Sam Webb: Alright coach, take me through the deliberation process. When did you guys sit down with Quinton (Washington) and how he did he go about making the decision?
Art Craig: "I noticed towards the end of the week, last week, he seemed a little at ease with himself. I guess you could say a little giddy… I'm looking for the right word. He went down to Miami and on the way back, I kept texting him and I really didn't hear anything else. I was like, alright what's going on here. Yesterday, he didn't come to school because he got home late. So when I finally got…because Quinton is not big on calling… I sent him a text and all that and we made a decision. He was like, ‘yeah I want to be a Timberland Wolf for the next four year (laughter).' I texted him back and said it aint that easy brother. He said then, ‘Coach, my heart's real heavily leaning towards Michigan.' I said, ‘Okay'. I said ‘let's do this… do whatever you got do and then let's talk first thing in the morning.'"
"He came in this morning and he said, ‘Coach, I think I'm going to choose Michigan'. I had a feeling that's what was going to happen, so I had a list out of pros and cons of both schools. Every time a con came up or every time a negative came up for Michigan, he had an answer. I asked, ‘what about your mom and dad? You know that they're not going to be able to see you play.' He said, ‘we've come to terms with the fact that their only going to see me play probably a couple of times, and Michigan is on TV all other games or 12 games is on TV.' So every little thing… you hope the young man has thought through the whole process. My next question was, ‘when you graduate and if you don't make it to the next level and you have to come back home, who is going to help you out? He said, there's a big fan base; the largest living alumni in the world, and I've got a brother that lives in Atlanta. If no one wants to help me, then I'll go to Atlanta.' You could tell that the guy had really sort of thought through this. He had zeroed in on everything on everybody. If had chosen South Carolina.... and I'm a South Carolina graduate and I think some people took for granted that that was going to happen. I think the Michigan coaches will tell you that I was as open as I could've been for the young man. My job as a head football coach is to make all resources available for a young man to make a decision and I don't think my job is to hinder anybody's decision or to cloud that decision. Probably in the end, I think he just had a good clear mind and his response when asked over and over again, ‘why Michigan', he said, ‘well that's the place for me.' I think most of the websites have asked me why and I said this, I think Grey Frey is the difference in him going to Michigan. Coach Gibson was his initial recruiter, but he has met his position coach since March or May of last year, whenever they first came. I think that was a big play for them and for him."
"His mom and dad haven't even been to Michigan, because I went with him. (Quinton) made a decision for him and I respect that. He didn't make a decision for me or for the State (South Carolina) or anything, but a decision for Quinton Washington and I respect that."
Sam Webb: Let's talk about him as a player. The ratings, don't really reflect the Quinton Washington that I saw in the All American game.
Art Craig: "Right. I mean anybody that saw what he did in the Under Armour game understands what kind of player that he is. Michigan told me that he was their #1 lineman that they (were) recruiting in the nation. They basically told me that if they didn't sign him, they weren't going to sign another offensive lineman because they put all their eggs in that basket. That was their one recruit. I know when he called and told them… and I said if he's going to make a man decision I made him call to South Carolina this morning and explain. As a man, you have got to call people when you make a decision and he called South Carolina first and he went through the process. Now you get to do the fun part and call Michigan. You could just hear the explosion in the background when he told them that was what he was doing. I feel good for him that…South Carolina wanted him as equally as bad, but it was nice to know with that reaction they had like that wanted him that bad, and I feel good for him."
Sam Webb: For folks who still may have not seen Quinton play, what are his strengths? What are the things that make him special as an offensive lineman?
Art Craig: "He is physically so strong for his age. I think he has so much flexibility for a big kid that he can just sit in there and he is able to take things in…he's like a sponge. When you teach him something, he just absorbs it and that very next time he tries to make it better. He's not one of these people who are hardheaded and do it his way over and over and over; he's going to try and take what you try to teach him and apply it immediately. He's very coachable and I think that's the thing. He's very humble. He understands what he has is a god given talent and it can be taken away at any time and they're just getting an outstanding young man, they really are."
Sam Webb: What are the things that you think he needs to do or he needs to improve upon to be able to play right away as a true freshman?
Art Craig: "I think first thing is, is he going to be able to pick up their schemes, the schematics of what they do when they've got certain calls to pick up. Obviously what Coach Rodriguez does is going to be a lot more complex than what we did and I think that he's going to have to learn that he's not just going to be able to overpower everybody… that he is going to have to take his pro pass technique and get it down to a science. I think if he does that, he'll play early. That's the whole thing, if he handles it mentally, he'll play early. I think that he'll be able to do that. I think there'll be some growing pains and I think that's the biggest thing that he has to understand too; there's going to be some setbacks and how he handles those setbacks will determine how quick he plays also. Because it's going to be a different world up there. This is a business to those guys and their job depends on that and he's going to have to either…I'm sure that he will have some very, very rough periods up there."
Sam Webb: Now coach you talked about Quinton as a young man and obviously… I got a chance to meet him and talk to him in person down in Orlando, but he hasn't spoken to the rest of media a whole lot. For people who don't have a real understanding or idea of what kind of kid that Quinton Washington is, talk a little bit about the young man as opposed to a football player?
Art Craig: "Well, it's not going to be any secret that he has a speech impediment and so that is one thing that I think they're going to try and help him with. As far as him, I think his mom and dad have done a great job of raising him and understanding what he needs to do. He is just a good kid. If he tells you that he's going to do something, he does it. I know that sounds corny and stupid, but that's just him. If he tells you that he's going to be somewhere, he's there. If he tells you that I'll do this for you, he'll do it. The only problem I've ever had with him is that he showed up late a couple of times. If I told him to be there at 5:30, he's there at 5:32, 5:33. I don't even know if he has ever been written up…I don't think he's ever had a write up at school. On the flip side of that, on the football field when you cross him, he takes care of business. He's a gentle giant."