Monday, March 11, 2013
Grand Rapids duo takes in IU game
By Chantel Jennings
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- From a basketball perspective, Sunday was not a great day for Michigan. With its one-point loss to Indiana, the Wolverines will head into the Big Ten tournament with the No. 5 seed without any share of the Big Ten title.
But from a football recruiting perspective, the day was a success. Michigan was able to secure visits from two Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.) High School prospects -- Watch List wide receiver Drake Harris and offensive lineman Tommy Doles.
And by most recruiting standards, just having both of them on campus and impressing them is a step in the right direction in both of their recruitments.
Tommy Doles knows Michigan might run out of 2014 O-line spots soon, but he's in no hurry to commit.
It was Harris’ third weekend in a row in Ann Arbor, and for him the visit was more of the same experiences, but sharing them with new people. He visited with his mother, grandfather and a friend, none of whom had been on campus for a visit with Harris yet.
Harris said its important he goes somewhere that his family also feels comfortable, and he felt as though the coaching staff and players at the game (including 2013 quarterback signee Shane Morris and junior quarterback Devin Gardner) made his family feel at home in Ann Arbor.
“I just enjoyed it,” Harris said. “Just hanging out with the coaches, they’re showing a lot of interest in me and showing me how much they want me to be a part of the team.”
The Watch List wide receiver said that with each visit, he, too, feels more and more comfortable around the coaches, specifically wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski. Harris has had the opportunity to meet Hecklinski’s wife and children, who he describes as “sweet.”
It’s definitely a perk in recruiting when players are able to take multiple visits in a short span of time to become more accustomed to a city and school.
Doles felt that same sentiment as a repeat visitor, though he hadn’t been on campus quite as recently as Harris.
He drove down from Grand Rapids with his father on Sunday morning. They met with coaches at Schembechler Hall before the game and headed over to Crisler Center to take in what would be Doles’ first major college basketball game.
“This was more just about being at Michigan and seeing some coaches,” Doles said. “It wasn’t much new stuff besides the basketball game.”
After the game, the Doles went back to Schembechler to speak with coaches. Unlike Harris, Doles had seen the academic center . The state’s top offensive lineman also ran into Denard Robinson at the football facilities and said Robinson told him he should commit to Michigan right away.
Doles chatted a lot with offensive line coach Darrell Funk, as well coaches Dan Ferrigno and Hecklinski. He said the discussion was more centered on Michigan football and Grand Rapids Christian football, the families and how life was going.
They didn’t go too much into the numbers game on the offensive line, which has become increasingly interesting since Michigan picked up a commitment from 2014 Watch List offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake).
“There are, I think, two spots left for offensive linemen,” Doles said. “If one closes up, I’ll have to make some decisions and think about that. I’m aware of the situation, and I’ll be thinking about that.”
Both Doles and Harris said they’d be in town for spring practices to meet again with coaches and players. By that point, Michigan basketball could be deep into an NCAA Tournament run, and the football team could have even more commits, marking a day in which both could get “wins” for their respective programs.