E.J. Levenberry didn't lack for attention during his visit to Michigan.
Aside from great visits with the Wolverines' coaches and players, the linebacker from Woodbridge (Va.) C.D. Hylton was also embraced by the Michigan fans.
“All the people were screaming “E.J. Come to Michigan,” Levenberry said of his experience at Michigan's spring game. “It was crazy. I felt like a rock star to be honest with you. I also feel like a role model with some of these little kids.”
Levenberry's father, Eric Levenberry, said his son signed 50 to 75 autographs with fans and was asked to be a photographed with some others.
“It was like the whole stadium knew he was and everybody was yelling for him,” the elder Levenberry said. “It was unreal.”
Yet it is still a connection the Levenberrys have with the Michigan coaching staff that could pay dividends. Levenberry Sr., who is a police officer, has long said he likes head coach Brady Hoke's disciplined coaching style.
“The number one draw to Michigan is the coaching staff,” Levenberry Sr. said. “They're regular guys. They're not selling a dream.”
The family atmosphere in a rebuilding program was also impressive. Levenberry Sr. said hundreds of former Wolverine players were in attendance and that the rededication to physical Big 10 football under Hoke in his second season was palpable.
“When you look at that, something must have been good here when these guys take a weekend to come back for a spring game,” Levenberry Sr. said.
Levenberry Sr. said there was no pressure to commit this weekend as his son had hinted he could possibly do. The coaches also preached sincere -- not soft -- commitments.
“They told him 'Take your visits. Don't make a rash decision. We want guys to come to Michigan that want to be at Michigan.'” Levenberry Sr. said.
E.J. Levenberry has planned to announce his decision in August, but that is very tentative.
“To be honest, I don't know,” Levenberry said. “I want to do it in August, but if I'm not ready I might do it at the U.S. Army (All American) Game or later.”
Levenberry confirmed that Michigan is one of the top three schools he is considering, along with Oklahoma and Florida State. Two other schools, Alabama and Southern California, could possibly break into the list of finalists if Levenberry has good visits there. He's planning trips to both schools.
Alabama seemed to back off of Levenberry before Lance Thompson was hired from Tennessee in January to coach the Crimson Tide linebackers. Since, Levenberry has become a prime target.
“They're a good school,” Levenberry said of 'Bama. “ Coach Thompson has been trying to get me to talk to him a lot. It's been a good conversation so far.”
One school that made a strong impression early is Tennessee. Levenberry was duly impressed with a visit to Knoxville. However, since the Vols many assistant coaching changes he hasn't heard from Tennessee at all.
“Once coach (Peter) Sirmon and coach (Justin) Wilcox departed and went to Wisconsin, that's when the mail stopped coming in,” Levenberry Jr. said. “That's just one of those situations. It's a business.”
Perhaps a long shot, Levenberry said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is also trying to get the Tigers in the race. It remains to be seen if they can become finalists -- much less surpass Michigan.