Graves' Coach Says UM Best Place for Him

GoBlueWolverine caught back up with Tulsa East Central coach Travis Hill to discuss the future of his star lineman and UM commitment, Pearlie Graves. Coach Hill shared his views on how Graves will fit in at Michigan, the strengths of his game, his odds of qualifying, and more.

GoBlueWolverine: Were you surprised at his decision about picking Michigan being away from home.  The last time we chatted it seemed like he might favor staying closer to home?

Coach Hill: "I really thought probably he would be looking at programs like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but I knew that Michigan was high on his list so it was not a surprise to me. Pearlie made a decision that he is happy with, excited about, and best fits what his needs are at Michigan."

"He feels like (Michigan) is the best situation for him and gives Pearlie an option to grow up on his own a little bit and mature. He evaluated along with everybody else that this was the best option for him. I think his family understood that along with the coaching staff that it'a a great opportunity for him to grow up and be his own man so to speak. Sometimes the old saying the farther away from home the less likely you will get back home might ring true.  For Pearlie that might be a good thing."

GoBlueWolverine: Last time we talked, you mentioned that Pearlie still had to do some work in the classroom. How is that coming at this point in the year?

Coach Hill: "Yea it is a process obviously; it will take through the school year. He has already passed his ACT test and just needs to complete his core curriculum and he should be in good shape."

GoBlueWolverine: Have the coaches talked about him playing a certain position for them on defense?

Coach Hill: "He will be playing inside at defensive interior and that is what they are excited about having him for.  Pearlie feels that is his best bet."

GoBlueWolverine: Have the coaches talked to you about Pearlie possible playing next year or does he need a red shirt year?

Coach Hill: "Well to be honest I really do not know what the University of Michigan's needs are and what players they have coming there or back. As far as Pearlie's ability, it is a very high level. There are probably many things that he will be green around the collar as far as techniques and what they want. It would be nice to redshirt him so he can learn the system along with getting use to the school, but again I am not sure what their situation is right now. He has the physical makeup to come in early and be a asset early in his career. Of course, every year of experience and knowledge of the mental part of the game will help him out as well. They will help him out with that decision wants they see him and what he can do for them, but they will have to make the decision on whether he can play right away or not."

GoBlueWolverine: What are Pearlie's strengths and what does he need to work on at the next level?

Coach Hill: "His number one strength thing is a big kid that can run and that is what makes a high profile kid. Anytime you can be 6'3, 275 lbs. plus and can run a legit 4.8 or better …that is his strength. His motor is always running and his quickness, athletic ability is what makes Pearlie special. The things he will need to work on are his technique and getting in with their S&C program at a college level. He needs to play with his hands better as well to improve at the next level and I believe he will do fine."

GoBlueWolverine: Is Pearlie looking to participate in any other sports this year?

Coach Hill: "He is looking at doing the shot and discus for the track team along with to continue to work out and be ready for college at the University of Michigan".

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