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February 07, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-07

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8A - Thursday, February 7, 2013

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Michigan wraps up top-10 recruiting class

ByBEN ESTES
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan football team's
2013 recruiting class began to
take shape nearly two years ago,
when Warren, Mich. quarterback
Shane Morris, then nearing the
end of his sophomore year in high
school, committed to the Wolver-
ines.
The class saw a surge in
momentum nine months later,
when eight highly rated high-
school juniors also made verbal
pledges to Michigan in a two-day
span from Feb. 18-19, 2012.
And on Wednesday, the 21 play-
ers that eventually became part
of the 2013 class finally put pen
to paper and signed their Nation-
al Letters of Intent, officially
becoming Wolverines in the pro-
cess. Those players joined the six
early enrollees who were already
on campus and taking classes this
spring.
Unlike during signing days
past, there was no last-minute
drama. Most of Michigan's sign-
ees had been commitments for
months, long past thinking about
playing for other schools.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
had received all 21 letters by early
afternoon on Wednesday, making
for an uneventful signing day -
and thus a "good" day, in Hoke's
view.
"We're very excited about the
group ofyoungmenwho made the
decision to come and play at the
greatest university in this coun-
try," Hoke said.
Hoke has reason to be excited
- he and his coaching staff have
assembled one of the best recruit-
ing classes in the country by any
measure.
Close to 20 of the team's sign-
ees were deemed four- or five-
star recruits by at least one of
the major recruiting websites. As
a group, that amounts to a team
ranking as high 'as No. 2 in the

The addition of Green and the
bolstering of the offensive line
will help the Wolverines move
toward the more traditional style
of offense that they've desired
since Hoke took the job.
Michigan's 2013 class is notable
too for its geography. Hoke has
repeatedly emphasized build-
ing the program through mostly
Midwestern talent, and 22 of the
27 signees are from Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan or Pennsylva-
nia.
For the first time in 25 years,
the Wolverines didn't sign a single
recruit from the talent-rich states
of Florida, Texas and California,
but wide receivers coach/recruit-
ing coordinator Jeff Hecklinski
downplayed that fact.
"Let's get the best kids here,"
Hecklinski said. "I don't care
if they come from Canada or
Nebraska. They could come from
the moon. Let's get the best kids
here that can help Michigan win,
wherever that may be.
"(But) we will always take care
of home. We will always take care
of Michigan and we will always
take care of Ohio. That's the his-
tory of Michigan (football)."
NOTES: Hoke said that there
was still no update on whether
senior quarterback Devin Gard-
ner had been granted a medi-
cal redshirt by the NCAA for his
freshman season.
Jackson reported that he was
"shocked" at how well injured
redshirt senior running back
Fitzgerald Toussaint ran when
Jackson observed his rehab on a
recent morning.
Jackson also said he expects
Toussaint, who suffered a broken
leg against Iowa last season, back
for the beginning of next season.
"He's ahead of schedule, and
I think right now people in the
"training room feel good about
him," Jackson said. "I'm not sure,
but I would expect him to be
back."

I

Michigan coach Brady Hoke had 21 players sign their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, cementing one of the best recruiting classes in the country for 2013.

country, according to Scout.com.
Both Rivals.com and RSPN rated
Michigan's class the sixth-best in
the country, coming on the heels
of a 2012 class that was also gener-
ally rated a top-10 group.
More than talent, the 2013 class
of Wolverines is notable for how
tightly knit it is.
Led by Morris, who Hoke
lauded for his recruiting efforts,
the members of the class rapidly
developed close relationships
with each other through visit-
ing Michigan at the same time,
appearing at the same skill camps
and All-Star games and, most
importantly, by engaging each
other over social media.
Hoke's probably more excited
about the cohesiveness of his 2013
class than how well it's received

publicly, given his views on the Since he accepted the Michi-.
recruiting rankings that have gan job, the coach has repeatedly
become ingrained with following emphasized the importance of the
college football. trenches, especially on offense.
"I'll be dead honest with you, Considering the lack of talent and
I don't think depth left on
as a staff we the . offensive
put a whole lot line by the time
of stock into W e'll always take Hoke arrived in
(rankings)," Ann Arbor, it's
Hoke said. "I care of home. no surprise that
know people the coaching
are work- staff has made
ing hard at all a concerted
those services and all that kind of effort to improve that position.
stuff. Personally, and I think as a The team added four highly
staff, you got to find guys who fit regarded offensive lineman in
that blueprint for what you want last year's class and followed that
to be as a program at Michigan." effort up with six in thi, year's
The 2013 class is strongest group, including players such as,
along the offeri-vn iinc just the Kyle Bosch from Wheaton, Ill.
way Hoke wants it. and Detroit product David Daw-

son, who decommitted and then
recommitted several months ago.
"I think just like the four last
year, the most common thread to
them all, if you had to pick one or
two traits, is that when you watch
them on tape, they all play hard to
the whistle," said offensive line
coach Darrell Funk. "They've all
got adegree ofnastinesstothem-
not cheap-shot guys - and they're
going to try to finish (blocks)."
Perhaps the biggest prize of
all for the Wolverines is running
back Derrick Green of Richmond,
Va., rated the No. 1 running back
in th7e country by both Rivals and
Scout.
Green fills a big and immedi-
ate need for Michigan, which
couldn't develop an effective run-
ning game last season.

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