The Michigan Wolverines had done a good job of maintaining a strong presence in the recruitment of Pittsburgh (PA) Penn Hills ATH Brandon Ifill, but one glaring disadvantage seemed to put them consistently behind his other top suitors. Prior visits to Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, and West Virginia had allowed to four star prospect to build a greater rapport and more familiarity with those programs. Despite the Maize & Blue's best efforts via phone and email, that same sort of rapport and familiarity didn't exist… until now.
"I got in (to Ann Arbor) Thursday night," he said. "The visit was all day Friday and I was very impressed with everything. Buck (aka Cullen Christian) told me a lot about it, but to see it myself was a whole nother thing. As soon as we got up out of there him and his dad were calling me to see what was going on. The first thing that he said to me of course was, ‘I told you!' It was great, man. "
"First we met with the academic people," continued Ifill. "Those are probably the people I'd have spend the most time with if I go there. Then we met with Coach Gibby and Coach Robinson. Then we met with Coach Rod for a little bit, which was cool. I met with the trainer (Mike Barwis) and that dude right there…whoop… he knows what he is doing. What he could do for me and what he does for all of the players is phenomenal. His whole philosophy with how he does it… I've never seen anything like that. After that they took us on a tour of the campus, downtown Ann Arbor, and all of that. Then I got to go in the Big House and that was the last thing we did. The Big House… whooo… it definitely has the right name. That's for sure! Geez man… I walked down that tunnel and I was ready to strap up my helmet shoulder pads and everything. I was ready to roll right then."
During his conversations with Robinson and Gibson, Ifill gained more specific, yet still somewhat vague idea of what his role would be if he were to don the winged helmet.
"Next year wherever I fit the best…that's where I'd play at," he said. "At Michigan you can play early, so whatever I'm best at is where I can play early. That what I'll play."
That could be either safety position on even corner. For Ifill that detail isn't nearly as important to the decision-making process as the comfort establishes with a program and its coaches. His Michigan visit went a long way toward solidifying that comfort level thanks in large part to his interaction with headman, Rich Rodriguez.
"It was great talking to Coach Rod," the four-star prospect stated. "He is a real relaxed, laid back type of person. None of the coaches I've talked to have been that laid back. He pretty much wanted to know what did I like, what were some of things I liked to do, about school, and what was I looking for. That was cool. None of the other coaches really asked me those coaches."
That laid back approach also extended to talk of a possible commitment.
"They didn't push me to do anything, but they said I'm more than welcome to become a part of the Michigan family," recalled Ifill. "They just want me to keep in touch with them. They've got a lot of commitments so far so they are going to keep in touch with me about that."
As positive as the visit was, the Keystone State standout stopped well short of offering his pledge during the trip. However, it did him a great deal to think about… especially when it comes to which school sits atop his leaderboard.
"This visit shook up the whole thought process," said Ifill of his time in Ann Arbor. "If anything a decision will come during the season, but not before. I'm going to take official visits, but I don't think I will take all five. As of right now I'm not going to cut it down (from five) because there's still all of the hype from coming back from Michigan. I'm a traditional guy. My high school has a whole lot of tradition to it. That's just what I'm used to. To see the tradition all around like that is overwhelming. It's a whole lot. I still want to think about all of the pros and cons of the things I seen up (Michigan). Maybe in the next week or so I might cut my list down."
GoBlueWolverine will have more from Ifill when that happens.