Until last Thursday’s trip to Ann Arbor, Lincolnton, North Carolina defensive end Darian Roseboro hadn’t visited a school outside a five hour radius from his home. For Michigan that made getting him and his family to travel over twice that distance a recruiting victory in and of itself. That, though, was just half the battle. Once he was on campus the Maize & Blue was charged with making him feel at home in the destination that is the furthest from it. Brady Hoke & company managed to do just that.
“Loved it,” Roseboro’s father Johnny said of the visit. “I loved it! I didn’t think I would because I thought, ‘this is a big city type place,’ but actually it is in a rural area. I like the campus and everything together. One of my favorite visits.”
Upon chatting with Darian after the trip Mr. Roseboro realized his offspring felt just as strongly about the experience.
“He was real impressed,” the elder Roseboro said of his son. “I think that visit pretty much put Michigan as the forerunner in his decision, and I can see why. It is a nice school with nice people. We really enjoyed it.”
Over the three days there were numerous experiences that stood out, but the aspect of the visit that resonated most was connecting with the coaches. That process began with the point-man in Roseboro’s Michigan recruitment, Roy Manning.
“We got along perfect,” Mr. Roseboro said. “It was like someone I have known for years. We just clicked and I liked that. He didn’t try to be anybody else. They are themselves. What you see is what you get. I like that.”
“I think that (another) thing that made it stand it was meeting Coach (Hoke), meeting the coach’s wives, and the other coaches. They’re not rushing in and out… not rushing us from here to there or kind of (trying to) sell themselves. They pretty much let themselves be sold by just acting normal towards us.”
Of the many topics of conversation, two of the most important were academics and position.
“They’ve got a high standard in academics, which is something as parents that we like to hear,” Mr. Roseboro said. “They emphasized the fact that Michigan is more than just football. Their goal is to make as they say, our son into a ‘Michigan Man’. I really like that.”
“On the field they talked about using him as primarily a rush-end. He has got up to 286 pounds right now. He has still got his quickness and they basically they were recruiting him as a rush end. That is the position that he would like to play. Although, he is a versatile player and he could play inside.”
With the premium Michigan has placed on ends in 2015, and with the look and explosiveness of a 250-pounder, odds are he would stay on the outside in Ann Arbor. Still there are more important considerations for both Darian and his parents.
“I’m looking at a program and does he have the family-like environment, “said Mr. Roseboro. “The coaches, all the people that he is up there around, does he relate to them? Whether or not they are down to earth regular people like we are, that plays a lot. How we feel they are going to take care of our kids that we’re putting in their hands plays a lot.”
"Distance isn’t a factor. This is his achievement. We’re going to back with whatever he decides to do.”
Mom agreed wholeheartedly.
“Distance is not a factor,” Angela Roseboro insisted. “We’re going to be there regardless of where he plays. Wherever he decides to go, we’re going to be there. That’s not going to be a question. We’re looking at how the coach interacts with his players as one of the big factors. How they talk to one (another). Just kind of reading him to make sure that he was genuine in what he is telling us about how he is going to treat Darian. That is a big factor is how Darian is going to interact with them, the coaches. Even before we ever made it to Michigan, Coach Manning was…Darian really really liked him from the get go. That’s one of the reasons that we went to Michigan was because he really wanted to see it. Coach Manning was selling Michigan and we wanted to make sure that we got up there to see what it was all about.”
Now that they’ve been to Ann Arbor the question is what’s left on the visit horizon?
“I’ve seen all I’m going to see,” Mr. Roseboro said flatly. “I’m not going anymore visits. Maybe he and his mother and grandpa will go one or two more places… maybe Tennessee, maybe (North Carolina) State, (North) Carolina or Duke. It won’t be any place further than what we’ve been.”
Whether the talented youngster hits the visit trail again could come down how ready he feels to officially narrow down his list. If all goes according to plan he will do so very soon.
“That’s something that we’ve been discussing this weekend,” said Mr., Roseboro. “We’re trying to narrow it down because the process should be getting to the point where it is narrowing for him since he is going to be an early enrollee. We want to make that decision (on which school to commit to) here in the next couple of months anyways.”
“I think (the favorites) will be Michigan, NC State, Carolina, Duke and Tennessee. I think those would be pretty much the top schools right now. I think he will probably make the decision before the beginning of the season if not a lot sooner than that. That something we’ve been discussing. I think in the next couple of weeks we’ll pretty much have that ironed out.”