Amauri Pesek-Hickson not signing with Michigan football; prep school offered

Photo: Blue Valley North High School

Amauri Pesek-Hickson not signing with Michigan football; prep school offered

Football

Amauri Pesek-Hickson not signing with Michigan football; prep school offered

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A Michigan football commitment who has verbally been part of Jim Harbaugh’s 2019 recruiting class won’t be signing with the Wolverines on Wednesday as originally planned because of recently altered circumstances.

Amauri Pesek-Hickson, a 3-star athlete from Leawood, Kansas, publicly committed to Michigan back in November and had plans to sign this week on National Signing Day.

He’s now pumping the brakes on that decision after Harbaugh’s request, made in-person last week, that he attend prep school for a year before joining the Wolverines in 2020.

“Because of the scholarship situation, Amauri right now is the odd man out (for 2019). He’s in, but he’s out. What that means is that he basically, to come to Michigan – and this was a conversation we had face-to-face (Wednesday) at Amauri’s basketball game with Coach Harbaugh – was that he wants to use the remaining scholarships for a grad transfer,” Pesek-Hickson’s father, Shermaine Hickson, told the Free Press.

“He wants a defensive lineman, I don’t think that’s a secret. So, instead of Amauri getting a scholarship for 2019, Michigan’s plan is to (for him to) go to prep school for a semester and then reclassify in 2020 and join Michigan for the class of 2020.

Leawood (Kan.) Blue Valley North’s Amauri Pesek-Hickson (Photo: Blue Valley North High School)

“We’re trying to feel this all out and make the most logical decision at the end.”

U-M originally offered Pesek-Hickson in late October and the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder committed to the Wolverines on Nov. 17.

At the time of his pledge, Michigan put a plan in place for Pesek-Hickson – who has scored a 30 on the ACT – to bring his grade-point average up during his fall semester at Blue Valley North to make sure there was no doubt about whether or not he’d be eligible to get into U-M academically.

Pesek-Hickson was under the impression from Michigan that prep school would only be an option if his academic situation wasn’t good enough, his father said.

His overall high school grade-point average was at 2.69 when the fall semester ended, according to his father, and his ACT score is at 30. Pesek-Hickson told Rivals his fall GPA was 3.1. Per U-M admissions, the average ACT score of a student entering Michigan in 2018 was between 31 and 34. Pesek-Hickson is also working on a 4.0 grade-point average during his winter semester at Blue Valley, his father said.

“Amauri had been in contact with (Michigan director of recruiting Matt Dudek after his fall grades came in) and he told Amauri he was good to go for February,” Shermaine Hickson said. “Once his grades came back and Michigan got his grades, Dudek was like ‘he’s good to go.’”

Shermaine Hickson said the next time the family heard from Harbaugh was the day after the NFL draft’s early entry deadline on Jan. 14.

U-M lost four early entrants (Rashan Gary, Devin Bush Jr., David Long, Zach Gentry), but three other (Ben Bredeson, Lavert Hill, Shea Patterson) returned to school for their final year of eligibility. The family had been paying attention to Michigan’s scholarship numbers for weeks, so the timing of the call wasn’t all that surprising.

“We were trying to make sure we were still good. Then right after the (NFL draft early entry deadline), Amauri told us we were going to get a phone call from coach who was going to tell us about the prep school option. So we were kind of prepared for it, but he was kind of hinting around, so we kind of had to let him know ‘hey, we know, we’re watching and paying attention’ not just to Michigan but to other schools because we can kind of read the tea leaves,” Shermaine Hickson said. “We wanted clarity if it was an academic issue or a numbers issue. Because if it was a numbers issue they should’ve told us this in early January. Don’t wait until after the draft deadline and then tell us, because by then most of the schools are out of the picture. Once Michigan sent that offer, all the schools were like ‘we’re out.’

“No one else was recruiting Amauri, everyone dropped out. Iowa State, K-State, Mizzou, Oklahoma – they were all like ‘we’re out, go to Michigan.’”

Last week at Pesek-Hickson’s basketball game, Shermaine Hickson said Harbaugh called a prep school coach and handed him the phone in an effort to get him to commit to that option.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh looks on during warm ups before the Peach Bowl against Florida on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Atlanta. (Photo: Joe Robbins, Getty Images)

The family hasn’t ruled out the prep school option, but is now looking at other spots.

Pesek-Hickson visited Kansas over the weekend and hopes to have a visit with Kansas State finalized soon. His father said he plans to have the entire situation resolved by the end of the month.

“Amauri only thought prep school was an option if he couldn’t get in from a GPA standpoint at Michigan. When you get a 30 on your ACT, you’re pretty much going to school somewhere. Let’s not act like that’s nothing,” Shermaine Hickson said. “But the GPA thing for Michigan, as they made it, was that he had to get his GPA up. We understood that.

“But he did his part in the (fall semester). So we kind of felt internally, you should’ve told us about the number situation in early January and what your plans were. If he wanted a defensive lineman, we would’ve understood that.”

Michigan has not immediately responded to a request for comment for this story.

Contact Nick Baumgardner at nbaumgardn@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.

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