Since I’ve started writing about recruiting, I’ve been focused on the 2013 class. I mean, you can’t blame me...the class is more than half full almost a year before Signing Day, so I’ve been busy! But I did recently get the opportunity to interview one of the top 2012 signees, one I believe will be a very valuable player on the Michigan squad.
Ondre Pipkins, a 5* defensive tackle out of Kansas City, Missouri, headlined Coach Hoke’s 2012 class. He stands 6’3” and 325 pounds and is an absolutely beast at a position of real need for the team. He can bench press 385 pounds and squat 520 pounds. Like I said: beast. In addition to being ranked a 5-star, Pipkins was ranked 14th overall in the nation, 3rd at his position, and 2nd overall from his state according to Rivals. He had offers from all over, including Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, and USC. He chose Michigan for multiple reasons, but Pipkins is also a native of Saginaw, Michigan. His junior season, he had 50 tackles and 3 sacks. His senior season, he had 60 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 3 pass-breakups, and 6 forced fumbles. Crazy. Pipkins was selected to play in the 2012 US Army All-America Bowl. He was also the defensive line MVP at the Ohio State NFTC in the summer of 2011. The first minute and a half of this video taken from Rivals.com shows how truly athletic and incredibly shifty Pipkins is.
Ondre was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
Me: So where’ve you been? The fans wanna know!
Ondre: Lately I’m just focusing on midterms and my last few tests. Working out, trying to get in shape and things like that. I’ll be off [of Twitter] for a little while, hopefully I’ll be back sooner than expected.
Me: What do you think of this 2013 recruiting class so far? Do you think your class is the reason for this crazy fast start?
Man, I mean I think it’s the coaching staff, really. They’re the ones that go into the schools and have to talk to the players. I think it’s a great class they’re putting together, starting with Shane Morris. That’s a big get for us, we’re happy to have them. Also a couple big offensive linemen, now that gets the ball rolling. It’s just a great feeling to know that you got some high-caliber guys coming in ready to challenge you.
Me: If you had a word of advice for the incoming class, what would you say?
I would say, do not take any breaks when football is over. You need to hit the gym ASAP, before you start regretting it!
Me: What are you most looking forward to when you get to campus?
Football-related, I’m looking to go up against the o-linemen and having a big learning experience from them, and learning from the senior class too. Socially, I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting a chance to interact with all the students and the fans and stuff like that, along with my teammates of course.
Me: What’s your favorite thing about the coaching staff in general and Coach Hoke in specific?
The coaching staff is a big family, very family-orientated and even though they all have different personalities, they always give you positive feedback. Coach Hoke, his walk...that walk is just like, he gotta have it. If you ain’t got that walk, you ain’t getting it. His way of recruiting you...I went to the barbecue, he introduced me and he’s like, “This guy’s coming to Michigan, I don’t care what the media says.” And I was even thinking about other schools at the time! He always gives the o-linemen pizza on Fridays. Homemade pizza! The way he says, “This is Michigan” is hilarious. I gotta record it next time he does it!
Me: What do you expect out of the Wolverines in the next few years?
I expect hard work and I’m sure we will all be hard workers. We can reach all heights in college football so I see National Championships and BCS-game championships as well. I do see a lot of success in our future.
Me: Any last words?
THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM!
The love for Michigan that Pipkins has is very clear and frankly, it’s refreshing. This kid loves Michigan and can’t wait to play for his team. His comments about the things he loves about Coach Hoke were also very comical. There’s just too many things he likes! It’s clear Pipkins has a good head on his shoulders, as he’s taking some time away from Twitter to focus on his studies and football. He knows how important it is for him to be ready for next season because he will probably be one of the few true freshman who will play a big role for Michigan.
Ondre said he is going to try to come and visit during the Michigan Spring game to help Shane and Co. recruit the rest of our 2013 class.