Michigan Faces Uphill Battle for Crawford

South Ft. Myers (FL) Coach Grant Redhead couldn't have been more proud or excited when star pupil Dallas Crawford committed to Michigan a few months back. The lifelong Wolverine fan could hardly wait to see Crawford run down the tunnel. Now he is forcing himself to put those feelings aside so he can help Crawford do what's best for him – and that may mean going someplace other than Michigan.

Grant Redhead can't remember a time when he didn't love Michigan football.  Life thousands of miles removed from Ann Arbor had done little to dampen his allegiance to the Maize & Blue.  He now bristles at the mention of Michigan football.  The process of turning over the coaching staff has caused anger, sadness, and frustration to all converge in a man that wears his Michigan passion on his sleeve.  He simply can't hide his displeasure regarding how the coaching turnover has played out.

 "Dallas is out," Redhead said regarding the former Michigan commitment.  "The manner and fashion and way that everything was done… I realize that Mr. Brandon has his philosophy but it is not a very good philosophy for college football.  I believe that if things are not going the way you want them to, a bowl game will not make a difference.  He should have made the decision after the Ohio State game if he was going to release these guys.  My philosophy is -- and I admit being a friend of one of the coaches for a dozen or more years -- if those guys are not right for you, give them an opportunity to go somewhere else so they can get jobs at other schools.  By waiting this long it dragged out the recruiting process of my kid and it hurt those coaches in getting employment.  I'm a Michigan man.  I really am.  My uncle played there. I've always had ties there.  I've been a Michigan fan since year one.  I've been a Michigan fan all my life and (was excited) when my kid was going there, but I can honestly say that not having a coach right now at this late juncture with three weeks left that (Dallas) has to look for a viable option.  You don't know who is going in (to Michigan) and if that staff will want to keep him just to keep a recruiting class or if they really want him.  That's the bottom line."

 "(Brandon) may hate me for life and never recruit one of my kids (for saying this) -- he may be a great CEO, but being an athletic director with a timetable is different.  It is different in business than it is in college football.  At the end of the regular season if it is not getting done the way you feel it should be, make the change then.  Don't wait until the bowl game.  Get a coach and find out if those recruits are still going to commit.  They lost Dee Hart, they lost Dallas, and there are several that they could have gotten if they would have gone ahead with somebody."

Though Michigan's chances at regaining Crawford's pledge may now seem grim, that hasn't stopped the Maize & Blue from trying.  The Sunshine State star has gone into a self-imposed quiet period of late, taking very few phone calls from many including coaches.  The Wolverines have now turned to Redhead to get their message across.

"(Friday) I heard from Coach Singletary," the South Ft. Myers coach recalled.  "He was letting me know they still wanted Dallas checking up to see if (Dallas) was still committed to Michigan or not.  I told him that (Dallas) was open.  He is looking elsewhere because of not knowing who his coach is.  You have this week's dead period and then there is three weeks after this week, so it is a late start."

Two schools made strong moves up Crawford's list during Michigan's period of uncertainty and they will be further rewarded with visits in the coming weeks.

"He is going to USC on the 28th, going to Miami on the 14th," Redhead reported.  Monte Kiffin came into the school yesterday, the D-coordinator for USC.  They had a very, very positive talk -- enough to get Dallas to take a trip.  The new (Miami) staff immediately got in touch with (Dallas) and said, ‘we still want you. You're a player for Miami football.'  That's even though Aubrey Hill, their recruiter, had gone to Florida.  Florida is possibly considering him, but Miami jumped right in.  Purdue came in, West Virginia came in -- the schools that have formally been out, once it was announced officially that Coach Rodriguez and his staff were gone, they (have been calling) my phone."

In between the aforementioned visit dates is weekend on which he was initially slated to visit Michigan. January 21st.  Therein lies the ray of hope that still exists for the Wolverines.

"He's talking about (visiting) North Carolina (on the 21st, but that is not set in stone," said Redhead.  "Let us say (Michigan) hires a staff that was recruiting Dallas where they were, then he would feel comfortable.  He said he would wait.  ‘These (new Michigan coaches) wanted me where they were at (before), so they want me (at Michigan).'  The guy from LSU offered Dallas.  If they come in, I would be comfortable with him going there because they wanted him at LSU.  (It's believable) that they want him at Michigan.  A different staff -- now that is different.  Do they really want him or are they just trying to fill the recruiting class so can they have practice players?"

That will be the task for the new Michigan staff – proving to Crawford that he is still wanted in Ann Arbor.  However, that can only happen if there is a staff in place at Michigan prior to the youngster's open visit date.  Should that happen, Redhead will be there to make sure they have the best shot possible because beneath all of his disappointment is the beating heart of a tried and true Michigan Man.

"I would love to see the kid go to my #1 (i.e. Michigan) for personal reasons," Redhead admitted.  "I would love it!  But I told him flat out, ‘you go where it is best for you.'  Right now, there is indecision at Michigan.  I'm all for him still being a Wolverine, but I have to support my kid to find the best place for him."


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