Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hot Topics: Should Michigan Take 'Elite' Recruits Even If They Don't Have Room?

Each week, our writers break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and allow them to express their personal opinions on the issue.  Topics cover everything from rivalry games to team and fan apparel.  Writers have their own opinion and readers are welcome to comment or contact them via Twitter with their thoughts.

Sarah Hughes - Representing Those That Believe Michigan Should Save Room for 'Elite' Recruits 

1)  I am in no way in favor of over signing or anything of the sort. It's not necessarily about taking a recruit even if we don't have room, but moreso "saving" a spot for an elite recruit. Let me use an example for the 2013 class to make my case. Running back Ty Isaac is considered an exceptional running back recruit for the 2013 class. I've heard him being described as a "once-in-a-decade back." How can you afford not to save room for a guy like that? My theory is that most of the top (5-star) players in the country like the attention from the TONS of schools that they get. They don't want to decide a year before Signing Day and let go of all the attention they could be receiving the rest of the year. Yes, there are exceptions (Shane Morris), but for the most part, high school kids love the attention. But knowing that Michigan is on top of Ty Isaac's list, how can we not save him a spot in case he decides to come? I feel like the coaches are making the right decision by taking verbal commits from great backs like Wyatt Shallman and DeVeon Smith and in CASE Isaac chooses another school, we would still be set. But if Isaac wanted to come to Michigan, I don't think it would be right to turn him down. Frankly, it would be silly.

2)  Although it's true that a lot of top recruits don't pan out, this depends on the coaching staff more than the player. Yes, I realize this point I made is controversial but I really believe that's true. There's a lot of coaches who are "star-gazers" and only aim for the high-star players regardless of position and positional needs but can't develop their players into who they can be. Then there are the coaches (and I believe Coach Hoke, Mattison, and the rest of the staff are of this group) that are excellent at developing players. They are proven coaches and have shown that they can really develop players. My example from earlier, Ty Isaac, he's a game-changer. He could mean the difference of a national championship or a BCS game down the road. That's a risk we should take, and with the coaching staff we have, we should be confident that the coaches can and will develop Isaac into one of the top backs in the country. Another example I'll use is Will Campbell. Campbell is a senior DT on the team, and so far, he's done nothing for this team. However, this year is supposedly his coming-out party. I'm not saying Rich Rod can't develop talent, but Campbell was a 5-star recruit out of high school and the 5th ranked DT in his class. If he does nothing his senior year, he will officially be a bust. But I have faith in Coach Hoke and the rest of the staff and I believe them when they say this is Campbell's year. So we'll see.

3)  The argument that Michigan is so great and we should be able to pick and choose our players and only take those who are 100% pro-Michigan is completely flawed. If you ask any coach, they will take a very talented player who chooses Michigan as opposed to a less talented player who is 100% gung-ho for Michigan. These kids are in high school, being bombarded by 30 schools telling them they are their #1 target and how much they love them. They have student sections cheering their names during games! It's unbelievable the attention they get. If Ty Isaac is 80% pro-Michigan and 20% pro-USC but chooses Michigan, we should take him with open arms. Yes, he's not 100% Michigan, but once he comes here, he will be. And regardless of whether or not he gets to 100%, you can't deny the talent. He can still help us get to that national championship. Let me give you another example: Michigan point guard Trey Burke. He grew up an Ohio State fan, was committed to Penn State, and decided to attend Michigan to play basketball. He ended up being co-Freshman of the Year and took us to the NCAA tourney. Without him, we would have gotten nowhere. He was our best player. I don't believe that a player needs to be 100% Michigan from the get-go in order to pay dividends for our programs.


Thomas Beindit - Representing Those That Believe Michigan Shouldn't Take 'Elite' Recruits If They Don't Have Room

1)  I think every fan loves the idea of one of the nation's top recruits playing at their school, but fans have to face the reality that the school is only allowed so many scholarships.  Hoke can only bring in so many recruits to a signing class.  Sure, it'd be nice to have 30 kids signing on a yearly basis, but fans need to face the fact that there are only so many spots available and they need to be distributed for long-term success, not the success of a single season.  Even giving away one scholarship can have devastating consequences down the line.  Signing an extra big-time quarterback or running back is nice, but if it leaves Michigan without a center or defensive tackle three years down the road, that's not exactly a great idea.

2) Along with this, "elite" recruits don't always turn out to be "elite" players.  Giving away vital scholarships and depth just because a player "might" turn out to be great is not something that will give the program long-term success.  Football is ultimately a team game, which requires a team full of players.  If the coaching staff gives away all its scholarships to a few position groups, they're going to be unable to build a good football team.  Getting a commitment from a guy like Ty Isaac would be great because he has the chance to turn out great, but if the coaches decide to give up depth for the possibility of an outstanding player, I'm not sure that is going to lead to long-term success.  It may be fine for a year or two, but after that, depth is more important than the chance of an "elite" player.

3) Michigan is also a big-time program.  It shouldn't have to sit around waiting on the words of one recruit.  I mean, we always talk about "The Team" right?  Doesn't this mean we should want the players that are the most committed to playing for Michigan?  Some of the recruits that are not labeled "elite" commit early and remain dedicated to the University of Michigan long after they go there.  I'm not saying all the "elite" recruits aren't committed to the schools they choose, but, in my opinion, Michigan should choose the best players that are dedicated to Michigan.  Some great players have that dedication early and Michigan shouldn't have to wait and sit around for the college decision of one guy when it already has great guys dedicated to the Wolverines.


Final Points

Sarah - My final point is to underline the fact that we should save someone like Ty Isaac a spot in our class. I'm not saying over sign and add him when we don't have room, but I'm saying to save him a spot and risk not getting him than close out the class without him. Isaac has been called a once-in-a-decade talent, and I wouldn't want to be the coach who shut him out. It's not that there are 4 or 5 of these guys every year that we would have to save a spot for. There's probably one each year IF that. Sometimes there are none. It's not every year you have a 5-star recruit who has Michigan so high that we would be taking a huge risk by saving him a spot. I believe this year Isaac is the only one we should save a spot for. He could be worth it. Our coaching staff is the kind that would develop him into the star he's meant to be.

Thomas - First thing first, I realize Michigan wouldn't be "over-signing" if they saved spots for recruits like Ty Isaac, but what happens when you "save" a spot for these elite recruits on a daily basis for 5-6 years in a row?  You're probably going to get an overload at positions and a shortage at positions, which is exactly what we have right now.  Do I credit these to "saving" spots?  Not necessarily, but I'm sure it contributed somewhat.  I realize that guys like Ty Isaac can change your team, but if you give up something like an offensive line spot on a yearly basis for one of these guys, you're probably going to end up with a bad line.  Hoke and some coaches may do a great job with these "elite" recruits and ensure that they're not failures, but how can you ever be sure?  You're giving away key depth to "save" a spot for these recruits.  Is it really worth it to wait around on the whims of a 5* for 8 months when you can get a good, committed 4* now?  I also agree that when they commit doesn't necessarily mean whether they're ultimately committed to the program, but compare Michigan's 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes?  Brady Hoke got much of the 2011 recruiting class late in the game, but got almost all of the 2012 recruiting class pretty early.  Within weeks of getting on campus someone had transferred to the 2011 class.  I'm not saying sign a 3* because he's been a fan all his life, but I'm saying that assembling a full committed recruiting class that addresses all depth concerns is better than waiting around on the whims of one player.


All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity.  Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts

Photo Credit: USA Football


  1. I have no problem saving one spot for an elite player. But to seat around til NSD waiting for elite player to commit and then sign somewhere else can't happen either.

  2. Great read as always guys your the best. I think there is alot more the one elite player in this class Cravens, Fuller,Levenberry just to name a few.but If you can find a player really close let's say North wants to commit and were still waiting for Treadwell take north. Same with Isaac and lets say Derrick Green wants to come Take Green. Unless you got a real good feeling on it why wait. I guess you got to be a Real good judge of a person. I know it's sucks being a bridesmaid like last class 3 or 4 times like Garnett Diamond and others. But look it turned out for the best we got 5 guys that love to be a wolverine and are the best. If a player can't see that we run a prostyle offense got the best line with a rifle armed soft paw and great coaches that aren't going to bull shit you then I don't know what else to tell you.if you want a spread offense go some where else, if you want to be pro ready and look like a stud come here. Urban and Saban going to fill you with lies. Most off us are Detroit people and have pride and all we got is these Wolverines

  3. Sarah made the best argument. Nothing wrong with saving one or two spots for the "elite" star recruits in the country if they have the potential to be impact players from the moment they arrive on campus. Just look at the impact Jadeveon Clowney had this year at South Carolina or De'Anthony Thomas had at Oregon both declared very late to their schools and turned out to have huge impacts for their programs.

    A lot of the "elite" players like to wait for the All American games to announce their school they will play for, especially the skilled positions. It has become a big part of the All American game experience, to declare on national TV. I see nothing wrong with saving one or two spots just in case one of these kids have your school in their top three.

    Not a fan of over-signing and Michigan is not looking to do so. Hoke and his staff have made it clear they would not do such a thing. Hoke also has went on to say he was all done recruiting offensive linemen with having five commitments already locked up for the 2013 class and four that signed letter intents for the 2012 class. The same could be said for LB's knowing he landed four blue chips in his 2012 class and is only looking to sign two at the most in his 2013 one spot is already filled while the other is being left for E.J. Levenberry Jr. or Dorian O'Daniel, both are ranked in the top 10 at linebacker.

    Right now Michigan is looking to add an "elite" WR really going after two of the top five WR's in the country who both have Michigan in their top five Laquon Treadwell and Robert Frost. They will wait for both of these guys to make a decision. They need to give class of 2013 star QB Shane Morris some weapons to throw to.

    Michigan is done with landing a CB unless Vernon Hargreaves III decides to leave the state of Florida which is really unlikely and currently does not have Michigan in his top five schools. Michigan is all done with picking up TE's unless Adam Brenemande-commits from Penn State. Wolverines are hoping to pick up two DT's in this class and are close to landing Henry Poggi. Poggi plans to announce in late April. 3* Jay Ellison and 3* Kenton Gibbs are the other options, but Michigan will not offer until they see how they perform in the summer camps and how they perform their senior season.

    That leaves two open scholarships available for the best of the best and those spots are being for a RB, either Ty Issac or Derrick Green. Both have said they do not plan to make a decision until after their senior season is complete.

    And the last held scholarship for the #1 safety in the country Su'a Cravens. Cravens plans to take all his official visits before he commits to any school and Michigan is one of the five schools he plans on visiting.

    Again, Sarah made the best points on why it is OK to hold a scholarship for an "elite" player. They can lift a program from the moment they play their first game. Go Blue!