For many high level prospects the recruiting process is a journey of sorts.
For Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood standout Van Jefferson, however, it’s better characterized as an expedition.
The four-star wide receiver’s offer list reads like a who’s who of college football, but back in August he singled Georgia out as the crème of that distinguished crop. His verbal pledge to the Bulldogs lasted until mid-January when official visits to Oklahoma and Ole Miss prompted his decommitment. One week ago today his recruitment seemingly came to a conclusion once again when he verbally committed to the Rebels. Little did he know at that point that there was to be one more twist in his process.
Wednesday he received an offer from the University of Michigan, and that proved too big a development for him to simply overlook.
“(Michigan) is just home for me,” Jefferson explained. “This is where I was raised most of my life. I just love Michigan and I just had to take the visit.”
“I had to.”
Jefferson lived in the Great Lake Stat for nine years while his dad served as an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions. He also began his high school career at in-state power Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. In addition to visiting and getting to know Michigan better, he also took advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with his boyhood pals.
“It was great seeing all my old friends… seeing the University again… man I was just glad to be back home,” he said happily. “Probably what stuck out to me the most was just hanging out with the guys. Hanging with Moe Ways and Alex Malzone. Moe Ways was (my host), but Alex was pretty much with me that last day. I knew Alex Malzone from my old high school at Orchard Lake, so me and him were close friends. So probably hanging out with them and seeing all of campus (stood out the most). Man it was just crazy!”
Jefferson also spent a great deal of time with the coaches and found their vision for him and for the team to be quite appealing.
“Coach (Jedd) Fisch is great,” Jefferson stated. “He coached Allen Robinson who went to Orchard Lake, so that’s (good). He has just been talking to me about his offense, his personnel and things, how I fit, and how I can come in and help right away. He has been nothing but great.”
“I love to compete. You’ve got to embrace competition, so I have no doubt that I could come in and take somebody’s position and get a starting role. They just told me I have a chance to come in and play. I just think I can come in and play right away.”
About the only thing that could have made the trip better would have been if his parents had been able to come with him. In the final analysis, though, that probably won’t factor into his final decision.
“My mom and dad have already seen (Michigan).” he said. “They love the academics, they love coach Harbaugh, so they said, ‘we’re going to stay home. We know all about so we’re going to let you experience it.’”
And experience it he did, but to what end?
“It was great meeting with Coach Harbaugh, Coach Fisch and those guys,” Jefferson reiterated. “It was great. Everything about the visit went well. Like I said, this is home, so I automatically loved it. So now it just comes down to Wednesday.”
“I’ve been praying about this, and praying, and praying… so wherever God wants me to be and whatever his plan is for me, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to keep praying about it and talking with my family.”
So the final verdict will be rendered on signing day when he puts his name on his letter of intent. Then and only then will his expedition be over.
“I don’t want to do anything big,” Jefferson said regarding his announcement. “I’m going to do something at my school and keep it low key pretty much.”