Gilman offensive tackle Devery Hamilton, a four-star prospect, discusses his commitment to play football at Michigan. (Katherine Dunn, Baltimore Sun video)
Gilman's Devery Hamilton has played just eight games at offensive tackle, but his skills and his 6-foot-7, 285-pound frame stood out enough to draw offers from several national powers. On Wednesday, he announced his commitment to Michigan.
Hamilton, who converted from defensive end/tight end to offensive tackle last season, chose the Wolverines over Maryland and Stanford.
"Coach [Jim] Harbaugh's a quirky guy but in a good way, so his approach to the game of football seems much different than other people and it seems like it works," Hamilton said. "You see his success with the 49ers and back at Stanford. I like the different approach that he took."
Hamilton said he made his decision Tuesday night after talking with his parents and some of the Gilman coaches. He called Harbaugh on Wednesday afternoon before he made his announcement.
"I was looking at the business school when I was up there for my last visit. I met with some of the professors in the business school. I toured the business school. I also did a tour of the hospital, because I'm thinking between business and biology [as a major]," said Hamilton, who has a 3.5 GPA.
He took his latest visit to Ann Arbor a month ago, but he was also there last fall when Michigan played Maryland.
"It's a great football tradition," he said. "There's a lot of history behind their football program. They've got the Big House, great crowds."
Hamilton is a four-star prospect rated the No. 12 overall player in Maryland and the No. 26 offensive lineman in the country, according to the recruiting website Rivals.com.
Gilman coach Biff Poggi said Hamilton drew a lot of recruiting attention for play at defensive end, but that his skills translate well to the offensive line and he has a huge upside.
"He's a big guy and a young guy and he'll get his feet acclimated," Poggi said. "He has a very high ceiling. He has very good athletic ability, but he's still just a puppy. When you look at his potential, what these schools see is he's a guy who's going to be 6-8 and 300-whatever and he's a like a ballerina on his feet. He's going to do real well there."
Hamilton said he wasn't too sure at first about converting to offensive tackle. As a sophomore, he said, the coaches wanted to get him on the field so he played defensive end. Last season, he started at tight end, too, but when a teammate got hurt, he moved inside.
"At first I was skeptical about the change, because I was still playing defense," Hamilton said. "So it was really a toss up — do I like defense more or do I like offense more? And I liked playing tight end because I could show my athleticism. But after a couple games and really getting my foothold at playing left tackle, I really started to enjoy it and now I do really love playing offensive line, playing left tackle.
"There's a lot of things at offensive line that you can do that don't happen anywhere else on the football field. Just the battles that go on every single play. You know you're always going to have contact on every single play at the snap of the ball and that's something I really enjoy."
Hamilton, who said he was thankful for the support of his parents and all his Gilman coaches, will join Henry Poggi, coach Biff Poggi's son, in Ann Arbor. Henry Poggi, a defensive end, will be a senior when Hamilton arrives.
Although he's happy to have a familiar face on the team, Hamilton said it did not sway his commitment.
"I've always said that I can't make my decision based on what somebody else's decision is, but now that I've made my decision it definitely is nice to know that Henry will be up there a couple more years, so that I know somebody when I come in. Obviously, I'll know the recruits in my class. I'll be in contact with them. But having a guy to look up to that I know personally, that'll be good and I'm sure Coach Poggi will be by to see games."