By Alejandro Zúñiga, Daily Sports Editor
Published June 8, 2014
BALTIMORE — Tyree Kinnel has a message for Alabama and Michigan State, the two schools that have courted the four-star defensive back hardest since he verbally committed to Michigan: He’s not planning on changing his mind.
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“I love the Michigan coaching staff,” Kinnel, who has also fielded heavy attention from Kentucky, Purdue and Ohio State, said Saturday. “We built a great relationship since the start of my freshman year.
“I visit Ann Arbor and I feel at home up there, and I see myself playing there.”
Despite newfound interest from other programs, Kinnel affirmed that he won’t be taking recruiting visits elsewhere. He pledged to the Wolverines last August.
A 6-foot, 190-pound safety from Huber Heights, Ohio, Kinnel is one of more than 100 athletes in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend. The recruits participated in positional drills and one-on-one situations on Saturday and will compete in seven-on-seven scrimmages Sunday.
Kinnel impressed while defending short patterns but was burned deep more than once, which he expected given the level of competition.
“I need to improve on my speed, quickness,” he said. “Found that out a little bit today.”
In his spare time, the Class of 2015 recruit is pitching the Michigan program to other Wolverines targets at the Challenge, including tight end Chris Clark and athlete Jerome Baker.
“They don’t give me too much,” Kinnel said. “It’s kinda tough reading them, not knowing them really well. I’ve been trying my best this weekend to try and get people to Michigan.”
Kinnel expects to visit Ann Arbor with his family next weekend to explore the recently renovated Schembechler Hall. He’ll return later in June for the Barbecue at the Big House, an annual tradition that allows recruits to interact informally with both coaches and each other.
And next fall, he plans on fulfilling his dream of playing at Michigan Stadium no matter what other schools come calling.
“You don’t play in front of that crowd every week unless you’re going to Michigan,” Kinnel said. “I’m going to do what I want to do, and I know my family is going to back me up 100 percent.”