Albuquerque, N.M., isn’t exactly the No. 1 stop for college coaches on the recruiting trail. But with blue-chip offensive lineman Alan Branch at Cibola High School, New Mexico has suddenly become a very popular destination.
And it’s for good reason.
Branch is a 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle prospect that already has earned offers from Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, New Mexico, Arizona State and Washington State.
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So what make Branch such a hot commodity?
It’s his combination of blocking skill, size and speed. Branch has been timed as low as 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash and he has an amazing shuttle time of 4.65 seconds. That’s booking for a big guy that’s three bills.
“The coaches say they love my ability to move my feet,” Branch said after returning from the Michigan summer camp on Sunday night. “I’m not also afraid to get after the guy in front of me. It’s my job to kill him.”
And that he does often, which makes him one of the more interesting prospects in the West for the Class of 2004. But who says that he’s going to end up playing for a team from the left coast?
At this point, Branch said that he’s very open to many teams but couldn’t stop talking about the great time that he had at Michigan’s summer camp.
“I didn’t commit, but I had a great time for sure,” he said. “My family had a lot of questions about academics, facilities and the coaches, so it was great to go up there, talk to coach (Lloyd) Carr and get a lot of my questions answered.”
It was the questions about academics that Branch and his family wanted answered the most, he said.
“We wanted to know about what type of support they have for their athletes,” he said. “I think coach Carr did a great job of talking with my parents, telling them about the support staff and how they get their kids to be successes on and off the field.”
But it’s probably a little too early to chalk up the Wolverines as Branch’s top team. He said he’s still going to try to hit Texas A&M’s campus this summer for an unofficial visit and he’s hoping to take some official visits this fall and winter.
“Michigan will definitely be one of my visits,” he said. “But I haven’t thought about too many others. I’ll just see how it plays out.”