Just looking at the prospects coming out of Detroit PSL schools, it's hard to believe how many elite players in Michigan's own back yard have spurned the maize and blue for "greener" pastures. What's more disheartening, though, is that most of those prospects play at positions of need. This year alone, William Gholston (5-star DE, Southeastern HS) and Mylan Hicks (4-star CB, Renaissance HS) committed to MSU; last year, it was Chris Norman (4-star SLB, Renaissance HS); and two years ago, it was Fred Smith (4-star WR, Southeastern HS).
In 2011, Lawrence Thomas (4 to 5-star MLB, Renaissance HS) projects to be one of the top players in the state, not to mention in the country. But Thomas goes to a school that hasn't sent a player to Michigan since Carson Butler and Andre Criswell committed way back in 2005, and neither of those two were highly sought-after recruits like Gholston, Hicks, Norman, and Smith. There is obviously some rift between the coaches at Southeastern and Renaissance and the football program at Michigan; I've seen rumblings about it on this board in the past. The situation has been likened to the relationship Michigan has with Glenville HS in Ohio, though I've seen fewer details about the history of the bad blood between Michigan and the in-state schools.
The point here is that Michigan's fate is closely tied to its ability to get Detroit's best players on board. Michigan simply can't afford to be losing the state's best recruits to MSU and expect to be a perennial BCS contender, and it's a hell of a lot easier to convince a big-time prospect like Gholston or Norman to come to your school when he lives an hour away, than it is to snake oil a top recruit from Texas, Florida, or California. With RR just beginning to recruit his fourth (third-and-a-half) class at Michigan the obvious questions are what is being done to repair the damaged relationship between Michigan and Southeastern/Renaissance, and does Michigan have any chance at landing Thomas next year or any top recruit from those schools in the near future?