Mason Cole, a 4-star offensive lineman, hails from Tarpon Springs, Fla., but once the 2014 college football season rolls around, he'll be heading north to the state of Michigan.
In a phone interview with Bleacher Report, Cole discussed his expectations for Wolverines football. Like many who have followed Michigan since the arrival of Brady Hoke, Cole set the bar high.
National championship high.
He also discussed the weather, among other things. Here's how it went down.
Bleacher Report: Why did you commit to Michigan?
Mason Cole: I'm originally from Chicago, so there's something about the Midwest and the Big Ten that kind of drew me in. I just felt at home at Michigan. Everything about it. The coaches, the facilities, the academics. There's so much potential there, and in a couple years we'll win a national championship.
B/R: Before you committed, what other programs were you considering?
MC: Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State. Those were the main candidates.
B/R: All good programs. What really made Michigan stand out of that group?
MC: Just the whole package: the academics, the coaches, the potential. It's just going to be great.
B/R: Is the NFL the ultimate goal for you?
MC: Yeah, without a doubt. Not necessarily the NFL, I just want to play football as long as I possibly can. I just love the game, I love everything about it.
B/R: Outside of Ann Arbor, what's the nicest campus that you've visited?
MC: Probably USC or Stanford. There's just so much money in the West Coast.
B/R: For recruits in general, how important is a nice campus?
MC: I mean, yeah. That's where you're going to live for the next four or five years. You don't want to go somewhere where it's gloomy and not nice.
B/R: It's cold up in Michigan. You're from Florida. What are your thoughts about the weather?
MC: I don't know how I'll adjust to it, I think I'll be alright, though. I lived in Chicago until I was nine and all my family still lives up there, so I know how it is when it's cold. I'll be alright.
B/R: Do you like cold weather football?
MC: Without a doubt. There's just something about playing football in late fall.
B/R: What's the Big House like for a recruit who's considering Michigan?
MC: I was there for the Michigan State game and that was the game we won by a field goal at the last second. There's just something about it. There's nowhere else like it, just playing for 114,000 fans every single Saturday. I was there for one game, I couldn't imagine doing it every single Saturday. There's just something special about that place.
B/R: Is it the best atmosphere in college football?
MC: Without a doubt.
B/R: What is it about Coach Hoke that makes him such a great recruiter?
MC: He's so open. A lot of head coaches, you get intimidated by, can't really have a real conversation... just sit there and talk. That's not what I found with Coach Hoke. I like him, the reason is we can sit down and talk, not really about football. We can sit down and start having a normal conversation. He's just so open, so friendly and such a family guy.
B/R: What are your thoughts on Michigan's assistants?
MC: Coach [Jeff] Hecklinski is the one who recruited me, so I talk to him once a week. I talk to Coach [Darrell] Funk once a week, the O-line coach. I stay in good contact with them. I'm excited about working with such great coaches and being around such great guys.
B/R: You mentioned a national championship. What are your expectations for Michigan football during your tenure?
MC: Just like in high school I expect the state championship and the district championship. In college I'm going to work and expect a Big Ten championship and a national championship.
B/R: Michigan has been recruiting the offensive line well. There are some talented guys recruited before you. Are you expecting playing time? How do you think you're going to fit the depth chart?
MC: This past 2013 class, they have bunch of inside guys. They're still talented at tackle. I'm going to play, I'm going to compete. You know, if I don't start, I'm going to soak it in and learn from the older guys. I'm definitely going up to compete.
B/R: Is there any chance that you don't end up with Michigan? What's your status moving forward?
MC: I'm 110 percent committed. It's a firm commitment. Nothing is going to change.
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