Drew Singleton has become quite the familiar face on Michigan's campus thanks to numerous visits over the past year. The Paramus (N.J.) Catholic linebacker will grow even more familiar when he makes his way back to Ann Arbor for the spring game next week. One of the top priorities is learning more about the Wolverines’ new defensive coordinator.
“We don’t know Don Brown, but (Chris Partridge) speaks highly of him,” Singleton’s father told The Michigan Insider. “That’s a great coaching staff at Michigan. What more can you say about it? I definitely want to sit down with (Brown), talk to him, and get to know him.”
Partridge’s endorsement carries extraordinary weight. He was particularly close to the Partridge family during his days as the coach at Paramus Catholic, and Jim Harbaugh’s decision to promote him to linebacker’s coach only increased Michigan’s appeal in the eyes of his former protégé.
“It was of HUGE, huge significance,” Mr. Singleton said. “You can’t get any bigger than that. That doesn’t happen in a lifetime. How many can say that their linebacker coach from high school could be their linebacker coach in college? That’s of huge significance to the decision making. That’s huge. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. That’s a great thing to have. Words can’t be put to (how significant) it is.”
Needless to say the Wolverines are in good shape in the talented youngster’s recruitment, but he and his family are determined to go through this process with open minds. Clemson has already opened their eyes to other possibilities, and future trips to other campuses could do the same.
“We visited Clemson it January and it was a beautiful trip,” Mr. Singleton stated. “We’ve built a relationship with (Clemson defensive coordinator) Brent Venables. Good guy. He came to (Paramus Catholic) a number of times and we just kind of built a relationship with him and he built a relationship with Drew. We like what we see down there. Great coaching staff… knowledgeable coaching staff. And we just had a good time down there."
“But Drew is open to everything. It’s still so early in the process that he hasn’t really been anywhere. He been to Clemson and he’s been to Michigan several times. Of course you know how I feel about (Michigan) and how he feels about it. I just don’t want to stifle anything. I want to get him out there so he can compare (other options) with Michigan and Clemson. This is the process that we’ve got to go through. I don’t want to put a choke hold on him, so to speak, where we’re locked into these schools right here and that’s it. He’s 16 and I need him to see everything and kind of digest it, get a feel for everything, and then he’ll know for sure what he needs and what he wants. And also my wife and I play a big part in that too. We know what he needs, but we need him to see it (also).”
That means hitting the visit trail, which is exactly what they plan to do in the coming weeks.
“We’ve got a few out west… UCLA and Cal,” said Mr. Singleton. “We’re going back to Clemson, we’ll probably visit Penn State and maybe Pittsburgh. Of course we’re going to visit Rutgers right here (in-state) and also Auburn. Auburn has shown incredible interest so we’re going to get around a little bit and open it up and let him see things. I’m trying to do this differently from the way I did it with my older son. He kind of locked into a school and that was it. He really didn’t go on a lot of official visits. I told Drew I’m going to leave no stone unturned. I just want to just let you see everything. I know in my heart what’s good for him. I want to let him come down to it and let him make a decision.”
When the time comes to select the victor the criteria will be fairly simple.
"I think (it will come down to) relationships,” Mr. Singleton stated. “He has built some relationships along the way. (It will be based on) how he feels towards the coaching staff and atmosphere in school."
“I think maybe a couple of games into the season he’ll be ready to pull the trigger. I don’t think he is going to go all the way to signing day I don’t think he is going to carry it that far. I just want to get it out of the way so he can play football his senior season. That’s why we’re trying to get out and see some things now. Before you know it it’s July and August. By that time Drew himself wants to be locked in. He doesn’t even want to visit (at that time). He wants to lock and load and get going with his team.”