Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport
Brennen Beyer's 2011 class deserves credit.
As Team 135 prepares for 2014, the 2011 to 2013 classes will play a pivotal role in its future success.
That being said, it's only right to acknowledge the recent highlights.
Ranked as the No. 8 runner of his class per 247Sports, Derrick Green entered Ann Arbor with a generation's worth of hype. Rivals ranked him as the No. 1 back of 2013, tabbing him as Michigan's highest-ranked individual of the star era.
Pegged as the No. 15 back of his class, DeVeon Smith matched Green's 4-star ranking (per 247Sports) and should be an excellent complement in the backfield. Together, they represent Michigan's future on the ground.
Should the Wolverines fail to take another in 2014, the 2013 class of tailbacks could prove all the more important.
As a freshman in 2013, Jake Butt emerged as a top pass-catcher for Team 134. As a sophomore, he'll be looked upon as a possible No. 1 option for either Devin Gardner or Shane Morris.
But that role may be occupied by another...
Devin Funchess' rise isn't a surprise. His value to the offense clear, Funchess is developing into an overall threat who could help define Hoke's tenure.
Two years ago, the former 4-star recruit classed up with defensive lineman Willie Henry and receiver Jehu Chesson, two of Michigan's top underclassmen.
Blake Countess redshirted, so he kind of skews things. A solid pickup, Countess has evolved into one of the Big Ten's top cover men. In 2013, he was classified as a redshirt sophomore, giving him two more years of eligibility.
Will-be seniors Desmond Morgan, a hard-hitting linebacker, and Brennen Beyer, a versatile defender, were also part of the class.
Depending on the outcome this fall, the 2011 class could end up leaving as champions. If so, it'd certainly earn a place among the Wolverines' best of the BCS era.
It's also important to remember that the 2012 and 2013 classes were ranked among 247Sports' top 10 during each respective period.