Imagine you’re on an in-home visit. You park your car out front of the house, ring the doorbell and smile as the family of the player you’re recruiting comes to the door. Making sure to wipe your feet on the doormat (clearly enough that they see you doing it but not so obviously they think you want them to see you doing it), you walk inside, shake hands, eat the lasagna — Yes, I would like seconds, please! — and then get down to business.
You pull the recruiting materials out of your bag and explain why your school really is the best place for this family’s son. Then you look up and see a rival coach sitting right across from you.
That was the minefield Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had to tip-toe through last year when he recruited a linebacker by the name of Edward Warinner. A 3-star linebacker out of Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio, Warinner is, obviously, the son of longtime Big Ten offensive line coach Ed Warinner.
The elder Warinner was Minnesota’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator at the time, but prior to that he spent five years on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State, and before that deposited two years as Brian Kelly’s offensive line coach at Notre Dame. Ed has since taken the offensive line job at Michigan, but for that night he was Edward’s dad.
Edward Warinner, the son of Michigan OL coach Ed Warinner, is a freshman LB on Michigan State. Dantonio said the elder Warinner was at his in-home visit. He called it "a little different" having an opposing coach in the room.
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) October 17, 2018
Months after Edward signed with Michigan State, Ed left Minnesota to join Michigan’s staff, turning father and son into Paul Bunyan Trophy rivals.
“It was funny,” Edward Warinner told MLive in April. “I laughed, I mean I was happy. It’s not a big deal. He can do his thing, I do my thing. I committed before he took the job. It’s not weird. He’s my dad, I’m as close with him as I am anybody. I love it, I think it’s fun.”
The younger Warinner has yet to appear in a game according to his Michigan State bio but, assuming Dad stays in maize and blue and Son in green and white, there will come a time when Ed Warinner designs a scheme for his players to block his son.