The Michigan Wolverines went without signing a single prospect from the state of Ohio in their 2007 class, but they are already working hard toward preventing that from happening again in 2008. One of their top line targets in the junior class is Clayton Ohio's Zebrie Sanders. Michigan headman Lloyd Carr was on the phone with the talented youngster shortly after signing day to let him know just how coveted he was by the Maize & Blue.
"Coach Carr was right next to Coach Debord when I called last Thursday, so he just handed the phone over," Sanders recalled. "He just told me that he wanted to meet me and my family and he offered me the full athletic scholarship. Then he gave me a little bit of history on Michigan and said I would be a great addition to the offensive line. Then Coach Debord said if I did go to Michigan that I would be first or second string straight off based on the talent he saw on the tape. I was feeling really good when he said that."
The Wolverines joined Clemson, Miami, Georgia, Northwestern, and Duke in extending the 6-6, 270-pounder an early offer. Though still early in his process, three of those schools have made the cut for his top five.
"In any random order my top five is Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, USC, and Miami right now.." he said.
The conspicuous omission from that list is Ohio State. The Buckeyes invited Sanders to their advanced senior camp last summer, but that previous attention has yet to translate into an offer.
"Ohio State hasn't talked to me about an offer, but they've been sending me mail," said Sanders. "They haven't really been texting me like Michigan, Northwestern and all of the other schools do."
At this point the athletic lineman is thinking hard about his unofficial visit schedule. He has yet to complete his itinerary, but he has decided to travel to Ann Arbor for the third time to attend the Wolverines' annual junior day.
"Actually, it's going to be a family outing," Sanders said referring to his trip to Michigan this coming Saturday. "My mom is coming down. We're all going to go up there. I'm going to Arkansas for spring break, so I may visit Clemson while I'm down there. I don't really know where all I'll camp this summer, but I do know that Southern Cal is still on the board. I'll probably try to get down to Florida to camp, but right now everything is still open."
The visits, both official and unofficial, will play a pivotal role in Sanders' final decision. While on the various campuses he will be assessing a few key factors.
"I'll be looking at the program prestige, the coaching style, their style of play, how they run the football, location, and how the team interacts with each other," he said. "I want to see how I'd fit into the team."
Sanders is originally from South Carolina and he previously expressed a desire to attend college in a location a lot warmer than where he is now. Fortunately for the Wolverines, their recent offer may have changed his mind a bit.
"I don't know right now if I want to go some place warmer," Sanders said laughing. "Michigan offered me and I was so excited after they shared all of the info about competing for a job. So now I'm looking at the northern places. (Laughing)."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Sanders in the coming months.