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Posted on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

Brady Hoke's first recruiting class ranked No. 21 in country and adds toughness to Michigan football team

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke discusses his first recruiting class Wednesday at the Junge Family Champions Center.

Melanie Maxwell |

Four weeks ago, Brady Hoke stood at a podium and talked about building a foundation of toughness throughout the roster of the Michigan football team.

He didn’t have a coaching staff, much less a recruiting class, at the time.

But Michigan’s new coach returned to the same podium Wednesday and introduced a 20-member recruiting class that reflected that central trait he described in his first day on the job.

“Our mindset and our goal was to get guys who were going to represent Michigan and Michigan football,” Hoke said.

He said the Wolverines succeeded in doing just that across the academic and on-field spectrums.

In particular, he said Michigan infused its defense with tough, physical players, the kind the unit sorely lacked last season while enduring the worst defensive season in school history.

Twelve of the 20 were defensive recruits. Five defensive backs. Four linebackers. Three defensive ends - who should help the Wolverines run a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

“One thing I know from coaching in the Big Ten and being here at Michigan, you have to play defense,” Hoke said. “All of those guys, we think, have the right stuff when it comes to a physicalness and a toughness that we want to play defense with.” It wasn’t only on defense that the Wolverines believe they added that toughness.

They added three offensive linemen - two who weigh 330 pounds. They added 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end Chrs Barnett, whose commitment came in while Hoke addressed reporters at the Junge Family Champion Center.

Barnett is the lone tight end commitment, a position the Wolverines desperately wanted to add depth at because they plan to use multiple tight end sets.

“At San Diego State, we played three or four kids,” tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno said. “We’ve played with some young kids, and that’s why Chris, if we can teach him fast enough, he’ll help us next year.”

RELATED CONTENT ranked Michigan’s recruiting class 21st in the country and third in the Big Ten. ranked the Wolverines as the 27th in the country, fourth in the conference.

Both recruiting services placed Ohio State first and newcomer Nebraska second in the Big Ten rankings. had Iowa third.

Either way, analysts declared it a successful showing for a coach working in a compacted timeframe.

Tom Lemming, appearing on CBS Sports National Signing Day Show with former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, called it a “great class.”

Hoke said there were probably two to three recruits he missed, perhaps most notably Traverse City offensive lineman Jake Fisher, an early Michigan verbal commitment who announced Wednesday he would attend Oregon.

“You’re never going to bat a thousand,” Hoke said.

Fisher was an exception to one of the goals Hoke set forth - capture the in-state players he wants while transitioning from a regional recruiter at San Diego State to a national recruiter at Michigan.

Michigan signed players from seven different states - three from Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and Illinois - but the majority of the class was comprised of kids from Ohio (seven) and Michigan (six).

It’s a geographic pattern similar to the classes the Wolverines recruited when Hoke was the defensive line coach at Michigan from 1995 to 2002.

“Michigan is always a national brand, it’s a worldwide brand for what the school represents,” Hoke said.

“But as far as how we will approach recruiting, we’ll approach recruiting in the state of Michigan first … and then we’ll branch out from there. The state of Ohio is an important part of it. Illinois, Indiana, western Pennsylvania. I don’t think there is any doubt that’s where we’re going to start and how we’re going to recruit.”

Pete Bigelow covers the Michigan football team for He can be reached at 734-623-2551, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Fri, Feb 4, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Who care about recruting the state of Michigan? The prep football here is no where near Ohio, Texas, Flordia, California, Penn, MD, or even Mississippi. That is where we need to get kids from. I know we got some but, the hole "we need to win the state recruting battle" is a dumb.


Fri, Feb 4, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

GREAT, we are going to run a 4-3? How is the secondary going to stop anyone when, we couldnt do it running a 3-3-5. I do see improvments with some of the guys (T.J. Floyd, Carvin Johnson.....) but they didnt do well with all the help they had and now they are going to be put into a lt of "man" situations. We will see if the D-line can help. (like with the Lions)

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Feb 4, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

I can't believe you think we care what you believe. Michigan didn't "lose" anything to UCF!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

I can't believe we lost Leilon Willingham to Central Florida...


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Charlie S "at least half of these recruits - including many of the "tough" recruits mentioned were brought in by Rich Rodriguez and his staff. I'm very pleased with the job that Hoke and his new staff have done to bring in the back end of this class, but can we please be objective about the role he played in putting together this class?" The "back end" of this class ? BH brought in and signed 12 of the 21 in this class, so I think he did more than just bring in the "back end" of the class. And 3 of the 6 4 star recruits we landed came as a result of BH ... and he did it in less than 3 weeks. Sure whatshisname brought in some of the class ... he had 48 of the 52 weeks in the year to do it ... but BH did an awesome job in only 3 weeks.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Brady Hoke and the entire Michigan staff should be commended for pulling together a good class despite almost no time to do it. Yes, we lost some players due to the transition, but it could have been A LOT worse. Look for a return to Michigan to the top 10 in recruiting next year. 2012 will be a big year for talent in Michigan and Ohio - the core of our recruiting area. Look for a big haul of good players for MIchigan. Next year will be critical for us to pull in offensive line (4-5), defensive tackle (2), a high-profile QB, a TE, FB, a pro-style WR, and probably a few good LB's or DB's to round out the class.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

If this ranking holds up they will be the 21st best team in the nation. That I suppose would be an improvement over their current state. Still rather pathetic overall compared to past recruiting classes. Michigan is a "damaged goods" team, the best no longer have any interest in the Wolverines.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

"Michigan is a "damaged goods" team, the best no longer have any interest in the Wolverines." If you had written this comment on January 1 then you would have been correct. However, since then we have taken care of the damage and we are now more dangerous than ever, because now we have something to prove ... and we will show once again that Michigan is a great program ... and we will not have problems getting talented players who have great character to come to AA. Mark it down.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

That's what they said about Oklahoma, ... and USC, ... and Florida State, ... and Alabama, ... and Nebraska, ... Well, you get the picture.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

Remember this thing about those who still support whatishisname: They aren't true Michigan fans at all, PERIOD! GO BLUE!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

Alvins comments = fail Sorry, talking down the current coach won't build up your boy anymore than talking down Coach Carr built him up either. Great job by Coach Hoke and company getting this class in shape.

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

I like that. Stop passing the buck and making excuses. "Oh, it's not his fault! He's only been here"......TOO LONG! He's gone bye-bye. THe WCiMFH is out of the building! No Excuses. TiM Go Blue!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

@alvins: I don't understand how you could be critical of Hoke about D. Hart and Jake Fisher. These guys were loyal to a COACH, not a school. Brady Hoke wants guys who want to be at Michigan, and it was never clear that D. Hart was going to end up here even with the former coach. None of us know how this recruiting class will turn out until 3 years from now. But it sure is a blast of fresh air from where we all thought it was going a few months ago. If those guys did not want to be here, better that they sign where they want and be happy than be a drag on our program. Welcome to Michigan, class of 2015-16. Go Blue.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

There is a lot of parity in recruiing nowadays. Michigan does not have the advantages it has had in years past. Hoke's inability to hold on to Jake Fisher, D. Hart and Kris Frost was huge. This year Brady Hoke pulled in a class that would rank.... 12th in the SEC. Possibly only in front of Vanderbelt. Without under-rated teachable speed athletes and a scheme that could negate these huge football talenent differences the writting is on the wall. Hoke's ability to recruit good young men in the classroom, in the community and on the field is no better than any other coach's in the country.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

look on rivals and the dates each recruit committed ... you will see 12 of 20 guys committed after BH started. 12/20 = 60% (not 1/3)


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

And again, Hoke didn't put this whole class together in 3 weeks. He put about 1/3 of it together in 3 weeks. The other 2/3 was already committed.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

az, justice hayes has been committed since well before Hoke got here.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

alvins...what about Hoke's ability to close on Bryant? His ability to sway Barnett away from Arkansas? Grab 4 Star (5 on some services) RB Justice Hayes? In only three weeks! Pretty darn good. And, as to your point that Hoke can't recruit better than any other coach...ask Dantonio how his class that took a year to put together compares to Hoke's three week class. Not to mention, these recruits will actually get great coaching and improve, unlike the recruits under the previous coach who got here great and then regressed under AWFUL coaching. Your argument is moot.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Michigan doesn't play in the SEC. RichRod's record in the Big Ten was ... well, there's no polite way to put it. Sorry your guy is gone, he's a good coach but not for the Big Ten.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

This is an outstanding class put (and in some cases kept) together in a very short time. Hoke and Co. have proven to be outstanding recruiters. The doom and gloom of this recruiting class was highly exaggerated. As LSUWolv said, UM came out of nowhere to move up to #21 in the national recruiting rankings (Rivals) in only three weeks and crush what MSU took a year to put together (#31). The great thing is, these kids (and the ones already on the team) are going to be COACHED UP to play to their maximum potential. These guys will be a part of UM's resurrection to national proinence...and will forever get to tell their kids and grandkids about it just like the guys in Bo's early years. It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!!!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Uh, no. UM didn't put a class together in a few weeks. Much of this class was already committed.

Charlie S

Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

I'd sure like to see the journalist here mention some additional facts about this recruiting class that seem to have gone unstated: at least half of these recruits - including many of the "tough" recruits mentioned were brought in by Rich Rodriguez and his staff. I'm very pleased with the job that Hoke and his new staff have done to bring in the back end of this class, but can we please be objective about the role he played in putting together this class?


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

We give credit where credit is due, just as Coach Hoke rightly did. Perhaps azwolverine you might emulate that graciousness on Coach Hokes part?


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

We only talk about coaches who coach for Michigan...


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

Got to hand it to the Hoke, he was behind and he was the new coach but he managed to secure a number of very good recruits and put Michigan in position to re-enter the Top 25. Having said that, it's good that Rivals and Scout appreciated this new class of Wolverines, but ESPNU didn't. They didn't put Michigan's recruits in the top 25 and they show Michigan got none of the players on their list of 150 top picks. Still, this class looks better than the previous three, there are obvious holes being filled and the indomitable "This is Michigan" spirit now reigns in Schembechler Hall and throughout the program. Welcome, new Wolverines. May you become part of the proud history of Michigan Football.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

Well, it seems as though we stomped Sparty(#31) all while some posters here bemoaned Dave Brandon on how he &quot;killed&quot; our recruiting class when he waited so long to hire Hoke. And to top that off, all the kool-aid drinkers who keep saying that Carr left the &quot;cupboards bare&quot; for RR need to go check out this article: <a href=""></a> As always, TiM. Go Blue!!!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

@ Those who stay.' Are you kidding? Read your comment? How does that transpire to Lloyd leaving who and what bare????? RR &quot;must not be named&quot; can not coach PERIOD thats why there was a regression in the Big House.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

Lloyd Carr did leave the cupboards bare. If you actually look at the top recruits in those classes, the majority of them either transferred, got injured, entered the draft, or found another way to become ineligible (Cissoko for example). Brandon Graham and Stephen Schilling are really the only great Carr recruits that Rich Rod could use.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.

Pro style offense or Spread depends on the players to execute and the coaches to teach that execution. In Michigans case they are better suited for a pro style to be competitive in the big ten. Could Oregon be competitive in the big ten? don' know but the pro style is succesful in the Pac, see Stanford


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

Oregon spotted Stanford 21 points and still beat them by 21. Take that however you like.

1st Down

Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:07 a.m.

Chris Barnet was a steal...he turned down SEC offers to come here...very talented TE.... Koger should have a good year this year and the TE position will be in good hands for years to come


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

Yes, he will be a 4 year letterman, however Michigan is still in need of 1 or 2 TE's next year with Koger being a senior and Moore a junior.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

I know he isn't a def or off lineman, but we still have a real good shot at the Willingham kid in CO. TiM Go Blue!!!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Michigan needs to recruit 8 to 9 lineman The team has some real issues with depth on the dl and ol


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

Great job Hoke!!. This class will bring toughness back to AA and put the fear in little brother &amp; OSU. GO BLUE!


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 12:26 a.m.

Oh boy! Toughness should about Defensive skills? Quit sharing the hype and get down to business.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

@alvins I simply disagree. The pro style offense has won its share of championships. Ohio State runs it and they do pretty well. Sure, Auburn and Florida run a version of the spread, but Alabama and LSU run the pro style offense. For every spread team you can name that has won with the spread, there are examples of teams that win with a pro style offense. The biggest thing to remember is that the spread offense is very fast at scoring. It is sort of a boom or bust offense and rarely maintains ball control for a long drive that eats the clock. Consequently the teams that play the spread often keep their defense on the field for a long time so they tire. I seem to remember a certain Michigan team beating a certain Florida team that was playing the spread and was lead by Tim Tebow. So I think your evaluation is flawed.


Fri, Feb 4, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

That Florida team bounced right back. It was an unusual down year for Florida when we beat them, happens to the best. How did we do after 97, we were good at best. Alabama, same thing. When a team is firing on all cylinders with that spread you know everything in sync, it's hard to beat. Mich. was never in sync like say W. Virginia or Oregon, Auburn, Florida and now we have to deal with Notre Dame. Now here is my unsolicated opinion. Why not run both the spread and Pro. In some games either or will work. Look common sense boys and girls, we go against teams like USC, Oregon etc. they stop our Pro in the past we're history we need to have other options to play with the big boys and I'm not talking about ohio state I'm talking about the big boys you know, like 2012 Alabama.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Excuse me. The Michigan team, in the Florida game, ran a pass oriented spread offense. Both teams in this years National Championship game played the spread and I have seen Ohio State teams run the spread and win against Michigan, Texas run the spread and win against us, win the National Championship. An almost complete lack of defense caused the major problems with the UM teams from the recent past. If you didn't like Rich Rod, say it, please don't just skew things to make your point, you're not running for office here, or are you? Coach Hoke is now the coach and I will root for the team, and the young men on it because they are Michigan and not just because of a coach, or a scheme


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

A great defense is always desirable, But even the best defenses cannot be consistant enough on a 12 game schedule to keep an opponent under thier average. It might even be possible to do that 10 of the 12 games. But that is not enough to win championships. You must be able to put have the potential to put up huge numbers offensively every game. Having an offense that averages even 30 points a game is not enough in college football. The spread offense is the way to go. If your happy with Michigan winning a high percentage of thier games, but always losing to the best teams tahn you will be happy sticking to a safe pro style offense. However now that there is recruiting parity , dont expect too much.


Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

The problem is, the spread we were running wasn't getting it done against the best teams. Sure, we averaged 33 pts/game, but only 8 pts/game against OSU over the past 3 years (with a high of 10 - whoo hoo!), and 18 pts/game against MSU over the same span. So, to make your own point, UM's offense was NOT capable of putting up 30 points every game, and the defense was so bad that when they couldn't rack up points, they got blown out. Try 34-17 to MSU, 37-7 to OSU, and 52-14 to Miss. St. So, if you were happy with Michigan LOSING a high percentage of their games, then the former coach and his spread were for you. Most of us, however, would prefer WINNING a high percentage and having a competitive chance against the best teams...a category Michigan will be back in themselves.