The recruiting scenarios were strikingly similar for Jake Butt and Taco Charlton. Both hail from Pickerington Ohio, both, grew up Ohio State fans, and both recently came to the realization that they had fallen in love with Michigan.
“We talked about (committing to Michigan) actually last week,” Butt admitted. “We both won the Buckeye Blue Chip award. The top ten juniors in Ohio win it. We got to sit at the table next to each other and I asked him if he was going to commit. He was like yeah, ‘I’m thinking about it.’ We were both just talking about it.”
“I had kind of known already that I was going to do it. We got (to Michigan) this weekend and the second I got there they had guys waiting out for me, ready to (greet) me. I got to meet Coach Ferrigno the second I got there. We went and explored the facilities, I got to try on a Wolverine jersey, and we got to walk out on the field and see a highlight tape. During the day I got to go in little individual one-on-one meetings with Coach Ferrigno, Coach Borges, and Coach Hoke. That lasted about an hour. I got a lot of one-on-one attention and that was amazing. That sealed it. It just felt like the right time (to commit).”
That red-carpet treatment was merely a continuation of the persistent recruiting effort the Wolverines had been putting in for months.
Said Butt, “Coach Montgomery has definitely been recruiting me hard, always sending me things on Facebook, checking up on me, getting me to call Coach Ferrigno… that’s really big… just the fact that I know I’m wanted there.”
Before offering his pledge the Pickerington North star decided to travel home and mull things over just a little bit more, but that he was close to making his choice was likely evident to all. Even so, that didn’t stop his future coaches from reacting to the news like they had received the surprise of the year.
“I actually told Coach Hoke Coach Borges, and Coach Ferrigno and they were all really excited," Butt stated. “Coach Hoke was down in Florida talking to some boosters for the university, and he just let out a big scream when he heard it. (Laughter) They all said I made their night and they can’t be happier for me. This is really great.”
The addition of this 6-6, 225-pounder to the class helps the Maize & Blue get one step closer to solidifying a position that currently suffers from a glaring lack of depth.
“They said there are only about four guys that they are going to have when I get there so we’re all going to be competing for spots,” Butt explained. “I think that is definitely a sign that I could be playing from day one. They said that I can fit in at both of their tight end positions. They have a y-back and u-back. One is more hand down on the line. The other is kind of off the line a little bit. They said they can use me at both. I’m going to be a guy that can catch a lot of balls at either position and really help their team. They said that I’m the tight end that they’re going to build their program around.”
The Buckeye State star hopes to help with the construction long before he ever sets foot on campus by putting his recruiting cap on. He believes the Wolverines’ recent recruiting roll can help lure additional highly regarded prospects into the fold.
“I feel like you owe it to your university (to recruit other players), so I will definitely be helping Shane out trying to increase the number of four-star recruits and commits,” he said. “What recruit would not want to be a part of this? Big name recruits, top guys committing left and right. They’ve already got Shane Morris in there, so it’s definitely a little bit of an influence.”
With his own recruitment now behind him, most of Butt’s athletic focus will now be on the hardwood where his team has earned a playoff berth. After a strong regular season during which he averaged 20 points and eight rebounds, he was named 1st team all-conference, 1st team all-district, and runner-up for player of the year.