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Posted on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

15 notes, quotes and oddities from the Michigan football team's signing day

By Kyle Meinke

The Michigan football team signed 25 recruits last week. A look at some fact, figures, quotes and oddities from the group and their signing day.

1. Going big on defensive linemen
Michigan signed six defensive linemen, a 32-year high. It hadn't signed that many since Bo Schembechler added seven in 1980. By comparison, the Wolverines signed a combined six defensive linemen from 2007-09.

2. Five-star trenches
Michigan nets two five-star linemen (DT Ondre Pipkins, OT Kyle Kalis) for the first time since 2006, when it signed four: offensive linemen Stephen Schilling and Justin Boren and defensive linemen Marques Slocum and Brandon Graham. Schilling and Graham went on to become two of the program's past three NFL draft picks.

3. Unique Ute
Michigan had featured only one player from the state of Utah since 1906 before adding fullback Sione Houma on Wednesday. Houma, of Salt Lake City, is the first native of that state to join the Wolverines since linebacker Jeff Holtry in 1994 (he later transferred to BYU).

4. Signing-day additions
Tailback Dennis Norfleet committed to Michigan shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, making it five consecutive years the program has landed a signing-day prospect. Most notable among them? Some guy named Denard Robinson in 2009.

5. Late add, early play?
Norfleet actually could be last to enter the class, and first to take the field. Hoke indicated the tailback could factor into the return game after Darryl Stonum's dismissal.

6. No couch potato
Offensive tackle Ben Braden said he's never watched a sporting event from start to finish, besides the Michigan games he took in on his recruiting visits. "I just have a short attention span," he said. Strange, but true.


Amara Darboh.

Bill Neibergall | The Des Moines Register

7. African connection
Michigan added two players who were born in Africa, believed to be a program first. Oh, and they both happen to play receiver. Amara Darboh was born in Sierra Leone -- amid a civil war that killed his parents -- and Jehu Chesson hails from neighboring Liberia.

8. We're all good
Coach Brady Hoke, always lending a helping hand to the media: "I know none of you will ask the question, 'Is this a good class?' because it is. We don't try and recruit bad classes. But I've been asked that before, so I was hoping to save anybody an embarrassment."

9. Offensive line's future
Kyle Kalis, Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson each project to play offensive tackle. Of the three, Kalis would be most likely to move to guard, but position coach Darrell Funk said Kalis remains set on playing tackle.

10. Michigan connection
Seven of the state's top-10 players signed with Michigan. Two pledged to Michigan State (including No. 1 Aaron Burbridge, although there's concern he won't qualify academically), and one landed at Tennessee (former Michigan target Danny O'Brien). Running backs coach Fred Jackson is the Wolverines' primary recruiter in the state.

11. Funchess getting closer
Tight end Devin Funchess is a talented pass-catcher, but was considered a long-shot to see the field next year because he weighed just 205 pounds. However, Hoke said the Farmington Hills native already has put on about 15 pounds. Funchess still is less likely than classmate A.J. Williams to see the field in 2012, but he's certainly closer than originally thought.

12. Hoke goes old-school
Hoke procured a top-10 class, and apparently did it without the benefit of modern conveniences such as Facebook, Twitter -- and even email. He told that he does have a joint email account with is wife, Laura, although he doesn't know the password.

13. Love for Ohio
Top defensive line recruit Ondre Pipkins, on facing Ohio State offensive line recruit Kyle Dodson during a radio interview with WTKA: "He ran away from me. That's what they do. They run their mouth, and then when they meet up with the belly of the beast -- I call myself that because I am -- then they want run away. When it comes to reality, they want to run away." Pipkins also said another Buckeyes recruit, Tommy Schutt, "ate turf. Yeah, he ate turf the whole time."

14: Roster outlook
As the roster currently stands, Michigan has 18 scholarships for 2013, two of which have been spoken for by quarterback Shane Morris and safety Dymonte Thomas.

15: Early start
How does Michigan celebrate its 2012 class? By starting on 2013. It already has offered 30 of ESPN's top 100 players, according to Tom VanHaaren, a recruiting analyst for WolverineNation.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Ross Wenk

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

7. African connection Michigan added two players who were born in Africa, believed to be a program first. I believe Tshimanga Biakabutuka was born in Africa. How can you forget him after his performance against ohio in 1995? Or are you saying we've never had two players born in Africa in the same class?


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Pee Wee Pipkins is my hero and hasnt played a down yet.The future look very bright for the Wolverines.

Terry Star21

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Every time I see video/pictures of him, I think; this guys in the NFL - can't wait !


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Hey Kyle and fellow Michigan Men, Check out this blog from a few years ago about Urban Meyer. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Especially the part where then Florida HC Urby &quot;lied&quot; to a Michigan recruit: &quot;He lied to a Michigan recruit about a conversation he had with UM coaches attempting to trick the player into believing the Michigan coaches felt the player would be better off at Florida. The conversation never took place; a clear ethical and moral breech&quot;. Not sure of the blog's accuracy but it is a very worthwhile read that matches our suspicions about Urby. Hoke and staff, keep recruiting the right way, thanks.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

GB &amp; TS, Ditto to both of your posts.

Terry Star21

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

meyer at osu - two and gone, three at best....


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : midnight

This link shoud be sent to everyone in the media.

Terry Star21

Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

1. Going big on defensive linemen; &quot;Michigan signed six defensive linemen, a 32-year high. It hadn't signed that many since Bo Schembechler added seven in 1980. By comparison, the Wolverines signed a combined six defensive linemen from 2007-09&quot;. This explains a lot during the three year nightmare, and give credit to Mattison for the turn around job on D - DEFENSE wins games, enough said. Great tidbit's of info here, great to know the jump start on 2013 recruiting. Although quite a few less scholarships for 2013, I feel we plugged some major holes for the next three/four years - so we should come out fine. It doesn't matter who wins the recruiting wars, just names on paper - what matter's is what's on the scoreboard and we're looking oh so good (and to boot by the way, we have the number one college scoreboard in America) ! MgoBlueForTiM.........looking better every day (if that's possible)...


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

I'm pretty darn sure that the 2013 class has at least 18 MORE scholarships to give out, for a total of 20. It might even be more than that since Michigan didn't give out all the positions available this year, and most likely there will be a couple guys who transfer.

Captain Dave

Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Great job so far. I think we may get a couple of late additions.Colorado high school product Kozan a 4-star to beef up the offensive line at either center or guard and another 2012 big lineman from Michigan named Gibbs who hasn't been offered a scholarship yet. 5- Star wide receiver Diggs is a distant possibility due to his poor academics. He favored Michigan but realized he would have trouble being accepted just like Burbridge that will even have trouble qualifying to get into MSU where he signed LOI.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

I love Andre Pipkins' quote &quot;ate turf. Yeah, he ate turf the whole time.&quot; Here's to Urban Meyer's OSU teams &quot;eating turf&quot; whenever they play us, starting in 2012. Personally, I welcome him and his excellent recruiting classes, because when we beat them everyone will know Michigan is back and that we beat a good team. Go Blue !


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

No doubt the 2012 recruiting class has been a huge success. The biggest bit of info I get from this story is the Michigan has made offers to 30 of the top 100 players in 2013 and are off to a flying start. I don't mind being in a football dead period. I would rather not read any negative stories such current players getting in trouble with the law. Let's hope they all do what they need to do at this point; study and hit the weight room and watch film when able.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

I can see after reading this article that the long layoff between seasons (college football) has begun. Bummer !