Running back Derrick Green's commitment to Michigan Saturday (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch) does wonders for head coach Brady Hoke's reputation as a great recruiter, and practically guarantees Michigan's second straight top-five recruiting class.
Landing Green gives Michigan Scout.com's No. 1 running back, No. 1 offensive guard, No. 2 fullback and No. 3 offensive tackle.
Hired in 2011, Hoke's immediate success at Michigan confirms he won't take a backseat to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, regardless of how aggressive Meyer's recruiting practices are said to be.
When Meyer took over the Ohio State head coaching job just over a year ago, he brought a strategy that some other Big Ten coaches didn't like.
Meyer had no problem pursuing other teams' commits, but a few Big Ten coaches complained that he was violating a "gentlemen's agreement" which "prohibited" the practice.
"I would say it's pretty unethical, in the end," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio told the Detroit News last February.
But Hoke doesn't subscribe to the so-called gentlemen's agreement. "As far as I’ve known, it’s always been fair game until they sign," Hoke told an Ohio TV station. "I don’t have as much a problem with that and, hopefully, we don’t get too many of those that go away from you."
In fact, Hoke has been extremely effective in poaching recruits since arriving at Michigan. Last season, Hoke flipped outstanding offensive lineman Kyle Kalis away from the Buckeyes, and this year he's landed four prospects previously committed to other schools: CB Ross Douglas, WR D'Mario Jones, OL Dan Samuelson and CB Reon Dawson.
Why such incredible success for a coach who only held head jobs at second-tier schools Ball State and San Diego State?
For one, Hoke devised a strategy to recruit more heavily in the Midwest, unlike his predecessors, who recruited nationwide.
He also retained running back coach Fred Jackson, who has been recruiting for Michigan for more than 22 seasons.
And third, he brought in former Baltimore Ravens DC Greg Mattison, who Ohio State's Meyer once called college football's top recruiter.
Who can argue that the strategy hasn't worked to perfection? Hoke has dominated Dantonio in the state of Michigan the last two seasons and has fought Meyer to a near-standoff in Ohio.
Fred Jackson, who recruited incoming quarterback Shane Morris, also played a part in Derrick Green's recruitment. Mattison, who's always around to close a deal, has been doing his thing on the national level. It hasn't hurt that many of the players he coached at Baltimore will be playing in Super Bowl XLVII.
While Michigan is delighted with the recruitment of Green, there's more work to be done before national signing day on Feb. 6.
The Wolverines are also in line for TE Durham Smythe of Belton, TX, OG Cameron Hunt of Corona, CA, and perhaps a few more surprises.
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