Jason Forcier's Journey to Michigan: Sacrifices

In the final segment of our series on incoming Michigan freshman Jason Forcier, father Mike Forcier shares about the sacrifices his family made, and how Jason grew into a stellar athlete.

The final segment of Jason Forcier's journey to Michigan

Parts 3 | 2 | 1

Mike Forcier talks about sacrifices and growth...

"Our whole family had made sacrifices with a family owned business, including Chris Forcier, Jason's uncle who played running back in 1971 for Bloomfield Hills Lahser. One of the biggest sacrifices besides the money (cost of work and lost money) was our time. Probably the most important things we had done with that time and money were to put the boys on traveling basketball teams and to play them up a level. Parents who see their kids dominate in youth football are in a bubble still, as some kids are there to compete and some are there to participate. It's 50-50, so it's not a true evaluation of a kid's talent. A more accurate way to gauge a child's athletic potential is placing them on a traveling basketball team where the athletes are consistently better. Jason had played for one of the best San Diego teams, but the team would get killed by Orange County and L.A. teams that would come down to play. However as an individual player Jason would dominate. So one day I asked a coach named Ralph Rueland, father of Konrad Reuland, the 5-star tight end from Mission Viejo High School, if Jason could come up and play for him. To my surprise he was ecstatic, but he reminded us we'd have to make practices two to three times per-week, and most games were actually north of them in L.A. or Riverside. It didn't matter, we just wanted to see Jason compete against the best as we kept raising the bar to find his limit.

Chris Forcier (left) and brother Jason proudly show their tickets to the 1993 Rose Bowl which matched Michigan against Washington. The Wolverines won 38-31. Suzanne Forcier, the boys' mom, said the family camped on the stadium grounds in order to get tickets to the game.
Photo courtesy of Suzanne Forcier
"We also wanted Jason to experience national competition at the seventh-grade level. We did it and soon Jason dominated in the seventh-grade Western U.S. Championships in Reno, Nev. Jason's team won the tournament. Included were teams from all Western states. Jason received the biggest individual honor of tournament - MVP. Jason had begun to make a name for himself as a great athlete, and a fierce competitor throughout the West. When eighth-grade football came in the fall at Carlsbad, Jason had to compete for the first time against a kid that was actually good (no politics). His name was Sean Canfield, a QB picked this year by Oregon State. The head coach was Natalie DeThomas. The coach was not convinced right away on who should start because Canfield also could throw the football as good as Jason, before pads came on. A mobile QB like Jason is always at a disadvantage. Why? Because you can't show speed just going through passing drills. Jason finally won out when pads came on as he also demonstrated that he could make quicker and better decisions, which combined with his speed made a huge separation.

"That year they went undefeated and met the defending National Champions in Pop Warner, Rancho Bernardo. Jason again rose to the challenge and played like a champion with five touchowns (three passing and two rushing) along with a couple of key tackles and interceptions on defense. It was at this time Jason began to claim a name for himself in football. A full color picture and three-quarter page article was written about him in the San Diego Union Tribune which was headlined 'Tour de Forcier'. Jason has a lot to be thankful for from his Pop Warner coach Natalie DeThomas. He is, after all, his first coach to turn Jason loose passing and running.

"At this point he began working out with the Sports Lab in Orange County run by Marv Marinovich, who trains big time pro athletes all the way down to lower levels (serious only). When we first met Marv we left a copy of the article with him and soon after he started training Jason. He was so impressed with his athleticism and hard work that he took the article and began to tell people about him and his potential. By the time summer came going into the ninth-grade year, Jason was being recruited all over by San Diego and Orange County High Schools.

"It was at this time we were pretty confident Jason had the potential for big things. However, we still refrained from getting too excited. It's important to note we always had our feet on the ground through the whole process. We had seen kids from all over the country that were faster, taller and bigger. But we don't ever recall any kid who played as smart and with the same intensity and determination. Jason would out-hustle everyone on defense. No one ever out hustled or out smarted him, he would even cleanly shot block eighth-grade kids in the National Tournament from Team Texas that were 6-foot-8. How? He'd 'use his brain' from the backside with lightning quick decisions and hands; it was amazing.

"It was late in the summer when we finally decided to make the huge sacrifice and let Jason go to Mater Dei, a perennial national power Catholic High School in Southern California, 90 miles north. Most people didn't know the other school he ended up at, St. Augustine, would have been the choice but they had a great QB already, Richard Kovalcheck, now the starter for University of Arizona. Also Mater Dei had all the media coverage.

"Michigan was the goal for Jason all along. Jason is not just another recruit who signed with Michigan; his goal was to get there and his dream is to help Michigan by starting as a strong mobile QB who makes good and quick decisions."

The GoBlueWolverine.com staff sends our thanks to the Forcier's for sharing this intimate story of Jason's journey. We all look forward to seeing him come out of the Michigan Stadium tunnel this fall, and many after. Go Blue!

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