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May 26, 2011

More on my favorite topic

Football recruiting, of course.

    Although this column was meant for MSU fans who were wigging about stuff I have ALWAYS found overblown, it seemed to resonate more with Michigan fans. I decided to post a few responses.

    Here's an email from James:

    Nice article, but I found it odd that you failed to mention that a majority of the current Michigan recruits were offered and heavily recruited by Dantonio and staff. These aren't just players that have high rankings that won't pan out, these are the same players that Dantonio (who you don't fail to mention recruits 2 star players and wins) tried to sway toward MSU.
    It's a column, but it still needs to be looked at from more than one perspective. Acknowledge the other side.

    If I wasn't clear enough, I apologize. I did use the term "cleaning up" to describe how Brady Hoke is recruiting, and there's no arguing that he has received commitments from the highest-ranked kids in the state and guys with MSU offers. But again, the point here was more to question the entire thing, not make it strictly about MSU and Michigan. But it always comes back to that, doesn't it?

    Here's one from Michael, who titled the email: "excellent article re: recruiting":

    Haha, just playin, that article is totally bias towards MSU, you'd be singing a different tune if MSU had all those recruits locked up. You are just another Spartan who sees the writing on the wall that MSU's little run will soon be coming to an end. Your article bleeds of bitterness. Resentful of people who follow it? Feel sorry for them? Why do you even care if it isn't affecting you...apparently it is because jealousy is seeping out of every line of that article. GOD BLESS FREE SPEECH!!!

    Man, I wish it didn't affect me. Believe me, when MSU fans are upset about something, I hear a word or two about it. Other than that, Michael, please locate the bitterness (toward anything other than the attention on football recruiting in general), and please find where I agreed with the MSU fans who were crowing about world domination a couple years ago. MSU and Michigan fans should come with some kind of offseason recruiting trophy to spice things up. The Five-Star Fork? The Verbal Gerbil? Like any great trophy, it should be a petrified animal or something functional like a spittoon.

    One thing that is becoming clearer to me through all this stuff: Michigan fans are way more interested in what MSU is doing than I can ever recall in the past.

    Here's one from an MSU fan. His name is Kevin Thomas and he said his alias on the Red Cedar Message Board is "Opti."

    Hey Joe--

    Great article on recruiting---I have been on the Tailgate several times saying the same thing and comparing two-star recruits and how they have panned out and how some touted stars did not live up to expectations, and was blasted for it but stuck to my guns as well. Recruiting is an inexact science. I actually did a break down in percentages and in fact five-star recruits have about an 18% of going to the NFL, HOWEVER-- 4-star recruits, 3-star recruits, and 2-star recruits are lumped together much closer. In other words, it comes down to the ability of a coach to evaluate talent and if possible--heart. Things you have pointed out.
    With that said, I do worry about some complacency in recruiting. It seemed like all fun and games during the spring, getting rings, having laughs and deservedly so, but the true competitor will want to take it to the next level.
    On one hand we can be happy about the Big Ten Championship and I am, at the same time, a competitor like Michael Jordan maybe would look at the losses to Iowa and Alabama and ask, "How can we get better", "How can we step up our game?", and "How can we bring in some even bigger recruits?" So I do understand how the recruiting start is disappointing to some who thought we would do better with a Big Ten Championship behind us.
    So as a competitor, I am not as worried, but I am concerned about the recruiting start especially since they were highly-targeted recruits that chose UM. I also know this is a long process. You hear rumors that MSU  is not quite in the high schools like when Dan Enos was around, or that Salem has offered numerous players but is not closing. I have done a little bit of sales in my life and it is something some people have to learn in that you can offer your product to a bunch of people, but unless you learn to close, it won't help as much.
    I think with UM they are getting a lot of mileage out of Mattison who is not nearly as good as some people think and in fact the Ravens said if their secondary coach (Pagano) wanted to leave they would have done everything they could to keep him. They were fine with letting Mattison leave however. As a LB'er coach he was overrated at UM, ND and elsewhere. Anyway, have a great day.

    Some interesting thoughts there, can't speak to any of the stuff you've heard on the various coaches, but I'm sure Dan Enos' departure has been a hit to MSU's efforts. How could it not have been, considering how much praise he got from PSL coaches when he was at MSU? I doubt there's complacency in that football building, though, I think what you see right now is a new coaching regime at the winningest program in college football history talking about restoring greatness and offering early playing time all at once (please don't try to tell me the state of the depth chart doesn't matter). And a guy in Hoke who is showing why he was able to build two terrible programs into strong programs before coming to U-M. He has that disarming personality that works on the recruiting trail. It's going to be tougher for MSU -- but who seriously thought it wouldn't be?

    One more thing on the rivalry, I was interviewed for this today and it looks like we've got another keeper of a quote (not mine). After Morgan Trent took shots at MSU and Jerel Worthy and others fired back on Twitter, now we get the sibling driveway analogy revisited, courtesy of Chris Perry:

    "They can talk trash right now. They should be talking trash. They've taken advantage of us when we're down and that's how a little brother beats a big brother. Maybe you're playing basketball and the older brother has a sprained ankle and he's not himself. If you're not beating him then you're never going to beat him. But when he's healthy again, you better watch out because he's been embarrassed and he's going to be motivated. I know Michigan is motivated."

    My question is, who's Ohio State in this little fantasy? The uncle who played some junior college ball and can still beat the mess out of both brothers, even if they play 2 on 1 against him? Covered in tattoos, missing his JUCO league championship ring and driving a really nice car? (Unnecessary, sorry.)

    OK, that's enough for now, we'll continue the recruiting discussion on signing day in February, unless MSU (hopefully) has a men's basketball game on the road that day.




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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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