Is Michigan Still in it for Josh Southern?

GoBlueWolverine caught up with Saginaw (Mich.) junior big man Josh Southern to get the latest on his recruitment. Are the Wolverines still in the hunt? "Big Josh" also previews a monster match-up that he will be a part of next week.

Saginaw's junior center Josh Southern doesn't play with flash of put up gaudy numbers, but the substance of his game continues to peek the interest of some of the country's top programs. A number of prominent coaches have made their way to mid Michigan to see the 6-9, 250-pounder. Some of them made appearances as recently as this week.

"There were a lot of schools there on Tuesday," Southern said. Off of the top of my head, we had Michigan State, Kentucky, St Johns, Michigan, and some others."

Making the trek north for the Wolverines was assistant coach Mike Jackson. The newest member of the Michigan staff has wasted little time in trying to establish a relationship. He has made it a point to make it back up to Saginaw a number of times in the few months since headman Tommy Amaker visited, and Big Josh has taken notice.

"He's a real cool dude," Southern said of Jackson. "He's down to earth. He is trying to get me up to campus this weekend for the game."

Despite the continued efforts of the Maize and Blue staff to show their interest, they seemed to be slipping down Southern's list. When he named the schools under consideration in recent months, Michigan was noticeably absent. Southern insists that was a mistake. Even if the oversight was an accurate reflection of his interest (or lack thereof) at that time, things appear to be somewhat different now. "They're definitely still on my list," Southern said regarding Michigan. "I don't really have a top list of schools right now. I'm just going with the flow I guess. Right now I'm looking at the guys [the schools] have at my position. That will play a role what I do. I'm also looking at the [recruits] coming in."

Southern claims to be wide open at this point, but it's clear that his two previous favorites, Michigan State and Kentucky…both of whom have offered, are still in good standing. That said, the other schools in the race will have plenty of time to play catch-up. "I won't be deciding for a while," Southern said. "I'll probably do it after basketball season next year."

In the meantime, Southern is focusing on his high school team. The Trojans lost in the state semifinals last year and are looking to go even further in 2006. A big early season test is right around the corner and it features a match-up that Southern can't wait to be a part of.

"We play Detroit Pershing on the 22nd," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it because I've never seen Deshawn (Sims) play before. I hear he's really good, but I'm going to step up to challenge."

GoBlueWolverine will have more on Josh in the coming weeks.

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