In just his second season with the Michigan Wolverines, head coach Brady Hoke is already one of the best college football recruiters in the nation.
What is it that makes Hoke so good?
Granted, we have to give a lot of the credit for Hoke's success to the school he coaches; it's a lot harder to recruit at a school like Wake Forest than at Michigan, and for obvious reasons. Michigan is in the Big Ten, it has a very large and very committed fan base, and even though I think it's importance is diminishing, Michigan has a ton of football tradition they can pitch.
Hoke inherited all of those advantages, so let's give credit where it is due.
All that said, Hoke didn't just walk into having the No. 2 ranked recruiting class according to Rivals. He does have some major recruiting ability.
This is what makes Brady Hoke such a good recruiter.
He Talks the Talk
Brady Hoke is a "Michigan Man." You can laugh at it and analyze what it means all you want, but at the end of the day, he truly believes that there is a type of person out there that belongs at the University of Michigan playing football.
He could be delusional, and yes it does sound incredibly elitist, but either way, he's accomplishing his purpose. Sometimes in order to be a great recruiter you have to be literally crazy about your program.
You have to believe that your program and your school is the best in the country, and if you truly do believe it, it's going to come across to your recruits.
It may not be 100-percent true, or even close, but the fact that Hoke adamantly believes in the existence of a "Michigan Man" is what is making him so successful.
It comes down to passion.
He's passionate about the product he's selling to the point where if you have a pulse, chances are he can get you to be passionate about it as well.
So much of recruiting is about the pitch. Hoke has it down to a science. I dare say it's natural at this point.
You can say all the right things as a coach, but eventually you're going to be judged by your record. Much of Hoke's recruiting success with his 2013 class is derived from the success he had on the field in 2011.
In his first season as head coach, Hoke led the Wolverines to a 11-2 record, including a win in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
This was a huge contrast to what Rich Rodriguez had done with the Wolverines during his tenure as head coach, and the thought that Michigan was back really permeated the landscape of college football.
What that did was create a natural level of excitement for Michigan football, which, combined with Hoke's ability to sell the product and his record on the field, gave him a ton of credibility as a recruiter.
Hoke has shown us that he can talk the talk, and at least in his first season, he backed it up. He's having some issues this year with a 2-2 team, but much of that has to do with him trying to transition to a pro-style offense, and lacking the exact personnel to do so.
Who is the best recruiter in college football?
That's the next step for Hoke as a recruiter, and he's already in the process of making it happen with his 2013 class. Michigan's class is highlighted by 5-star quarterback commitment Shane Morris, who is the nation's No. 2 pocket passer according to 247Sports.com. Morris is a quarterback who will fit the system Hoke is trying to transition to, and that's the first step.
Through this 2013 class and beyond, Hoke will have to continue recruiting players that fit the system from an X's and O's standpoint. That's where the true, lasting success will come for the Wolverines on the field.
Once Michigan can get back to winning consistently, Hoke will have no problem continuing to recruit elite players to his program.
This is how you build a winning college football program, and Hoke is already doing an excellent job.
And he's only getting started.