"We are excited about this recruiting class. I don't normally make predictions, but I think for those of you who will be here four or five years from now, my prediction is this is going to be one of the better classes we've had. They have got a lot of great kids. I think the potential is outstanding. It's always a team effort and I want to particularly thank our players who I think are probably the most critical part of the recruiting, along with our coaches and the people at the university who extended themselves when these kids came in to visit."
"I will say a special thanks to Linda Ferrara. When I went to New York to visit the home...I'm sure most of you have been to Mama Lioni's...and Mama Lioni's has nothing on Linda Ferrara. So if you want a great dinner, look her up. And the interesting thing, when we recruited him (John Ferrarra), the mailman came. He had to come in and meet Steve Stripling and I. This kid got all kind of mail every single day. But the minute he began to get these letters, the mailman always put the Michigan letters on top so that the first thing he saw was Michigan recruiting. At any rate, I want to thank her for one of the great lunches I've ever had. I think we helped ourselves.
"The other guy I want to mention is Brandon Graham. I think that Brandon will join some of the great players that we've had out of the City of Detroit, Larry Foote, certainly comes to mind and a number of other guys. But Brandon made up his mind very, very early and never wavered. I've always said, those guys that know what they want to do, make up their mind and do it, and are able to withstand all of the pressure that they have to endure in this process, I think speaks to what he's all about. I think as you get to know him, you're going to get to see what a special kid he is"
"I like especially the kids we got in the State of Michigan, Quintin Woods and Quintin Patilla are two guys, not the most highly touted. Quintin Woods is somewhat like Jon Runyan many years ago now, only played one year of high school football but is a great athlete. And I think Quintin Patilla came out of the same high school Jon Runyan came out of. And Obinna Ezeh out of Grand Rapids; I think in this state we really got some quality people.
"Of course, there are two guys that have already enrolled. Carlos Brown is an extremely versatile, talented athlete and played quarterback in high school. We'll have to look at him and see how that goes. If there was a big surprise in the recruiting class, it was Carlos because everybody knew he was going to be a mid year graduate and he was going to enroll in January. Late in December as we were preparing for a bowl game, Fred Jackson flew down to see him and when he got to the high school, his high school coach said, 'Coach, you can't see him because he has decided to go somewhere else to school.' So Fred turned around, he said, okay, wish him well for us. He turned around and came back home. The next day, we get a call from Carlos, and he said he had changed his mind and wanted to come to Michigan. So I never visited down there, which tells you how important I am in the recruiting process.
Justin Boren...his father was a great football player here, and Justin is enrolled. We're extremely excited about what's in store for him. I think he's great potential and I think he's one of quite a few of these kids who will have an opportunity to play this fall.
"One other thing you might be interested in...Stephen Schilling from Seattle, Washington came in last spring with his father to visit. He's a relatively quiet guy and doesn't say a lot. But after his visit here, I told Ron English, 'I think we're going to have a hard time getting Stephen to come to Michigan because his father went to Washington, his mother went to Washington, his sister went to Washington and his brother went to Washington.' But he committed last week, and I think he is in the position that we needed to really focus on, which was our offensive and defensive line. I think Stephen is one of those guys that is going to have a great career here. So with that, I'll be happy to take your questions."
On which players can help immediately:
"I'm not necessarily going to mention any names, but I think the position where guys will have an opportunity because of our depth or whatever, or maybe their talent, the safety position. Stevie Brown and Jonas Mouton are two guys that I think have a great chance to factor in. I think because of the fact that they are here for the spring, I think that's a great advantage for Justin (Boren) and Carlos (Brown). I think Brandon Minor, who we think is an outstanding running back from Richmond, Virginia, I think he will certainly be one of those guys that has an opportunity."
On which of the current players are good recruiters:
"They are all good...and I hate to single anybody out, but I think because of his personality, the guy that comes to mind would be Michael Hart. He's such a fun guy and he wants to meet everybody and I think he looks at it as an opportunity. I think all of them do. The better the kids that we get here, the better chance we have to win. And certainly in today's football, you're going to have a number of freshmen whose contributions very often can be the difference between winning and losing. So Hart has done a great job. But there are a lot of them that have done a great job."
On David Cone:
"I think David has a wonderful upside. We had him in our camp last summer, and as we tried to focus in on a guy that we wanted in this class. He's a big guy, and I think he's got a great upside. Scot Loeffler looked at almost every quarterback in the country, and David is one of those guys that we think is extremely smart. He did not play in an offense, I visited his home and his high school coach was there, he's not in an offense where you could see the type of things that you necessarily want to see. But because he was in our camp, I think he had we had an opportunity for one week to watch him, Scot had an opportunity to coach him, and he feels very confident in what his potential is."
On players that de-commit:
"I think it's one of the things we have had down through the years. Very few guys change their minds, but there are always circumstances that makes that understandable. It's certainly not something you like because it does impact when it's done very late. It impacts that particular position for that year. You can pick up a paper and see a number of guys who change their mind at the last minute. I was going to say that there's probably fewer guys that have change their minds today than there used to be, but I know it still happens."
On if he's still waiting on one signee:
"We'll have another player (Bryan Wright) sign. I don't know exactly what day it is next week, yeah. So we'll have 19 guys."
On kids that made thier decisions in the last few days:
"Jason Kates from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was in. He visited two weeks ago and so he made up his mind in the last ten days. Jonas Mouton made up his mind really yesterday. I think most of the guys it wasn't that late unless you get somebody specific. You have to have one available, so we have another one that will be available. It has to do with Jacob Stewart and his petition for a medical redshirt, a medical waiver. He will not play next fall because of that injury. It's been something that we can't get rehab. So that will create that. Paperwork will be done next week, and you cannot issue a grant unless you have one to give and so that will be delayed a week."
On Kates and Mouton:
"I think Jason Kates is a 300 pound defensive lineman, and he moves extremely well. One of the things that we're trying to do is look at guys who have potential to play on both sides of the football. I think Jason certainly is an outstanding prospect because he can move, he's athletic. And of course Mouton is the safety."
On Cobrani Mixon:
"I think he has been in our camp, I want to say three years. Cobrani, I think fits the mold of Larry Foote, Ian Gold, some of the guys we've had. He's a guy that can run, very athletic. He's 220 pounds and a guy that played in a great program. He committed relatively early, but he's the same high school as BJ Askew, and I think he's got a great upside to him."
On the number of states Michigan landed recruits out of:
"We always start in the state of Michigan. And we did not recruit a large number of guys from this state this year. It already is apparent that next year will be a very good year in this state. We start here, but I think our coaches did a great job. I was in 16 states in 15 days in January, and so we were spread out, and yet I think we've got an outstanding class."
On Adam Patterson and Greg Banks:
"Adam is a guy that I think has the capability to compete in the two deep this fall. He's a big guy. I mean, he's not a guy, that -- some kids that age have to come in and develop their strength and mature. He is physically a very mature guy. He comes out of an excellent program. He's been well coached and I think he's a guy that has a chance to play early. And I think Greg Banks is a guy with enormous upside, great athlete, can play a number of places, in the defensive front."
On if he said he didn't like the idea of kids enrolling early:
"I don't think I said that. I'd like to hear that tape. I think what I said -- I have a right to change my mind but sometimes I don't change my mind because I never took a position. This is what I said. I don't encourage guys to do that. That's strictly something that they choose to do because they are giving up their senior year...their last semester of their senior year and all of those things that go into that. So if a guy makes up his mind that that's what he wants to do, that's fine. I'm not going to go out and say to a guy, 'hey, if you graduate early, you can come in and play spring ball.' I'm not going to. So from that standpoint, it's their decision."
"I think in terms of their college careers, it's a great advantage depending on their maturity. If they are a guy that's capable of playing as a freshman to be able to start school in January to be able to play to be in the strength and conditioning in the winter is a wonderful advantage in spring practice. So they get a real jump and in terms of being able to graduate at the winter term of their fourth year, now they are free to go somewhere else if they choose to in terms of preparing for the NFL Combine. There's some advantages as far as getting started, yes."
On the young offensive linemen and if bonds between them help their progress:
"I think in the case of Justin Boren and Stephen Schilling, I think that was a very positive thing in terms of Stephen's decision. I don't know what kind of an impact, but certainly you get to know Justin and they played the All American game together. I think there's a bond there.
"I think Perry Dorrestein is one of those kids. I would guess -- the gentleman is 6-7, the kind of height that you really like in an offensive tackle because of pass protection and because of the potential size that he has. He's already a big guy, but he's a very athletic guy. We're excited about all three of those kids."
On if the new facilities help attract players:
"It makes our recruiting seamless. You're in here for a game now...after the game, we'll have a very nice place where we can meet a kid and his parents and they can be in a comfortable seat. The technology is a wonderful part of that building. There's no question that in terms of the overall environment that you operate, it's a positive. Now, what kind of factor one room is going to have on a guy's decision to come, I don't think it's significant. However, I think that in the overall impression that a guy has, I think it's a very good positive. Our facility upgrades here I think have been significant."
On Brandon Minor as running back:
"He's a big guy that has excellent speed. He's a guy that if he gets out into the open, I think they are going to have a hard time catching him, and he's 215. As a number of these cases were, he's a guy that grew up, his mother had said, it's been his dream to come to Michigan. And yet, he had to endure an unbelievable pressure that comes from staying at home and he was able to do that. But he's a guy that Fred Jackson is really excited about because he's got great feet. He is probably a little bit bigger than Chris Perry was when Chris came to Michigan. We're excited to have him."
On Greg Mathews:
"I always meet seniors in our camp and take a picture with them on Sunday when they come in. That's where I first met Greg. We knew a little bit about him, but he was not one of those guys that we had made up our minds on. But during that week he was a standout and he is a big guy that I think has great potential. He's a solid guy, a good student and I think is everything we're looking for."
On if Steve Brown is a corner a safety:
"I don't know; until he gets here, that you really know. I think there are a lot of people that think he can be a corner. But he is a safety. The one thing I do know, he is tough and physical. He really likes to play the game. He went down and played the All American game. He missed the last part of the season with an injury, but he just willed himself to play down there. So we just have to wait there and see."
On the Michigan players playing in the Super Bowl:
"I'm going to the game and it will be my first Super Bowl. I had tickets to the first one here in Detroit but as I recall we got into traffic and decided not to go. I think particularly for all of them (it's great), but for a kid like Larry Foote who grew up in the city, went to high school, for him to be able to come back and I saw yesterday where he went to his high school and they had a wonderful reception for him. I think what he can mean to a lot of kids who grew up in Detroit and are growing up in Detroit, as far as, here is a guy that went to college and has been very successful in the NFL. I think it's a wonderful story.
"I talked to Steve Hutchinson, he called me this morning. Detroit is not the typical venue that hosts these games. But for those guys that went to school here, I think the great thing about it is they have got so many friends here, and for me to be able to go to a game and see Larry, Jerame Tuman and Steve Hutchinson play, and of course Teryl Austin who was our secondary coach here for three years with Seattle, I'm going to have dinner with him Friday evening with his family. But Hutch is coming up Friday afternoon when they have some time.
"I was doing an interview yesterday for a minute and Larry Lage, who some of you know, evidently gave the phone to Foote. So I ended up just saying hello to him. But I'm happy for him. I'm going to be very happy for those who win that Super Bowl ring and I'll be disappointed for those who don't. Of course Grant Bowman, I think that's a wonderful story. When you think about being in New York and just taking a job, I think his boss can be commended for being an understanding, compassionate man. But to think about, having a job and then being called to practice for two weeks and having an opportunity to win a Super Bowl ring, that's pretty exciting stuff. Then Jeremy LeSueur and Alain Kashama are with the Seahawks, so, yeah, that's a lot. I'm excited for them."
On John Ferrara:
"His father is a New York City policeman. When he came in last summer, I can remember him coming with his mother and father. I think we saw one film, and I had not had a chance to see the film. So when he was in, we told him, we wanted to see one of his first couple of games on film. And as soon as we saw those, we called him and he committed. When I went out for the visit, when a guy is already committed and you go into the home, you go into the school., then it really changes the tenor of the visit. I mean, it's much more relaxed and you don't have to, you know, sell the guy. It's a lot less stressful for everybody. We had a great visit, and of course his dad told us a lot of stories about 9/11. As you can imagine, him being there and having a lot of friends involved in that day, so it was a fun deal. I think John Ferrara is going to be really something here."
On Obinna Ezeh:
"He is a big, strong powerful, tough guy, and he can run. I'm not sure where he's going to end up and that's one of the things I like about him. Because you know, we've had a lot of success here with guys (like that), Ian Gold comes to mind. He came here, he played fullback in high school, Ian did. So he wanted to play tailback, so he played the first fall at tailback and then we moved him to linebacker and he's had some success. I think he is the kind of guy that is going to be a great special teams player, and I think we'll find a place for him. I don't know where that could be. It could be on offense, it could be on defense."
On where Brandon Grahamwill line up:
"Our linebacker to the tight end side is normally the bigger guy. But Brandon is extremely explosive. I think he's going to be the kind of guy that will be a great blitzer because he's very quick, very strong. He's the kind of guy that you can do a lot of things with because he is big and he's powerful and he's athletic. And so we've got to find a place and a role for him, and I think particularly as a true freshman, he'll factor in. The thing you try not to do with a freshman is overload him. You don't want to put him in a position where he's got too many things to learn. We'll just have to see how that goes. We know he can play."
On if they tried to bring in another quarterback:
"We did look at some other quarterbacks, and it was something that we had anticipated. And yet, it had to be the right guy. So the next year becomes a critical issue for us, but I think any time going back in my experience with Drew Henson I think has been here down through the years, any time you have a young, starter at quarterback, and I'm sure when Rick Leach was here, it makes it very, very difficult to recruit behind him until somebody can see a window and a space. That's just the way it is because a guy wants to go somewhere where he can know that he's going to have an opportunity to compete for a starting job for two or three years. So this next year, that will be a major priority for us."
On if there is anybody else on the team that won't come back next year:
"Not to my knowledge. We're going to have a lot fewer (surgeries). Brandent Englemon had shoulder repaired a couple of weeks ago and probably will miss spring practice. But if you remember a year ago, we had probably the largest number of mid year surgeries that we've had. We're in much better shape physically than we were a year ago."
On coaching staff changes:
"I don't have anything for you in terms of the staff at this moment."
On the players participation in recruiting:
"I mentioned Michael Hart because he was involved in every weekend. All of our guys, it's not easy because what we want to do is treat them and host them like we would want to be treated if we were visiting. A lot of these kids come in on Friday afternoon and they are here till Sunday morning. There's a lot of time in there that we ask them to show them around campus and introduce them to as many people and be with them. And so that's what it means for one of our players is if they are giving up a significant part of their weekend, so if you don't have guys that are willing to do that, and if you don't have guys that are willing to do that with some enthusiasm, then you're not going to recruit very well. If there's the one most critical part of recruiting in my view is the official visit. And any more in recruiting, the unofficial visits, because we're getting so many kids who come in here during the winter to watch basketball games in their junior year. They are coming in here throughout the year. You want them to meet the players, and that's a critical part of this process."
On some of hiscoaches being mentioned for NFL jobs:
"I think I would just say that we have a great coach this year. And I've had a number of guys that I've hired that have been hired in the NFL, hired as head coaches, and there will be a number of them that will have opportunities to go in the NFL. When they choose to do that, I'm happy for them -- if that's what they want to pursue. And because you always like to see people do things that are conducive to their careers that they really want to do. So I've had probably contact from six NFL teams that want to talk to our coaches. They are good men and they are outstanding coaches. That's what you deal with when you hire great people."
On if the players from California were helpful with Mouton:
"Yes, I think they were. And yet, when Jonas was in for his visit, I told him this yesterday, when he came in for a visit and I can't even remember exactly but I said to him, 'Do you like Michigan?' And he said, 'Yeah.' I asked him, 'When are you going to make your decision?' He said a couple weeks. So, a couple weeks came and I talked to him. 'So when are you going to make your decision?' He said Christmas. I talked to him at Christmas, and he said first of the year. I mean, this went on and on. I told him this is the longest recruiting process I ever went through with a guy. And when I visited him out in Los Angeles, I think the first weekend in January that we were able to go on the road, I said to him, 'You know, I'm making my decision next week.' So the next week came and well, it was the next weekend. So Ron English did a wonderful job, but I think we persevered. I think going back to what I said earlier, he really liked our players. I think he felt comfortable with them. I think right from the beginning when he was here, I think Michigan was the leader, Michigan was his choice. But he had to deal with a school right there in his backyard, and then late in the process, he had to deal with his mother's alma mater, which was the University of Texas. So he was under tremendous duress. But he hung in there and we're happy to say he's coming to Michigan."
On Quintin Woods:
"I think he could be, and where we saw him on film really excel, the thing that really excited us about him was as a defensive end. This guy is really a great athlete. I saw him play basketball late in the recruiting process on Friday evening. And I mean, he has been recruited by a number of basketball schools, so this guy is a great athlete. I think certainly, in our offense, the tight end position is one that he's very capable of playing. I think what we'll do when he gets here, and what I've told him is, where do you want to play. The truth is that he has not played long enough to where he may have a great feel for what is his best position. He is a young guy that as he gains experience, he'll be a great player, because he is tough and it's very obvious in the film that he has a great upside. Where he's going to end up, I don't know. But when you look at a guy, and of course Mike DeBord looks at every single player, and when you look at a guy like that, and primarily as a defensive player, then you see him play basketball, and that's what Fred Jackson told us, wait until you see this guy play basketball, you're going to say he'd be a great tight end. So, we'll just have to see."