This is more a message to our fan base than Rich Rodriguez, because I think Rodriguez gets that Michigan high schools, while not rich with talent, can provide needed talent to help him win.
From behind a paywall, Michigan kids like Cam and Thomas Gordon, Rocko Khoury, Teric Jones, and of course Will Campbell are drawing praise from an "insider" who sees a lot of practices. Right now, Teric Jones, who was moved from offense to defensive back, is responding well and asserting himself as a talent that will warrant playing time. Khoury is pushing those in front of him. Cameron Gordon, who many believed would end up at linebacker, has been very impressive as a receiver; a big guy with good hands who is not afraid to go over the middle for a catch, and he will undoubtedly be a good blocker as well.
For those of us who believe in recruiting Michigan, this comes as no surprise. What Michigan kids may lack in development due to the constraints of the MHSAA, weather, coaching and facilities, they make up with in ahleticism, talent, love of the game, and desire. You can't say enough for kids who have dreamt of playing for one of the big in-state schools, and if given a fair shot, as they are, they do not back down to their much more heralded colleagues from football havens like Ohio, Florida, and Texas.
I am encouraged by the reports coming in regarding Michigan kids and look forward to seeing how they perform on the field. I also hope that Rodriguez works to downplay, and even wipe out this silly perception that seems to be going around Michigan that the Wolveerines are not necessarily a welcome wagon for home-grown talent. Especially in his first few formative years, when as we saw with DaQuinta Jones and Pearlie Graves, out of state kids in general and southern kids in particular can be awfully wishy-washy about their committment to play for Michigan.
Much of the 2010 class is made up of midwest recruits, and UM has landed three top players from the home state already. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops in the future.
I know there has been a wave of folks who say things like "A three star from Florida is better than a four or five star from Michigan" or "I don't care where the players come from"--but again, getting kids from your own back yard, solidifying your home base, is a foundation that I believe UM needs and can benefit from. These kids won't get homesick, are used to the weather, can be spiritual and emotional leaders, won't wilt under Barwis, and will more likely stick out their first couple years when playing time is not exactly easy to come by.
I'd like to know the thoughts any MGoBloggers have with regard to this topic!