Witherspoon at a Crossroads

For months Absecon, NJ LB Marcus Witherspoon was headed down a road that led directly to Ann Arbor, but recently he came upon a fork that could lead him elsewhere. The Tennessee Volunteers have made a very strong push of late. Meanwhile, Rich Rodriguez countered by tripping to the Garden State to see the talented prospect in person. Was the Wolverines' new headman able to stem the tide?

Marcus Witherspoon Profile

“Coach Rodriguez came to my school,” Witherspoon reported to GoBlueWolverine Tuesday evening. “We talked about everything. They are definitely still interested. We were getting on common ground and talking it out. I’ve got a big decision to make. Both Michigan and Tennessee are great in many ways.”

Witherspoon gained a better appreciation for what Tennessee was all about. It was during the trip to Knoxville that the hard-hitting youngster began to see Phil Fulmer’s club as an equally viable option.

“It went real good,” said Witherspoon. “Real good. It was something that wasn’t expected. Tennessee has got some good people and it’s a good program too. Everything was pretty much good down there. It’s going to be tough.”

The choice is so daunting because Witherspoon sees a lot of similarities in the two programs and his opportunity to play and succeed in them.

“Coach Rodriguez told me, ‘aint nothing guaranteed, but if you work out the way we think you are, you can come in early freshmen year and play because the best players will play,’” Witherspoon recalled. “I’m the type of guy that I am going to work hard. I am going to try to get on the field quickly as possible. But it’s not even really about that because Tennessee said the same thing. I don’t even know what (the decision) is going to come down to because both teams have family atmospheres, both teams are good, and both coaches feel like I can be an impact player. I talked to coach Hopson (Michigan’s new linebackers coach). He’ll be here next week. But so will the Tennessee coach. They’re coming at the same time. It’s crazy (laughing).
I can’t go wrong in either direction. In this situation I’ve just got to think a little more.”

Now Witherspoon is going through the difficult task of determining a way to separate the two schools. In the past he has tapped his father on the shoulder for such advice, but this time around, even that might not help.

“My dad was already ready for Michigan,” Witherspoon explained. “He was not understanding (the indecision). The he met the Tennessee coach and he was like, “Man! I would hate to be in your shoes right now. All I’m going to do is pray for you.’ (Laughing). It’s tough, man, especially when the schools are good. You try to look for something wrong and there’s nothing wrong. Maybe if the coaches don’t contact me in a certain amount of time then, ‘oh, okay I’m going to go to other one’… but they’ve called me right on time. They came to the school. It was crazy. Anytime a head coach comes to my school, that’s great because he didn’t have to do it, man. Everybody knows him. Compared to him, I’m a nobody. I feel as though it’s a blessing. It’s really a blessing, man, because I never would have thought four years ago coming into high school that it was going to be like this. I was just a player that wanted to work hard. I just wanted to play football and I wanted to win. I guess it paid off.”

With a few weeks still left until signing day, Witherspoon plans to use every shred of time to determine which of the schools will come out on top.

“Right now they’re both on common ground,” he said. “I can’t find no wrong. It’s probably going to be hard to find a wrong. I am going to wait until signing day. It’s going to take more than one week for me to think about this. The time that I have between now and signing day is good enough.”

The Michigan Insider Top Stories