Drake and Nelson Sailing Sky-High

Most high school football teams don't need recruiting coordinators. Of course, most high schools don't dress eight DI prospects like Dallas Skyline (TX). GoBlueWolverine spoke with the busiest recruiting coordinator in the land – Skyline's R.J. Bond.

It's fair to say that most high school football teams don't have recruiting coordinators on staff. Of course, another thing most high school football teams don't have are eight DI prospects like Dallas Skyline (TX). GoBlueWolverine recently spoke with the busiest recruiting coordinator in the land – Skyline's R.J. Bond – about U-M commit Tony Drake and his heavily recruited teammate, Top 50 linebacker Corey Nelson.

GoBlueWolverine: Just about every major program in the country is recruiting Corey Nelson. Has he listed any favorites? And where does Michigan sit with him?

Bond: "I don't think he's anywhere really, real, real close to anything. I think Michigan is in the mix, if for nothing else because they came and he has a teammate (Drake) who committed. Michigan is the winningest program in the country, the biggest stadium in the country, and has probably one of the best looking uniforms. There's some things that Michigan's got a good draw on already, and they've signed some kids out of Texas, so they've definitely done some things to help themselves.

Corey's going to make the best decision for him. With his five visits, he wants to take all of them. Michigan would be a school that would get visited probably because the way things are, three and four hundred dollars a plane ticket, individually for three people it's hard to do that. So Michigan might have to be an official visit school because, they're not (Texas) A&M or Oklahoma where we can just drive down there.

Who really knows (where he'll take his official visits), I don't think Corey even knows. But I think he's enjoying the fact that people are really liking what he does on the football field. I don't know if he thought he'd be in this situation a year ago. You know, I don't know if he thought it would have been like this."

GoBlueWolverine: What type of kid is Corey Nelson off of the field?

Bond: Great, great character kid. He is a 3.2 GPA student that all the teachers love. I could pull a teacher out right now and they could probably tell you a 30-minute story on something that Corey did that just made them smile; he's that type of kid. He could be a poster child for the inner city kid. If you never knew in the inner city that there was hope, he could be that kid that shows you that there is hope. His opportunities are endless. He wants to do a lot of stuff; some kind of engineer is what he wants to be. He's absolutely a great kid. I want my son to be like that -- he's really that type of kid.

GoBlueWolverine: Did Michigan's scholarship offer to Tony Drake seem out of nowhere, and why did he decide to commit so soon?

Bond: "Michigan was one of the schools that he had been eyeing. Drake, he's a special kind of an athlete; he's a special kind of a football player, and the thing was there are certain places that absolutely fit Drake. There's a couple of other schools that use guys like him the way he can best be used; but Michigan, with things that Rich Rodriguez did at West Virginia with Noel Devine and (Steve) Slaton, it was just a perfect fit.

On his original list, I said to him, "Give me a top five list," and he only gave me three schools and Michigan was number one on that list. I had been in contact with Coach Hopson a few times, but nothing specific to any one particular player, just passing the film around and information … and then that Michigan offer came. Tony got it, and he went home no more than one day and he was like, "Yeah let's sign and go ahead and make this happen!"

He said, "Why keep shopping if what you want is right here in front of you?"

GoBlueWolverine: Does having a scholarship from the school he wanted all along take a lot of weight off of his shoulders and give him confidence?

Bond: It took a lot of weight off. He's got all these other guys around him. And when he came into Skyline, with the 2010 group, when they were freshman, Tony was the headliner of the group. He was the outstanding one of the group. And for all those guys to receive a pile of offers before he got one … he never said it but I know in the back of his mind I knew it was weighing on him. Before it was Corey Nelson, before it was Mike Davis, it was Tony Drake. Because, like I said, he was the frontrunner of this group. And then, bam, he got the offer he wanted on the first go around and it was all he was looking forward to and then some.

GoBlueWolverine: Anyone who watches Tony's tape knows he's obviously a burner. What about Tony will help him succeed at the next level that's not necessarily on the tape?

Bond: I would say his off-the-field work ethic. With a kid like him that's kinda high profile and has all the athletic ability, the intensity with which he was lifting weights, that really surprised me. I would expect that he might be the kid who you'd have to say something to, or one that might miss workouts, but it was never that. He's working as hard if not harder than anyone in the weight room -- and not only that but being a leader in the weight room. That really surprised me about Tony. On the field, his athletic ability is just about endless. He could be an All-American cornerback if he wanted to. Athletically, he can do whatever he wants to do.

GoBlueWolverine: How do you think the University of Michigan could best utilize Tony's athleticism; at what position do you think he has the highest ceiling?

Bond: My hope is that they're taking him as a clean slate and, once they see what he's got, they will decide how he can best help with the program. That said, I like him in the backfield. He can do some amazing things with that ball. And he's had an excellent spring this year.

GoBlueWolverine: Drake is a smaller player, listed at 5-8, 160. Any plans on adding size to that frame before he heads to college?

Bond: He's about 170 now, and we're trying to get him at around 175. If Michigan gets him and red-shirts him I can see him at a solid 180. I think 185 is a spot where he can still be a 4.35 guy and might even be a little more explosive with it. I hope (for opponent' sake) he doesn't get to 200 pounds because then he could run you over and outrun you. If he gets anything over 185 pounds it's bad news for the defense.

GoBlueWolverine: How is Tony as a student?

Bond: "In the classroom, Tony has a little work to do, I'm not going to lie to you. I will say this though, that Michigan offer turned on a light switch. He's got some more work to do, but I've seen his attitude change since he got that Michigan offer; he just seems a lot happier. I've seen his attitude change since he's got that offer and since he committed."

GoBlueWolverine: Skyline has Mike Davis committed to LSU, Drake at Michigan, Dominique Patterson committed to Texas A&M, and Joseph Powell committed to Oklahoma. Are you the busiest recruiting coordinator in high school?

Bond: I feel like if I'm not the busiest recruiting coordinator in high school then I'm not doing my job. I want to be the busiest guy out there and I think we've got the talent to make me the busiest. My job is to help aid these young men get to college. Get them seen, get them noticed. Whatever avenue it takes.

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