Managing Expectations

Brady Hoke’s first season at Michigan was a smashing success. Few could have predicted an eleven win season considering the challenge of implementing a new offense and defense, overcoming talent and depth deficiencies, and trying to fit personnel to scheme. Hoke’s first year sJ.T. Floyd - 3uccess exploded expectations for 2012. Going into last season, the majority of Michigan fans expected seven-nine wins. In the span of a year, those expectations have changed dramatically. Last week, Michigan was voted the favorite to win the Big Ten conference by members of the media. Brady Hoke, as most would expect, brushed aside the selection noting that where Michigan is rated to finish the year is more important than where they are at the start. The media selection echoes what many Michigan fans have felt all off-season. Michigan returns fourteen starters off an eleven win 2011 team including the electric Denard Robinson. As a result, many feel that Michigan is inevitably poised for an equal or better 2012 campaign.

There are inherent dangers in expectations exceeding reality. When a team plays to its capabilities yet that is not enough because of unrealistic expectations, the result is often a strong negative backlash. That backlash can potentially create a toxic environment that impedes future success. Michigan fans know the results of trying to operate in a toxic environment all too well. There is nothing wrong with wanting or hoping for highly successful seasons. We all want Big Ten Championships; BCS bowl victories, and National Championships. The danger comes when you move from hopes and dreams to expectations. Expectations come with consequences when they are not met.

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The Blueprint to Filling Out the 2012 Class Part 2

Michigan now has 22 commitments for the 2012 football class and with the final number is still holding firm at 26 spots. Here are the remaining few that could fill out the class.

Quarterback

With Gunner Kiel (Indiana), Maty Mauk (Missouri) and Devin Fuller (Eliminated Michigan) all going elsewhere, it looks very unlikely that Michigan takes a quarterback in this class.

Running Backs (Dunn or none?)

It looks like the running back position is not a major priority this year and it looks like it’s coming down to one guy.Bri'Onte Dunn

1. Bri’onte Dunn. He made his way back up to AA a few weeks ago for the BBQ, but continues to stick with his verbal pledge to OSU. As time goes by it seems that he is warming up more and more to switching to the good guys. One of the reasons for this is his cousin 2013 prospect Dymonte Thomas, who has said that Michigan continues to be his leader. He is also being recruited heavily by fellow Ohioans and current Wolverines Kyle Kalis and Tom Strobel. I still contend that OSU is going to have to receive MAJOR sanctions if Dunn were to flip and with new information still coming out, this seems more and more likely.

2. Greg Garmon. Things have cooled quite a bit with Greg since his visit a few months back. There was some speculation that Michigan was back in the race for him, but those rumors seem to be false at this point.

Wide Receivers (Wanting or 1 or 2)

Darryl Stonum getting a redshirt for the upcoming season relieves some of the pressure of taking two receivers this season, but it is still a need. We need a kid that can stretch the field pretty badly.

1. Amara Darboh. Visited UM a few weeks ago and really liked his visit. Enough so that he is planning a return visit with his family for the Western game. He could very well end his recruitment at that time, but with Florida and a few other new schools knocking at the door he could drag it out for a while.

2. Jordan Payton. The Cali standout recently named Cal and Michigan as his co-favorites. Jordan has planned an official for the ND game.

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Darryl Stonum to be redshirted in 2011

D. Stonum3

“In order to build a championship-caliber culture, you have to be accountable to each other on and off the field. While it would be great to have Darryl on the field this season, we feel it is in his best interest and the best interest of our program for him to redshirt, Darryl will continue to be an important part of our team and family. He has done everything we have asked him to do, but our number one priority is to help Darryl grow as a person.” – Brady Hoke

The Blueprint To Filling Out The 2012 Class

With 18 commits for the 2012 class so far and the final number more than likely 26, numbers are starting to become very, very tight. Here is my Gunner Kiel - SI.comlist of kids that we are still recruiting to fill out the class.

Quarterbacks (Wanting 1?)

With Maty Mauk giving his pledge to Missouri, Michigan is down to two offered quarterbacks who are showing interest.

1. Gunner Kiel. Most have him down to Alabama, Indiana (yes I said Indiana), and Oklahoma. Rumors of a second visit have not yet come to fruition. Not looking very good here.

2. Devin Fuller. Devin is a very explosive athlete who wants a chance to play quarterback in college. Michigan is recruiting him as an athlete, but would get a shot as a signal caller.

Running Backs/Fullbacks (Wanting 1 of each?)

With no running back standing out in the current roster the Wolverines do need a back that will be able to carry the rock around 25 times a game. And that back does need a true fullback leading the way. I’m not a huge fan of giving a fullback a scholly unless he is a very, very good one. And unless we can snag Bri’onte Dunn or Greg Garmon, I’m all for passing on a running back this class in favor of an extra DL, WR or OL.

1. Bri’onte Dunn. The long time Buckeye verbal continues to reiterate his commitment to them. Unless OSU receives MAJOR (USC like) sanctions no one should hold their breath here. Until those penalties are handed down Dunn will remain “open” and make some additional visits. He will be back to AA for the Notre Dame game.

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2. Greg Garmon. A very explosive back who visited Michigan a few weeks back. Garmon keeps his recruitment rather tight and continues to name North Carolina his leader.

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Crystal Ballin’ UM’s 2012 Recruiting Class

Here is my first guess on how I believe the recruiting class might look like at the end of the season. Remember recruiting is very fluid and the final list will probably look very different. At this point I have Michigan at 18 scholarships with the Cullen Christian and DJ Williamson transfers. This number will likely grow to around 20-22 when all is said and done, but for this list I’ll keep it at 20 prospects. Again, this is purely my guess at this point in the game and February is a long ways away.

1. QB – Tyler O’Connor. No offer as of yet, but since the Pike commit to Auburn things have been heating up.

2. WR – Malik Gilmore. Wants to visit Michigan and ND.

3. TE – Devin Funchess. Michigan Commit.

4. TE – A.J. Williams. Michigan Commit.

5. TE – Ron Thompson. Even with Funchess and Williams in the fold, I think Michigan takes him.

6. OT/OG – Ben Braden. Michigan Commit.

7. OG – Caleb Stacey. Michigan Commit.

8. OT – Jordan Diamond. Has stated for quite some time now that Michigan is on top.

9. OT – Erik Magnuson. Has Michigan in his top 3 along with Miami and Oregon.

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