January 19, 2009

Gallon takes Ann Arbor's temp

A native Floridian popping in on Ann Arbor over the past couple of weeks might find himself coming to grips with certain cold, hard realities. U-M commitment Jeremy Gallon got chills down his spine when he walked into a snow-blanketed Michigan Stadium over the weekend - but what kind?

No worries for Michigan fans. Gallon had never so much as seen a snowflake prior to his official visit. Nor had he taken stock of Ann Arbor, committing well before actually casting his eyes on the place.

He finally saw it all over the weekend. The temperatures flirting with zero didn't cool his enthusiasm. Michigan's coaches assured him the deep freeze isn't always this deep, but Gallon waved off any concerns about mercury-related first impressions.

"They told me, but I kind of enjoyed it, being that it was the first time I'd seen it," he said. "We went to the basketball game, hung out, had a couple of snowball fights. The cold didn't bother me at all."

He'd based his commitment on the warm feeling he'd gotten about Michigan from talking to its coaches and hearing about its academics, family feel, etc. Matter of fact, U-M quarterbacks coach Rod Smith never mentioned football when talking up the school to him, making him feel less like a cog in a machine than an individual joining an elite corps.

He liked that. It stuck with him. When he experienced Ann Arbor for himself, he wasn't disappointed.

"It was true," he offered. "It was true what they were saying about the school, about the teammates, and everything. They answered all my questions. Everything I was wondering about has been answered."

A good feeling about future teammates began with quarterback Steven Threet, wide receiver Greg Mathews and slot receiver Terrance Robinson, his host. Those three in particular made an impression, and the opportunity to see Michigan's Stephen M. Ross Academic Center also jumped out.

"The campus was the main thing I really liked - the academic center they have, all of the stuff they've got going on up there," Gallon said. "It's kind of amazing."

Gallon also struck up a friendship with Philadelphia Northeast wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes, who was on his official visit. An explosive passing-catching threat, Stokes found he has plenty in common with an incoming playmaker at the slot position.

"I think he kind of liked it," Gallon assessed. "I'm kind of hoping he'll come up here. I think he might. We talked while riding around, we talked at the coach's house. We kind of clicked."

Gallon's definitely coming, giving Michigan another potent option at receiver and potentially on kick and punt returns. He'll enjoy the warmth when he arrives again in early summer, but came away anything but chilled on his introduction to Ann Arbor.

"Just meeting the coaches' families, seeing how caring they are and how fun it is, how the teammates stick together - that was the best," Gallon said. "It gave me a good feeling.

"I told them that when I was leaving. I told them I can't wait to get back up here."

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