It's the most wonderful time of the year ... in college football recruiting anyways.
We're just over a week away from hat dances, commitment ceremonies with live baby animals (and/or human babies), and multiple year recruitment processes are coming to fruition in bulk, sometimes with a fan base or coaching staff feeling a bit scorn in the process.
Michigan made one last ditch effort this past week in an attempt to change the loyalties of three-star strong-side defensive end, Daishon Neal. Neal's the best player from the state of the Nebraska this recruiting cycle, and accordingly an important commit for the Huskers, whom he'd pledged his loyalty to since this past April.
UM's recruiting brain trust, apparently led by former defensive coordinator-turned-defensive line coach Greg Mattison gave it the ol' college try one last time Monday night, with the results expected to come to light Tuesday as Neal announced his final decision on a local Omaha radio station:
DE Daishon Neal, the top recruit in Nebraska, will stick with the Cornhuskers.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 27, 2015
Daishon Neal's father: "Michigan was a powerhouse, they stormed in hard and tried to get him."— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 27, 2015
Can't win 'em all. Especially when you're the one trying to change the recruiting target's mind as opposed to the coaching staff trying to keep his previous decision solid. But how we got there is where things get interesting, and fast:
Neal's father says Michigan's coaching staff made one mistake, said his son probably wouldn't be able to get into school w/out football— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 27, 2015
Welp. Can't say that. But then things got really good:
At that point, Neal's father told U-M's coaching staff to leave the house -- he was leaning toward U-M, then threw them out of the house— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 27, 2015
That's ... That's not a good look.
Neal: "They basically tried to call me stupid in my own house." ... Apparently Michigan offended the Neal family quite a bit there— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 27, 2015
In fairness, that's just one side of the story, but while the Wolverines and Mattison had no shortage of recruiting victories in his previous several years under then head coach Brady Hoke, they might want to revisit their strategy before they try to win hearts and minds at the eleventh hour next time.
To listen to Neal's entire interview on the subject, just hit play below: