Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. With such importance placed on replenishing a team’s roster every year, coaches devote just as much time trying to persuade the nation’s best prospects to attend their school as they do game planning and teaching their craft.
Michigan’s staff is pretty split between young, hungry recruiters and established position coaches who let their work on the field do the talking for them. The reason teams like Alabama and Ohio State do so consistently well in recruiting is because the staffs are full of the younger guys striving to make a name for themselves.
Given that, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at each of Michigan’s 10 allotted assistant coaches to see how well they did on the recruiting trail. I got the information on who recruited who from each recruit’s 247Sports profile page, where it says who the primary and possibly secondary recruiter was for the player.
Here’s my ranking for the best recruiters on Michigan’s staff.
1. Chris Partridge (special teams/safeties)
Secondary: Daxton Hill, Anthony Solomon
This should be of no surprise for anyone who follows Michigan football. Since Partridge joined the staff, primarily as a recruiting tactic to entice Rashan Gary, he’s been hands down the best recruiter in the program.
In the past few seasons, Partridge has opened the New Jersey and Georgia pipelines that have served Michigan so well. He’s also brought in to assist with any big time recruits, like Daxton Hill.
He was 247Sports’ Recruiter of the Year in 2017 after being the primary recruiter for four top 100 prospects. He sits at fifth in this year’s rankings.
2. Sherrone Moore (tight ends)
Secondary: Mazi Smith, Erick All, Karsen Barnhart
The first of two young newcomers to the staff this season, Moore gets second place purely for reeling in Daxton Hill. Beating Alabama straight up for the No. 1 safety in the country in Oklahoma, a state in which Michigan has zero connections, is quite the first impression.
As a Kansas native who played at Oklahoma, you can expect to see an increased presence in Oklahoma as Michigan utilizes Moore’s connections. Moore was also at coach at Central Michigan for four years, so he has relationships with schools in-state, too.
3. Don Brown (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
You wouldn’t expect the grizzled 63-year old defensive coordinator to be one of the best recruiters on the staff, but Brown must feel like a kid in a candy store with all of the athletes he can recruit using Michigan’s resources compared to Boston College’s.
Brown has been essential in establishing the New England pipeline, which has constantly produced under the radar gems. For some reason he also seems to be helping out in Florida (?) where he pulled in Anthony Solomon and George Johnson.
4. Al Washington (linebackers)
Secondary: Trente Jones, DJ Turner
The second young guy hired last offseason, Washington is the single reason Michigan was involved in the Zach Harrison recruitment. He didn’t end up closing, which limited how high I ranked him, but he’s still responsible for Michigan’s renewed presence in Ohio.
One test for how good his scouting eye is will be Gabe Newburg, who Washington apparently fought hard to offer. While Washington was at Cincinnati, he was the first to offer Newburg.
5. Jay Harbaugh (running backs)
The younger Harbaugh gets a lot of undeserved crap from the fan base in my opinion. He’s had the nepotism tag firmly affixed on him, but Harbaugh goes out and does exactly what’s asked of him every cycle.
While coaching the tight ends, he landed the staff’s top target at the position twice, in Devin Asiasi and Mustapha Muhammad. Now that he’s coaching the running backs, he simply did it again. He landed Zach Charbonnet, who the coaches firmly believe is the best in the country.
6. Ed Warinner (running game coordinator/offensive line)
Secondary: Zach Carpenter, Trevor Keegan
I was surprised to see how often Warinner’s name popped up with recruits when they were discussing their process. The knock on him from Ohio State fans after he left was he could coach like hell but didn’t recruit.
He certainly shed that title in my eyes after being heavily involved in landing the best offensive line class under Jim Harbaugh. After consistently turning lower ranked guys into first-round picks at Ohio State, I’m excited to see what he does with this group.
7. Greg Mattison (defensive line)
Secondary: Gabe Newburg
Mattison’s been the glue of Michigan’s coaching staff for years now. I think he’s slowed down a bit as he gets up there in age, but his name still carries a lot of weight with recruits. Defensive line has never really been an issue despite Michigan’s rocky last decade, and Mattison’s eye for talent and development skills are the reasons why.
8. Pep Hamilton (passing game coordinator/quarterbacks)
Primary: Cade McNamara
This is the start of the pure coaches on Michigan’s staff. Hamilton’s role seems to be solely quarterback recruiting. While that position has been recruited the best under Harbaugh, it’s also the easiest, since the staff usually takes just one per class. Jim Harbaugh himself is also the main attraction for quarterback recruits.
The rumors Hamilton was leaving the staff was fatal with their top 2020 target, Harrison Bailey, who’s now committed to Tennessee. Michigan completely lucked out here, since the rumors affected Bailey’s recruitment and Hamilton didn’t actually leave, preventing an opportunity to upgrade their staff in the recruiting department.
9. Jim McElwain (wide receivers)
Secondary: George Johnson
While having an actual wide receivers coach on staff to develop Michigan’s young, talented group, I’m glad McElwain is not on the staff anymore. He was clearly using this position to wait for a better job to come along, and barely recruited in the meantime.
The program has a real opportunity to improve their recruiting by hiring an ambitious young coach in this role. I think either Ben McDaniels or Roy Roundtree, who are already on staff, could provide that. McDaniels did an excellent job keeping the wide receiver class together after McElwain left, and recruits seem to connect well with Roundtree, who isn’t far away from being a player himself.
10. Mike Zordich (cornerbacks)
Zordich is mentioned by defensive back recruits often, but never seemed to be the main coach involved in their recruitment. I’m more lenient for Zordich being almost a zero on the recruiting trail since his work with the cornerbacks in the last couple of years have been outstanding.
Still, having three coaches who barely recruited on the staff is way too many. Identify the up and coming coaches who relate well with the recruits and will put in the hours to move up the ladder. This is one area that Michigan could upgrade fairly easily without much effort.
Let’s hear from you! Who do you think the best recruiter on Michigan’s staff is?
Who is the best recruiter on Michigan’s staff?
This poll is closed