Tony Grimes had heard stories about the nation's largest stadium… he'd even seen it on television, but none of that prepared him for what he saw Saturday.
"Man, there ain't nothing like the Big House….let me say that right now," Grimes said gushingly. "It was even bigger than I thought it would be."
The stadium proved to be an impressive backdrop for an impressive event. The relaxed atmosphere allowed the prospects to see a different side of the football program and its coaches.
"When I first got there Coach Hop took me around the city and what not," Grimes recalled. "What I liked about it the campus is it's not (isolated) all alone. The campus is basically the city. The city is right around it. I like that type of atmosphere."
"I met (Mike Barwis). He is an out of control dude. I love that kind of (workout) tempo. That's going to keep you motivated. I got a chance to talk to him for a while. He gave a little presentation on the weight room and that thing was off the chain. I'm going to take some of the stuff he was talking about back down to the high school level, and it's going to prepare me for the next level."
"I spoke with Coach Rodriguez. I'm familiar with him from when he was at West Virginia. That was kind of cool. He is a cool guy. As a matter of fact, the whole coaching staff is cool. I sat down with Coach Gibson and the defensive coordinator too. What separates them from most college coaches is they aren't going to just tell you what you want to hear. They'll be real with you. They aren't going to just throw you some ‘BS' about ‘as soon as you sign, you'll go out there and start.' They'll be straight up with you from the get go. That's what I like about Michigan's coaching staff. Everybody was straightforward."
The straightforward description of Michigan's depth chart at defensive back actually painted an auspicious scenario for Grimes.
"They're low on DB's right now," he said. "They've got six on scholarship and that's counting three corners. What they told me was that if there is any time to step in as a true freshman and get some playing time, now is the time. They didn't tell me, ‘as soon as you get here you're going to be starting.' They said there is going to be an opportunity for me to come out and compete and work for that spot."
That strong positive impression of the coaching staff was bolstered even more by the favorable words of an old friend that now happens to be a Wolverine.
"I was with Vladimir (Emilien)," stated Grimes. "That's my boy. We got some time to hang out. I got his perspective on the whole Michigan thing. I asked him a bunch of questions. You know he is going to tell me what time it is because that's my homeboy. He told me one difference (at Michigan) is once you get there, you are not just a piece of meat… you are a part of the family. That's something I can believe because he didn't play none of his senior year after he tore his ACL, but they didn't just cut him off. They kept his offer and he committed there. He told me, ‘they're going to give you a chance show what you got and you'll be able to compete for that spot.'"
That Grimes is speaking so glowingly about the Wolverines certainly bodes well for their chances, but he stopped short of naming them his leader.
"It definitely opened me up to a different perspective," he said. "You can't really say too much about these colleges unless you go out and see them. I don't have no favorites or no top schools, but I do look highly upon Michigan. I know for sure that I'm coming back to Michigan for an official visit. I believe it'll be the Notre Dame game. I would've gone to the Ohio State game, but that was too much of a wait."
Grimes will hit the visit trail again next week, this time headed to Ole Miss. A number of other pre-fall visits are in the offing as well. The fast-rising prospect hopes to narrow his list by midseason season, but he plans to gather as much information as possible before he does.
"I want to check out as many places as I can," said Grimes. "I don't want to make a mistake toward the end …knowing I could've been somewhere else that's better than where I am at right now. You can't really compare (the schools) until you've been there to see it for yourself."