May 18, 2009

Witty wins state title, improving health and speed

After blowing out his ACL in March 2008, Adrian Witty wasn't able to compete with Deerfield Beach's 4x100-meter relay team. Healthy this spring, he made up for his lost opportunity, running the second leg on the Florida 4A state championship team …

"Our school won it last year so to keep it going when we lost two guys was really cool," said Witty. "I was never a big track guy. I thought it was fun but I never took it too seriously but this year I was really determined to prove myself and prove that we could win it again even without those other guys."

Witty, a cornerback, and fellow 2008 Michigan football signee Denard Robinson, helped Deerfield Beach to a winning time of 40.64 seconds. Juniors Dauntia Dotson and Cassius McDowell also ran legs.

"It was fun because all four of us are buddies and play football together and now we accomplished something else together," said Witty.

The 5-9, 175-pound two-star prospect's success on the track was a good sign. He recovered within six months from the ACL injury, in time to play a good majority of his senior season, but never truly regained his strength. He's still working on his legs, exercising his lower body four days a week while focusing only a few days on his upper body.

"I just want to be in peak condition when I get to Michigan so I have nothing holding me back from competing for playing time," he said. "Every day I feel a little better, a little faster, and I think I can get even faster. I've never worked with a sprint coach and I know Michigan has one so I look forward to changing my form and my technique … sort of starting from scratch."

Witty has lived in Robinson's shadow for most of the past two years and even now remains a bit of an unknown to U-M fans that are counting on an impact from the four-star quarterback but not much from the two-star defensive back. But he holds no animosity towards his teammate and eagerly anticipates making his Michigan debut.

"I'm happy for Denard, happy that he's a star and people want to know all about him," Witty said. "He told me when he was up at the spring game it was crazy with people asking for his autograph, and that's really cool.

"He didn't have the injury so he got to showcase himself the past two years and I didn't have the same chance but Denard always tells me that I'm just as good as he is on the other side of the ball. We're great friends and it's nice to be able to pick each other up. I'm confident in him and he's confident in me."

Witty and Robinson graduate from Deerfield Beach June 3 and expect to arrive in Ann Arbor a week or so later.

"I can't wait. I talk to Coach [Tony] Gibson from time to time and he stays on me about my grades and staying in shape," Witty said. "I'm really looking forward to the next challenge in my life, seeing a bit more of the real world and competing for a starting job."

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