I thought that myself when I read that article that talked about a Data Scientist(tm)
Canton (MI) guard Cameron Dillard is drawing national attention—along with interest from home-state schools Michigan and MSU—and has already garnered offers from Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. The 6'3", 280-pound junior is a member of the ESPNU 150 and recently showed his skills with the nation's best underclassmen at the Army All-American Combine. I spoke to Cameron yesterday after he worked out with the one and only Mike Barwis, and we discussed his recruitment, his junior year, and working out with a man who owns pet wolves. Here's the full transcript:
ACE: How is your recruitment going, and which schools are going after you the hardest right now?
CAMERON: My recruitment is going real well, everything's turning out to be real optimistic with a bunch of schools. I think I should have a big spring coming up. Some schools that have come on real strong and are very close to offering, I believe, are Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson, and West Virginia, as well as some other schools.
ACE: Out of the schools that have been recruiting you so far, are there any early favorites right now, or is it too soon to make that distinction?
CAMERON: No, not really. I'm kinda keeping everything level. No favorites right now, at this point.
ACE: Looking back at your junior year, how did that go for you, and how do you think you performed and improved throughout the season?
CAMERON: I thought I did real well. Considering that I worked with Mike [Barwis], I thought he made me more athletic, more explosive, able to move better on the field, and get up the field better. I also worked with Lomas Brown on pass protections, which was a blessing. I've come a long way, I believe, from last year to this year in my pass blocking. I just continue to improve on that. Actually a couple coaches asked me how many IHOPs I'd opened in Canton this season, a little joke. But yeah, I think I had a real good season. I've got to continue to work with Mike and his staff and continue to get better.
ACE: In working with Mike Barwis, how long have you been doing that, and how does it help you in terms of—I don't know how many other athletes have that kind of resource, so how does it help you to work out with a guy who was the Michigan strength coach just a couple years ago?
CAMERON: You know, it's great. I definitely can't thank my parents enough for giving me the support to let me go there and train. I think it's continued to help me—I'm becoming faster, quicker, stronger. I just think it's improved my strength and my conditioning as well. Actually, a bunch of Michigan guys are there now: Molk, Van Bergen, Watson, Koger, Mike Martin, a bunch of those guys are training with him now, getting themselves prepared for the NFL Combine. It's definitely helped me push myself and take my training to another level.
ACE: I know you're working hard over there, but do you interact at all with the Michigan guys? Do they talk to you at all, or is it mostly business?
CAMERON: I talk to them a lot, actually. I talk to Molk and Watson the most. I haven't really got to meet Koger and Mike Martin that much, but Watson and Molk are always giving me a hard time.
ACE: You also mentioned working with Lomas Brown. He's obviously a pretty legendary NFL offensive lineman. How has he helped your game?
CAMERON: He's helped me improve my pass blocking and becoming that all-around player that schools are looking for, because I'm in a run-dominant offense [at Canton].
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player, and what are you continuing to work on for your senior year and the next level?
CAMERON: I'd say that my aggression on the field, my physicality, you just can't teach toughness. Also, run blocking is a big thing of mine that I believe I'm doing real well at. I'd say my weakness—which isn't really a weakness, it's becoming more my strength now—is my pass protection. I've got to keep working on that and getting better at it.
ACE: You went to the Army Combine recently. How did that go for you?
CAMERON: Good. I performed pretty well. I had a 28.5-inch vertical and a 5.25 40-yard dash. They didn't tell us our shuttle so I'll have to check online for that, and then the pass protection, like I said, working with Lomas helped me improve, so I definitely improved while I was down there. I've taken big strides from last year to this year on my pass protection.
ACE: Do you have any plans in terms of any more camps, junior days, or summer visits, do you know what schools you'd like to see before next year?
CAMERON: Not really. I'm going to junior days right now, I'll actually be at Indiana this weekend, and then I was already at Michigan State in December. Michigan hopefully I'll be able to get up there in the spring for spring ball.
ACE: You visited Michigan for the Notre Dame game. What was your impression of Michigan from your visit?
CAMERON: I thought it was great, the atmosphere there—you know, that's part of my 'three A's' for a school, the athletics, atmosphere, and academics. I think Coach Hoke and the rest of the staff have done a fantastic job this season. I've got to talk to Coach Hoke a few times while I was in San Antonio and when I was at the All-State Dream Team banquet, and he's a real down-to-earth, humble guy. I like him, and I love being able to talk to Coach Jackson, Coach Mattison, and they've been real positive to me.
ACE: You mentioned those three A's. Specifically, what are you looking for in a school, what are the factors that are going to make you commit to a school?
CAMERON: Fan base, I would say, is one. Having the support of my family. Distance isn't a big factor for me. Academics, because I'd like to study criminal justice or sports management or history, something like that, so if they're real strong in that. Then athletics, if I have a real chance at playing early, if I feel like I'm at home, and if I can see myself best in that offense.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline, when you'd like to wrap up your recruitment?
CAMERON: Not at this moment, not right now. I guess whenever I get that gut feeling and I know whatever school is for me, I'll know.
With Stonum dismissed from the team, is there a chance we lure another 1-2 WRs in the class?
We have a slim chance with Payton at this point - but any dark horse receivers still in the picture for Michigan? Anyone think Diggs might come to Michigan with the lure of early PT?
Hey guys, I was fortunate enough to talk with Kyle Kalis earlier this evening. The results....were interesting. Here's the interview: Kyle Kalis
Courtney Love (no, not that Courtney Love) is a 6'2", 222-pound linebacker from Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney who currently holds offers from Indiana, Michigan State, and Nebraska to go along with interest from several big-name schools including Michigan, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. As a junior, he helped lead Cardinal Mooney to a state title while putting up some pretty impressive numbers. I caught up with Courtney this evening to discuss his recruitment, his junior year, and his interest in Michigan.
ACE: How is your recruitment going so far, and which schools are showing the most interest in you?
COURTNEY: Right now everything is going great. I've got Nebraska, they're showing a lot of interest, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan State, and Michigan—those are the top ones so far.
ACE: Do you have any early favorites out of the teams that have been recruiting you?
COURTNEY: Not really. I'm just keeping an open mind with all of them.
ACE: Who's your recruiting contact from Michigan?
COURTNEY: Coach Montgomery.
ACE: Looking at your junior year, obviously you guys won the state championship. What was that like for you, and how do you feel you performed in your junior year?
COURTNEY: Bringing home the state title was great, because ever since we were little we all wanted to do that ourselves. The team that I played with this year, the juniors and seniors and sophomores, we were all basically on the same team as seventh- and eighth-graders, and we've been playing together since seventh grade through now. It's been great with them, the chemistry is great. This year I think I did okay. This was my first year really starting, because I didn't get a chance to start when I was a sophomore until around the playoffs.
ACE: Do you know your stats off the top of your head?
COURTNEY: I'm not too sure but I know I had 160-plus tackles, seven forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player, and where are you looking to improve?
COURTNEY: My biggest strengths would be reading the play and reacting to it, getting downhill. The biggest thing I've got to work on is my pass coverage [and also] blitzing, getting the linemen off me.
ACE: Looking ahead to the offseason and the summer, do you have any plans in terms of going to camps or junior days and taking visits to certain schools? Do you have any visits in mind, or are you waiting to set those up?
COURTNEY: I have a few visits in mind, but I'm still really just waiting to set everything up. I'm dealing with taking the ACT right now, this is my first time taking that, so I'm going to get focused on that, and then after that's over with I'll get ready to see what I'm going to do in terms of taking visits and everything.
ACE: In terms of your recruitment in general, do you have an idea in terms of a timeline?
COURTNEY: It's kinda early, but most likely I want to get it done and chosen by the beginning of my [senior] season.
ACE: When you're looking at these schools right now, and I know it's pretty early, but when you're looking to commit to a program and a school, what are you looking for there?
COURTNEY: I'm looking for a great program as far as educationally as well as what's going to be best for my family to be able to come down and visit and come watch me wherever I go. Wherever best fits me, what can help me out as far as earning a scholarship, getting that education, and playing time, that's basically about it.
ACE: I know people would be curious to hear what your thoughts are about Michigan right now. What are your feelings about Michigan?
COURTNEY: I definitely like Michigan. It's a great program. I'm good friends with Fitzgerald Toussaint, I've been talking to my dad about how Michigan is, and one of my teachers on the staff at my school also talks to me a little bit about it and tells me he can give me some information whenever I need it. I'm really keeping an open mind to every program so far, because right now there's really the elite programs [recruiting me], and Michigan is right with them. They looked great this year, and the coaches they had this year did really amazing. They're starting to make a great program out of Michigan and [bringing it back to] what it has been before.
Here is an interview with 2013 California LB Michael Hutchings of De La Salle, he is one of the top recruits in the nation for 2013