Sounds a lot like MSU's recruiting classes the last 10 years before Dantonio. I guess the best explanation is Ferentz knows what types of players he wants on his team and he finds them. Iowa has that tough in ur face defense and pound the rock. Not the best recruits but Ferentz gets the tough kids, probably most from Iowa (that isn't really a football hot bed) that will smash you in the mouth
And how do they win with this?
I pulled this commentary on Iowa’s incoming class off of BHGP (public, non-paid) from one of their posters who then got positive feedback on this assessment:
“Seems as though the Hawks picked up a few recruits this weekend, the good folks at Rivals now have them at 17 verbals for this offseason. So far we have the two 4 stars from Iowa in Wegher and Keenan Davis, 4-3 stars and the rest 2. It seems as though most people were wondering how this class was going to turn out, and it looks as though it is rounding into shape nicely. They may not all be the top notch recruits, but they all seem like solid (if not spectacular) players. As we all know, recruiting and rankings are a complete crapshoot, but I think this class has a not of promise. In particular,this wide receiver if he turns out to be the player he looks as though he can be, combined with any of DJ-K, Trey Stross or Keenan Davis, this offense could be quite efficient next year.”
I am not a massive Ferentz guy, but how in the world do you win with a team made of this? He got 9-4 with a NYD bowl win (granted a favorable bowl match up and I am less enamored with NYD bowls considering so many big days scheduled later) and top 25 finish using this type of talent. This has to be somewhere in 50s or 60s for a rivals class ranking. This would be absolute armageddon at Michigan, people would be jumping out of windows, mob with torches would roam the streets looking for the coaching staff and children would cry at the mention of RRs name. I don’t see how this makes a mid-upper level (you know what I mean) Big Ten team. Maybe that is why he is mentioned in the pros. I hope we are able to now develop our talent in this type of manner.
But didn't John L. Smith had more success recruiting than Dantonio? At least for a few years.
Ferentz seems like a great motivator who can "coach them up" with the best of them. He has a system that works, that doesn't require top-notch talent, and seems to be able to keep the in-state/local talent for the most part.
Note, though, that since the 10-2 season of 2004 (the end of a string of 10-win seasons), he went 7-5, 6-7, and 6-6 before last season's 9-4 campaign (and that success was largely due to a relative unknown - Greene - turning into Doak Walker). So his struggles, given the drop in the quality of recruiting classes the past few years, isn't completely unexpected. Plus, until the past 2 seasons Ferentz had pulled in some top-25 classes (especially 2005, which was a legitimate coup on paper), so the cupboards have not been bare.
All that said, I agree that UM would have had a conniption if RR pulled in these teams AND lost with them.
Ferentz actually attempted to change his recruiting strategy a couple of years ago and started targeting some more athletic and dynamic talent, a lot of it coming from Detroit. It blew up in his face when the majority of them got into trouble and kicked off the team. The coincided with the little dip in the on-field results as well. They were counting on these players and were royally screwed when they had to scramble for replacements. It looks like Ferentz has gone back to his old recruiting method of unearthing diamonds and not taking risks on character guys.
Are you telling me that if we hired Kirk Ferentz it wouldn't have been the end of Michigan football?
However, he seems to get a lot out of the talent. It would have been a poor fit for what we needed.