Plainsboro South (Princeton Junction, NJ) LB J.B. Fitzgerald is in the midst of what could shape up to be a storybook finish to his high school career. The 6-3, 225-pounder has been a dominating presence on a squad that is gearing up to end its season on a high note.
“Things have gone great this year,” Fitzgerald said. I think I may have 100 tackles. If not, I’m pretty close to it. I have two interceptions on the year… one for a touchdown. I think I have a forced fumble and a couple of fumble recoveries as well. The season is not over yet, though, which is a good sign. We’re in the state championship this Friday at 8:00 against Howell high school. Right now we’re 10-1 and hopefully 11-1 will be the finished product.”
Fitzgerald has had few distractions while helping his team march impressively through the season, but one certainly arose last week when he learned of Lloyd Carr’s decision to step down as Michigan’s headman. The news, while disappointing, didn’t catch the four-star prospect totally by surprise.
“There definitely were signs there,” said Fitzgerald. “I guess I was kind of being naïve hoping that it wouldn’t happen… at least not this year. My recruiting coach, Coach Szabo, actually called me Sunday night before the press conference and let me know that Coach Carr had made his decision to retire. He just reassured me that my scholarship would still be good because it’s Michigan, that I should still want to come to the school because I still love the school, and that he was not sure whether or not he would be there next year. He said that it would depend on who the new coach was and whether they hired him back.”
Other programs hoping to capitalize on the possible opening in Fitzgerald’s recruitment have intensified their pursuit. As a result, the youngster has definitely noticed a spike in attention from other suitors over the past seven days.
“There are definitely a few schools that are trying to get back in the mix and there are a few schools that have definitely been talking to me the whole time,” he said. “There are definitely other schools trying to get me.”
So is he backing out of his commitment?
“Not at this point,” Fitzgerald replied. “At this point I’m just trying to finish out my season and really just see what happens next with Michigan. I want to see who they bring in and really try to feel things out and see whether or not I need to take some more visits and look around. At this point I’m definitely staying put and just seeing what happens.”
Even though he plans to maintain his commitment until the new coach is hired, Fitzgerald did not rule out taking the opportunity to visit a few campuses in the interim.
“It’s a possibility,” he admitted. “That something that I’ll have to talk over with my parents. We’ll have to sit down and talk about that, but it’s definitely a possibility.”
Despite the somewhat uncertain status of where things go from here, Fitzgerald is maintaining a positive attitude about his prospects for a Maize & Blue future. So too are Marcus Witherspoon, Elliott Mealer, Kenny Demens and a number of other commits the talented linebacker has spoken to.
“Everybody is staying pretty positive I think,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re all keeping in pretty close touch and we’re all hoping for good things. We’d like to see a good new coach come in and hopefully we can all stay together because we’ve all made quite a bond so far.”