"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
I just spoke with Demetrius Hart about his visit up to Ann Arbor, his quarterback Nick Patti, and what he thinks his next move will be from here. As always, Demetrius had a great time up in Ann Arbor. With Ricardo and his family up there full time it makes it that much easier for Hart to relax and feel at home.
The question that has been looming for Michigan fans is when Demetrius is going to make his final decision, and how the rest of his recruitment will play out. He still plans on graduating early, and enrolling at the school he chooses in January. Here's what he said about the trip, and what's next.
TOM: How was the visit?
DEMETRIUS: It went real well. I've been up there plenty of times now, and every time I go up there I just like it that much more. The changes they're making, and the things they're going are really good. I really liked it. I was more so happy because Nick (Patti) got to see everything up there. You hear all the negativity that goes on, and some of it might be true, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is just the media throwing salt on it, so it was good to see that.
TOM: Nick (Patti) mentioned that he's coming up on September 4th for the U Conn game. When are you planning on coming up?
DEMETRIUS: I'm coming for the U Conn game, too. That's when I'm taking my official visit, and I'm bringing my Uncle up with me. We'll see how it goes.
Apparently on the trip Demetrius was told that Denard's passing has improved, and that the offense was more cohesive. He said that he was pleased to hear that, and excited about their potential.
This is a big week for visits but other than that it's pretty slow since coaches are on vacation. Here's a look at who's visiting with some updates elsewhere.
Visiting July 13th:
- Jake Fisher - Instate lineman is coming down from Traverse City to visit both MSU, and Michigan. I spoke with him about the visits and his timeline: he's visiting MSU first, then Michigan. Take from that what you will, other than that MSU happens to come first geographically on his trip. He is on commit watch.
Fisher: "I'd like to make my decision shortly after these visits. I might have a leader right now (laughing), but I don't want to say who."
- Cyrus Hobbi - As mentioned in last week's update, Hobbi is coming up to Michigan on his way to a family trip in New York. That is a huge break for Michigan. Without it, it's safe to say that Cyrus wouldn't have been able to get up to Michigan for an unofficial visit before the season. If Cyrus likes what he sees, it should give Michigan a serious shot at landing the big lineman. West coast schools are the main competition.
- Jordan Walsh - As it was noted in my interview with Jordan this past week, he is also making a trip to Ann Arbor on Tuesday. If you didn't read the article, here's how his mom feels about Michigan.
"She loved the junior day visit, too. When Coach Rodriguez offered me, she started crying."
All of these visits could be big for Michigan. I would be very happy with pulling two out of the three from this list.
5'8, 190 lbs.
Everyone's favorite recruit to discuss and one of the most important in this class. Hart was recently at the Nike 7 on 7 tournament in Oregon. ESPN gives you a synopsis of how he did and how he keeps the media guessing.
I spoke to Hart's teammate, Roderick Ryles, the other day. Ryles told me that he and LaQuentin Smith are going up to Arkansas, while Demetrius Hart and (2012 QB) Nick Patti are coming up to Michigan this week. I also spoke with Hart, and he wasn't 100% sure the visit is going to happen:
I'm not sure we're coming up yet. I still have to figure it out. I think we are, but it's not final.
Hart came up earlier this year and planned a second trip for the Spring Game but could not make it. Even if he can't scrape together the cash and time to get up to Michigan for a second unofficial, his interest in making one is genuine and he will visit officially in the fall.
5'8, 156 lbs.
Sicklerville, New Jersey
Byrd is a (very) speedy slot guy who already has offers from Florida, West Virginia, Iowa, Pitt, South Carolina, and Nebraska, amongst others. Michigan doesn't have much of a need for tiny slots in this class, but I had an interesting conversation with Byrd the other day. He recently narrowed down his list to 7 top schools. I asked him if Michigan were to offer, would they be able to get back in it.
Yeah, I would consider them again. I really liked it when I went up there, so they would still have a chance.
This doesn't really matter right now because he doesn't have an offer from the Wolverines. If they miss out on a few wide receiver targets down the road they might look to Byrd.
- [Ed.: LA CB Darren Kitchen has gotten an offer from recruiter Fred Jackson. This is not an official written offer and can't be committed to until Rodriguez gets back from vacation and issues it. If and when that does occur, Kitchen has said straight out he will commit.]
Demetrius Hart, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and LaQuentin Smith talk about the recruiting process and their future plans.
Demetrius gives some insight on his top three and the the reason he is considereing them.
Michigan: "They are in a moment of rebuilding so they are going after the guys they really want," Hart said. "Most of the top programs are recruiting to fill a hole here or there but Michigan needs versatile athletes that can step in and do a lot of things."
Behind a paywall:
Synopsis, Hart has a top three of Michigan, Auburn, and Alabama in no particular order. He's going to announce in January, later than originally stated. Has this been heard on the other sites as well?
I wonder if this effects our level of pursuit of Justice Hayes...
I just spoke to Demetrius Hart's mom, and Demetrius is definitely not coming this weekend for the BBQ. Instead, he's on his way to a 7 on 7 tournament with his teammates......in Alabama. She didn't know if the 7 on 7 was at the University, or just in Alabama, and I haven't found it yet, either. It sounds like it is at the university.
His mother told me that he's very stressed out by the whole process right now, and they couldn't make it up to Michigan for financial reasons. They will try to reschedule it in the summer, or possibly for his official visit. They couldn't make this trip due to financial reasons, which is completely understandable.
She also said that nothing has changed with their opinion on Michigan, but they would like Demetrius to visit Auburn and Alabama. They want him to take his time, and make sure that everything is right. She reiterated that nothing has changed with their opinion on Michigan, but they wouldn't like to see him in a "woulda, shoulda, coulda" situation.
They're not sure when he'll make his decision anymore, so we'll have to wait and see. I'm not really sure either way if it's a good or bad thing for Michigan the longer it takes.
FL RB Demetrius Hart is making his second trip to Ann Arbor this weekend for the annual (and just completed) spring game. The difference this time, is that his mother* is a long side him to take in Ann Arbor. With the recent NCAA allegations, Mrs. Hart had some questions for the coaching staff and concerns for her son. I spoke with her about the visit. Here's what she had to say.
TOM: How’s the trip going so far?
MRS HART: The amount of support from everyone, the coaches, academics, and fans is amazing. The environment, everything that Michigan has to offer has been really great. Michigan seems to be the total package in my mind. This is my first time at Michigan, so I was overwhelmed. I’m looking for the total package for my son, and that seems to be here.
TOM: Has it been nice to see Ricardo’s family? How close are you with them?
MRS HART: Yes, we’re very close. His mom and I are very close. Demetrius calls Ricardo’s mom, mom, and her children call me Aunt. I know if he comes to Michigan, I’d know he’d have a family away from home. It’s a good feeling to have that here.
TOM: How does this visit compare to other schools you’ve been to?
MRS HART: I haven’t been to any other schools yet, but we’re planning on some official visits. Demetrius has gone on a lot of visits. He is a very humble child, and he wants to feel loved and wanted, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re a close family, and we won’t steer him in the wrong direction, and he knows that. We also respect and trust the decisions he makes, too, so we just want what’s best for him. Whatever school he’s interested in we want to check in to. I honestly feel very good about Michigan after this visit, I really do.
TOM: Did you have your meeting with Rich Rodriguez, or the coaches yet?
MRS HART: I sat down with Fred Jackson, and I’m going to be talking to Rich Rodriguez tomorrow. We’re going to talk about some things as a whole. I respect him as a person, and he [Rodriguez] seems very genuine. He has made very good decisions with recruiting, which impressed me. All the kids that were visiting were very polite. How they conducted themselves was very impressive. It reminded me a lot of Demetrius. They expect a lot of out the athletes, and we need that for our child. The distance is a problem, but if I know he’s ok, then I’m comfortable with that. That speaks very highly of Michigan, if I feel that very comfortable.
TOM: What will you be discussing with Rich Rodriguez?
MRS HART: I basically want to know about the future of the coaching staff, where everything is headed, how my child would play a part in their goals, and also about the NCAA issues. With everything that’s been going on, I want some reassurance, because who am I to judge them based on what I’ve read. Apparently they’re doing something right, so I want see what really happened.
I take everything with a grain of salt. I’m not moved by reports, and you need to find your own results. So, I want to hear everything from them, and figure out what’s really going on. We had some issues with Demetrius, and the school zones in Florida, so I understand that everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes you need mistakes to learn from, and grow from.
TOM: Does this visit change anything with Demetrius, as far as his top schools?
MRS HART: I’ll say this, I would say that they received a whole lot of brownie points with this visit. And, we’ll be back soon. You have to go somewhere you feel loved and supported, and I know he would get that here.
TOM: Will he be deciding anytime soon?
MRS HART: It’s going to be soon. Within a month.
*[Ed. note: There's been some confusion as to whether Hart's mom or aunt was accompanying him on his visit. The answer is "both": Hart was adopted by his aunt.]