TomVH: Visit Reactions: Joe Bolden and Ben Braden

Submitted by TomVH on March 25th, 2011 at 2:12 AM

There are a ton of visitors this weekend so there will probably be a matching amount of info. Since OL Ben Braden and LB Joe Bolden were the two visitors on Thursday I'm going to do a mini update on them here. Here's a look at how their trips went.

Joe BoldenJoe Bolden

6'2", 225 lbs


Cincinnati, Ohio

Bolden has a decent offer list so far with the likes of Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford, and Tennessee to name a few. He took in Ann Arbor for the first time with his dad, uncle, and cousin.

We got there around noonish and we met with Coach Smith, Coach Mattison, and Coach Hoke. Coach Mattison told me more than likely I'd be playing the MIKE linebacker spot. It's definitely a privelage to sit down with him and watch film. Coach Hoke basically stated the goals as a football coach, as a team, and as an individual. We just talked casually for awhile.

As usual the coaches were down to earth and the Big House was shockingly big.

The coaches were really easy to talk to, I feel like I get along with them really well. My dad is my AD and my uncle is my coach and they knew the coaches from when they were at Ball State. They really like those coaches, and they've known each other for awhile. We all got to go to the Big House too, and that sent chills down my back thinking about the history that's been in that stadium.

This visit was a positive for Michigan, but Bolden isn't making his decision any time soon.

I was definitely impressed by this visit. Michigan is definitely up there on the list overall. I haven't narrowed anything down yet, I just know that Michigan is up there. 

Bolden may visit North Carolina this weekend, and plans on trying to make it back up to Michigan sometime soon.

Ben BradenBen Braden

6'6", 285 lbs

Offensive Line

Rockford, Michigan

As you probably know Braden committed on his visit Thursday. He and his coach had planned this visit for awhile and Ben decided that he was comfortable enough to make his decision. I spoke with his head coach, Ralph Munger, about the visit.

He and his father made a trip to Wisconsin, the family made a trip to MSU, and also Michigan. He's been traveled and checked out a lot of places. Ben shared with me and his parents that he appreciated all the time with the coaches, but he just feels real comfortable with Michigan. He was going to go to MSU also, but in the last couple weeks he was just really excited about Michigan. After today I could see why, he really feels comfortable there. He connected, he looked at the educational opportunities, the football opportunities, and he felt that was the place he could call home.

From a coaching perspective, it's important that a high school coach is comfortable sending his players to that respective school they choose. Luckily for Michigan, Coach Munger has a long time relationship with Brady Hoke.

I've known Brady for a lot of years, he's been very good to me. I've learned a lot from Brady. I've known him on a very personal level and what you see is what you get with Brady. All the years that I've known him and he's still the same guy that he was ten years ago. He's definitely a player's coach, a coach's coach. I can't say enough good things about Brady. He has a certain magnetism with attracting good people. He's very demanding of his players, yet his players are always willing to give everything they've got. He assured me all the coaches will treat the players like sons, and there's a lot of teaching going on there. The line coach that Ben will be working with, he's a family guy, and a very good teacher too. 

The recruiting process is very much about relationships and it seems like all the past work that Brady Hoke has put in will soon start to pay off for him.



March 25th, 2011 at 5:18 AM ^

...may be his sincerity (in contrast to his surname). The description of the interactions between recruits and HS coaches and Hoke is pretty remarkably consistent and dare I say... telling.


March 25th, 2011 at 8:47 AM ^

This is going to be a good weekend.  Braden's a solid player, and I like Bolden, too.  I don't know how many linebackers we really need in this class, though.  With Ross and Jenkins-Stone high on the list, there's not a whole lot of need for others.  But those two aren't locks for Michigan, so we might as well recruit all the good linebackers we can for now.


March 25th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

I don't know with specific regard to Bolden.  However, maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I think the vast majority of Ohio kids will choose OSU over U-M if given the opportunity.  Especially if that offer comes somewhat early (unlike the Patrick Omameh offer from OSU).


March 25th, 2011 at 9:30 AM ^

I like to think I am being unbias, but maybe I am not, I have never heard such great personal comments about a coach on any of the recruiting sites. i feel like when recruits left RR's michigan or even leave Alabama after a visit they talk about how much they knew about football and how they liked the system. (Does anyone agree with that?) Its great to here the kids and parents buying into what Brady is selling. I understand why completely considering the hardest sell Brady had was uniting the fanbase and within days after his opening presser we we all had the same beaming comments these kids do.


March 26th, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

I wasn't a huge Rodriguez supporter but I do think that he had an enormous amount of charisma .  Carr, with his old school, straight talking ways clicked with certain kids and their parents.  Hoke, though, seems to have Rodriguez-like charm combined with Carr's old school, love of the university.  I have the impression that he's going to leverage the tradition and history of the program (unlike Rodriguez) along with an energy and charisma (unlike Carr) in ways we haven't seen in many years.  Of course he's got a short window of opportunity before his actual record in Ann Arbor also becomes a factor.


March 27th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

I agree with everything you said.  However, I have no worries about there only being a short window of opportunity for two reasons.  First, if Hoke doesn't succeed on the field, he won't be around a long time anyway, so I assume if Hoke is here long-term, it'b because he's successful and therefore will only ADD to the recruiting positives you stated.  Second, everything I hear about Mattison is that he may be an even better recruiter than coach and that's saying something.  Seems the Hoke/Mattison team is extremely impressive.  What I don't know is what kind of recruiter Borgess is.  Anyone have any real info on him? 

Six Zero

March 25th, 2011 at 10:01 AM ^

When Rich was here, it seemed recruiting was all about luring in the most insane offensive talent with Rich's track record, the spread system, and 1,017 references of Pat White on any given day.  And then he'd use the remaining 17 minutes of weekly time to call a few defensive recruits here and there, usually someone whose name seemed to register with the word "hybrid."

Fast forward to 2011, and it just feels like we're a defense factory just opening its doors for business.  Between Brady's deep history with the defensive line, his understanding of the school's 'defense wins championships' philosophy that goes all the way back to Bo, and just the small matter of Mattison, his impeccable resume, and names like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed........... it just seems that we're going to start reeling in some of the finest defensive talent in the country.

I guess my real concern is that Hoke remembers both sides of the ball, and doesn't let the offensive recruiting dwindle in the months ahead.  We have the potential to become an extremely balanced program when the stars align for a few moments in 2013 and the outgoing Rich offense is paired with a Mattison defense, but moving forward the scales could easily tip out of balance the other way.


March 25th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

I agree.  It seems that beyond Steve Slaton and Pat White, there wasn't a whole lot of name recognition and name-dropping for Rodriguez recruits.  But with Mattison on board, there are a couple main guys (Reed, Lewis, Suggs), but there's also just the aura of the Ravens' defense, not to mention Michigan players of old.  These guys have a little more recruiting cachet.


March 25th, 2011 at 11:01 AM ^

It's great that we're hearing complimentary things about the relationships that are growing between this coaching staff, high school coaches, and players. There seems to be an innate level of trust.

My own feeling is that it's not necessary to compare regimes, every one will have its own recruiting style; it's simply good that this one is getting lots of positives.


March 25th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

has an extremely solid program and is a consistent winner on a number of levels. To read his comments re: Brady Hoke makes feel really good about where we're headed


March 26th, 2011 at 10:32 PM ^


(my original post below makes no sense given it's not following the post I meant it to - sorry)

We might do better than expected in Ohio this year as the Tressel Express trainwreck continues to gather steam as it heads toward the cliff.  (note: a certain retired Florida coach better STAY retired)