It certainly wasn't pretty, but the Michigan Wolverines have finally beat the Michigan State Spartans to once again own bragging rights in the state. This was a huge win on the field for head coach Brady Hoke, senior quarterback Denard Robinson and the rest of the team, but it also represents a very big win in the realm of recruiting.
To be fair, it's not like Hoke needs that much help. His current class is ranked No. 3 in the nation according to Rivals.com, and it features 5-star quarterback Shane Morris and 13 4-star commits, so far.
All that said, anytime you can get a win over your in-state rival, it's bound to have a positive impact in recruiting, and even though things are going well, so far, for Hoke, I don't see him turning down some more positive momentum.
How did this win impact recruiting for Michigan?
The most important thing this win did was establish some credibility for Hoke. Sure, last season he went 11-2, including a win in the Sugar Bowl, but a coach does not become credible from just one good season. Recruits are looking for a coach who can sustain success, and after horrible losses to Alabama and Notre Dame, it was fair to question whether or not this Michigan team could win a big game.
This game against the rival Spartans was certainly an integral one on the Wolverines schedule, and Hoke went out there and got the win, no matter what it looked like.
Hoke's biggest selling point is the fact that he's a "Michigan Man," but what kind of "Michigan Man" can't beat the "little brother" Spartans?
Going 0-2 against MSU would have looked really bad for Hoke, but he comes away with some credibility, now that he's gotten the win under his belt. He can talk about being a "Michigan Man" and beating his rivals, and now, recruits know that he can come through when it matters. This will be a big selling point for recruits, especially ones who really buy into the aura of Michigan.
The Wolverines should also get a pretty sizable boost when it comes to defensive recruits. For as bad as the offense looked at times, Michigan's defense was the complete opposite. Greg Mattison's squad was flying around the ball all day. They were aggressive, they displayed great confidence and they played like a big-time defense.
Consider that the defense held Michigan State star running back Le'Veon Bell to just 68 yards and 26 attempts for 2.6 yards per carry. It also held the Spartans to just 304 total yards and forced quarterback Andrew Maxwell into a very untimely interception.
Defensive recruits had to have taken notice of the Wolverines performance on defense in this game. According to 247Sports, there are some notable defenders who have Michigan high on their interest list including 4-star safety (Rivals.com 5-star) Leon McQuay III and 4-star defensive end Alquadin Muhammad.
Being able to point to this game and what the defense did is going to be a huge selling point for the Wolverines, and it may just be enough to attract a few more big-time recruits on the defensive side of the ball.
If you want to be a successful recruiter, you have to win your rivalry games. Hoke just took another step in showing us why he's one of the best in the country.
This win over MSU is going to be huge for Michigan recruiting.