The Michigan Wolverines currently have the No. 11 recruiting class in the country, but the pandemic has changed everything for college football programs. That has not slowed down defensive coordinator Don Brown and his staff, as the team has added 11 of the 13 commits they currently have since everything has been shut down.
Despite that, it has been a class with a lot of three-star and unheralded prospects, which has some questioning the staff’s ability to bring in elite talent. Brown addressed this during a Zoom call with the media on Thursday.
“First off, I really can’t talk about anything specifically in the recruiting piece, because nobody’s signed,” Brown said. “I can tell you our new safeties coach Bob Shoop is working diligently with the safeties that are on the board. I think we’re in great shape in that position. BJ (Brian Jean-Mary) and I are working together with the linebackers. I’m involved in all levels: safeties, corners, D-linemen, linebackers.
“Coach Nua is doing a great job with the guys up front. I think we’re right on schedule. In terms of we’re talking to the right guys, they’re the right fits for Michigan. Now we just gotta let it play out. I feel we’re in tremendous shape, speaking in general terms, and we’re talking to the right players that are elite players but are also first-class individuals as well as good students.”
The process has changed without visits and different rules to go by while much of the country is still stuck at home. Brown says that he has adjusted to the changing conditions and likes where the team is at.
“Obviously you’ve got regular phone calls, then you’ve got the merged phone call, the three-way, then you’ve got the FaceTime, then you got the Zooms,” Brown said. “Then you’ve got the FaceTime you can utilize film in that usage. All of these, when I started 6-7 weeks ago, I had no idea! But I’m a virtual expert now. And it’s been helpful.
“I think this: if you look at our numbers in terms of the amount of verbal commitments, and I don’t know what that means, but we’re way ahead of last year’s pace because we’ve been able to spend more time, in essence, on the recruiting trail via the virtual world. And certainly know the guys and their families really well. In some respects, you’ve lost the ability to go on campuses across the country and meet coaches and spend time on their campuses and meet the recruits, but in other respects,
“I think we know the guys a lot better than we knew them in a normal scenario. It may have been a difficult process when it started, but looking back on things, I don’t know if I’d change much in terms of going about your business on the recruiting trail.”