As the 2012 recruiting season came to a close, Michigan was in line to finish with one of its best classes in recent memory.
But highly regarded prospects like OT Jordan Diamond, OG Joshua Garnett and CB Armani Reeves elected to sign with other programs.
The Wolverines still finished with a top-10 class, and recruiting for the 2013 class has been more of the same.
In fact, scout.com has Michigan's current class rated No. 1 in the country, but again, there have been a few disappointments.
Landing RB Ty Isaac and S Su'a Cravens might have made the Wolverines national championship contenders for many years to come, but both committed to Southern Cal. Michigan also lost the likes of LB E.J. Levenberry, TE Adam Breneman, OT Ethan Pocic and DT Greg Webb.
Michigan has room for three, maybe four more prospects, and finishing No. 1 is indeed possible.
So there's no question coach Brady Hoke's Wolverines are headed in the right direction. They should make a nice run toward the Legends Division title and a berth in the Big Ten title game.
But they're still a ways from competing for the national title on a regular basis. Finishing No. 1 in the current recruiting race will help.
Back in May of 2011, Michigan received a verbal commitment from Shane Morris, one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks. Not only is Morris regarded as the quarterback of the future, he's been an outspoken recruiter himself.
For over a year, Morris has been found at camps, All-Star games and all over Twitter. There's no question he's helped bring aboard some of the 2013 prospects.
Landing a Morris clone early in the 2014 class will keep the dominoes falling.
When Hoke took the job, he promised to compete locally. There's no question he's been successful. He's already turned things around in Michigan, dusting Michigan State two seasons in a row. It's only a matter of time before that translates into a win on the scoreboard.
Likewise, Michigan has held its own in Ohio. Regardless of how new Buckeye coach Urban Meyer does, Hoke already has established a foothold in the Buckeye State. It didn't hurt that Hoke grew up in Ohio and recruited the state heavily for Ball State.
Now that Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke are firmly entrenched in their jobs, one could easily see them discussing the new Michigan philosophy. However, there's nothing new about it. The following could have easily described what then-athletic director Don Canham might have discussed with his new hire, Bo Schembechler.
“Some of the best sports teams are built when an exceptional coach recruits a team of individuals who offer a careful balance of talent, positive attitudes, and a passion for winning,” Brandon wrote in his blog. “The coach convinces each individual that team goals are more important than individual goals, and a successful team emerges.
“When a program can do that year after year with different coaches, different athletes and in a wide array of different types of competition, it creates its own legacy. Winning becomes a habit and an expectation for that program.”