In-State Ath. Aaron Gant a Sleeper No More

Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's RB/ATH Aaron Gant has gone from being relatively unknown to one of the hottest prospects in the state almost over night. A number of colleges have turned up the intensity in his recruitment, and the University of Michigan is one of them.

(For more of the hottest Wed. AM recruiting information, see Tom Beaver's Wednesday alaMoanin GBW Weblog)

When speaking of the elite football programs in the State of Michigan, Orchard Lake St. Mary's is a name that always comes up. Year in and year out George Porritt's squad is a factor in the race for the title and consists of some of the most highly coveted athletes in the state. With all the recognition that comes St. Mary's way, it's rare for a blue-chip prospect to go through that program without being noticed. Surprisingly, that's exactly what happened this year with Orchard Lake running back/athlete Aaron Gant.

Gant didn't see his name in the papers like many of his teammates. Underclassmen Dionte Allen, Taurian Washington, and Justin Siller were standouts for the Eaglets and have already received a lot of attention. Interested college programs have been by the school and/or have requested tape on that talented triumvirate of players. And Gant benefited in the high level of interest in them, because those same programs began to notice his excellent athletic ability as well.

At 6-0.5, 200-pounds, Gant can run the 40 in 4.5 seconds and has a reputation for being a punishing player. Interested coaches became enamored with his potential and now his phone is ringing off of the hook. "I'm hearing from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, and Washington," Gant said. "All of them have offered me. Some schools are recruiting me as a running back, but most are recruiting me at safety."

The Michigan Wolverines are one of the programs recruiting him on the defensive side of the ball. They've turned up the heat on him in a very short time. "I first started hearing from Michigan two weeks ago," Gant said. "It was Coach Malone. Coach English will be coming by the school. They are recruiting me at safety."

The Maize and Blue may have gotten a little bit later start than some of the others in this race, but they have some built in advantages of their own. Orchard Lake has sent a number of players to Ann Arbor over the years, three of which are on the roster right now. Gant is familiar with all of those players, and through them has become familiar with the campus. "I've camped at Michigan before and came up with players," he said. "I know Morgan (Trent), Grant (Mason), and Chris (McLaurin). I know (Darnell) Hood too. They've talked to me about Michigan."

The Wolverines are also helped by their recruitment of a few prospects that are very close to Gant. One such player just happens to be a family member, while the other is a good friend that has already verbally made his pledge. "Me and my cousin Dionte (Allen) have talked about going to Michigan," Gant said. "Me and Brandon Graham have talked about it too. I've known him since I was seven."

Michigan's appears to be an excellent shape with Gant at this point, but he is not yet ready to claim a leader. However, there are three that stick out on his list. "My top three are Michigan, Ohio State, and Washington," he said. "I'm going to Michigan this Saturday for the game, then I have a visit set up for Washington on January 6th, and one to Ohio State on January 13th. I'm not going to take five visits. I'm going to take two or three and that's it. It's going to come down to how comfortable I am with the coaches and players. I want to see how I fit in."

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