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"I advised him to choose Michigan over Penn State and Michigan State initially," said
Slocum's friend and mentor Will Cooper. "One of the things I really
liked about Michigan was their whole approach to recruiting him. Coach
(Bill) Sheridan, (who was Michigan's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator
at the time) told him, 'we're not promising you anything but a great education,
a helmet, shoulder pads, and we're going to let you compete.' All of
these other schools are telling him everything he wanted to hear. I liked
what Michigan was saying. You're
not going to be special unless you make yourself special."
Slocum was already enamored with the Maize & Blue, and their recruiting
pitch only solidified in his mind the thought that Ann Arbor was the best place
to continue his development. However, when he failed to qualify out of
high school, other programs emerged offering easier paths to college. At
that point many of the people that originally suggested Michigan was the best
place for him began to see things very differently.
"To be honest there were a number of people that told him he should reconsider
(his commitment to Michigan), including myself," Cooper admitted. "He
could have gone to Michigan State or Penn State and just sat out his first
year. Michigan wasn't allowing kids to come in that way. That
was really the push that both Michigan State and Penn State put on at the end
there. They said, 'look, if you commit to Michigan and you don't qualify,
they're not going to take you.' So he had that dangling over his head. I
and some others were telling him that maybe he should reconsider, especially
when it got toward the end of his senior year and it looked like he wasn't
going to qualify. But he made up his own mind. He wanted to go
to Michigan and decided to go to prep school to work toward getting qualified. To
be honest with you, at that time I didn't think it was the best thing for him. Even
after putting himself through all of that, there was still the possibility
of being really disappointed. Now you have to go to prep school, but
what if you don't qualify there?"
Slocum opted to attend Milford Prep in New Berlin, New York. Going that
route prevented him from starting his eligibility clock (players have a five year window to complete there four years of eligibility once they enroll in
college). In his time there, his primary focus was achieving the necessary
standardized test score to get qualified. Despite the persistent opportunities
placed in front of him to attend other schools, the Philly native was unwilling
to compromise on choice to become a Wolverine.
"(Forget) those other schools," Slocum said at the time. "It's
simple as that. [Michigan] is where I want to go. That's where I'm at. That's
how it's going to be. I don't want to go no where else. I knew from the get
go that I could have went anywhere else, have got into school, and been playing.
I didn't want to go that route. I wanted to be a Wolverine and I'm going to
stick to it. As long as they are going to stick with me, I'm going to stick
with them. I'm not cool with going to Michigan State or Penn State. I know
I could go in, but I don't even want to know the situation."
For the rest of this story on Marques Slocum, plus features
on Michigan Hockey, Chad Henne, the greatest finishes in college football
history, and more, check out the next issue of GoBlueWolverine
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