Thursday, March 8, 2012
Mattison is a draw for recruits
By Chantel Jennings
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Not many college football coaching staffs can boost a defensive coordinator who guided linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. Or one that employs a man whose defense once finished third in the NFL.
But Michigan can. And for several prospects in the Wolverines' 2012 and 2013 classes, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and his resume have been a big draw.
"That's a huge pull because he has been around NFL players and he knows what it takes to get a college kid to the next level," 2013 defensive tackle recruit Eddie Vanderdoes said. "Obviously, you're going to have a lot of confidence in someone like that. It’s a really good feeling knowing you have a really good defensive coordinator like that."
Mattison coached 31 years at the college level, but many recruits said it was his three years in the NFL that really make him a big pull for Michigan.
Greg Mattison's time with the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis gets the attention of defensive recruits.
Linebacker signee James Ross said that during his recruitment he spoke a lot with Mattison about how he worked with Lewis during his time with the Baltimore Ravens. Ross has molded his game after Lewis, so the fact Mattison was a part in Lewis' success was a part of Ross' final college decision.
And 2013 defensive line commit Taco Charlton said Mattison's NFL experience also played a role in him choosing Michigan over other Big Ten schools with strong defensive units.
"That was huge for me because my goal is to get to the NFL and he has been there," Charlton said. "He knows what it takes to get there so that was definitely something I was looking for."
But it's not just defensive players whom Mattison has attracted to the program.
"With Coach Mattison being the coordinator and knowing everything he does … knowing that I'll be going up against a great defense every day of my college career," 2013 quarterback commit Shane Morris said. "Just knowing how that could propel myself to the next level, that's huge."
And 2013 tight end commit Jake Butt said that while it wasn’t a huge pull to the program for him, that since he has committed he has begun to understand the benefits of going up against Mattison's defense in practice. He felt Mattison's main draw wasn’t being a former professional coach, but rather the job he did in his first season as Michiga'’s defensive coordinator.
Every recruit is looking for something different. Having a former NFL coach might not be at the top of every prospect's wish list, but for Michigan and its recruiting, it definitely hasn't hurt.