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Detroit News Blue Chip players talk best and worst of recruiting

David Goricki
The Detroit News

The top 15 players on the Detroit News Blue Chip list talk about their best and worst recruiting experiences and more in this question-and-answer with David Goricki.

Justin Rogers

1. Justin Rogers

Oak Park, OL/DL, 6-3, 300

College: Kentucky

Best recruiting experience: When I took my official visit to Alabama. I did more stuff than other visits I went on, like the small details. I got the chance to really get to know the coaches and players, really bonded with everybody. I got my offer from Alabama my sophomore year, right after I went to camp down there. They were telling me you can come here and play with great players. I had committed to Kentucky (May 20), then took my official to Alabama (in June) just to make sure I was making the right choice.

Worst recruiting experience: When I took a visit to Texas, didn’t really get to meet the whole coaching staff, meet the players or really see anything for real. It was my sophomore year and they were playing USC, the game was good, but the coaches didn’t try to mingle with me or anything like that.

Favorite thing about Kentucky: Just the environment down there. They have nice people, a good coaching staff and great players. I have old teammates down there, Marquan McCall (of Oak Park) and DeAndre (Square of Detroit Cass Tech).

Why not Michigan? I was cool with the whole staff, but it was too close to home and they didn’t really recruit me hard.

Why not Michigan State? They have a really good coaching staff. I know the whole staff and they are good coaches. If I was going to stay in the Midwest I would have more than likely played at Michigan State.

Makari Paige (2)

2. Makari Paige

West Bloomfield, S, 6-3, 190

College: Michigan

Best recruiting experience: Probably the Penn State White Out. It was the best Game Day experience.

Worst recruiting experience: Going on a bus tour with a lot of people.

Favorite thing about Michigan: The education and the people.

Why not Michigan State? Michigan State was never really a consideration for me.

3. Enzo Jennings

Oak Park, CB, 6-0, 180

College: Penn State

Best recruiting experience: I kind of always knew Penn State was the place for me, but I took officials to feel it out and see, then I took my last official (to Penn State) and I knew it felt like home.

Worst recruiting experience: It got real stressful so I was glad when it was over so I could chill and talk to one coach (Penn State co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks). It was really sad to say no to Kentucky. Kentucky fans are crazy, and they love me.

Favorite thing about Penn State: It’s just like a family atmosphere. It feels like I’ve always been there. Just the relationships that I’ve built, and I can’t wait to play there. Those fans are crazy.

Why not Michigan? Michigan made my top 11 and I liked the players, knew a lot of them.

Why not Michigan State? I had 25 offers (in January 2019) and Michigan State had not offered.

4. Cameron Martinez

Muskegon, QB, 5-11, 190

College: Ohio State

Best recruiting experience: When I had three schools come to my basketball game. Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State all had coaches at the game, and Coach (Ryan) Day from Ohio State came over for a house visit after the game.

Worst recruiting experience: I wouldn’t say I had one. I had a lot of contact with coaches, it was like a daily thing, something I was tired of, but also a blessing too because that was a position I wanted to be in.

Favorite thing about Ohio State: The winning culture. It will be exciting to go down there and win a lot of games and compete for a national championship. I like the coaching staff and how they develop players and I’m excited to work with the strength and conditioning coach.

I waited (for February Signing Day) because Coach Hafley (co-defensive coordinator) left to take the head job at Boston College, and I wanted to find out who was going to be my position coach. I had a great relationship with Coach Hafley. Coach (Kerry) Coombs got the job and came to the school last Wednesday, then visited with me at my house. He was at Ohio State before (as defensive backs coach) and had a lot of success. He’s a guy with a lot of energy.

Why not Michigan? It just didn’t work out. They stayed in contact with me, but I felt more comfortable at Ohio State.

Why not Michigan State? Really, the same reason as Michigan. I went there and visited a lot, just felt more comfortable at Ohio State.

Braiden McGregor

5. Braiden McGregor

Port Huron Northern, DE, 6-4, 270

College: Michigan

Best recruiting experience: My visit when I committed. I just think it was something that was so special that I’ll always remember, and obviously now that I’m here (Michigan), it’s just told me that I made the right decision. It was just a quick trip, don’t think I even told them that I was coming for a visit. I just came in and I think the reaction from the coaches was probably the thing that stuck out to me the most. They showed that they really wanted me and I wasn’t just another number to them.

Worst recruiting experience: I was told by a school I could wait all the way to National Signing Day, then when I took a visit there they changed their mind and gave me two months to choose. I just don’t like being lied to by them.

Favorite thing about Michigan: The brotherhood we have here. Being here for a couple of weeks now, meeting them and being able to start lifting and things like that. I’m taking four classes right now, plan on majoring in communications to get into broadcasting. We have 6 a.m. lifts and I’ve had a lot of treatment for my knee (after having surgery on right knee in October). I plan to start running in a couple of weeks. I’m just trying to get back for spring ball, hoping to see the field this year. We also have study hall at night. I’m just real comfortable now.

Why not Michigan State? I think it’s just because I grew up as a Michigan fan, so it was just kind of a no-brainer to come here. Michigan State offered me my sophomore year. I took some visits there and liked it, but it doesn’t compare to Michigan.

6. Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen

Walled Lake Western, WR, 6-1, 180

College: Purdue

Best recruiting experience: Just knowing I was closer to accomplishing my goals, my dream, because I always wanted to play college football, even as a kid.

Worst recruiting experience: My worst recruiting experience is that there’s a lot of politics involved. I don’t want to say too much, but there are a lot of people out there that say things that may or may not be true.

Favorite thing about Purdue: It’s only four hours away and I love coach (JaMarcus) Shephard, I think he’s a great guy. I love the offense, I love the coaches, it’s an up-and-coming program. I love the opportunity that I have to be able to shine in this offense. I’m taking four classes right now and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be here, getting ready for spring ball.

Why not Michigan? They didn’t offer me. I’m not really interested in walking on to a school just because they have a winged stripe helmet.

Why not Michigan State? They offered late and they came in near the end of my recruiting, and at that point they didn’t have anything that stood out.

7. Andre Seldon

Belleville, CB, 5-9, 160

College: Michigan

Best recruiting experience: Going on my official visit to Michigan. That visit made my family sure that my decision was right for me.

Worst recruiting experience: Waiting on offers early in the process.

Favorite thing about Michigan: Now that I’m here, it’s definitely working out and feeling myself getting better. I’m lifting every day, putting on weight and getting stronger and faster.

Why not Michigan State? I’ve never been a Michigan State guy. Michigan is just different.

Cornell Wheeler

8. Cornell Wheeler

West Bloomfield, LB, 6-1, 230

College: Michigan

Best recruiting experience: Taking the visits around different campuses and getting to know the coaches and things that they like and what they see in me.

Worst recruiting experience: When the team loses, that’s probably the worst because no coach then wants to talk to you, and that happened at Michigan and a Michigan State game.

Favorite thing about Michigan: The tradition that they have. I love how Michigan is so global. A lot of people know about Michigan because Jim Harbaugh travels around the country. You can play there and get a great education too. I plan to major in business and real estate.

Why not Michigan State? I was never interested in Michigan State because how they do things there is different, but I have so much respect for Michigan State because they are a good program. I just felt like what I want to do in life didn’t match MSU. I felt Michigan was perfect for me, especially growing up as a Michigan fan.

9. Josh Priebe

Edwardsburg, OL, 6-5, 275

College: Northwestern

Best recruiting experience: Stepping on campus at Northwestern was definitely one of the coolest ones, just the lakeside view and the great facilities, and meeting the coaching staff for the first time was probably the best.

Worst recruiting experience: A couple of times I had coaches call me at 12 a.m. or 1 in the morning and leave messages – that was probably the craziest and worst.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: It was really the relationships that I built with the coaches there that didn’t really compare with a lot of the other places. They really took the time to get to know the guys they recruit on a personal level, and obviously the academic piece was a big thing for me, getting a degree that was meaningful. I’m taking four classes right now and I feel like it’s a huge advantage to enroll early to get ready for spring ball.

Why not Michigan? Michigan offered me, and they were one of my top choices, but I just felt like I connected with the coaching staff at Northwestern and their philosophies and kind of the way they did things.

Why not Michigan State? I liked a lot of people on the Michigan State staff, but I had a better academic opportunity at Northwestern and I connected better with the offensive line coach, Coach (former Michigan player Kurt) Anderson, who was the one that really stood out for me and that was the deciding factor.

Deon Buford

10. Deon Buford

Detroit King, OL, 6-4, 280

College: Kentucky

Best recruiting experience: My best recruiting experience was the official visits because they treat you really well, take you to eat at five-star restaurants, then you get to the hotel and they have it all laid out for you. It’s just a good feeling. I went to Kentucky, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Purdue.

Worst recruiting experience: I really can’t say anything bad about it. Everything was good.

Favorite thing about Kentucky: Kentucky showed me a lot of love. I felt like all the coaches at Kentucky reached out and talked to me; they said things that other coaches didn’t say. The day that my father passed I was at Kentucky, at the game when they played Georgia, and I didn’t know he passed until I got back, and Coach (Vince Marrow) told me he felt like that was a sign and that really meant something to me, so I felt like it was a sign as well. Plus, I always wanted to play in the SEC.

Why not Michigan? Michigan didn’t show much interest, never offered me.

Why not Michigan State? Michigan State offered, but I never really liked it as much as I did other schools.

11. Peny Boone

Detroit King, RB, 6-2, 220

College: Maryland

Best recruiting experience: My best recruiting experience was the official visits, liked how they showed us around campus and facilities. I only took two, one to Toledo and then Maryland. I liked getting the chance to see different cities.

Worst recruiting experience: I never really had one.

Favorite thing about Maryland: I love everything about Maryland, especially the people. I love the coaches, the facilities, really everything.

Why not Michigan? I feel like every good player from the city goes there and I wanted to be different.

Why not Michigan State? Michigan State is the same thing. I didn’t really want to be like everybody else. I wanted to branch out.

12. Dallas Fincher

East Kentwood, OL, 6-4, 260

College: Michigan State

Best recruiting experience: There’s been so many, honestly, but probably committing to Michigan State my junior year and being able to get that weight off my shoulders – so committing to my home school. My teammate Bryce (Mostella) and I had a lot of great moments, went to a lot of different places, sometimes we were taken by our parents, and lots of time by our strength coach, Marty Martens. We’ve been to Penn State, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, of course Michigan State, to Ohio State, really all around the Midwest.

Worst recruiting experience: Probably when you go to a school and you don’t get a lot of attention.

Favorite thing about Michigan State: People seem to like each other a lot there. They do a great job of being real about how the school is, how they treat their players, and the players are real about how everything goes there. I feel like I’ll be able to talk to anybody and people will have my back, like my academic advisors, all the coaches and the strength staff. My dad (Mark) went there, played tackle for George Perles and my parents met there, so my mom went there too.

Why not Michigan? It’s not that I didn’t like Michigan – got an offer from them – but I’ve just gravitated toward to Michigan State since I grew up a Michigan State fan.

13. Jordan Turner

Farmington, LB, 6-3, 220

College: Wisconsin

Best recruiting experience: Wisconsin.

Worst recruiting experience: I really didn’t have one.

Favorite thing about Wisconsin: The locker room atmosphere.

Why not Michigan? They didn’t really go after me hard like they wanted me for real.

Why not Michigan State? The same as Michigan. They didn’t really go after me hard like they wanted me.

Latrell Fordham

14. Latrell Fordham

Davison, WR/CB, 6-4, 180

College: Ball State

Best recruiting experience: Visiting all the schools. Going to Kentucky and Purdue was great because I feel like they have the best facilities.

Worst recruiting experience: I don’t think I had one. It was tough to say no to some of the coaches because I had built good relationships with them.

Favorite thing about Ball State: The coaches and even the players showed me way more love than any other school, and they offered me first too.

Why not Michigan? Michigan didn’t offer me.

Why not Michigan State? Michigan State didn’t offer, but I talked to State a lot. I wanted to go to Ball State because I’d have a chance to play right away, even though I might want to redshirt so I can get a feel of the game and get bigger and way better.

15. De’Andre Bulley

River Rouge, RB, 6-0, 240

College: Morgan State

Best recruiting experience: Talking to the college coaches. I didn’t expect to go to college, then my 10th grade year I got my first offer from Western Michigan, and when I got my first offer I felt a different vibe, like I stand for something. Once I got that first offer I really got serious about football.

Worst recruiting experience: Recruiting is basically a business, so you watch everything you do. You don’t get to say really everything you want to say. You can’t be emotional.

Favorite thing about Morgan State: It was family. I like their support system because I have the same support system here as they have at Morgan State. It’s a family thing; they grow a family and that’s what I want to be around.

Why not Michigan? Michigan is a great program, but never offered me. I talked to some Michigan coaches, went to a couple of games – that was my first game visit my sophomore year – but they never offered.

Why not Michigan State? Michigan State is a great program too, but never offered me.