<
>

Rodriguez defends his checks on recruits

8/11/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez stood his ground Monday when asked about former player Justin Feagin, who was dismissed from the team last month following his role in a failed cocaine deal.

Feagin told University of Michigan police that he used to sell drugs in his home state of Florida and had been arrested for battery and trespassing. According to Rodriguez, Feagin's checkered past didn't surface during the recruiting process.

"Trust me, no coach in America is going to want to take a guy that has baggage or that they think is a bad guy," Rodriguez said. "We certainly won't. But everything in the recruiting process [with Feagin] that we had heard was all positive and our dealings here was there was no negatives until that recent thing. And once we heard that, it was immediate dismissal."

Rodriguez dismissed Feagin hours after the player met with police and later consulted Feagin's mother and his assistant coaches about any potential red flags they missed.

"Sometimes there's mistakes made and if it's an avoidable mistake then we have to look and say what did we miss?" Rodriguez said. "And sure, you do that. And that's the first thing that happened. As soon as we found out this situation, you boot him off the team, then you call the coaches in and say, what did we miss? You call the mother up and say, 'Hello, Mrs. Feagin, what did we miss?'"

Rodriguez is fighting the perception that he recruits questionable characters.

Several of his former West Virginia players got into legal trouble, though many programs deal with similar issues. But the coach maintains he does his due diligence during the recruiting process.

"You know, there are some guys you recruited and they never would have given any hint of ever getting into trouble or being poor academically," Rodriguez said. "And all of a sudden they go to college and they make mistakes and you have to adjust accordingly."