Michigan recruit Chris Wormley gets early NFL lessons from defensive coordinator Greg Mattison
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
For all the talk about Brady Hoke's ability to recruit, Greg Mattison has been just as key in helping to secure the Michigan football team's lauded class.
How many other recruiters can sit down with a prospect and watch an NFL game that features players he was coaching a year ago?
That kind of credibility helped the Wolverines snag Chris Wormley, a four-star defensive end from Toledo, Ohio.
Even though he's a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Mattison, who was the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator before taking the same position last year at Michigan, visited Wormley on Sunday. Together, they watched the AFC championship game between the Ravens and New England Patriots.
The Ravens still feature several prominent defensive linemen whom Mattison coached, including rush end Terrell Suggs and tackle Haloti Ngata.
"He was acting all cool and everything," Wormley said, laughing. "I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but you have to kind of put on the Ravens fan mask when he shows up.
"He was showing me the different fronts and movements and what they were doing against the spread or running the ball. It was pretty cool."
Wormley is the 21st-best end in the country, according to Scout. He starred at Whitmer High School, which also produced former Wolverines tight end Kevin Koger.
The pair first met each other at a basketball camp when Wormley was in the fifth or sixth grade. Koger, who was an instructor at the camp, later became Wormley's player host for his on-campus visit for the Notre Dame game last season.
Wormley's finalists came down to Michigan and Ohio State from a group that included half the Big Ten's schools and Auburn, among others. He said he chose the Wolverines, in part, because of his comfort level with the coaching staff.
He verbally committed to Michigan on July 31, and said he plans to fax in his letter of intent Wednesday, the first day of the winter signing period.
"I liked the way (the coaches) were around me," Wormley said. "They made me feel very comfortable. Other recruiters were a little too -- how do you say it? -- a little forceful with me. But they were laid back, took their time in getting through to me."
He said Hoke was his primary recruiter, as well as recruiting coordinator Chris Singletary.
"Coach Hoke was always cracking jokes with me, which made me feel right at home," Wormley added. "It was great spending time with him."
Wormley said he also chose the Wolverines because of the strength of their defensive line class.
Michigan has a verbal commitment from Ondre Pipkins, a five-star tackle from Kansas City (by way of Saginaw) who is Michigan's top 2012 recruit, according to Rivals. The class also features four-star ends Tom Strobel of Mentor, Ohio, and Mario Ojemudia of Farmington Hills Harrison, as well as three-star tackle Matt Godin of Detroit Catholic Central.
It's the second-best defensive line class in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State.
The Wolverines needed it, too, after losing starters Mike Martin, Will Heininger and Ryan Van Bergen to graduation. Pipkins is considered to be an early leader to earn playing time next season, but Wormley also could factor into the rotation.
"He has a great size and speed combo," Scout Midwest recruiting expert Allen Trieu said. "He runs track at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, which is unusual, to say the least. Very physically talented.
"I think the biggest thing with him will be, is he an inside or an outside guy? I think he ends up as a combo guy, a la Ryan Van Bergen. I think he just needs to be consistent, but he has elite tools."