It's been tough sledding for Flint Powers Catholic thus far this season. The Chargers were 1-2 heading in to Friday night's cross-city match-up with Carman Ainsworth. On the line were bragging rights and a .500 record. Star lineman Dan O'Brien contributed nine tackles to the cause, but his team's push for victory came up just a bit short.
"We held it up in the first half… and in the second half we took a two touchdown lead… but at the end of the game they put together two scoring drives and we lost at the last second," said O'Brien of the 20-19 defeat.
Afterward, there was but one bright spot lessening his dejection.
"Coach Jackson was at the game," O'Brien reported.
The Coach Jackson in question was Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson. That the Wolverines' Flint area recruiter was on hand to see O'Brien is a clear sign that the 6-2, 280-pounder is one the Maize & Blue's in-state priorities in 2012. The feeling certainly appears to be mutual, as four-star lineman made his way to Ann Arbor the next day for the second time in this young season.
"I think they look good," state O'Brien after the 42-37 victory over Massachussetts. "Going from Notre Dame to UMASS is going to be a little bit of a difference. I think they will be all right once they play the bigger teams. I'm excited to see what they do against Michigan State. I think it will be a real intense game for them."
For much of Saturday's contest O'Brien focused his attention on one of the few Michigan defenders that brought his intensity to the field despite the opponent… junior defensive tackle, Mike Martin.
"He's my favorite," the talented youngster said. "I love Mike Martin. I love watching him play. He shows a lot of intensity and a lot of heart out there. I've never talked to him. I'd like to though."
That may well happen on one of his future visits. On this one, though, there may not have been time considering all of the other Wolverines that wanted his ear.
"I talked to pretty much all the coaches," O'Brien recalled. "I talked to Chris Singletary, Greg Robinson, Coach Jackson and Coach Rich Rodriguez. They just want to see me up (in Ann Arbor) every week. They told me that I'd look good in Maize & Blue and they definitely want me to come to Michigan. They want me to see the campus and see different aspects of the game a lot more."
The topic of an offer also came up.
"They said it would be in the near future that they were going to offer me," O'Brien said. "They said just coming up here and the offer will come. I'm excited. It makes me want to come up here a lot more."
Between the talk of a scholarship and Michigan's strong start to the 2011 season, the Wolverines have bolstered their standing in the race for O'Brien's services.
"They've opened my eyes a lot more," he said. "I definitely want to see a lot more about it. I want to make my decision fully. I want to know everything about the school and make sure it is right for me. I'm going to come to the Michigan State game. What other home games do they have? I'll be there at all those. I just won't be there next week."
Does that mean that the four-star prospect is leaning toward making an early decision?
"I don't think so," O'Brien answered. "Maybe next summer at the earliest I think. I really want to take my official visits. I don't want to make an order (of his list of favorites) yet. I kind of want to wait until I get more offers to make an order. I have top schools. In no order those would be Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame."
"Next week I'm going to Notre Dame when they play Stanford. Then Tennessee vs. Alabama… I'm going to that game."