U-M Put Best Foot Forward with Gary (Part 1)

The nation’s top prospect was on Michigan’s campus again last weekend, this time with his mother in tow. Everyone from coaches to athletic department officials had a hand in the presentation, and they all made extremely positive impressions. In part one of this two-part feature Gary's mother reflects upon her interaction with Jim Harbaugh, her favorite part of the visit, and much much more.

Sam Webb:  So you finally had a chance to take in Michigan.  Take me back through the visit.  What all did they have you guys do?

Jennifer Coney:  “A whole lot of stuff, but all good stuff.  I looked at the itinerary and I was exhausted just by looking at it.  I met a whole bunch of people.  I was talking to (Michigan Associate Athletic Director) Greg Harden.  Oh my god, what an awesome gentleman.  I enjoyed sitting with him, talking to him.  He was a pleasure to meet with. It was my favorite part of the visit.”

Sam Webb:  What was it about sitting down with him that stuck out to you so much?

Jennifer Coney:  “He is just real.  He is real… no fluff.  He was just real about himself and about what he does.  He was passionate about everything.  How he got to where he is and how much he enjoys what he does.  I feel he is an excellent resource.  He was like a jewel that they kept on the side. He is not in the main office… he is on the side.  He was a true pleasure, we laughed and everything, I enjoyed him.”

Sam Webb:  You finally got a chance to meet Coach Harbaugh, what did you think of him?

Jennifer Coney:  “Oh my gosh… he is a little quirky, but I liked it (laughter).  We went to a dorm called south quad… they had (renovated) it.  They were taking us on a tour of the different dorms and they had begun in the south quad but inside they had ten different restaurants.  Apparently, Coach Harbaugh had never seen this before.  He was amazed and he wanted to take the tour.  He was getting a tour from one of the head chefs at this new restaurant.  He was just open and sweet and he allowed Rashan (Gary) to drive the cart with all of us in it.  We were all on pins and needles and Rashan took over (laughter).  I was holding onto the seat.  Lord Rashan was behind the wheel.”

Sam Webb:  Did you get a chance to sit down with the defensive coaches?

Jennifer Coney:  “Greg Mattison met with him; like I said we sat down with everybody.  I met Greg and his lovely wife.  His wife is great, the defensive coordinator, the offensive coordinator, the team mom. I like Gwen Bush and she was a load of information.  Her son is now spending his last year of eligibility at Michigan.  She had a wealth of information on the recruiting thing with the new coaches; what still needs to be done.  She got a couple of calls from some of the incoming freshman because that was the day they were reporting.  Some of them weren’t sure where to go.  She did a wonderful job.  Everything that the guys need and even personal stuff, they turn to her, which is a great thing to have.  She is really nice.”

Sam Webb:  What did Rashan think?

Jennifer Coney:  “Rashan liked it a lot. This is a very big decision for Rashan, very big.  I’m going to have a lot of influence, but the final decision is Rashan’s.  Just like I told him in high school, it is his decision.  Don’t back out of it. This is where you’re going to be.  I don’t think he should be rushed.”

Sam Webb:  Did you feel like they were pushy or they were trying to rush him to a decision or anything like that?

Jennifer Coney:  “No, I honestly didn’t.  Of course one thing you get at every school (is coaches saying) good players want to play with good players and the sooner you commit,… and it’s not just Michigan… it’s every college we’ve been to… the sooner you commit then others will see you’re committed and they will be more eager to commit.  (The eagerness of other) doesn’t have anything to do with me.  They can commit when they want to commit. Rashan is not going to be rushed into this.  We get that everywhere.”

Sam Webb:  How did the experience, the coaches, the whole visit… how did it stack up to the others that you’ve been on?

Jennifer Coney:  “Well if I were tell you that, you would pretty much know how I’m feeling.  So I’m not going to do that. However… what I do when I go to a school, I have low expectations.  I don’t expect you to wow me… I just don’t expect anything.    I think every college has its great points and every college has its bad points, and everyone has things you can do without.  This one was no different.  But I liked everything Michigan.  I have to be honest.  I like the little town of Ann Arbor.  It was very cute. It feels safe.  You can go off at nine or ten o’clock at night, not that you want to, but if you wanted to, and just feel safe.  I was talking with Juwann Bushell-Beatty and I always liked that kid.  He was happy as he could be to be there and that was a good to hear.”

Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for part two for Mrs. Coney’s take on Ohio State, Gary’s final visit plans, the timeline for significantly trimming his list, and more.

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