Michigan football coach Brady Hoke questions media coverage of recruiting
When Brady Hoke's career inside the Michigan football program began, the idea of a star ranking wasn't just ridiculous, it was non-existent.
In the mid-1990s, college football recruiting didn't involve a media circus. Few analysts and team sites existed, and the distinction of having a "top-rated class" generally wasn't decided a year before the group stepped foot on a college campus.
Stars were made on the field, and not on the internet -- a culture that Hoke says he had no issue with.
"You can take all these stars and the way all these guys are rated and all that, and that's great for the fan base and the public," Hoke told reporters last week. "But we've had some pretty good players here that probably would have been two-star guys.
"Tom Brady probably would have been a two-star guy. He turned out OK, I think."
Whether or not Brady, who led Michigan to an Orange Bowl title at the end of the 1999 season and now possesses three Super Bowl rings, was a lowly-rated recruit isn't really the point.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Hoke says he understands how influential and beneficial the national media exposure recruiting now receives on a daily basis can be, but that doesn't mean he finds it necessary.
On the contrary, actually. The way the day-to-day minutia of recruiting gets blown up to the general public is something he sees as overblown.
Something he could certainly live without.
"I can remember Lloyd (Carr), if a guy was a football player and had the character and the integrity and fit the mold at Michigan, because Michigan's not for everybody," Hoke says,"that's who you recruited.
"I think we're doing that now. There's a lot of guys with stars, but that's not what we're recruiting."
He may not have any use for recruiting star rankings, but that doesn't mean his program isn't benefiting from them.
Hoke's 2013 crop is currently rated as the top haul in the country by all three major recruit ranking services -- Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com.
Each outlet has continually published favorable material lauding Hoke and his staff for their recruiting prowess, and has turned high school seniors-to-be like Shane Morris and Taco Charlton into household names among Michigan fans, more than a year before they ever put on a winged helmet in Ann Arbor.
If most of Hoke's current positive national profile as a coach is based around the team's 11-2 record in his debut campaign last season, the massive amount of highly-ranked high school players he reels in certainly makes up the rest of it.
Still, Hoke doesn't care for the extremely public part of modern-day recruiting.
"I think technology has sped the whole thing up, I don't know if I like it," he says. "But it's kind of the world we live in right now."
In the end, Hoke admits recruiting stars can be a beneficial tool for fans, and is something that might serve a purpose one way or another.
But that doesn't mean he has any use for them.
He didn't need rankings to reel in Tom Brady as an assistant in the mid-90s, and he certainly doesn't need them as a head coach now.
"That block 'M' carries a lot of weight," Hoke says. "We're the 14th-ranked university in the world, we're the winningest program in college football history. With that combination, and the stadium's kind of big -- with 114,000 people.
"It's Michigan. I kind of said that in my first press conference, no matter what anybody thought, this is Michigan still. ... For God sakes."