The Wolverine


The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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40 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2020 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan is on a roll on the re- cruiting trail. Despite the ongoing global pan- demic and an abrupt dead period — no on-campus recruiting visits are permitted — U-M was able to reel in a whopping eight verbal com- mitments between March 24 and April 27. Of those eight, four call New Eng- land home: Rivals100 Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian's tight end Louis Hansen; Rivals250 Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive line- man Greg Crippen, who originally hails from Milton, Mass.; three-star Mansfield (Mass.) High defensive lineman TJ Guy; and three-star Ded- ham (Mass.) Noble & Greenough linebacker Casey Phinney. With Michigan defensive coordina- tor Don Brown having strong roots in the region, the Wolverines have made it a priority recruiting territory. Talent there is on the rise, and U-M has established its dominance. Brown, who was born in Massa- chusetts, coached high school and college football in the state, and served as Boston College's defen- sive coordinator before arriving in Ann Arbor, played a huge role in the Wolverines' hot streak over the last month and a half. Recruits, parents and high school coaches love Brown and trust send- ing their kids far away from home to play for him. "He's highly respected out here and trusted," Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said. "That's a big thing for parents and coaches. If you are going to send a kid a thousand miles away from home, you want them to be in good hands. I've known Donnie for 30 years. I think the world of him. He does a great job of recruiting the kids and their parents. It's good to know that [Guy] is in good hands and is going to be coached well. "Off the field, he's going to be treated with respect. That was a big piece of it. Boston College was under strong consideration with it being a great school in his backyard, but the allure of playing in the Big Ten for a top-10 program was one of the decid- ing factors, along with the chance of playing for Donnie." St. Sebastian's head coach Dan Burke shared similar sentiments when asked about Brown's recruit- ing prowess in New England. "I've known Don Brown since I was in high school," Burke said. "He actually recruited me when he was at Brown. I've known him since I was 17. It was great to see him com- ing through. He's a guy that a lot of people around here know well and respect a lot — and it's not just here. People throughout the country re- spect him. I got to know [U-M tight ends coach] Sherrone Moore well. He came out to one of Louie's [Hansen] basketball games. "Talking to those two guys, I got a re- ally good feel for what good guys they were. They spent time talking to Lou- ie's mom and dad on the phone. They connected with the whole family." But Michigan's success in New England goes beyond just Brown. Parents and coaches of Michigan's newest commits raved about what the program offers on and off the field. After all, most recruits in the region are high-character and high- academic kids that fit the culture Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is building in Ann Arbor. Michigan is often an appealing op- tion to New England kids because it offers the best of both worlds — elite academics and athletics. Simply put, New England kids are a perfect match for U-M. "Michigan isn't just recruiting for football," said Michael Hansen, fa- ther of Louis Hansen. "They showed Cindy [Hansen's mother], Louie and myself the education piece. When you are getting kids from the ISL [In- dependent School League in New England] and you're trying to not have them go to a Stanford or a Notre Dame, they push the education. "That was very important for Louie. You're already spending money for education for high school. You don't want the education part to stop. That's what I appreciated from Michigan." "I can talk specifically about Louie, and I imagine a lot of these kids are in the same boat," Burke added. "They understand the value of the education. Some of these guys have pro ambitions, but they know they need to be setting themselves up for the future. They all know they can get a great education at Michigan   FOOTBALL RECRUITING New England Pipeline Helps Michigan Catch Fire Mansfield (Mass.) High head coach Mike Redding, the coach of new Michigan pledge TJ Guy, said Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown is "highly respected" and "trusted" in the New England area. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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