Nike’s The Opening may have taken place during an NCAA mandated dead period for recruiting, but that doesn’t mean that no in-person recruiting was going on. Quite the contrary actually. And no, coaches weren’t the ones doing the courting. Their committed players were. Just ask Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville wideout Nico Collins.
“Dylan McCaffrey from Michigan, the other one from Bama… Xavier (McKinney), Tee (Higgins) and Amari (Rodgers) from Clemson… they were telling me to join the crew and be a part of it," Collins stated with a smile.
Those efforts were a consistent theme for the four-star wideout, but the effort from McCaffrey was even more so. That’s because the Wolverines’ future signal caller was Collins’s teammate on Team Hypercool. Their close quarters during their time in Beaverton allowed the prospective duo to further a connection that started growing when they visited Michigan over the same weekend last month.
"That's a cool laid back kind of dude,” Collins said of McCaffrey. “We talk about anything. We have fun together. On the field it's all about business. We are out here getting each other better."
McCaffrey obviously hopes to do the same in college, and Michigan is currently in positioned well to make that happen as the top team on Collins’ list.
“It’s been the case since I left (the visit to Ann Arbor) on the 17th of last month... I went to the camp,” he said.
“I just went to go hang out with them a little more. I got comfortable with them. It was just everything about them that I liked. It was a great vibe that they had. It was laid back, chill. I can see myself there.”
One of the prime reasons for that is his burgeoning relationship with the coaching staff. Leading the way for the Maize & Blue on that front is his primary recruiter Tyrone Wheatley.
"He's a laid back dude,” said Collins. “He's always having fun. We talk about anything. We just have fun together. That's a pretty cool guy."
When the talented youngster made it to campus he found himself feeling similarly about other staff members also.
"(Jim) Harbaugh… man, that dude there… he's a fun type of guy,” Collins said. “He's crazy. He'll talk about anything. He’ll dance… he will have fun with you.”
“Coach (Jedd) Fisch… he cares about you… makes sure everything is going good with your family. So do Harbaugh and Coach Wheatley. Everybody checks up on you. So does Coach Bam (Richards). Everything is going good."
Also helping Michigan’s cause is the fact that he would have family close to him is he chose to take his talents to Ann Arbor. His paternal grandparents reside in Lansing along with a number of other family members. That said, the Wolverines haven’t yet locked Collins up. He insists there is a long way to go in his recruitment.
"I plan on making (a decision) on signing day," he said.
"I'm not making it no time soon."
"I am taking all of my officials. I'll enjoy the process and make my decision on signing day."
The biggest threats to Michigan’s spot atop Collins’ leaderboard not surprisingly reside in the South.
“(Michigan), Alabama, Georgia… that’s the top three that’s really up there with me, but I plan on going to Clemson and Florida State sometime soon to see what they’re like,” said Collins.
“(I’ll) narrow (the list) down sometime in the fall. Decision (will come) signing day.”