Sam Webb: Take me back through the in-home visit experience with Michigan. What did you guys wean from that?
Brent Williams: “I think the thing was, the main purpose for the in-home obviously is, they come in just to kind of reinforce the interest that they have in Armani and how they want to use him, all those things, but for him, it’s a little different, because when he did the official visit, his aunt and uncle went with him because his mom couldn’t go with him because she was working, so this really was for his mom to get a chance to meet Coach Hoke and for her to get a chance for her to get to meet Curt Mallory, so that was really the purpose of the in-home, or the main focus of the in-home, just to get her caught up and familiar with the Michigan staff and how they envision using Armani and just getting her up to speed on everything that is Michigan.”
Sam Webb: What do you think, from talking to her, what do you think her impressions were? How did the guys come across?
Brent Williams: “I thought it was very positive. I think she enjoyed the meeting real well, and then to follow that up with, Coach Mattison came to his basketball game last night, and we kind of did another in-home after that, just to kind of get her caught up with him as well, because everybody else had met the full coaching staff during the official visit, but she had not. She’s talked to them on the phone and had a chance to have some conversations with them over the last couple weeks, but not face to face, and not a chance to talk to them in person.”
Sam Webb: It seems like Mattison has really struck a chord with Armani. What’s the dynamic like between Mattison and Armani.
Brent Williams: “Coach Mattison has a great way about him and a great rapport in talking with young people. He’s a lot younger than most 60-plus year old guys and. The things he talks to them about and just the… it’s the grandfather figure, but it’s the cool grandfather figure. He listens to their music, he dances, and Armani has a lot of fun with him. He had a lot of fun with him on his official visit. He can sit down and talk about the importance of education and how that’s going to impact his life going forward. How he envisions using him, who’s going to be coaching him there, how the coaching system works there, and just give him some comfort and confidence in knowing how he’s going to be used. I think every kid wants to know, ‘what’s the vision for me when I come to your school?’ I think Coach Mattison does a great job of painting that picture and that was the focus of (Tuesday) night’s meeting… and to talk to him about making a decision as to what’s best for him… which is what we as a family have encouraged him to do. We want him to do what’s best for him. Not the most popular or easiest thing to do. If going to Michigan is what’s best for him, then he has to have the courage and confidence to make that decision. If going to Ohio State is what’s best for him, then he has to have the courage and confidence to know that that’s for him and it’s not just to go be there with Camren at this point.”
Sam Webb: We’ve talked previously about your connection with Fred Jackson. Did Armani have a chance to catch up with Fred during his official?
Brent Williams: “I don’t know if they had a chance to meet with Fred. I spent a lot of time with Brady, during the home visit, talking about my former defensive line coach and the guy he started under at the University of Toledo when he was a GA there. He and I talked quite a bit lately and I asked him a lot of things about Brady, so there’s a familiarity there and I know the family liked Coach Hoke quite a bit and enjoyed getting to know him.”
Sam Webb: OK, so let’s transition into talking about Ohio State. You’ve already addressed the rumors about the in-home visit with the Buckeyes not going well. Can you set the record straight on that for the readers?
Brent Williams: “Yes. No, Coach Meyer did not show up late. That was the first thing we heard had kind of come out was that he showed up late and the family was unimpressed. Not at all. The visit went off as planned. They actually were early. The visit went off as planned. Coach Withers came in, met with our coach at school, had a chance to talk to Armani before he went to practice, and then went and watched practice. Coach Vrabel, Coach Fickell and Coach Meyer all came in as planned later on in the evening, so that wasn’t accurate at all. I have no idea where that came from, but you know how things get started.”
Sam Webb: So, what about that in-home?
Brent Williams: “It was the exact same thing… his mom was there and then we had my wife and myself and Camren also there. His coaches are there… Camren’s coaches were there. It was kind of a group visit, but it was focused on them individually and giving his mom the same opportunity because (the official to Ohio State) was a mid-week visit, so obviously she couldn’t jump off work and take that trip with him. His aunt did go on the trip with him, but (the in-home) gave his mother a chance to talk to Coach Meyer, Coach Withers, Coach Fickell, and Coach Vrabel and get familiar with them.”
Sam Webb: You kind of touched on this earlier, but Camren is his brother for all intents and purposes… how tough is it to separate his presence at Ohio State as a major factor in his decision, or is that a major factor for him in his thought process?
Brent Williams: “You know what, I don’t think it’s as tough for him as people think it is. I think most people think, where one goes, the other goes. That’s not accurate. Where one goes, if it’s best for him, he’s going there… and if it’s best for the other, then he might go there as well. It’s really not the two of them joined at the hip as people might think. I think their initial experience and the idea, if we’re really honest with each other and everyone, they probably have always envisioned playing together. When Camren committed to Penn State, Armani took his time. He wanted to visit some other schools that were not recruiting Camren and some that were. When it came down to it, the best fit for him was Penn State and it worked out where it was the best fit for both of them individually. So once that situation started to unravel, it became obvious to us that the situation for them to go to school together may not happen. And it was obvious that initially Ohio State was recruiting Camren more because that was the bigger position of need. Then once (Ohio State) had the issues with the players they released, they went from having seven corners coming into spring ball down to four and maybe possible three at this point. And so all of a sudden, his position became a major need so once that happened, the door was back open for them to possibly go to school together if it were the right fit, if he were comfortable with the school and liked the situation there. So that’s how that part of it unfolded, but to say that they definitely set out to go to school together, I don’t think that was ever the intent.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for part two to find out the specifics of Reeves’ decision criteria, what the deliberation process will entail, when the choice will likely be made, and more.