"It came down out of me and my dad sitting down and talking and looking at things from a different perspective," said Pipkins. ""I told my mom and she is onboard. She is 100%. She has got my back. She had no (problem) with it. The academics are great. Also they have three defensive line coaches, so I'll definitely get coached in that position. But me and all my family... that was the most important… me just being back home and being able to see them."
Needless to say, his future coaches were elated about the news that a crucial spot in their 2012 recruiting class had finally been addressed.
"Oh man they were excited. Everybody was excited. I told Coach Mattison, Coach Montgomery, Coach Hoke, Roy Manning, he was very happy. Everybody was just happy because I was the #1 guy that they really wanted in that class and they got it. It was kind of crazy but they were all happy."
Finally seeing up close the program he had long been enamored with was impactful in a number of ways, but most the significant draw was the chance to be a part of what he feels is a special family.
"I also feel like the guys behind me and the guys beside me… Chris Wormley, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Terry Richardson… all those guys… I believe in every pickup defensively they got. Offensively, I feel like we can definitely put something good together. I think it will be a wonderful team to put together and not just a recruiting class but a team and a brotherhood."
At the moment Pipkins is concentrating on his current brotherhood and helping it achieve the ultimate goal.
"What is next is just focusing on the state championship because everything else is in place," he said. "It is just me focusing on playing football right now and getting bigger, faster, and stronger."
Al Pipkins on his son's Decision
Sam Webb: Why do you think Michigan was ultimately the place?
Al Pipkins: "He was very happy with the coaches. Most importantly, they got three line coaches; three guys that can coach the line or played on the line before, and he was very enthused with that. He was also very enthused with the facilities but most importantly the academic portion… he was very happy with that. The job placement with a career even if he does not go to the NFL… he was very happy with that.
Sam Webb: Before he came did he kind of feel like Michigan was his leader or was it the visit that really pushed Michigan to the top for him?
Al Pipkins: "I don't think Michigan was always his leader. Kids today are kind of loyal to the first team that offers them because that's a big deal with him. Missouri offered him first, but I had to ultimately explain to him that Missouri had you in their backyard first. It was a camp they ran, and he went and did good in the camp. They were very happy that he was in their backyard. He had just transferred to Rochester and (Missouri) had big things planned for him too. Then Michigan was going through a coaching change at the time. So when Michigan finally got their coaching staff in place and got onboard and found out actually where he was at and what he was doing, I talked to Roy (Manning). He was telling me how Michigan wanted him to come there and play football. When they finally contacted Ondre, he contacted me and said, ‘Dad, Michigan offered me today!' So he was very excited about that when they finally came around to offer him.'"
Sam Webb: Talk about your relationship with him, and what kind of role that played in everything.
Al Pipkins: "My relationship with all my kids is a very strong one, no matter what anyone says about it. It is a very strong one. And ultimately my thing is, I've coached before and I know how coaches think. I felt it wasn't fair to them as a coaching staff to be waiting until December for a decision that ultimately you know in your heart at this point, you know where you want to go. So our relationship is a very strong one. I know from the past students that we sent up (to Michigan) through Saginaw High and the Saginaw area and what they turned out to be. I was very excited when he came here. I was very excited at the BBQ. Our relationship is a strong one, and it is just time for him to come home so that we can continue that as a father and son and grow as a man. I'm very excited about that."