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Saturday, June 1, 2013
Michigan picks up 11th commit in 2014

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 1 recruiting class in the country just keeps getting bigger and better. On Sunday Michigan picked up its 11th commitment for the already impressive class.

Three-star outside linebacker Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Jefferson Hills) chose the Wolverines over Ohio State and Pitt, which he confirmed to via text.

“When I was at Michigan I felt like I belonged there and that it was my destiny and so I’m pursuing that,” Winovich said. “It wasn’t an easy decision -- it was three really great schools, but at the end of the day I have to do what’s best for me and I feel like Michigan is best for me.”

Though it eventually felt like the right fit for Winovich, who plans to study in Michigan’s business school, the process itself was quite difficult. Winovich felt he had several great options. On Tuesday, Winovich took his last visit to Pitt and said after the trip that he felt he could be able to make his decision soon, but he hadn’t fully decided.

“It was definitely the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Winovich said. “But I think in the bottom of my heart that it was the right decision because educationally it’s one of the top-notch schools in the nation. The coaches were a fit. The players who I’ll be playing with fit perfectly and everything just came together exactly how I want it to be.”

Though the Wolverines will likely only take around 16 commits, Michigan is putting together a class that has lots of talent and addresses several needs regarding the Wolverines’ depth.

Though he is just the second commit in Michigan’s class who isn’t a member of the ESPN 150, Winovich fills a huge need. With the injury and unclear return date of SAM linebacker Jake Ryan, it was crucial to continue to add depth on the outside. Through the spring, Michigan moved other players around, but Ryan seemed to be the only true SAM linebacker on the Wolverines’ roster.

At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Winovich has good size for a rising senior (in comparison, Ryan is 6-3, 241). That kind of size and physicality is what defensive coordinator Greg Mattison wants in his defense.

“I got to know the coaching staff really well,” Winovich said. “The coaching staff at Michigan, they fit. What they set out to do is the best option.”

Winovich joins Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) as Michigan’s two linebacker commits in the 2014 class.

Ferns has been recruiting Winovich for quite a while, and Winovich was already joking on Sunday that he needs to get to Ann Arbor as soon as possible so that Ferns can get him his commitment T-shirt that he has branded for the Wolverines’ 2014 class.

Those kinds of relationships proved pivotal in Winovich’s commitment.

“That was a big factor because that’s who I’m going to be playing with, that’s who my best friends are going to be,” Winovich said. “But it extended to an even deeper level than that as far as my connection toward Michigan.”

Winovich will now hit the road for the Wolverines as they look to continue recruiting top talent to their top class. But the outside linebacker is looking even further down the road than just his own 2014 class.

“If I take my own kid through this recruiting process, [Michigan] is where I’d want him to go,” Winovich said.