With numerous commitments and recruits making their way to Michigan's campus for the Michigan football spring game Saturday, Texas defensive lineman Christian Lacouture decided to fly into the Great Lakes state with his mom a day early to see as much as he possibly could of the Wolverines.
"We left Houston at 7:30 Friday morning," Lacouture told GoBlueWolverine," and what happened was the coaches wanted to know if I could come up a day early so I can -- that would be really my whole visit to check out the campus and the facilities and everything. I got up to Detroit around 11am and drove to Ann Arbor, and we went to our hotel to check in, put everything away quickly and just went over to the University of Michigan."
"We were there, I want to say for about 7 hours," said Lacouture. "It was everything you could think of -- I got to talk to Coach Mattison, Coach Montgomery, Coach Smith, Coach Hoke, you know, everybody on the staff and the strength and conditioning coach. It was a really good time to come up, I wanted to come up and see what it was like here. The tradition, the coaches here, it's just, it's a great place up in Michigan, and you know they're doing great things."
Part of Lacouture's conversation with the coaching staff lead to an in depth look at where they envision him fitting into the defensive scheme were he to choose the Wolverines.
"Just kind of looking back," said Lacouture, "I told them ... I think what really stands out about Michigan too from my view point is Coach Hoke, Coach Mattison and Coach Montgomery have all been defensive line people. Coach Mattison, all three of them told me today, look, we really want you to come here, we really like you. Their class, they told me they have 17 commitments and they have Taco Charlton already and they said they need a strong side guy. And they said it's up to me when I want to commit or if I wanted to, and they want me to come in and be the guy on the strong side -- have me and Taco as the defensive ends. And looking at everything what I see coming in and playing (time) and with them losing a couple of guys, it's something to think about."
With three defensive line coaches on the staff in Ann Arbor, Lacouture had a keen eye on the individual instruction throughout the spring game Saturday afternoon.
"It'd be very good," he said, "because looking at it, all three coaches coach the defensive line. And still kind of looking at it it's something that's definitely going to be considered because the schemes they run -- and what they do is very effective. Just watching the spring game they did a lot of things, but they really didn't show everything. It just goes to show how versatile the defensive linemen are, what they do in the schemes-- and, you know it was very impressive."
Senior quarterback Denard Robinson spent more time than usual on the sideline Saturday during the spring game, part of which was dedicated to Lacouture and his mother who came away extremely impressed. Lacouture also found the time to seek out and pick the brains of the three early enrollees since he himself plans on arriving on a college campus in January of 2013.
"I talked to Denard Robinson for a while," said Lacouture. "My mom really likes him, they talked for a long time. I talked to the three guys that came in early this year -- that's the thing I'll be doing, I'm going to be graduating early, so I wanted to see from their perspective about how they felt coming in early. It looks like, I think all 3 of them are competing for a job -- you know either starting or quality reps in the game. It goes to show how if you come in early, how effective it can be. I got to talk to all of the 2012 defensive linemen commits, great group. We were just talking a lot about what's going to happen. I talked to Taco for a little bit. I got to talk to all of the offensive linemen commits for 2012 and 2013. I got to talk to Shane Morris for a little bit. You know, it was, it was just a great visit. I just got to meet everybody to see how they felt about Michigan, the coaches, everything. It really just kind of blew me away and I was very happy with it."
It's no secret what kind of effect Morris has had on the 2013 class, and Saturday Morris and the gang were more than ready to convince Lacouture to join them in Ann Arbor.
"They were just talking about how I could fit in easily with these guys," said Lacouture. "You know, the good thing about it is because I'm so versatile, and even some of the defensive linemen, the people I'll be competing with, they're telling me you know we really want you to come here, we need you, and stuff like that. It just goes to show you what type of family, family oriented type of people that are up at the University of Michigan. And like I said with the tradition, the people they have in now and who are the people they're bringing in, you know, they're going to be special for a long time."
Lacouture is no spring chicken when it comes to visiting college campuses, and after his visit to check out the Wolverines the 6'4, 240 pound five-technique has three schools standing above the rest.
"I think, I really, I've never been up to Michigan before," said Lacouture, "and they're in my top 3. You know with everything they've done throughout the year and with me coming up here it was very impressive. And like I said I'm down to a top three now: LSU, Nebraska and Michigan. I really, really like Nebraska as well. I went to visit them a couple of weeks ago, I love what they're doing. And LSU, LSU is very good, they're always competing for a national championship."
"I think looking at it, I visited LSU, I went down there for a game last year and I've taken two visits so far during the offseason," said Lacouture. "I've visited Nebraska already. And you know I plan on visiting Michigan again, and I'll probably, I'm going to go visit Nebraska one more time. And then after that I'm going to make my decision by then. Unfortunately my sister and father were not able to come up and make the visit, so I told them what happened and everything. And with my dad playing professional hockey for the Detroit Red Wings he got to see what the University of Michigan was like earlier but he wants to come up and see it, check out the campus and the academics, and my sister would like it too. After that I'll have my decision."
Having strong relationships firmly in place with each coaching staff in his top 3, Lacouture knows he has a very difficult decision to make about his future. Each school fits the profile of what he's looking for out of a college -- so what will it take for one program to emerge and win by a nose?
"I mean it might just be, you never know," said Lacouture. "Just looking at it I'm just going to see what's going to happen on those three visits. I have great relationships with all three, it's just -- this weekend was very impressive, I'd like to come up here one more time. I don't really know what's going to stand out. I just know that I want to come in and play early, I want to win a national championship, I want to get a quality education and be developed. Those three schools show it, and I'm just looking forward to making a decision here pretty soon."
Lacouture "blown away" by Michigan
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Michigan Lives up to Hype for CainBradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy tailback Noah Cain had high expectations for his first visit to Michigan, and the Wolverines met all of them… for him and his father.
The Michigan Insider4:18 PM
U-M BMC Highlights: Mayfield vs. HutchinsonWatch Michigan 2018 OT commit Jalen Mayfield matchup vs. fellow U-M 2018 DE commit Aidan Hutchinson from U-Ms Big Man Camp on Saturday, plus more Mayfield highlights.
The Michigan Insider1:23 PM
U-M Big Man Highlights: Emil EkiyorCheckout highlights of Michigan 2018 OG commit Emil Ekiyor from U-M's Big Man Camp held on Saturday.
The Michigan Insider12:37 PM
’19 MI OL Spencer Brown on U-M’s radarOne of the standouts at Michigan's Big Man Camp was massive in-state lineman Spencer Brown, who recaps his time in Ann Arbor
The Michigan Insider12:02 PM
Ekiyor has 'great' U-M Camp ExperienceMichigan 2018 OG commit Emil Ekiyor showcases his versatility at center at U-M Big Man Camp.
The Michigan Insider11:31 AM