To say Ricky DeBerry’s first visit to Michigan last week lived up to expectations would be an understatement. The sophomore linebacker found everything he had heard about both the program and coaches in Ann Arbor to be true and then some.
“It was great,” DeBerry said reflecting upon his visit. “I got to talk with Coach Hoke and I got to talk with Coach Manning, the outside linebackers coach. (Manning) is a great guy. You can tell that his heart and soul is at Michigan. He’ll do anything for Michigan. He played at Michigan. He loves it. He’d rather be no other place. He told us about the academics, he told us about the football, and he was like, ‘who wouldn’t want to play in the biggest stadium in the whole country?’ He is just so passionate about the game and about Michigan. He really wants to help Michigan win another national championship. He loves the coaching staff and coach Hoke. You can tell that Michigan football is one of his first priorities."
“(Coach Hoke) is really down to earth,” DeBerry continued. “He is all about the kids. His first priority is the kids. He sat down with me, my mom, and my dad and he was telling us how he wants to help kids and that’s the main reason he got into coaching. Him and my dad had some similarities. Both of them were parole officers. He was just telling us about himself so we could get to know him better as a coach and as a person. Some coaches you only see the coaching side... you never really see the other side them. We saw the other side of Coach Hoke and we really enjoyed his company.”
The class of 2015 standout also found a most other aspects of the trip to be enjoyable. There was but one exception.
“There was a little adjustment to weather because in Richmond it was like 70-80 degrees, but I came up here and I was like 40, so it was a little adjustment,” he said laughingly. “But it was a great visit. We toured around the facilities, I got a chance to get on the field, and I saw a lot of inspirational videos. I also got a chance to go in the weight room and see how those guys work. I also got to try a jersey on and see how I look in a Michigan jersey. It was a great visit.”
After giving DeBerry a glimpse of how he might look in a Michigan uniform, Hoke & company gave him a glimpse of how he might look in the Michigan defense. And while the Wolverines didn’t extend an offer to the talented youngster, they made it clear that they’ll be monitoring his progress closely.
“They know that at my school that me playing defensive end is a necessity,” DeBerry explained. “They really see me as a SAM linebacker rushing off the edge and also dropping into coverage. Michigan said they were still in the (evaluation) process because the 2015 class is small. I understand the situation (after going up there) and meeting the coaching staff meeting the academic staff. My mom and dad really like the campus and they really like the coaching staff. My mom and dad loved it. The whole time we were there they really treated us like family. And that’s the thing you want… a family atmosphere.”
The DeBerry family made its way over to East Lansing for Michigan State’s spring game after leaving Ann Arbor. Like Michigan the Spartans scored high marks for the visit experience, but they also were able to generate buzz from extending offer #22. Despite that distinction, DeBerry insists neither school has yet set itself apart from the pack.
“Right now everyone is equal until I’ve got the chance to visit all of the schools,” he stated. “You can’t really know what you like until you get to all of the schools and sit down with the coaches and the academic staff. So right now everybody is equal. I’m definitely going to make my decision in my senior year. Right now I’m still waiting to get out to some other schools.”