In a game high on star power, few shined brighter in the match-up between IMG Academy and Paramus Catholic than Paramus linebacker Drew Singleton last Friday. The 2017 standout was a menacing presence, making plays sideline to sideline and in the backfield. For the numerous college coaches in attendance it was proof the talented youngster has taken his game to another level.
“I put on 15 pounds (and) I grew an inch (since last year), so I’m just more physical,” said Singleton. “I’m a lot stronger and a lot faster. I ran track in the offseason so I’m a lot faster and a lot bigger so that helped my game.”
Michigan was among those that jumped in early on the Garden State standout. So too did LSU. While Singleton claims no favorites among his decorated list of suitors, the two traditional powers certainly made strong impressions during visits he made over the past year.
“(LSU) was hot, but it was great,” said Singleton with a smile. “It was real hot… They played like a real family. Coach (Orgeron)... I love Coach O. Fell in love with the field, fell in love with the atmosphere. It was a great place.”
Two visits to Ann Arbor elicited similar feelings.
“The first time I went it was just for a camp,” Singleton recalled. “The other time I went with (a Paramus assistant). We went for a game and that was a whole different atmosphere. Crazy atmosphere. The fans were going crazy coming up to me with my teammate Rashan Gary taking pictures with us. It was crazy.”
One major distinction between the two visit experiences, however, was the chance to reconnect with former members of the Paramus Catholic program in Ann Arbor. Singleton has a strong bond with former Paladins head coach and current Michigan Director of Player Development and Recruiting Chris Partridge, and an even stronger one with former Paladins star Jabrill Peppers.
“He’s my big brother,” Singleton said of Peppers. “It just makes me more comfortable. It just makes (Michigan) more home-like for me. Me and ‘Brill are from the same area. We played against each other, my brother played against him in Pop Warner so it’s just like a home feeling.”
“That’s my boy, ‘Brill is my boy. He took me under his wing when I came in my freshman year, because I was the only freshman on varsity. He took me under his wing, that’s my guy.”
It should come as no surprise then that Peppers has been bashful about putting in a good word for the Maize & Blue.
“He just told me it’s a family atmosphere. Everybody hears about you, it’s a great education and he just told me about how a degree from Michigan will take you a long way after football.”