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Thursday, February 14, 2013
HS coach talks commit's quick decision

By Tom VanHaaren

When Bryan Mone (Salt Lake City/Highland) told his high school coach, Brody Benson, he was ready to commit to Michigan it came as somewhat of a surprise to Benson. Not that Mone wanted to travel across the country, or that he wanted to be a Wolverine, but that he wanted to make the commitment so fast.

The ESPN Watch List defensive tackle was just starting to hear from big programs including Notre Dame and Washington, and he had just gotten an offer from UCLA. But Mone (pronounced mo-NAY) knew he was ready to end his recruitment.

"It was starting to get crazy around here with recruiting and all the coaches. It was kind of unexpected for me because last time we talked he was going to narrow it down to a top five or seven," Benson said. "He went away this past weekend on a church retreat with other young men in his congregation and he came back and said, 'Coach, I feel like it's the right thing to do. I prayed about it and want to do it.' His family feels good about it, so how do you argue with that?"

His decision to commit now makes sense given the kind of kid he is -- a team-first guy who doesn't crave the spotlight.

"He hates all the attention. He definitely wants to avert everything to his teammates. That's why I love him," Benson said. "For a long time Bryan couldn't understand why all these coaches were coming to see him, and we had to sit down and explain what their thought process is. Once he puts that helmet on, though, he becomes a different person."

Mone has had Michigan on the top of his list for quite some time, and that feeling was boosted after a visit to Ann Arbor in November. On the trip he had a chance to reconnect with his good friend and former teammate Sione Houma, who chose Michigan in the 2012 cycle.

That relationship helped Michigan's chances since it gave Mone an opportunity to see what the program was like from someone he knew he could trust. On the visit to Ann Arbor the two got the chance to talk,.

“Sione got to spend the night with my family, and we saw him on the field playing special teams so that was good,” Mone said. “I asked him how Michigan was and he said it was the best decision he ever made. It impacts me because he’s already experienced it and he would tell me how it is.”

That wasn't the only relationship that helped Michigan's chances, though. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery was the main recruiter for Mone and helped move along the process.

"Jerry came in and he's just here, he's not trying to sell him something that he's not or the program isn't. Bryan felt that honesty from the beginning and he had that relationship from the get-go," he said. "We went back there [to Ann Arbor] last spring and they treated us like kings. Coach Montgomery, I played against Jerry in high school. Coach [Brady] Hoke, I tell you what, he's a phenomenal coach, but what a great guy."

Benson made sure Mone knew he didn't need to feel pressured to make a commitment. He had a year to make his decision, but his star lineman said he was ready to end it. With new recruiting rules starting in August, coaches will be able to be as relentless as they want, but Benson is confident Michigan is the final destination for Mone.

"It was a question that I asked Bryan three months ago when he started asking about if he should commit. [A decommitment] is the last thing in the world I want," Benson said. "I said if you think you're wavering then you should wait it out. I'm from the school of thought of once you stick your hand out and say that is what I'm going to do then that's it, and I told Bryan that and he said, 'Coach I'm going to Michigan.'"