Mich. Makes Strong Case for Campbell (Part 4)

(Part 4 of 4) In part fourof GoBlueWolverine's in-depth feature on Detroit Cass Tech lineman William Campbell's official visit to Michigan last weekend, the youngster's coach (former Wolverine Thomas Wilcher) shares his thoughts on what position his star pupil projects to on the next level, his recruitment, Boubacar Cissoko's first season, and more.

Sam Webb:  From a coaching perspective; how did you think he (Will Campbell) did this year?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I think offensively, he did a great job.  I think defensively, he did a hell of a job versus the run.  No team rushed on us at this year except when we got to that spread set.  We shut down the run a lot this year against everybody, so it was big."

Sam Webb:  When you look at him going forward, what do you think he projects best?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I think the way (to maximize) his productivity on your team is to utilize him offensively and incorporate him on your short yardage defense, because he's a good run stopper.  You'd get the chance to keep his athleticism working.  It gives you a chance to help improve your offense and you get a chance to help improve your defense in short yardage."

Sam Webb:  So what was Rodriguez saying to you about how Will would be used, about his significance to the class; what was he telling you about all of that?

Thomas Wilcher:  "He basically just told me that Will will be able to play wherever he wants to play.  He will play what he's best suited for on the team.  Wherever he feels he is more dominant on.  It would be great to play on both sides."

Sam Webb:  When are the things that he still needs to work on?

Thomas Wilcher:  "He still needs to work on reading the line, reading the line defensively so that he knows where to move and go.  He also needs to work on his pass set a little bit more… that's about it."

Sam Webb:  Now you've had the opportunity to go on a few visits with him now, what were the things that you found that he was looking for when he went out on these trips?

Thomas Wilcher:  "He was looking atmosphere.  Atmosphere… he was looking for something special.  That's about it.  Trying to see what's special about this school."

Sam Webb:  When you sort of compare and contrast, were there places where something special happened and places where it didn't?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I think something special happened at every school.  At Alabama, he talks about the walk.  At LSU, he talks about the campus and the people there.  At Michigan, he liked the basketball game where they beat Duke.  He got a chance to run out there on the floor.  I guess it was something special about every little place."

Sam Webb:  He told me when I talked to him a couple of days ago that he wasn't sure what the itinerary was going to be for this weekend.  He said that he had a test and he might head down to Florida after that, but he had to get that straight with you first; was he able to get everything squared away for that?

Thomas Wilcher:  "Yeah, everything is squared away and he is going down there."

Sam Webb:  So he is going down to Florida and then he goes to Miami next week?

Thomas Wilcher:  "Yeah."

Sam Webb:  Will is obviously going to announce his decision at the Army Game; from all the conversations that you've had with him, what are the same things that are going to be most significant in that final choice?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I don't really know yet (laughter).  I don't really know yet because we don't really talk about it.  All we talk about is, is getting his test score up and getting straight A's this entire marking period and that's it."

Sam Webb:  You got a chance to see and talk to one of your former players while on the visit with Will… Boubacar Cissoko.  What did you think of his first year as a Wolverine?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I think Boubacar went up there with high expectations.  I think Boubacar had a chance to accomplish his goals, but I just think that Boubacar just didn't pan out.  I thought they gave Boubacar a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things.  He was up there returning kicks, he was up there returning punts, he was up there playing on special teams, and he was playing on defense.  They gave him a lot of opportunities and I don't think Boubacar capitalized on all of his opportunities."

Sam Webb:  That sounds like something you talked to him about?

Thomas Wilcher:  "Yeah that's what we talked about.  He has got to step his game up."

Sam Webb:  Tell me about your next crop of guys.  You've always got talent at Cass Tech.  Who are the next ones that will be coming out?

Thomas Wilcher:  "I think Dior Mathis is going to be a big time player.  He just got a letter to be invited to the Under Armour game.  He got it for next year.  He got a letter to be invited already.  That's huge right there.  Dior has got a lot of offers.  He's got offers from Notre Dame to Michigan to Miami (FL).  I just think he's got to maintain himself, maintain his composure.  Keep his head straight and try to really focus on the goal of going to college. Hard work pays off and he has got to be a student athlete first.  That's it.

I think the next kid is going to be pretty huge; the free safety that I've got, he's like 6'4", 6'5".  He plays free safety and runs a 4.45.  I think he is going to be a big time player for me too; Daniel Easterly.  He's big, he's physical, tough.   He's a great hitter.  I'm going to have to create a special position for him because he's just going to have to be all over the field.  I just try to push them up the level that they can do well.

  We have a lot of kids like Teric Jones that just started out in sports.  This past year was Dior first year playing cornerback and he had eight or nine interceptions, two for a touchdown.  That was his first time playing.  Easterly used to be a defensive end.  We just knew that he great speed; he's a tough kid and I put him at free safety because he could run.  I just told the coaches to practice with him.  He just panned out."

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