Somehow this post was saved as a draft and never published. The story is somewhat old at this point but here it is nonetheless with some updates.
Michigan commit Shane Morris was always out in public and was trying to recruit players to join him at Michigan. He set the standard for leadership for future recruits, and their job of trying to get talent to come with them to the school they are committed too. He’s passed the position onto 2014 commits LB Michael Ferns and QB Wilton Speight. Ferns has apparently taken the position with serious enthusiasm and has shown he is a leader.
To put it simply, this is genius. Having commits actively selling the program is massive. Coaches will always carry less weight than the recruit’s peers. When your fellow recruit is selling you on the program, it makes it inherently more interesting, and if its one of your friends you will be more inclined to listen to them. Ferns even takes it to the next level by including fans in Twitter giveaways. It is free promotion for the program while it is on the rise; its value can’t be denied.
The best part of the idea though, is it gives the players a feeling of family. You want to get to know the guys you will be spending 4-5 years in college with, and this type of idea will bring everyone together and make them grow closer. It shows that there are leaders in this class, guys who are willing to take up the reigns and will be leaders once they get to Michigan too. This type of idea has never been done before, and it makes everything more personal. It’s exactly what Michigan is all about. It’s not flashy or in your face, but it’s honest and it makes people feel welcome with open arms, bringing across that family atmosphere that has been so publicly talked about. It gives this program massive visibility, and other recruits have already shown they think it’s cool.
Feeling comfortable at a top flight school is going to be huge, and it’s going to change the way recruiting is done for the future. The early commits for 2015 are going to have to continue this type of work to keep the program visibility high. There will be copycats at other schools that follow after this, but nothing can replace being the first to do something like this. Michael Ferns deserves major commendation for what he is doing for 2014, and you know the coaching staff appreciates it. Having a commit sell the program for you voluntarily makes your job that much easier.
Since launching the project, Michigan has picked up the commitment of the 107th player in the country, offensive lineman Mason Cole, who should be a stud. Cole even tweeted out that Speight and Ferns were the biggest recruiters, showing just how much weight they carry. Cole and his teammates Artavis Scott and George Campbell want to pay together, so it’s possible that Michigan could come out with three commits from this most recent commitment. It would appear that Project 135 is already working and quite well at that.