Peppers highlights Michigan's recruiting class
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)
It has been a couple of seasons since Brady Hoke appeared to be leading a Michigan resurgence, having taken the Wolverines to the Sugar Bowl in his first year as coach.
That honeymoon is over.
Michigan introduced a recruiting class of 16 players, a group ranked 27th in the nation by Scout.com as of Wednesday afternoon. Hoke's previous two classes were ranked in the top four by Scout.
''I would say size of class had something to do with it,'' Hoke said of the lower ranking. ''But I really don't think I care. I think of guys who have been pretty good football players here and at other schools that were three-stars and two-stars.''
Michigan went 7-6 last season, then fired offensive coordinator Al Borges and replaced him with Doug Nussmeier. The school has also been dealing with the fallout from a recent report that kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled for violating the school's sexual misconduct policies.
Michigan's recruiting class includes defensive back Jabrill Peppers of Paramus, N.J., who received a five-star ranking from Scout. The Wolverines signed players from nine different states, including four from Michigan.
''You know, 7-6 is not good enough. We know that, and we've got to become better,'' Hoke said. ''But if you look at the class, they've stayed together the whole time.''
Michigan struggled to overcome a porous offensive line last season, but quarterback Devin Gardner did show flashes of ability while under constant pressure. He'll be back next season, and so will Shane Morris, a freshman who became the first Michigan quarterback to make his starting debut in the postseason. The Wolverines lost to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Michigan has signed one quarterback - Wilton Speight of Richmond, Va. Wide receivers Freddy Canteen, Drake Harris and Maurice Ways are also part of this class.
The Wolverines have not signed a running back this year.
The pressure is now on Hoke to win more games next season. This will be his fourth year at the helm, and fans are growing restless again.
''I don't really listen to outside people,'' Hoke said. ''The guys who are in the offices, the guys who are in the meetings, I think the players - those are the ones that you listen to.''
National rankings (Rivals 31; Scout 27).
Best in class: Jabrill Peppers, DB, Paramus, N.J.
Best of the rest: Drake Harris, WR, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Late addition: Jared Wangler, LB, Warren, Mich.
One that got away: Damon Webb, DB, Detroit.
NOTE: Wangler's father, John, was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1977-80.