Heading into an unofficial visit to Michigan over the weekend, 2014 Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.) high school offensive lineman Tommy Doles was focused more on learning about the Wolverine's offerings off the field as opposed to on.
As it turned out, Doles and his parents were able to get a better feel for Michigan both academically and athletically in their time on campus.
"I got there about 11 o'clock and I talked to some of the coaches and spent a little bit of time in the football building," Doles told GoBlueWolverine. "Then we went over to the academic center and I met with one of the football team's academic advisors and one of the career transition advisors, and got a tour on the campus -- saw the dorm rooms."
Doles says the visit allowed he and the Michigan coaching staff to build a stronger bond, becoming very "comfortable" with each other.
But for Doles and his family, the academic presentation was the key to the trip.
"The academics was extremely impressive -- the resources they have for athletes there," said Doles. "And of course at Michigan it's really rigorous academics -- it's the University of Michigan. But the programs they have in place to help you succeed are pretty unbelievable. I was really impressed with that and then the career transitions -- that was really cool to see."
The visit proved to be important and insightful, meeting the approval of Dole's parents.
"They really wanted to see the academic resources and they were impressed as well," said Doles. "They definitely would support me with that place and would be comfortable if that was where I were to go."
As for Doles, the entire visit put Michigan in the early driver's seat in his recruitment.
"It helped a lot," said Doles. "I can say Michigan is the frontrunner now. I wasn't ready to make a commitment or anything – I think I still want to see what the options are. I think I'm just not quite ready to make a decision yet, but Michigan is a good option at this point."
Moving forward, Doles doesn't have any visits planned as of yet but says he has spoken with Notre Dame, Ohio State and Duke, all of whom have asked him to make it to their campus.
One avenue Doles continues to look into provides a glimpse of the type of person the 6'5, 250-pounder really is.
"For a while the military academies -- I still had strong interest in that, but I'm thinking there are ways that I could get into that after college or other opportunities like that," said Doles.
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