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Posted on Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 10 a.m.

7 months away, national signing day looks promising for Michigan football team

By Rich Rezler

Flipping the calendar to July means two things for college football:

1) We’re exactly two months from the first full weekend of actual games. There will be 28 games played on Thursday, Sept. 1.

2) We’re exactly seven months from national signing day. On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, high school seniors will make their college choices official by signing national letters of intent.

While we eagerly await those real games, let’s take a look at the only competition going on … the recruiting battles.

For a Michigan fan base hungry for wins, that’s a good place to look. First-year head coach Brady Hoke and his staff have already received verbal commitments from 18 players and the Wolverines’ class is being mentioned among the nation’s best (second on CBS Sports/MaxPreps rankings, sixth on’s).

Of course verbal commitments are non-binding and there are plenty of undecided big-name recruits (nearly 100 of the Rivals top 250 are still being courted).

So while recruiting classes will change as often as a 17-year-old’s mind over the next seven months, the following is a look at how Big Ten Conference teams are faring to date, using data from the four major recruiting websites:,, and

Commitments: 4

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits: None

Commitments: 11

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits: None

Commitments: 5

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruit
ATH Maurice Fleming (ESPN)

Commitments: 18

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits
OL Blake Bars (Rivals)
LB Joe Bolden (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
DE Pharaoh Brown (Rivals, 247)
TE Devin Funchess (Scout, ESPN, 247)
DE Matt Godin (247)
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Erik Magnuson (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
DE Mario Ojemudia (Scout, ESPN)
DB Terry Richardson (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
LB Kaleb Ringer (Scout)
LB James Ross (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
DE Tom Strobel (Rivals, Scout, 247)

Commitments: 10

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits
DE Se’von Pittman (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Ben McGowan (ESPN)
QB Tyler O’Connor (247)

Commitments: 10

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruit
WR Andre McDonald (Rivals, ESPN)

Commitments: 5

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits
DE Greg McMullen (Rivals, Scout, 247)
LB Michael Rose (Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Paul Thurston (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
WR Jordan Westerkamp (Scout, 247)

Commitments: 12

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits: None

Commitments: 9

5-Star Recruit
RB Bri’onte Dunn (Scout)

4-Star Recruits
Dunn (Rivals, ESPN, 247)
RB Warren Ball (Rivals, Scout, 247)
DB De’van Bogard (Rivals, Scout, 247)
OL Jacoby Boren (247)
LB Josh Perry (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

Commitments: 11

5-Star Recruit
DT Jarron Jones (Scout, 247)

4-Star Recruits
Jones (Rivals, ESPN)
OL J.J. Denman (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Brian Gaia (ESPN)
OL Joey O’Connor (Rivals, ESPN)
DT Jamil Pollard (Rivals, 247)
DE Brent Wilkerson (Rivals, 247)
LB Camren Williams (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

Commitments: 6

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits: None

Commitments: 8

5-Star Recruits: None

4-Star Recruits
LB Vince Biegel (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Kyle Dodson (Rivals, Scout, 247)
RB Vonte Jackson (Rivals, Scout, 247)
QB Bart Houston (Scout, ESPN, 247)
OL Dan Voltz (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)



Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 4:38 a.m.

We are Very Happy to have Coach Hoke back where he belongs

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

Boy, can this guy recruit!! It might take us a couple of years to recover from the damage done over the prior three, but I have little doubt that we have the right guy! Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Yes, he can recruit and he we will get good players. He can motivate. He knows enough to hire good staff. Last year's near-win over TCU tells me he has the stuff to avoid being intimidated by teams better on paper than his. I agree ... we have the right guy.


Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 8:42 a.m.

@Thosewhostay, I feel like I need to point out a few things to you, I assume you're referring to T Richardson as the good DB, well I watched Standifer's film and that kid is a beast in the backfield, he actually reminded me of Woodson, so we shall see. Nowadays in Football you need to have 2-3 man depth and each position to rotate in and out of the game to stay fresh, especially the front 7. Just because a guy doesn't start that doesn't mean he's not going to play a lot. Furthermore, that type of structure creates a reloading as opposed to a rebuilding mode every so often. We have enough skilled guys from past recruiting classes for the next couple of years. We have a lot of experience coming back and now a real coaching staff. I'd rather win a 17-13 game than a 67-65 game any day.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

"I'd rather win a 17-13 game than a 67-65 game any day." I second that. That game was *embarrassing*


Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

I stand corrected... we have one good DB in the class.


Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

People are naively looking at Michigan's recruiting data and exclaiming how incredible it is without really understanding what we have. It's not so much important that we have a lot of high ranking guys, but that we have a lot of high ranking guys dispersed throughout each position. As it stands, we have four 4* defensive end recruits and four 4* Linebacker recruits. A 4-3 defensive scheme allows for three linebackers and two defensive ends to be on the field at any given time. If all of these linebackers and defensive ends are redshirted, then we have a serious problem in providing adequate playing time to all these guys. Ultimately, Michigan will either be letter some of them go (oversigning) or they will leave on their own terms. I have serious moral hangups with putting these young men in that position. Of all the top-end players Michigan has recruited, there are zero wide receivers, zero quarterbacks, zero running backs, and zero defensive backs (corners and safeties). That's a problem. We are loading up on a bunch of players that we can't possibly use and neglecting skill positions that account for some of the most productive plays. The most common positions to win the Heisman trophy are QB and RB and we have none of them, next is WR and yet again those are all absent. The only defensive player to win a Heisman (Woodson) was a DB and yet we have no top-end DBs in the class.


Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

You do realize of course that many of these kids end up changing position and could easily move to a position of need right? Or do you think their destinies are set in stone before they finish their senior year of high school?


Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

At some point we have to trust that Hoke, Borges and Mattison know what they're doing. If they don't -- if the lack of recruiting at certain positions that you point out is a sign they're lost and making serious mistakes -- then we have a MUCH bigger problem on our hands. I don't believe we have a bigger problem on our hands. I think Hoke, Borges and Mattison know full well what their current inventory is and what their needs are. I'd be willing to bet they have a multi-year recruiting plan mapped out. I'd be willing to bet the thinking and planning they have into the process would make those of us on commenters on this board blush at how naive we really are.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

Last time I checked there were, I believe, 15 scholarship wide receivers on the team. In a five-receiver set, that's 3-deep at each position. In the meantime, AT BEST, the team will have 10 scholarship OL in 2012 (assuming no one leaves the program or sustains serious injury)--only two deep. So it is no surprise to me that Hoke has the recruiting priorities that he has. The previous regime not only recruited undersized athletes for Big Ten football, and they not only recruited players that likely would have been on a MAC team had it not been for Michigan, it appears they forgot to recruit linemen. No wonder he was the WCiMFH. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

The best thing is Hoke is strengthening the defense, a dire need. He's loading the team with good defensive players. It bothers me that Joe Pa and OSU each have recruited a five star player. Often these are impact players such as Anthony Carter and Charles Woodson. With some success on the field, perhaps we will get some of them, too.


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

They will come, rocco. Remember that movie with Kevin Costner? If you build it, they will come. Well, I have faith that our Coach is building something that great players will want to be a part of........ This is Michigan.... GO BLUE!


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

Let's not forget that William Campbell was a five-star. So was Donovan Warren. While I agree they can be impact players, that fifth star does not always pan out. To be honest, I'm pretty geeked about a slate full of four-stars. Somewhere in there is a honest-to-goodness five-star the "experts" overlooked.


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

Discussing us being better is good optimistic entertainment and we should be improved even if the finale scores don't always indicate that this coming season. Losses are a negative to most young fans however, losses can show positive growth depending on how we match up at different positions this year and almost every position for Mich. comes to mind as a question mark in coach Hokes first year, should really be an interesting year regardless of all the outcomes of every game played. I really like that ND matchup, second year coach for ND and first for Mich. although we've been thumping ND pretty good with suspect talent. I know ND complains that their QB injuries are the reason we beat them but hey, that's how the game of football works and my suggestion to ND is, get tougher QB's. We had injury outs for that game to and a first year QB to boot. You can't make excuses when you lose it, only makes you sound like a crybaby and ND likes to be thought of as a tough school, can't have it both ways. I'm optimistic about real positive improvement this year not so much the wins but hey, age makes ya look at the game differently.


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

You bring up some very good points, Hailmary. U of M could be a vastly improved team this year (and I think they will be), but not show it in the w/L column. I am trying to contain my high expectations for the next couple years. We must keep in mind that Coach Hoke is in his 1st year as our Top Dog, and 2012 has a brutal schedule all the way through. I expect by 2013 all will be settled down and we should be able to count on 10+ wins most years. If we don't, I know it will not be from lack of effort or dedication. Take a look at the entire BIG 10. It is going to be very difficult to go through that meat grinder without a loss for anybody. This is Michigan.... GO BLUE!


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

"Character begets character" This is the theme that echoes through the posts above ... the character of Hoke and his staff is resonating with the young recruits. Young men yearn for a noble mission and the opportunity to fight for it. Football provides an environment in which these two things can be pursued. The noble mission is, as has been said, more than just wins or losses. The noble mission is working hard, working hard in concert with others, and breaking through limits they thought they had. Saturday on the field is the place of battle. The objective is to win with strength, honor and courage. Coach Hoke and company have never emphasized anything but what I wrote above -- hard work, dedication, and pursuit of that which is beyond the reach of any one person. Hoke has said many times that his primary mission is the forging of young men of character, so that they may go forth and be better men, better husbands and better fathers. To a competitive young man in this culture that is like music to the ears. In their hearts they know that is a worthy goal; a purpose to fight for. The concept of cutting corners to find the easy path to glory will not be part of their vocabulary. They will knock down walls to earn the respect of these coaches. And when the game is over, either on any given Saturday or when their playing days are done, they will carry with them a life lesson they will never forget. They will look back on these days and know they made the right decision to invest their effort in a coaching staff that honors such thing as hard work, dedication and integrity.


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

Re: TulsaTom and David -- I have a strong sense Robinson will do quite well. I don't think Borges showed much of his hand at the spring game. I think we'll see Robinson playing out of the shotgun more than some think. I think Robinson's approach is just like it was after his freshman year -- work and study to be good at the role. He may not put up the same numbers he did in 2010, but I would argue that's a good thing. If we see a more balanced distribution of yards and points that makes the job of opposing defenses all that much more difficult. The thing that must make defensive coordinators wake up in a sweat -- the prospect of a more poised and disciplined Denard Robinson using all the weapons available ... AND the thread of breaking off a TD run if he's given a hint of daylight. Because then the question is, "Who do we focus on?" In 2010 the answer was increasingly clear -- key on Denard. Iowa, OSU and Mississipppi State figured that out. But if Robinson learns -- and you can be sure Borges is teaching -- that he has other options rather than running ... well, that's when things are going to get REALLY interesting.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

That was very nice - good job !

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

I think some of that can be attributed to the weather, if you remember, it was fairly cold and wet. Plus, Denard had only been working on the Pro Style for a few weeks. He should be fine under center, he played under center in High School, so he was just a little rusty. Not worried.


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 7 p.m.

I couldn't agree more, Don. The only question I have is how well Denard will adjust to the new style of offense. He struggled at the Spring game. I hope he can make good progress before the season starts. I am very encouraged by the recruits for 2012, which look very promising.


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

I was at the Hoke Youth Football camp last weekend and I met Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison. They are really personable and very high energy. There was a great buzz amongst fans because Michigan has created a lot of momentum. I would feel a little better if we were getting some kids from the warm weather states (Florida, Texas, Tenessee) to come to Michigan but I support the coaching staff and the program as a whole and keep a positive attitude. Last weekend, Coach Hoke said somthing very profound, "We haven't won a game yet." That was a great statement because though the recruiting news is great, those players won't be here until 2012. I think I speak for all of us when I say I want some wins THIS YEAR against quality programs! I'm glad Coach Hoke has that in perspective. I'll enjoy the summer but I honestly can't wait until the Fall! GO BLUE!


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Actually TerryStarr, I think we have a tremendously classy fan base in the grand scheme of things as a whole. As to the coaching staff: -Bring back U-M winning mentality....check -Bring back integrity.....check -Bring back big time recruiting....check -Bring back winning ways.......will be putting a check on that, oh I would say halfway through the season for people to see that I've been saying it and I'll say it again, we are entering a golden era in M Football! Go Blue for TiM!!! Remember folks, Hoke and Co. are doing this without winning a game yet, wait till that starts to happen!

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

Ts21 Tell us who would still be coaching if it hadn't been for the watchful, caring fans? We would still have to look at endless comments about "next year" and bad poetry almost daily. Glad you're backing "the team". TiM Go Blue!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

How dare we criticize the worst coach in the program's history and who brought the first NCAA investigation and punishment in the program's history. MUCH better that we sit back and mindlessly support. Good Night and Good Luck

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

Yes it's true - we have a classy faithful base, but the fan base, the people that say they are huge Michigan Fans, then bad mouth the team when they aren't happy - the difference between night and day.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

Agree with David 100%; "If a kid sees that you are genuinely excited by your job, that you truly love the school you coach at, it rubs off on them". It doesn't surprise me word has gotten out on Hoke and his staff, it surprises me how FAST it has gotten out and about ! Us older generation sometimes forget how a serious 17 year student/athlete thinks about where he wants to play. The education part is a no brainer at M, but everyone from these kid's friends, parents, coaches to the media coverage is putting the Hoke Crew in high standards. Now I am not talking abut winning/losing - that will be determined. I am talking about the positive excitement generated in the Hoke Camp, everyone is taking notice - yet there hasn't been a single game played yet ! The Nation always criticizes Michigan Football Faithful for not being patient enough with our coaches, team and season, but I for one can say; "I think I am ready to be the most patient Faithful, and enjoy every second of Mball - in the history of Michigan Football. MgoBlueForTiM and Hokemania.........

Michigan Man

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Although no one cares or will believe me I was suggesting to my friends, over two years ago, that when RR was canned our football recruiting (regardless of the new coach) would explode. I think this is happening as I write. It was just too obvious to me - RR just basically screwed up the entire M football recruiting system - now that he is gone and we have a genuine M man - no surprise to me that we are taking off - I fully expect this to continue for years!


Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 4 a.m.

I think most people believe you, because most people felt the same way you did.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jul 2, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Spot on, Steven. When the WCiMFH fired virtually the entire staff upon his arrival, he destroyed a recruiting network that had been built over nearly 30 years. I suspect that Hoke has tapped back in to that network, hence his success. Good Night and Good Luck

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Your right SH, just can't wait until the day we can stop talking/thinking about that chapter in M history !

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

I remain convinced that the right attitude from a coaching staff is probably the single most important factor in where rule-abiding players commit. It's all about belief, faith in what that program is doing. Brady Hoke, Al Borges and Greg Mattison have done a fantastic job convincing high school kids that Michigan is a true destination school, that the program will quickly return to glory, and all of that. Essentially, they have succeeded in convincing kids to WANT to come to Michigan because they will be missing something if they don't. It isn't a "this school didn't want me, so I guess I will accept Michigan's offer", its closer to "Michigan wants me, so I will decline everyone else". They have done a good job bringing back the idea that Michigan is a true 1st choice school, not a 2nd choice school. If a kid sees that you are genuinely excited by your job, that you truly love the school you coach at, it rubs off on them. When they know that you are exactly where you want to be, that you don't see the program as a stepping stone to somewhere else, they want to be there too. Basically, it can all be summed up by the feelings that are evoked from three simple words: THIS IS MICHIGAN!


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Coach Hoke is the genuine article. He's shown his talent at other schools and now he's at his dream job, ready to bring Michigan back to national prominence. He's not a huckster, but a down to earth guy and the quality kids pick up on that right away. No surprise that he's bringing in such a highly rated class to a world class university. Get used to it!

Blue Marker

Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

The best job recruiting done around here in a long time. Not only in quality but it would appear in character too. I think Rich makes a great point, we are a fan base in desperate need on good news. Doesn't the win over Florida in the Capitol One bowl seem like a million years ago? Go Blue!


Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

The new coaching staff is doing a great job with recruiting so far. I've never seen Michigan get close to this number of early commitments before the end of summer. Since we are still in the running for a good number of high-profile players, this is shaping up to be a very large recruiting class. It's possible the coaches are planning on a relatively high off-season attrition rate, but we'll have to see.