Ray Hamilton Impressed With Michigan (Pt 1)

In this part of a two part series, the Strongsville (OH) tight end breaks down his experience at Michigan's weekend junior day, who he spent some time with, and his parents' (both West Virginia alums) reactions to Michigan.

Top Ohio tight end Ray Hamilton had quite an eventful day Saturday, that started early on when he arrived in Ann Arbor to take in the Wolverines second junior day of the season.

  "First we got to go to the football facility and I got a chance to talk to a few of the coaches, and we got a chance to talk to Coach Rodriguez right there, both me and my parents," Hamilton recalled for GoBlueWolverine.  "He gave me a brief summary about what we'd be going through throughout the day.  Then they took us over to the academic facilities, and Shari (Acho) gave us the brief rundown on how everything worked around there and how she was involved with the school, which I know was really good for me to see how all that works."

  "After that we got a tour of the facilities and got a chance to check out the unbelievable indoor facilities.  We walked through the weight room where we got a chance to meet the strength coach, he did an unbelievable job presenting the weight area. And their equipment there is unreal, the amount of stuff they have and the amount of money they have put into that should really pan out with results on the field."

  "After all of that we had lunch-slash-dinner and I got to eat with Coach Magee, and we really bonded and got a chance to work on our relationship as he's the tight ends coach, and that's really important because it's who you spend most of your time with.  After dinner I got to meet with Kevin Koger, and he kind of gave me the low down on Michigan.  I really like him a lot and we clicked and he great things to say about Michigan and was thrilled with his choice.  He talked to me about being recruited heavily, but choosing a place like Michigan, where they do use their tight end in a unique way, but he had words of wisdom that I definitely took in.  I'll be keeping in touch with him."

  "After that, I got a chance to go into Coach Rodriguez's office with my parents and we got a chance to talk. And after that we all caught the bus to the basketball game.  Overall it was a very good day, a very productive and positive day," Hamilton concluded.

  Part of the productivity of the day was the renewal of a long standing friendship between Hamilton's father, Tom, and Michigan's head coach, Rich Rodriguez, who played together at West Virginia.

  "It's pretty cool.  It's pretty special to see one of your dad's good friends -- they still have a genuine relationship.  A lot of the time they weren't even talking about recruiting.  It'd be those two just going back and forth sharing stories about their days at West Virginia.  You could just tell that they're really good friends and they'll always stay that way.  It's good for him, I know he enjoyed it as well as I did, and for my mom. So it's a pretty special thing to be in the situation I'm in, to have my dad's good friend who's head coach at an institute and football powerhouse like Michigan recruit me and offer me a scholarship."

  Hamilton's mother, also a West Virginia alum, accompanied her husband and son to Ann Arbor, and, for her part, stuck true to most recruiting mom-stories.  She honed directly in on one of the Wolverine's strong points:  academics.

  "My mom, she really concentrates on academics … for my dad and I it's natural to look at the football first, but she keeps both of us grounded.  She keeps both of our heads straight -- well I guess mine, I don't want to say that for my dad (laughing).  The real thing that you're there for is to get the education.  So the academic part with Shari, who I guess runs the football academic operations, that part was really key for her in terms of where they study, how they study, where the hours are divided and how organized you have to be.  She made that very clear, which really hit home for me and my studies at this point.  On the way home, we were talking about it, and that hit my mom.  The academics there are the real deal.  Michigan's degree speaks for itself.  I know she was definitely impressed with the overall Michigan in and of itself, but at the same time it was the academics that made an impression on her."

  While both of his parents are Mountaineers, they remain open to the possibility that Ray may blaze his own path, and the Wolverines are a possible destination.

  "They're going to support me in whatever I choose, but they definitely both like Michigan.  At the same time, any school I do choose will be a family decision.  They definitely support me in my decisions and help me make them."

  Part of that may stem from the close relationship both elder Hamilton's have with the Michigan head man.

  "I'm sure it is (comforting having Rich Rodriguez there), but that's a question for them to answer, as I can't speak for them.  But at the same time, I'm sure it's good to have one of their good friends there.  I'm sure they'll be keeping a close eye on whether I like it or not, wherever I do choose (laughing)."

  Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for Part 2, in which Ray delves further into his day, his feelings on Michigan, and which coach he bonded with on Saturday.

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