The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 66 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2020 BY EJ HOLLAND Dan Villari had a unique path to Michigan. Most avid U-M recruiting fans know that the Wolverines made a late run at Villari, a little-known quarterback prospect from Long Island, hosted him for an official visit just before the early signing period and earned his signature soon after. But most don't know that it was actually a question of sportsmanship that paved the way for him to end up in Ann Arbor. Massapequa (N.Y.) Plainedge head coach Rob Shaver was suspended for a game after a sportsmanship com- mittee determined he ran up the score in a 61-13 win over Rockville Centre (N.Y.) South Side. Debate over the va- lidity of the suspension made national news and found its way into Michi- gan's recruiting office. In that game, Villari scored five total touchdowns, and a few days later, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was on the line. "They said we ran up the score because there is a 42-point rule in my league, which is a terrible rule," Villari said. "It made national head- lines and was all over Twitter. One of the Michigan recruiting coordinators saw that, and I guess he spread the word to Coach Harbaugh. "After that, Coach Harbaugh called my head coach and left a voicemail and asked about me. He said he watched my film and wanted to know more about me." With four-star quarterback commit JD Johnson medically retiring, the door opened up for Villari. While the Wolverines didn't jump into the mix until late in the process, Villari knew it was home after his offi- cial visit. When the opportunity finally presented itself in the form of an offer on the first day of the early signing pe- riod, Villari was quick to take advan- tage and inked with the Wolverines. "I really like all the coaches," Vil- lari said. "There are some schools you visit, and there are a few coaches you can't relate to. But I want to be around the Michigan coaches for four years. "The facilities were mind-blowing. The academics are great. It was just a win-win for me." Villari, a three-star prospect, was once committed to Football Champi- onship Subdivision program Fordham. He started to gain some traction in the fall, earning offers from Kent State and Massachusetts. However, that doesn't exactly scream Michigan recruit. Villari knows there are many Wol- verine fans that have doubted his abilities publicly. And that's given him extra motivation. "I have a huge chip on my shoul- der," Villari said. "Every day, I'm thinking about how I'm going to prove myself. I have the biggest chip in the class. I want to prove everyone wrong. I've seen a lot of hate about me. "But none of those people have seen me live or seen what I do in the weight room to get better every day. I think time will tell, and they'll see." ❑ Dan Villari Wants To Prove U-M Right For Taking A Chance On Him The Wolverines identified Villari — a 6-4, 215-pound pro - style passer from Massapequa (N.Y.) Plainedge — as an intriguing prospect due to his arm strength, frame and upside. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM 2020 Projection Villari will be a project-type player for the U-M coaching staff. The Wolverines have accumulated good depth at the quarterback position, with redshirt junior Dylan McCaffrey, redshirt sophomore Joe Milton and redshirt freshman Cade McNamara already in the room. He won't play early in his career, but could end up developing into somebody who competes for the starting job as an upper- classman, if he continues to improve. DAN VILLARI QUARTERBACK 6-4 • 215 PLAINEDGE HIGH SCHOOL MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ — — 13 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 32* 10 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 45^ 10 * Ranked as a pro-style passer; ^ ranked as a pocket passer STATISTICS Year Pass Yds. TD Rush Yds. TD 2019 1,306 13 1,522 22 2018 1,100 12 1,104 13 HONORS • Won the Thorpe Award for being the top player in Nassau County. • Named the Class-A co-Player of the Year for the state. • Was a first-team all-state and All- Long Island selection. • As a senior, led his team to a 12-0 mark and a Long Island Class III state title, the first in school history. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Michigan during the early signing period on Dec. 18, 2019. • Also had offers from Rutgers, Syra- cuse and Wisconsin, among others. • Recruited by quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels and offensive coordi- nator Josh Gattis. DID YOU KNOW? • Named the 2019 Class III state cham- pionship game MVP, after he rushed for 306 yards and four scores while throw- ing for two more touchdowns. • Had a 23-1 record as a prep starter. THEY SAID IT • Michigan head coach Jim Har- baugh: "As you're watching these games, Dan Villari is doing everything offensively. Kind of like a hidden gem. … We're really happy to have Dan. Throws the ball extremely well and is a very strong runner. Excited to have him as part of the class. The feeling we have is we've uncovered a hidden gem and we're glad we got him. He plays with a really good rhythm in the passing game. Had he been playing at IMG or Mater Dei, I have full confi- dence and belief he would've been a national guy. He's worthy of playing at a program like Michigan."

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