In a world where the attitude is more "what have you done lately?" than "let me see that track record", the University of Michigan and head football coach Rich Rodriguez may have to wait for their "'atta boys".
While the Maize and Blue garnered a very solid 2008 class, despite the coaching change and transition in philosophy, they only mustered up four-star recruit and wide receiver Bryce McNeal out of Minneapolis, Minnesota as their prized signing.
McNeal committed all 6'2", 170 lbs. with 4.45 forty speed while in attendance at Saturday's "Barbecue at the Big House", which was McNeal's second visit to Ann Arbor. And this time he was sure to bring along one of the most important critics—his mom.
"I showed my mom around campus, went into Coach Rodriguez's office, asked a couple questions and the answers were right so I said, 'I want to join the family,'" Bryce boasted. "He paused for a second, said 'Stand up and give me a hug. Welcome to the family!' I told the other coaches and they all just gave me hugs and told me they were very excited."
Every recruit is excited about the history and tradition of Michigan football. But the entire experience that stretches well beyond the Big House and into the other aspects of the campus is often just as strong a lure to those looking for the complete life-changing college experience that prepares them for the working adult world.
"I finally just got a feel for everything and it just felt like home. I couldn't find anything negative. The football, the academics, my major, the surrounding people, it just all felt good. It's a great feeling. It's all done and I can't wait to get home, start working out, get a little bigger and prepare to come in and compete."
McNeal is the fourth player picked up from Rival.com's Top 100 (#70), and as a junior wide receiver, he totaled 31 receptions for 705 yards and nine touchdowns. He snagged 57 receptions for 701 yards and four TDs as a sophomore while also rushing 13 times for 94 yards and another score.
I know it is tough, but patience will be needed to see the fruits of Rodriguez's recruiting labor. In the coming seasons, fans are going to see a new era of Michigan football. If all goes according to plan, there will be plenty of pats on the back for the regime.