Michigan is currently in the middle of an all-out recruiting blitz in Texas, as evidenced by the numerous offers and school visits made in the state recently. One of their recent stops was Cypress (Tex.) Cy-Fair high school, home of four-star offensive tackle Austin Deculus. The 6-6, 325-pounder has long been among the Wolverines’ top line targets, and last month he made it clear the feeling is mutual by putting Michigan in his top three with LSU and Alabama.
When asked if Michigan’s standing remains just as strong he didn’t hesitate.
"That is still the case, yes sir," said Deculus.
That’s extremely positive news for the Wolverines considering his plan to select a school May 20th. At the same time their chances of coming out victorious would seem to be limited by the fact that he hasn’t yet visited Ann Arbor. Deculus insists, though, that the Wolverines are strong contenders.
"They have a long tradition with their program,” he said. “The coaching staff that I've talked to… Jay Harbaugh… the whole coaching staff is awesome.”
Of all the factors Deculus is evaluating, having that type regard for his would-be coaches might be the most important one.
"I got to feel at home with the coaching staff,” said Deculus. “There's a difference between the whole trying to recruit you and trying to sugarcoat everything… promises you the world, (and) a coach that'll be real with you, but then gives you a chance."
Thus far that seems to be the type of impression Michigan’s coaching staff is making. That’s certainly true of offensive line coach Tim Drevno.
"I like him a lot,” Deculus said of Drevno. “I like the vibe he's giving off, honestly. There's a reason why they're in the top three… (a reason why) they're in the mix. Just a vibe that they've set for me… it just feels good."
However the same can’t be said for another school that had been mentioned as one of his favorites.
“I don't know about Alabama anymore,” he said. “Alabama might be out of the mix. I'm not for sure. I don't have a for sure answer yet. There's a little bit of like, drama that has been happening. Like recruiting violations and stuff."
LSU, on the other hand remains in very good shape.
"I like them a lot,” said Deculus. “Les Miles is a funny guy. He's different. That’s the thing I do like. I don’t like normality, I don’t like the common day folk because I'm not normal.”
Jim Harbaugh has been described by other recruits in similar terms, and Deculus can see why.
"I do get that vibe from (Harbaugh) too,” he said laughingly. “That's another reason why (Michigan is high on the list). A ‘different’ coach shows a different type of mindset on the field."
That should not be taken to mean that those are the only schools still being considered.
“I'll probably just have it as a top five,” said Deculus. “Michigan, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and then Tennessee or Oklahoma. I've visited all of them but Oklahoma. Oklahoma and Michigan are the only ones I haven't visited."
Deculus left open the possibility of taking visits after he makes his decision, but says it’s something he ‘will play by ear.’ When it comes to visiting Michigan all he can say at the moment is the odds that he will visit Ann Arbor is fairly high.
“A good 67%” said Deculus.