Steve Filer hasn't been a name that has gotten much play on the national recruiting scene thus far, but the power programs in the Midwest don't seem to care. The hard-hitting linebacker prospect from Chicago Mt. Carmel high school has been high on their radar for quite some time. That certainly is the case for the Michigan Wolverines, who were finally able to get the Windy City native up to Ann Arbor for a recent spring practice.
"Me and Steve went on the road trip up there," said Filer's father (also named Steven). "We went up early last Saturday morning and it was all love, man. It was nice. We really liked what we saw. Michigan is going to have a good team this year. I was very impressed. I told Coach Carr, Chris Singletary, and Coach Szabo that Michigan is one of Steve's top schools."
One of the most impressive aspects of the visit for the Filers was their interaction with Szabo. His presentation gave them a better appreciation for the veteran linebacker coach's style and for how young Steven would be utilized on the defense.
"Szabo took us in a room and we stayed in there for (darn) near an hour, man," recalled Mr. Filer. "He broke the film down so well. That's why I was saying it was very impressive. Michigan was very impressive. I really liked Michigan and Steve likes it too. He likes Michigan's style."
The trip to Ann Arbor also proved memorable for another reason. It led to a reunion of sorts for Mr. Filer. Formerly a college athlete himself, he ran into an old teammate while walking the sidelines during practice.
"Me and Brandon Graham's father played ball together," said Mr. Filer. "We hadn't seen each other in about 18 years. We played college ball together at Lincoln University in Missouri. I heard somebody call my nickname… and I said, 'Nobody knows me by that name up here.' Then I saw it was him and said, 'Oh my god, I can't believe this!' We started hugging each other and hitting each other…it was a really nice time. We were just so happy to see each other. After Brandon got through practicing, he came over and said, 'Man, I thought you and my father were getting ready to fight over here (laughing)!' He didn't know who I was. It's so funny because our kids play football and we played basketball. It was love, man. They wanted to kidnap us and take us back to Detroit."
As exciting as the trip proved to be, the younger Filer was not yet ready to make a decision. With other heavy hitters also standing out in his mind, both father and son felt that it was more prudent to continue be patient…even if that meant pushing back the youngster's previous decision timetable.
"We wanted to make the commitment before the season started so there wouldn't be any distractions, but it's going to be hard," Mr. Filer admitted. "We talked about that on the way home. It's going to be hard. I doubt he'll be able to do it because what we want to do now is see how things work on the field during games. We're looking at Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Those are the top three. We've been to Notre Dame, Illinois, and Michigan. We're going to Ohio State next week. Steve wants to play in his first year and he wants to compete for a national championship. He just wants to see where everybody is at. That's what the bottom line is."
More trips are sure to follow in the summer and fall. Those future visits will provide Filer more opportunities to learn about which of those programs suits him the best.
"As a father, I'm looking at the school where my feels the most comfortable," Mr. Filer said. "We're looking at the defense to see where he thinks he fits in best and how he thinks he'll play under the coach. That's why it's important for us to go to these scrimmages and practices…so he can get an idea of what's going on. So basically I just want him to feel comfortable on the football field and with the people."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more from the young man himself in the days to come.