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Posted on Wed, May 18, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke is no fan of the early signing period for college football recruits

By Michael Rothstein

CHICAGO — In a college football world where the majority of Big Ten coaches would be in favor of an early signing period, Michigan coach Brady Hoke is an exception.

He wants prospective recruits to take their time before making a decision. So even as Michigan has brought in 11 commitments for the Class of 2012, Hoke has no problem waiting on recruits.

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Brady Hoke on recruiting and the pressure to sign early: "We want kids to enjoy high school and want them to play for their high school teams."

That philosophy is counter to the way many recruits now handle the process, verbally committing to a school before their seniors seasons and sometimes before their junior year.

Michigan even received a commitment from quarterback Shane Morris for the Class of 2012 — before he started his junior season.

“It’s just rushing,” Hoke said Wednesday at the Big Ten spring meetings. “We want kids to enjoy high school and want them to play for their high school teams. The whole process is getting pushed more. And if you don’t push the process, you may lose out on some guys. So we’re all doing it.

“How much a fan of it, I can’t tell you if I’m a real fan of it. I always worry about a kid getting distracted and not being focused on what is important, which is his teammates at the high school where he is playing.”

BIG TEN MEETINGS COVERAGE sports reporter Michael Rothstein covered the three-day Big Ten Conference spring meetings in Chicago. Here is a compilation of his reports:

In college basketball, some players are offered scholarships as early as eighth grade.

Thus far, college football has largely stayed away from that practice, although USC did offer a scholarship to seventh-grader David Sills Jr. in 2009.

And in football more than basketball, a verbal commitment usually means merely this: a team has a good chance to sign the player.

More and more the past decade, players offer verbal commitments only to back out before signing day.

“In this day and age, some kids change their mind in the process,” Hoke said. “You can say they are early commits, but at the same time, you have to stay on top of them just like everyone else.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by email at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

Correction: HS players who aren't seniors yet.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

The NCAA has done a very poor job in drawing the boundaries between the HS players (whether in AAU or HS) and the college coaches. If I were a college coach, I'd have to resign right away if I have to recruit those kids before they are become HS seniors. It isn't fair to the kids, period.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

...before they become HS seniors...


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Coach Hoke may not be a big fan of getting early verbal commitments, but he and his staff sure are good at it. And they are attracting some very talented players. More importantly, as DonAZ said, they are being honorable in the process and they have the student athletes' best interests at heart. Keep up the good work BH. We are in good hands. Go Blue !


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there really isn't an "early signing period" per se. HS players are really only making non-binding verbal commitments - which as the article points out are increasingly backed out of. I understand why some kids want to get the process out of the way. They get hounded by recruiters and recruiting experts. If there's a way to reform the process, it will be to limit access by or contact from college coaches before a certain point. I'm not sure this will happen any time soon.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 7:39 a.m.

Are we getting tired of Coach Hoke being right all the time? NO! I was already a three-year track and field star by the ninth grade. Just before the end of ninth grade, our track coach (middle school, mind you) called me into his office. He wanted to urge me to also start playing football. He said it was because I had the skills for football and because college football scouts had already told him they wanted to recruit me ASAP. I know for certain he was just trying to help me get into college. So I don't condemn him at all: the fault mostly lies with the scouting and college recruiting "attitude." They'll go after guys who are just 15 or 16 years old.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

Thanks for sharing it with us. Some of them are going after players who are even younger than 15, especially in hoops.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:39 a.m.

Just curious. I guess you were a speed guy. At that age, did you go out for your position of interest, or your "future" position of strength? Or leave it up to the coaching staff? What HS league were you in?


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 8:50 a.m.

As drew and Mike in the morning love to say Oooooooooooooooo Woooooow arent you just sooooooo awesome


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

DonAZ you are so spot on my man! I want my team that I care about with all my heart like I do a family member, to care about the players the way Hoke is presenting the program. If I had a son who's a big time player, I would be so happy to have a guy like Hoke mentoring him in things that go beyond the playing field. As much as I love U-M, if whatshisname would've been coaching in that scenario, I would not want my son to go play for him because of the way I saw him treat the players on the field, it made me cringe. All I read from the recruits is how Hoke only discussed matters of life with them and how the parents loved Hoke and all the coaches are getting rave reviews. This isn't just because of Mattison, This is Hoke! This is Michigan! Go Blue!!! P.S. Hoke is gonna be a legend, mark my word!


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Have you ever seen Forrest Gump? The most famous line is stupid is as stupid does. Hoke is not this but Brandon just might be.

1st Down

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Whats this? A coach that actually cares about the welfare of his players and also players he is recruiting?? Wow ...what is this? This is Michigan. In that photo above...Brady Hoke is pointing at you SEC... you the school in Ohio....and you too Sparty so dont complain about being left out.

1st Down

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

And that is coming from the Leader of the Pack for illegal payments to their players...ha aah ahaa....your ship is sinking fast buddy.... reports are a new bombshell regarding your dirty program is about to explode. PS...those transfers were due to the previous regime that was excised and is now gone...Hoke is It... so are violations for your dirty program ha ha


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 8:47 a.m.

This is coming from the Leader of the pack in NCAA Transfers...... Im pointing at you Michigan.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

The sentiment here on Hoke's part is correct -- it is better to have players who are clear in their hearts and minds about their decision and are therefore willing to pour it all on the field. I've said before -- I like Hoke's philosophy that his mission to use football to make the players better men, better husbands and better fathers. It's a good and noble ambition, and the players will respond with everything they've got for a coach who takes that kind of interest in them. But he has to match that with wins on the field, and that's where the issue lies -- is such a sentiment and outlook compatible in a world where others are bending, stretching and breaking rules to get the best talent? Sadly, probably not. So the question really becomes this -- and please, think about this: what would you rather have, a Michigan that's a clean program and 10-2 or 9-3 ... or a Michigan program that lowers itself to SEC standards seeking "crystal?" I'm not sure I want crystal that bad.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

I want a clean program, which it seems like we're getting. I'd be satisfied with the teams that Carr had, but with a more cut-throat coach. A 10 point lead is not a time to play prevent. Maybe 25 points. This is Div 1. The crystal will come.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

Do you have a defense of the SEC? The headlines suggest an issue. The Big 10 is not immune, but not nearly as much of a problem as SEC.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Okay, fair point -- I didn't mean to imply the "whole SEC is corrupt." They are getting the best talent ... that is beyond question. I would think you would agree with that. Oklahoma and Texas get their fair share, but the SEC rules in terms of 5-star recruits ... with Florida State mounting a surprising comeback under Jimbo Fisher. They do have their fair share of arrests and other problems. Not by itself a sign of corruption, but a sign of willing to sign young men who, though talented, come with a certain amount of baggage. Just go to and scan the headlines. Even Urban Meyer, former coach of Florida, was forced to come out and say, essentially, "enough is enough" when it came to all the arrests and other problems surrounding the Florida program. His "enough is enough" resulted in him finishing out his last season with a mediocre season, then stepping away. But all this is a distraction to my main point -- Hoke's commentary is about having young men come to a program because they really *want* to, and thus are committed to that program. It's a noble goal. I can't see where the debate around that is. Unless of course the "debate" is around whether that noble goal is sustainable in a competitive world. Elsewhere -- SEC, elsewhere in the Big 10, the Big 12, the Pac 10, you name it -- coaches seem eager to grab talent without regard to the match of talent to program; without regard to such issues. I'm not saying that's corrupt -- that's your word, not mind -- I'm saying they have a standard that's less stringent that Hoke's words imply. Note my language -- "Hoke's *words* imply." He may be lying through his teeth. I hope not. But he may. So it all comes down to this: o Hoke must prove his words on the field. o Hoke must prove his words by his players' behavior OFF the field I truly do believe we will find that Hoke is a good match with Michigan. I truly do believe we will find he will win games and make us p


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

I'm an avid Michigan football fan and I have a question for you, where is the proof that the whole SEC league is corrupt and DonAZ, if you have proof, I suggest you report it.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

No recruiting or scholarships until their (prospective recruits) senior year.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

I would like to see Brady take his time and get the best qualified recruits. For instance 2012 seems like a rush job and I'm betting some great high school kids are going to be available to Mich to no avail if we're full.