Jamabo Learning About U-M Difference

Former Michigan RB David Underwood has taken 2015 Plano (TX) West tailback Sotonye "So So" Jamabo under his wing as the talented youngster's trainer. GoBlueWolverine caught up with both teacher and student recently to discuss Jamabo's interest in the Wolverines, his decision criteria, Underwood's influence, and much much more.

Sam Webb:  Michigan has been in on you for a while now.  Let’s look back for a moment. Kind of give me an idea of when and how to Michigan get involved?  Was it Dave talking to you or did Michigan approach you first; how did that whole thing break down with Michigan?

So So Jamabo:  “Dave always talks to me about Michigan.  His old stories and just telling me how it is at Michigan, so I’ve always had an interest in them, but I never knew they had an interest in me.  Then one day Dave called me and told me that they had offered me and I was very excited about that.  I was very happy to hear that a school like Michigan that is so prestigious and a great football program that they offered me.”

Sam Webb:  The word up this way is there is no way that So So will leave the south… maybe won’t even leave Texas.  At this early stage that you’re likely to stay closer to home, likely to stay more in the south or are the possibilities are open for you?

So So Jamabo:  “Right now I’m just keeping my options open.  I don’t want to leave it to one place and just cut it off there and say I’m staying in Texas.  You always want to explore your options and see how things are out of state and get out of your comfort zone and see how you like it other places and that’s definitely what I’m going to do.”

Sam Webb:  Give me an idea of your decision criteria. 

So So Jamabo:  “Starting with life after football, because football is not always guaranteed to go the way you want it to.  I want to go to a school that has my future in mind and I can have the best future in that school academically and athletically with people that will take care of me and love me for who I am and not because I’m the best player on the football field.  Just people that are generally caring people, where they come from, the whole city/state as a whole, just a great, great to be.”

Sam Webb:  Do you think distance is going to play any kind of role in your decision at all?

So So Jamabo:  “Maybe a little bit because I want my family to come to my games and be close to home so I can go home sometimes to see my family.  At the same time, I have to do what is best for me and see what is best for me and my best interests and if that is being far away from home or close to home, I want to make my choice based on my best interest.”

Sam Webb:  So what about timeline?  Is this going to be a situation where you wait until after your senior season to make a decision or are you going to be one of those guys who decides early.  Have you talked about that with the people around you so far?

So So Jamabo:  “Yeah.  If it comes to a point where I know what college I’m going to go to I would definitely make my commitment then instead of waiting until signing day.  If I don’t come up with what college I want to go to, then I’m going to see how long it takes until I figure out what school I want to go to.”

Sam Webb:  When you look at all these schools on your list right now, you got some pro style schools and obviously there are some spread schools showing interest in you.  Are you married to a particular system, do you have a preference for which type of offense you go into?

So So Jamabo:  “I like the spread the most, but if another system can fit me just as well as the spread, I’ll take a look into it and see how I like the system they run.  I’m not going to keep it strictly to the spread because I’ve got to keep it in my best interest for a school that is best for me.”

Sam Webb:  Early on, you’ve obviously had a chance to talk to some of these coaches a little bit.  As far as Michigan is concerned, which coach or coaches have you been in contact with and what is the early vibe like with those guys you have talked to?
So So Jamabo:  “Coach Funk is the person that I talk to the most.  I like Coach Funk.  He is a good guy.  He tells me how it is and he is a real nice guy.  He tells me a lot of Michigan.  I definitely like Coach Funk and I want to keep in contact with him in the future.”

Sam Webb:  Dave, what have you told him about Fred Jackson, the guy that would be coaching him if he was to go to Michigan?

David Underwood:  “Like I told So So, my college coach was the best running back coach in the country and he is at Michigan for over 20 years.  He has coached great running backs, Tyrone Wheatley, A-Train (Anthony Thomas), Chris Perry; those are just great backs.  You are going to learn a lot of things that are going to make you a great back.  He is going to take you to a professional level.  I know for a fact that Coach J took my game to another level.  It was just unfortunate that I got hurt my senior year.  That something that So So is going to see.  If he goes and plays for Coach J, he is going to take his game to another level.  You play for a good coach and challenge you to play at a high level because you are going to take yourself to another level, cerebral and physically.”

Sam Webb:  I remember you being one of the top recruits in the country.  You and Cedric Benson were battling it out for who it was out of the state of Texas, so you’ve obviously been through this. What have you told him about the process?  Also what have you told him about Michigan and how do you think he would fit in with what they are doing at Michigan?

David Underwood: “Just about the whole recruiting process itself.  I just told him don’t rush anything.  You have to be very patient because with that ability that you have, offers are just going to come.  He just needs to be patient and don’t rush into anything.  Like So So said, as far as choosing a school, he wants to choose a school based on academic that is going to set you up for life after football because sports are not promised to anything.  Now as far as how Michigan fits to him.  A great academic school, I could not have been to a better school to be successful in the academic world.  Football, speaks for itself.  No one has won more football games than the University of Michigan.  I say that very proudly don’t I So So?”

So So Jamabo:  “Oh yeah (laughter).”

David Underwood:  “I let everyone know.  It speaks for itself.  A lot of people here said to me, ‘Dang Dave, you should have stayed home.  Probably would have had a better career down here and would have started as a true freshman.’  I played as a true freshman up there, but my deal was I was looking for something to help me when I’m 30, going to benefit me when I’m 30 and not temporarily when I’m 19 or 20 years old.  Michigan is a school that gives you an opportunity to be a well-rounded individual until the day that you are buried.  I’m thankful to be a Wolverine and it is a great school to be a part of and a great school to brag on.”

Stay tuned to GoBLueWolverine for more on Jamabo in the coming weeks.

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