Cincinnati Colerain OL Connor Smith is already one of the more highly sought after prospects in the early recruiting season. He currently touts offers from some of the nations top programs and recently had one extended to him by the Michigan Wolverines. He made his way up with teammate Cobrani Mixon to this weekend's junior day in Ann Arbor. Mixon, a 6-2, 220-lb LB, did not receive an offer, but appears to be a primary target for the Maize and Blue.
Coach Kerry Coombs, who brought them to camp in Ann Arbor last summer, is the man in charge of the state title winning Colerain program. He took the time to talk about the attributes of each player and the criteria that will factor into their decisions. He talked at length about future Michigan FB/TB, Mister Simpson.
Talk about Connor Smith as a player
"Connor is a national recruit and he is receiving offers from across the country. He is 6-5 294-lbs. and he'll be a strong guard for us next year. We're a run oriented team. He is an outstanding run blocker. What Connor Smith is is an outstanding finisher. He finishes blocks extremely well. He plays with great intensity. His dad was a college football player. He played in 36 straight games at Ohio State. He has got the right mental and physical makeup to be an outstanding football player…not only at the high school level, but also at the collegiate level and beyond."
Does he have a timetable for his decision?
"I'll be meeting with Connor and his family this week to outline some of the process and trying to get down to a reasonable number of schools by May. When May recruiting begins, we don't want to have 100 schools in here recruiting Connor Smith, so we're going to try to get that list down to five or ten. We'll take a good look at whomever we can see over the summer. I don't think he should feel pressured to make a decision over the summer. Last year we played until December the 4th and that makes it very challenging for kids to begin their recruiting process that late. Our kids are beginning to take a closer look at schools now."
What do you think will be the significant factors in his choice?
"Connor Smith's family is a well-educated family. Education is a top priority for them. His dad, as I said, played at Ohio State. He passed up the opportunity to play professional football in order to become a veterinarian here in our community. They are good hard-working traditional people. The place that he feels most comfortable with the coaches and the educational environment is where he'll end up."
Talk about Cobrani Mixon as a player.
"He is an inside linebacker. He is 6-2, 220 and runs like the wind. He is a very intense and physical football player. He tore his ACL in the fifth week of our season. He came back and played in the eighth week with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus. He finished the season playing in the state championship game on Saturday and then had surgery on Tuesday. His rehab is going extremely well. He is a special player."
What do you think will be the factors in his choice?
"Cobrani is also national recruit as well. He lives with his mom here in our community. He is very close with his mom and I don't anticipate he is going to get too far away from home because of that relationship."
Talk about Mister Simpson and the impact he has had on your team and program.
"Well, I think Mister Simpson is one of the most physical football players that I've ever coached. He is unselfish, which I think is important. We run the triple option offense and because of his success the previous two years, everybody decided that they were going to take the fullback away from our offense. Our quarterback ended up rushing for 2000 yards and Mister only 1300, but that was because they were sending three or four guys after Mister. We won the state championship this year and our average margin of victory was 40 points per game. It takes a special person to be unselfish and understand that because of his ability, other teams may commit more resources to stopping him, which opens up opportunities for other players."
"I love Mister Simpson. He has got a tremendous work ethic. There was a day this winter after the season was over in January. We had gotten a pretty good snowstorm here. It was about 5:30 in the evening and I was going home. Everyone had pretty much cleared out because the roads were getting bad. In walks Mister Simpson and his mom. I said, 'What are you doing here?' He said, 'I'm going to lift weights.' I said, 'Well Mister, everyone is pretty much gone." He said, 'That's all right. My mom came up to spot me.' That pretty much is the kind of kid he is. Michigan got a good one there.
Do you see him playing at fullback or tailback at Michigan?
"I think he will be both. Mister has some qualities that make him extremely versatile. He is a great pass receiver. He has tremendous hands. He is a hard runner. The first guy NEVER brings Mister Simpson down. He also is an effective blocker in pass protection. And again, he is unselfish. He is a very versatile player that will do many things up there. I think he is the ideal one-back in the one-back sets."