Sam Webb: How have things been going?
Kelly Byrd: "Things have been going great. They really have been. It has been good for him to have been able to come back…kind of got back home after July and had I think 12 or 13 offers at that point after the summer and all great places, great opportunities. I think it was getting a little overwhelming for him; you know what I mean? Once he trimmed it down to five then he asked his mom and I if we could then go back and visit all five again. They were five schools that he had already been to."
Sam Webb: So have you guys laid out a visit schedule yet for when you will getting back to those schools?
Kelly Byrd: "Yeah. We jumped in…once he narrowed it down to five and the five were Kentucky, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and IU (Indiana). Once he got it down to five, he immediately at the end of August, he went to IU for an elite camp, an all day Saturday elite camp that Coach Crean and his staff put on. He had a very good time and really enjoyed the day down there. Following that he went and visited Ohio State. Actually Ohio State was a program we had not visited. So that was a first time visit to Ohio State. We spent the day with Coach Matta and the rest of the coaching staff. Two Saturday's ago we were in East Lansing. We went up on a Friday actually, before the Eastern Michigan game and spent the entire afternoon and all evening and most of the night with Coach Izzo, Coach Montgomery, Coach Stephens and had a great, great time. We really enjoyed the night. It was a chance just to further get to know those guys and learn more about what they had in mind for Russell. Then Saturday we went to the football game, which was a blast. We had a real good time. After Michigan State, he is going to a football game at Ohio State at the end of September, I believe it is the 27th. Then the first weekend of October, will be taking the whole family; we are going to take all the kids and Russell and we are going to go up to Ann Arbor for a Friday afternoon."
Sam Webb: Will you guys be going to the Illinois game while you are in Ann Arbor as well?
Kelly Byrd: "Yes. We are going to go up on Friday, stay overnight there and then go to the football game on Saturday. It is that first weekend in October. Yeah that will be kind of a Friday afternoon, spend the night, do the football game on Saturday and then that following week, we are going to go on the 10th of October, we will be in Lexington for the midnight madness. They are calling it the ‘Big Blue Madness', the kickoff to the practice season, whatever they call it."
Sam Webb: One of the things that I have been meaning to get some clarification on. When I last talked to Russell, he said something about Coach Mahoney writing him a letter every day. I didn't know if he meant him literally writing him a letter every day or if he meant that it just seemed like it.
Kelly Byrd: "Yeah. I would say there is a letter every day from Coach Mahoney and two or three a week from Coach Beilein. They have just been absolutely phenomenal. They have been extremely persistent and they have been challenging him to really think about… and I think they understand how this thing break downs. You got schools like Michigan State and Kentucky that have kind of been there before and are in pretty good shape, and then you got schools like Michigan that are programs that have maybe been there in the past but are in the process of really trying to rebuild and be great again. You know what I mean?"
Sam Webb: Sure, I see.
Kelly Byrd: "They are playing that card really hard with him and just giving him every reason in the world why he should come and help them immediately be great again. Kind of turn the thing around and get it back to a place of national prominence and excellence. They are just persistent. They keep kind of painting that picture for him. Literally every day there is a new letter and a new note. They have been really consistent."
Sam Webb: I just didn't know if Russell meant literally, but I see he did.
Kelly Byrd: "Yeah he meant literally."
Sam Webb: Have you determined beyond that when he wants to sit down and start thinking about a decision, or is he going to play his season first before he even starts thinking about that?
Kelly Byrd: "Yeah you know, honestly, I believe what he has said to all five is that he would really like to do this last round of visits and then I think he would like to watch them play this year… which I think makes a lot of sense. He has spent all this time listening to them talk about what they are going to do and the kind of program they are going to run, the kind of team they are going to have. I think it would be a great opportunity for him, at least most of the season. I think his plan is to go all the way through the end of his high school season and then before the new AAU season kicks in… I think he would like to make a decision so he kind of has it all figured out going into his summer. That is what I have heard him say. I have heard him just communicate to them that he would like to watch them and I know that they all have said that they'll be coming around to keep watching him and keep up with his progress. That is my guess. My guess is that he will wait until the spring… but again, we have told him all along that if he gets to a point, at any point, where he knows in his heart what he wants to do, then he should just go with it."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Byrd in the coming weeks.