Feb. 6, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening remarks ... "Thanks for coming out. I know we've missed each other lately, but we really appreciate you all being here. Today was a very exciting day on a lot of fronts, and a very uneventful day on a lot of fronts, which is good too. We're very excited about the group of young men who made the decision to come and play at the greatest university in this country. We're excited about that. We had 21 letters that were signed today, we had six early enrollees that all have done a nice job in the transition with academics, football and socially. We're proud of those six guys. We really want to welcome the families of the guys who are going to be a part of our family here at the University of Michigan and Michigan football.
"It's a unique class in how closely knit they are. Shane (Morris) was our first commitment a year ago. He's done a tremendous job of being a big part of the recruitment of the guys in this class. He also was the first guy to have his letter in today. That's the competitive side that he's all about. When I talked to him this morning, there was no doubt that he was going to be the first one to get his letter in.
"As a class, they've grown together, from afar, which is really neat when you're in their homes and talking to them. You talk about the parents knowing each other, the kids and how much they've had conversations. The guys (assistant coaches) in the back have really worked their tails off and those are the guys that their families or their wives back home, with the travel, being on the road, the evaluation and everything that goes along with it. The thing that we're very proud of is how we recruit, in the integrity and character of the guys we want to represent Michigan. I think the other part of it is in the recruiting process, is the assistants who are out there doing the roadwork and everything, how their families are involved in the recruiting, so I want to thank them and let you know that.
"I think the needs that we had focused on, we met. It was very important for us to establish guys who can play at the line of scrimmage the way we want to play Michigan football. We took four offensive linemen a year ago, and we redshirted all four of those guys. We took six this year and two of them are in school now. For the style of football that we need to play, I think that was important. When you look defensively, a year ago we took six guys up front; a couple of those guys contributed during the year. This year, we added three more guys; three quality football players that really fit in how we want to play on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Offensively, we wanted some range and length at the wide receiver position; guys who could go up and compete for the football. I think we accomplished that.
"We wanted to continue to enhance our tight ends from an athletic standpoint and the on the line of scrimmage presence that we need to have in what we want to do. The running backs, obviously with the three big backs, that was an important piece for how we want to play, vertically and downhill, and how we want to play the offense that we are gradually getting to. I think all of those things are helpful for us from that standpoint. Defensively, I mentioned the guys up front, but we tried to get a little more length and range on the back end. From the corner position, having a couple of guys who are six-foot plus, long-armed guys who can play man coverage and be a presence out there. Then at the safety position, being physical, having guys who can do that. I think we accomplished that. We took two linebackers who are both very physical guys, guys that we're really excited about. You have to look at your class, and look at your needs, with the level of physicality we need to play with, the right fits when you look at it positionally, as we look at it as a staff.
"And then, you look at the roster and you look at what you inherit and all those things. In the last two classes, there has been significant development in the genetics of the guys on the team. I think that's an important part of it. I think it's the right fit. It all starts with us. It's guys who understand the great value of a Michigan degree, and guys who understand what it is and have passion to play the greatest team sport there is. The character and integrity are very important to what we do. I know there might be some bumps in the road here or there, but at the same time, these are high quality characters and individuals that we are very proud of."
On the recruitment of the running backs ... "When you recruit, you can make mistakes telling a guy you're going to do this, or you're going to do that. We don't do that. We educate them on where we're at and what we're trying to do. I think we educate them on how we're going to play and that the competition will always be there if you have a good program. Wyatt (Shallman) is a guy who is very multiple in what he can do. He can line up in the single back if you want to run some inside zone, he can knock people off the ball, he can be a short-yardage guy and he can catch the ball well. He can do those things out of the backfield. He's a little more like an Aaron Shea guy, to some degree. I think with Derrick (Green) and De'Veon (Smith), you have two very physical runners. Both of them have very good instincts, good vision and good balance. They can break tackles. That's something we felt we needed."
On his perspective on the flurry of commitments in February ... "I think it goes back to the work that the assistant coaches and Chris (Singletary) put in when these guys are juniors. Identification, evaluation and trying to know as much as you can about them are big parts of it. I think the environment and the culture of the community that we want to have here is a big part of it. I think that touched these guys and their families. There's a lot to be said, there were some pretty good players that wanted to play together and be a part of it."
On an event that the recruiting class rallied around to give commitment ... "I think the excitement of (the Michigan vs. Ohio State) basketball game and that arena probably had a little bit to do with it. I know those guys had been up to a number of football games. That environment was interesting. That first night game -- how many of them were at that. I couldn't tell you. But I think with all those things and going back -- this is Michigan. Why wouldn't you (commit)?"
On wide receiver recruits ... "(Jaron) Dukes and (C'sonte York), they both bring you a lot of size. C'sonte and Dukes both are tall guys, basketball guys, both guys with a lot of leverage. They can go up and aren't afraid to go up and get the ball. At the same time, I think they've got top end speed. That's something that you need to stretch the field. Da'Mario (Jones) is a guy we had in camp that we really, really liked. We like him in multiple ways. You go through recruiting and sometimes you think we're going to find better, and we're so pleased with him and what he can do and his competitiveness."
On recruiting team standings ... "I'll be dead honest with you, I don't think as a staff we put a whole lot of stock into those things. I know people are working hard at all those services and that kind of stuff. Personally, and as a staff, you have to find guys with a great blueprint who fit that blueprint. I also think that you have guys that are football players, and there's something about a guy being a football player. I was joking with (Jordan) Kovacs, he wasn't even a star. He was like a moon, however you would rate him. But every person who watched enough Michigan football there was one thing you knew -- he was a football player. And I think that's one thing as a staff, because there is a toughness that comes with it for being a football player."
On decision about offering a scholarship to a long snapper ... "Number one, I've always taken a long snapper as a head coach because they are so valuable. If you don't have that mindset, you're going to go into a game and your guy gets hurt and all of a sudden you wished you had another long snapper. That job is so critical. So for us, we're always going to look. The timing's perfect -- Jareth (Glanda) is back for another year and Scott (Sypniewski) can learn a lot and compete at the same time. But he'll learn a lot from Jareth, and I think that's a real plus. We had him at camp and got to see him do it live. We got to see his timing and his accuracy. It probably is a plus that his father played for us at Western Michigan. You knew he had a real heart and love for the game, and he is just very accurate and has the speed that you want."
On Maurice Hurst Jr.'s versatility ... "There's no question -- and you can ask the coaches -- that he has the athleticism and the burst that you want to have. Where you see it best is a guy running the ball at 275 pounds out of the backfield. I think that Mo showed a sack and then you're projecting that he is going to be a guy upfront, a defensive lineman, and play that nose -- you get that evaluation pretty good on the athleticism with the quick twitch and the things that you need to have. Then you watch him play defensive line and he is very athletic."
On recruits at defensive back ... "They make us better because they give us competition, and I think that's the best way to get better -- you have to compete every day. With (Channing) Stribling, Ross (Douglas), Dymonte (Thomas), Delano (Hill), and Reon (Dawson), you've got some guys with some real leverage, especially with Reon and Stribling. That part of it is exciting. We had both of them here at our camp, so we got a chance to really watch them. Delano is a guy that we had seen and at the time he was committed to Iowa. Everything kept going back to him. Dymonte and Ross were guys that we knew about and we knew the athleticism that they both have. Everything kept going back to 'we need Delano as part of our core group' for the defensive backs that we were going to take."
On highly recruiting the Midwest ... "Number one, that 350- to 400-mile radius is always going to be important for us. This state is always going to be important for us. The state of Ohio, Chicago -- those are going to be very important areas for us. I think when you saw the year that the different states had in different areas -- and those change year to year. We are always going to be in national recruiting because we are a national brand. It changes yearly. We took nine guys out of the state of Ohio. Ohio was pretty good this year when you look at the top tier talent that was there. I think it's a little bit of an anomaly (to have so many Midwest recruits), but we're going to start there."
On philosophy of recruiting big and long prospects ... "It's been kind of a philosophy, but at the same time we could go back and see that Maurice Hurst Jr. isn't the biggest guy in the world as far as height goes. You can get stuck sometimes. We just felt like we needed more range and more length, but it kind of goes with it."
On if having primarily Midwest recruiting classes allows the team to compete with SEC teams ... "There is no question. I think that is a little bit overblown -- and the media does that. I remember being on teams here that could compete with anybody, so I don't know why you couldn't."
On if Michigan has to have recruiting classes like this one to compete with the SEC ... "This is all competition -- we live our lives in competition. We always want to get the leaders and the best. So yes, these are the kind of classes we would like to have on a year-to-year basis."
On what he saw in Shane Morris nearly two years ago to make the decision to start this class with such a young quarterback ... "There were a couple things -- Al (Borges) can probably address them a little more. We liked his vision. We liked his athleticism. We liked the personality and the leadership that he showed at an early age, because at that position you are going to touch the ball on every play and you have to have that leadership. We liked his football intelligence and how he was coached -- who coached him and where he played. That is all a part of it as you evaluate the big picture and we thought he had all those quarterback intangibles that you look for. "
On how he deals with early-enrollments and whether he encourages or discourages kids to do it ... "Personally, I think a kid should be a kid, and their senior year is an important year. And that is my personal opinion on it. If you are a guy who has been a great basketball player or wrestler for your team, and your life is moving on and moving a little quicker, sometime I am not a great fan of it. But at the same time I think that it is a family decision that that young man and his parents have to make. It is out there for them, and if that is the direction that they want to go, then we are going to embrace them with open arms. But I think -- and if you want to get my philosophy on life -- in this day and age kids grow up probably faster than they need to. "
On what he thinks about recruits flipping their commitments to other schools during their recruitments and if he thinks it is a problem ... "I think it will continue and will probably only get enhanced. Some of you follow things pretty well with the NCAA and rules. August 1st -- tentatively -- they are changing the recruiting structure. Sometime before then they will do a little something with the calendar where you are going to start being able to contact juniors during their junior year. Does that mean visits? I know basketball has gone with this stuff, but they have an early signing period. I think the other part of it is that basketball and football -- it is not even close. They are going to recruit three or five guys a year, so maybe their pool is 25 that they have followed since eighth grade. With of the singularity of that sport, it looks at skill and height and those things. For us, we are going to start with probably 1,500 [recruits]. And we are going to sign -- depending on the recruiting class -- a minimum of 16. So you're talking about -- I'm a high school English teacher that is the football coach, and I teach four classes per day, and I have good seniors and good juniors, so I am going to have coaches coming in every day trying to get this guy out of class or that guy out of class. I think for the high school coaches, it is a big time mistake -- and for those kids. Philosophy of life -- kids need to be kids and I don't think the rules are helping that. "
On how much background plays into these kids development, especially with a case like Patrick Kugler, whose father coached on the Pittsburgh Steelers and played on a high school powerhouse ... "I think you always look at the program and where they are coming out of high school-wise. In Patrick's case, obviously, his dad was the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's a guy who as a kid was around the game constantly -- going to practices, being a ball boy and making friends with the guys and the players. And as he grew, those guys would take him under his wing and coach him up a little bit and show him a little more. I don't think there is any question that that helped his development when you take a guy like that.
On how much he thinks the scholarship numbers will open up for next year, and if there is an update on Devin Gardner ... "No update on Devin. I think how that can grow is very flexible. It will be a situation when you look and hopefully no one gets hurt and no medicals and things like that will be a part of it. "
On if he expects to sign 27 players again next year ... "I would not expect to sign 27."
On how he feels about his policy of not letting commitments visit other schools ... "One thing that you have to understand about that policy -- every situation is a little bit different. I'm not going to get into personal things that kids go through, but every situation is a little bit different. "