Brady Hoke’s Off-Season Outlook


Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Now with Michigan’s disappointing bowl loss in the rear view mirror and the off-season here, it is once again time for Michigan fans to look at recruiting.  Brady Hoke has been having more success on the recruiting field than the football field the last couple of years, despite missing out on Da’Shawn Hand, the top recruit in the country who many felt Michigan was a favorite for.

The gem of Michigan’s 2014 class, CB Jabrill Peppers, the 2nd ranked recruit nationally shined this past week at the Under Armour All American Game.  Peppers is a great athlete and writers and coaches around the practices all week raved about how physically dominant he was.  He’s a special player who is the crown jewel of Hoke’s 14th ranked group, according to 24/7.

Another Michigan commit, QB Wilton Speight, also impressed this past week at the AU All American Game. He won’t have as immediate of an impact in Ann Arbor as Peppers, even though he is enrolling early this spring, with Devin Gardner and Shane Morris ahead of him on the depth chart.

Michigan doesn’t have many other clear immediate impact guys in the class, although they do have many solid recruits who should help the program.  But guys like WR Drake Harris and DT Brian Mone, two highly touted recruits at positions of need for Michigan could step up as freshmen.

And while the class seems complete, there could be some late action by Hoke’s staff to pounce on some recruit’s whose commitments elsewhere seem shaky.  After winning the AU All American Game MVP, Minneapolis native and Minnesota commit RB Jeff Jones’ status is on the rise.  Florida reportedly gave Jones an offer this past week and now this morning it appears so has Michigan.  Gophers coach Jerry Kill would do very well to keep his prized running back recruit, but now with a couple of bigger programs like Michigan and Florida jumping in, that may be tough.

But if Hoke could add another playmaker to his team, especially at a position with no clear standout on the roster, that would be huge.

Beyond that, however, Hoke will be focusing more and more on the 2015 class and getting ready for spring practices in a few months.  The Wolverines are coming off a tough season, but a successful off-season can go a long way to turning things around in 2014.

You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter @alexdaleCFB