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January 12, 2011

Hoke: Recruiting is the lifeblood

Michigan announced Brady Hoke as their 19th head football coach on Wednesday, exactly three weeks before National Signing Day. The Wolverines' new head man acknowledged the small window he has to finish out the 2011 recruiting class and gave an overview of his recruiting approach.

Hoke noted that he started on January 9 when he took over at San Diego State, so he has faced a two-minute offense approach to recruiting before and planned to delve into Michigan's recruiting situation immediately.

"There's no doubt, I'll be on the phone as soon as we are done with everything we have to do today with the guys that have committed," Hoke said. "We will be busting our hind ends to get guys that are going to represent this program and fit the character and the morals of what we want in this program."

Hoke did not wish to discuss the assistant coaches who would be joining him in Ann Arbor and helping with the recruiting process until those hires were finalized, but he did project that process would be complete within the next "two to three days." He confirmed there would be no official visitors in this weekend, but his focus in the coming few days would be on making contact with Michigan's commitments and targets.

"The whole thing is, we've got to get out there and touch all those people," Hoke said. "Recruiting is a people business. It's trusts, the things that go along with that and having something special that you want to present to families and young men and we have that at the University of Michigan with the tradition and history of this program."

The importance of recruiting to on-field success in Hoke's mind was demonstrated when he called it the "lifeblood of a program."

During his tenure as a Michigan assistant coach, Hoke was the Wolverines' West Coast recruiter, and he has spent the past two seasons as head coach of a Mountain West Conference program. However, Hoke made it clear that Michigan's recruiting efforts would start in their own backyard.

"Our lifeblood has to be in the Midwest and it has to be in Michigan," Hoke said.

As a native of Ohio, Hoke also mentioned that state as being critical to Michigan's success going forward.

Michigan has always had the ability to recruit nationally, and with Hoke's ties and experience on the West Coast it likely will continue to have a national presence. But Michigan has lost its place as the dominant recruiting force in the Midwest, and even in its home state in the last four recruiting classes. According to his opening comments, Hoke is aiming to correct that.


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