“We were taken through the campus to spend some extended time with Coach Beilein and Coach Mahoney and the rest of the staff,” said Byrd’s father, Kelly. “We got to tour the campus, which we had never seen. Russell had actually been to a football game with some friends last year, but we had never seen the campus and we were very impressed. Great campus, and we loved that we got to spend time with the coaches. We got to watch some film with them of the offense, of the system, and some of the guys that played the positions that they see Russell filling in the years to come. That was a lot of fun. It was great seeing how they do things. We were just talking about how the system Coach Beilein runs. It really suits Russell’s strengths. I tell you what, it was a great. A great visit. They showed us around Crisler. We got to see the basketball facility. We got to see the blueprints for the new practice facility and all that is going on with that. It was a great time, a really good time.”
Added Russell, “it kind of surpassed what I expected the visit to be just from the level of interest. I didn’t know that they were that interested, but they really showed me that they were.”
With offers already in hand from Indiana, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Louisville and Iowa, much of the talk leading up to Byrd’s Michigan visit dealt with whether the Wolverines would join the club. So was an offer extended?
“Coach Beilein kind of joked about being a little old school,” Mr. Byrd said laughingly. “He said he is a little slower on that stuff than some are these days, but he said that he is trying to catch up a bit. In all seriousness, he said that Russell was at the top of the list for the 2010 class. They are going to follow him through the summer and they would be ready to offer at the end of the summer before school starts. They just felt like they needed a little bit more time to continue to get some things in place with the ‘09 class, which we completely understood. That is not an offensive thing to Russell at all. He understands that coaching staffs have to think the whole thing through and it is a pretty big program. He was fine with that. They were very clear that they were extremely interested and committed to making him an offer in the not too distance future and he was really grateful.”
Russell concurred with his father’s take.
“Coach said I was the most perfect fit (for his system) he has ever seen,” the youngster recalled. “He really liked the way I played… my skill set, the way I shoot the ball, the way I pass it, and the way I see the floor. He said it just works perfect in that offense he has. He said he couldn’t see a better fit. He said he really hoped I would take the opportunity with them, but who knows. I certainly don’t know yet. We’ll find out hopefully next summer.”
At the moment Byrd’s plans consist of travel. A lot of travel.
“Russell spent the weekend in Lexington at the Kentucky Elite Camp and had a great, great three days down there,” Mr. Byrd reported. “He went down early on Saturday for a visit and then had the camp on Sunday and Monday. That was a great experience as well. Obviously it is a phenomenal program and he enjoyed getting to know those guys better like we did Michigan today. We kind of work it out with his high school team, as you know during June it is mostly high school stuff. They have got a team camp at Butler and a team camp at IU (Indiana)… both of those being kind of towards the end of June. He just found out last week that he got invited to the Reebok All-American Camp and that is going to be July 6th through the 10th in Philadelphia. Then the he’ll be at the Peach Jam and I think they are still planning on going to West Virginia afterward in mid July. Then we’ll be in Orlando for 10 days…from the 22nd to 31st of July for the super showcase and then the national tournament.”
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Byrd in the coming months.