The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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48 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017 BY BRANDON BROWN T he head coaches of major football powers are obviously the faces of the program, but the offensive and de- fensive coordinators are often looked at as the heavy hitters on the recruiting trail. Jim Harbaugh is much more in- volved than most head coaches when it comes to recruiting, but he certainly leans on offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and defensive coordinator Don Brown when it comes to identifying pieces for their respective schemes and convincing those prospects to come to Ann Arbor. Harbaugh and Michigan recently locked up both Drevno and Brown for five more years with extensions. That continuity, along with the person- alities and passion of both Drevno and Brown, has already paid off when it comes to landing blue chippers on both sides of the ball and should continue to do so for the next few seasons. Brown spent the previous three sea- sons at Boston College and finished with the nation's No. 1 defense during his last year with the Eagles. He fol- lowed that up with another top squad in his first year at U-M. No matter whom you speak with — whether it's an offensive player, a prospect com- mitted to another school or coaches from around the country — everyone seems to love "Dr. Blitz" and respects him for what he's able to accomplish on the field. Brown hails from the Northeast, so his presence in that region is stronger than anywhere else. Suffield (Conn.) Academy head coach Drew Gamere, who took in four-star wide receiver and Michigan commit Brad Hawkins, could not have been more complimen- tary when speaking about the veteran coordinator. "Coach Brown is a guy that I'm very familiar with because he's a northeast guy," Gamere explained. "… I kid him about this, but I tell him, 'In the North- east, you are the guy.' He's the guy that all of the coaches out this way have respected and admired for years. "To watch him on the big stage doing what he's doing — and he's done it for years — everyone out here takes pride in that. … He's a tremendous coach, and his reputation is unbelievable." Cheshire (Conn.) Academy three- star athlete Brandon Sebastian com- mitted to Boston College while Brown was still part of the staff and immedi- ately became interested in Michigan once Harbaugh hired Brown. The 6-1, 172-pounder was looking to take an official visit to U-M, but ultimately de- cided to stick with the Eagles. When the Wolverines were still in consid- eration, he had some of the strongest words about Brown of any prospects to be involved with the fiery coordinator. "He's like a father figure to me," Se- bastian said. "He's like a mentor. I re- spect him a lot and really like him as a person and a coach." Brown almost snatched Sebastian away from BC, but he did succeed in flipping Warwick (R.I.) Bishop Hen- dricken three-star weakside defensive end Kwity Paye from the Eagles. "He's had a huge impact on this whole process," Paye said. "When he offered me when he was at Boston Col- lege he had the No. 1 defense in the country, so that caught my attention. "He has faith in me, and I have faith in him. I think it will be a great oppor- tunity to go up to Michigan and play for him." As the Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut, Newtown Sandy Hook three-star inside linebacker Ben Mason is a rare talent in his area, and Brown had to have him. The defensive coordi- nator really made the 6-3, 230-pounder feel like a priority, and that ultimately led to a commitment. "Coach Brown's style of coaching is so intense," Mason raved. "I've never seen a coach like him. He has such a personality." The tenor doesn't change when peo- ple talk about Drevno. As the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, Drevno has an influence all over U-M's attack and that bodes well when he's out on the road recruiting. As an early enrollee, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star Cesar Ruiz is already in Ann Arbor and learning un- der Drevno. The nation's top prep cen- ter might factor into the rotation in the fall, and he believes Drevno is the guy to get him ready for that. "I think the coaches will do a really good job developing me," Ruiz said. "Coach Drevno has a really good his- tory of developing offensive linemen." Brown and Drevno even team up sometimes. Darien (Conn.) High three- star offensive tackle Andrew Stueber obviously hails from Brown's home region, and he passed the name of the 6-6, 305-pounder on to Drevno. "I went to a satellite camp, but Coach Drevno wasn't there so Coach Brown stayed on me to make sure I made it to an on-campus camp so he could see me," Stueber, the No. 4 player in Con- necticut, explained. "I went up to the Big Man camp and did my thing, and Coach Drevno pulled me aside and offered me a scholarship right in the middle of the field. It was awesome." Fast forward to November and Stue- ber was still thankful for the team effort Offensive coordinator Tim Drevno (left) and defensive coordinator Don Brown (right) both signed five-year contract extensions with U-M, a development that will help the Wolverines to continue to reel in blue-chip talent. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Coordinator Consistency Is A Key In Recruiting

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