Recruiting Against Michigan

Gregory Shamus

The Brady Hoke problem: he's recruiting the same players as Iowa...and winning.

Michigan is fresh off a tough loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The Wolverines looked on their way to a victory before Jadeveon Clowney murdered Vincent Smith. So Michigan finishes a decent 8-5 with their best win coming against Northwestern. It's a step back from the 11-2 season last year, but still well ahead of the RichRod era. It's also squarely ahead of what Iowa did this year and when the teams met head-to-head, the results were embarrassing.

But it's not just the on field results that have me worried about the direction Brady Hoke is taking the Wolverines...It's also recruiting.

I wrote about Iowa's head-to-head recruiting with Michigan back in the summer on the now erased from the interwebs, High Porch Picnic. Since that post is gone and with the semi-recent switcheroo by Delano Hill, the topic felt worth posting about again.

A brief word on the data: I looked at the Rivals recruiting database to gather the players that both Iowa and Michigan have offered a scholarship for the 2008 to 2013 seasons. I used Rivals because it's easy to query and picked 2008 as the starting point because that's when RichRod took over at UM.

Through the years

Year Iowa Offers Offered by Both UM Commit Iowa Commit
2013 113 26 9 0
2012 146 48 10 2
2011 111 33 3 3
2010 105 24 5 2
2009 98 10 4 0
2008 104 19 6 1

The first thing that stands out is that Michigan is clearly beating Iowa when the two schools go head-to-head for a recruit. And, honestly, that is just a fact of life. Michigan has a history and tradition that Iowa just can't compete with...and that's not going to change. Iowa did okay against UM during the RichRod to Hoke transition, but has been thoroughly beaten each of the other 5 years.

Michigan has received commitments from 23% of the shared offers, while Iowa has landed just 5%.

The big difference between the Hoke years and the RichRod years is in the shared number of kids that Iowa and Michigan want. Between 2008 and 2010, 17.7% of Iowa's offers were also offered by Michigan...in the past 3 years that percent has grown to 28.9%.

So, even though Michigan hasn't really done much to increase its advantage of Iowa in head-to-head recruiting, it has increased the number of occurrences... And so, this has resulted in more of Iowa's offers ending up at Michigan.

So what's going on here?

Hoke has taken Michigan Football back to a more "traditional" style. MANBALL. And I'd expect the Wolverine offense to shift to an even more traditional style now that Denard Robinson's career is finally over.

So, I probably don't need to type it out, but Hoke and Ferentz want their teams to play a similar brand of football and thus need a similar type of player. And since the two schools share roughly the same geographical footprint for recruiting, they end up going after the same players.

A quick word on other schools

The other problem schools right now for Iowa are Notre Dame and Wisconsin. While 9 of Iowa's offers have landed at Michigan, 8 have committed to Notre Dame and 6 to Wisconsin.

As it stands

Michigan has been raking in the recruits for 2013 for some time now and is #3 in Rivals rankings. (Side note: RichRod brought in a lot of good recruits too...but they weren't guys Iowa was really going after.) Iowa has fallen down to 51st (10th in the B1G). With just a month left before signing day, the Hawks will probably pick up 3 or 4 more players with MAC offers. And maybe then, we'll take a deeper look at this recruiting season.

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