Trieu: Fast, fluid LB Tyler McLaurin has nothing but good words for Michigan
Tyler McLaurin announced his scholarship offers on Twitter like just about every other high school football player in the country fortunate enough to receive the opportunities to play at the next level. But McLaurin, a rising senior linebacker at Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School, found a way to add an additional twist.
When Virginia offered in February, McLaurin referred to the Cavaliers as the team from the “opulent” University of Virginia. Texas Tech was the “eminent” Texas Tech University. These descriptions continued right up until he named a “contemporaneous” top five and then committed to the “inimitable” University of Michigan.
“Really it was after my fourth offer, I got it from Purdue and I used the word prestigious,” McLaurin explained. “Then I think it was the next Monday, we were back in school and I go to the training room to stretch before we start practice for basketball and everybody was laughing because they had never seen anyone use words like that to describe the school. So from that point on, my trainer and I started coming up with lists of words to use when I get an offer. We didn’t expect it to extend so far, but we kept adding on every time I got an offer. I would text and call him and we would come up with words to describe the school.”
As McLaurin’s offer list grew (he received 16 total), he admits it became harder to find adjectives that would not go over everyone’s heads.
He ended the process, not because he ran out of words, but because Michigan had everything he wanted.
“Education and then especially when I went down to visit, the feeling I had when I was down there,” he said. “When I was down there, it really just gave me a real loving environment that truly made me feel at home. That was important to me especially because I know I’m not going to be with my parents anymore.”
That feeling of home recruits often talk about in choosing a school is usually created by the coaching staff at the program. In Michigan’s case, it was, but the student body also contributed.
“It was some of the assistant coaches and then a lot of seeing regular students on campus when I was down there,” McLaurin said. “When I got the chance to talk to Coach Harbaugh, Coach Brown and Coach Moore, we really got to grow our connection. But while I was there, I also got to see a lot of campus and see how students interacted and what they did for fun, which really was nice to see because you don’t get to see that with colleges a lot of the time.”
McLaurin plans to major computer science and go into computer security. On his visit, he had an opportunity to see the classrooms and felt it was a place where he could connect with professors and academic faculty, not just the football staff.
With that all in mind, he committed to Michigan.
It completed a recruitment that had not lasted terribly long.
McLaurin spent his sophomore year at Lombard Montini before coming to Bolingbrook. He attended several offseason camps, hoping to spark his recruitment. Still, it was not until October that his first scholarship offer came through.
“There wasn’t too much stress. It really showed me the value of a good junior year,” he explained. “Going down to camps, it really helped me notice that I felt like I could easily play with some of the best kids in the country. Especially when I went down to Lindenwood’s camp because you see so many different athletes from different states, it really made me feel like I was one of the top competitors at the camp and grew my confidence going into my junior year, and that really helped me out a lot.”
Another moment that helped his confidence was a game against the state’s top team, Lincoln-Way East and the state’s top player in the 2020 class, A.J. Henning, who signed with Michigan in the 2020 class.
“Playing against him, it was intense because it’s always like that when you know you’re playing fierce competition every week, but there’s more when you know it’s on you to make tackles against one of the best kids in the country,” McLaurin said. “Playing against him, it was about staying calm and still keeping my competitive nature through the process while still leading my team. After the fact, we became good friends, major respect from each other from that game on and since I committed, we’ve become closer friends.”
At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds with the speed and fluidity to drop into coverage, but also the physicality to come forward and stop the run, McLaurin could play different linebacker spots for the Wolverines.
His commitment helped a Michigan linebacker class that recently added Florida-native Jaydon Hood to McLaurin and Massachusetts’ Casey Phinney.
A group whose versatile skill sets might best be described as inimitable.
Wolverines make cut
Reisterstown (Md.) Franklin safety Daymon David narrowed his list to six schools on Monday: Michigan, Boston College, Miami, Louisville, Indiana and Oklahoma.
David expects to make that decision after taking several weeks to talk recruiting over with his family.
A 6-foot-1, 172-pound prospect, David is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 19 prospect in the state of Maryland’s 2021 class.
He has 20 total scholarship offers.
David finished his junior season with 67 tackles and four interceptions.
Freshman quarterback offered
Michigan has offered a scholarship to Springfield (Mass.) Central quarterback William Watson, who is only a freshman, but has four scholarship offers already.
The 6-foot-0, 170-pound Watson led Central to a state championship as a freshman.
Tennessee, Boston College and UMass have also offered. UMass offered before he even played a high school game. Ohio State, West Virginia and others have offered.
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown, a Massachusetts native, extended the offer to Watson.
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.