ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Over the past several years, Michigan has formed a strong connection with the Paramus Catholic football program in New Jersey. Starting with the commitments of 2014 recruits Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Michigan entrenched itself as a favorable destination for top recruits on the East coast.
This year, head coach Jim Harbaugh plucked Chris Partridge from the high school ranks at Paramus to join his staff in Ann Arbor. Partridge, the former Paladins head coach, has only strengthened the P.C.-to-A.A. pipeline in his short time as recruiting operations coordinator for the Wolverines.
Along with a handful of other recruits, Paramus Catholic sophomore Bartek Rybka visited Ann Arbor on Sunday for the Barbecue at the Big House, an annual recruiting extravaganza at Michigan. Rybka raved of his first trip to Michigan.
“The visit was amazing,” Rybka told Today’s U. “I expected a lot from it and I got everything I expected and more. Ann Arbor is a beautiful place, if not the most beautiful place that I’ve been to. It was great to spend so much time with coach Harbaugh and coach Partridge.
It’s truly a blessing and I have not had as much fun at another university as I did at Michigan— and I’ve been to a lot of schools. I’ve been to Georgia, Alabama, I’ve been to a lot, and so that was definitely one of my best visits. I loved it. It was really home. Coach Partridge took care of me. Coach Harbaugh definitely made me feel special.”
During the BBQ, Rybka had the chance to interact with other recruits as prospects were divided into teams, each with a different member of the Michigan staff serving as captain. Rybuk landed on defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s team for the Amaizing Quest scavenger hunt around campus.
“I was on the defensive coordinator’s team, coach Durkin,” said Rybka. “To be honest with you, we did great. I think we won the whole thing. It was a little rigged, because we didn’t get one question wrong and we definitely had one of the most creative teachers with the Twitter posts. I thought we won. Coach Durkin did too.”
As Rybka competed, he had the chance to get to know a few other recruits on his team including St. Joseph’s (Mich.) four-star junior defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher. Rybka says Malone-Hatcher may be the next to join in-state tight end Carter Dunaway in the Wolverines’ 2017 class.
“I think me and one of the commits, Corey— well one of the soon-to-be commits, he’s a defensive lineman from Michigan, we were the most creative and we picked out what we thought was cool,” said Rybka. “We did well with the questions.
“I know he’s going to commit.”
Apart from his interest coming from Michigan, Rybka is hearing from all the top programs thanks to an effective prospect management process in place at Paramus.
“Recruiting has been going great,” said Rybka. “I’ve been hearing from every school in the country at some point and right now I’m just trying to focus on the season. I just had an opportunity to go visit coach Partridge at Michigan. Our recruiting coordinator is coach Gavin. He’s great with everything. Every school that is interested, they call him because they can’t call me and he sets everything up. He is a great help and he takes care of our recruiting.
“I have two offers as of now. The first school that offered was Rutgers. That was great to be offered by the school that you grew up watching. It was an offer to be offered by them.”
Once Rutgers offered Rybka a scholarship, the 6’2”, 230-pounder heard from even more schools, including one for the first time that made a quality first impression.
“With Akron’s offer, I was in shock,” said Rybka. “I’ve talked to coach Urban Meyer [at Ohio State], but I had never spoken to coach Clement or anybody at Akron. So when they called coach Gavin to offer me, I was really shocked. I was really excited because it looks like a beautiful place. I have never been to Ohio ever in my life. I plan to visit Ohio State, Akron and maybe one more school.”
The recruiting process is all apart of an offseason that has been quite productive for Rybka as he looks to start on what could be an imposing position group if all goes well this fall.
“I think my offseason has been going great,” said Rybka. “The things I’ve been working on is our defensive line is working as a unit this year. We have a very talented group, especially the defensive line. We could probably be close or even be better than some college’s defensive line. I think our d-line is real good and we are bonding more and more as we work each day and give it our all. We are going to have a great season and hopefully win a national championship this year.”