The anticipation surrounding the commitment announcements at the annual Army All American Bowl has become one of the most exciting aspects of the game. Every year the intrigue surrounding some of the decisions leaves college fans from multiple schools on the edge of their seats. In some instances, though, that intrigue is absent because the choice is already known. That seemed to be the case with Destrehan Louisiana cornerback Jai Eugene Saturday afternoon. To many, it was all but a foregone conclusion that when the five-star prospect gave the verdict on what school he would attend, he would be placing a Purple and Gold LSU Tigers hat on his head. However, when his time finally came millions of observers found out what GoBlueWolverine subscribers learned days earlier our premium message board; Scout.com’s #1 rated corner had a different plan.
“I really came to a decision a few weeks ago on my trip back from USC,” Eugene said. “Michigan was my first visit and I loved it. I had been to LSU, I had been to Florida for a camp, I had been to Miami for a camp, and I went to SC on a visit. I just started comparing them, and after weighing things out, Michigan came out on top.”
The combination of academics and athletics available at Michigan was a key component in gaining Eugene’s interest. When he thought about that in combination with the relationships he formed in Ann Arbor, he knew the Wolverines could not be beat.
Eugene and his family are all smiles after his announcement
“Michigan has early playing time, great tradition, you can get a great education, and the graduation rate is high,” Eugene explained. “Plus I love all of the coaches at Michigan, and Coach English is one of the great ones. Probably the best coach on the staff. When I went on my visit I asked everybody who their favorite coach was and what they liked about him, and everybody said Coach English. I thought he was a great guy when I went up there. Then he came on my in-home visit and I just loved it. I’ve loved him ever since. I also love the players. They really took me in and treated me like family on my visit. I got really cool with them, especially Mike Hart. At the end of May, I’m going to move in with Mike.”
In days after Eugene came to the realization that he wanted to become a Wolverine, he never once wavered on his choice. It was clear to him that he had found the perfect fit…even if many in his home state didn’t share that opinion. “I could have committed a few weeks ago when I thought about it, but I decided to just wait and do it at the game,” he said. “At first I was going to wait all the way until signing day, but I said, ‘no, I’m going to get it over with.’ Recruiting was starting to get tough. I knew this decision was going to shock a lot of people. A lot of people were telling me I should do this or I should do that, but I had to do what was best for me. I put it in God’s hands and just let him do the rest.”
Much of the surprise over Eugene’s decision stems from the prevalent speculation that he wouldn’t attend a university far away from his young son. While that certainly was something he thought about, his parents made it very clear to him that they did not want that to be the deciding factor in his choice.
“I love my kid to death,” Eugene said. “He means the world to me and it will be hard being away from him, but my parents told me not to worry about him because they would take care of him. They told me to do what’s best for me. They wanted to make it possible for me to go to school and play football. I love my family for that. They are great and I wouldn’t change them for nothing in the world.”