For much of his short high school career 2016 Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius OL Liam Eichenberg believed Michigan would be a minor presence in his recruitment. That’s because after brief contact during his freshman campaign he hadn’t sensed much interest. That view changed abruptly in the past few months when the Wolverines made it a point to correct that misconception. They then took their definitive show of interest to the next level Sunday by extending him a scholarship offer.
“Greg Mattison told me (prior to Sunday’s visit) that they were going to offer me, but they just want Brady Hoke to do it face to face with me,” Eichenberg said. “It was a good visit. I spent a lot of time with the O-line coach. He was a welcoming guy. He seemed like a good guy. I liked him a lot.”
The initial contact with offensive line coach Darrell Funk was a strong foundation on which a true connection can be built. That process, however, is already well underway with Mattison.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but (Mattison) seems just like my… it was like talking to more of a friend than a college coach,” said Eichenberg. “It sort of made me welcome. Michigan seemed a lot more like Ignatius, I felt.”
One the staff’s primary talking points was style of play and how the offensive system in Ann Arbor would accentuate the four-star lineman’s talent.
“My high school runs a fast pace offense… more of a spread,” Eichenberg stated. “They said that Michigan’s offense would do a lot better for me than a fast paced offense. They said that they would like me to come up during a spring practice and just it out and see how the practices go and individuals. Then they want me to come up for camp.”
Eichenberg indicated that both trips appear likely. Looking back on Sunday’s visit experience, the interaction with the coaches wasn’t the only aspect that stood out.
“I loved the indoor facilities, the weight room, and the indoor fields,” Eichenberg stated. “That was amazing. I like the indoor field a lot better than (other places).”
All told it was a resounding first impression for the Maize & Blue. It elicited conflicting emotions among an admittedly Ohio State-aligned contingent that traveled to Ann Arbor with him.
“My grandpa, my dad, my little brother (came along), and I brought a friend,” he said. “My friend was like, ‘I love Michigan, but at the same time I can’t like it because I’m from Ohio. ‘ I felt that sort of, but it really didn’t affect me as much as it affected them.”
“My parents went to Ohio State, but I really never had a favorite college team. I really don’t have a favorite now.”
“My grandpa loved Greg Mattison. My dad loves all the coaches too. They were just amazed by the facilities.”
Michigan now finds itself in strong contention for one of the Buckeye State’s best, but there are a number of others that can also make that claim.
Visits to all those programs are likely in the coming months. While on those campuses there are a number of factors he plans to assess.
“(I’ll look at) probably what I am going to study in college, major in,” said Eichenberg. “(Another thing) is probably going to be how they treat my other family others. It is going to be about their facilities too. I have a check list. Coach Funk said when you visit colleges you should have a check list of what you want and what they have and don’t have.”
“I’ll (pick a school) after junior year.”