clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tom Brady was a silent commit to Cal before his Michigan trip

How about that.

New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So, we have a surprising addendum to the Tom Brady Cal story. He was much closer to being a Golden Bear than we realize: He was actually committed to the Bears.

(First, a correction from the original story: Steve Mariucci was not involved in the recruitment of Brady, as he was still in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers at the time.)

Former Cal assistant Denny Schuler contacted us a little while after our original story. Tom Brady had already made his silent verbal to Schuler a few weeks before his Michigan trip, where he eventually flipped to the Bears.

The story would be much more frustrating for Cal readers (I’m sure I’ve told you the timeline of events before) if they knew that Brady actually committed to me and Cal with his parents in a home visit after his official visit to Cal the weekend before.

Schuler was the Cal offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Keith Gilbertson Bears in 1993-95, and was charged with sealing the deal to bring Brady to Berkeley. By all accounts, Schuler thought he had Brady locked up.

Because I felt the commitment was good I reluctantly agreed to allow him (his mother’s request as Tom’s grandfather played at Michigan) to visit Ann Arbor thinking we would be OK, as he had favored us from Day 1. I should have insisted he cancel his scheduled visit to Michigan and call the newspaper to make an unofficial commit to Cal before the official signing date but his mother all but begged me to let Tom make the upcoming visit.

Gilbertson (and Artie Gigantino- his “area recruiter”) were anxious/nervous but I felt we were OK. My “bad", I should have said no more visits and I’m sure we would’ve had Brady.

Schuler has no bigger regret than not pushing Brady to close his recruitment and push off any Michigan trip.

“As the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, I was directly involved in his recruitment. I violated one of the basic tenets of recruiting but as I said I felt comfortable at the time. Once a kid commits he should cancel his remaining visits. It confirms his commitment (to Cal in this case) and does not lead on other schools (Mich) in thinking they were still in it! I was in the Pac-10 for close to 20 years (5 different teams) so this wasn’t my first rodeo but this clearly was my biggest mistake ever!”