The 16 members of the Michigan Wolverines #31 ranked (rivals.com) recruiting class is the Big Ten’s third best in 2014. One reason for the lower ranking was because of the small size of the class but what they lack in numbers they make-up for in stars. Wolverine recruits averaged 3.44 stars, higher than the #12 recruiting class of the Miami Hurricanes.
Rankings are helpful when determining the potential impact of a particular recruiting class but shouldn’t be the only factor. Classes should also be judged on how they provide depth and fill future needs.
Brady Hoke and his coaching staff was successful in plugging holes and building depth in 2014 especially on the defensive side of the ball. But with the increased depth will these recruits have a chance to break into the starting line-up?
It has always been Brady Hokes philosophy to start his best 22 players regardless of age. After a few solid years of recruiting some expect Hokes philosohpy may change now that the team has more depth. But Hoke recently revealed to MLive.com that fans should expect a number of freshmen to break into the Michigan line-up early.
You hesitate to say (who will play early) because you say it and then everybody thinks it is gospel,” Hoke said last week. “(Then) when the guy doesn’t play, they start questioning the kid. We really got away from this being about the kids playing the game. It’s not going to go back, it’s not going to get any better.
“But, I think there are five or six guys who might have an opportunity (to play early). The guys who come in early, in January, they get a better head start on the others.”
The Wolverines brought in several players during the early signing period including wide receivers Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen and defensive tackle Bryan Mone all of which based on depth have a solid chance to get significant playing time in 2014.
Another recruit poised to make an immediate impact for the Wolverines on the defensive side of the ball is the highly touted Jabril Peppers. Peppers is the #1 ranked recruit at the defensive back position (3# overall nationally) and can be an immediate difference maker for a Wolverines defense that struggled against the pass last season.