A unique part of Michigan’s 2014 class is that it was complete in August and suffered no defections before Signing Day.
Though there were a number of high-profile strikeouts in the months since — notably defensive linemen Da’Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell, who announced for other schools — the Wolverines’ 7-6 record didn’t cause any decommitments.
Star cornerback Jabrill Peppers was the one who appeared to be in doubt at one point, when he tweeted in November that he might take other official visits. But after U-M athletic director Dave Brandon’s public support of coach Brady Hoke and Peppers’ ensuing official visit, he never went anywhere.
Peppers had a number of conversations with Hoke on Tuesday and signed his letter at 8 a.m. today.
“Did he waver some? I don’t know if it was ‘waver,’ if it was he just had to step away from it, to be honest,” Hoke said at today’s news conference announcing U-M’s 16 signees, all of whom submitted their letters of intent before 11 a.m. “Seven and six is not good enough here, we know that and we have to be better than that. If you look at the class, they’ve stayed together the whole time.”
Hoke said it was unique because “this truly has been a very close class, from the parents to socially, for about 8-9 months.”
He said negative recruiting was not much different than in previous seasons. And social media plays a role.
“No question, it’s changed and will continue to change,” Hoke said. “Harder? It’s easier, in some ways, in getting film in networks and Hudl (video software) and those things. You get a little more access — helps you in some evaluations. At the same time, it’s harder on the kids. Sometimes kids ask for it a little bit. They like to tweet and those things. There’s some adults (prodding) who are faceless and nameless.”
Gibbons case: Hoke faced a few more questions about former kicker Brendan Gibbons’ reported dismissal from the university after a sexual-misconduct investigation. But he gave no more answers.
Asked when he knew about the investigation reported by the Michigan Daily, he referred to the statement he released Monday.
Asked whether sexual-assault investigations are public, he said he didn’t know. And questioned about whether the negative off-season was bothering him, he said he tried to block it out.
“I don’t really listen to outside people,” Hoke said. “The guys who are in Schembechler Hall, the guys who are in the offices, the guys who are in the meetings, the players, those are the ones that you listen to. Everybody’s got an opinion. Whether you were here or not, you’re going to write what you think. It doesn’t matter. My point is that stuff doesn’t matter. If you get worried about that, you’re going to do a poor job coaching a football team and making sure the young guys on that team learn how we’re going to do things.”
Contact Mark Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.