In the fast-paced world of College Football where more and more juniors are leaving early for the shot at NFL dollars, and it seems more and more common if not required for freshmen and sophomores to make an instant impact, it is apparent that the focus on team recruiting has intensified. Right down to hyping kids before they have ever played a college down treating high school games like it's the NFL playoffs.
Most of us have seen highlights of All-American games with four hats and somebody's little brother grabbing a hat for them to make a selection. Of course there's also the guy who takes off one jersey to reveal another team's jersey, or reaches for one hat only to...'wait no, is he gonna?' Aw man! Not Ohio State! Don't get me wrong as I find these antics amusing, it's just that now they have to step it up a notch to avoid becoming stale.
That brings me to my focal point, and that is the Michigan Wolverines current class (2010), and the questions I have been encountering as of late. Its appears more and more that there is a growing perception in the media and fanbase that Michigan isn't recruiting well, or at least some say they might be slipping a little in terms of domination. The main issue is speculation that Michigan doesn't have any star power in the 2010 class, that they are recruiting to many three star prospects as opposed to reserving offers, and also that they are losing the in-state recruiting battle(s).
Although most of this buzz is probably being suggested by Michigan State FANS, it is still a relevant issue, with enough validity on both sides of the debate to necessitate attention. It's a valid argument that Michigan State has significantly improved it's past couple classes, and thus gained ground on Michigan by virtue of doing better than they had been. It is also a fact that Sparty won the instate recruiting competition in 2009's class hauling in 10 of the top 15 in state players. However, the top player instate 5 star DT William Campbell enrolled at Michigan in January.
Of course Michigan still gets the lion's share of recruits with their ability to pursue on a national scope, and the Wolverines seem to be more focused on Ohio, Texas, California, Florida and the deep south as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic states. They are definitely more of a national recruiter than Michigan State, and as I will show in my chart below, clearly dominate every team in the Big Ten in terms of overall talent with superior speed and athletes...with the exception of TSDS (That School Down South).
MICHIGAN'S NATIONAL RECRUITING RANKING 2007-09
Year Rivals.com Scout.com ESPN Scout's Inc
2007 12th 10th 10th
2008 10th 6th 13th
2009 8th 14th 10th
Ultimately there are nine numbers above and the total 93...divided by nine? "Anyone?Anyone? " The answer is 10.3333333, which means Michigan is roughly a consistent top ten recruiter nationally! Let's compare Michigan State shall we...
MICHIGAN STATE'S NATIONAL RECRUITING RANKING 2007-09
Year Rivals.com Scout.com ESPN Scout's Inc.
2007 42nd 51st N/A
2008 47th 56th N/A
2009 17th 37th N/A
Now this year 2010, Michigan State appears to have a bit of star power with the verbal commitments of William Gholston and Joe Boisture. But keep in mind that it's early in the process, and even this early Michigan State is only 26th in scout.com rankings after landing these two commitments. Then again it might be assuming too much that they will both remain committed.
The issue with Michigan is that they don't appear to have much star power with only one guy in the top 100 on rivals and scout a piece. However, the final evaluations aren't even close to done...Devin Gardner, Ricardo Miller and Marvin Robinson all could be ranked higher, to whit Michigan also has a ton of highly interested prospects including, Cullen Christian (Scout #3 CB), Kyle Prater (#1 WR), Seantrel Henderson (#1 OT) Jeff Luc (#1 MLB) and Shariff Floyd (#3 DT) just to name of few.
In fact Michigan still has 29 guys on scout.com's board that are committed to or are interested in Michigan that have already earned a 4 star or higher rating. The same publication only lists 9 players with a four star interested in Michigan State. Rivals.com has 53 players who are four/ five star caliber interested in The Wolverines. Michigan State has 27. ESPN has 31 players committed or considering Michigan that are a 78 or above...which is the four star equivalent. Michigan State has 26.
When you consider the likelihood of the final recruiting rankings it is far more likely Michigan will have far more Rivals 250, Scout 300 and ESPNU 150 players than Michigan State. In the broader scope, Michigan also appears to be getting better speed and talent that fit their system than anyone else. One reason the SEC is so successful aside from better 'speed' and better talent in the trenches is that they have better depth and more specialists. Michigan has guys who may not earn that fourth star because they are in between two positions, but this is common in the NFL and the SEC, so what we have is incredible depth and competition.
After a 3-9 season, it's easy for fans and media to both started looking for Michigan's recruiting to fall off, but I don't anticipate that to happen. Michigan's top 10 class right now will probably stay around there once signing day comes around. Don't be suprised to see some of Rich Rod's famous snake oil to come out for the third straight year in recuiting, and Michigan to get back up on top in state as well. Mark Dantonio is doing a fine job no doubt, and State won last year by two touchdowns. When it comes to snake oil sales...well I think The Spartans are still little brother.
This article can also be found at http://wolverinelounge.blogspot.com/