Prior to visiting Ann Arbor last weekend for Michigan's game against Illinois, the Maize & Blue appeared to be playing catch-up in the recruitment of Quince Orchard ATH Travis Hawkins. The 5-11, 185 pounder had greater familiarity with a few of the other suitors on his list, which gave them a distinct advantage. Now that he has seen what the Wolverines, have to offer, that no longer seems to be the case.
"It went really well," Hawkins said of his time at Michigan. "I went to the Campus Inn (hotel) where I stayed, and then met up with (the recruiting coordinator) Coach Singletary. He was real cool. He told me about his story when he played at Michigan. Then we went to the academic center and we met Ms. Shari (Acho). She is a real cool lady. She was a real nice person and she seemed like a person that the players could get along with real well. I like her a lot. I think the academic part was the best part of the trip for me. There are a lot of opportunities at Michigan other than football and that is what I like."
So impressed was Hawkins, who is leaning towards majoring in sports management & communications, that he put his praise for the academic presentation in even greater context.
"That was the best academic (presentation)," he said. "(Acho) was top of the line. Even Coach Singletary, who said he didn't even have her when he was there, said that she is the glue in the program. I haven't been to a place that has an academic lady like her. The (academic) building was nice. The way they had it designed was just ridiculous."
When the focus switched to football, Hawkins found himself feeling similarly about the people, facilities, and opportunities present on the athletic side of things as well.
"(Michigan Strength & Conditioning Coach) Mike Barwis was saying some stuff that had my head spinning," Hawkins said laughingly. "He knows what he's talking about too. He said that he turned down a job for the Olympics. None of the players on the team are fat. They are all lean and they are all fast. I like him a lot. He is just real cool."
"Coach Rodriguez, I like him a lot too," he continued. "I sat down with him (Saturday) before the game and I sat down with him (Sunday) before I left. That was the last thing I did before my visit was over… I talked to Coach Rodriguez by myself. I am coming in mid year, so wherever I go there is an opportunity. With Michigan, (Rodriguez) was telling me how I was approved on both sides of the ball by the coaches and that I can play early. I'm not sure yet (about which side of the ball). I love defense, but I miss offense sometimes. Either way, (Rodriguez) believes in playing freshman."
Needless to say, after such a strong visit, Michigan is on more solid ground in Hawkins' recruitment.
"They moved up, most definitely," he said of the Wolverines. "Academically it is just ridiculous. There are so many opportunities."
Hawkins believes teammate Jason Ankrah shares those sentiments.
"He liked it a lot too for similar reasons as me," stated Hawkins. "Me and him are going to talk about it more and make a top three I guess."
Those three finalists aren't likely to be anointed for a few weeks. Hawkins plans to conclude taking visits before trimming the fat from his list and will waste little time getting back on the road.
Many have speculated that the University of Maryland is sitting in the driver's seat for the talented two-way threat, but he insists that that is not quite accurate.
"Naw, I wouldn't say (Maryland) is the leader," he said. "My mom wants me to go there and stuff, but it is my decision. Wherever I go, she is going to stick with me."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for word on Jason Ankrah's trip to Ann Arbor later today.