In Michigan, the goals for any season go something like this: Beat Ohio State, win the Big Ten and win a national championship.
On the recruiting trail, the goals aren't much different. And Michigan has done well to keep pace with recruiting tour de force Urban Meyer while separating itself from the rest of the conference during this recruiting cycle.
Make no mistake about it, Brady Hoke's recruiting class this year will be one to remember.
According to 247 Sports, the Wolverines have accumulated the third-best class in the country (Ohio State is No. 2). The team has signed a whopping 17 4-star recruits. And it's in large part because of the presence of Hoke and the program he is building.
But from the nearly day he arrived on campus in January 2011, Hoke, the former Wolverines defensive line coach and walking encyclopedia of Michigan football, has inspired confidence in Ann Arbor faithful with his prowess on the recruiting trail. One highly touted prospect after another speaks in gushing tones about the 54 year old, who has been helped by former Florida and Notre Dame recruiting ace Greg Mattison and 38-year-old recruiting coordinator Jeff Hecklinski.
"They [recruits] believe he's the guy," Scout.com national analyst Jamie Newberg said of Hoke. "[A turnaround] wasn't going to happen overnight. He basically had to flip the roster offensively, and get better defensively. It goes back to kids in that region, they want to play for the Maize and Blue."
He landed Derrick Green, the top running back recruit in the nation. There's Kyle Bosch, a top-five guard. Other highlights include guard David Dawson, center Patrick Kugler and Shane Morris.
This is a class rife with talent. No, it doesn't have the four 5-star recruits of Alabama or the five accumulated by USC. But when you have a combined 18 4-star and 5-star recruits, that's the foundation for a national championship team down the line.
Sure, we tend to overreact during recruiting season. We deem players who have never played a snap at the collegiate level "the next big thing." Truthfully, it's still somewhat of a crapshoot.
But Hoke has proved he can bring in a talented recruiting class. Michigan is returning to national prominence, and Hoke is doing that both with players that were recruited before his tenure and now those athletes whom he convinces to don the Maize and Blue.
This class has all the makings of a very talented bunch. Hoke brought in talented linemen. He brought in some excellent athletes. Both sides of the ball have been addressed. In three years, you could be looking at a team competing for a national championship.
I think Michigan fans will someday look back on this class quite fondly. Hoke has brought hope.
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