After spending part of his freshman season on the sophomore team, Joliet (Ill.) Catholic offensive lineman Tyler Witt embraced his time on the Hilltoppers varsity squad in 2013. Witt noted that last year's team-first mentality was instrumental in achieving a 10-2 record.
"I think we were really, really close as a team from lifting and our workouts in the winter," said Witt. "We were really close so I feel like even throughout the season we grew even closer together."
This sense of togetherness helped propel Joliet Catholic into the Illinois Class 5A playoffs. The Hilltoppers stretched this run into the quarterfinals before suffering a stinging 22-21 loss to Montini High School.
As Witt has transitioned into the offseason, his recruitment has picked up with a collection of teams showing interest at this point.
"I would have to say Princeton has taken quite a bit of interest in me," Witt said. "They have been emailing me. A lot of the Ivy League schools have been emailing me. Illinois has also been sending me some stuff in the mail for camps and recruiting brochures."
In addition to the schools that have contacted Witt through the mail, the Michigan Wolverines recently extended a visit invitation to the 6-foot-3, 265 pound recruit. This allowed for Witt to experience the campus life of an Ann Arbor student as he attended a weekend basketball game at the Crisler Center.
"I really enjoyed my visit there and I really felt a connection with everyone there," he said. "I was up there for a Class of 2016 day that they had. They had a bunch of people from the 2016 class up there, and it was a great experience. I got a tour of all the facilities and the indoor field."
Witt raved about his experience in Ann Arbor, citing the relationships that he formed with the Michigan staff as the most influential aspect of his trip.
"Most of the coaches came right up to me and had a good conversation with me," said Witt. "One of the things I really enjoyed about Michigan is all of the coaches are very friendly. It didn't matter what position you were when they would sit down and have a conversation with you, whether they were the quarterback coach or the safety coach; and I'm an offensive lineman."
While Witt noted that many members of the Wolverines' staff were personable and accommodating, one interaction stood out among a collection of positive first impressions—that with his potential position coach.
"Coach Funk, the offensive line coach, he was a very nice guy," Witt said. "He took time to watch all of the offensive lineman there on tape, so I thought that was very generous of him. He had a conversation with me about my play as well, and I just felt like that was a nice connection."
This experience proved to be a positive one in the early stages of Witt's recruitment, one that has led to a tentative return trip for Michigan's technique camp this summer.
"So far [Michigan] wants me to get out to a camp and see me play in person," said Witt. As far as which camps he is considering, he said, "I want to get up to a Purdue camp just because I know they have a good Engineering program at their school. I also will probably get up to Michigan for their camp. Probably Princeton. But me and my family are still deciding which camps I am planning on going to."
Because the visit schedule for Witt is still formative in nature, the rising prospect is likely to add a few schools to his itinerary. He will be quite selective about which schools he pursues as there is a strict criterion that he will be following as he chooses his future school.
"My school has to have the major that I want to go into because I don't really want to change," said Witt. "I want to major in Robotics Engineering. And [distance] is sort of going to be a factor because I do want to be somewhat close to home, but I wouldn't mind traveling that far I guess. A medium range would be good."
One aspect of Witt's game that is intriguing to schools that are recruiting him is his versatility on the offensive line. He currently mans the left tackle post for Joliet Catholic, but he sees potential at a variety of positions.
"I could play guard," said Witt. "I could probably play center, but I haven't done that yet. There were only a couple plays on my tape of my playing defense, but I can do that as well. I'm just skimming the field for everything right now."
As for where he expects to end up at the next level, Witt is leaning to one position at the moment.
"Probably offensive guard because I don't think I'm going to grow anymore," he said. "At Joliet Catholic I am one of the bigger people there and the biggest person on the team. They kind of put me at tackle as a placeholder, but I could see myself at guard or tackle."
Tyler Witt Enjoys First Visit at Michigan
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