Hilliard-Davidson (OH) standout Rico Butler was a jack-of-all trades for his state championship high school squad last year. The 5-8 171 pound blazer is a dangerous offensive weapon that lines up at multiple positions.
"I play running back I play in the slot sometimes, and I can catch the ball out of the backfield or the slot position," Butler told GoBlueWolverine. "I really get looked at because of my speed."
The Michigan Wolverines are one of the teams showing early interest in Butler, and he reciprocated with a trip to Ann Arbor for their first 2011 junior day. The Buckeye State star came away impressed with several things the Maize & Blue have to offer.
"They just built a new indoor facility where they practice at, and they have two of them now," he said. "I really liked the weight room and the weight room coach is very enthusiastic. I like the way he works. I like where they had all the trophies and seeing Charles Woodson's Heisman Trophy and the championship ring from '97. The basketball stadium was nice and the atmosphere there… I like that too."
The atmosphere in Crisler Arena was certainly helped by the Wolverines upset of then 15th ranked Connecticut. It led to hundreds of students, fans, and recruits rushing the court in celebration. However, Butler and the other 2011 prospects missed out on that fun.
"Well, all the senior class (recruits)… the quarterback going to Michigan (i.e. Devin Gardner)… they all rushed the court. We didn't know we could so we just kind of stood there."
The facilities weren't the only things that wowed Butler on his visit. The rest of the university had something to offer as well.
"I really liked the student section and how they showed their support," the speedy youngster stated. "The campus was really nice and the city was really nice, going down there and going around and stuff."
Butler also got to spend some time with Michigan's headman, running backs coach Fred Jackson, and his area recruiter Bruce Tall.
"Rich Rodriguez talked to all of us," Butler recalled. "We watched a video on Michigan's season. Then we broke off and I got to talk to the running backs coach. He seemed like a real cool dude. He said he's like a teacher… he doesn't really scream. He said you don't always have to be fast, and he talked about Mike Hart and the reason why he's in the NFL is not speed, but because he loves the game of football. I spent time with Bruce Tall. He's the defensive line coach but he's the recruiter in my area. I got to talk to him and give him my highlight tape. He also said he's going to watch my state championship game. They really didn't talk to me about an offer, but I got a questionnaire for Michigan."
Coming up in the state of Ohio, it's hard for most kids to root against their home state Buckeyes. That's especially true in Columbus, but Butler found himself doing just that.
"Growing up in Columbus, at least me, I never rooted for Ohio State," admitted Butler. "I always wanted Michigan to win for some reason. I really wanted to go down there and I started to get letters from Michigan. You could say I'm a Michigan fan."
Based the junior day visit and his longtime affinity for Michigan, the Wolverines sit in an enviable position on Butler's list.
"After seeing everything, they're number one right now," Butler reported. "They've been sending me a lot of stuff. When they play Penn State for another junior day, I'm probably coming up for that."