Hoops aside, it's been a pretty rough few days for Michigan. Starting on Thursday, 4.5-star OL Joshua Garnett chose Stanford when many considered him a Michigan lean for a majority of his recruitment. Last night, we lost 4-star DB Armani Reeves to OSU--the first true head-to-head recruiting battle with Urban--and 4-star OL Alex Kozan to Iowa. I didn't talk specifically about Kozan on my last recruiting post, but he's up there with Garnett and Reeves as big targets. Add that to OL Caleb Stacey decommiting last week and Hoke's incredibly fast start to the 2012 recruiting class has officially come to a screeching halt, if not sliding backwards a bit. Michigan started the 2011 season with 22 verbals; after a football season and Sugar Bowl win, there are 23 today. And with no real decision dates of any known targets within the next few days other than maybe TE Sam Grant (OL Jordan Diamond decides on February 3), Michigan will likely back into NSD.
But what does backing in even mean? While there's certainly disappointment among Michigan fans, the source of it stems largely from how high the bar was set by Hoke this summer when he and Mattison went on what can only be described as a recruiting blitz. With all the momentum, Michigan saw its class rank shoot up among recruiting sites. The expectation was to flip a Kyle Kalis. The expectation was that we'd land an Ondre Pipkins. And as we near NSD, the expectation is that we'd land a Garnett or a Reeves or a Kozan or all 3. Certainly the addition of them, especially Garnett, would help Michigan maintain a Top 5 class. But backing in this year means we'll have to settle for a Top 10 one instead. If that's what not meeting expectations means, I still like where our expectations are. Let's remember this class is still pretty strong on its own right now.
|Jordan Diamond went from possibly 7th OL to hopefully 5th.|
Moving forward, with 4-5 spots still left to fill, even the assumption of Grant and Diamond will leave some open spots for late comers. You'll likely hear names and rumors tossed around--none of which have any real credibility. Most are banking on the fact that NSD flips exist, and hope Hoke points at something soon to make it happen. But while Michigan may grab a OT Chris Muller or a DT Willie Henry over the next few days, my focus is on making sure the 23 verbals on board right now have a great experience this Wednesday; that fans join me in welcoming and supporting them during one of the most important days of their lives. This class features a loaded defensive line, 4 all-conference caliber LBs, Kyle Kalis, Eric Magnuson, Ondre Pipkins, Jarrod Wilson among many others. I'd back in with them any day.