Koger eager to play for Rodriguez at Michigan


Don't count Kevin Koger as one of the University of Michigan recruits waffling on his verbal commitment to the Wolverines next season.

The Whitmer senior tight end/defensive end said he was "excited" when Rich Rodriguez was named the football coach at Michigan last month.

Koger said he has spoken with Rodriguez "a couple times" since his hiring and is already familiar with him after taking an unofficial visit to West Virginia during his junior year.

"It's a good situation for me," Koger said yesterday at Whitmer before departing with his basketball teammates to take on Libbey last night. "I went down there last year, and I met [Rodriguez]. He seemed like a pretty cool dude."

The Panthers also ran a comparable offensive scheme to Rodriguez's no-huddle spread option this season after Whitmer coach Joe Palka attended a coaches clinic at West Virginia last spring.

The two systems aren't carbon copies of each other, Palka said, but they are alike enough that Koger should at least be somewhat familiar with Rodriguez's offensive philosophy next season.

Koger (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) envisions himself contributing as a slot receiver with the Wolverines but also said he's open to whatever the coaching staff at Michigan has in store for him.

"I feel like I can play in the slot because I did it a lot here," Koger said.

"If [Rodriguez] wants to put me in a regular tight end position, I'll be fine there too. Wherever he wants to put me is cool with me."

Koger may also wind up on defense for the Wolverines. He is currently rated as the 107th-best defensive end nationally by ESPN.com's RecruitTracker after earning All-Ohio first team honors at the position in 2007.

"Kevin can play on either side of the ball," Palka said. "His ability to play won't be the issue. The issue is, how is the new offense going to involve him? That's really what he needs to be convinced about and what he needs to make sure he's done his research on, that he feels comfortable in whatever scheme that Michigan runs."

While he hasn't taken his official visit at Michigan yet, Koger said he plans to do so before signing day on Feb. 6 and that will allow him a better opportunity to forecast his role at Michigan.

He also said no other schools have contacted him about the possibility of backing out of his oral agreement since Rodriguez's hiring on Dec. 14, although Michigan State did reach out to him in the fall after he chose Michigan over Ohio State.

Like many of the Michigan recruits, Koger said it was tough being in the dark during the Wolverines' coaching search, and now that he knows it will be a familiar face coaching him in the fall, he can't wait for football season.

"I'm looking forward to just being there," Koger said. "It's been a dream of mine for a while."

Contact Zach Silka at: zsilka@theblade.com.