Sam Webb: You guys announced on your team’s Twitter account that Shaquille Quarterman received a Michigan offer, but before we get into that let’s talk about his game. Take me through how he did individually last year.
Derek Chipoletti: “He started ten games as a freshman. He’s seasoned, he is an old veteran now. His sophomore year, he knows the defense in and out. He is a leader on and off the field. He works, strong as an ox. He is a man amongst boys, he really is. Some people have him listed at 6’ 2”, he is probably around 6’1” but he is all of 230 and can run sideline to sideline. He is just a heck of a high school football player and he is going to continue to get better and better. I’m just a lucky man I’ve got two more years with him.”
Sam Webb: Is he a MIKE backer all the way or is he versatile enough to play either of the other linebacker positions?
Derek Chipoletti: “I definitely don’t think he’s a SAM. The SAM linebacker is a thing of the past. As versatile as people’s tight ends are, most of your SAMs are converted safeties, kind of like Darrion Owens was for us. I would call him a very very athletic MIKE.”
Sam Webb: Do you know how many offers Shaq has at this point?
Derek Chipoletti: “I know he’s got some SEC offers, he’s got Georgia, and he’s got Auburn. I think Tennessee has offered him. He had Louisville. I think Louisville and UCF were his first two offers. Somebody else has offered him. I think Ohio State is close but that’s about it. He probably has six or seven of the big time schools like Michigan, Auburn, or Georgia or like that.”
Sam Webb: I know when Darrion was being recruited both Coach Manning and Coach Mattison were working on him. Is it one of them this time? Both again?
Derek Chipoletti: “Actually it’s. Coach Mattison. He is a person that I really really respect and as a…I don’t know if I can consider a young coach, but I feel like a young coach still. He has always been someone since I first started coaching a man that I could give a call to and ask for advice and he would always call me back and whether it was schematic stuff or whatever the situation is; if I call, he will always give me a call back. The way this thing worked out this year is that I called and was actually asking him advice on some defensive scheme stuff. He calls me back and I said don’t forget about that sophomore coach that I have. He calls me back 30 minutes later and he said I’ve got to get on the phone with this kid type of deal.”
Sam Webb: A mutually beneficial relationship it sounds like.
Derek Chipoletti: “Exactly.”
Sam Webb: Darrion obviously opted to stay down south. It’s very early for Shaq, but has he expressed an openness to kind of looking outside of Florida, outside of the south even?
Derek Chipoletti: “I think it is a little different bird with Shaquille. Darrion’s brother played at FIU, which is down in Miami. There was some coaches that were on the FIU staff that are now at the University of Miami, so they had an inside track on Darrion, which I think Shaquille’s recruiting will be a little bit more fair. He’ll take everyone into account more. Like I said when I talked to you about Darrion, I thought Coach Mattison and Coach Manning had bridged a little bit of that gap just because they are such good men and good recruiters. That relationship that his brother had built with the coaching staff at Miami was a little bit too much.”
Sam Webb: When Shaq got word that Michigan offered what was his reaction?
Derek Chipoletti: “Very excited. He has major Division One scholarship offers right now as a sophomore, but Michigan and I think I said this with Darrion too – it is Michigan. The history, the Maize-N-Blue, even down here people respect that. Even though he is young, he comes from a good football family. His people are very involved without football program and very involved with him and they are doing a great job of raising him. I guess the best way is that he appreciates the history of football and college football and pageantry of it. So he is excited. His exact words were to Coach Mattison today was that he was ‘honored’ to get the offer.”
Sam Webb: You said that it is going to be a little more open with Shaq. Knowing him as you do and his family as you do, when he sits down with his family and makes a decision what are going to be the factors for that choice?
Derek Chipoletti: “Knowing that where he is going are going to care for him as a person before being a football and making sure that he is going to get his education and graduate. Being a better man after going through the program, knowing his family I think that is very high, the academic portion of it. Then it is also the education of becoming a man. I think that will be huge. With Coach Mattison, he is one of the best out there for doing that. I think that will be a big deal. The fact is that Michigan’s only drawback that I can see is because he is so close to his family, the distance between Florida and Michigan we all know is farther than some of the other ones that he has. That might be something that deters it, but overall I think those other things I said will be more important than distance.”
Sam Webb: He has two more years left like you said. What is his game plan? Will he be a kid that waits until signing day of his senior year to make a decision?
Derek Chipoletti: “He is going to get tired of the recruiting process. He is a very humble kid. He is not a kid looking to be in the limelight, I don’t think. Once he and his family can take some unofficials and I know that they will, and they can make an educated decision, I think probably by the time of his senior year, he is going to want to be over and done with it and put it to bed and be able to concentrate on helping us win a Florida state championship.”
Sam Webb: Did he grow up a fan of any school or has he expressed to you that any schools are sticking out at this very early point?
Derek Chipoletti: “I think up until this point, I think Georgia and Auburn, he has camped at both places. He went up with Darrion last year and really likes Georgia and Auburn. I don’t think he has grown up a fan of those two schools but because he camped their last summer, I think he likes those two, but it is so early and with Michigan jumping into the game, who knows what else will happen in the next two years.”