Michigan hasn’t been recruiting Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd offensive tack Alijah Vera-Tucker very long, but only a little time was necessary to determine that the talented youngster has exactly what the Wolverines are looking for.
"I've been talking to the coaches through Twitter about three weeks,” Vera-Tucker said. “The first time I called them they gave me the offer so it was pretty exciting."
The news of his eleventh offer was delivered by the man that would be charged with coaching him in Ann Arbor, Tim Drevno.
"I really like him so far,” said Vera-Tucker. “He's a great coach. I can relate to him and I feel like as a coach he's all about family and making sure we're doing what we need to do to be successful. I feel like he's a cool coach so far."
The offer is proof positive those feelings are definitely mutual, and not just because to Vera-Tucker’s athleticism at 6-5, 278 lbs. His mentality is obviously a huge selling point as well.
“I really just like to bully people on the field and that's my main thing,” Vera-Tucker said. “I like to be fast off the ball and have quick feet because offensive tackles need quick feet. And then (I like) just being a powerhouse on the field. Left tackle would be great but I'll play wherever the coach needs me."
The process of determining which suitor will have the luxury of figuring that out remains to be seen, but the Wolverines are definitively in the mix.
“There are a couple schools (sticking out),” Vera-Tucker stated. “Michigan is for sure one of them because they're a powerhouse. And then a couple other schools like USC and Oregon."
Childhood favorites Cal and UCLA will also figure prominently into his recruitment, and like his other West Coast contenders, have the advantage of greater familiarity.
Fortunately for the Wolverines there is a Maize & Blue advocate that could help them bridge that gap.
"I don't know much about Michigan,” Vera-Tucker admitted. “I just know obviously their football program is a powerhouse. They're a really good football program. Coach Harbaugh (treats you) like family and stuff like that. My cousin… she goes there right now. She's a student and she talks about how good the academics are. She says how it is a family-like community."
Vera-Tucker plans to evaluate that for himself and if he gets the same feeling, Michigan will have met one of his most important criteria.
"Definitely academics is one of my main things,” he said describing the factors in his choice. “(The school needs) to have a good academic program and a good support system for student-athletes. And the football program… I'd just like a football program that when you come in will welcome me. Have a family like program. That's pretty much all I'm looking for."
One of the bigger questions he will seek to answer moving forward is how much will his comfort level be affected by distance from home?
"I'm not really sure right now,” Vera-Tucker said. “It might be… it might not. I'm going to have to take visits to see what it's like but I don't think it will be."
Once again a major feather in the Wolverines’ cap is the presence of his cousin. She has adjusted to both the distance from home and the weather.
"She's lived through the snow,” Vera-Tucker said laughingly. “She said at first it was kind of weird but she got used to it."
Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for on Vera-Tucker in the weeks and months to come.