|This story originally published on OUinsider.com|
JH: You have never hid the fact that you like Michigan, so how did your visit to Ann Arbor go this weekend?
MR: “My trip to Michigan was another excellent trip. It was very thorough and very informative. I learned some things about the school. I went there for summer camp this past summer. When I went there then it was really brief and I didn’t get a chance to tour the camps as much and see the different things that I was interested in.
"This time I got to go to the medical center and I got to go to the hospital and the life science center they have there. I got to talk to more coaches, current athletes, and I got to hang out with the players a little bit. It was definitely a different visit this time around, but it was a good one.”
JH: Didn’t you know quite a bit about Michigan before you made this visit? I know that you have been to Oklahoma several times, but haven’t you been to Michigan as well?
MR: “Oh yeah, I went to Michigan for summer camp for one day and tore it up and worked hard. Then on the second day, I relaxed and met with Coach Carr and all the coaches. I knew a little bit about Michigan, but it was more general. I have been to Oklahoma two times before I went two weeks ago. So this time I really got a good look at everything within the school and the athletic department.”
JH: What impressed you the most about Michigan?
MR: “What impressed me the most was the undergraduate research and the opportunities that they have there. Michigan is an extremely good medical school and the focus they have on research in the lab, and especially in neurology, which is something that I like. I guess you could call that my specialty, and they are very big on that.
"There is a big concentration of professional people and people that know what they are doing in that area. It is very possible for somebody like me, or any undergraduate student, to train and work with doctors within a lab before you even go into medical school. I think that is what impressed me the most. The buildings at Michigan, the facilities that they have, and the people and doctors that I met were outstanding.”
JH: What did you learn about the football team that impressed you?
MR: “The one thing that I noticed, and I told my brother this, is that we always thought that Big 10 football wasn’t as fast as the ACC, Pac 10 or whatever. We always thought it was three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, but from watching the spring game I definitely got a different impression of the football team. Every time a receiver would catch the ball I saw big linebackers breaking on the football hard, cornerbacks breaking on the football hard, and their defense was always around the ball. They were flying around that field.
"I thought the speed difference from going from Oklahoma, to Miami and then to Michigan would be drastically different, but it’s really not. It is really not that big of a difference. All of their receivers could run, all their corners could run and that is why Michigan wins the Big 10 all the time. Maybe they are the one team that can run and that has team speed in that conference. That is the one thing that I picked up from them watching the football team.”
JH: You and your family always try to get out and see the community, so what where your impressions of Ann Arbor?
MR: “It was a nice college town. We got to see a little bit, but really not all that much. We were at the University for most of the day on Friday. We got there kind of early and our day ended late, so we just went back to our hotel and retired. We were pretty much conked out by the end of the day.
"Meeting the people there was great. In the hotel, several Michigan fans with Michigan shirts and jerseys on knew exactly who I was because of the power of Scout.com and the Internet. That was pretty neat, but the people there were friendly and welcomed me and my family. I enjoyed the town of Ann Arbor.”
JH: Are you still surprised when you go on these trips and so many people know who you are?
MR: “It was incredible to see that. I signed about 40 autographs from little kids and grown men. I am on the cover of Michigan’s Go Blue Wolverine Magazine. I didn’t even know that, so I signed my picture and thought this is crazy. It was exciting and it was a blessing. God put me in a position to do what I do and I am real happy that I am reaping the reward now. People recognize my hard work and the hard work of others."
JH: What are your impressions of your first three weekends of recruiting?
MR: “I will say one thing, and that is it is getting harder and harder every week. You don’t want to commit on a visit and you don’t want to tell a coach that this is my number one school right now because you know the next week that the school that follows it up with something great. Each school came out swinging and each school rolled out the red carpet and really presented me with so many different things.
"Oklahoma came with Coach Stoops and I am great with him. I love him very much. They came with their tradition and the ability for me to play early. Miami came with the NFL pitch about playing in the NFL and going to the NFL early. They pointed out all the cornerbacks and defensive backs who have done that before to show me that it is possible for me to do the same thing. Then Michigan came with their academic strength, as far as my interest in medicine, and they feel they have the top school in the country.
"It is interesting to learn what the different schools have to offer and the schools are selling their souls to me. The best thing that I can do is talk to my family and evaluate each school, and then make a good decision at the end of the day.”
JH: Please give us some insight on what your family is thinking about the recruiting trips at this point?
MR: “I know that my mother is enjoying the recruiting process very much. She loves it. She has never had it happen to her before. Her other four boys were good athletes, my brothers were great athletes, but they never really got the attention that I am getting or the opportunities that I am getting. My third brother is an extremely good athlete and his potential could have gone far, but he didn’t go the camps and he wasn’t involved in the things that I am. He wasn’t looked at by schools that I am being looked at, but he was being looked at by D-1 AA schools. His recruiting wasn’t that hectic.
"With me it is a different situation and my family has dealt with it great, with the way they have been able to guide me and tell me different things. Coming back form Michigan, they really enjoyed that trip as well. Speaking from a parent’s perspective they really love the fact that Michigan is an academic community and they focus on academics coupled with great football. That is why they put me in the Hun School right now. They wanted me to get the best academic opportunity that I can get because that is what you are going to need in life. That is what they have installed in me, and from what that tells me is that academics are a serious priority in me. They enjoyed this visit a lot. They are very much involved with the recruiting process, and they like that part of it as well.”
JH: You are really finding out that there is a great deal of difference in the education you will get at each school. Have you found out that one school so far is a lot better academically, or have you found that all of them have their certain strengths and that you can get the type of education you need at any of the schools you have visited thus far? Are you going to be able to get the education you are looking for at Oklahoma?
MR: “Well, I think so. Before the visit my answer to that would probably be different. After talking to President Boren and Teresa Turner, and a lot of the academic support staff at Oklahoma, I feel wherever you go to school you can really turn it up. You can challenge yourself and put yourself in a program that is accelerated, get involved in the community and do different things.
"I just feel that different schools have their concentration on different things. At Miami, I had some statistic that stated that half of the African-American’s that come into the school want to be in the pre-med program. At Michigan, it was a similar number as that as well. At Oklahoma, I don’t think the focus is medicine, but I think it is still in oil, and earthquakes and different things like that.
"President Boren has an idea to build a complete University and he has done a great job with it. I keep saying his name because he made such an impression on me. I do feel that you get out what you put into your education. If you really, really work at it, like I always do, then you will get good results. I think different schools have different specialties and they concentrate in different areas.”
JH: Do the three programs you've visited thus far match-up with what you are looking for in a defense, or did one school stand out over the others in this area?
MR: “I would say so. I think so. Oklahoma plays fast, plays hard and Coach (Bobby Jack) Wright says he wants a corner that can step in there and play right away. Actually, each school thinks I can play right away, and I think that is a blessing. I mean that is thing for me and proves to me that I need to keep working hard to step in there and play right away.
"One thing that I noticed is that each school that I went to is big on defense. That is what they made their name on and that is what they pride themselves on. At Oklahoma, they have that stingy defense. At Miami, they are very fast on defense, and at Michigan they have a tradition of a tough defense.
"I think being a part of a unit that is together, and being a part of a unit that is a unit, will be different from my high school. We have other good players on my team, but I feel in a lot of instances I am playing safety, corner, linebacker and defensive end at the same time. I am always trying to compensate, but when you are in a program like the three schools that I just mentioned, I will have a lot of great talent around me and that will make me a better player.”
JH: What are you impression of recruiting after three unofficial visits?
MR: “After three visits I am still in the same place that I was when I started. I don’t have a leader and I still have the five schools that I am looking at. I am really looking forward to going to Florida and Florida State and see what they have to offer. I have been talking to both schools trying to get some dates set up. All my ideas are pretty much the same and I am just going to evaluate everything a little later."
JH: How is your track season going?
MR: “Track is going real well. I am running 10.8 in the 100-meters and I am looking forward to getting that down, and I think I can. I have been running a lot against wind and I am still working on my start getting out of the blocks.
"I just broke the school record in the 200-meters running a 22.6. I am looking forward to getting that down as I can run a 22.2 or 22.3. My split in the 400-meter relay has been excellent. I run the third leg on the 4X4 relay and each time I have pulled away from the competition. I have run 50 and 51 several times.
"Track is going well. I am getting my speed ready for next year because I wont’ be caught and I don’t want anybody to be able to see me when I run the ball next year. I want to run that fast.”