Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Weekly Update: Recruiting notes
By Tom VanHaaren
The Weekly Update is a look into Michigan recruiting.
The 2015 class in the state of Michigan has a lot of very good prospects and that includes wide receiver Ray Buford (Southfield, Mich./Southfield), who recently took a visit to Ann Arbor. He and his father made their way to Michigan to check out practice and speak with the coaches.
"I got to see the practice facilities and weight room, and I got to talk to the coaches about what they expected out of me this year and what position they preferred me to play," he said. "I talked to Devin Gardner and Raymon Taylor, too. I grew up playing sports with those guys."
Taylor talked to Buford about college life and what the coaches expect out of the players, which was one of the highlights of his day.
Both Ray and his father, Ray, were encouraged by the visit after the amount of attention they received from the coaching staff.
"It was a great visit. The coaches spent an extensive amount of time with us and invited us back on Saturday," his father said. "It was also good non-football conversation. It was like talking to an old friend that I haven't seen in awhile."
Ray plans on making it back on Saturday with his mother to check out more of what Michigan has to offer.
Parrker Westphal has had a connection to Michigan for the last several years thanks to former Wolverines CB Todd Howard.
Defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) has been on Michigan's radar for quite some time, but it was almost as if it were meant to be for the Wolverines to recruit the ESPN Watch List prospect.
His defensive backs coach, Todd Howard, played for Michigan from 1998-2001 and came back to his alma mater to coach. Howard recalls a conversation he had with Westphal before the 2014 prospect even began high school about his potential.
"He would come to practice and watch his brother. I told him I'd move him up his freshman year and I hoped he was ready," Howard said. "I told him I was going to send him to Michigan and he kind of laughed. It was more that I would make him that caliber player than that's where he was going to go."
Howard has had the opportunity to coach Westphal all four years at Bolingbrook, which has given him a clear picture of just what kind of player and person his pupil is.
"He's the kind of kid that you want your kids to be. That's the thing that sticks out the most when you meet Parrker, as aggressive as he is on the field he's a really, really good kid off it," he said. "Parrker is the kind of kid that goes to practice then goes home and eats dinner and runs laps after. I told him to jump rope once to increase his foot speed and his dad called and asked me why Parrker was jumping rope in the garage at midnight."
To read more on Westphal head over to the message board.
Michigan has been recruiting Colorado heavily in recent years, and it looks as though that will continue in 2015. Defensive back Avery Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Pine Creek) has recently popped up on Michigan's radar, and that's partially because of Anderson's persistence in getting the Michigan coaches' attention.
"We want to camp where we think the sincere interest is, and we're not trying to be offer divas," said his father, Kill. "We're a military family, he wants to do his homework and doesn't want to play that stupid hat game. After I sent his film to Michigan he got two notes to his coach and in the end we are very interested in Michigan."
Michigan is in a small group of schools that are standing out to Anderson, including Arkansas, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Colorado and Nebraska. Anderson plans on camping at Michigan on June 18 as well as making it out to a few other programs during that time.
The Wolverines also just so happen to be recruiting a few friends of Anderson in 2014 prospects Kalen Ballage (Peyton, Colo./Falcon), Christian McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) and 2015 defensive back Eric Lee (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian).
"My friend Kalen Ballage and I … we play him every year. He was telling me about the recruiting process and he's interested in Michigan, too," he said. "We camped together this year so we've become pretty close."
Anderson is planning on enrolling early and would like to have his decision made around this time next year. You can read more about Anderson on our message board.