Tampa (Fla.) Plant standout Jake Fruhmorgen is one of the most heavily recruited prospects in the 2015 class, and he has been for quite some time. The four-star offensive tackle’s offers list has long looked like a veritable who’s who. Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State are but a few of the impressive names on his roster of over 30 scholarships. One that wasn’t on the list was Michigan. That’s until they joined it Friday.
“They do things a little different, which is fine,” said Fruhmorgen’s father John. “They had seen Jake a couple of weeks ago and afterward (Michigan Jeff Hecklinski) told Jake that he was going to recruit the heck out of him. He did not offer at the time. Then (Friday) we got a note from the coach to call (Hecklinski) and we got the offer. Jake is excited about it.”
Many recruiting observers assume that excitement has been mitigated by the Wolverines’ delay in extending an offer… that their odds of landing the talented youngster have been severely harmed as a result.
“No, that’s not true,” responded Fruhmorgen. “That’s not true. I’ve seen questions (that start out with) ‘because they came in late’ or ‘because they didn’t offer early.’ With a lot of your kids (these days) their problem is their ego today. They think they are going to go play three years in college and go right to the NFL. It doesn’t work like that. I told Jake, ‘don’t worry about your ego’… which he doesn’t at all. He is a good kid. I said, ‘whether they offer the first day or the last day, it doesn’t matter… it’s an offer.’”
The Sunshine State star’s recruitment is still wide open, but there are a few schools that have certainly caught his eye.
“It is pretty even,” stated Mr. Fruhmorgen. “We have a different program down here. We aren’t really allowed (to visit during the season). They watch film on Saturday, so it is hard to get away for the weekends. He doesn’t care if you are Aaron Murray, who went to our high school, or James Wilder, Jr. He kind of made that rule a long time ago that has kind of prevented us from going around to different schools. What we are going to do is take a tour in the summer and the spring… go see a bunch of schools and just try to narrow down some of his choices.”
“He is going to go see Clemson out of junior day here in a couple of weeks. Florida is a couple of hours up the road. Alabama is still in the mix. Believe it or not, he likes Vanderbilt. That’s a nice, beautiful town there and a great education. Notre Dame, there are a few schools. There (are no favorites) set in stone by any means.”
Now that Michigan is definitely in the mix a visit to Ann Arbor is high on the priority list.
“The education (at Michigan) and the university itself … I think that is a place Jake needs to at least go see,” stated Mr. Fruhmorgen. “I think that is important. We went to Notre Dame over the summer, a special place. And Michigan, I think, falls in that category too, when you start talking about college football. It is up there in the same bracket as Alabama, Notre Dame, some of the powerhouse schools.”
A former college standout at Alabama, the elder Fruhmorgen has a keen appreciation for the traditional powers. That clearly has influenced his family’s view of the Maize & Blue. So too have their numerous connections to Michigan’s program.
“Years ago I helped coached Jay Feely, the kicker who went to Michigan,” said Mr. Fruhmorgen. “(Another former Michigan kicker) named Garrett Rivas actually coaches down here in Tampa with Jake’s godfather over at Berkeley Prep.”
“My best friend is the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Doug Marrone. I am the godfather of his boy and he is the godfather of my daughter. We have been friends, we played pro ball together. On his coaching staff, which I met and became good friends with, is Tyrone Wheatley. Tyrone’s son is friends with Jake.”
Needless to say the Fruhmorgen’s are as familiar with Michigan (albeit indirectly) as almost any school on Jake’s list. Alabama is certainly one with a familiarity advantage, but it’s not as vast as some may think.
“Everybody thinks that Jake is going to Alabama because I went there, but he has never been to a game,” Mr. Fruhmorgen said. “Believe it or not, Jake has never seen it. So I won’t (push him there). We will support him no matter where he goes, obviously.”
He is just one of those kids where I won’t be making his decision, he will. I will give him some guidance, but I think he just needs to kind of enjoy the recruiting, open up a little bit too different schools, and kind of let it happen.”
If all goes according to plan a decision will be made prior to the beginning of Jake’s senior season. When the time comes there are a few key criteria that will outweigh all the rest.
“Comfort is a big factor,” Mr. Fruhmorgen explained. “He has to make sure he is a good fit. Nowadays these coaches come and go and the school is going to stay there. We have heard the academics there are a big thing at Michigan. That’s important. Obviously they’ve got a big tradition there, especially with offensive linemen. Jake is one of those guys that follows the big tackles and guards there. He knows the names and how they play. He knows the guys from now (Florida) like (Steve) Hutchinson) and (Steve) Everitt. He also knows (Taylor) Lewan. They have been notorious for having great offensive linemen throughout the years. So I think the offensive line coach too… I think that is important. I try to explain to him that the head coach is great, but more importantly he will spend daily time with the position coach.”
Look Michigan to have its opportunity to demonstrate “the fit” in Ann Arbor a little later this year. In the meantime, check out highlights of Fruhmorgen in action below.
Jake Fruhmorgen Highlights
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