TJ linebacker Winovich picks Michigan over Pitt, Ohio State

Jerry DiPaola
| Saturday, June 1, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson linebacker Chase Winovich made a verbal commitment to Michigan on Saturday for the most basic of reasons:

He wants to win a national championship.

“I have the best shot at winning a national championship there, with the kids they are bringing in,” he said.

“Academically, it's as great or superior than any other BCS program. Athletically, it's competitive in any sport that it undertakes to do.

“You look at some of the people it has produced, and it has produced some great characters.”

Winovich, a three-star prospect by in the Class of 2014, had 21 scholarship offers but recently trimmed his list to Michigan, Ohio State and Pitt. He said he telephoned Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickel with the news.

“Those were two of the toughest conversations I've ever had,” he said. “Rudolph is one of the greatest coaches, most trustworthy coaches I have met through this process. He said he was disappointed in my decision, but he appreciated the call.”

Winovich called Fickel “one of the greatest linebacker coaches in the United States.”

“It's never an easy process, but I had to do what was best for me,” Winovich said.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Winovich said Michigan plans to use him at strongside outside linebacker.

“He's physical, he runs and he finishes plays,” TJ coach Bill Cherpak said. “He has all the tools.”

Pitt has one verbal commitment from the Class of 2014: offensive lineman Connor Hayes of Traverse City, Mich.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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