Michigan Still on Nicholson's Mind

Michigan made it by Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway high school earlier this week to check in on one of its longest standing targets in the 2014 class, safety, Montae Nicholson. GBW caught up with the four-star defensive back and his coach recently to discuss his ongoing interest in the Wolverines, his connection with the coaching staff, his visit plans, and more.

From the onset of his recruitment Monroeville Gateway safety, Montae Nicholson has been adamant about taking things at a slow and deliberate pace.  Thus far the speed with which decisions are being made by other prospects has done nothing to change his approach.

“I haven’t narrowed things down,” said Nicholson.  “Everyone is pretty much still in it. I’m going to take some unofficial visits this summer, and hopefully I’ll be able to narrow it down after the summer, before the season starts, before school.”

Michigan has been among the schools staying the course in the Keystone State star’s recruitment, even as its 2014 class steadily fills.  All the while they’ve made it clear to Nicholson that he is a major priority.

“They’ve been in contact a lot,” Nicholson reported.  “On Facebook, I’ve called them… a lot of contact.  My coach said (Curt Mallory) stopped past the school (Monday).  They have definitely been in contact. They have told me I’m their top guy.  I’m the one they want.”

The primary delivery man for that message has been Michigan assistant Darrell Funk.  From the time Nicholson was offered last summer, he and Funk have gradually built a strong bond.

“Coach Funk has been wonderful,” Nicholson’s coach, Don Smith said.  Coach Funk has been really really wonderful.  He has shown tremendous interest in (Montae) consistently.  Let me just say this… his first official visit is supposed to be to the Notre Dame/Michigan game, so that ought to tell you something right there.”

Funk’s wingman in Michigan’s courtship effort is the talented youngster’s would-be position coach in Ann Arbor, Curt Mallory.

“(Montae) is really happy with Coach Mallory,” said Smith.  “They’ve been in contact and he’s excited about the opportunity for sure. (Track) is where his focus is… trying to win a state championship, but overall (Michigan has) been really good to him.”

Lately maintaining frequent contact has been a more difficult task for all of the coaches pursuing Nicholson.  That’s because recruiting is understandably on the backburner.  His undivided attention to the track is reaping positive dividends.

“He is stronger and faster than he ever was,” reported Smith.  “He’s 205-lbs, his 40 time is about a 4.4. He ran a 14.3 and he broke the WPIAL record in the 110 meters. He broad jumped off the wrong foot 23’-11.5”.”

Once track season is over for the Gateway standout will begin the process of more thoroughly evaluating all the schools on his impressive list of suitors.

“I tell him that he needs to go to a place that loves him,” said Smith.  “He has to think first and foremost about the academics, because coaches come and go.  You’re there for an education, and academics are the most important. He has a spreadsheet that he grades everything from facilities, to coaches, to academics.  We rate them so it’s not an emotional decision. You have to think about the distance. His mom – now she’s really the big key. He’s scrutinized and advised, and she’ll support him anywhere he goes, but she wants him to make a logical decision, a smart decision, and not an emotional decision.”

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