- For those that missed part one, click here.
Michigan clearly faced an uphill battle in the race for Grand Rapids Christian star, Drake Harris when he reopened his recruitment last month. While same can certainly still be said today, they’ve manage to scale a considerable distance in a few short weeks. Last weekend’s unofficial visit is largely responsible for putting the Maize & Blue firmly in the running.
“It was great,” Harris said regarding his time in Ann Arbor. “I liked it a lot. I had a great time with the players, the recruits, some of the players that were already committed there, the coaching staff… everybody was cool. I just had a really great time. (Saturday) night hanging out with the players… it was fun just seeing how I could interact with them. I could see them being my teammates. I could hang out with them. Then (Sunday) at the basketball game we had a great time also. Just talking to Coach Hoke and everybody on the staff there… they’re all just great people so I had a good time.”
“I probably spent an equal amount of time with all of the coaches. I talked a lot to Coach Hoke, Coach Ferrigno, Coach Borges, all of them. Coach Hecklinski the wide receiver coach… we sat down (with him) in a room and he showed me clips of how he would use me, how he would get me the ball, and all of that. Just being with them the whole weekend I found out a lot, and a lot of new stuff about the campus and academically also… and just great stuff about the school. It really impressed me.”
Harris’ dad was equally impressed. That bodes well for Michigan considering how much the elder Harris’ opinion factor into every aspect of his son’s recruitment.
“Personally for me as his dad, of course I want people that are honest and up front in what way they want to utilize him if he decides to come here,” Mr. Harris explained. “We’ve been down (to Michigan) before, but it was mostly basketball stuff. We were never able to see the whole football side of it. Seeing the whole football side of it, there were some things where I was definitely like, ‘wow, this is really nice!’ And just sitting down with the coaches… the receivers coach putting it out there that this how they would utilize Drake, where he would be, and what they see with where he would fit in down the road. The academic piece was huge too… sitting down and understanding that and what Michigan is all about. (It’s) not just football. We’ve got to look at life. Eventually you’ve got to get a job. That’s priority. You’ve got to go out here, make sure you’re around good people, and get that degree. That’s the main goal. Then whatever else happens, that’s great. Like I tell him… the main thing is I want you around good folks that really have your back and care about you. (The visit) was great.”
Another key visit component was young Harris’ interaction with his prospective teammates. His host for much of the weekend was sophomore corner, Blake Coutness… a youngster whose personality is amazingly similar to his.
“I think that’s why put me with him,” Harris said in agreement. “We had a great time. He was cool to hang out with. Everyone (on campus) knew him, so we had a great time. (I) really enjoyed it and (I’m) looking forward to coming down again soon.”
The big play wideout had hoped to spend time with Devin Gardner during visit, the Wolverines’ signal caller was out of town. Fortunately for the Maize & Blue, future Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight was there to happily pick up the slack.
“I like him a lot,” Harris stated regarding Speight. “We text a lot. He was just saying he really wants me to come there, that he wants to throw me the ball, that we would be a deadly combination (laughter). I heard that he is a great quarterback. I watched some of his clips and he can really throw it. I know Shane Morris can too, and he has been talking to me also. But Wilton has been talking to me more. He said that he wants to be roommates with me if I end up coming here and all this stuff (laughter). I had a great time with him.”
Speight and his fellow recruiting strategist Michael Ferns joked with Harris about getting him a Project 135 t-shirt. While Harris wasn’t yet ready to don one, he did oblige his fellow recruits by joining them in a photo in which they all wore Michigan jerseys. That said, he cautioned against reading too much into the bow viral sapshot.
“I’m on a visit... I was just trying on a jersey,” he said laughingly. “Everybody else was doing it so it was nothing really big. People are just going to blow it up. I was just having fun with everyone just enjoying my time down there.”
There was one noteworthy aspect of the picture, though, and that was the number that Harris wore. He had on the esteemed #1 jersey. Turns out that was definitely by design.
Said Harris, “they told me they haven’t had anyone wear the #1 jersey in a while, and they believe I will be the next person to wear it if I come there… but I will have to earn it.”
Add that as another visit highlight on a trip full of them for the Wolverines, but make no mistake… other programs will have ample opportunity to impress him just as much.
“I said let’s go on our visits because this is a one-time thing, so you don’t want to rush,” his father added. “You also don’t want to hold anybody hostage either. But you want to make the best decision for you. We sat down and agreed that we will go on some visits and some spring games, and then maybe around October (make a decision)… somewhere around there because he wants to try to graduate early. That would give him a few months before he goes off to school and hopefully come in as a true freshman wherever he ends up and be able to make an impact.”
Stay tuned for part the third and final part of this interview during which the Harris’ discuss what they like about three prominent schools on his list, what he still questions about those schools, and much much more.