Farmington High junior wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick admits that throughout his childhood he was a big fan of Michigan football. In his middle school years, it was not uncommon to see him dressed in Maize and Blue at school, and he grew up emulating Wolverine receivers such as Desmond Howard, Braylon Edwards and others.
When Michigan did not offer him a scholarship early in his recruiting process, that process led him to Louisville, where he committed in the fall. But as recruiting often goes, a lot changed since then. Michigan hired new head coach Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh almost immediately paid a visit to his school. The Wolverines invited Fitzpatrick up for a basketball game recently and offered him a scholarship.
The emotion of being offered by his childhood favorite made that a special moment for Fitzpatrick. It surprised many when he did not commit on the spot, but once the emotion subsided, he realized he still had a life-decision to make.
"First, we haven't seen how things will be at Michigan and what the offense will be like," he explained. "I'm going to their spring game in a few weeks to check it out."
Fitzpatrick also returned on Tuesday for the team's first spring practice.
Seeing how the offense operates, and in particular, the passing game, will be a large part of his decision. He maintains his commitment to Louisville and visited the Cardinals last weekend. Still, Michigan is a strong contender.
"I believe the offer means a lot as validation," his father Greg Fitzpatrick said, "since it came from such an experienced staff littered with NFL experience. The things they said about his game made it obvious that they really looked at his film and appreciate his skill level."
Being a fan of a school as a child never guarantees a commitment to that school, but in this case, the recent interest and scholarship opportunity from Michigan evoked a lot of memories for Fitzpatrick. Both he and his father say they will continue to monitor what Harbaugh and this current Michigan team does through the spring and summer, but there is little doubt the arrival of that offer was significant.
"Ever since he saw his first game at age 8 in the Big House, he wanted to wear the Maize and Blue," Mr. Fitzpatrick continued. "As he got older and watched the program struggle, it appeared those childhood feelings faded. When he received the offer, his reaction surprised me. He was a little emotional."
Wolverines offer QB Peters
Michigan extended a quarterback offer in the Midwest recently when Brandon Peters, a quarterback from Avon High in Indianapolis, received a scholarship opportunity from the Wolverines. At 6-foot-4 and 205-pounds, he has good size, but brings more than that to the table.
"I tell you one thing that stood out to us, his coaches here at Avon," Orioles head coach Mark Bless said. "His sophomore year, he beat out a senior that was pretty good, because of his athletic ability and ability to extend plays. He feels pressure in the pocket, but he doesn't panic. He's smooth back there, he can make all the throws, and he's very athletic."
Peters, who holds additional offers from Virginia Tech, Iowa, Indiana, Boston College and others, is in the midst of a busy basketball season and has not visited Ann Arbor yet, but plans to in the spring.
Bless says the same calm, cool, level-headed demeanor that has allowed Peters to handle the starting quarterback job has been a big part of his star signal-caller's ability to handle the level of recruitment he has seen. As a result, no snap judgments will be made, and an informed, well thought out decision will have been be made when he commits, and it is clear Michigan will be a school that factors into that process.
"I felt like it's a very good offer for him," Bless said. "He seemed excited about it. The opportunity to play for Coach Harbaugh and learn from him is something a lot of high school quarterbacks want. I think he's excited about that, but he knows it's a long process. It will be interesting to see how it ends up."
Wolverines host young prospects
Michigan's basketball win over Ohio State on Sunday provided an opportunity to get several prospects on campus. Many of them were of the younger variety, such as Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker Joshua Ross, the younger brother of current Wolverine linebacker James Ross. Just a sophomore, Ross has already played two seasons of varsity and has an offer from Michigan.
He was joined by Walled Lake Western defensive tackle Bryce Brand and Detroit Cass Tech quarterback Rodney Hall, two other sophomores who are among the early recruiting targets inside the state. Cass Tech linebacker Tim Walton, a junior who has added a handful of scholarship offers this winter, was also present.
Marmion Academy (Ill.) senior running back Jordan Glasgow, younger brother of current Wolverines Ryan and Graham Glasgow, also attended. He is believed to be a preferred walk-on candidate. Dwan Mathis, a quarterback who will be a freshman at Belleville in the fall, also made it in for the game.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.