Michigan recruiting ‘all the way up until signing day’ … both of them


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan assistant coach Chris Partridge has earned national recognition for his recruiting abilities the last two years after helping secure a pair of consensus Top-10 classes. The Wolverines’ linebackers coach and special teams coordinator was named National Recruiter of the Year by Scout in 2016 and by 247Sports this year.

Suffice to say, Partridge has good credentials when it comes to the recruiting game.

And when it comes to the habits of prospects with the recent changes to the recruiting calendar — including the addition of a 72-hour signing period in December — he doesn’t see much change at all so far.

“It seems the same to me,” Partridge said Wednesday during a media availability session at Schembechler Hall. “We haven’t really looked into that December signing day that much. Until we get into the September area, then we’ll look into it more. I think it’s the same. I think there’s the kids that want to go early, and commit early and sign early. And I think there’s the kids that want to drag it on and go late and do it on signing day.

“I think that will stay the same.”

The NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners Association voted in May to augment the recruiting calendar, allowing for prospects to sign from December 20-22 if they wish. Others can wait until the traditional signing period that runs from the first Wednesday of February through April.

Most elite prospects are expected to take advantage of the December date. Opinions of the earlier period have been mostly positive, although there are some potential negative effects, as well. The most obvious issue: What happens should a recruit sign in December and then that coach is either fired or takes another job?

Michigan has signed 54 players in the last two recruiting classes, including 30 in the Class of 2017 that was ranked No. 4 in the country by the 247Sports composite ratings system. That class lost one player when defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher had to give up football because of injury, but 53 players in two years is still a lot of players.

Based on how the scholarships are spread out on Michigan’s roster, there is room for the Wolverines to add up to 21 scholarships in the 2018 class.

The Class of 2018 currently has 13 players who have announced their commitment to Michigan. The latest came from cornerback Sammy Faustin, a 3-star prospect from Naples, Fla. The top-rated player in the class is 4-star offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor from Indianapolis.

Four players from the Class of 2019 have already committed to Michigan, as well. Christopher Hinton of Atlanta and Stephen Herron Jr. of Louisville are 5-star defensive ends. Offensive lineman Nolan Rumler of Akron and linebacker Charles Thomas of Atlanta, who plays at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., are both considered 4-star prospects.

The group has already formed a tight bond.

No matter when a player decides to sign or how the recruiting calendar shifts, Michigan isn’t going to change its recruiting philosophy, Partridge said.

“We’ll recruit all the way up until signing day. It’ll never be set,” Partridge said. “I think you reach out to both classes all the way through. A commitment doesn’t mean we don’t continue recruiting the guys. You’ve got to continue to form relationships, build relationships and coach the kids. Help them as they go through their senior and junior year, whatever it might be.

“It doesn’t get set. You keep rolling through it.”

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