Three future Wolverines took the field for the last time as high school athletes in last weekend’s Kentucky high school all-star game. James McKinney, Cory Zirbel, and Brandon Logan each helped their squad down the all-stars from Tennessee 41-27. The opportunity play in the hotly contested game was rewarding to all three players, but the week of practice was even more so.
“The week was good man,” McKinney said afterward. “The first time playing with Brandon and Zirb and all of the other top guys was a real good experience. It’s hard to build team rapport when you only have a week to play. We did a good job bonding though. It was like my first college experience away from home…being away from home and being with new players. It was a real good experience. I loved it.”
All three young men took his fair share of ribbing from the other Kentucky players about leaving the state, but they all took it in stride. To a man, each said that the choice to go to Michigan is one which they never questioned. “My brother wanted me to come to Kentucky with him,” Logan said. “It would have been nice to go there and play with him, but I felt I had to go my separate way. Michigan is an awesome program and a great school.”
Logan and McKinney traveled to Ann Arbor after the game to start informal workouts with the team. Both players will be looking for early playing time. For McKinney, though, where he’ll be lining up is still in question. "I don’t know what I’m going to be at Michigan,” McKinney said. “I’m just going to be a player. I am going to play football. The main thing is I want to get in there and help the team as much as I can. I’ll play waterboy if I need to. I’m going up there to get acclimated with the players and learn the plays. I’m going to be #44. I’m going to play a little goal line tight end too. I’m just going to try to go up there and get use to the players and use to the coaches so I can play early. They say I should be able to play this year. Coach is real high on me. I just have to go up there and get ready mentally for everything they’re going to throw at me at the college level.”
“I’ll most likely play on the weakside,” said Logan. “I think I’ll go right in and play. I’ll try to get on special teams or something.”
Zirbel will be making his way to campus in early July. In the meantime, he continues to utilize Michigan’s workout program in preparation for his first season wearing the winged helmet. “I’ll definitely redshirt my freshman year,” Zirbel said. “I’m about 290-lbs. right now and being a tackle they want me to be about 335. I played at 320 during the season so I just said I have to put the weight on the right way and get bigger stronger at faster. I’ve been working on it for about three months now.”
Be on the lookout for the all star game photo gallery tomorrow.