Sam Webb: It is kind of difficult to recruit in a three week cycle. What are the challenges with trying to condense so much recruiting into a small period of time?
Greg Mattison: “You’re right. When you hit the road with 3-1/2 weeks and as you know, when there is a changeover then immediately there is people taking shots. It is like a feeding frenzy on the ones that you had targeted. The first I’d like to say is that Jim Harbaugh and the coaches that he brought in here did an unbelievable job in a three week period of just targeting. Day and night during the dead period, we were all looking at every possible big time player and most of them had committed to another program and just decided yes this guy can help us be where we want to be in football and are they Michigan people. Do they have the academics, which is a huge deal for us and then we began recruiting them. We were nonstop and Jim Harbaugh was on a plane every single night from seven in the morning until 11:00 at night sometimes, just trying to get into homes and trying to sell what’s going to happen. The rest of the staff did the exact same thing. We were in California every week, we were in Florida, we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Texas, everywhere. You can see what has happened because of that. I’m just really excited about this class that is coming in here and just as excited about what’s going to happen when you have a full year of this kind of effort to be able to recruit.”
Sam Webb: Let’s dive into a couple of guys that you’ll be coaching and you were instrumental in recruiting. Let’s talk about Rueben Jones.
Greg Mattison: “In our defense, D.J. Durkin, the defensive coordinator did a tremendous job with the defense at Florida. He really has some great pressure ideas and some great things that they have done that we want to implement here. To do that, you need a hybrid, a man that can play down and play defensive end, but also stand up and drop and stand up and pressure. We believe that Rueben Jones fits that bill perfectly. He is a young man out of Lakeland that was very highly recruited. He is a very aggressive football player. He can run very well and to get him, this is really a big plus for our defense.”
Greg Mattison: “Kicking is such a crucial part of college football and Andrew was our #1 guy two years ago. I told him when he came in, it seems like we’ve been recruiting you for three years now. Him to have the success that he’s had at Massilion, Washington High School and to be the athlete and the great person that he is. He loves Michigan and all he wants to do is come and be a great football player here and a great student. We’re so proud to have him be a part of our program and it is going to be exciting. I will not miss on Tyree. Tyree was another young man that was recruited earlier and he is a safety that we wanted all along. It is a real credit when a new staff comes in because you always want to kind of look at the guys that you’ve got committed and when we looked at him as a defensive staff, every guy said yes. This guy is the real deal and Tyree to stick with us and stay a Michigan man speaks volumes. He and his family, and Tyree is going to have great success here.”
Sam Webb: Have you ever been in a situation in 30 years of coaching where you’ve gotten thrown out of the house? I don’t think you’ve ever been in that situation.
Greg Mattison: “Sam, no comment on that (laughter). The only thing I’m going to say is that you know what… I’ll always sell Michigan as a great academic school and that’s it.”