ORLANDO — The next football game Drew Singleton attends, he’s going to play, and not just ceremonially.
Singleton was a spectator at Sunday’s Under Armour All-American game, wearing a white Team Highlight No. 52 jersey and hanging out on the sidelines with his team that included Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.) quarterback Tommy DeVito. His recovery from a torn ACL continues.
The last time North Jersey saw Singleton was in his Twitter video when he announced his Michigan commitment.
“If I’m going to heal like a Wolverine, then I’m going to be a Wolverine,” said Singleton at the end of the film.
Singleton smiled when talking about the video, which was shot by Scout and included a heartfelt thanks to his family at the start, and showed him walking through the hallways at Paramus Catholic being asked by his teammates what his choice was going to be. At the end, he entered the school gym and pulled out a Michigan hat.
The Paramus Catholic senior linebacker missed all but one game this season after the injury was diagnosed. Well, all but one game and one play. Singleton took the field for the Paladins’ final play in the Non-Public Group 4 final victory over St. Peter’s Prep.
“I stood next to coach [Dan] Sabella and I kept saying I am going to get a play, I don’t care what you say,” said Singleton. “After that he said, ‘Go in there.’ They didn’t snap the ball, but as long as I was on the field when they won, that’s all that matters.”
It seemed natural that Singleton would attend Michigan, which has gobbled up many of North Jersey’s premier football players in the last three seasons, but Singleton said it wasn’t an easy choice.
“It was close,” Singleton said. “The one thing that Michigan had that was different than everyone else was life after football. I really love the way that the school touches people’s lives, not just in football, but they really put people in position where they become better men and are able to go into the world and make a living.”
Singleton, North Jersey’s top prospect in the Class of 2017, said it came down to Clemson, Michigan State and Alabama. He said having former teammates Rashan Gary, Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty and former Paladins coach Chris Partridge already in Ann Arbor matters, but that’s not what he based his choice on.
“It’s a factor even if I don’t want it to be,” Singleton said. “Those are my guys, but it wasn’t the determining factor. That was just icing on the cake.”
Running out on to the field before the game, Singleton barely showed any signs of his injury, moving easily and quickly and he got a warm hug from DeVito on the sidelines. Singleton said he hasn’t been cleared for contact, but does plan to run spring track for the Paladins when it starts in April. The only thing doctors have told him to avoid is the long jump.
“I am having a good time,” said Singleton. “I am all geared up by Under Armour, my boy Tommy DeVito is here. The Jersey boys are out here. We are just enjoying the moment and loving it all.”