June 4, 2012

Borton's Blog: Too early birds?

Nagging questions abound over Michigan's 2013 football recruiting class. Can it finish where it sits now (No. 1 in the nation) with Rivals.com? Can it be wrapped up by July 4?

Obviously, those aren't the kind of issues that keep fans awake at night. Having 20 commitments by June 4 - including the latest, three-star defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr., out of Massachusetts, and four-star defensive tackle Henry Poggi from Baltimore - can make folks a little giddy.

While many around the Big Ten are giving grumbling, grudging credit to Brady Hoke and his staff, others remain stuck in the spin cycle. They're waiting for decommitments, or desperately clinging to the hope that everybody - from recruiting analysts to Hoke's own staff - missed on talent evaluations.

After all, Michigan's 20 commitments haven't even played a senior season yet. The Wolverines are surely reaching, and bound to come up with more than a few handfuls of air.

Right?

That depends on which side of the hope fence one resides. Hoke doesn't deal in hope. He deals in expectation, and although he can't talk about the class he and his staff are pulling together until next February, it's evident he's not fraught with fear over the cries of premature evaluation.

"It's never an exact science," Hoke assured. "Never has been. I don't know, even if you took a guy all the way through their senior season, and then you take the commitment … you're still going to not be perfect.

"With the technology today, there are so many more resources to get tape, get film and all of those things on guys, to find out a little more about them from a character standpoint. From Twitter to Facebook and all of those other things that are out there, you can find out more at a much earlier age."

That said, Hoke acknowledges there is room for growth among high school-age student-athletes.

"There are probably some decisions that are made that maybe shouldn't be made, because there is some growth that a young man goes through, from personal growth to maturity to how they handle their business socially," Hoke noted.

He'll allow for that. At the same time, he harbors enough confidence in his crew as talent evaluators that - all else fitting the bill - he's obviously not afraid of early commitments.

Making certain the fit is there might be the most important piece of the puzzle, he cautioned.

"It's hard here," Hoke said. "It's not for everybody, because this is demanding, from an educational and physical standpoint, along with the expectations of wearing that winged helmet. For guys who are true competitors, and who have a real love for the game but more so an understanding of what a Michigan education is and the doors that opens - whether you're playing football after college or going into the real world - there is no place better."


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