Canes await Michel's announcement Friday; talented RB said he made up his mind, parents will be happy
The last time Hurricanes fans held their breath when one of the country's premier high school running backs to make his college choice on television it was only the beginning of a long, strange winding road to disappointment.
When highly-touted Plantation American Heritage running back Sony Michel makes his decision around 4:45 p.m. on ESPN Friday we could end up down a similar path -- only this time don't expect his mother to run off with his National Letter of Intent.
Michel (5-11, 205) told me face-to-face Wednesday he expects for his parents to be happy with the school he announces for and for his pursuit by college football programs to come to a peaceful, non-dramatic end. Michel, choosing between the Hurricanes, Georgia, Florida State, Notre Dame and Florida, said he's already made up his mind. Friday is just about letting the rest of the world know.
"I went on a visit last weekend and it had me thinking. But last night and the night before I slept on it and had my decision made. [Friday is] going to be a happy day for me and my parents because I can finally make a decision and just celebrate," said Michel, who run circles around upperclassmen since he was an eighth-grade phenom to the tune of 4,819 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career.
"At the end of the day I don't care what anybody else thinks. It's about me and football and where I'm going to be happy."
Even though he won't be signing a National Letter of Intent until National Signing Day in February, Michel said he plans on shutting down his recruitment after Friday's announcement.
While that may not stop schools from recruiting him, he said the whole point of Friday's announcement is to avoid distractions and allow him to keep his focus on the football field this coming season. Heritage has had one of the best programs in Broward County each of the past two seasons, but has knocked out of the state playoffs in the first round. Michel is intent on not letting that happen again.
"I chose to get this out of the way early just so I can focus on the football season," Michel said. "That's the only way I can focus on winning that state championship ring. I don't really care about the whole stats situation. If I only get 200 yards this year I'll be satisfied as long as I got a ring. If I run for 2,000 yards and I don't get a ring I'll feel like I failed as a senior.
"Opening things back up and dragging it out to Signing Day is just not something that's been on my mind. I feel like once I commit I will be a solid commit and stop the recruiting process."
Although UM coaches have been on campus plenty this spring -- speaking to Michel's coach, former Hurricane Mike Rumph -- Georgia is considered the favorite to land Michel according to most experts.
Asked what he likes about the Bulldogs and other finalists Wednesday, Michel said: "What they did there was give both of their freshmen the opportunity to showcase their talents. That's what a player likes to see. They have a great coaching staff."
"Miami has always had a good program, great running back history. They've got a great back there now. Miami has always just been Miami. What they do with the running backs is they showcase the running back a lot.
"Florida changed their offense to pro style and just had a running back go to the NFL. They have a top running back coming in. Florida State also."
While Michel expects Friday's decision to be final, Rumph doesn't.
"To be honest, I just wish he would wait," Rumph said. "Because recruiting never ends until Signing Day. Whoever he picks you know the other guys aren't going to stop coming after him."