U-M Visit Makes Impression on Javarie Johnson

We go more in-depth with Washington D.C. Dunbar coach Craig Jefferies about his latest star pupil, Javarie Johnson. The veteran coach gives his impressions of their April Michigan visit, strength coach Mike Barwis, the factors that will play into Johnson's final decison, and more.

  • For those that missed, this week's Detroit News article on Johnson, click here.

Sam Webb: You were with Javarie on the Michigan visit. What were your impressions of it?

Craig Jefferies: They have the Michigan way. That's what I call it. We were blown away with how they do things and the scale at which they do things. The way they treat the players, the expectations of the players, the facilities... that was the main thing that kind of blew us away. He bought into the scheme that they would use him. He would be used in the scheme like a Shawn Merriman type guy... hybrid type linebacker. They were still looking at him as a linebacker, but they can do some other things with him to try utilize his height. They had a specific way of playing that they would like to use him and he kind of bought into that. So I think he liked that idea where he could really kind of set that standard with the new staff there as a different kind of guy that they're always going to want (at that position). That was kind of unique."

Sam Webb: Were you able to get a good feel for the academics at Michigan?

Craig Jefferies: "Michigan has a great facility. It is something like I've never seen. Most schools have an academic center, like an area or classroom, a separate space like a weight room, but they had almost a school. They had a facility that involves all the student-athletes, where most people just have a wing of a building. They have an entire building dedicated to academics and the way it was structured was unbelievable. Both (Michigan & Michigan State) had good weight programs, but I think what separated Michigan probably from a lot of other schools is their weight program; how they make you strong; how they get kids…to play within themselves, get to know their body. They do a lot of core work and they do a lot of work that dealt with pylometrics. They seem to get kids stronger and that's based on data. The guy who broke the record for most bench press at the combine (Will Johnson) came from Michigan. They have documented and proof of the jump their kids make. There strength is phenomenal and how they do it is phenomenonal as well."

Sam Webb: What did you think about the strength coach, Mike Barwis?

Craig Jefferies: "Most strength coaches are crazy; he's at the top of the list. That's a good thing. I met before at West Virginia. He's a different guy, but I think (Javarie) really fell in love with him and his program. It's unique, just the way he gets kid to develop and get them in shape. That was probably the one thing that really separated them from everybody else is their strength and conditioning program. That was unbelievable and then the size... Michigan takes the best thing that everybody else does and makes it bigger and better."

Sam Webb: When Jarvarie sits down to make that final decision, what are the factors that you think are going to play into that choice?

Craig Jefferies: "Where they are going to play him? Can he trust the coaches that are recruiting him? All the schools and universities are all fine, Are the facilities are adequate enough to get things done? Like I tell my kids, a 45 pound plate is a 45 pound plate. A 100 yard field is a 100 yard field. He is concerned about who he can trust on staff and he is concerned about possibly playing early. The academic support is important too. A lot of coaches say academics are important but they just kind of going through the motions. He wants to make sure that he is the first one from his family to graduate or have the opportunity to graduate and still have a chance to go to the NFL. The thing he talks about right now are trusting and possibly playing early."

Sam Webb: Jarvarie told me was that he might get out on some more visits before he makes a decision. Where do you think he'll go?

Craig Jefferies: "There is one other visit that I think he really wants to take and that's Miami, but they haven't offered him. My thinking is that you go to places that have offered you and see if that is what you want to do. He kind of wants to see it. That may be the only extra visit that he is going to take, a school that is truly considering."

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