Daniel Helm had heard a lot about Michigan prior to making his way to the Great Lake State. When he finally made his way to Ann Arbor Sunday he was pleased to see the Maize & Blue more than lived up to his lofty expectations.
“(The visit) was great,” Helm told GoBlueWolverine. “I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot, both academically and athletically about how they plan to use me, as a tight end, and it was great to be able to learn more about the coaches, and build a better relationship with them. I think it was about what I expected and I expected a lot, actually. I know Michigan’s a top tier school and one of the best universities in the country. The Big House was awesome… a great venue that would be sweet to play in. Their new indoor field is sweet, academics are superb, and their academic support is very good as well, so it was great.”
While the entire trip left an extremely strong impression, Helm’s interaction with the coaching staff, led by his primary recruiter Jeff Hecklinski, may have stuck out the most.
“I liked (Hecklinski) a lot,” Helm said. “Honestly, I like all the coaches a lot. I know they all seem like very straight up, very real, genuine people… just like Coach Hoke. I know that his reputation is really good amongst everybody nationally, and the rest of his coaching staff seems to follow that exactly. Coach Ferrigno would be my position coach, and he seemed to follow that. Coach Borges as well. He said ‘hey, I might not answer the questions the best, but I’m going to tell you straight up’, and I appreciate all the honesty. That’s probably what’s most important to me, coaches that don’t feed me lies, and will tell me what’s up, but will be there if I need them.”
An example of that forthrightness came when the topic of playing time came up.
“They said, ‘we can’t tell you when you’re going to play. We can’t say you’re going to come in and start… we haven’t coached you, we haven’t seen you compared to the other guys’,” Helm recalled. “They said, ‘when you do play, if you choose us’ or ‘if you play for us’ this is how we would use you.”
All told, Michigan acquitted itself about as well as it could have. The experience solidified the Wolverines’ strong standing on his list, but with eight other offers and numerous others showing strong interest, Helm insists his leaderboard is extremely fluid.
“I’m a little inexperienced in the visiting process, so the answers (about favorites) I give now might differ from the future depending on who I visit,” he stated. “So I can’t give any definitive answers right now, but entering into today Michigan was probably my favorite, and I’m going to use that at the moment.”
“Tennessee I’m pretty interested in. Nebraska, I’d like to see what they have to offer. Iowa, I haven’t been able to see what they have to offer, but Indiana, they’ve told me they’re going to throw the ball a lot, so getting down to it honestly, I don’t think it’s easy for me to pick favorites right now. I think I’ll have a better idea in the summer.”
Upon seeing all of his suitors up close and personally Helm plans to assess how well each of them meet his set list of criteria, and he plans to take his time doing so.
“Factors that are important to me, in no particular order, are what I’m looking for in a school is closeness to home, strength & conditioning program, the coaching staff in general, and kind of the people there,” Helm stated. “Also academics and then how much tight end is used… how much will I see the ball? For when I plan to make a decision, I’d like to take advantage of official visits, so I’m not expecting to commit any time before my senior year. “