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Posted on Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan recruit Chris Wormley gets early NFL lessons from defensive coordinator Greg Mattison

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, shown during a Sugar Bowl press conference, watched the AFC championship game with recruit Chris Wormley. The Baltimore Ravens, Mattison's former employer, lost to the New England Patriots.

Melanie Maxwell |

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."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Theo, If you're argument is that Michigan SHOULD cheat to keep up with the Jonses (or Meyers', in this case), I disagree 100%. I want Michigan to win as badly as anyone, but to cheat to do it is not truly winning, imo. Michigan is, and should be, about winning with integrity. They've done it for 100+ years and with Hoke at the helm, have already PROVEN (11-2, anyone?) they can continue to do it. Let Meyer cheat at will make it that much sweeter when Hoke beats him down anyway. That's why Michigan is Michigan. People work to keep up with us, not the other way around. It's GREAT to be a Michigan Wolverine!!!


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

I love Michigan. (But, I'm sorry kids, the math is not very difficult). Standing still = nothing Going backwards = nothing Prince Fielder = World Series Urban Meyer = Crystal All kids care about is flash and sizzle. Meyer will get the buck$ to multiple Crystal Bowls, and (like Tre$$el), he'll cheat to do it. That's just how it is in this day and age. Sorry. (If we don't cheat, we'll forever be stuck in equation #1 or #2).


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Urban did an outstanding job recruiting in a short span at ohio and it is my belief that many of those recruits were more or less star struck. That will wear off as Urban's anxiety will resurface as his ego is challenged when he can't live up to his superman label. Stability is the long term key to success in the Big 10 and our coach Brady Hoke displays that both at present and in his past resume. Brady appears to display a comfort zone which is fine with being a normal damn good football coach and Urban on the other hand has been unfairly labled as a super human football coach and when he loses and can't live up to expectations he falls apart at the seams. I would venture to say the the ohio fans expect to win the Big 10 next year and I will go so far as to bet that the ohio fans expect to be in the championship BCS game by year two. I would also venture to predict that most ohio fans expect Urban to beat Mich. every year from now on. I wonder Urban, are you going to be able to handle the disappointment?


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

you're right. I think one loss to a non-creditable team...and people will begin to wonder. If you read all of the Ohio posts, everyone is already claiming this years National Championship. It will be fun to see them lose as it was 7 times this year!! GO Blue!!


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

I liked the comment Wormley made about our staff not pressuring him like others did. It shows the confidence level our coaches have in what they do and in U-M in general. I love this staff and where the program is headed, it's only gonna get better in recruiting and on the field, Go Blue!!!


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

I live on the border of Toledo in Temperance MI. My wife is a Whitmer high school grad and she has a cousin on the football team. I watched a handful of their games this year and let me just say, this kid is a specimen. Wormly is built more like Suh than say Nick Fairly. Both of these guys are great lineman, but Suh is more explosive because of lower body strength. Wormly is more like 270lbs right now and he has tree trunk legs and a cut upper body. He will be very difficult to red shirt I think.

Terry Star21

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Very nice article.....illustrates the 'family tradition' at Michigan and the patience of working with and not pressuring these young kids for decisions - and YES, it will only get better ! MgoBlueForTiM......setting the standard in college football and beyond


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

I have said it from the start and I will say it again Coach Hoke is a great recruiter and the experienced staff he has assembled also do one heck of a job. This is where it all starts. It does feel good to know this program is in such capable hands. Finally. The addition of this incoming class to this team is going to fill many needs. Lets not forget this is only this staffs second year and they are still playing catch up as far as filling a roster with not only starters but with backups. Its only going to get better each year to come. When a team is filled with experienced starters and underclassmen who have time to mature and learn then you will have a team that will truly contend each year for national championships. You see this is in all the top programs in the country. Go Blue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

So true! It's only been one full year with Coach Hoke and his staff and it feels like Michigan again. I followed Hoke at Ball State and SDSU...I was at the game in AA when he made us all crazy with that Ball State team that pushed us to the edge. I lived in Dan Diego for seven years and that SDSU team was a mess! We would go to th games to see the other team. The job he did with them was as impressive as the one at Ball State. Now...we get him back. Go Blue!


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

6'5, 260 lbs and runs track. Wonder how big he'll be when he starts lifting weights and bulks up?


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

He's probably heavier than that already. If you look at Wormley in pictures or videos, it's pretty clear he has the frame to put on a lot more weight and still be quick/athletic. It's possible that Michigan will move him inside eventually, but we'll have to see on that.