As a Michigan legacy, it wasn’t a matter of “if” Caden Kolesar would be a Wolverine, it was a matter of “how and when.” Those questions were finally answered Tuesday, as the 3-star athlete committed to his dream school.
I caught up with Kolesar to talk about his recruiting process and what it means for him to wear the Maize and Blue.
Kolesar was obviously ecstatic about his opportunity to join the football program, as he’s “been a Michigan fan all my life.”
That’s not hard to imagine considering he’ll be the third generation of Kolesar’s to suit up for the Wolverines. His father, receiver John Kolesar was the hero of the 1985 Ohio State game with a 77-yard game-winning touchdown.
“Since a child, I’ve dreamed of playing football at the University of Michigan and there’s nowhere else I would rather be,” Kolesar said. “My whole family bleeds Maize and Blue and this is so big for them and would’ve been so big for my grandpa.”
He’s especially excited for the direction of the program, saying, “coach Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff have done a great job so far and I’m excited to be apart of it and try to help the program in any way I can.”
Kolesar will be taking a path that hasn’t been utilized much under Harbaugh. He’ll be grayshirting, which means he won’t join the team until the second semester of his freshman year. In doing so, his scholarship will count for the 2020 class, not 2019, where space is getting tight.
Kolesar touched on how the coaches approached this subject with him.
“They waited to see how the numbers worked out. I’ve talked to coach Zordich for a while and it was initially just a preferred walk-on,” Kolesar explained. “To be honest, I don’t really care how or when I received this opportunity, I’m just ready to be a Michigan Wolverine.”
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound athlete has been overlooked by many FBS schools because of his size. Despite that, he has performed exceptionally on the football field, playing on both sides of the ball and earning first-team All-Ohio honors this year as a safety.
There’s been some speculation on what position Kolesar will eventually play at Michigan. Despite being listed as a wide receiver on 247Sports, Kolesar says that won’t be the case.
Since he was in contact with Mike Zordich, I asked him if the secondary was where he’d be initially playing at Michigan. Kolesar affirmed my thought, but left himself open to other possibilities.
“That is what coach Harbaugh said. Safety has been my primary position in high school, but I can play slot receiver also and pretty much anywhere they put me. I also take pride in roles on special teams,” Kolesar said.
Kolesar plays for Ohio powerhouse St. Edward’s, making him teammates with wide receiver commit Quintel Kent and PWO offeree Jordan Castleberry. As I discussed in my interview with Castleberry, the Michigan connection from Kolesar’s father played a part in his strong interest for Michigan.
The younger Kolesar is also working hard and teaming up with Kent to get Castleberry to join them.
“It’ll be great to be teammates with Q(uintel) again. We actually played with each other in sixth grade and played against each other from seventh to eighth,” Kolesar said. “Q and I are definitely getting on Jordan about coming with us. It’d be sweet to have three guys from St. Eds come to Michigan. Kyle Kalis was an Eds grad and so maybe we’ll start a pipeline.”
Considering St. Edward’s has won four state titles since 2010, including this year, that pipeline would not be a bad thing to establish.
Kolesar talked briefly about his experience winning states, the culmination of his third and final season on varsity. He contributed greatly in the title game, tallying nine tackles, a forced fumble and a pass break-up.
“Winning states was amazing,” he said. “All our hard work was validated by winning it all. It felt great to go out on top with this senior class. I loved playing on this 2018 team and playing for St. Eds these past four years. There’s nothing better than bringing the school another state championship.”
Kolesar is clearly eager and determined to make an impact at Michigan once he is able to join the team. Here’s hoping that coming up in the clutch against Ohio State runs in the family.