Grand Rapids junior wide receiver Drake Harris (1) runs up field for additional yards during the second half of their MHSAA Division 3 State championship game against the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at Ford Field in Detroit. Grand Rapids Christian won the overtime toss and stopped Orchard Lake setting up a 27 yard field goal for the win, 40-37. (JARRAD HENDERSON/DFP)
(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Before Drake Harris made sure he wanted to commit to Michigan for the 2014 football class, he had to make one stop: Columbus, Ohio.
The Grand Rapids Christian star receiver wanted to compare his two final schools before giving his pledge, as he did to the Wolverines on Sunday.
"It's one of the most storied programs ever and I am from the state of Michigan so a lot of the great players who play in Michigan go to Michigan," he said today on ESPN 100.9 FM out of Midland. "It was coming down to there and Ohio State and I just wanted to go down to check Ohio State out before I made any decisions. I loved it down there, I liked it a lot, and me and coach (Urban) Meyer, I don't have anything bad to say against any of them. At the end of the day, I felt Michigan was the right place for me."
Harris made a number of visits to Ann Arbor in the past month for basketball games and went from OSU on Friday to U-M spring game on Saturday, giving him a comparison.
"Three weeks before I visited this past weekend, I got the feeling Michigan was the place for me," he said. "My whole family, they're all Michigan fans. I grew up going to games and all that. I just knew it was the right place for me. Coach (Brady) Hoke is a great coach and I can't wait for him to coach me once I get to college."
Harris on a few other topics:
• On U-M's strong offensive recruiting: "It factored in a lot. It all starts up front and Michigan they have a great line coming in and they have a great line there right now. That's where it starts in the trenches, they have to be able to block for the quarterback to have time to get me the ball and the other receivers that will be on the team. (Quarterbacks) Shane Morris (in 2013) and Wilton Speight (in 2014), they're both great quarterbacks and Devin (Gardner) being there and getting the extra year of eligibility, that played a big factor because I've been talking to him a lot, I've become good friends with him. He's a great quarterback and even if he does have a good year this year that he'll stay another year with him so I'll be with him my freshman year."
• His favorite restaurant-type place in Ann Arbor: "It's a place called DiBella's. It's a sub place. They're food is awesome. I went there the last time I visited this past weekend."
• The impact of the town: "Ann Arbor's a great town. As soon as I got there to visit my first time, I went a few weekends ago, I fell in love with it. There's a lot of great people around there, they're very welcoming and nice people around that city. It's a great college town, a lot of great places to eat, great places to go and great people around there."
• The impact of U-M hoops team: "It just shows how great Michigan athletics are from any sport. Everything is great there. It shows the fan support they get for every sport. They have great fans, people supporting the teams and that played a big part in it. The Michigan family played a great part, the alumni base all over the country, it's amazing."
• The recruiting process: "It does get stressful at times. It was fun at first but it got really stressful with all the coaches and everything and the media. It's something to be proud of but it's stressful at the same time. With some of the coaches they'd call all the time and I'd lay back on that because I talked to a lot of other recruits and they said they get stressed about that stuff also. It's fun sometimes but it can get stressful. I'm just happy I made my decision."
• His Michigan memories: "Braylon Edwards, I remember him growing up. I never really went to a game when he was playing there but I remember watching him on TV with my dad all the time."
• On a college or pro receiver with a similar game: "I feel like I'm probably similar in some ways as a Larry Fitzgerald-type receiver. People have compared me to him. I have the speed, he's probably about the same height as me and I can stretch the field and can get the ball underneath the defense and make things happen after the catch."
• Impact of spring game at U-M: "It's setting in a little bit. It's crazy growing up watching Michigan football all those years and knowing I'm going to be a part of that, it's amazing, I'm blessed."
• Recruiting others?: "Me, Wilton, Michael (Ferns) and Mason (Cole)... they were a big part of bringing me in. They always were texting me and now I'm a part of them and we're going to bring in more people to our class."
Contact Mark Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.