Genuinely Sarcastic (see the side bar blog links) is doing a multiple part series on the in state recruiting war between Michigan and Sparty. What's interesting, to this reader anyway, is that anyone actually believes a true recruiting war exists in the first place. I have always been a Michigan fan. And if Michigan wanted a guy, they got him. Based on the fact that the school was just better, period. And if they didn't get some quality recruit, it wasn't because they didn't try. It was probably because they saw something that made them think that he wouldn't be a good Michigan Man.
I follow recruiting, but at the same time, you don't know what you're getting until you see the product on the field, regardless of how highly regarded or how many stars are slapped next to their name in some magazine or on some website. Yes, I know that the schools that recruit and land the best talent are often in the top 10 in the final rankings. Save me the education.
Finally, in Part III, he gets to a point that I believe makes all the difference in recruiting:
There are some kids that are playing for universities out there that simply took what they thought was "The Best Deal" they could get, whatever that means. If they're looking to make it to the pros and this school needed their position this particular year, well, that's where they're going, whether or not they believed in the school, the coach, the system, whatever. Then there are guys that somewhere, early in their childhood, decided that there was only one place they would play. And they never lost sight of that goal.
When I was a student manager you saw it all the time. Guys that wouldn't give up in practice or "touch out" when Bo would be pushing the offense on the 35th straight snap of the same stupid play that they would "run till you get it right!" And the guys who hung tough, puked up lunch, refused to come out, were the ones everyone else looked at and wondered what was keeping them up...What was making them do this snap after snap?
Jamie Morris was a perfect example of Heart in action. If there was a guy that ever wanted to be a Michigan Man more than Morrise with every fiber of being in his body, I don't know who it is. Jamie would punish himself. Jamie's favorite end of practice drill? 3 on 1. Two linebackers and a safety. The field was 10 yards wide and 10 yards long. Get past them, go for 10 yards and score. Jamie thrived on that drill. I watched as time and time again he'd get stood up, smacked and tackled about 4 yards into it. There were multiple practices where he never scored. But then he would make that move - that one little stutter step and juke that split the linebackers clean. And the safety, well, let's just say that Jamie one on one was more than a lot of guys could handle. Low to the ground and once he had a head of steam....Score!
But it was a silly drill. Against your own guys. And I used to stand there, rooting those running backs on, hoping somehow they beat the triple team. I don't know why. I just got into it.
It was Heart. Pushing beyond what makes sense. Finding a way when the odds are impossibly stacked against you.
Find a way to measure that and give me a team of middle talent and I'll go up against your 5 star recruits every time. Will I always win? Nope. But I know I will have given it 110% and not question the results.