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Michigan adds Matt Dudek as director of recruiting: What it means for the Wolverines

NCAA Football: Michigan at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

News is coming out that Michigan has added another member to its football staff: Matt Dudek, a part of Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona staff since December of 2011 when he was hired as the team’s recruiting coordinator.

Dudek’s role at Michigan will presumably be to coordinate and maintain an organized approach and utilize the current staff’s famed energy on the recruiting trail in more effective ways.

Before being promoted to general manager and director of player personnel at Arizona, Dudek’s job description involved “considerable focus to on-campus recruiting, including the planning and details for visits by prospective student-athletes, in addition to his work with the players and personnel duties.” He has experience with academic counseling and previously worked as the recruiting coordinator at Pitt.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State
More like PoorRod, amirite? Right? Okay, I’ll go home.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

In particular, this is a valuable opportunity for Michigan’s staff to refocus some of their recruiting along the western half of the United States, which Harbaugh would presumably like to be more competitive in since he is literally trying to recruit everywhere. Michigan currently has 28 offers outstanding in California across the 2018-2020 recruiting classes, but there are only 16 more offers in the 2018-2020 classes in the 11 other states west of Texas.

In fact, to get a rough picture of how much talent is in those areas, I broke down the number of offers Michigan has per state and added the number of currently ranked blue-chip prospects in parentheses. Remember, 2019 recruits are only beginning to be evaluated, and zero 2020 recruits have gotten even a cursory ranking. So there will be more talent in those states in the upcoming classes than indicated below.

Michigan offers for 2018-20, plus blue-chip recruits for 2018-19

California: 28 (74)

Washington: 4 (7)

Nevada: 4 (7)

Oregon: 2 (8)

Arizona: 2 (4)

Utah: 1 (9)

Hawaii: 1 (3)

Colorado: 1 (2)

Idaho: 1 (2)

New Mexico: 0 (0)

Wyoming: 0 (0)

Montana: 0 (0)

Harbaugh’s opportunism strikes again: A reloaded assistant pool for 2017

We don’t know exactly how much recruiting went in to convincing Dudek to leave a program he had been a part of for five seasons, four of those being winning seasons and one of which was the team’s first 10-win campaign since 1998.

But the seat is getting ambient temperature for RichRod in the not-so-gentle weather of Arizona, and Dudek had an opportunity to join, as Arizona’s SB Nation account called it, a top-five program in college football. He took a demotion in title to do it, but he’ll get to work with a very successful coach in Harbaugh and do some clever behind-the-scenes stuff that will probably pay off big time for all parties involved.

This also comes on the heels of adding Tom Gamble this past week, who had been the assistant G.M. for the 49ers and the vice president of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles before that. It’s not clear what Tom Gamble’s role will be, though his skill set is heavy in scouting, recruiting, and administrative work. (That doesn’t exactly narrow it down, I know.) With Dudek taking an official recruiting role, my guess is that Gamble focuses more on scouting and game preparation, essentially a G.M. for both recruiting efforts and for some of the analyst work done by other off-field staffers.

Michigan’s done a good job of replacing some familiar names that were lost this past off-season to other jobs, like Tony Tuioti (now the Cal outside linebackers coach), Jimmie Dougherty (Oregon wide receivers coach), Jim Minick (a military job), and Biff Poggi (St. Frances Academy head coach). They still have one of the biggest staffs in college football, and that’s not about to change.