Things have seemed pretty quiet lately on the recruiting front for Toledo (OH) Whitmer standout, Chris Wormley, but that is by design. There has been no shortage of college coaches showing interest in the 6-5 265-pound man-child, but his attention has been directed elsewhere.
"(There haven't been any new football offers) that I know of," said Wormley. "I really don't get to talk to (Whitmer football) Coach (Joe) Palka much. When the (football) coaches come (to Whitmer to visit), I talk to them and stuff, but not really. It's basketball season. There was a (football) camp that I was going to go to in a couple of weeks from now, but I don't think I'm going to because it is still basketball season and then it is the playoffs. It is big time year for basketball. Then I pick up track season right after basketball. Hopefully I'll get to go out to some of the spring (football) practices and get to look around campuses and check out the coaches then. I'm just focusing on basketball right now. We're 14-1. (Saturday) I had 22 points."
Gaining recruiting ground at a time when Wormley is so intensely focused on other things is difficult, but not impossible. NCAA rules mandate limited contact with junior prospects when college coaches visit high schools, but the mere presence of a collegiate head coach can speak volumes. That certainly was the case when Brady Hoke made his way to Wormley's high school last month.
"He was there two or three weeks ago," said Wormley of Michigan's new coach. "I was impressed with him because it took a while for the (prior) Michigan coaches to get up here. He was up there within the first two weeks of being at Michigan. I really like him."
By the time the previous Michigan staff had verbally offered Wormley last fall, they had made up considerable ground on his then leader, Ohio State. The Buckeyes were in the mix earlier thanks in large part to their courtship of his elder teammate, Kenny Hayes. Michigan's rally was fueled by a few strong visits to Ann Arbor and Wormley's boyhood affinity for the Maize & Blue. There was a chance, however, that the staff turnover would cause the Wolverines to fall behind the Buckeyes again. What wound up happening was far different.
"I think (my view of Michigan) kind of went up (after the coaching change)," admitted Wormley. "Brady Hoke is a defensive guy and they brought Greg Mattison, the (former) defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. That was definitely a big thing for Michigan get. (Mattison) came in a few weeks after Brady Hoke came in. The Ravens have had good defense ever since they came into the league. I was pretty impressed with them getting him. It was two (Michigan coaches dropping by Whitmer) in three weeks."
The instant attention collectively from the new Michigan staff has certainly been impactful, but Wormley's interaction with Mattison in recent weeks may have been particularly so.
"I could tell that (Mattison) is a really good coach," Wormley stated. "He named all the top people that he coached with and coached. It was a pretty good resume named off of. I look forward to seeing what he can do with their defense… see if he can turn it around next season on the football field."
That the Wolverines surging at a point when football recruiting is so clearly on Wormley's backburner is significant. Though still open to all suitors, he has long maintained a pecking order at the top of his list. It was Michigan and Ohio State knotted at the top, and then everyone else. Has the new Wolverine staff broken the tie in Michigan's favor? Has his mother's previously stated preference for the Maize & Blue given Hoke & company the advantage?
"I can't really decide right now," said Wormley. "Hopefully once I get out to both their campuses, hopefully in the summer and the spring, it will make my decision final. (My mom) just wants me to pick the best choice for me. It doesn't really matter what school I go to as long as it fits me and I like it there."
The aforementioned campus visits may go a long way toward determining fit. If one possible decision timeline comes to fruition, schools won't get any more chances to win him over once fall rolls around.
Said Wormley, "I'm thinking (a decision will be made) either before my football season or after my football season. I'm not trying to decide during (the season) because I don't want a big distraction during my senior year."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Wormley in the coming months.