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Thursday, February 3, 2011
Michigan recruiting analysis

By Adam Rittenberg


The class

Recruits: 20 (all high school seniors, one player enrolled early)

Top prospects: Four-star defensive backs Blake Countess and Delonte Hollowell could provide immediate help to a secondary that needs it in 2011. The Wolverines addressed their defensive front seven with Brennen Beyer, rated as the nation's No. 24 defensive end by ESPN Recruiting, as well as linebacker Kellen Jones. Although Michigan lost running back commit Dee Hart to Alabama, the Wolverines held onto Justice Hayes, who rates as the nation's No. 22 running back.

Needs met: Anyone who watched Michigan last season could identify the secondary as a glaring need, and the Wolverines addressed it with five defensive backs, including the nation's No. 14 and No. 15 cornerbacks in Countess and Hallowell. Field goals were an adventure in 2010 and Michigan wisely added kicker Matt Wile. Defensive line also was a need, especially with Michigan transitioning to the 4-3, and players like Beyer help.

Analysis: Coach Brady Hoke and his staff deserve a lot of credit for keeping several key verbal commits on board and making some late additions to the class despite taking over the program less than a month before signing day. From a ratings standpoint, this class won't go down as one of Michigan's best, but the late coaching change didn't hurt the Wolverines as much as it could have. Michigan needs several of the defensive recruits to blossom right away, especially in the secondary. Hayes and Wile also are players who could make an early impact.

ESPN Recruiting grade: B-