Post-Commitment Reaction: Why 3-star CB Mike Sainristil Flipped from Virginia Tech to Michigan

Isaiah Hole / WolverinesWire

Post-Commitment Reaction: Why 3-star CB Mike Sainristil Flipped from Virginia Tech to Michigan

Football

Post-Commitment Reaction: Why 3-star CB Mike Sainristil Flipped from Virginia Tech to Michigan

Mike Sainristil was satisfied.

He found the school where he wanted to be – Virginia Tech. He committed to join the Hokies on Feb. 10, nearly nine months ago.

Once Everett (Mass.) High School football practices began in the summer, Sainristil said he realized something.

He never gave other programs a chance. 

“That’s why I decided to look at other schools,” Sainristil explained.

One of the first schools to start recruiting him heavy in the summer of 2018 was Michigan. For a kid from Massachusetts, that meant defensive coordinator Don Brown was all over him.

After all, Everett High School is just less than 60 miles from Brown’s hometown of Spencer, Massachusetts.

Due to Michigan’s heavy recruitment of Sainristil, the three-star cornerback decided to take an official visit in June. He kept the trip a secret, and many media outlets respected his choice of silence until 247Sports released the information.

“On my official, I liked it and my family liked it,” Sainristil said.

Sainristil decided to return for Michigan’s annual BBQ at the Big House on July 28th. Again, he enjoyed himself.

Throughout the summer and into the fall, Brown stayed in touch, as did coach Jim Harbaugh and nearly all the recruits in Michigan’s 2019 class.

“Michigan kept communicating and stayed in close connection,” Sainristil said. “They were really interested in me.”

Sainristil decommitted from Virginia Tech on Oct. 22, making it only a matter of time before he officially joined the Wolverines.

In order to make sure his pending commitment was the perfect decision, Sainristil returned to Ann Arbor for the final time – Michigan vs. Penn State on Nov. 3.

“I knew I was leaning toward Michigan, but this weekend topped it off for me,” he said.

Sainristil announced his commitment to Michigan on Nov. 4, 2018.

(Mike Sainristil)

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback, who doubles as a wide receiver, picked Harbaugh and Brown over Virginia Tech, Boston College, Indiana, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Wisconsin.

“You can do this, you can do that,” Sainristil sarcastically said, explaining what other schools told him.

Instead of the same speeches, Michigan took an academic and playing time approach in Sainristil’s recruitment. He plans to major in business and minor in sport management.

“I know there’s a lot of guys leaving Michigan after this year, so there’s going to be a spot in camp season,” he said. “Everyone is going to fight for it.

“There’s a lot I can get out of Michigan.”

To get a head start in the classroom and on the field, Sainristil will enroll early at Michigan. He will sign in December and get on-campus in January 2019, ready to learn and play.

While picking a school is probably the toughest part of the entire process, Sainristil has some figuring out to do.

The issue is Harbaugh wants him at the slot receiver position, but Brown is pleading to play him at nickelback.

“We’ve been talking back-and-forth about what I want to do,” Sainristil said. “I’d do both ways. Coming in as an early enrollee, I’ll be able to learn more and pick up on one side first then the other side.”

mike mccray michigan grad assistant

(Isaiah Hole / WolverinesWire)

Besides Brown and Harbaugh, Michigan graduate assistant coach Mike McCray played a colossal influence on Sainristil.

Just a few days before the start of NFL training camp, McCray announced he was retiring from football after being signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.

“For some time now, I have been playing the game of football for the wrong reason and during this time I sacrificed my happiness and my well being,” McCray wrote on social media.

During McCray’s final season at Michigan in 2017, he recorded 84 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and five sacks. He had two career interceptions, of which both occurred in 2016.

McCray, despite retiring from his own playing career, quickly became involved with Michigan’s football team again as a graduate assistant coach.

“The first time I spoke to him, I talked to him about why he decided to come back to coach so early,” Sainristil said. “He said sometimes not everything goes how you want it.”

The former Michigan linebacker told Sainristil that Michigan is a place to fall back on due to its trust, integrity and loyalty. McCray’s words became an important factor in Sainristil’s decision.

“No matter what I do, I’ll have school to fall back on because they care (at Michigan),” Sainristil said.

Others to help bring Sainristil to Michigan include nearly all of the 2019 commits, specifically Joey Velazquez, Cade McNamara, Christopher Hinton, DJ Turner, Giles Jackson, Erick All, George Johnson, Quinten Johnson and Charles Turner.

“We all talk,” Sainristil added. “They did a good job recruiting me and trying to get me to consider Michigan. It was a fair share for all of them.”

Sainristil is ranked No. 678 in the 2019 class, No. 62 at cornerback and No. 1 in Massachusetts, according to 247Sports Composite.

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