Bolingbrook (Ill.) high standout Tuf Borland is familiar with one member of the Wolverines staff in a way that most recruits are not. His father Kyle played linebacker for the Wisconsin Badgers from 1980-1982. Before that, then-Northwestern defensive line coach Greg Mattison had recruited Kyle to join the Wildcats defense after high school.
Mattison hopes to have greater success in pursuit of the younger Borland, a sophomore who checks in at 6-1 and 220 lbs.
“First off, I’ve talked to Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator, and he’s a great guy who I really like,” said Borland. “He actually recruited my dad coming out of high school too. Coach Mallory and all of the coaches have talked to me. Michigan seems pretty interested, which is good.”
Borland visited Michigan two weekends ago, an event that served as a de facto Underclassman Day before spring practice kicked off. The rising prospect clearly enjoyed his first visit to Ann Arbor.
“I felt like the trip went well,” said Borland. “I got to meet some of the coaches they have there and got to see the facilities which are really cool. We also saw a basketball game which was awesome too. The atmosphere around that place is crazy. It was cool to see the stadium and everything else.”
“One good thing about Michigan is that they have great academics, and that’s something I’m very interested in,” said Borland. “Pursuing a great education is important and Michigan has that, so I’m definitely interested.”
Michigan made a strong impression on Borland, but with other schools joining the mix it’s clear that ther stiff competition for his services going forward.
“I received my first offer from Illinois a couple weeks ago,” said Borland. “I’ve been in contact with the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan too. I think I’m going up to Wisconsin in a few weeks to see what it’s like up there. I’ve had contact with Missouri, and I might be going there in a couple weeks as well.”
With most of his attention coming from the Midwest so far, it is possibly that Borland stays within the Big Ten footprint, but that is not a priority at this point.
“I’ll have to figure that out,” said Borland. “I have family out West, so I feel like that could be a definite possibility for me. It would be nice to stay close to home though. Honestly, weather and climate might have something to do with it or facilities and coaches. I still have two more years to think about that.”
The attention Borland has received from college programs is the direct result of a productive sophomore season during which he recorded over 100 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
“I thought it went pretty well,” said Borland. “But I have two more years to get better and I know I have to keep working to meet my goal of playing college football. One thing that I think I need to get better at is blitzing. I’ve always been an inside linebacker so I haven’t necessarily blitzed all the time, but I’m still learning and I feel like I need to get better at that.”
While much of Borland’s current focus is on recruiting, his main priority is improving his game so he can help his achieve its ultimate goal. Bolingbrook was riding a 10-game unbeaten streak into the state title game last year before a 21-7 loss to Marist ended the Raiders’ season.
“From a team standpoint, I think we almost reached our goal. Everybody’s goal is a state championship. We fell a little bit short of that, but it’s just motivation for next year. We have to come back ready for next year.”