UM Pulls Out Stops for Fitzgerald (Part 1)

Princeton Junction, NJ LB/TE J.B. Fitzgerald made his way to Ann Arbor for a third time last weekend when he traveled to campus with his parents for an unofficial visit. Once again the Maize & Blue made an extremely favorable impression. Was it enough to move him closer to a decision?

Plainsboro South (Princeton Junction, NJ) LB/TE J.B. Fitzgerald hasn’t been a stranger around Ann Arbor thus far this year. The Garden State standout had already been to the campus to the University of Michigan twice in 2007, but he still managed to come away from his third unofficial visit this past weekend as impressed as he was after his very first trip. So too did his parents.

“It went pretty well,” Fitzgerald said. “My mom got a chance to see the university and see what it’s all about. She got a chance to see what my dad and I like about it so much. She really enjoyed herself. My dad and I…we also got a chance to see a lot more of the university that we hadn’t seen before, so that was good. This time we actually got a chance to go on the field of the Big House, which was pretty cool. It was more than cool, it was amazing! It’s such a different feeling when you’re actually on the field and you walk down that tunnel…far different than walking through the stands on junior day.”

“We also got a chance to really walk around campus,” he continued. “We got a walking tour from one of the graduate assistants. We also sat down with (academic advisor) Shari (Acho), and I had already been through that before, but my mom hadn’t. She was really impressed. You could definitely tell that it wasn’t a fake thing with Shari. She really genuinely cares about the players. She was very organized in the way that she planned everything. My parents and especially my mom were most impressed with the organization and how she plans out the academics for all of the players. She walked us through the whole academic building and showed us where the tutoring sessions go on. Basically there’s a whole floor dedicated to tutoring and what not. Then there are the study labs. She also showed us some stuff on the major that I’m interested in, which is sports management. It was very informative.”

On the football side of things, the Michigan coaching staff made it a point to reiterate to Fitzgerald how prominently he could figure into their plans.

“I got a chance to meet with the defensive staff and specifically Coach English,” Fitzgerald said. “They told me that see me as their MIKE linebacker, filling the middle. They believe that I can come in and play my freshman year. Of course, that all depends on how hard I go in there and work. But it sounds like I have a great opportunity there because it really sounds like they’d like to see me playing that MIKE position.”

When not spending time with the coaches and support staff, Fitzgerald was busy getting to know many of his prospective teammates. Jamar Adams, Kevin Grady, and Charles Stewart were among the Wolverines he hung with the most over the weekend. He also spent time with another youngster whom he just happens to have a great deal in common with.

“I met Marcus Witherspoon (Saturday),” Fitzgerald said regarding his fellow Garden State linebacking cohort. “We went on the walking tour together and we got a chance to talk a little bit. He obviously committed to Michigan. I congratulated him. He has been talking to me, trying to get me to pull the trigger (laughing). He is doing his thing now.”

The question now is did Witherspoon’s overtures in conjunction with the persistent recruitment by the Michigan coaching staff move Fitzgerald closer to a decision?

“It’s definitely a possibility…me committing to Michigan, but I didn’t feel like this weekend was the time that I felt like I wanted to commit,” he said. “I’m not quite ready to end the process yet. I wouldn’t want to take anything away from Marcus either. This was kind of his weekend, so I let him have his. Maybe later on down the line I’ll have mine. We’ll see.”

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for part two where Fitzgerald discusses his future visit plans and more.

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