Among the numerous prospects that expressed interest in Michigan at last month’s Army All American combine, few showed more than Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary’s lineman Popo Aumavae. The two-way standout had become enamored with Jim Harbaugh years prior thanks to a chance meeting with the then 49ers coach at his cousin Tavita Pritchard’s weeding. (Harbaugh coached Pritchard at Stanford). From that moment Aumavae began envisioning playing for Harbaugh one day himself.
Thanks to his recent offer that is now one of a growing number of options.
"(Michigan) watched my film and they really liked it,” Aumavae said. “Coach Drevno contacted me later. They kind of waited a while and after a while I had to call (Drevno). They told me they had offered me and it was pretty cool."
"They're kind of turning around and of course Coach Harbaugh is the head coach now, so it's pretty crazy."
The Golden State star feels the same way about an offer list that also includes Oregon UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Utah, Nebraska, and a number of others. Most are courting him as a defensive lineman, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for the Maize & Blue.
"I think it's offensive line,” said Aumavae. “He said he was pretty fired up about me, so I'm pretty sure it's offensive line. I prefer defensive line but I'm open to anything they have in store for me."
Not surprisingly the Wolverines have suddenly become major factors in his recruitment.
"They're definitely one of the top (schools), I'll tell you that,” Aumavae said of the Wolverines. “It's a good school."
"Oregon, UCLA, and Washington (are also up high), and I'm still looking into other schools, so I can't say I like them more. But those are the schools I feel warm with. I've got to keep my options open (and) wait until it's time to decide."
The next step for the Wolverines is to get the talented youngster on campus and the two sides have already had discussions about when that might happen.
"It'll be one of my five official visits I can take. It'll definitely be one of those. I'm definitely going to take my five to make sure I see everything , narrow it down to those five and then definitely take those five and see what one I like the most."
Aumavae plans to lean on his family and his coach to help him figure that out. There will be a number of factors that go into that choice, but distance won’t be one of them.
“I kind of talked about that with my family and it's just whatever fits best for me. (It will come down to) the surroundings that I'll be in, what's the college like and definitely the major. Just the environment I'll be in and the family environment, some place that I like and want to be in the next four years."