Sam Webb: Let’s start off talking about what was the experience like this time around? I know this time you got a chance to see a little football, but what else did they have you do.
Daniel Helm: “I came to visit again because I did want to see the football this time, but also because my dad hadn’t seen it the first time around, so we kind of did a little bit quicker version of what we did last time, but this time with my dad. We visited academics, talked to Coach Hoke a little bit, and then I think we pretty much took off for the stadium and watched the game, and then I hung out with the players a little bit after the game, and then we had breakfast this morning and took off.”
Sam Webb: During the game did you kind of get a feel for how they’re going to use the tight ends at Michigan?
Daniel Helm: “Yeah, I did. It was nice to see what Coach Ferrigno was talking about on film on the field, so it matched his words, and it was good to see that, and yeah, I did get a feel.”
Sam Webb: I imagine you got a chance to spend a little more time with the coaches getting to know them. Did you come away with a better feel them?
Daniel Helm: “I did. I came away with a pretty good feel the first time around. Actually – the first time I wasn’t able to meet with Coach Hoke because he was out of town, but this time around I was able to, and it was really good to talk to him for a little bit. He’s a really good guy. We also met with the chaplain for Michigan as well, and I hadn’t met him before, so that was good as well.”
Sam Webb: How big of a factor is the chaplain going to be? How much of a role the faith exhibited at the respective schools going to play?
Daniel Helm: “I really enjoyed what was at Ole Miss with what the coaches had and how they exhibited their faith, but I’m not going to rule out going to a school that doesn’t have that same mentality approach to it. I mean, if I think the coaches are good guys, and I respect them, and I’m willing to play for them and everything, then I don’t think I necessarily need to have that same principle. But I do want it in the form of a solid chaplain or Christian group, so I’m going to be looking at that almost anywhere.”
Sam Webb: While you were there were there any players or recruits that you hung out with the most while you were on campus?
Daniel Helm: “Yeah, I hung out with Shane Morris a little bit in the afternoon/evening, and that was (someone) that I kind of knew a little better. But besides that, I hung out with 2015 recruits most of the day. (Tyrone Wheatley Jr.)… I didn’t know him at all. He was just sitting in the meeting with me, in the tight end meeting room, and we started talking a little bit afterwards, and that was cool. So we kind of hung out with each other the rest of the day."
Sam Webb: Did the coaches give you an idea about how many tight ends they’re going to try to take in this class?
Daniel Helm: “Yeah, they want to take one.”
Sam Webb: So what does your time table look like now and does Michigan’s limited scholarship numbers that play a role in it that? I don’t know what the other schools on your list are saying as far as how many they’re going to take, but does that affect your time table at all?
Daniel Helm: “It does. Originally I was hoping to take official visits, and take my time, and see everything, but with the process being so sped up and all that, I realize I’m probably going to have to make a decision sooner than I may have liked originally, but yes, it does affect it. I know Tennessee wanted to take two, and they already have one commitment, so they’re in the same spot basically as Michigan is right now.”
Sam Webb: I saw where recently you said Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida, and Michigan are kind of sticking out right now. What are Florida and Ole Miss saying about how many tight ends they’re going to take?
Daniel Helm: “Florida is looking to take two, and Ole Miss is looking to take two as well.”
Sam Webb: Give me an idea of criteria. You have four schools that it sounds like you really like. What are you going to do from now until decision time to kind of weed out where you’re going to go?
Daniel Helm: “I’m trying to set up a chart to get all that stuff on. I’ll give you kind of the basic ones I look for. Coaching staff – and this is in no particular order by the way – facilities, academics, how the tight ends are used, the strength and conditioning program, nutritionist, chaplain, Christian ministries on campus, and then maybe if the coaches are allowed to conduct Bible studies or not. That’s kind of what I’m looking for, and from there nit-pick a little, if it comes down to two schools that are basically equal.”
Sam Webb: Do you think part of your evaluation process will entail more visits, or are you pretty much done with the visit thing now?
Daniel Helm: “I’m not sure, to be honest. There are a couple schools that I like that I have not visited, but like I said, the process is sped up, and those four I listed I like a lot, so I think I can make a decision between those four and be completely satisfied.”
Sam Webb: Wrapping up, Give me an idea overall of why it is that you really like Michigan. What are the aspects of Michigan that really put them in that top four? Also, what are the aspects of Michigan that you feel you still have questions about?
Daniel Helm: “Probably what sticks out to me most about Michigan is they have great history, the coaches do, with using the tight ends. Coach Ferrigno coached Tony Gonzalez, as well as Gavin Escobar. So I know what I’m going to be used and prepared for the NFL if I’m lucky enough to make it there; and two, just the winning tradition at Michigan. I’m pretty confident that they’re going to win games, and they’re going to be competing for at least a Big Ten championship pretty much every year. So, those are probably the things that stick out to me the most. Questions-wise, if I were to be honest, I think the facilities aren’t as great as they were at other places. I know that’s kind of more of a side note, because it’s not really as important compared to the first two I named… but that’s probably basically my main questions. I might have a little bit with the strength and conditioning program, but Coach Hoke helped to answer a lot in that regard. My dad wasn’t actually able to meet Coach Wellman, but Coach Hoke kind of told us his history Coach Wellman, so that helped a lot.”
Sam Webb: Just ballpark decision time frame, do you think it’s going to be in the next month, two, three… first game of the fall? Do you have kind of a ballpark range when you think it’ll happen?
Daniel Helm: “I’m fairly confident that I’m going to make a decision before I start the season, and maybe even as early as this spring.”