In-state recruits dominated the visitor list yesterday as Michigan dominated Appalachian State in its hope opener, downing the Mountaineers by a score of 52-14. As is the case with most home games, the Wolverines took this opportunity to host a handful of talented prospects for their victory, all sharing a unique perspective on their week one experience.
Travelling to from St. Joseph’s (Mich.) on the state’s west side, three-star senior lineman Wesley French gives a full synapsis of his experience in Ann Arbor yesterday.
“When I got there we ate and talked with the coaches about football and exchanging stories,” French told GoBlueWolverine.com. “Then when game time came around we headed down to the field and watched the players warm up from the sidelines. From there, the game was about to begin, so we continued to follow our escorts up to our seats where we watched the game. Afterwards we were escorted back to the Champions Center and were able to say goodbye to the coaches and see the players as they left.”
For Farmington (Mich.) three-star junior linebacker David Reese, the opening of another football season is an exciting process.
“It was great. I was very excited to be around football again,” Reese said. “I spent time with Chris [Singletary] and the coaches’ wives. U of M didn’t fail to impress. They’re looking like a strong team.”
Reese camped at Michigan over the summer and earned the distinction of top linebacker performer. Reese has been instructed to send his first three weeks of game tape to the coaches, and they will progress from that point.
With 106,000 fans in attendance, the environment surrounding Michigan’s blowout victory sparked interest from of the 6’1”, 235 lb. linebacker who is targeting a return visit for the Penn State game.
“The family and high energy vibe every time I go,” Reese says of what stood out. “Also the playing atmosphere at the Big House was impressive.”
French echoed these sentiments, as the crowd involvement during the game—even between snaps— was enough to catch his attention.
“My favorite moment was definitely was when the whole stands were doing the wave in slow motion,” said French. “It looked so crazy. It was priceless. The atmosphere was definitely hype all throughout the game. I can’t imagine what it would be like in a competitive game.”
Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison defensive end Khalid Kareem, who attended Michigan’s Barbecue at the Big House recruiting event over the summer, enjoyed his time at Michigan, including the positive feedback he received from the Wolverines’ coaching staff.
“It went good. Michigan played well,” said Kareem. “I got some encouraging words from the coaches regarding my game against Farmington. They basically just told me to keep balling. They liked what I did versus Farmington. Coach Mattison basically told my dad not to worry about anything.”
Kareem, who camped at Michigan over the summer and had a strong performance by all accounts, is nearing his way towards a Michigan offer.
“A Michigan offer would be huge right now, but I have to keep grinding,” said Kareem. “Any Big Ten offer would say a lot about me as a person and as a player. And I would be excited if Michigan decided to offer.”
Kareem says he will “definitely make it to another game” this season.
Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s wide receiver K.J. Hamler, who as a sophomore picked up offseason offers from Michigan State and Cincinnati, had a bit of a difference experience for UM’s home opener.
Due to commitments to Hamler’s high school team, the 5-foot-7, 160-pound wideout was unable to take an unofficial visit to Michigan. However, he did attend the game in the crowd as a fan and had a positive reaction to the Wolverines’ smashing victory.
“I just went to the game because I had football practice this morning so I couldn’t take a visit and meet all the coaches,” said Hamler. “I think it was pretty good to me. I love being in the Big House, and it was an amazing experience for me. They performed very good to me, and I loved to see Devin Funchess do his thing.”
Since he did not get a chance to speak with the coaches, Hamler admits that his relationship with the Michigan staff is not yet strong, but he is optimistic that it will grow.
Michigan also hosted a frequent game day visitor in Saline (Mich.) junior quarterback Joshua Jackson, who is the son of U-M running back coach Fred Jackson.
Jackson said he was happy to be in the Big House once again as he has been going to games his whole life. During past seasons, Jackson’s favorite part of game day was watching his older brother Jeremy play. Without his brother on the team, Jackson’s favorite part shifted to watching Team 135 run out onto the field.
Although Michigan is not actively recruiting him at this point in time, Jackson says he will return for more games this fall.
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