Joey Velazquez, a 3-star safety/Viper prospect from Columbus, Ohio was originally committed to Ohio State University.
He wasn’t committed to the football team; he was actually preparing to play for the school’s baseball team.
Velazquez never received a football scholarship from OSU. So when Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines came knockin’ to offer him the chance to play both football and baseball, Velazquez didn’t need much convincing.
Velazquez committed to Michigan June 22, which set off a chain reaction of other commitments that week/weekend. The decision was a no-brainer for the kid who grew up surrounded by Buckeye fans.
“The University Of Michigan had everything I was looking for in a university from academics to culture and athletics. I knew that it was the place and the people I needed to be around to ultimately become the person and player that I strive to become,” Velazquez told Maize n Brew.
Velazquez only received other football offers from Indiana, Kent State, Cincinnati and Holy Cross. So what led the Wolverines to offering him a scholarship?
One thing — Velazquez’ potential at Viper. Velazquez is a physical specimen at 6-foot, 205 pounds. He has the frame built for the Viper position, is incredibly smart, and is already close with the defensive coaching staff and Harbaugh.
“The coaches are all great people that are high energy guys, that are very demanding, and you can tell get the most out of everyone,” he said. “Those are the kind of people and coaches that I love being around and playing for!”
The Viper position is something Velazquez is already embracing. So much so, he spent time with current Viper Khaleke Hudson during his visits to Michigan.
“I have been fortunate to talk to (Hudson) both times I was on campus,” he said. “The first time was when I was up for spring practice and I was able to ask him questions when he came off the field in between reps, which was awesome! He’s a great guy to watch him just practice at the tempo and intensity he did was great to see! I plan on soaking up as much knowledge as I can from him. I have so much respect for the way he plays and prepares!”
Speaking of preparing, Velazquez is getting ready to play football and baseball at U-M, all while being a full-time college student. He plans on studying engineering, so he knows he has a challenging road ahead of him.
“I fully understand the challenges of doing all three,” Velazquez said. “I think some of my strengths are I’m very disciplined, goal oriented and a hard worker. I think that comes from years of martial arts. Having said that, I’m coming up next year with clear-cut goal that I’ve already wrote down. I want the team to be great, I want to represent the university and my family with class and I want to become the best Joey Velazquez I can become on and off the field.”
When asked what Michigan fans can expect from him when he officially becomes a Wolverine, he didn’t shy away from giving a well-thought out answer.
“Michigan fans can expect a guy that for four years is going to pour his heart and soul into the university,” Velazquez said. “I come from a big family — I’ve got four brothers and two sisters. I mention that because faith, family and team has been ingrained in me. I refuse to be outworked, I fear nothing, I’m very coachable and I will treat everyone and everybody with the upmost respect! So everything I have, the University Of Michigan will get it in the classroom, on the football field, on the baseball field and in the community! I want to live up to what it means to be a Michigan man!
“I hope I earn (the fans’) respect and we have some legendary moments together! Along with my teammates, I’m looking to build upon the great tradition that Michigan has, and leave it better than we found it!”
Check out some of Joey’s highlights below.