There has been a lot of worry about how well new Michigan coach Brady Hoke and his staff could close out the recruiting season. Since Hoke was hired only three weeks before the signing period for new recruits opens, he was left with little time to salvage this recruiting class.
The initial fallout from firing RichRod was not encouraging as kicker Matt Goudis bolted to Miami and Dee Hart switched to Alabama. Quarterback Dallas Crawford and offensive lineman Jacob Fisher rescinded their verbal commitments to the Wolverines. But this exodus from Michigan started before Brady Hoke was hired.
The most immediate business for Hoke was to reassure the players that were already at Michigan and get his coaching staff together. I wrote about how Brady Hoke accomplished these initial tasks in a previous blog.
Now Hoke needs to secure the remaining Michigan recruits for 2011 and try to add some to the list. I am happy to report that he is making progress on that front as well.
So far the bleeding has stopped with the existing recruits from RichRod. Recently, several recruits have reaffirmed their commitment to Michigan.
Hoke began his recruiting success by gaining a verbal commitment from Tamani Carter, a three star cornerback from Pickerington, Ohio. Carter is 6 feet tall and 175 lbs. In his senior season he had 55 tackles and three interceptions. Carter switched his commitment from Minnesota to Michigan after Hoke was hired.
Hoke and his staff are making an impression on recruits visiting Michigan for the weekend. So far three new recruits have committed to Michigan and they are good ones.
Michigan added four-star recruit Raymon Taylor from Highland Park to their commits. Taylor played running back, wide receiver, and defensive back in high school. This is an excellent recruit for Michigan. Taylor has 4.4 speed in the 40 yard dash and he will probably play either safety or cornerback for the Wolverines. Taylor is known for good ball skills and had seven interceptions in his junior season. Michigan is in dire need of quick safeties that can react to the ball.
The Wolverines also nailed down a commitment from Hilliard, Ohio defensive end Keith Heitzman. Heitzman is a three star recruit with good size for a high school kid at 6'3" and 237 lbs. He will get even bigger in a college training program. He has good reaction to the snap of the ball and is physical at the point of attack.
The third commitment in the weekend trifecta is Matt Wile, a kicker from San Diego. Will is a two star kicker but kickers are rated notoriously low in the ranking systems of the recruiting sites. A better indication of his skills is his being invited to the 2011 U.S. Army All-American game. He is the top shelf kicker that the Wolverines so desperately need.
I am hoping for more commits from the recruiting visits this weekend, but certainly Hoke has done some great work so far. Hopefully he can land a few more before the signing period starts in a little more than one week.