When Toledo Whitmer TE/DE Kevin Koger settled in on a final decision yesterday, a sigh of relief came over his household. After weighing each of his options very thoroughly, the 6-4 230-pound athlete found that both his heart and his head were in agreement… Michigan was the place to be.
"I just felt like I was more comfortable there," said Koger. "I also thought I would get more catches there in the offense compared to Ohio State."
One of the other key factors in his decision making process was the recruiting job done by Mike DeBord. Michigan's offensive coordinator was extremely persistent throughout, and he established a great rapport with the talented youngster.
"He just made me feel like he really wanted me," Koger said of DeBord. "Plus he was really true with what he was saying. I talked to the players and they were saying he's a real cool dude and all of that.
The news of Koger's commitment to the Wolverines came as somewhat of a surprise to many recruiting observers en lieu of the prevalent rumors that had leaning toward the Buckeyes. That buzz gained momentum after an impressive visit to Columbus early last week. However, according to Koger and his father, the last two visits ultimately didn't weigh very heavily.
"I already knew what I needed to know, really," responded Koger when asked if his last two trips made affected his final choice. "It was mainly for my mom so she could get up there and check it out. For a minute (earlier on), Ohio State did lead, but that just made it interesting."
"(The last two visits) were important, but I don't think they were real big," Mr. Koger added. "They were pretty much just more of the same, except the last time we were at Michigan we took my wife and we got a chance to talk to the guys in the weight room. Other than that it was pretty much what we had done before. We just wanted her to see it."
Throughout the process, Mr. Koger (who is a self-admitted Michigan fan) was extremely careful about making sure he let the decision be his son's. If that meant he'd have to start cheering for Ohio State, he planned to do so without hesitation.
"I'm a Kevin fan first," Mr. Koger said matter-of-factly. "That's how I was looking at it. To back my son up, I'll walk through a forest fire with gasoline draws on (laughing). Whatever I had to do to back him up, that's what I was going to do. When he told he was going to Michigan, I didn't jump up and down or anything. I was cool (laughing). He wasn't even here when he told me. When I got home from work he called me and told me he had made his choice, so I told him to go ahead and make his calls."
One the first to receive word was Koger's good friend and fellow Michigan commitment, Elliott Mealer. Needless to say, the news went over pretty well.
"After I called Coach DeBord and Coach Tressel I called Elliott," Koger recalled. "He was real excited. He said he can't wait."
Koger too is anxiously anticipating the putting on the Maize & Blue. He has already pictured himself making big plays from his tight end spot, but at this point, he isn't even sure he'll be on the field his freshman year. That's why his focus has now shifted totally to making the best of his final prep campaign at Whitmer.
"(The Michigan coaches) haven't really discussed (redshirting) yet," he said. "I would love to play right away, but if they need to redshirt me then they've got to do what they've got to do. Right now I'm looking forward to my (high school) season. We've got to replace our offensive line, but we've got all of our skill positions back. We've got some secondary issues to address, but other than that we should be all right.