Michigan Football: Why Brady Hoke Should Add the South to His Recruiting Base

Joel GreerCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2013

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Michigan Head Coach Brady HokeAndrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

When Brady Hoke took the Wolverine coaching job, his recruiting priorities were the states of Michigan and Ohio.

And by looking at his first two recruiting classes, one couldn't help but marvel at his fortune.

His 2012 class was rated No. 4 in the nation by Scout.com and this year's class should finish in the same neighborhood.

How might the success of these classes translate into wins is the important question.

With the majority of Hoke's recruits on the field by this fall—and definitely by 2014—can Michigan battle for a Big Ten title? Further, can Michigan compete with Alabama and the remainder of the SEC for a national title?

Looking back at Alabama's 41-14 lopsided win over Michigan in the 2012 opener, it's obvious the Wolverines are far from challenging the nation's top teams. It's been said that Hoke must expand his recruiting strategy if he intends on competing for a national title.

In truth, Michigan always recruited on a national scale until Hoke readjusted his priorities to get his house in order. Michigan dominated rival Michigan State the past two seasons in the state of Michigan while fighting Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes to a standoff in Ohio.

Now that Hoke's drawn his lines in the sand, it's time to spread his wings. Michigan can step up its national recruiting and even compete head-to-head with the SEC schools in the Deep South.

The Wolverines could always use a few wide receivers and cornerbacks with 4.4-40 speed, or even a few quick defensive linemen.

Fred Jackson, who's been a Michigan assistant for 21 years, recruited the fertile states of Texas and Louisiana before Hoke came aboard. Jackson had a part in recruiting Anthony Thomas (Winnfield, La.), Mike Hart (Syracuse, NY) and, of course, Derrick Green (Richmond, Va.).

Hoke, himself, should have no problem getting reacquainted with California since he spent two years there as San Diego State's head coach.

And Greg Mattison, who closed the deal with suburban Washington's Blake Countess, should locate numerous prospects around the D.C. and Baltimore beltways.

While recruiting the Deep South against tougher SEC schools might be difficult,  it's not impossible.

One thing to remember is that Rich Rodriguez was somewhat successful in Florida. Denard Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, Martavious Odoms and Ricky Barnum all played their high school ball in the Sunshine State. And how Robinson took to Hoke and the university over his career, you can expect him and the others to pitch in.

Mattison, who was Urban Meyer's defensive coordinator at Florida from 2005-07, was also a very successful recruiter in SEC country. While working as an analyst for ESPN, Meyer called Mattison, “the best recruiter in college football.”  Expect both Meyer and Mattison to meet often along the recruiting trail.