Way back on Feb. 3, Michigan signed the Big Ten's largest recruiting class -- and also one of its best.
ESPN Recruiting listed the Wolverines' 27-man class as the nation's 14th best overall and the Big Ten's second best class behind Penn State (No. 11 overall). Michigan moved up the rankings largely because of a Signing Day surprise, the pledge of cornerback Demar Dorsey, the nation's 12th best prospect and the highest-rated prospect in the Big Ten, according to ESPN Recruiting.
Despite a second consecutive losing season, Rich Rodriguez and his staff did what they needed to on the recruiting trail entering a pivotal 2010 campaign.
Michigan's recruiting class still could turn out to be very good, but it looks a little thinner now. Dorsey was denied admission to Michigan earlier this month and has since landed at Louisville, taking away a likely starter in the Wolverines' secondary.
Two more Michigan recruits, linebacker Antonio Kinard and athlete Conelius Jones, are possibly heading to prep school and might not enroll for the 2010 academic year. Neither Kinard nor Jones are as decorated as Dorsey coming out of high school, but both are three-star prospects who could have been factors for a team that needs a jolt from its freshmen this fall.
The 27-member class has been trimmed to 24, and Rodriguez's critics have a little more ammunition. They'll not only question his ability to win in Ann Arbor, but the types of players he and his staff are recruiting. Although Michigan players have performed well academically during Rodriguez's tenure, the coaching staff lost some battles with the admissions office in recent weeks.
Without Dorsey, Michigan's class likely falls out of the top 20 of most national rankings. I still think there are enough players to help the team this season, but whether the Wolverines get the major boost they need from the incoming recruits remains to be seen.