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February 03, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-03

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8A - Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Hoke talks first recruiting class Barnett could make
By TIM ROHANimpact as freshman
Daily Sports Editor

Tony Posada didn't want to be
that guy.
The 6-foot-4, 330-pound
offensive lineman from Tampa,
Fla. chose Michigan before coach
Brady Hoke took over and didn't
want to be left out in the midst of
the upheaval of Michigan foot-
ball. Schemes were changing.
Coaches were changing.
"I was scared about that,"
Posada said on WTKA radio on
Wednesday. "(I was) worrying if
I was one of their guys."
As it turns out, Hoke went to
visit Posada, to convince him to
stay committed to Michigan.
Posada, as well as, Chris Bry-
ant - who's also 6-foot-4, 330
pounds - are exactly the kinds of
plaWL isokis looking for as he
switches to the pro-style offense.
"You got to have those guys
up front who are going to come
off the football and those guys
that are going to knock guys off
the ball," Hoke said. "(Bryant
and Posada) fit the mold of what
Michigan offensive linemen are
going to look like."
Hoke joked that he looked
smll compared to Posada and
referred to Bryant as a "refrigera-
tor withlegs and arms."
The two linemen were two of
20 recruits who committed to
come to Michigan on Wednesday,
NationalSigniig Day.
Hoke's first recruiting class,
which was ranked No. 21 nation-
allybyRivals.com, came together
just three weeks after he was
In fact, the class wasn't even
finalized when the press confer-
ence started. More than 20 min-
utes into the press conference,
Associate Athletic Director Dave
Ablauf informed Hoke on a slip
of paper that four-star tight end
Chris Barnett was also commit-
ting to Michigan..
For the Wolverines, it was one
position of urgency to address
for the recruiting class of 2011 -
with just two tight ends remain-
ing on scholarship.
And it was clear across the
board that Hoke and his staff
wanted to address key areas of
concey wi the players: that
they signed. u
"It took some time to see
where we were and what kind
of football team we want to be,"
Hoke said.
That meant signing play-
ers like Bryant and Posada who
dominate opponents at the point
of attack.
And don't forget helping one of
the worst defenses in the country.
Hoke signed five defensive
backs, including four-star recruit
Raymon Taylor, who, as Hoke as
said, can "line somebody up and

Michigan coach Brady Hoke annvunced on Wednesday that the Wolverines will run a 4-3 defensive scheme next season.

go through the middle of them,
like you're supposed to play the
Michigan also signed four
linebackers, including multiple
players who can go sideline-to-
sideline, like Antonio Poole and
Frank Clark.
And three defensive ends com-
mitted to the Wolverines, includ-
ing four-star recruit Brennan
Beyer who was praised for his
toughness at the point of attack.
What do they all of the defend-
ers have in common? In a word
- physicality. These newcomers
may not be five-star recruits, but
Hoke highlighted the defensive
backs and linebackers as groups
that could have players with
opportunities to make an impact
as freshmen this fall.
"There is no entitlement in
this program," Hoke said. "When
you recruit guys, I've never told
a guy he's going to be redshirted
and I've never told a guy that,
'You're going to play as a fresh-
man.' There's always going to
be opportunities ... I think there
are guys (in this recruiting class)
with opportunities."
Twelve defensive players in
all were signed to play the 4-3
defense, which Hoke announced
would be the Wolverines' base
defense in 2011.
"That's something that we
both have been familiar with,"
Hoke said of his and defensive
coordinator Greg Mattison's
experience with the 4-3. "We're

a little seasoned. We've coached
a lot ... I think it's a great fit for
what we want to do."
The kicking game was also a
high priority after the Wolver-
ines converted just 4-of-14 field
goal attempts in the 2010 season.
Hoke convinced a San Diego
native, Matt Wile, who Hoke was
previously recruiting to go to San
Diego State, to commit to Michi-
Michigan tight ends and spe-
cial teams coach Dan Ferrigno
said the right-footed kicker could
connect from 50-plus yards and
recorded a 90-percent touchback
rate on kickoffs in high school,
albeit 10-yards closer than where
he'll kick from at Michigan.
For good measure, the Wolver-
ines grabbed commitments from
running backs Thomas Rawls
and Justice Hayes. During an
interview on WTKA on Wednes-
day, Hayes envisioned a future
with Rawls pounding defenses up
the middle while he works more
on the perimeter.
"The one thing about taking
running backs, most of the time
they're the best athlete on their
high school- team, that's why
they're back there," Hoke said,
adding that it's easy to move run-
ning backs to other positions.
Of the 20 members of the class,
13 come from Michigan or Ohio.
Hoke said that he and his staff are
goingto focus on lockingup play-
ers in the state of Michigan first,
before branching out to Ohio and

Illinois, Indiana and Western
The staff had to scramble to
lock up the class that was com-
prised roughly one-half of players
initially recruited by Rich Rodri-
guez and one-half generated by
Hoke and his staff. But after the
whirlwind stopped, the Wolver-
ines were left with a haul that is
more than respectable, consider-
ing the circumstances.
"Our goal was to get guys who
were going to represent Michi-
gan and Michigan football,"
Hoke said. "Guys who obviously
fit the mold from an academic
standpoint, fit the mold from a
character standpoint and fit the
mold for what we wanted to see.
"I don't know if we thought it
was going to be more difficult. I
think when you are Michigan,
when you are at Michigan, you
have an awful lot to talk about....
For us, you're just going to work
and try to see what's best for
NOTES: Hoke said the paper-
work for Devin Gardner's medi-
cal redshirt has been filed ...
Michigan offensive coordinator
Al Borges looked at 15 quarter-
backs before deciding on quarter-
back-commit Russell Bellomy ...
By Monday, Hoke says he plans to
finalize his coaching staff, which
is still missing defensive line and
defensive back coaches ... Defen-
sive back Greg Brown is the only
commit enrolled early for the
Winter 2011 semester.

By TIM ROHAN they playedthreectight ends "all the
Daily Sports Editor time." So having two available just
wasn't going to cut it.
One-and-a-half weeks. It's the Ferrigno agreed with Hoke that
amount of time from when Michi- they had found a gem in the 6-foot-
gan first contacted four-star tight 5, 250-pound Barnett
end Chris Barnett until he signed "Just speed and shear size," Fer-
his letter of intent. rigno said of Barnett. "To move
Some people go on vacations and have the feet that he has. The
that last longer. route-running ability. The hands.
"For a guy out of state, yeah, He's going to develop into a real
that has to be a record," Michigan good player."
recruiting coordinator Chris Sin- Koger and Moore were relegat-
gletary said. ed to the, backseat in the Wolver-
Urgency was the Wolverines' ines' offense over the past three
only option at that point. Michigan seasons under Rich Rodriguez.
coach Brady Hoke was installing a They saw the field, but few passes
pro-style offense that needed tight came their way.
ends, but Michigan was without Koger showed flashes of the
many. Only Kevin Koger and Bran- ability that the coaches speculate
don Moore were under scholar- Barnett could provide - evidenced
ship. by his 60-yard touchdown catch
So the Wolverines scoured the against Penn State in 2010.
country looking for a tight end - But he has 36 catches in 23
that's when Singletary got wind career games and Moore has only
that the Texas native would be one career catch. You can imagine
interested in Michigan. He had their reaction when Ferrigno met
verbally committed to Arkansas, with the two players to discuss
but he was talking to other schools. their roles.
He visited Miami (Fla),during the "They're excited," Ferrigno said.
third week of January and took "I think they've had a role, but
a trip to Ann Arbor last weekend they see their role increasing. So
before making his decision on anytime you tell a kid he's going to
Wednesday. play more and show him some tape
When Hoke beganhis presscon- of what we did - their eyes lit up,
ference to announce his 19-person they're excited.
recruiting class,he repeatedly clar- "That's a big part of what we do.
ified that more may be added. Then And either (Barnett) or one of the
he was passed a note that notified other guys will be one of those two
him of Barnett's commitment. He guys (playing). We just got to see."
perked up with the news. The only knock on the physi-
"(Barnett) is a guy - we need tally-gifted Barnett, according to
tight ends in our offense," Hoke Ferrigno, is that he needs to hit the
said, acknowledging the team's weight room - though that's true
need before he could even elabo- of most freshmen.
rate on Barnett's talents. What may be a more troubling
"Chris is a guy we identified as reality for Michigan is a prob-
one of the top guys in this coun- lem that Mike Farrell, a national
try," he added. "From an athletic recruiting analyst for Rivals.com,
standpoint, getting vertical, mis- has with Barnett.
matches, blocking down on the "I think he has a little growing
five-technique in the power-play up to do," Farrell said in an inter-
and finishing through him. That's view with The Michigan Daily. "If
exciting news. That was the one I he's successful, it's up to him. It's
was waiting on." all between his ears ... If it's just
Hoke and Michigan wide receiv- a physical matter, he's definitely
ers coach Jeff Hecklinski visited going to be something special."
Barnett in Texas to recruit that Farrell said he heard from peo-
athleticism. Instead of months, the ple close to Barnett's situation in
Wolverines had days to seal the Texas that he has a focus issue.
commitment. Farrell pointed to how Barnett
"It just worked," said Singletary, handled his own recruitmentas an
who has served as the program's example.
recruiting coordinator for the past "He's just kind of a kid that
five years. "It went fast, but we needs to be more consistent with
were able to develop a relationship his effort and needs to keep his
with him and his family. head on straight as far as being
"I haven't seen that in my time focused on being a great player,"
here. That just shows you the Farrell said. "He can get caught up
power of Michigan, the opportu- in things at times."
nity that he saw and the comfort If Ferrigno and Hoke can keep
level with the staff." Barnett on the right track, he could
Last year, when Hoke was the make an immediate impact.
head-man at San Diego State, he "There's a good base to start
ran two-tight end sets 40 percent with and he's only a freshman,"
of the time according to Michigan Ferrigno said. "I expect him to
tight end coach Dan Ferrigno. And develop into a real fine player."


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