One conversation with Sheldon Day and it doesn't take long to determine which factor will play the most significant role when picking a school.
"Academics are first with me when I am looking at any college that I chose to attend," he said. "Receiving my degree is very important to me and my family."
The Warren Central star and his family made their way to Ann Arbor last weekend they were pleased to see that the Michigan coaching staff was on the same page with them.
"I really like the academic hall that they have, the one-on-one tutoring, and the IPAD's that they have to assist you with your education," recalled Day. "I like how everything is close -- all nice and together. The classes are not far apart. I like how the campus is. I also appreciated the fact that the coaches spoke about receiving a Michigan degree, how I could get a job after I graduate, and how the alumni comes back to look out for you after you receive your degree."
While academics proved to be the primary focus, Day also was interested in getting a better feel for the staff and establishing more of a vibe. When all was said and done the comfort level he established with Brady Hoke & company proved to be one of the most impactful aspects of the trip.
"I had a chance to sit down and talk with Coach Hoke," the talented youngster stated. "He is wonderful! We had a good time. I feel like if I did come to Michigan he would be a father figure to me. He wants me to grow and be a part of the program. Coach Hoke mentioned three points that he wants his players to understand:
- Mature academically- he wants us to continue to improve and grow as students
- Standing up to your name-at Michigan who are you here to represent myself and my family.
- Getting your degree-that is very important when you come here to leave with that."
Hoke set a strong tone for the visit, but his efforts were complemented greatly by both his staff and by his players.
"Coach Mattison is hilarious," said Day. "He likes to have fun, but you can see he has discipline behind that fun. Coach Montgomery and I connected more than I thought we would. I met him at Indiana and that is where (the connection) started. I feel like I could come to him with anything and he is going to give me his opinion whether I like it or not."
"I also met Denard Robinson. I was shocked. I was asking myself, ‘Am I really meeting Denard Robinson?' He is a really cool guy. Denard said, ‘Look, I came all the way up here from Florida -- Michigan it is just a special place to be at.' I also met Devin Gardner. We talked, but he and my mom talked mostly. It was nice meeting those two. I also had a chance to meet Will Campbell and Jibreel Black. They were going to study hall when I met them."
When the conversation switched to football, the Wolverines laid out clear plan for how they plan utilize the Hoosier State star's talents, and how they plan to enhance them.
"Coach Montgomery sees me as a Haloti Ngata at nose tackle some and then a little like moving me outside like Terrell Suggs," he said. "Coach Mattison wants to move me around as well, he talked with me about the game scheme we would be in. (Strength & Conditioning) Coach (Aaron) Wellman talked to me about how he would help men to strengthen my body in all areas through lightweights - more reps, heavy weights- less reps, and how it could help with my explosion off the ball. Michigan has a lot of technology to help with your workouts to be better. As far as the practice field, I didn't think something could be that big. They have climate control so that they can adjust to the weather they would be playing in."
As thrilled as Day was with virtually everything the coaches did during the visit, he came away most pleased with what they didn't do.
"What impressed me the most was the coaches didn't try and sell Michigan to me," he said. "If I really enjoyed being there then they would like to have me. The coaches didn't put any pressure on me at all to commit, and I appreciated that."
While it's clear the Wolverines have set the recruiting bar very high for Day's other suitors, he plans to give them every chance to reach it in the coming months.
"I am open right now. I want to get a chance to see some other schools and what they have to offer," said Day. "I want to take my time. I will be making my decision after my football season. Playing early is important to me and that would determine me enrolling early if I can get on the field faster."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Day in the coming weeks and months.