the NFL combine, his mother was, and she came away just as excited as Patrick did.
"She loved it up at Michigan. She could tell from my face that I fell in love with it," he said. "She 100-percent agreed."
Kugler said he knew Michigan was right for him when the coaching staff talked about holding themselves to higher standards and competing for national championships in the future. But it was when he saw a staple of the Michigan program that he knew it was time to end his recruitment.
"I talked with Coach (Darrell) Funk and (Al) Borges for a couple hours about everything," he said. "We went out to the Big House and right when I walked into the stadium I felt like I was home. That's when I knew."
Kugler said he in no way rushed a decision, but said he knows that with recruiting the way it is he needed to secure his spot in this class. That early decision for him now means that his process is over.
"I'm not one of those kids that's going to commit somewhere and then decommit," he said. "This is definitely where I'm going, and I won't accept any other offers."
Kugler was supposed to make his way to East Lansing Saturday for Michigan State's junior day, but that visit obviously didn't happen. He spoke with the Spartans coaches about his decision and said they were respectful and courteous.
With the four-star lineman on board, Michigan now has five offensive line prospects in this class, and the coaches told Kugler that will likely be it as far as adding any more linemen. Numbers can always change, but that might just fill up this class at that position.
Now that Kugler is on board, he understands the gravity of the situation, and wants to do everything in his power to help Michigan, including recruiting.
"I already talked to (Michigan commit) Kyle Bosch (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis), and I definitely want to start help recruiting," he said. "That would be something special if we could have the top recruiting class in the country. That would make this Team 134 even better."
Michigan landed an out-of-state prospect with offensive lineman Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny), but it was as close to an in-state prospect as you can get.