Leesville, LA ATH Travante Stallworth believed his recruitment was over when he committed to Auburn back in the summer. The 5-9, 180-pound star even remained solid through an uncharacteristically poor season. However, when the university made the surprising call to part ways with one of the nation's best coaches in Tommy Tuberville, all bets were off. That was all the opening that other interested suitors needed. The Michigan Wolverines are now among those making a very strong push.
"They've been talking to me just for the past few weeks," Stallworth said of the Maize & Blue. "Coach Jackson, Coach Magee, and I talked to Coach Rodriguez. (Coach Rodriguez) was just saying that they're excited about me and that they would like for me to come visit and check them out. Coach Jackson came down here (Monday) and we asked him some questions. I play quarterback in high school and they were saying if (quarterback) doesn't work out there, they're going to put me at slot receiver and get the ball in my hands. I set up a visit and I'm coming January 9th. They said they are planning on offering me during my visit. Coach Rodriguez wants to do it verbally."
Stallworth isn't at all opposed to playing the slot because he believes his skills at that position would remind many fans of another former Michigan recruit.
"I'm like Desean Jackson," he said referring to the Philadelphia Eagles rookie. "He is about my height, he is fast… he is the type of player that I am."
The Wolverines' quick rise up Stallworth's list may come as a surprise since they suffered through a down season themselves, but the versatile athlete indicated that he already was predisposed to liking Michigan.
"I knew a lot about them," he explained. "I knew that they're a big time school. My dad, he likes Michigan. He told me when I committed to Auburn that if any of the Big Ten schools come, check them out because they play big time football up there and they're always on television. I know a couple of their (former) players like Tom Brady and Braylon Edwards too."
While it's clear that Michigan is currently in a very strong position, Stallworth made it clear that a few other programs figure very prominently into his recruitment also.
"I'm still looking at (Auburn) and I'm still committed, but I'm highly highly interested in Michigan," Bayou star said. "I got a call (Monday) from Steve Spurrier Jr. at South Carolina and I'm interested in them. TCU I'm interested in them too. They came by the school (Monday) also."
In the weeks leading up to signing day Stallworth plans to look more thoroughly into what his suitors have to offer. Each will be measured against a very specific list of criteria.
"I will look at the offense that they run to see if I fit their system, my playing time, and I want to get a good degree," he said. "I want to check out the campuses, see what kind of academics they have, and how many people they graduate. I just want to get a good degree. Facilities…I'm real high on facilities, and their fans. I like a huge fan base. I think Michigan has that. They're in the Big House so I know they have fans there. And like I said before, the academics."
One factor that won't carry much weight is distance.
"I'm not from Louisiana, I just live here because my dad is in the military," Stallworth explained. "He is in Iraq right now. When he comes back I really don't know where we're going to be, but my mom and dad are going to follow me anywhere I go. (Distance) really has no (bearing). I'm from Florida and (Michigan) is kind of far from home, but I'll (adapt) to the situation I'm in so I'm not worried about distance."
Stallworth isn't worried about the weather either.
"I stayed in Germany also," he said. "It snowed all of the time over there and it was cold. I stayed in Ft. Bragg North Carolina and it was cold there too, and I stayed in Missouri. I'm used to the snow. (Louisiana) is the first place I've really been that we haven't had any snow."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Stallworth in the coming weeks.