When Jim Harbaugh was hired at Michigan, The Wolverines started to become more of a bigger presence within the west-coast. Mainly due to Harbaugh’s connections out west and experience at the NFL and college level. In the 2016 class, Michigan hauled in three California signees. Just like the 2016 class, Michigan would like to bring in a few more California recruits for the 2017 class. The #1 2017 target they are chasing that is from California is 2017 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (Santa Margarita Catholic) four-star center Brett Neilon.
Michigan is pushing hard for Neilon and looks to be heavily in the nix, however in-state schools like Stanford and USC are also pushing for Neilon. The Wolverines may be able to separate themselves on April 1st and April 2nd when he plans on visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game and junior day.
“I love Michigan, they have all the qualities I am looking for in a school,” Neilon stated. “They are a very storied program with rich history. Huge football and great academics. I will be visiting Michigan on April 1st to April 2nd for the spring game and junior day.”
Neilon has a checklist that he goes through when he visits a school, he calls it the “four a’s.” The four a’s are: academics, athletics, alumni and area; academics being the most important of the list. Well, Michigan checks all the boxes according to Neilon. When he does visit Michigan he will be accompanied by his parents and he will be looking for the four a’s.
“I really want to check out the city of Ann Arbor, I have heard it is a awesome city,” Neilson told me. “Not only, but the atmosphere will be the most important to me and seeing if I fit into the program and what they are building. I know Michigan has amazing alumni, academics and athletics. So, it should be a really fun visit with my family.”
For being such a highly-rated offensive lineman from the west-coast, Michigan is definitely a team that is normally not in heavy consideration. The Wolverines offensive line coach Tim Drevno is a huge factor for Neilon. Drevno’s coaching style, NFL experience and relationship with Neilon has The Wolverines in good position with Neilon.
“We are always in recent contact, he has pushed for me to visit and has recruited me pretty hard. When I worked with Coach Drevno over the summer he had great energy, while also teaching the linemen detailed techniques about the game. He was very honest while recruiting me and when we’ve talked he’s been straightforward and really cool. His ability to put players in the NFL really stands out to me. It shows that he recruits top talent, but also it shows that he knows fundamentals and plays a type of offense that is suitable for the NFL.”
Neilon has a list of top five schools that are standing out as of right now and he plans to visit all of them in the near future. Those schools are Michigan, Stanford, USC, Washington and California. However, Stanford and USC still have not offered, but Neilon has shown a lot of interest in those two.
“My top five as of right now is Stanford, USC, Michigan, Washington and California, in no order. I plan to visit USC on April 26th, Washington on April 29th and California on April 31st. I already took a recent visit to Stanford on March 1st and March 2nd for their junior day. Over the summer, I will be at USC a lot since it’s close to my house.”
A summer commitment from Neilon looks to be the plan for him. If he decides to commit in the summer, it will likely be towards the end of the summer because all of his visits will be over and he will have time to talk it over with his family.
“I won’t make a commitment until after June. I’m going to the USC camp and Stanford, those are two offers I am waiting for. But if I like Michigan then who knows.”
– Shane Kinnee (Senior Editor)