A recent article in the Detroit News perked my interest when it quoted the state's top instate TE as saying Michigan isn't trying hard enough to land instate recruits. When I looked at the article the statement came from a 6'7", 255 pounds, Tight End who fits in Rodriguez' system as well as Larry the Cable Guy fits in at an opera. Besides, the kid committed to Ohio State. If you're that much of a Michigan fan, are you serious? But at 6'7", 255, you've gotta think the kid was worth a look, especially as a tackle prospect (something Michigan desperately needs).
That aside, the list of committed and uncommitted Michigan in-state players was somewhat discomforting. The Detroit News lists them as follows:
1. DT William Campbell, Detroit Cass Tech, 6-5, 315 (uncommitted)
2. RB Edwin Baker, Oak Park, 5-9, 205 (Michigan State)
3. LB Chris Norman, Detroit Renaissance, 6-2, 220 (Michigan State)
4. QB Andrew Maxwell, Midland, 6-3, 190 (Michigan State)
5. WR James Jackson, Grand Ledge, 5-11, 180 (Ohio State)
6. RB Teric Jones, Detroit Cass Tech, 5-9, 190 (Michigan)
7. RB Larry Caper, Battle Creek Central, 5-11, 205 (Michigan State)
8. WR/LB Cameron Gordon, Inkster, 6-3, 215 (uncommitted)
9. TE Reid Fragel, Grosse Pointe South, 6-7, 255 (Ohio State)
10. DE Dylan Farrington, Adrian, 6-5, 225 (uncommitted)
Even a cursory look at this list reveals a disturbing trend, Michigan State has three of the top four Michigan players, including a Linebacker that Michigan could really use. While it's widely speculated that Will Campbell will commit, I'm going less and less certain of this the more I see from Shafer's defense. This obsession with a three person line is not just puzzling, it limits the number of DTs or NTs you can have on the field, and with Max Martin cementing his place as the Tackle du jour, I'm kinda wondering right now.
I'm certain part of the disparity is the absence of the old pipeline system that existed in the Carr/Schembechler regimes. Now that those coaches are gone, Rodriguez' staff is building new bridges to in-state programs and coaches. And building those bridges takes time. Further, Rodriguez recruiting for 2009 has gone extremely well and Michigan is well positioned with a number of top recruits and has secured verbal commitments from an outstanding class. The caveat is most of that recruiting is from places far away from Michigan.
I know that 2010 and 2011 are supposed to be loaded years, and also years that Michigan is heavily recruiting. But the disparity in top instate commitments this year, especially when Ohio State currently has more people verballed that Michigan does is concerning.
For those of you who follow the recruiting battles closer than I do, what's the story here? Or is it that there really isn't a story?