He’s been here just more than a month.
But it didn’t take star recruit Ryan Mallett that long to figure out the difference between high school and college.
“(It’s hard) just learning how to adjust to the time,” Mallett said. “At home, you just sit around on the couch. When you’re at school, you have to study. It’s just an adjustment on how to use your free time.”
The five-star quarterback recruit graduated a semester early from Texarkana (Texas) High School and enrolled in classes for the winter semester. He joins fellow early-enrollees Vince Helmuth, Artis Chambers and junior college transfer Austin Panter on campus this winter.
The highly touted quarterback hopes to use the extra semester on campus not only to adjust to the demands of the classroom, but also to the rigors of Michigan football.
So far, Mallett has been working out with strength and conditioning coach Mike Gittleson. Though he has participated in the team’s winter workouts, he hasn’t seen the practice field or the playbook yet.
For the transplanted Texan, one of the toughest aspects of the move has been homesickness. Rumors already started swirling on the Internet that he was planning on transferring to Alabama or Arkansas.
But Mallett has no plans to leave the sub-zero Ann Arbor climate, even though he did confess “it’s a little chilly” for him.
“Everybody gets homesick,” Mallett said. “I heard a couple of those (rumors), and I just kinda laughed. I talk to some of my friends like every night and my parents.”
Mallett has drawn a considerable amount of hype, especially following his performance in the Army All-American game. But most of the talk of the Michigan recruiting season has been the loss of five-star cornerback Ronald Johnson to Southern Cal and four-star safety Jerimy Finch to Florida.
Asked if he ever considered pulling out of his commitment to the Wolverines, Mallett’s answer was simple.
Since he committed to Michigan early in the recruiting process, Mallett said he never felt any pressure from home to go anywhere else.
He also added that once he committed to Michigan, other schools stopped calling.
Despite battling a new environment and cold weather, Mallett arrives on campus with a promising future.
With starting quarterback Chad Henne entering his final season as a Wolverine, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has made it clear that Mallett won’t redshirt this season. And the freshman seems fine with that.
“It wasn’t my decision,” Mallett said. “If they need me to play, then I’ll play. If they want me to redshirt, then I’ll redshirt.”
Even with Henne entrenched as the team’s starter, Mallett has already made a name for himself with his arm strength.
Before he arrived on campus, rumors floated around that the second-rated quarterback in the 2007 class according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com could heave the ball 80 yards on the fly.
Asked how far he could actually heave it, Mallett hesitated before answering modestly.
“I can throw it a pretty good distance,” Mallett said.
When prodded a little further, he finally put a numerical value on his arm.
“(I can throw it) pretty far out there, probably about 50 (yards),” Mallett said with a laugh. “That’s all I got.”