When it comes to making first impressions, do-overs aren’t an option. Fortunately for Michigan, that initial opportunity was taken full advantage of when Bolingbrook (IL) standout, Parrker Westphal made his way to Ann Arbor Tuesday. As a matter of fact, to simply say the blue chip prospect was impressed would be an understatement.
“It was jaw dropping,” the always reserved youngster said. “I saw the facilities, learned about the academics, and met with the coaches. My dad and my brother had the same reaction as me… they were speechless.”
“They have two indoor 120 yard football fields. Everything there is so modern.”
Needless to say, things could not have gone much better for the Maize & Blue. The visit lived up to the expectations set by former Wolverine and Westphal’s DB coach at Bolingbrook, Todd Howard. The talented youngster credits Howard a great deal for helping grow his game to its current level in a very short period of time.
“He got me to where I am,” said Westphal of Howard. “I’ve only been playing DB for two years… and I’m still learning… but he got me ready.”
At 6-1, 181-lbs., and capable of running a 4.5 forty, Westphal is a defensive coordinator’s dream. He is big enough to play the run and push receivers around, but quick and fast enough to turn and run with the speedier pass catchers. The Wolverine brass made it clear that they would use him in a way that would allow them to utilize all of his skills.
“Michigan was talking to me about playing corner, nickel, and playing (like a) linebacker,” Westphal reported. “Talking with the defensive coordinator was cool because I know he coached guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed with the Ravens. Coach Mallory was cool too. We watched film."
What Westphal likely saw was the type of versatility that the Packers exhibited when they moved Charles Woodson over the slot – allowing him blitz frequently, be a force in run defense, and also be a blanket in coverage. For his part, Westphal likens his style to another imposing DB. After considerable prodding and assurances that the comparison wouldn’t come across as bragging, he offered one up.
“Patrick Peterson,” the modest youngster said. “You can say that I play like him because I’m big and fast, and I like to be physical.”
Michigan definitely isn’t the only program a list of BCS powers that also includes Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Nebraska. He plans to make his way to Lincoln this weekend where they’ll have their chance to impress. After that the visit schedule is a bit up in the air, but that is of little concern With two years still to go before he becomes a collegiate athlete, there’s no rush to get things totally mapped out.
“I don’t have a favorite or a top list,” he said. “I don’t have a timeline for making a decision. I’m just going to see what happens.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Westphal in the weeks and months to come.