“It was much better than I ever expected,” Byrne said of Michigan. “I was very very impressed with a lot of things. To actually see it firsthand really helped. We were there for about five hours. We got the full tour. It was a great experience. We got to see the academics, all the facilities, the weight room, the practice field, got to meet with Coach Hoke, the offensive line coach, and the offensive coordinator. It was a really good day.”
On a day in which many aspects of the Michigan football program made very strong impressions, one aspect of the visit the resonated louder than any other.
“The big thing for me was the coaching staff,” said Byrne. “They just seemed really down to earth and they were very easy to talk to. They definitely have goals set and all they care about is working towards those goals and trying to win. That’s something that I kind of see at my high school. I think that’s really cool to see the same thing at the next level.”
“I talked with (offensive line coach, Darrell Funk) for about 15-20 minutes. He just really went over how he got to Michigan and his philosophy on how he coaches. I was really impressed with that. He kind of described to me he is not a screamer, he is not a yeller… he just expects to do things right. That’s basically how it works at my high school, and I like the way it works there. To see it work at the next level is encouraging.”
“The last hour we were there we actually met (Brady Hoke). He is a very laid back guy… pretty down to earth. We just talked for a little bit about how he got to Michigan and all that. We talked about myself and where I fit into the picture at Michigan.”
What position the 6-4, 285-pounder will play at the next level depends upon the program he’s talking to. Byrne insists he is flexible about where he’ll line up.
“I brought that up to Coach Hoke and he feels I could play tackle,” Byrne reported. “He thinks I’m tall enough. He thinks my wingspan is good enough. If things work out where they want me to go to guard I wouldn’t hesitate to go to the guard position.”
While the Hoke & company made clear to the Buckeye State star their strong interest, they stopped short of extending him a scholarship. That didn’t come as much of a surprise to Byrne.
“I would imagine it’s because I only played four games,” he said. “I got the impression that maybe at the beginning of the season they want to see me play a little bit more at the varsity level, which I understand. The offensive line coach went over with me how they plan on recruiting the offensive line the next couple of years. They feel I’m a top prospect and they want to stay in touch.”
With his first trip to Ann Arbor now behind him, plans hit the visit trail in earnest again in the very near future.