Michigan has been anything but a stranger in the Bayou over the years thanks to the recruiting efforts of running backs coach Fred Jackson. The longtime Wolverine assistant and Louisana native lured both Drew Dileo and Carvin Johnson from the talent rich state last year, and now he is back with his sights set on New Orleans (LA) St. Augustine offensive lineman Trai Turner. The Wolverines made their intentions for Turner known, Purple Knights coach David Johnson told Scout.com shortly after signing day. Not long after that the young man himself received official word.
"(Jackson) came and watched Carvin's film from when they played us," Turner said of Jackson. "He saw me and that December he gave me a verbal offer. He was like ‘you're going to have a Michigan offer.' That February I had my offer."
"I did not really know too much about (Michigan) before then," he continued. "Of course everyone knows something about Michigan. I know about The Big House and the prestige of the school and all that stuff."
The 6-4, 330-pounder also knew a little about Rich Rodriguez, but he has gotten a much better appreciation for who the Wolverines' headman is in recent weeks.
"Me and Coach Rodriguez have talked a few times," recalled Turner. "He seemed like a real cool coach. He seemed more like a southern coach to me. It seemed like he was more of a homegrown coach. He used to coach down here and he kind of related certain things back to the city. It seemed like we had a connection somewhat."
A stronger connection already exists with future Michigan safety, Carvin Johnson. Despite being adversaries on the football field, their relationship is much different off of it.
"Me and Carvin are good friends," Turner said. "We talk, I wouldn't say on a daily basis, but maybe on a weekly basis. He said was going to try his hardest to get me up there. He was just telling me it was a real nice place and everybody up there pretty cool. Just little things like that."
All the attention from the Wolverines has put them on very firm footing in Turner's recruitment, but he isn't quite ready to announce a pecking order in the race for his services.
"I know for sure two schools that I'm trying to (visit) that are kind of far away is Michigan and maybe Illinois," he reported. "I've been to Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State… just local schools. At this point I'm undecided (about a favorite). Each week I have a new offer coming in. It's kind of hard to name some favorites. I really do not have any."
What Turner does have is a timeline by which he hopes to have his choice made.
"I'm going to decide late June/early July, but I'm still going to take my visits to several schools just to get a feel about everything and make sure that the place I pick is where I want to be," he explained. "First, I have to see the depth chart. Also the academic side… especially going into choosing my major. I have an idea of what I want to major in, but I'm not solid. I was thinking on something along the lines of business administration and maybe agricultural studies or something like that. Then just my relationship with the coach, really. I just want to have a good relationship with the coach. I do not want to go somewhere, have problems, and wind up transferring to another school."
According to Turner, the search for the perfect situation will extend as far as it needs to. He won't be tethered by proximity to home.
"(Distance) is not a factor for me," he stated. "When I talk to my mom about it, she wants what's best for me and if I have to leave and go far away then she understands. It is not a factor."