The persistent efforts of Michigan linebacker coach and Mississippi recruiter Jay Hopson paid off last Tuesday when Louisville, MS ATH Dennis Thames finally made his way to Ann Arbor. Accompanied by his uncle, Detroit Tigers outfielder Marcus Thames, the youngster received the red carpet treatment from the Maize & Blue and came away extremely impressed.
"When I got there on campus we got to meet the head coach in his office," young Thames recalled. "Me & my uncle Marcus sat there and we talked to (Rodriguez), but we didn't talk for long because he had a meeting to go to. We left there and then went looking around. I didn't get to see the football field because of construction, but I saw everything else. I looked at the (academic facility) ... everything. They've got everything there for you. It was awesome."
As the day progressed the two Thames' compared notes and it became clear that the Wolverines had lived up to the hype.
Said Dennis, "(Marcus) said Michigan is a good school. He asked me did I like it and I said I love it. I don't know when I'm going back. I don't think I'm going back over the summer, but I'm definitely going to go back for another visit to Michigan."
That's a positive sign for the Wolverines, especially en lieu of the news about the position they are recruiting Thames for. Earlier this year, the youngster made it very clear that he had a preference for where he lined up on the next level.
"I think wide receiver is my best position because when I was little, my and my uncle use to throw the ball all of the time," Thames told Scout.com on February 18th. "That is where I can use my speed, and I have nice hands," added Dennis Thames. Plus, I like getting the ball in my hands most of the time."
Despite that a number of teams have coveted Thames for his ability on the defensive side of the ball. It was on full display in the state title game when he picked off two passes from his linebacker position and returned them for scores. He did the same with three other picks on the year as well. As it turns out, Michigan needs Thames' defensive talents more than offensive ones. That, however, doesn't seem to be a problem.
"Michigan is recruiting me for DB," he reported. "I don't know (which backfield position). It's just a matter of when I get there, seeing what sticks. If they feel like I would help them at that position, it doesn't matter to me, as long as I get to play. Where ever they have me at I know I'm going to do my thing and give them what they want. It's whatever helps the team out where ever I go."
There are a number of programs vying to be that place, but Michigan gave its chances a real boost with the visit. Just how much of a boost, though, is something Thames is keeping close to the vest.
"I just can't say that they're #1, #2 or #3," he said. "I'm thinking about college, but I've got one more year of high school football and summer classes so I'm just working mainly on high school right now. I will say Michigan is in my top three with Mississippi State and Auburn.
"My decision is going to come down to if (the school) makes me feel like home," Thames continued. "I don't want to be like, ‘I wish I was here or there.' I just want to be comfortable where I'm at. I don't want to be thinking about other colleges."
For more on Dennis Thames be sure to check out tomorrow's recruiting article in the Detroit News.