As Conner O'Donnell and his father visit different schools they are looking for the best fit, and they are building relationships with the coaching staffs.
"We are now focusing on the colleges that fit what we do," Mr. O'Donnell told GoBlueWolverine, "and just trying to get settled on a particular program for my son."
The O'Donnells are doing their due diligence early in regards to visiting colleges. It is important to them to find out about style of play, build relationships with coaching staffs, and find out what the best fit is. For Conner, the visit to Michigan was a good start.
"I really enjoyed my visit up to Michigan," he said. "It looks a lot different live then on television. The game atmosphere was nice, and the crowd was great as well. Watching the wide receivers, I was impressed with them. I was looking at the routes they were running and the certain coverages they were running them against."
Conner's dad -- who also is his high school coach at South Lake Christian Academy -- enjoyed the game itself. He had a chance to see just how Michigan reacted to a tough game and how coaches deal with players.
"The game was a chance to see how the coaches interact with the players out on the sideline. It was a tough game for Michigan -- I enjoyed how they coached the kids up in a close game."
After the game they had a chance to interact with recruits and see what others thoughts were about Michigan.
"I had a chance to talk with and observe Maurice "Mo" Ways," Mr. O'Donnell said. "He is a good kid. I really like him he has a great sense of community with his connection to the Michigan program. He talked about the program and the things he watched during the game. He is just a good kid."
The relationship between the O'Donnells and the Michigan coaching staff started in the spring when they came down to see Connor.
"Coach Manning came down the first week of May to a 7 a.m workout, and he liked what he saw in Conner. Then we made it up for a one day camp Michigan had, and Coach Hecklinski told us he really liked Connor. He thought he was pretty good, and said he would watch his progress."
Having a chance to spend time with Coach Manning and Coach Hecklinski helps the O'Donnells start the process of finding the best fit program wise.
"Coach Hecklinski is really cool," Conner said. "We have a good relationship -- we talk sometimes about once a week. Drew Dileo is the player Coach Hecklinski said I reminded him of because of my route running and my ability to get off press coverage. Coach Manning is a real likable guy -- I like him and I am really looking forward to building a relationship with him."
Before they left the visit there was one of point of interest that impressed Mr. O'Donnell in regards to the coaching staff: knowing how busy they are but making time for a little one on one time for a recruit.
"We were leaving early on Sunday morning, and Coach Hecklinski stepped out of his coaches meeting and talked to us for about twenty minutes. He spoke with us about routes and different defenses. It spoke volumes as to him taking time out of his busy schedule to spend some time with us."
With the O'Donnells enjoying their visit at Michigan, there are other schools that they are continuing to evaluate as well. Currently they have three offers, UCLA, Mississippi State and Akron, with Michigan and Notre Dame and a host of other schools throwing their hats in the ring by getting involved early.
As they continue to visit and get to know the staffs and the colleges better, don't look for the O'Connells to allow this process to go deep into Conner's senior year.
"We are looking to narrow things down by next year," Mr. O'Donnell said, "and find 4 or 5 schools that are the best fit, so that we can concentrate on finding the best school for Conner."
Make no mistake about Mr. O'Donnell being very involved. Conner will make the decision for his college choice but it sure helps when your father is there along the way to help you find the best situation for you.
Conner O'Donnell looking for the best fit
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