The Michigan football program might have missed on wide receiver Drake Harris when he committed to Michigan State a few weeks ago. But during Harris’ recruitment, the Wolverines also set their sights on one of his high school teammates who they’re hoping actually will turn blue.
Tommy Doles (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) was one of the first 2014 offensive linemen to pick up an offer from the Wolverines, and was on their radar way before that.
“I was really excited about it,” Doles said of the offer. “Coming from a school like Michigan, with how much tradition they have in that program, it was just really cool to get that offer.”
The Wolverines have offered 15 offensive linemen, though Doles is the only in-state offer so far. His being so close to Ann Arbor gave the coaches a good chance to see Doles play last season.
“They’ve known Tommy for a while,” Grand Rapids Christian coach Don Fellows said. “Then they had him at camp this summer and they saw he was very coachable, very athletic, a great kid. ... I think those guys are doing a great job of identifying kids that are great football players, but also great people. And Tommy is the kind of kid they want at Michigan.”
With an offer this early, it means Doles stood out off the field for the Wolverines. A 4.0 student at Grand Rapids Christian, he isn’t sure what he wants to study, but he does know that academics will weigh heavily on his decision.
And on the field, Doles matches what the Wolverines have been looking for on the line. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Doles has the potential to be a big bruiser in the trenches.
“What I think makes him stand out the most is his athleticism,” Fellows said. “At tackle, he’s tough and he’s physical, but his athleticism just stands out.”
Fellows said he has never had a high school athlete with the combination of size and athleticism that Doles possesses. He said the only players he has coached who could match Dole in that manner were players at a junior college where Fellows formerly coached.
He said Doles’ athleticism stems from the fact that Doles is still a multisport athlete. Doles also excels in basketball and baseball for Grand Rapids Christian.
“We knew right away that he would be very good, very athletic,” Fellows said. “His play identified him as a big-time kid.”
And though he has just one offer so far, Doles offer numbers should increase through his junior season. During this offseason, other than his camp visit to Ann Arbor, he also camped at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Notre Dame.
But it’s still early in the process, especially for a lineman, so he doesn’t expect to make a decision too soon.
“The schedule that they have, the recruiting class they have coming in, the coaches that they have, it would be a great place to play football,” Doles said of Michigan. “But I don’t have a timeline for my commitment. I’m not going to drag it out, but I’m going to take my time figuring out what it is I want to do.”