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The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 41   FOOTBALL RECRUITING and play big-time football with a great coaching staff. "The combination of a great educa- tion, great football and great people is what's sending a lot of them that way." Relationships also played a huge role for Michigan's newest commits and their families. As mentioned, Brown has ties to the area, but he truly spent time getting to know everyone involved in these recruit- ments on a personal basis. So did Harbaugh and Moore. The staff invested a lot in making sure their top New England targets jumped onboard. "Coach Brown and Casey have formed a relationship over the last couple of years, and Casey has come to respect and admire him," said Alissa Phinney, mother of Casey Phin- ney. "He is looking forward to the op- portunity to develop and play for him. Coach Harbaugh has been amazing. "We have been able to ask any questions and get clear answers in order to make this decision. They were able to help us see that Michi- gan has the right balance for Casey." Brown and Michigan have always targeted New England, but it was last year's haul that really set the tone for the success the Wolverines have ex- perienced in the 2021 recruiting class. Remember, Michigan reeled in com- mitments from a pair of Rivals250 prospects in Milton (Mass.) Academy linebacker Kalel Mullings and Cam- bridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols offensive lineman Zak Zinter. Three-star Shrewsbury (Mass.) St. John's wide receiver Eamonn Den- nis was also part of the class. This year 's crop of New England stars grew up and played with Michi- gan's 2020 signees. That has and will continue to pave the way for the Mas- sachusetts to Michigan movement. "Last year's success in New Eng- land had a big bearing on Louie be- cause he played against Zak," Mi- chael Hansen said. "He's always played against and even with Kalel. Knowing that those two guys, who were the top echelon of ISL play- ers, were going to Michigan really helped. I think the top tier guys here like Louis are going, 'Okay, Michigan is special.' Now, I know kids are call- ing Louis about his decision. "I don't know if I'm using the right words, but it's a trickle down. When guys like Zak Zinter and Kalel Mull- ings go to Michigan — we're talking the best of the best — that becomes the threshold for other players. That's what they want to do. They want to go to Michigan." One of those kids calling Louis Han- sen is 2022 Cambridge (Mass.) Buck- ingham Browne & Nichols linebacker Tyler Martin. The four-star 2022 pros- pect holds some major offers, but Michigan is already considered the front-runner in his recruitment. Martin's father, Mark, is very plugged into the Massachusetts re- cruiting scene and admitted that U-M's statement recruiting wins in New England are going a long way with their recruiting process. "Their success in New England is definitely something to take under con- sideration," Mark said. "What's nice about it is Tyler is planning on commu- nicating with these kids that have been there the last couple of cycles. It will be important to get on campus whenever the kids get back to campus and seeing what their experience is like. "It definitely weighs on these kids, and it is a factor, especially if New England kids are thriving there. Tyler is very close to Zak and he's very happy there. Mullings, Phinney, Hansen are close to Tyler and keep in touch with him. From our family perspective, that counts a bunch." U-M isn't done in New England in 2021. The Wolverines are after Ri- vals100 Dedham (Mass.) Noble & Gre- enough offensive lineman Drew Kend- all and are in a strong position to land him. Kendall is a teammate of Phinney and is good friends with Hansen. As mentioned, Michigan is already off to a strong start in 2022 with Mar- tin. The 2023 class features Zinter 's brother, Cambridge (Mass.) Buck- ingham Browne & Nichols tight end Preston Zinter, who already holds an offer from the Wolverines. New England is on the come up when it comes to producing top recruiting talent. And Michigan is poised to continue to build a fence around the region. "Massachusetts definitely has top talent, and Coach Brown knows New England very well, and he knows ex- actly where and how to find them," said Paul Zinter, father of Zak and Preston Zinter. "The way Coach Brown, Coach Harbaugh and, in our case, Coach [Ed] Warinner build their relationships with the guys shows the players just how important they are now and will be to the Michigan team. "During his recruitment, Zak was told how special Michigan was and how it had everything he was look- ing for. As parents, we are so glad to see that Michigan has fulfilled what Zak thought it would be and even more." ❑ Michigan landed eight commits between March 24 and April 27, including four-star tight end Louis Hansen of Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian's, the No. 66 overall prospect in the country per Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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