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Posted on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke questions media coverage of recruiting

By Nick Baumgardner

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.


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke discusses his 2012 recruiting class during a signing day press conference in February. His 2013 class is rated as the best in the country by all three major recruit ranking services --, and

Melanie Maxwell |

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 --, and

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."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

I'm all ready to vote Hoke the top head coach at Michigan: all time. Frankly, I think he's phenomenal and we've just begun to see what he can do. As others point out: in this day and age, there's too much publicity and "sophistication" applied to these high school kids and they are not ready (some will never be). Brady Hoke cuts through all that and sticks like Super Glue to the basics of human nature and athletic competition: all the while, upholding Michigan as the pinnacle of educational and athletic excellence. It's great to see Michigan's recruiting class ranked at the top in the nation but when it comes to awarding stars, I think we have a 5-star head coach and that's what counts.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:20 a.m.

Be careful Brady, Mary Sue won't want you to mention God in the same sentence as Michigan. Remember, we don't want to offend anybody.

Jennifer Castillo

Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Coach Hoke knows how to say the right thing, but how many 2 or 3 star recruits has he gone after since he was hired? Perhaps his staff just evaluates players very similarly to rivals and scout....hmmm.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Additionally, and more seriously - I do enjoy the whole recruiting system and the star rating. I's a lot of fun, and should be taken that way. What I dislike is the complaining others do with the system.....geez ! The star rating system is based on how much attention these recruits receive from college coaches, nothing else. If a kid is putting up super numbers, coaches are interested and respond. Coach Hoke was right on about Tom Brady. Another reference is local Ann Arbor Pioneer Drake Johnson, who I don't believe had any stars (was off the coaches radar). Time will tell, and I think it looks pretty good on this kid. I can't speak for other colleges, cause I could care less what they do, but bet there are similar stories. Take the star system for what it is popularity (don't get me wrong, those are some great athletes) and have fun. But don't think Hoke and coaches use those stars to build their team; ("... 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..")

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Coach Hoke has it right on, can this man do no wrong ? I can't speak for God, but I believe even he would say; 'Brady Hoke, he's a righteous this heaven, no wait This Is Michigan for my sake' ! righteous dude Coach is...


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

Hyping up the players at such a young age actually do more harm than good. Take Will Campbell for example. There were walk-on's played above him the past three years and everyone is down on him for not living up to his 5-star billing. Who has the right to set up such loafty expectation? Why are these recruiting services setting up athletes for possible failure that may or may not be in their control? To me, these recruiting service are nothing more pimps earning bucks off athletes abilities.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Okay, I'm listening, but if you criticize you have to offer a solution.....

Michael DeSimone

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Of course star rating are an indicator of football potential, just like the SATs are and indicator of academic potential. We wouldn't be having this discussion about the SATs would we? Hoke's point is all the hype in comparing ratings between teams and publishing which team has the best class. The ratings are usually within a few decimal points of one another. The teams that choose the lower rated players overlooked are the ones that will succeed. The 1995 recruiting class proves that.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

I have commented in the past how these rankings are bad news for the players--in terms of raising expectations and never being able to meet them. I think we fans (I am one of them, though i try to restrain myself) raise the bar of expectations which can lead to a big crash and burn. It puts a lot of pressure on these youngsters who also have school to worry about. It is what it is--the recruiting services aren't going anywhere but I tend to not care what they rank these athlete-students. If hoke and his staff think the player is worth recruiting and bringing in, I have to trust him. I LC, Bo, even Moeller also did the same with the same judgment. Probably RR also, though I am still not convinced that he understood the Michigan-university-football connection and brought in an awful lot of people who did not succeed and therefore left. It is not just succeeding on the field but it is distance from home, getting used to cold, success in the classroom, etc. Ask me in 5 years about this year's recruiting class.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Okay heartbreak valid points....let's plan on meeting in 2017 to look this over, how about @ Schembechler Hall, maybe near the new crystal footballs display case......


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Enjoy football on Saturday's during the football season. Check the score at the end of the game, the records at the end of the season to see which schools have talented athletes and play as a team. All the rest is a waste of time--but if rating 14-17 year old's is what floats you boat, no problem. Clearly your prerogative. But, I have to tell you, I don't get it? Boring!

Scott Laux

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

I enjoy the recruiting process but the stars are way overrated. When guys go into the NFL in the first round 2012 draft who were two star recruits- you know the stars don't even measure athletic ability. If Rawls hadn't received an offer from Michigan he would have been a two star guy at a MAC school. But he can play.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 8:04 a.m.

I agree for the most part. I think on a large scale the stars are relatively accurate. But your always going to have walk on success stories like Kovacs and your also going to have guys like Big Will. (Although hopefully he can pull it all together this year.) At the end of the day I'm glad I have something football related to read about in the off season.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

You got it, I enjoy the recruiting process and reading the stars as well. It makes me want to dig deeper, learn more about these kids, what stands them out, etc. What I don't like is the people that get bent out of shape with everyone over them. Keep the system, lose the bellyachers !


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

I think we'd be in bad shape if our coach was relying on star rankings to recruit. Part of being head coach is evaluating and gauging who to offer. I don't see the recruiting sites as really anything different. Similarly to a coach - they're ranking kids the same way but just for different reasons. They're ranking kids nationally based on evaluations and other things. They just happen to assign star values or number values and sell the public on getting "inside" information.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Didn't you read the article....Hoke is just the opposite of counting on the stars ! Secondly, do you know what the stars mean ?


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

The media is just passing along the stuff that the professional recruiting services are gathering and selling. And what most fans love to read about. Coach Hoke sounds like Coach Dantonio when he says it's not how high your ranking is when you come in that ultimately counts in the end. That's already pretty obvious when you look at many highly ranked players at many schools through the years. Maybe he wants UM fans to calm down a bit--all these highly ranked players coming in are no guarantee for a B1G or national championship. It's commendable that he reeled in Tom Brady. Who then almost transferred out.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

I've followed Michigan's recruiting pretty closely since the 1970's, and Coach Hoke is correct about the ever increasing amount of hype and coverage in the media about it. But as others have pointed out, it's a supply and demand issue mainly. As long as people want to hear about future players, the media will give us what we want. I'll be the first to admit though, that recruiting class rankings don't mean anything by themselves. On field success is the only thing that matters. Still, the star rating system can provide some indication of the quality of players on an overall basis that a program is bringing in over time.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

I don't doubt that these rating services get close in a lot of there evaluations because that's what they do all year long. And I do follow the services because myself as a fan do not have the ability or desire to travel the country scouting talent. I also believe many of the ratings are scued based on a number of variables such as camp visits and time of commitment. Also, I would be highly surprised if many of these coaches ever look at a recruiting service web site. I'm sure they look at a ton of player film as well as charecter evaluation during interactions.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Glad to know that Coach Hoke will keep recruiting in the Michigan way. They are getting a start on the 2014 class and also checking out some 2015 recruits. Like the NFL draft, the truth isn't known for a year or two after these kids arrive on campus, participate in workouts and or play in the games.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

What was the number on line 38 of coach Hokes 1040 in the 1990's and what was line 38 last year? While I appreciate the sentiment it is all part of the billion dollar business. TV pays huge money because they perceive a huge interest in the game. That interest extends beyond 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon in the fall. And lets not forget that TV doesn't dictate much of anything. They just offer to pay more for some situations than others.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Its an indirect connection. The popularity of the game is huge. That popularity extend far beyond just the 60 minutes of the game. That popularity includes people actually caring about high school recruits (I'm not one of those) Its all part of a "big picture" which is a billion dollar business. That is my point. I merely mentioned TV because they are a major source of revenue in that billion dollar business. To wish there wasn't such a frenzy around recruiting is essentially to wish the game wasn't so popular. If the game wasn't so popular TV wouldn't pay so much and Brady Hoke wouldn't get paid what he gets paid.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

I still don't understand what TV money has to do with the star rating system of recruits.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Bravo coach Hoke for what is stating what is so obvious - the commercialization of every aspect that is college football is not a good thing long term and training high school players to think they are special before they have done anything only leads to long term issues do we need these stories 12 months a year? and of course, local media compounding the issue by linking to these "stories" as if they are real news, during the off season, does not help either as a diehard U-M fan, I will not click on these stupid stories (some of which are about NEXT YEARS CLASS already) in one-mans attempt to get this media outlet to not push these down our throats - just because its about U-M football does not necessarily mean should be pushing it as news or linking to it - that is what the fan-boy websites are for and there are plenty of college football outlets as well


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Just good clean fun and I'd rather hear about these kids than about kids getting blown up which I personally can assure is not as much fun to watch. Ready these stories is a bit of a reprieve from the stories about our crooked government and coorporate geniuses greasing each other palms or the insane rape of our planets wildlife and other natural resources. lumberg, take a few moments and relax and don't take yourself so serious these are kids just working on their futures and entertaining you and me.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Dont ask, don't tell? I agreed with coach Hoke - did everyone miss that point??????????? The best anyone can do to sway my argument that would be better served providing more local coverage and less links to niche' sports stories (in May and June about college football no less) is DONT LIKE IT - DONT READ THEM wow - what persuasive arguments from the elite dont worry about me - they will not be getting my clicks on non-stories


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Hey lumberg, you don't like it dont read it. No ones forcing you to come here and read stories or click on their links, since youre so upset about that part. How about the people who come on here and enjoy reading the articles and don't whine about everything. Ya recruiting is more out there and open to the public and fans, one persons complanning comments isn't going to stop it. So enjoy the articles or don't read em. Simple


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Coach Hoke says its "something he sees as overblown" - i agreed with him jumping the shark is never good for anyone on any level my opinion is a local news outlet should focus on local news, not link to specific niche' oriented stories to simply increase clicks - if you want those stories u can find them - any any given day in may or june there are 4-5 U-M football stories on - how is this serving the local reader? other commenters seem to agree with me (so perhaps I am not alone on an island) when does it end? rating junior high recruits? K-garden recruits?


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 3:21 p.m. has always and will always try to write about what people want to read. They're a business and every business' top priority is to produce a good/service that people want/need. That's economics 101. There are a lot of fans that enjoy reading about Michigan football recruiting. is doing a good job at covering it for their readers who enjoy it. You don't enjoy it? Then, by all means, don't read it... but remember that for every one of you, there are 10 crazed Michigan fans who read every word. Why do you presume you should have the authority to tell those 10 people that their interests are misguided? What's the harm?


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

I completely agree with you, lumberg. Unfortunately, traditional media jumped the shark a while back. Quantity is far more important than quality.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

I am not questioning the interest from fans - I know there is for hardcore fans BUT - does need to foster this interest? there are now dozens of ways to stay involved with recruiting if you choose, from visiting the websites to joining e-newsletters to getting old fashioned newsletters and magazines to watching ESPN to listening to talk raio and I am sure there are even smart phone aps ... join the Facebook page - stay tuned if you want! so for those who want 24/7 coverage, you can get it my issue is normal media outlets (including need not follow the same path (and we all know they link to these stories for "clicks" not news value) and embrace the 24/7 culture college football is becoming there is only over-saturation when there is oversaturation -- never before - obviously - so the key to to never get there before you jump the shark

Blue Marker

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I can't blame the media. There are plenty of fans (myself included) who follow recruiting closely and look for anything related to it. I think its fan driven, not the other way around. Now I guess the question is why the heck so many of us following the every move of an 18 year old kid?

Robert Honeyman

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

recruits are adolescents. they are overly influenced by hype. from the earliest verbal commits of the 2013 class, the hype has kept growing on the reemergence of michigan football. that can only help with jacking the quality of the 2014, 2015, etc. recruiting classes. the whole point is, the more high school guys view michigan as a potential landing zone, the better the chances of recruiting from the best of the best. even if hoke finds the whole thing annoying, exploiting it - whether intentionally or not - is going to return michigan to the top 10, a neighborhood that was starting to look a bit exclusive for the wolverines.

Blue Marker

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

Honestly, I find it helps keep you in-touch with college football over the off season. But I also realize it's gotten too big. Press conferences, placing hats on a table, switching commitments, sometimes multiple times. It's a bit much for a 16, 17 or even an 18 year old to handle. It's no exact science either. Plenty of highly rated players don't live up to the hype and vice-versa. Still, you've got to have talent to win so it means something


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:51 a.m.

it is all done on the field. the field is where they are judged. stars are for the public to brag about. it helps sell papers.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

stars are earned on the field as well.