Monday, January 30, 2012

Brace Up the Falling Sky

This hasn't exactly been a great few weeks for Michigan recruiting; we can get this statement out in the open right away and I don't think anyone will object to it.

The fact of the matter is Ohio State has done what Ohio State has been wont to do for many, many years -- the Buckeyes brought in a great class loaded with talent.  Meanwhile the nerves of a significant portion of the fan base have worn down to the tiniest thread that simply wasn't equipped to handle a 24-hour period in which four commitments went the wrong way (even though all four were around 50/50 propositions.

- Alex Kozan decided to commit to Iowa: the same school he has been high on for a long time while Michigan cooled then jumped back in on him.

- Armani Reeves decided to commit to Ohio State: the school he was 50/50 on last week despite his best friend committing to the Buckeyes earlier in the month and his godfather (father of said best friend) handling his recruitment.

- Monty Madaris  decided to commit to Michigan State.  This one was more of an "insult to injury" type hit because Michigan had been out of it for him for a couple weeks, but some people can't handle success in East Lansing.

- Finally, this morning Sam Grant committed to Oklahoma.  This was a bit more shocking than the rest because Oklahoma has three TE's in the class already (mind you, Michigan has two so it isn't like he is walking into an empty depth chart in either place) and his good friend Kyle Kalis is already a Michigan commit.

Between these events and the end of Josh Garnett's recruitment on Thursday, Michigan has seen five high profile targets go elsewhere, and each of these targets was at one time at least heavily interested in Michigan, if not holding the maize and blue as an outright leader.

If you know anything about Michigan football and its fickle fan base -- which, why the hell are you reading this if you don't -- you can imagine that message boards and twitter are absolutely insufferable now.  I won't point out names (I want to, but I won't), but some people act like Hoke just got a call that the 11-2, BCS bowl winning season we just had got switched overnight to 7-6 and all the gold that Hoke has pooped these last 12 months has been nothing but pyrite.

I'm damn near tired of this, so here goes.  This is my attempt to get everyone breathing at a normal rate again:

First, who here didn't expect Ohio State to sign a monster class with Urban Meyer running point?


Exactly.  I don't care how much Urban Meyer glowed last season about Mattison's recruiting prowess, if you really thought that Meyer would be struggling to reel in a bunch of three-star who-dat's then I have some real estate on the moon I think you might be interested in.

He has done a good job bringing together a class with two full months to devote entirely to recruiting (and don't start about the waiver from the NCAA because everybody gets that).  He flipped the guys who were soft elsewhere for whatever reason (Pittman), drank Penn State's milkshake (Schutt, Spence, Williams, Reeves), and brought in heavy OSU leans just waiting for an excuse to join the class (Washington -- who didn't even need to hear the official Meyer-to-OSU announcement before going all-in).  Add in guys like Taylor Decker and David Perkins and you have one helluva haul.

"You get an  unwanted medical redshirt, and you get an
unwanted medical redshirt..."
Guess what?  This doesn't mean the end of the world.  Meyer isn't perfect, and odds are some of these guys are going to flame out or leave the program or fail to develop all the way to their five and four star ceiling.  That's life when you bring aboard a bunch of mid-pubecent 18-year-old man-children and try to turn them into football players one notch below the highest level.  Same thing will happen to a handful of Michigan's recruits, Texas's recruits, Alabama's recruits (you know, the ones not bound for St. Saban's Memorial Hospital), et al.

Don't freak out that Rivals assigns more points to Ohio State's class because of an arbitrary formula -- since those always work out well in college football -- just be thankful that Michigan has a great class.  Which leads me to...

Second, who here isn't pumped about Michigan's class as it stands today?  I remember thinking in August, "man, if we finished with this class it would still be awesome."  In August.  Think about just how well the coaches did putting together a top notch group of talent.  Now think about how excited you are for guys like PeeWee Pipkins, Joe Bolden, Jarrod Wilson, Erik Magnuson, Kyle Kalis, James Ross, RJS and TRich, Wormley, Stroble, Godin, and the rest.

If you spent the last year obsessively reading about these kids -- and let's face it, if you are taking the time to read my rant then you have -- then there isn't anything that should put a damper on your excitement for the 2012 class.  Not only are these kids great football players but they are solid young men and high character individuals that we can all be proud of.  Some of them will develop into the next generation of Mike Martins and David Molks, and some of them might ride the bench, get a degree, and walk away from campus in five years Michigan graduates.  Get excited about that.*

*(A quick aside: don't be the asshole who thinks that because a kid doesn't commit to your school he is either a) a low class slimeball not good enough for the winged helmet, b) a pawn of some malfeasence on the part of evil parents, coaches, etc, or c) GETTING PAID, AMIRITE?  Just stop.  You make us all look worse.)

Finally, remember that the team that won 11 games on the field this year, that team they called Team 132 was so ravaged by attrition, beaten up by a media witch hunt, and subjected to multiple coaching changes and inane schemes that no one expected them to accomplish near what they did.

You don't need the best kids.  You need the right kids.

I'll be damned if the 23 kids (plus maybe two or three more) destined to make up the 2012 class aren't the right kids.  I'm excited for them.

You should be too.

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