John Michael Fryback and Pat Maizy stood outside the doors of Schembechler Hall Friday afternoon, jumping up and down and giving high-fives.

Patti Behler
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez (left) looked on as one of 65 potential walk-ons received a pass from wide receivers coach Tony Dews (right). (Rodrigo Gaya/Daily)

They stopped momentarily to take cell phone pictures of the list of 12 students that had been asked back after Thursday’s open tryout for the Michigan football team.

Fryback and Maizy’s whooping and hollering could be heard from the lobby – through two sets of doors – where receptionist Kelly Vaughn sat waiting for the 12 potential Wolverines to file in throughout the day.

Vaughn, who skipped her lunch period to make sure she didn’t miss any of the day’s excitement, waited patiently to give them a packet of information about the next step in the tryout process.

But to Vaughn’s surprise, Fryback and Maizy, having not made the team themselves, walked back down the steps towards State Street. Their over-the-top celebration was for two friends, sophomores Ben Sutton and Mike Fish.

Fish and Sutton went to look at the list minutes later, uninformed by their friends of the news awaiting them.

“Our friends kept it a secret from us,” Sutton said. “When we got there, I literally didn’t see my name on the list. I saw Mike’s right away, but it wasn’t until he said, ‘you’re on the list, too,’ that I knew. I’m still in shock about it.”

The two met last year while living on the same hall in West Quad and have been friends since. Fish, a safety, has unsuccessfully tried out for the football team in the past, and Sutton, who played football in high school, decided to tag along Thursday because Rodriguez’s tryout was open to the public.

Sutton, who has stayed in shape since coming to school by boxing on the club team, immediately caught the eye of running backs coach Fred Jackson. After Thursday’s tryout, Jackson pulled Sutton aside to briefly congratulate the Long Island, native and take down his number.

But even with the high praise from Jackson, Sutton, who tried out as a running back, said he was shocked to see his name on the list.

“However it turned out, I knew this was a great experience,” Sutton said. “But this is just a dream come true.”

All 12 walk-ons went in for a physical with the team doctors yesterday after which they were assigned lockers and cleats. They will participate in a workout with strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis this afternoon from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The coaching staff hasn’t given the walk-ons an idea of what the training sessions will entail, but Barwis is known for his strict regimens.

“(He) kind of reminds me of my high school coach,” Sutton said. “He’s always yelling at people. So, I’m not really nervous to work with him, just excited for the opportunity.”

If the walk-ons survive Barwis’s programs, they’ll be invited back for spring practice – and that’s when they’ll really have the chance to impress the coaching staff.

“Come spring practices, we find out who wants to hit somebody,” linebackers coach Jay Hopson said after the tryout. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

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