GoBlueWolverine talks with Coach Chris Ohm, head football coach of Breck High School in Minneapolis about his star wide receiver Bryce McNeal.
GoBlueWolverine: What type of player is Bryce on and off the field?
Coach Ohm: “He is a very athletic kid who runs track along with basketball, but his true love is football. He is a great route runner, he has tremendous hands. He has posted some nice mid-4's in the 40 with his combine times. Of course, we would like to see him get bigger, faster, and stronger. He is a lead-by-example type of player on the field. As a person, he is a great character person who is very mature for his age, who is very respectful and a role model for the students and players in our program along with the younger kids that look up to him.”
GoBlueWolverine: What were the factors for Bryce to choose Michigan?
Coach Ohm: “His mom and father really were impressed with the campus, the academics, and the support for the student-athletes. We are a college prep school so his family loved the academic support, and his father loves the football tradition at Michigan. He is a Midwestern kid and wanted to stay in the Midwest. He had a chance to see all the schools like Clemson, the Carolina’s, LSU, UCLA, USC, Arizona -- and he said he really liked the Midwest so that helped out in the process. The Michigan coaching staff was huge for him and he felt he fits great in their system. The coaches really made him part of the Michigan family program.”
GoBlueWolverine: How much did his parents have in the decision?
Coach Ohm: “Obviously, Bryce loved Michigan, but his parents were sold on Michigan as well -- especially with the academics and support like we talked about earlier. They really enjoyed their trip to Ann Arbor and really soaked in the entire campus. Not saying the other schools do not offer those things, but Michigan is one of the best places in the country for academics and football.”
GoBlueWolverine: Can you compare him to anybody so Michigan fans can get an idea of what kind of wide receiver Bryce might be at Michigan?
Coach Ohm: “We have had several wide receivers play division one football, but Bryce is special. He is 6’2, 185 pounds, and to try to compare him to somebody that is in your backyard ... it might be a Mario Manningham type player. I know Bryce is a lot bigger, but he has that type of athleticism. He separated himself from what we have our program and what we ever had with his hands, his route running, and how he handles himself. That is really a tough question because I hate to put that type of pressure on Bryce.”
GoBlueWolverine: How do you rank his different skills and abilities?
Coach Ohm: “His hands are legit and I would rank them number one overall, with his route running next, then his speed followed by his strength. He has good speed, but I want him to have that breakaway speed which he is working on, with 4.4 - 4.5 speed right now. If he can keep working on that, he will have that total package. You know how coaches are -- they are never satisfied and they always want more, so we want him to keep working hard. I might be 'dating' myself here, but he has those Lester Hayes type hands without the stickum where we just throw the ball up to him and he always comes down with the ball. It is very rarely that you see the ball hit his hands and see him drop the ball -- it is one of those things where he might hear footsteps or lose concentration, but it's very rare that we see that happen. Also, I forgot to add that his jumping ability is impressive as well. I am not sure what his vertical is, but we can throw that jump ball up to him and we know he will come down with the ball -- and in fact it happened twice last year at the end of the game for him to help win the game.”
GoBlueWolverine: Did Bryce meet any former Michigan players when he visited either time he went to Ann Arbor?
Coach Ohm: “Well yea he actually met, I believe, Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart. They were both working out in the weight room when he happened to visit, and I think that might have put a seed into Bryce’s head that he could be like them someday and might be able to be in a position that they are today.”
GoBlueWolverine: How did Bryce get along with the Michigan coaching staff and his area recruiting coach?
Coach Ohm: “He felt a real connection with the wide receivers coach (Tony Dews) along with the other coaches as well. Even his mother was very impressed with Coach Dews, so that tells you how well the coaches recruited Bryce when you can get the mother to be impressed. To be truthful honest with you Michigan was not recruiting him the hardest, though they were probably somewhere in the middle -- but the quality of the recruiting is what I believe helped them get Bryce, and he was confident in what Michigan was telling him.”
GoBlueWolverine: Is Bryce an early enrollment type of kid?
Coach Ohm: “No, he is going the full year because he wants to enjoy his senior year; plus he will be doing his other sports as well. His parents really want him to take this nice and slow because many kids that leave early seem to put a lot of pressure on themselves, and being away from home that young they might lose a lot of confidence and get down on themselves before their other classmates even arrive on campus. Plus the fact that he is taking college prep courses. He wants to be able to concentrate on his senior year of schooling.”