Are Brady Hoke's recruiting tactics perfect for the Michigan Wolverines?
One of the reasons Michigan Wolverines' second-year head coach Brady Hoke quickly won over the Maize and Blue faithful after his 2011 hiring was his dominance on the recruiting trail.
Hoke's recruiting policies have now become a lightning rod for controversy and debate among fanbases across the country, but there is no denying his methods are perfect for Michigan. They are making an impression on prospects.
Last season, Hoke hauled in the No. 7 recruiting class in the country according to Rivals.com, and he is putting together quite an encore performance this year. The Wolverines currently sit at No. 4 in the latest Rivals.com team recruiting rankings.
All the while, Michigan has only lost two recruits to other schools as a result of Hoke's well-known policy that does not allow committed prospects to take visits elsewhere.
Well, prospects can make trips to other schools as long as they are comfortable with potentially losing their scholarship offer from Michigan. That's the main reason Hoke's recruiting tactics have drawn so much attention in recent months.
"Believe me, we never pressure a guy into making a decision," Hoke told Nick Baumgardner of AnnArbor.com in October. "But once that decision's made we're going to stand by it and put that scholarship away and we're going to take other young men who had opportunities and tell them we're moving forward and they need to [move] forward."
All Hoke is asking from prospects who wish to commit is that they make sure Michigan is the place for them and affirm their verbal pledge by not visiting other suitors.
Not all cases of committed prospects visiting other schools will result in a loss of scholarship from the Wolverines either.
Dawson originally committed to the Wolverines in February, but opted to take an unofficial visit to Gainesville. The trip to see the Florida Gators ultimately led to Dawson and the Wolverines parting ways in mid-October.
The Wolverines also chose to keep 3-star cornerback Gareon Conley's scholarship offer intact even after the Ohioan informed the coaches he would use one of his official visits to see the Ohio State Buckeyes. Conley wound up becoming Ohio State's 18th verbal commitment on Dec. 7.
Unfortunately, class of 2012 4-star recruit Pharaoh Brown had his offer pulled by Hoke and Co. after deciding to head west to check out what the Oregon Ducks had to offer. Brown is currently playing tight end for the Ducks.
In addition to the no-visit policy, Hoke chooses not to bash other schools on the recruiting trail.
According to freshman wide receiver Amara Darboh, it is fairly common for other head coaches to emphasize negative recruiting.
"A lot of the other coaches, when I would talk to them, they'd ask, 'What other schools are you looking at?'" Darboh told Kyle Meinke of AnnArbor.com in January. "And then they would talk badly about those schools, or bash where I just went.
"But, not Michigan. I don't know why they didn't, but I like that they didn't, and it says a lot about them."
Why doesn't Hoke rip other programs? It's quite simple. Hoke is concerned more about what he is building at Michigan and pitches his school as opposed to simply downplaying others.
"People think that he does all of this negative recruiting, but he does no such thing," freshman offensive guard Kyle Kalis informed Sporting News in August 2011. "Any time my dad brought up anything about Ohio State, coach would actually stop him."
Hoke and his staff are up front and honest with recruits about everything pertaining to what their role will be at Michigan along with the number of players the Wolverines intend to take at each position.
Prospects know Hoke's drill from Day 1, which is why highly touted high school recruits are flocking to Ann Arbor.
Feel free to call Hoke's methods unorthodox, kooky or anything else you can think of. Just remember to take a look at how well the Wolverines have been recruiting since Hoke became Michigan's head coach.
Follow me on Twitter @ZachDirlam_SSN.