Jerry Montgomery's departure will impact Michigan on recruiting trail
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison coached the position for 21 years.
Both have a deep, nuanced understanding of defensive line play, and both remain active in coaching the front. Hoke works personally with the nose tackles.
To that end, losing defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery to Oklahoma is not a major blow.
But his loss certainly will be felt on the recruiting trail.
Montgomery was integral to the recruitment of tailback Derrick Green and defensive tackle Henry Poggi, the two highest-rated members of the Wolverines' 2013 class according to Rivals.
He had a hand in six of the 2013 commitments overall: Offensive lineman Jake Butt, defensive lineman Taco Charlton, receiver Jaron Dukes, linebacker Mike McCray, Poggi and Green.
He was the key recruiter for each of Michigan's 2014 commits.
And, looking forward, Montgomery was Michigan's trigger man on several uncommitted prospects for 2014, including defensive end Da'Shawn Hand. The Woodbridge, Va., prospect is the country's No. 1 overall player for 2014, and lists the Wolverines among his five leaders.
"(Montgomery's) going to keep recruiting those guys," Scout recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said. "He has a good relationship with them, and certainly Oklahoma becomes a real player now for those guys.
"He did some great things on the staff with the defensive linemen, but his recruiting loss, based on the kids he's pulled in and the kids he is on now, and the fact he's now recruiting some of those guys to Oklahoma, is big."
Of course, Michigan has a pretty good backup option in Mattison, largely regarded as one of the nation's most effective recruiters. He's expected to take over many of Montgomery's recruitments.
But Montgomery will be missed, especially in the hotbed of Virginia and its surrounding areas. That was his primary territory, and he had built major in-roads the past couple years.
It will take time to rebuild that connection -- one that has produced Michigan's best 2013 prospect in Green, as well as 2014 quarterback Wilton Speight of Richmond, Va.
"He's a younger guy, very personable -- someone the parents really like," Trieu said. "Derrick Green's parents had nothing but good things to say about him. He has experience in the NFL, and all that put together allowed him to be the successful recruiter he is.
It's not uncommon for teams to lose recruits after shedding an assistant coach. But Trieu said he expects Michigan to retain its 2014 commits -- Speight, linebacker Michael Ferns of Ohio and defensive lineman Bryan Mone of Utah.
"I think they'll have to pick up the slack on some of the uncommitted guys like Da'Shawn Hand and (Georgia defensive end) Andrew Williams and some of the defensive linemen. As far as the committed guys, I don't see it being an issue."
The Wolverines, who have not confirmed Montgomery's exit, will look to quickly address the opening. And it's possible they will focus on another position, rather than defensive line, with the hire.
They have Hoke and Mattison, after all.
But there will be a void in their recruiting efforts, and that won't easily be filled.
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