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February 08, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-08

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2011- 7

The Mchign Daly -michgandilyco TuedayFebrary{,.201.-.

Hoke did all he could recruiting

Brady Hoke was stuck at
the starting line, waiting.
The gunshot was long
gone. The foot race started a
while ago.
And Michigan's competition
was well on its way to finishing the
race.
How frus-
trating that
must have
been.
There were
three years
of mediocre
football on the TIM
field to deal ROHAN
while rumors
and specula-
tion surroundingthe coach's status
weighed on the program off of it.
Instead of having six weeks to
hand pick his first recruiting class,
Hoke had three weeks from the
day he was hired.
Considering everything stacked
up against him, Hoke's first
recruiting class is all he could ask
for. All Michigan could ask for.
He hauled in six four-star
recruits and 13 three-star recruits,
according to Rivals.com. The Wol-
verines couldn't secure a five-star,
but, for reference, Ohio State only
nabbed one.
According to the coaching
staff, Michigan's haul included a
running back tailor-made for the
offense (Thomas Rawls), a tight
end who can step on the field
immediately (Chris Barnett) and
12 defensive players who can add
depth and maybe push for playing
time - former coach Rich Rodri-
guez was troubled throughout the
season with his defense's lack of
quality reserves.
Michigan's assistant coaches
were on the road for eight days
making recruiting visits to con-
struct this 20-person class. Michi-
gan recruiting coordinator Chris
Singletary woke up some days
wondering what city he was in and
what time of day it was.
The hard work paid off The

Wolverines reaffirmed some of
Rodriguez's commits and gener-
ated a respectable foundation for
the future Hoke is building - one
with a 4-3 defense and pro-style
offense. But that's the story before
any of them puton a winged hel-
met.
It's easyto criticize a class,
compared to those schoolswith
head starts, and one that doesn't
include a single five-star recruit.
But one thing we can point to dur-
ing the Rodriguez tenure and say
is that nothing is guaranteed; that
includes top recruits.
Five-stars can barely see
the field. And four-stars can be
the centerpiece of an explosive
offense. Hoke had to scratch and
claw to get those players to come
to Ann Arbor. Now, it's his job to
coach them up.
"They're going to have to (have
an impact), they're not really going
to have a choice," said Mike Far-
rell, a national recruiting analyst
for Rivals.com. "They're going to
be thrown in there, especially the
defensive guys, and they're going
to have to playa little bit over their
heads.
"I can tell you that a few of
these kids who are ranked three-
stars will be much better than
that. And then a few of these
three-stars, you'll never hear from
them. They'll never see the field.
They'll never crack the two-deep.
Or they'll simply be depth play-
ers that will not make an impact
at all."
The mark of a good coach is one
who can drive and teach and mold
his players into much more. It's
nice to have a solid talent pool to
work with, though.
Aren't you curious what
could've happened if Hoke had
more time to sell Michigan?
Michigan wide receivers coach
Jeff Hecklinski said it was easy to
sell the school - the academics,
the block "M."
It'llbe even easier if the win-
ning returns. Then the higher-

Could',
Bryan Hogan
b IeBlue's
saving grace?

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Michigan coach Brady Hoke had just three weeks to form his recruiting class.

profile recruits will come too,
especially with two more years
of national exposure thanks to
Denard Robinson highlights and
big matchups on a national stage
(see: Notre Dame night game in
2011 and Alabama at Cowboys'
Stadium in 2012).
The barricade is easyto under-
stand. Michigan Athletic Director
Dave Brandon didn't fire Rodri-
guez until four days after the
Gator Bowl. Coaches like Randy
Shannon at Miami (Fla.) were
let go back in November. And his
replacement, Al Golden, had plenty
of time to salvage a recruiting
class.
We don't know how much the
Wolverines' 52-14 Gator Bowl loss
factored into Brandon's decision.
But he wasn't doing Rodriguez
any favors by keepingthe coach
around while rumors swirled. The
next guy was goingto be stuck
there atthe starting line, anxiously
waiting. Brandon said he made the
decision withthe currentplayers
in mind, so that they had the best
chance to win the team's first bowl
game in three years.
It was noble of Brandon to con-
sider the current players' needs
before the future of the program

- there are few athletic directors
who would do that. But well see if
it comes back to haunt the begin-
ning of Hoke's tenure.
Hindsight is 20-20. Michigan
was embarrassed in the Gator
Bowl and its next coach had a dis-
advantage in recruiting. Atthat
point, all you could expect from
Hoke is what we got - the No. 21
recruiting class in the country,
according to Rivals.com. Not
spectacular, notcterrible --just
okay.
The whole process is cyclical -
recruit, coach, win.
Repeat.
Michigan won't have anything
substantial holding it back next
year, unless Hoke's first season in
Ann Arbor goes as poorly as Rodri-
guez's did. Then, Hoke and the
defense-wiz, Greg Mattison, will
have a legitimate shot at re-filling
the cupboard.
The barricades will fade. And
Hoke will have his chance to be
the front-runner, leaving every-
one else in the dust.
-Some of Rohan's friends
think they're six-star recruits.
But they're not. You can reach
him at trohan umich.edu

Y9u saw the headline -
go ahead, roll your eyes.
Look at the headline,
now back at me. Now back at the
headline, now back to me.
You've
probably
never had
a negative
thought
about senior
goalie
Shawn
Hunwick. STEPHEN J.
In fact, you NESBITT
didn't even
think about
him during his first two-and-a-
half years on campus. He was
just a second or third-string
option who only had dreamed of
seeing the ice.
But last March, Hunwick
enraptured you, capturing the
collective heart of Wolverine
nation. A fan base that was dev-
astated when its starting goal-
tender went down with a groin
injury in the first period against
Notre Dame was introduced to
its most unlikely hero - a goalie
whose mask barely peeked
above the crossbar in goal.
And after Hunwick spear-
headed Michigan's drive to the
NCAA regional semifinal, you
didn't want to wake from the
fairytale story unfolding before
you. You wanted Hunwick to

take the nation by storm in his
senior season and claim the
starting goaltending position
from the get-go - in the back of
your mind, you felt indebted to
him for the special run.
Perhaps more impressive
than Hunwick's acrobatics
in goal was the way the Wol-
verine defense rallied around
him. Michigan had nothingto
lose - its top goaltender was
gone right before the CCHA
tournament, which was the only
opportunity for the fledgling
Wolverines to advance to their
20th consecutive NCAA Tour-
nament.
And while Hunwick trumped
all expectations, he was the first
to admit that it took a full-team
effort to shut down ranked
opponents like Michigan State,
Northern Michigan, Miami
(Ohio) and Bemidji State.
The consensus entering the
2010-11 season was that it was
Hunwick's job to lose.
But re-enter Bryan Hogan.
The senior groomed to be the
Wolverines' starting goaltender
back as a freshman wasnow the, *
unfamiliar goalie. With Hogan
healthy again for his senior sea-
son, Michigan coach Red Beren-
son elected to platoon the pair,
naming no starter, but rather a
1A, 1B rotation.
See NESBITT, Page 8

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