Distance a factor for Pearlie Graves?

Tulsa Oklahoma DL Pearlie Graves came up on a visit to see Michigan play Toledo. He shares with GBW his thoughts on why he finally visited Michigan, and whether he now feels close enough to home for him.

Pearlie Graves is a young man with a strong sense of family. He loves his family so much and he wants to be there for them. In September GBW had a conversation with him about his recruiting where he said he liked Michigan but it was probably too far from home for him.

"Man I like Michigan but it is a little too far for me. I need to close to my mom and make sure my family is going to be all right." It was obvious that distance would be a problem for him because of the close relationship he has with his family.

Then about a month ago he and his mom had a talk regarding him attending college. She must have sensed that he had something on his mind about staying close to home for college.

"Me and my mom were talking about college, and she said to me: 'Go where ever you want to go.' They will support me anywhere I go. That made me feel really good."

So after that discussion with his mom things are a little different for him. And so Pearlie decided to visit Michigan two weeks ago because it is important that he came up to see what it's about.

How important was it for him to visit? "I have never flown on an airplane before; man was I nervous on that flight to Michigan! But that's how important it was for me to take that flight so I could visit. I came up there by myself on that plane to see Michigan."

So what did you think of Michigan? "The visit was wonderful! The coaching staff and the players were great. Michigan was much bigger then what I thought it would be."

Pearlie mostly hung out with the defense and there was a reason for that -- his host was defensive end Brandon Graham.

B.G. was my host. He is real cool guy -- he was being real the whole time I was there. He told me Michigan was the best thing that happened to him. B.G. said some of the guys transferred (when Coach Rod came in) but he didn't because he had seen the opportunity that was here at Michigan. I can look at B.G. and see him as my big brother."

Pearlie noticed how close the players were on the team, and coming from a close knit family that was something he enjoyed seeing. "What impressed me the most about the visit was how close the players are with each other/ They treated each other just like family."

He also had a chance to talk with Coach Rod: "Coach Rodriguez was real honest with me; he told me I want you to be here at Michigan but if this is not what you want then don't come. He told me that I am going to play if I come to Michigan because he has no problem playing freshmen. Coach was just real cool and honest with me."

With Michigan's season not going very well you have to wonder: does that affect the way he looks at the Wolverines?

"Michigan's losing does not stop me from being interested in going there. I look at that as an opportunity to play. They are young right now but they play hard and I like that."

He has three more visits: Kansas State this weekend, LSU and Tennessee later. He has already made visits to Texas Tech and Michigan -- and he says, "Those two schools are my top two right now. I like the academics at both schools."

As Pearlie made his way home after the Michigan visit his mom asked him how much fun he had. Seeing him smile she said, "They must have treated you right." And he told his mom, "Yeah they did."

So now that his mind is at ease distance is not a factor for Pearlie Graves.

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