What seemed inconceivable to recruiting observers a year ago recently became reality for Livonia (MI) Stevenson RB Austin White.
"I've decided to commit to the University of Michigan," the four-star tailback said. "That's what I did a few days ago. (The coaches) were pretty excited. When I talked to Coach Rod he congratulated me and welcomed me into the Michigan family. He said he was going to go out and celebrate with his family, which was nice. It just seemed like they're genuinely excited for me to be there and that's what I liked the best. When it came to the recruiting process they always seem excited… like they really wanted to coach me and that really stood out to me during the entire recruiting process."
With parents that are both Michigan State alums, two brothers that currently attend Michigan State, and a high school mascot that happens to be a Spartan, many thought it a foregone conclusion that White would don the Green & White. However, from the onset of his recruitment he approached the process with an open mind.
"When I first got into the recruiting process I was always driven to just see what happens," White explained. "When I got offers from Michigan and Michigan State I was really excited because those are both great programs, but I was still trying to see as many places as I could. When it really came down to it, I didn't really think about it that way (i.e. as a Michigan State legacy). It was more, ‘lets see what I can get right now and go off of feeling.' (Being a Michigan State legacy) really wasn't that much of a thought in my mind throughout the whole process."
"My family has always been really supportive in everything we do," he continued. "My family has also been really competitive in everything we do. I think (going to Michigan) is just going to add to the competitive nature of our family. One good thing about my family is everyone is really supportive of each other. No matter what you do if you feel it's the best decision for you, they're definitely going to support you in that. My brothers are definitely going to try to get the best of me."
In the final analysis, White's open-mindedness was all the opening Michigan needed to gain a foothold in his recruitment. The coaching staff dove in feet first at the beginning and their persistence made a strong impression on the country's 17th best running back.
"Coach Smith was my recruiter so that's who I initially met and built a nice relationship with, but early on I also met up with Coach Jackson when I was up there. I've been having a relationship with him for probably just as long. Then there's Coach Rod. Coach Rod tries to let you make the decision on your own. They don't push you as much as possible. He would give me his number and tell me, ‘if you want just give me a call and we can talk,' but he wasn't pushing me for a commitment. When I got to campus I definitely got a lot of chances to talk to him and see what kind of person he is… and it was definitely nice to get that opportunity."
"To me they were just being themselves and being how they are everyday and that's something that's really important because it gives you a little insight on what you're going to be dealing with the next couple of years," White continued. "I'd rather have someone be who they are all of the time. That way you know what you're getting. That's something that I definitely saw… the consistency with every single one of the coaches there and I really like that about them."
That comfort with the coaching staff was certainly a major factor in White's final decision, but so too was the offense he'll be going into.
" I think the more weapons you have in your arsenal it just makes you stronger as a player. I definitely wanted to implement that in my game because I just feel like it would make me a stronger player overall. When I saw that Michigan's offense kind of entails that, it helped a lot when weighing the good and bad of all of the different schools."
With his decision now officially behind him, White's attention has shifted totally to ending his high school career on a high note.
I feel like the focus is more now on just playing my finals season with my team right now and hopefully getting that state championship. There isn't too much more on your mind now that the decision is made. Now the next step is getting better for the next level. I'd say it takes some stress off of your back."