Michigan commit Channing Stribling has been somewhat under the national radar throughout his recruitment – but Wolverine fans shouldn't confuse that low profile with a lack of on-field production or limited potential. In Coach Mattison's defense, Stribling represents one of the cornerstones of the scheme: a tall corner who can stand a post and be counted on in all phases.
Previously under head coach Mike Newsome and now under head coach Brian Hales, Stribling is the latest in a long line of very talented football players to come out of powerhouse Matthews (NC) Butler HS (currently ranked #5 nationally by USA Today). GBW recently sat down with the talented athlete in suburban Charlotte to discuss his game, his recruitment to Michigan, his family, and his expectations for the future.
On his eye-popping playoff performance last week versus arch-rival Charlotte Independence (4 TDs):
"It was an important game, and we didn't want to go home. Last year we left the playoffs too early. In the first quarter it was 7-7, and I told myself I had to do something. So I got two touchdowns [receiving], one on a kick return and another on an interception return."
On the remainder of his senior year:
"We mainly need to focus. Last year we thought we had them, we thought it was going to be easy. In the first half [of our last game] we were up 21-6 and thought the game was over with, and they came out fired up and scored 44 unanswered to end our season. The senior class that year was a good class, but I don't think they focused as much as we do. Our class is focused because we know it's our last go-around."
On what distinguishes his game:
"Mainly just playing smart. It's a physical game, but I also want to play smart. It's like a chess match: whatever my man does, I have to do – I have to mimic him. When I'm on the field I want to impact the entire game – I play offense, defense, special teams, everything. If we lose, I want it to be on me; if we win, I want it to be on me."
On picking up his game as a senior:
"Just being able to keep my head up. Last year when I made a bad play, I'd have my head down. This year, when I do something bad I'm able to come back and make a big play."
"6-2, 178 pounds, 4.56 forty, 38" vertical, 4.16 shuttle"
On where the ‘M' coaches are talking to him about playing:
"Yessir, I talk to them a lot, and it's mainly corner. Some other people say safety, but they like me at corner and see me as an asset to that position."
On what he needs to work on to play corner early in college:
"Mainly my tackling. I like to base my game on Deion Sanders' because I like to cover. Everyone always said he couldn't tackle (laughter). I do the one [aspect] really good, and so I want to focus on the other thing."
On his strengths in coverage:
"Not having to totally guess [anymore], but knowing how and when [my opponent] is going to break. I know what he's going to do before he does it."
On his personal goals:
"Be the best player in my city, state, country … if I make the NFL, then to be one of the greatest in the NFL. Academically, I want to do the best I can. I want to try to get my bachelor's and master's in psychology. I just want to help people – help them with the knowledge of what I went through as a kid."
Watch for Part II of our conversation with Channing soon....