When the core of Jim Harbaugh’s new staff arrived last Sunday it wasted little time going about the business of evaluating possible pieces to Michigan’s 2015 recruiting puzzle. A prospect that rose to immediate prominence was Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Damon Arnett. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and his new crew were so impressed that they extended a scholarship offer
“It was definitely a surprise because I had never spoken to them before,” said Arnett. “Coach Singletary followed me on Twitter a few days before I got on the phone with him. I really didn’t think nothing of it… I didn’t follow him back or anything. The next day at school one of my coaches asked me what I thought about Michigan. I said, ‘Michigan? I’ll be open to the idea. I’ll listen to what they got to say.’ So then he ended up giving me his phone number and I talked to Coach Singletary and he put me on the phone with Coach Durkin. They just explained to me how they rebuilding this program and they need corners. They’re not signing too many this class and they think having a corner like me, it would give them an advantage with many receivers. They think they can just put me out on an island and man me up. “
“They said they saw my film one time and right after the film they reached out to me.”
Michigan’s rich tradition is/was enough to elicit interest from Arnett, but Harbaugh’s presence definitely took things to another level.
“Michigan is known for having a great program and I know these is coaches are going to turn that program around from what it was this past year,” he said. “That might be something that I want to be a part of.”
“(Harbaugh) has a lot of experience being in the league. He knows what he’s doing and I’m sure he’s going to bring in a great staff to coach underneath him that also knows what their doing as well.”
As positive as Arnett’s impression of Michigan is, it’s not stronger than that which he has for the school he is committed to.
“Right now I think South Carolina is offering me the most when it comes to me liking the campus, the playing time, (and) the relationships that I have with the coaches,” Arnett explained. “So if I feel like something better could out beat what I already have, then I’m going to have to go with the better option.”
Michigan will have the opportunity to convince the Sunshine State star that it is that option when he visits next weekend. So too will arch-rival Ohio State.
“I’ve got South Carolina a week after Michigan and a week after South Carolina I have Ohio State.”
(The biggest factors in the final decision will be) my relationships with the coaching staff, and me thinking about (fitting in) at the school,” he said. “I think that’s a big part of it, me seeing myself living there for four years. Actually (distance) is a factor too. South Carolina is like a nine hour drive from where I live. Then again, my parents will come watch me wherever I go.”
Dealing with playing on a big stage far away from home isn’t a foreign concept at Aquinas. Two former teammates, Notre Dame wideout Corey Holmes and Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, are in the midst of doing that now. Arnett is making it a point to seek out their advice.
“I was just with Corey a few minutes ago and he told me about everything,” Arnett stated. “I talked to Joey whenever he comes down here and I’m real close with his brother. They said it’s cold. They said it gets real cold (laughter).”
“But I like cold. My favorite part of the year in Florida is when it gets cold.”
He’ll find out how much in the next few weeks. Then it will decision time.