- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
Michigan has made it clear that it intends to recruit bigger defensive backs for its secondary and safety Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) perfectly fits that mold.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive back was on campus for the Wolverines’ BBQ in the Big House and it helped push Michigan up Nicholson’s list of offers.
“It definitely did help them a lot,” Nicholson said. “I like Michigan a lot. They’re pretty much on top of my list.”
The Wolverines are sharing that top spot right now with Pitt and Penn State -- two schools that have both also offered Nicholson. Initially, those two were in the lead because of his comfort level with the two schools. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, he has been around those colleges more than Michigan.
“Each college has something different to offer, but they’re each up there in their own ways,” Nicholson said.
However, after his visit Sunday, the Wolverines have begun to stand out. He was impressed with the facilities, the campus, the other recruits on campus and the stadium. But what has drawn him in the most is the Wolverines’ coaching staff.
At his visit, he was able to talk more with secondary coach Curt Mallory and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Both coaches impressed the safety.
“Not every staff coaches as well as they do,” Nicholson said. “They don’t coach every athlete the same. … I’ve observed the way they talk to me and the way they talk to other athletes.”
Nicholson also enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the academic side of Michigan, something he wasn’t exposed to during his first visit to Ann Arbor because he just came in for the Wolverines’ summer camp.
But this weekend he had the chance to speak with academic counselors as well as tour some of the academic buildings. Nicholson currently holds a 3.2 and is hoping to go into engineering.
“I was just really going to get to know the coaches a bit better,” Nicholson said. “I just wanted to get a better feel for the school. And I did.”