Flint Carman Ainsworth high school has been kind to the Michigan Wolverines over the years. A little over a decade ago, the Maize and Blue plucked an unheralded two-sport star by the name of Jon Runyan out of the suburban program. Just last year they landed one of the state’s best athletes in linebacker Quinton Patilla. The Wolverines have their eyes set on Flint township once again this season and their focus is on Cavalier lineman Ryan Wheat.
The 6-4, 295 pound two-way prospect teamed with Patilla and Michigan State verbal George White last year to help give the Cavaliers a stout front seven. A number of college programs took notice of Wheat’s play along the defensive line, where he wrung up 27 solo tackles (four for loss), three sacks, and a forced fumble. Michigan, however, is looking at the versatile lineman for the other side of the ball.
“They had me working out on offense and defense the whole camp,” Wheat said recalling his experience in Ann Arbor last week. “They didn’t take me up to (Coach Carr’s) office until the end of camp. Basically they just told me they wanted to wait until they see more offense during my senior season so they can get a whole evaluation.”
Wheat spent much of his time at camp working with offensive line coach Andy Moeller. The confident youngster believes he left a favorable impression on his prospective coach.
“He’s a good guy,” Wheat said regarding Moeller. “I don’t think it was him that was making the decision because I guarantee that if it was, I would have an offer already. He told me the same thing Carr told me…that they wanted me but they didn’t have many offers for offensive lineman so they are just weighing their options I guess.”
The playing offense at the next level is a bit new for Wheat. The fact that Michigan likes him as an offensive tackle has caused him to give it much more consideration, but he admits that it would take a major adjustment in his thinking.
“Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ball State, Iowa, Illinois, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan have offered,” said Wheat. “All of those are for defense. I’d like to play defense because that’s what I’ve been playing.”
“Basically it will come down to the coaches…how they make me feel when I’m there personal they are,” Wheat continued. “Of course the education will be a factor. Basically, the main thing for me is the position. I’m so use to defensive tackle. For me to all of a sudden go to college as an offensive tackle is weird.”
Now that the Wolverines have opted to hold off on offering, Wheat is considering altering his decision timetable. That said, even if he does decide to wait, he insists he will not hold out for long.
“I wanted to make it before the season,” said Wheat regarding his decision. “Now that Michigan is doing what they’re doing, I don’t know. I’m not necessarily going to wait around for Michigan to make my decision because I have my own plans. I feel like I’m going to see how interested they are and if I have a chance to play there, but it’s not like I’m going to wait around for them. It’s not like that.”
The program that could really benefit from an expedited timetable is the one that currently sits atop his leader board.
“Right now at this point, it’s probably Michigan State,” Wheat said regarding his leader. “I’m going to camp there in July. My top three would be Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State.”