Michigan Football Recruiting: 4-Star OT Mason Cole Is Warm for the Wolverines

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIFebruary 21, 2013

Tarpon Springs (Fla.) 4-star OT Mason Cole plans to visit Michigan this weekend (Photo: MGoFish)
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) 4-star OT Mason Cole plans to visit Michigan this weekend (Photo: MGoFish)

Michigan Wolverines football coach Brady Hoke has enough to deal with on the recruiting trail.

Battling it out with other programs for the high-end prep prospects is difficult enough when guys like Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer have designs on landing the same target. 

However, weather and location also have a great deal to do with where the next high-profile high school star chooses to play college ball, and with Ann Arbor smack in the middle of one the nation's coldest states, Hoke also contends with the elements. 

The sunny coasts of California and Florida or the heat of Alabama and Georgia can impact a youngster's decision, when it comes down to picking a program like Michigan or one located in a state with a more comfortable climate. 

Freeze all year in the Big Ten, or enjoy the luxury of wearing shorts and T-shirts on a nearly year-round basis?

Yes, a verbal commitment and signing of a national letter of intent can boil down to those factors, believe it or not. 

Hoke has his sights set on 4-star rated 2014 offensive tackle Mason Cole (East Lake High, Tarpon Springs, Fla.), a 6'5", 275-pound junior with a laundry list of offers from teams in the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC—Florida, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and USC are just a few of the programs looking to secure Cole's services. 

Is Michigan's history enough to land Cole? Or will he opt for the sandy beaches of the Sunshine State and the posh California Boy lifestyle that comes with being a part of a program like USC? 

That may not be a particularly difficult choice to make for some, but Cole is a different story. His roots are in the Midwest and he doesn't seem to be fazed by the subzero temperatures, snow and fickle weather patterns that athletes at Michigan face each season. 

Cole is hunting for the team that will best fit his skill set. And judging by a recent interview, he's ready to bundle up if needed. 

Cole has already taken two visits to Ann Arbor, and he plans to return sometime between Feb. 22 and 24, completing a third tour of Wolverines country, according to TheWolverine.com

I've lived in Florida for about nine years now, but I'm from Chicago, about 40 miles west of the city.[Going to the Midwest] plays a pretty big role because I still consider up north home. That's where all my extended family is. We still go up there and visit. 

It's just different. I want change too, to get out of this heat for a little bit. There's nothing like playing football in the middle of fall and having it be 50 degrees. There's nothing like that at all

With weather being a non-issue, Hoke has one aspect of chasing Cole out of the way. But Saban, Meyer and other elite coaches remain in hot pursuit. 

Cole, who has a 0.9628 composite rating from 247Sports piggybacking his 4-star grade from Rivals.com, reportedly has "warmer" interest in Alabama and USC—no bulky winter coat required there. However, according to 247Sports, Cole's temperature isn't ice cold toward the Wolverines, as "warmer" interest is listed for Michigan as well. 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81