Connecticut has not been considered a football recruiting hotbed, but in the last few years there have been a handful of high-level prospects at the top.
Michigan has had success in recruiting that talent the last few cycles.
Last Friday, the Wolverines received a verbal commitment from New Canaan offensive tackle Jack Stewart. Should he sign with Michigan in December or February, he would be the sixth Wolverine signee from Connecticut in the last three classes.
Stewart visited Michigan to start his spring break tour, then headed to Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Christian. Sometimes, being the first school in a string of visits is not beneficial, as it is believed the memory of that first visit may be clouded by the several visits following.
In this case, it allowed Michigan to set a bar that those other programs could not match.
“All those schools were great, but I just don’t think they compared to Michigan,” Stewart said. “The whole visit at Michigan just felt right.”
Defensive coordinator Don Brown served as the first line of contact in this recruitment. Brown, who coached in the northeast for many years, has extensive connections in that area. After initially reaching out to Stewart, Brown promised to make sure offensive line coach Ed Warinner watched the film.
What Warinner saw was a 6-foot-5, 280-pound prospect who was tough, strong, and mean. An accomplished heavyweight wrestler, Stewart exemplifies many of the reasons football coaches like their linemen to get on the mat.
“He's a big, strong, tough, athlete. I would play him as a guard," New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli told 247Sports’ Brian Dohn. "The colleges have different specs for different positions. Some like real big tackles and some don't. He's tough enough to play inside and tough enough to play on defense if they wanted him to. He's a really good player."
Stewart is ranked by the 247Sports Composite, which averages the rankings of various recruiting sites, as the No. 7 junior recruit in Connecticut and No. 83 offensive tackle in the country. 247Sports has Stewart higher at No. 6 in the state and No. 56 at his position.
Stewart says his father did not want him going to camps, and because of not being seen at those events, his ranking may not be as high as it could be if he had more exposure. His father’s point was that schools would find their way to New Canaan if his son was worthy of a scholarship. They did, as 17 schools offered him scholarships.
The one he decided was his best fit was in Ann Arbor, and that decision was made only after doing his research, visiting schools, and making comparisons.
“When I saw (Coach Warinner) in the meetings and when I saw him on the practice field he just looked like he could really teach these offensive linemen instead of just barking in their faces,” Stewart said. “He looked like a teacher and he looked like a great coach. Coach Warinner and I, we really connected on the trip.”
Stewart was the ninth commitment in a Michigan class that is now ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten.
Wolverines offer in-state sophomore
Oak Park class of 2020 safety Enzo Jennings was offered by Michigan on Thursday. Jennings (6-2, 175 pounds) is already established as one of the state’s top prospects in his class.
The Wolverines join Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Pittsburgh and others on his list.
Jennings has been a varsity starter for the Knights since his freshman year.
Warinner stops to see four-star lineman
Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner was at Crystal Lake (Ill.) South on Thursday. That is the home of junior Trevor Keegan, one of the top offensive line recruits in the country.
Keegan (6-6, 310 pounds) holds a scholarship offer from Michigan, but the Wolverines are battling Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama and more for his commitment.
He visited Michigan for their BBQ at the Big House last summer and Michigan has remained a contender in his recruitment since.
The 247Sports Composite ranks Keegan as the No. 1 junior recruit in the state of Illinois.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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.