Chase Winovich says he's going back and forth in his thinking about whether to enter the NFL draft early or return to Michigan. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
Livonia – Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich said he plans to have a decision within the next two weeks on whether he will return to Michigan for his final season or depart for the NFL.
Winovich, who had 74 tackles, including a team-high 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks this season, said he’s enjoying the process and talking to a lot of people about his future as he prepares for the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.
“I haven’t decided anything yet,” Winovich said Tuesday night before Michigan’s annual football bust at the Laurel Manor. “Having a lot of fun like I do with football and everything else. Messing with people – that’s not the right word. Just enjoying the process and this game.
“I never got into it for it to be serious. I was going to be damned if I was going to start doing it now. I’m serious about the way I approach things, I’m serious about winning.”
Winovich said he’s enjoyed fan input that has included some craziness to woo him back to Michigan. Teammate Henry Poggi, a fullback, poked fun at Winovich and the fans by chiming in that he will name all of his future offspring “Chase” if he returns.
“They’re having fun with it, too,” he said. “It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine always.”
As he works toward the decision, Winovich said it hasn’t been easy.
“I’m not leaning any one way,” Winovich said. “I’ll lean one way for a couple days, and I’ll go the other way. From talking to different people who are higher up and know football, the consensus is I can’t go wrong. Either way I go, if I leave this year, I’m going to make a lot of money, and if I come back it’s a great opportunity – not that anything is wrong with Brandon Peters, obviously with (quarterback transfer) Shea (Patterson) coming here, the possibilities are endless. It would be a great opportunity to see things through. I’ve put in my four years, so we’ll see.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has met with Winovich once to discuss his future. Winovich said Harbaugh wants him to return and encouraged him to talk to others.
“On one end, I want to see through my dream of getting to the NFL and move on with my career, and the other end is seeing through things here,” he said. “I set out on a mission to see Michigan through. I don’t know if that mission is done yet. Going to have more conversation with my family and everybody who knows football.”
Winovich said his focus now is winning the bowl game.
“I’m playing regardless,” he said. “It will take an army to keep me from that game.”