Paramus (NJ) Catholic coach Chris Partridge could see it coming. One of his star pupils – mammoth offensive lineman Juwan Bushell-Beatty -- only had eyes for one school. Taking further visits would be a waste of time if the 6-7, 330-pounder knew where he wanted to go. That was clearly the conclusion that player and coach arrived before this morning’s conversation with GoBlueWolverine .
“To be honest, he might be close to a decision now,” Partridge said. “I just grabbed him out of class to put you on the phone with him. I’m about to sit down with him right now (to discuss committing). In fact Coach Mallory is calling me right now and I’m on the phone with you (laughter).”
After an abrupt conclusion to that interview the Wolverines went on to pick up ninth commitment in the 2014 class. The visit to Ann Arbor earlier this month proved to be the clincher.
“I saw a lot of what I was looking for in a school when I went there,” stated Bushell-Beatty. “I think the coaches and the players were what sold it to me. They’re real good guys. I was looking for a place that was really similar to be at home like at (Paramus Catholic) and that where I felt that really strong at. I’m in contact most with Coach Manning and Coach Mallory. They’re just real guys. I had a great time when I got to see them in person. They are just real genuine people and just a bunch of real honest guys. ”
“It’s important to him that he feels comfortable at the school he goes to,” Partridge added. “Comfortable with the coaches, comfortable with the environment, and then someone that is going to challenge him to be the best -- that’s important to him. Obviously a school like Michigan has a strong offensive line tradition. Knowing the coaches, it’s a very family oriented program. I think he felt comfortable there and I think he felt comfortable with the tradition. It’s a situation where it’s a good fit for him.”
It’s also a good fit for Michigan, considering the Wolverines’ clear need for tackle prospects in next year’s class. And Bushell-Beatty’s junior campaign is an indicator, his best football is definitely ahead of him
“It was my first year starting and I just came in really with one goal -- to have a good year,” said Fox Sports Next’s #45 tackle prospect. “I improved as much as I could throughout the year, and I played most of my best football at the end of the year. I played against a lot of good guys, learned from the mistakes I made, and really finished out strong. What I do the best (currently) is my pass blocking game is a little bit stronger.”
With his commitment now behind him he can focus on improving his game even more. One of the players he’ll look to emulate is an All-American whose position he could man in Ann Arbor in a few years.
“I got to stay during practice and I was watching (Taylor Lewan),” Bushell-Beatty recalled. “I could see how good of a player he is, everything that he did, and the stuff that he has to do to be where he is at. He does everything the right way.”
And when he dons the winged helmet, Bushell-Beatty will try to do the same.
Now Michigan’s Garden State attention turns to Bushell-Beatty’s teammate, Jabrill Peppers. The Wolverines’ suddenly have another lure for the five-star talent, and it may not be long before they know just how effective it is. According to Partridge, the decision timeline he previously mentioned for Peppers may be changing.
"I think he is (thinking about a June decision), but it would a situation where we bump that (planned July visit to Stanford) up."