Sam Webb: Let us spend a little time on Scott Bracey. I actually heard about Scott before Clelin Ferrell… and the word special has been thrown around with him since I first heard about him after his freshman year. Give me your take on Scott and what he has meant to you during his high school career thus far.
Greg Lilly: “Scott played for our eighth grade team. From the day he showed up, he was 6-3, 195 as an eighth grader and he could run. He showed up and all the varsity coaches said, ‘where is that transfer from (laughter)?’ They all thought he was an 11th grader. He has been blessed with a lot of ability. Freshman year, he was playing on just ability. The great thing about Scott that given that much ability, he wants to be coached and he is very, very coachable. He wants to know at what degree of an angle does he step when he’s got an inside release and really watch his film. We can track how much film can watch at their house and he is one of those guys who is watching two to three hours of film a week to prepare for that opponent, at his house, at his home, not just with coaches. He is just one of those guys that is a really, really special talent. The most impressive thing for me has been that he is a kid that wants to get better all the time. He wants to compete and he wants to be coached. Our receiver coach did a great job with him this year where he became a much more polished wide receiver as far as breaks, coming out of cuts, releases, using his hands, things like that. He could always run, always jump and he could always catch. This year he became a really, really good receiver for us. I think next year, we’re probably going to line him up at quarterback some, line up as wide receiver, we’re going to try and get the ball in his hands as much as we can and sort of let him be an athlete and have fun playing.”
Sam Webb: Clearly college coaches have been salivating over him for quite some time. Do you know how many scholarship offers he has at this point?
Greg Lilly: “A little bit more than Clelin, maybe mid 20s or 30, something like that. Off the top of my head I couldn’t tell you who offered him that hasn’t offered Clelin. It has been a lot of the same schools. A lot of the ACC schools come though our place since we are sort of centrally located for a lot of them. Some of the SEC schools and a lot of the Big Ten schools are starting to come out and see both guys, so probably 25-30.”
Sam Webb: What if anything has Scott said to you specifically about Michigan?
Greg Lilly: “Scott is quiet. He is not a big talker. You’ve got to pull a lot of the information from him from time to time. Again similar to Clelin, they were excited that Coach Hoke came. Academically Scott is an honor roll student. He is a 3.5+ GPA guy, honor roll all six quarters that he has been at Benedictine. I know he and his parents are putting an emphasis on his education and his academics. I know that Michigan has a great program from that standpoint. I think they are impressed with the fact that it is big time football. The schools that they visited last year, they went and saw Penn State and Ohio State over the summer, they liked both. I think that they think that Michigan is going to be right in that same level that same class.”
Sam Webb: Knowing Scott as you do, when he gets ready to either narrow his list or make a final decision what do you think are going to be the biggest factors in his choice?
Greg Lilly: “With Scott it is going to be a little more difficult. I will say this, and not just to give you a line on the school stuff that is going to be critical. Both of his parents are college educated and they are going to want him to be in the right academic spot. It is going to be really interesting if Scott plays quarterback this year, what position he really likes playing. I don’t know if that will become kind of a thing what position is he being recruited for. I know he likes the idea of playing quarterback. I know he played quarterback when he was in eighth grade. He has got a ton of ability at quarterback. It will be interested to see how he develops and if that becomes a factor in the whole thing. He may be a guy who looks a little farther away from Virginia, may look a little bit more nationally. I could be off on that too. I know Virginia Tech likes both guys a lot and they both love Virginia Tech and we’ve got two guys playing at Tech right now and another kid who just signed with them. It may be a thing where they feel comfortable up there because it is familiar to them.”
Sam Webb: If I am just handicapping it a little bit; both guys would to the spot with the best opportunity but Clelin might be a little more bound by distance than Scott? Is that fair to say?
Greg Lilly: “Yes. I think so, but again, I think if Clee’s mom feels comfortable with the campus, feel of the campus with the coaching staff that is there, I think she’ll let him get away a little bit. Clelin’s father died when he was a freshman with us. His mom is a great lady. She works at the post office and she is one of our team’s mom and is really, really supportive. They have a good close relationship. Clelin is the youngest of I think seven or eight. All of his older brothers and sisters are very supportive. It is a good tight family. Scott has both mom and dad, really, really good family, very supportive. They are very supportive of the school and the football program. We see them a lot. His older brother played at Norfolk State. He has had an older brother who has lived through it a little bit and can also give him some guidance.”
Sam Webb: Timeline wise, do you think both young men are kids that will wait until after their senior seasons around signing day; are both of them likely to do that or do you think both of them will get it out of the way earlier than that?
Greg Lilly: “Sam, I hope they get it out of the way earlier than that. We had a kid who waited a little bit this year and I think it just creates some stress. It doesn’t allow them to enjoy their senior season, enjoy their senior year of school. The recruiting has been sped up so much. I played in college years ago, you took your five visits in December and January and then you made your decision. Now, schools are filling up. Michigan is a great opportunity and these guys may have to sit there and say I’m going to have to commit to Michigan early because that’s a place I really want to go to. I understand it, it is the nature of the beast. The shame of it is that they may not be able to get to take official visits to a bunch of different places and really compare and contrast. It is what it is.”
Sam Webb: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about Wilton Speight. I would like to get your thoughts from an opponent’s perspective. What did you think of Wilton when you faced him the he was over at Collegiate?
Greg Lilly: “Wilton is great. I know Wilton and I know his parents. Richmond has got a sort of an old small town feel to it, so you get to know a lot of the private school opponents that you’re playing against, you know a lot of the coaches in the area. Mark Palyo is the coach over at Collegiate, he is one of my best friends. He coached me when I was playing at Richmond. Wilton has been surrounded by good people. He has been surrounded by good parents, surrounded by good coaches, good teachers. He has been, as we like to say at Benedictine, he’s been formed the right way as a player, as a young man, as a competitor. He’s going to do great. You’ve seen him, physically he is big. We’ve had two or three Division One defensive lineman. He was hard to bring down for those guys. We’ve had some big defensive lineman in our place and even when you get your hands on Wilton, you’d better be ready to pull him down and be ready to lower your shoulder, sink your hips and try to get him down because he is a load. His release is maybe a little bit different, but because of his height, it doesn’t affect him that much. He’s worked hard at his release. Based on seeing him as a sophomore and then watching him this past season, he has always had good arm strength and good accuracy, his release ha gotten a lot better. I think he’ll do very well.”