Last week, four-star outside linebacker E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va.) narrowed his list down to three schools and decided he would make his commitment public in mid-August, but those plans were altered on Thursday night, when Rivals.com's Mike Farrell reported Levenberry will make his announcement this Tuesday at 3 p.m.
Currently, Levenberry has Michigan and Florida State atop his list of schools, and they appear to be the last two programs in contention for his services. Oklahoma is also a dark-horse candidate for the Virginia native.
The nation's No. 15 overall prospect and No. 3-ranked player at his position is coming off of a recent trip to Michigan, where he had a chance to tour Ann Arbor with his parents and watch the Wolverines' spring game at The Big House last Saturday.
"They had a whole schedule set up for us," E.J.'s father, Eric, told TheWolverine.com on Tuesday. "We ate breakfast on campus with coach Mattison, coach Montgomery and coach Singletary. They had a whole day for us to meet with the academic people, and show my wife the facilities."
All of this impressed the Levenberry family. However, the treatment E.J. got from Michigan fans blew the elder Levenberry and his wife away, as Eric explained:
I was used to it because we've experienced it before. I'm the one that's been doing all the visits, but I don't think my wife was expecting that. He's a 17-year-old, high-school junior. He's just like any other kid to us. It caught her by surprise, and then all the people that wanted his autograph, and to take pictures. That hasn't happened at any other school. That was phenomenal.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Michigan visit, though, was the colossal number of former players that attended the spring game. At least 50 of them were on hand for the alumni flag-football scrimmage, but the others were there for a meeting with coach Hoke. Eric reflected on this:
One of the big things that stuck out for us is the number of former players that came back for the spring game. That says to us something good is happening at that school. You know if guys didn't like it they wouldn't come back. When you have 400 former players come back for the spring game, that is unbelievable.
That's a family up there. It's a family atmosphere, and it's a family everything up there. Michigan is going to do something special. They're going to play for the national championship in the next four years.
Although Levenberry's trip to Michigan was his most recent one, the C. D. Hylton High School star was equally impressed with Florida State when he took a week-long trip to Tallahassee in early April.
"I just felt so comfortable with everything (t)here from being a student to feeling at home with the players, coaches," the 6'3", 226-pounder told Warchant.com on April 7. "I really like the people (t)here because that's what you want to surround yourself with."
E.J.'s father has stressed that academics are one of the top priorities in his son's decision, and it is for this reason Florida State may hold the upper hand over Michigan in their pursuit of Levenberry, Eric said:
E.J. Levenberry's junior highlight reel.
That's why we're attracted to Michigan because of the academics. However, they don't have his major there, he wants to major in computer forensics. He wants to be a federal agent, FBI, or a federal law enforcement agent. Basically Internet policeman is an area where you'll be a valuable commodity.
With all of the recruiting pitches from both coaches and multiple trips to his top schools, all that is left in the recruitment process for Levenberry is his decision, which he will make at a ceremony at his high school.
Will Levenberry join the Wolverines and be a part of his father's prophecy about Michigan playing for a national title in the coming years, or will he head to the Sunshine State and become a Seminole?
Zach Dirlam is the lead editor of the college-basketball section, as well as Big Ten columnist for the FOX Sports/MSN/YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work. Check out his blog, Dirlam’s Dirty Dugout Sports Blog, which features this story, along with other articles and video reports on major sports.
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