Drew Singleton has long been mentioned as one of the top linebackers in the country on one of the best teams in the Garden State, but the Paramus (N.J.) Catholic standout isn’t satisfied with that. That’s why he has been working harder than ever to improve his game.
“My closing speed on the ball… I want that even faster,” Singleton said. “My I.Q. of the game, reading blocks, anticipating where the blocks are going before that even happens. Just get my instincts up."
Just as important as his own growth, however, is the growth of his teammates. Getting them to follow his example hasn’t been that difficult for a youngster for whom being a leader comes second nature.
"I was made a captain my junior year so I was naturally born a leader,” Singleton stated. “Those roles… they just fit me. They come with me everywhere I go."
Working with his team has been the priority all off-season, but the four-star backer has found some time to focus on his recruitment by taking a few visits. Over the next few months he plans to take a great deal more.
"I’ve got a few visits set up,” he said. “It's a whole bunch. Like Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, North Carolina, Clemson, Maryland, (and) Syracuse. A whole bunch of places. I'm getting it in this summer."
If he manages to get all of the desired trips in, the stage could be set for an early decision. That was the game-plan laid out by his father last spring. The younger Singleton, meanwhile, set his sights on a late fall decision. Once the visit itinerary is finalized the decision timeline looks to be next.
"Me and my father have got to discuss (when a commitment to a school will be made),” said Singleton. “Just make a final decision on it. We're up in the air with it."
An agreement on whether the choice will be made early or late will come down to one major factor.”
"(A chance) to see every single school,” Singleton said matter-of-factly. “I want to take advantage of this opportunity and see where I could fit at every single school, any type of environment in this country. That's what I'm trying to do… trying to visit everybody."
One of the schools to have already hosted the talented youngster a number of times is the University of Michigan. Getting him back on campus again likely rates high on the Wolverines’ recruiting agenda, especially with many of his in-state brethren set to report to Ann Arbor for freshman orientation later this month. Jersey stars Rashan Gary, Michael Dwumfour, and Ron Johnson were all in attendance at Michigan’s satellite camp at Paramus Wednesday. They weren’t bashful about plugging their new school. Apparently they never are.
“They kind of beat me up a little bit,” Singleton said laughingly.
"They're all good friends of mine and they're going to be my brothers wherever I go. Of course they want us all to play together, but they're going to be my brothers wherever I go."
Speculation about Singleton’s recruitment has consistently had him landing at either Michigan or Clemson. He, however, insists he has no current leader. That’s why both suitors are recruiting him as vigorously as ever. In Michigan’s case much of the recent focus has been on furthering the relationship between Singleton and new Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown.
"Every time I visit Michigan I sit down and watch film with him,” Singleton said. “Every single time. I definitely get a lot of time with Coach Brown. I get in his head as a coach. He's a great coach. He has a good line. He reminds me of Partridge a little bit. He likes to get after it."
Singleton’s burgeoning connection with Brown reminds him the one he has with his would-be position coach at Michigan and former high school head coach Chris Partridge. That said, there is one key difference.
"It's just that Don Brown is a little older,” Singleton said with a smile. “I don't want him to kill me for that, but he's just a little bit older."
With that relationship seemingly off to a very strong start, the Wolverines look to still be in very good shape in Singleton’s recruitment. So too are others, though, and they all will have opportunities to win him over in the coming months.
"(The decision will come down to) just wherever my heart tells me to go, said Singleton. “I'm going to go with the first decision my heart makes and I'm going to stick with it… go with it. That's how I'm going to do it. That's how it was for Rashan and everybody else, that's how I'm going to do mine."