AJ Dillon grew up in an area not well known for generating football talent and gaining the attention of top college programs in the country. For Dillon, however, he had no issues getting on the national radar with offers from eight schools in the Big Ten Conference, Florida State, Notre Dame and several others. The New England native added Michigan to his top five after receiving an offer on January 27. Within a week after his visit to Ann Arbor, he announced on March 28 his commitment to the Wolverines.
Dillon is a 6-foot-1, 230 pound physical back with a down hill running style from Lawrence Accademy in Groton, MA. He is considered the top player in his home state and No. 19 ranked running back in the 2017 class. Earlier in May, his impressive performance earned him an invitation to The Opening in July. At the New Jersey regional event, Dillon had a 40 yard dash clocked at 4.39, a 4.29 in the shuttle and 38.3 inch jump.
— AJ Dillon™ (@ajdillon7) May 4, 2016
He also announced exciting news on May 11 his nomination to play in th 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Blessed to be nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2017! pic.twitter.com/LrsBYqyXZg
— AJ Dillon™ (@ajdillon7) May 11, 2016
I was able to catch up with AJ over the weekend about his recruitment process and how Michigan was the perfect fit.
Ann Arbor and Campus
Not being from the state or region, I asked what he thought of Ann Arbor and Michigan’s campus. “Besides the world class academics and athletics the atmosphere, everyone from the players to the staff to the people walking downtown has a sense of pride and contagious belief in the program.”
The Program and Coaches
Dillon is very familiar with Don Brown and his success at Boston College. I asked about the Michigan coaching staff and who helped him get a better feel for the program during his recruitment. “Coach Don Brown I’ve known for awhile and we’ve built a very strong relationship. He is the coach I talk to most constantly along with Coach Partridge and Coach Wheatley.”
First Experience in The Big House
The Big House creates an amazing atmosphere with one of the largest crowds in college football. Every recruit evaluating schools will try to get a feel and fit not only with the team and coaches, but also the game day experience. When asked about his thoughts on the first time in the The Big House he said, “I was in awe, I imagined myself running out of the tunnel and into a packed stadium and the idea was just surreal! Looking forward to catching a game in person.”
How did you decide Michigan?
Virginia, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, sand Florida State were the other top schools Dillon was most interested in during his recruiting process. I asked how he ended up picking Michigan. He put it very simple saying, “The three A’s – Academics, Athletics, and Atmosphere.”
Academic Goals at Michigan
As a student-athlete attending one of the top rated academic universities in America, I asked what he is thinking about studying. He has a few ideas with plenty of time saying, “Most likely major in communications and minor in political science, and start to angle toward the journalism field.”
What excites you most about playing at Michigan?
As many would say in his position with an opportunity of playing at Michigan, when asked what he’s most excited about said, “Playing in The Big House.”
Michigan is gaining an outstanding athlete with a very bright future wearing the winged helmet starting in the 2017 season.