After committing to Michigan Saturday, Clairton (Pa.) Jefferson LB, Chase Winovich took a moment to reflect. The second he told Brady Hoke he was officially becoming a Wolverine marked the payoff of years of hard work and sacrifice, but not just by him. It was also the culmination of all the helpful efforts of the people that were in the room to share in the experience.
“I think the most instrumental people were definitely my parents,” a thankful Winovich said. “I think they raised me the way I’d want to raise my children. My dad started from nothing, worked his way up, and he just showed such determination… something that if I can apply to my football ethics, I think I’ll be extremely successful. Then it comes down to my siblings, especially my brother. He has been through this process with Bowling Green. I think his knowledge and feedback as an older brother, since he’s been through the whole Division I process... it enabled me to take it a step further, and really excel. So my brother is very instrumental, as were my sisters. My sister’s boyfriend, Anthony Armaly is a huge Michigan fan. If there were ever any questions to be answered about Michigan, he was always there. And my aunt, my grandparents have been following me since I couldn’t even walk, so they’re also instrumental.”
All of those people were key not only in helping him evaluate the pros and cons of each of his suitors, but also in helping him realize the type of relationships he’ll need to thrive when he gets away from home.
“First, I committed to the University of Michigan because academically, it’s a top notch program and one of the best universities in the world,” Winovich explained. “I think ultimately it was the best fit for me in several different aspects. Academically and athletically it was the perfect fit for me... and not even just for football. The whole idea of Michigan is winning. They really act on what they preach. They have shown that. And another thing is the people. The people in Michigan are some of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. I’ve had great interactions with them. I think a lot of them think like me. I feel a lot of the ideals that I want to see in myself, I see in those people. I think that really helped push me over the edge.”
“I think (bonding with the players and recruits) was definitely a big deal too. “Those ultimately are the guys I’m going to be playing with. I (connected with) guys like Jake Ryan and Taylor Lewan… two of the best players in the country. I also saw the recruit side of it and who they’re trying to bring in. It’s like whoever your best friends are is a reflection of yourself. A lot of the ideas they held, I felt we had in common. I think that definitely helped.”
In the final analysis all of the aforementioned influences were key, but there is one in particular that was crucial in sealing the deal.
“Coach Manning was definitely a key component in the process,” stated Winovich. “I think it could be a different story if he wasn’t (coaching at) the university. I think he’s an awesome coach. He has an enthusiasm for the game that, from all the coaches I’ve seen, is rare. It honestly is really rare. I think it’s contagious, you know? Whenever he reacts, I think that trickles down to the players… but I’m sure Hoke trickles it down to him.”
The Michigan headman’s reaction to Keystone State star’s commitment certainly flowed throughout Schembechler Hall Saturday. Winovich & company could feel the love through the phone.
“They were really excited,” the talented youngster stated. “There was a lot of commotion… a lot of clapping. My mom was crying (laughter). “People in the room were high-fiving each other, so it was just a really really cool experience”
With his own recruitment now out of the way Winovich hopes to help bring about similar experiences for the top targets remaining on Michigan’s board.
“I think it’s definitely my job as a recruit to finish up this recruiting class strong, so that’s definitely my next objective,” he said. My first objective was obviously sorting through the schools and finding one. Now my next objective is helping the seal up the (remaining) commits. If we can get the ball rolling on that, and if I can have any role in it, then I did my job well.”