Not all of us like the phrase “Michigan man,” but it is something Branham embodies. Something that has been with him his whole life, and something he is proud to say.
“(My decision) was more than football for me. I wanted to be a Michigan man,” he told Maize n Brew.
Branham has been a lifelong fan of the maize and blue. His favorite Wolverine growing up was Denard Robinson. Branham grew up watching Michigan football at one of its lowest points in the history of the program, but he never wavered his affection for the Wolverines.
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, you would think he would be all about the scarlet and gray, but that just isn’t the case. Going to the same high school as Trey Burke may have had something to do with his fondness for the Wolverines.
But a bigger reason for that fondness was his grandfather — a World War II veteran who is unfortunately no longer with us.
“He didn’t have a huge impact on my commitment, but I wished he was here,” Branham said. “He and my dad’s work ethic was passed down to my brother and me.”
The work ethic Branham possesses is incredible for someone his age. He catches 200 footballs a day from a machine that sends footballs flying 45 miles per hour straight at him. He has been doing that routinely for one year, which goes to show how serious he is about constantly getting better.
A wide receiver by trade, Branham has also done work in the return game. The first play in the highlight tape below is a 90-yard return for a touchdown. The kid has speed, hands and the moves necessary to be a stud receiver and play-maker.
Despite his love for the game and solid play-making skills, Branham is still focused on making his family proud and representing the maize and blue the right way.
“Football is a large part of me wanting to go to Michigan, but the major part is being a Michigan man and an alumni,” Branham said. “You can be too old to play sports but you can never be too old to be a Michigan man.”
Simply said, this kid lives, breathes and loves Michigan. Not just the football program, but the university, too. So much so that one of his goals at U-M — other than winning Big Ten and National Championships — is to earn his degree.
“(Michigan) is one of the top colleges in the nation. That degree is worth a lot,” he said.
Branham isn’t sure what he wants to study — he recognizes he “has plenty of time” to decide on a course of study — but he said enjoys engineering and financing.
He is also unsure when he will return to Ann Arbor for a visit because of his tight summer schedule of running track. But one thing he is sure of is he plans on signing his letter on intent during the early signing period in December 2020.
So with all this love for the sport and the university, what can fans expect from Branham when his time in Ann Arbor comes?
“To uphold the character of a Michigan man,” he said.
After talking with this kid, I wouldn’t have expected anything less.