Michigan Makes Huge Jump with Willingham

Denver (CO) Mullen LB Leilon Willingham had an idea of what Michigan would be like prior to arriving for his visit this weekend, but what he actually experienced in Ann Arbor surpassed every expectation.

Leilon Willingham Profile

"It was really nice up there," Willingham said.  "Man it was freezing up there, but I'm from Colorado so it gets cold here too.  It was a great trip.  I know you already about the facilities up there – it's Michigan.  But the people up there are real.  That's really what I was looking to get a feel for – the coaches and everybody that Coach Hoke has surrounding him.  They were just normal people just like me.  We just talked on a normal level before we got into football and X's and O's.  They were just real cool people.  I feel like they can understand me and I can trust them."

Willingham got a similar vibe from the players.  Denard Robinson and Patrick Omameh were current the Wolverines that he spent the most time with, and both made strong impressions with their down to earth manner.

"They were just real, man," Willingham said surprisingly.  "You never would know that they are who they are.  I really liked the atmosphere between the players.  It didn't matter what position or what year they were in.  They were all respectful and they were all on the same level."

At least one of the other recruits was blown away by the experience as well.

I hung out with Justice Hayes, Stefan McClure and Frank Clark," recalled Willingham.  "Frank just texted me and said "aww man, we're going to be roommates next year! (Laughter)"

After establishing comfort with the people in Ann Arbor, three-star prospect's next objective was to get comfortable with the plan on the field.  The coach that one week ago was coaching Willingham's favorite player (Ray Lewis) handled that personally.

"Me and Coach Mattison went over a lot of stuff," Willingham stated.  "They want me to play inside.  When I get up there we are going to have to decide that.  Whatever is the best fit for the team and for me."

After such a memorable time in Ann Arbor it's obvious that the Maize & Blue has surged up his list, but by how much exactly?

Admitted Willingham, "I had a good time on all my trips, but I think I got the best feel for the people and the place at Michigan."

So does that mean the Wolverines are now #1?

"Aww man, that's hard question to answer," Willingham said slyly.  "I'm going to keep that one inside.  I'm not letting that out right now."

With only one more visit weekend until signing day, it won't be long until he lets the world in on his secret – that's of course assuming he has one.

"I talked to Coach Hoke about (taking his last official visit to Central Florida next weekend) and he said he was cool with it," Willingham reported.

What if any an impact that final trip has on his ultimate decision remains to be seen.  To have any chance at all, though, the Knights must demonstrate just how badly they want him.

"I know already where I felt wanted the most," he said.  "You've got to go where you felt wanted not needed so…"

Is that place Michigan?

"Aww… yall are trying to get me to let it out," Willingham said laughingly.  "I'll probably let it out next Wednesday."

GoBlueWolverine will have more on Willingham in the coming days.


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