2003 Signing Day Comments from
U-M Head Football Coach Lloyd Carr
Opening statement ... "I am extremely pleased with this class. Recruiting is a team effort. I want to thank our players and all the people who are part of our team in terms of recruiting; our faculty, the academic support staff, people on campus, the students who welcomed some of our guests during the recruiting visits, especially at the basketball games and of course I think our coaches did a tremendous job. I am pleased because I think it is an excellent class. We have a lot or work to still do. Recruiting is a lot of work, but the really hard work is to take a group of guys who come in from all over the country and get them to play with one goal and one focus and to play together as a team. With the enthusiasm we have for the guys in this class, it is just the beginning. There are always questions and over the course of the next three or four years, those questions will be answered."
On if more players might sign ... "We are still working."
On LaMarr Woodley ... "I was sound asleep the other night and I got a call from his mother and she was excited. She is a woman of great enthusiasm and she has a great laugh that is infectious. She woke me up and she told me that LaMarr was coming to Michigan. I think LaMarr has everything it takes to be a great football player. He is a guy that has a great competitive spirit. He has all the athletic ability, but he is a tremendous competitor. On my day in Saginaw, I had the opportunity to watch him compete in a basketball game and to see a guy that big move as well as he does and compete as hard as he does. I think he is a team-oriented guy. He has big goals and he should have big goals because this kid has a chance to be something special and we look forward to having him at Michigan."
On the many defensive players ... "We are always looking for positional needs. The over-riding thing is that you are always looking for guys that first of all were the type of people that we are looking for at Michigan. Certainly it happened this year that we did take more defensive players. I think part of that is the fact that we lost more players on defense than we did offensively. It was not planned."
On Jim Presley ... "I had an opportunity to see him play basketball last week. He is an outstanding athlete. He has great movement and he is an outstanding player. I think he has a tremendous upside. He is a good student. He is a guy that is going to have a fine career here. We are already arguing about where to play him because in my mind he would be an outstanding fullback. We talked to him in the recruiting process more as a linebacker. There is no question in my mind that he could play on either side of the ball. I think that is always a wonderful thing for a player and for us."
On Shawn Crable ... "Shawn Crable is a guy that we recruited for a long time. He is big and physical. He is a guy that has a great upside, and I will say that about a number of these guys. Shawn has tremendous potential. I think that was a battle that went right down to the wire. All of our coaches did a tremendous job. To get Shawn out of Massillon, Ohio, was a great recruiting job by Scott Loeffler. If you have been around recruiting you know it can be very competitive and he did a tremendous job. I think Shawn will be a linebacker. He is very agile and as I said he is 6-4 or maybe 6-5. He is a big guy with range and he is going to play linebacker."
On if Clayton Richard's baseball interests played a role in his decision ... "I think you would have to ask Clayton if the fact that Drew Henson did both here made a difference. I personally think that he chose Michigan football because he loved it here. There are a lot of things. The opportunity I think he liked. On his visit here he was in some situations on campus where I had an opportunity to observe him. I think this kid has a real love for the game. He is a goal-oriented guy and obviously he is talented from the standpoint that he is an outstanding baseball player. That is something we will have to see how it goes."
On if he saw the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio ... "I saw about 10 minutes of that game. As coaches that game takes place during a dead period, which means there is not contact on or off campus. We were at the national convention and I only watched a few minutes of it. I really did not see enough to make any kind of assessment. We did have a number of guys there. Based on my conversations with them it was a good experience for them. I think Prescott Burgess announced he was coming to Michigan while he was down there. We received a lot of positive things in terms of exposure for Michigan at that game."
On Prescott Burgess ... "I think that he is the biggest safety that we have ever had. With Ernest Shazor and Prescott in there they will be the two biggest safeties in the country, I don't think there any doubt about that. I had a chance when I was down in Warren to watch Prescott practice basketball. He is another guy that we have recruited for a long time and he has been on campus a number of times. He is a good friend of Carl Diggs. He is a very physical guy that is a powerful contact type of player. He is the kind of guy that is good in the open field. I think he fits well into our scheme extremely well since we are always bringing a safety down into the box. He is really a guy that has linebacker size with safety athletic ability so he fits extremely well."
On Ryan Mundy ... "He is really a tremendous athlete. Of course Ryan came from the same high school that Steve Breaston came from in Woodland Hills. Of course those are two tremendous guys from the same high school. Ryan is another guy that we have been after for along time he was up here as a junior and was an early commitment. I think that the thing that really attracted him outside of the school is that he will have an opportunity to compete early."
On Jerome Jackson ... "When you look at what his brother has done at Minnesota and talking to his coach Don Durrett, he comes from quite a family. Jerome is one of those guys that at times on any team you have guys that can get over shadowed maybe because of a guy that has so much ability such as LaMarr. Jerome Jackson is an outstanding football player. He is tough and physical and I believe that he will get better as he goes along and he has a tremendous work ethic a guy that really likes the game. That's what I like. I would say that about a number of these guys, as we all know it will be a different level. Jerome is a guy that I know loves the game and is committed in terms of weight lifting. So he will always be competing and he is another guy that can play more then one position.
On Anton Campbell being a running back or defensive back ... "Well I have told them both (Jerome Jackson) they are going to come in here with a chance to be a running back. I think they both understand that at some point based on what happens. They are going to have opportunities and then will see how that goes. The good news is some times you go in recruiting a running back knowing that if he doesn't pan out as a running back then there is no place for him to play. The good news about both of these kids is if they don't pan out they can play on the other side of the ball."
On Garret Rivas ... "We had some of the leading kickers in the country here last summer at our camp. He was the guy that we wanted, the guy that we highlighted from the beginning. This guy can kick the football and he is going to have an opportunity. He had an outstanding season as a punter. Coming in here last summer he had not spent a lot of time working on his punting. He had a great year and his dad played in the NFL so he has been around the game. Of course, Jay Feely went to the same high school and has worked with Garret through the years. I think Jay has had an impact on him and I think Jay was a factor in terms of Michigan. If he is like Jay, which I think he is, then he will do very well here."
With signing a kicker will you have Adam Finley focus on punting ... "The good news is with what Adam did this year we have a great situation in that we will have good competition. We recruited Garrett first as a kicker."
On defensive end Will Paul ... "Will Paul is another one of those guys that Andy Moeller recruited. This is the first time in a while that we have had two guys from the state of Missouri and I give that credit to Andy. Will Paul is one of those guys who loves to lift and train. I think he is a guy who is going to be a wonderful football player here."
On offensive lineman Jake Long and his size and athleticism ... "I got a chance to watch Jake play basketball. He is going to be as big as a house. Well, he is already as big as a house and he's going to get bigger. He is a very good athlete he's a basketball player and baseball player a real leader at his school. I went into the school last spring and it was quite a day and I met everybody in that school all the students all of the faculty. Really every one of them wanted to tell me what a unique kid he is. A tremendous leader in school and involved in a lot of activities a very popular guy. We had him at our camp and he committed a couple of weeks after that."
On Quinton McCoy's saga of being admitted to this year's class after being ineligible last year ... "I always like people who know what they want to do. After he didn't enroll in the fall he was really free to go anywhere he wanted to go in the country. He was really recruited very heavily by other schools. We went into it with the idea that if he didn't make it we would continue to work and do the things that it took to get admitted to Michigan and he has done that. So we our very delighted, some times it works out and some times it doesn't. Certainly, Quinton has been through a difficult year, because any time your looking forward to starting school and it doesn't work out that way. He stayed focused and I think he is very happy the way that it turned out."
On Adam Kraus's size to play other positions on the offensive line beside tight end ... "I don't know where he is going to end up. There is no question he has the great growth potential to be a great offensive lineman. I also feel that he as the potential to be an outstanding tight end. I think we have to wait and see. This kid reminds me a lot of (Jeff) Backus and (Jon) Jansen the same type of mentality. His mother is a great cook I will promise you that. I had a great dinner, thank you Marge."
What did you have ... "Shrimp. Tremendous dinner with about three or four courses and she made the most amazing cheesecake I have ever had and I am hard to please."
Were you able to fall back asleep after LaMarr's mother called ... "No, you know what I have hard time normally getting to sleep. I got to sleep very well that night and she interrupted me and I didn't get back to sleep for about three hours and it was worth it."
On Woodley ... "I have been through enough, the first time I relax is when the signings are in. I have been in a house with three or four coaches on signing day all expecting to sign that young man. Off course they have changed the rules since then. I have felt very good, but what I liked about LaMarr was he was under a lot of pressure every time he visited someone to commit. He never said anything until he was ready commit. Once he told he was going to do it I felt very comfortable that he was going to do what he said he was going to do."
On Woodley playing as a freshman ... "I think that he will come in here and compete and play as a freshman. They all have a chance and then we'll see what happens. Some of it comes down to what happens in spring practice. A lot of it has to do with what kind of condition and where they are physically when they get here and then of course another part is how they pick things up when they get to the meetings. Then the competition."
On whether many of the recruits will attend spring practice ... "Hopefully a lot of them. That is something that we try to encourage to those guys within any driving distance. To drive in for a Saturday practice so that they can sit in on a meeting and get a feel for what it will be like. It is an advantage whenever they can do that."
Will Jeff Zuttah compete in spring practice ... "There is a situation with Jeff that has come up and I will have an announcement on him and that is all I want to say. There is a situation where I think some of the words out there, but I haven't seen any off it just what I have been told. It is medically related so I will have some statement at some point about what exactly it is and how it will impact him here."
On deciding how to offer scholarships with having a low amount to offer ... "Obviously, we knew that it was going to be a smaller class, but really it didn't end up being much smaller. There are 17 players with a possibility of an 18th. What we were looking at earlier was a much smaller number. Since I've been here we've probably averaged 18 or 19 commitments each year. We did go into it that we could afford to be a bit slower and we were. I really like the guys we signed in the state of Michigan. They're all good men and I think there is some excellent quality and character. I think this year's in-state class isn't as large as it was a year ago but the quality of the group is very good."
On cornerbacks Leon Hall and Brandent Englemon ... "Leon Hall committed very early. He was aware of DeWayne Patmon and Hayden Epstein. I really like him. I think he's a guy that has an opportunity to come in and make a contribution this fall. That's one of the reason he came here. Brandent is probably going to end up at safety. He was a quarterback who Jim Herrmann stayed on through the recruiting process. We weren't sure if we were going to have enough scholarships. Jim stayed on him and he came in last weekend and he liked it. This kid is a tremendous athlete. We just like the kid and we like his athletic ability. He's 190 pounds and he could very easily end up at safety."
On the Internet being a help or a hindrance during recruiting ... "I think it depends on what's on there. I think people probably put more stock in it three or four years ago. I think it's getting less significant because as we get more educated we know that a lot of that information is not accurate. No one has any responsibility for what they put on there. The key is who are the people you're communicating with. I'm sure there are a lot of people who give it a lot of significance."
On the availability of current linebackers for the spring game ... "Roy Manning will return. He is a good man, one of the best. He's another Saginaw guy who is a tremendous kid. We have to see about Lawrence Reid. We have been monitoring him during our winter program while he has been lifting and running. Hopefully he'll be able to play, but with his case I can't be that specific because I don't have the information at this time."
On Pat Sharrow ... "Pat Sharrow is a kid who is another good athlete. He's a big, strong, good-looking kid. He will have an opportunity to be the long snapper. In our camp he showed an excellent ability to snap the football. That's something, with Joe Sgroi moving on, that we need to address. He'll be involved in that competition."
On if Ohio State's National Championship makes recruiting Ohio harder ... "I don't think it ever changes. I think it's always intense."
About players changing their commitment or decision late in recruiting ... "What we try to do is make sure that when a guy commits he understands that when he changes his mind that's something you'd rather not go through because it always creates questions. We've been very successful in not having to deal with those issues, but occasionally it does happen. For the most part, when it happens there is always a reason and that is what the signing date is for."
On when the field turf will be installed at Michigan Stadium ... "We will have some sort of activity there in the spring on the grass. We aren't putting the new surface in until after graduation. That process has been put out to bid. We have reduced the bidders down to where the next step is to decide who is going to do it."
On the possibility of LaMarr Woodley seeing playing time this upcoming season ... "I think LaMarr would be competitive no matter who was here. He is 250 pounds. For example, Victor Hobson, who had a great football career at Michigan, was probably 225 pounds or so when he came here as a freshman. Here you have a kid who is 18 years old and is 250 pounds. He is physically more advanced than what most high-school seniors are. Along with his athletic ability, I just think he has the strength and the size to line up over a tight end and play that position. He has tremendous mobility. He's tough, aggressive and he has wonderful mobility. I saw that more in the basketball film than I did in football. I watched very little film of him during his senior year because we had already made the decision and we knew he could play. In basketball, his lateral mobility is what impressed me."
On Kelly Baraka ... "I hope as Kelly moves on that he will be able to be successful in getting his education and pursuing his football career. The truth is that he's been through a tough ordeal and I hope the best for him."
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423