Anthony Zettel has been such a frequent visitor at Michigan Stadium over the past few years that the novelty of the experience has long since worn off. That said, when he made his way down the tunnel on Saturday that awestruck feeling came bubbling through once again.
"It was crazy how they did everything," Zettel said of the Big Chill at the Big House. "It was cool. I'd never seen a (Michigan) hockey game. It was pretty sweet."
The Ogemaw Heights star has made little secret of the fact that he grew up in a family of Michigan fans. That's why it should come as little surprise that they made their way to Ann Arbor for the historic event as well.
"(My parents) came and they just went home last night," stated Zettel. I stayed here. My brother and sister just came over and hung out a little through the day Saturday. My mom dad came the whole time."
As exciting as it was to be a part of the record-setting 113,411 in stands, the talented youngster was much more focused on getting a better feel for men that spend their fall Saturdays on that same field.
"I went to their (bowl) practice (Friday)," recalled Zettel. "The team looked very good. They looked like they were getting better. I had a lot of fun getting to know some of the players. There are a lot of good guys there. I was with guys that were good people. I had a good time."
Aside from host Jordan Paskorz, the Wolverine that Zettel may have spent the most time with was future Michigan tackle, Jake Fisher.
"We hung out a lot," said Zettel. "He's a pretty cool kid. He's just a guy like me that wants to get better and knows how to have fun too. We're just outgoing guys that our teammates are close to."
The Michigan coaching staff is working hard to ensure that the camaraderie between the two continues for years to come. The Maize & Blue hammered home to the four-star prospect once again exactly how he fits into their plans.
"They are looking at me more of a defensive standpoint," he said. "If I get a little big, they might switch to offense, but mostly I'll be defense."
Michigan athletic director David Brandon contributed to the courtship effort by adding a few words of encouragement.
"I did not talk to him individually, but he talked to all of us (recruits)," Zettel recalled. "He was just talking about how like Michigan has a large alumni base and has everything, what it means to be a Michigan Wolverine and that sort of stuff."
One topic that wasn't addressed was Rich Rodriguez's job status. Rumors about the future of Michigan's headman are so prevalent that they're almost unavoidable. Zettel, however, is doing his best to tune them out.
"Nothing is for sure, but the coaches there don't think that he will get fired," he said. "I know Coach Rodriguez and he's a good guy. I don't listen to a lot of the rumors, but if he does leave that will definitely play a role in Michigan's (standing)."
For now, the Wolverines still sit in very strong position on his list. But they aren't the only ones.
"I like it," said Zettel of Michigan. "They've always been up top. I've been there so many times and I feel so comfortable with all the coaches. I really like Michigan, but I say all four of them are even right now. I like (Michigan State, Iowa, and Penn State) a lot too. I had a good time everywhere. I'm just going to sit down with my coaches, mom and dad and just evaluate the schools and try to break it down a little more, maybe to three or two before break. I can't really give a leader out. I still feel very strongly for (Michigan) though."
With the trip to Ann Arbor now out the way, Zettel's recruitment has finally entered the home stretch.
"I don't think I am going to take a last visit," he reported. "I think I got it down to my four. These are my four and that's it. I'm not going to get it done for Christmas, probably in January some time."
"My coach and my parents will have advice. They all have options and ideas. It all comes down to me, though, so it's whatever I feel. It'll just come down to how I feel inside about the school, looking at everything, how I feel personally with everything. I'll know what the right school is, but it has not really hit yet."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Zettel in the weeks to come.