When you're a top recruit being fervently pursued by countless big-time programs, it's easy to sit back, admire yourself and expect to dominate at the next level.
But while former Michigan running back Thomas Wilcher may not have been an elite football recruit when he joined the Wolverines from Detroit Central High School in the early 1980s, what he did to prepare for the next level should resonate for every recruit these days.
Wilcher, who totaled 752 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in his final two seasons at Michigan in the same backfield as Jamie Morris, now coaches at Detroit Cass Tech, which just so happens to be a hot recruiting ground for the Wolverines lately.
Not only were there five Detroit Cass Tech products on last season's Michigan team, 2013 commits David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis and Delano Hill come from the school (labeled as 4-star recruits by 247Sports.com).
Wilcher's advice to players leaving for college is simple: work hard in the offseason.
Wilcher said, via ESPN:
The most important thing is teaching them to compete and stay on top of their training. You can't slack off in the offseason. Now is when you work hard. Don't slack off and go there being nobody. Be somebody.
According to the ESPN report, Wilcher is highly involved in each of his players' daily lives, checking in with their parents and their teachers regularly. It all runs concurrent with his philosophy that you can't let up if you expect to maximize your potential.
Lewis has already gotten the message, reaching out to former Technician and Michigan cornerback Terry Richardson to see what he needs to do to impress Brady Hoke and company moving forward.
More recruits could stand to learn the lessons that Wilcher has been teaching at Detroit Cass Tech. Even the greatest players on the field will tell you that they didn't get there purely on their physical talent. They got there through hard work. It's not a surprise that the best players at any level in any sport oftentimes are the hardest workers, on and off the field.
Over the years, programs have put more of an emphasis on a recruit's character, ensuring that his temperament matches up with his physical gifts. And as we've seen countless times in college football and the NFL, there's a reason for that: some players just don't get it and never maximize their potential.
You can't predict how Detroit Cass Tech products Dawson, Lewis and Hill will perform at the next level, but it's hard to imagine them giving less than 100 percent at Michigan based on Wilcher's coaching.
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