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Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan whiffs on Armani Reeves, but it's clear Brady Hoke's recruiting pitch is working

By Kyle Meinke

Armani Reeves was one of the country's five best available high school cornerbacks until he committed to Ohio State late Sunday night.

Michigan was a surprising runner-up for the former Penn State commit, who left the Nittany Lions in the aftermath of the child-sex scandal that has rocked Happy Valley. Although the Wolverines were edged out, it is clear how they were able to rise into contention for him.

They remained mum on Penn State.


Brady Hoke and his staff rarely talk about other schools while recruiting, several high school players say.

Melanie Maxwell |

"(Reeves') dad said they came in and recruited him, and did it the right way — they did not negative recruit, and almost every other school that came in did," Scout Midwest recruiting expert Allen Trieu said. "That’s why they decided to take a look at Michigan instead of just opening back up the recruiting to a whole bunch of schools."

All's fair in love, war and the cut-throat business of college football recruiting. It seems nearly every prospect has an off-the-record tale of an over-aggressive coach. And, much like politicians in election season, that includes dishing on the competition.

But, several current Michigan commits were unanimous in saying Hoke and his staff did not reproach the competition during their recruitments.

Defensive end Chris Wormley is a good example. The four-star prospect hails from Toledo, Ohio, and boasted an offer from Ohio State, which has gone through a scandal and coaching change during the 2012 recruiting cycle.

So, naturally, the Buckeyes absorbed blows from rival staffs on the recruiting trail. But, not Michigan, even as Ohio State became a finalist.

"I don’t think they criticized anyone, like with Ohio State, or the scandal they had," Wormley said. "I don’t think they talked to me about them once. They’re definitely more concerned about Michigan, not what this team or that team is doing wrong. I liked that."

Other recruits tell similar tales of Hoke and his primary recruiters, Greg Mattison, Al Borges, Chris Singletary and Jeff Hecklinski.

"A lot of the other coaches, when I would talk to them, they’d ask, 'What other schools you looking at?'" four-star Iowa receiver Amara Darboh said. "And then then they would talk badly about the schools, or bash where I just went.

"But, not Michigan. I don’t know why they didn’t, but I like that they didn’t, and it says a lot about them."

Wormley, Darboh and the rest of the Michigan recruits can sign letters of intent Wednesday. Three — Jarrod Wilson, Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer — already are on campus.

There are a confluence of factors that have contributed to the Wolverines' recruiting class, which ranks among the top 10 according to every major service. The early success — Michigan locked up a Big Ten-best 21 commitments before August, and was ranked No. 1 by multiple recruiting services — suggests it wasn't just the 11-victory season.

The pitch is clearly working.

Of course, the recruits who commit to a school will be most glowing about that school — they chose it, after all — but Trieu said even players who didn't commit to Michigan echo that sentiment.

Trieu said Michigan has been honest almost to a fault.

"They’re straight shooters — straighter than most," said Trieu, who is close with almost all of Michigan's Midwest recruits and their parents. "They’re no sugar-coating. They’ve lost guys because they’ve been honest with them about the position they’re going to play."

Star defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins, ranked by Rivals as the Wolverines' top prospect, said that also has been his experience, both with himself and others.

"He tells you if you’re wanted or not," Pipkins said. "He doesn’t make people wait. He doesn’t think that’s fair at all. If someone wants to commit, he’s going to let other guys know and give him a head's up.

"But he’s a great recruiter, man. He’s a good guy, and I’m glad I’m under him."

The coaches appeal to parents as well.

Dan Schaefer, legal guardian of Darboh, said he was highly skeptical of Michigan because of the failures of the Rich Rodriguez era and the instability of a coaching change. Two things changed his mind.

First, it was Hoke's measured handling of struggling punter Will Hagerup in the Ohio State game last season, which was Darboh's official visit.

"He wasn’t overreacting," Schaefer said. "Like, the punter missed the snap. But (Hoke) didn’t go over there and get in his business right away. I liked that. It gave me confidence he could handle Amara."

Second, it was his trust in Hoke, which was built on the coach's willingness to acknowledge he didn't always know the answers to questions.

Other staffs weren't like that, and it struck Schaefer as being disingenuous.

"It was just kind of like, 'I’m going to be here for forever. I’ll be here for years, just signed a contract,'" he said. "We were warned ahead of time we were going to hear that from a lot of coaches, but with these (Michigan guys), it was different."

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



Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:57 a.m.

Does bringing in highly rated kids help? Of course. The point many people on here are making is coaching an equal part of the equation. The game last year was a pretty good example. OSU probably still had more star power on their roster. Both teams had a first year HC. The difference? Hoke > Fickle. And btw, i know OSU is recruiting well, but its not like UM isnt.. any recruiting site has them within a few spots of each other. And at that point, its the coaching that will set the teams apart. UM fans have a lot to be optimistic about as Hoke took players he didnt recruit, and were recruited for a different style of play and still won 11 games. Urban is a good coach and good recruiter, but hasnt won a single ball game in the B1G yet, and only time will tell if he will see the same success he seen at Florida.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:40 a.m.

Give me a break. Folks, do your homework and look at the actual recruits in totality. One 5 star doesn't make a class. Each year both schools go back and forth for the same recruits and Hoke has us right where we need to be. <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;action=login&amp;</a>

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

I see Urb obtained another commitment for his 2013 class today. A few weeks ago he received another commitment. Oh I forgot to mention they are the #1 and # 2 recruits in the state of Ohio.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:07 a.m.

OSU has a 4* and a 5* for 2013. Seems pretty similar to the 4* and 5* UM has. (scout). Cool story bro.

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

Funny but in all the interviews I have seen of Urb since he was brought in I have yet to hear him even mention your school. Yet when the jokester fills the screen of the TV (not hard for him) seems like every other word is TOSU. You can see the fear in his eyes and hear it in his voice. He knows he is competing against a legend. w/ a 813 winning percentage and his was below 500 prior to last year. Such a record would get you a spot in the unemployment line. Up north it got him 2 million per and a job.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:04 a.m.

Well obviously Hoke's &quot;fear&quot; of OSU didnt stop him from beating them on his first try with RR's players.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Additionally people, remember a few years ago when Pryor chose the osu over Michigan.....yes, things always work out great for Michigan. Recruiting is nice of course, but coaching and hard working student/athletes win games. This is why Michigan will always be the best and the north and south state's will always be chasing, maybe catching for a brief time - but falling back to disgrace everytime.

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:57 a.m.

Please remind me if TP ever lost to michigan?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

Yes, but he also left in disgrace.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

I know my memory is getting weak...but I believe Pryor beat UM...but could have been a nice dream....

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

If this is what the Urbanator can recruit in 2 months imagine what the results will be after a year of solid recruiting. Ever since Urb landed in Cbus it seems like every week a blue chipper is committing to TOSU and another is bailing on Michigan. Let's remember that Urb has to sell these kids on the fact there will be no games after they beat Michigan next November. Yet B Joke had a good successful year and they still want nothing to do w/ the program. I guess when Urb speaks w/ the recruits and is sporting the National Championships rings the kids find this more appealing then the ring that Joke sports from Ball State. In all honesty your defensive coordinator should be your head coach and the Jokester should secure a job in food services. That appears to be one field that he has really excelled in.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

They want nothing to do with the program? No wonder Kalis left OSU and wouldn't come back even though Urban got hired. Also, to say those recruits bailed on us, quite frankly, is a logical fallacy, because they kids never committed to Michigan anyways, they were merely considering them.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Oh yes, Urban is definitely a failed coach...UM is so's keeping Urbanator up at I have some foreclosed homes in Detroit to interest you in...

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

urbansnaker 0-3 against Michigan, scoreboard reads M 40-34, osu still 43-57 against M - can things possibly get worse.......OH YES, horrible time to be a buck...


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

you got that right Albee!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

The whine and cheese UM fans are out in full force...can't simply admit they were out recruited by a down year OSU team, who by the way, still nearly beat UM . Things are looking good in Columbus!! Go Bucks!!!

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Forward to November 2012; meyer 0-4 vs Michigan, The ohio fans start facebook page 'Fire-urban', meyer gets ill, medical retirement, osu now 43-58 against Michigan......bad time to be a buck...

Terry Star21

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

The approach Hoke and staff take of not trashing other teams is genuine and Michigan tradition - although it may temporarily or alter recruits directions. Take Reeves for example, someone obviously down south made super (maybe superficial) promises and most likely compared/berated other college(s). What they failed to tell this young Reeves is; meyer 0-3 against Michigan - working on 0-4, meyer out with medical retirement in 2-3 years, scoreboard - 40-34, their record against Michigan 43-58, and most importantly 'The Michigan Family'. His (Reeves) loss, sadly. MgoBlueForTiM......maybe not winning the recruiting 'battle', but winning the border 'war'.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:48 a.m.

Hey Albee, you won twice in 13 years, remember that? Don't talk a big game you can't back up. You seem proud to be a fan of a ten year cheating program, you should be appalled at what they did to your program, I would be if that was U-M. Trust me when I say that I hated the Fab 5 fiasco and it was embarrassing and look how long it's taken to creep back into relevance for us.

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

Yes winning two times in eleven years is very impressive.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

sam grant just commited to oklahoma. . . i thought he was going blue for sure. . . GO BLUE!!!!

Captain Dave

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

Michigan seems to be missing too many they are suppose to get. I'm now worried about Diamond who has a good friend already playing for Michigan and has refused to commit for Michigan. They have lost all the 4 and 5 stars that were supposed to commit to Michigan. Now I see we are scrambling for some 3 stars that only the MAC is recruiting. Hopefully there are a few verbal 4 and 5 star commits to other colleges that will change and come to Michigan instead. I am worried that we will have some of ours change their commitment as we have already lost at least 3. Don't understand why we are having so much problem closing out the class.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

I hope Michigan makes a last minute surge. It doesn't have to be 5 star players.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

@UMbebetter- Agreed this will hopefully be a great 10 years in THE GAME that we haven't had in a while. @ forever27- Also agreed. NCAA needs to re-evaluate how they punish programs for things like this. This system is broken. Interesting though and maybe I am biased but the whole tatoo stuff did not give us a competative advantage. This is the best recruiting class we have had in years despite all the aftermath. If it gave us an advantage you would think our classes the past few years would be number 1, 2 etc. Again I am biased and certainly do not condone anything that went on during the tressel years.

Nic schweigert

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

It doesn't matter if it did or did not give you a competitive advantage. Obviously having a tattoo versus not having one has no significance on how you Play the game. Its the rules violations and breaking of the rules that counts. And it's not even the same with the USC and Reggie bush fiasco, they were destroyed by the NCAA. That was one person. Half the Ohio team was caught taking money or tattoos for free and they get a little slap on the wrist. And the tattoo guy is being investigated and was arrested for some big drug rink. But of course it's Ohio so let's just take a few scholies away and make it so they're ineligible for a bowl for one year. What a joke the NCAA is, obviously in the back pocket of ohio


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Integrity matters more to me than if we move up one or two spots in the recruiting ranking. I'll beat the same drum. Texas is always at the very top and they have been lousy for several years. Boise State never is in the top 100 in recruiting classes but they have finished in the top 10 ranked teams 4 or 5 years in a row. Often in the top 5. The part of recruiting that never shows in the rankings is recruiting character and potential not just 4 or 5 star guys. There are a ton of 3 star guys in the pros. There are even a ton of walks on in the NFL. Our recruiting class is excellent. The coaching staff will decide who wins the final game of the regular season.

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:42 a.m.

Texas was playing for a NC a little over 2 years ago. If Colt does not get knocked out of the game good chance they would have won. Guess those 4 and 5 star kids do make a difference.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

Games aren't won based on recruiting, they're won on the field


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Sounds like loser speak to me.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

class always shines and stands out.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

Agree with catfishrisin..we saw some glimmers this year, but the best is yet to come - Can't wait. MgoBlue.... all day !


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Can't wait to see the shine....


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

With OSU's recruiting class this year, it's clear that the NCAA sanctions are effective... /sarcasm


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

osubetter? don't think so. . . your goddess and idol the vest made it all out to be!! GO BLUE!!!!!!!


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

@osubetterthanu From Meijers standpoint, the B1G is no SEC. the road to the National championship game is easier here, even though they added an extra game. The old Big 2 Little 8 is now a Big 4 or 5 league, but without having to negotiate the murderers row down south, I could see them going in 4 years......... As long as they get past Us first. Im for anything that brings the passion back to &quot;The Game&quot;, Its lost some of its luster in the past decade.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Hoke and staff have a message that will resonate with some, and won't resonate with others. Time will tell if the coaching staff at Michigan can win games with the talent they sign. I recently saw an analysis of the original recruiting rankings of 2011's Alabama defense ... and it may surprise some that it was *not* loaded with five stars. Threes and fours. Lower star recruits can and do mature and become great. Five-stars often demonstrate average game-time talent or flame-out altogether. Coaching matters.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

I agree Don. That is why we will always be better than the north and south state's. Hoke can take the 3's and 4's and make great things happens. A guy like meyer sits back and hopes the 5 stars develop, mostly average at best. It is great time to be a Wolverine !


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

Keep on believing the lower star recruits having great potential...meanwhile OSU will settle for the 4 &amp; 5 stars.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

We are beating you in recruiting because number one it's Ohio State. Anyone who has been there and knows what it is about would want to come there- similiar to Michigan but better. Second obviously is Urban Meyer- he was the best college football coach and recruiter before he left Florida and now takes over a wounded but not broken Buckeye football program that you all made it out to be. Yesssss! National champs within 4 years!

Albee Macaw

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

If Braxton Miller sticks around until his senior year they will be a lock for the Urbanators third NC. Question is after they firer Joke after a few years will he inform his team w/ a text message like he did at SDSU?

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:51 a.m. are so right, these buckeyes are scared to death or they would not be checking up constantly on us....running scared !


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

All this speculation about Meyer having health conditions....sorry to report but Urban is in great shape physically and mentally understands the importance of beating UM and will be around for many years haunting the once proud UM team. Go Bucks!!!!

Terry Star21

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

Yes but Reeves needs to know; 1. meyer 0-3 vs Michigan, looking for 0-4 2.. meyer out on 'medical' retirement 2-3 years 3. recruiting nice, but scoreboard - 40-3-4.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

If it is soo good why are you on a Michigan board?You sound scared and should be you havent beat us in two years and the pressure is on you.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 4 p.m.

&quot;Similar to Michigan, but better.&quot; If by &quot;better&quot; you mean &quot;better at being deceitful,&quot; you're right. Besides, who would willingly want to go to Ohio? Remember: 58-43-6.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

You did not learn anything from the article. class always shines. classless always talks bad about others. Go Blue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Free Tattoo U is pretty appealing to high school kids. Look at how little the NCAA batted an eye at the outlandish scandal that came out of your cesspool of a school. That was the green light to recruits that they can get away with anything that they want to. Combine that with Meyer's history as an absentee leader in regards to off-field activity and you have a dream scenario for any teenager who wants to avoid responsibility.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Outstanding football history, Outstanding stadium and facilities and certainly an Outstanding University is what we have to offer a young recruit and his family. It appears after his first full season as our head coach that Michigan has made the correct decision in hiring Brady Hoke. The only thing Coach Hoke is lacking compared to say Urban Meyer is the seasoning at this level of play that will come in time for Coach Hoke. Young recruits as most young people want instant gratification in all things and young recruits naively think that signing on to play with say a Nick Saben or Les Miles will bring them (recruits) instant success, not always true in the big leagues. What works best seems to me to be good coaching as well as a good stable program and staff which I believe Michigan has in abundance at this time and boasts a history of. I believe in hiring Urban Myer that ohio has made another statement that they want to win at all cost (beat Mich.) and if they, ohio had to hire a disposable coach to get that instant gratification then so be it.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

Agree Hailmary....first loss to Michigan the drunken truck drivers will send meyer packing or he'll be out on medical retirement before they get the bank on it !


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

disposable coach???


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

It is always tough seeing a very good recruit go to a top rival. In this case I dont think it will effect Michigan at all. Michigan has 3 guys that can make plays at the corner position next year and a 4th that could see the playing field coming in next year. Corner was not a huge concern for this team. The main concerns for this team where Oline, Dline, Tight end, and LB. The line was the biggest spot needing repair! If we as fans freaked out about every recruit lost then we would not sleep much. Michigan gave out over 180 scholarship offers to football players and only 23 have said yes so far! Look for Michigan to pick up Diamond, Grant, and Kozen between now and Friday. This will give Michigan 26 recruits and a top five recruiting class (except ESPN where they wont be in the top 25!). As usual there will probably be a huge switch to Michigan on signing day. There typically is. Look for someone unexpected and under the radar to make the switch. Go Blue!!!


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

chiro , the biggest weakness in the defense this year was the defenseive backs. OSU had a freshaman put up 360 yards on them. Do you even watch this team? Kovacs couldn't defend a pass to save his life. Your best Cb Countess looked like a clown trying to guard Posey. Your corners suck.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Sorry about your luck chico, Kozan, gone, grant, gone. The only way you sign Diamond is if you pay him. he will probably end up at an SEC school, because they will.

Captain Dave

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

Pray Diamond doesn't leave his friend Bryant already on the team too, as the others have already gone elsewhere. Now they seem to be scrambling for low 3 star MAC recruits


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

@Kyle Great article, but i think you've just scratched the surface. Michigan is coming off its best season in years, and a BCS bowl win. OHIO is coming off its worst season in a half century and heading into NCAA jail. How is it that Ohio is beating us in recruiting? Has AAdotcom ever done a story on the inside of recruiting.... From the players prospective? I know the current players would be pretty tight lipped about the promises they were told, but what would a former player, one who was recruited nationally have to say about the Phone calls, and text messages, and inhome visits with their parents, and the campus visits? I want to know what its really like to have Urb and Hoke and Tressel, and Stoops, and Carrol, and (Insert major college coach name here) all calling you on the same afternoon. I would really like to know what Lloyd had to say to a Kid who just came for a campus visit in December, and whos next visit was to USC or Miami or Georgia where the weather is warm, and the girls are just a bit tanner. Is the weather as big a factor as we think it is?


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

For those who wonder what a Michigan &quot;man&quot; is--this article is an example of the type of program and men we want leading the program. (No bashing on women--these are the type of women I want leading the programs, too, like Hutch or Plocki). It's not arrogance, it's just the right way we want things handled. No reason to bash the competition. Michigan--the university, the football program, the entire sports program, the history and tradition--it all speaks for itself. If it takes insulting PSU, MSU, Ohio, etc, then that's the type of player that probably would not be a good fit anyway.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Michigan's football program is, I think, fully restored and just needs the usual attention to recruiting and training and handling &quot;the kids&quot; (of course: they are all young men). Let's face it though: Michigan has dodged the bullet that felled Penn State's program. The current news about an alleged pedophile at U of M Hospital isn't (and can't be) connected with the Michigan Wolverines. Recruiting tactics: once again, Michigan football stands out from the rest by being honest and ethical. &quot;Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.&quot; – George Washington To recruits and parents (in every sport): If you think honest admittance gives you reason to avoid a school, consider what choosing one which doesn't admit faults gets you. (a dishonest program - with faults)


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

It took over 6 months to report the pedophile. That is exactly the kind of thing that went on at PSU. An attempt to hide the truth. The administrators at UM acted no different than PSU's.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Good point about he Hospital. Our coaching staff and the AD need to take a lesson from Penn State and always be forthcoming with any illegal activity should it occur in the program. The police should be called and not campus police. That is how an institution protects itself. and acts with integrity.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

The quotes in this article from players support what I believe about the positive, &quot;high road&quot; approach Hoke and his staff are using in recruiting. College football is filled with snake oil salesmen who will tell anything to recruits to get them to sign - especially to the undecided kids in late January and early February. This will mean Michigan will lose some kids. So be it. I'd rather we get players who really want to be here than ones who (for example) buy into false promises of easy playing time or being drafted for the NFL after 3 years. Given this is Hoke's first full year recruiting, he and his staff have done an amazing job. 2013 and 2014 will go even better now that they've had time to build relationships with a lot of high school kids and coaches. You'll see Michigan starting to win a lot more battles for high profile players in the future.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

Not getting Reeves is a real disappointment and the article seems to be a way of sugar coating that message. I am not surprised to read that this coaching staff and Michigan want to stay out of the gutters on the recruiting trail. And yes, that will result in losing future players because like in politics negative messages work. So going into the last few days of this year's recruiting cycle the question is, &quot;How well did Michigan do under Coach Hoke and staff?&quot; They did great, just like on the field this last fall. Not perfect but so much better than expected and with only a couple of missed chances Michigan is once again in the national spotlight as a renewed powerhouse in college football. Yes, I know I can live with that. Why? Because This is Michigan! Go Blue!