Ray Hamilton had been picking up offers left and right throughout the early 2011 recruiting process, and Wednesday the Strongsville, OH standout was busy picking up yet another. This time it was from one of the most exciting suitors to date.
"I got a text from my coach (Wednesday) to come down to his office because he had a couple things for me and so I went down there and picked it up and it was faxed over from Coach Rod," Hamilton described to GoBlueWolverine. "Michigan… just to see that offer was pretty cool. I knew it was coming when I called him Saturday morning and he let me know he'd be sending it. It's a really exciting offer, coming from a program like Michigan. I'm definitely pumped about that."
Though Michigan clearly hasn't played up to its traditional standard in recent years, Hamilton still holds the Maize & Blue in high esteem.
"Michigan is just one of those football programs," Hamilton explained. "Yeah, they've been down for a bit, but every team has. And when you think of good programs Michigan definitely comes to mind. There's nothing like the Michigan-Ohio State game. You always hear about it. I remember watching tight ends at Michigan growing up, and I know Coach Rod doesn't use tight ends traditionally like Coach Carr did, but Coach Rodriguez told me on the phone that the way the used Koger this year, flexed out and all around, coach thinks I'm versatile enough to do that too. It's definitely something to think about."
While Hamilton is seemingly more of a traditional type tight end, he definitely has some visions of himself in a spread type offense… or at the very least being able to compete in one.
"I could definitely see myself doing those types of things," he said. "In order to do those things you need a versatile, athletic, almost basketball type. I don't mean that as a negative at all. You can see both of those tight ends there now are just really athletic and it's definitely something that jumps out at me because in order to play at a high level you have to be athletic. The way he uses that really shows it off. When I was down there against Western Michigan I was keeping an eye on the way they used both of their tight ends and Koger got a touchdown and it was exciting to see the ball to get thrown to him. Even if he flexes him out or drops him into the "H", that's something I definitely know how to do. I do it at my high school right now. I could play at a traditional place or a school like Michigan who uses their tight ends in a unique way."
Some may know already, but Hamilton's father, Tom, played his college football at West Virginia. While there he and Michigan's current head man were teammates. For the elder Hamilton the Wolverine offer for his son definitely welcome news.
"He was definitely excited," said Hamilton of his dad. "He and Coach Rodriguez, like I've said to you before, are good friends. They go back. Coach Rodriguez isn't the type that would put on an act. He and my dad have a genuine friendship, even when he was coaching West Virginia. We talked about that on the phone. He's known me since I was like four years old when I first met him and his wife. We used to visit him at West Virginia and we got to reunite with him this year, and he said to me on the phone ‘Look I want you to know this isn't a scholarship offer because of my relationship with your dad. It's because of things you do on the football field.' He likes the way I play the game. It's definitely cool to have a jump start on the relationship you need to have with a coach. It adds a little bit extra to the offer."
With that relationship already started, Michigan may indeed have a little bit of a built in advantage, but Hamilton remains level-headed.
"It adds extra because you're communicating and it's not the awkward like when you're talking for the first time," Hamilton stated. "We just jumped right into it. It adds to the familiarity with them and as far as Michigan. I'm definitely coming to visit and it gives my dad motivation to come to see his friend. But it's definitely an open playing field."
Wolverine fans may spot Hamilton on campus as soon as February 20th, when the Wolverine basketball team hosts Penn State for the football program's second junior day of the year.
"I definitely want to get there for the junior day and get to Ann Arbor as soon as possible so I'm planning on it."
Michigan already sits in a nice position with Hamilton, but will have to recruit him just as well as any other school if they are to earn his commitment.
"They definitely have a lot of my interest," Hamilton said. "They're definitely a program that I'll be looking into, doing my research on, and coming to the school and visiting with the coaching staff. It's a solid offer and a solid school, and I have a lot of interest in it right now. That's all I can say. But like I said, it's an open playing field."