Funk vs Hecklinski/Borges

Submitted by ypsituckyboy on March 2nd, 2012 at 4:17 PM

A general question for the board: How is Funk able to recruit at such a high level for the offense in both 2011 and 2012 while Hecklinski/Borges seem to be struggling? I would think that, given the high level of OL talent we've reeled in, skill position players would be flocking to get on board. That doesn't seem to be happening. Why?

Granted, there are obvious caveats (such as the fact that the 2012 cycle is still very early). Still, I'm curious as to the reason for the discrepancy. Thoughts?




March 2nd, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

First of all, coaches recruit a geographic territory, not necessarily just the guys at their position.

Second, there are five starting spots on the OL compared to three at WR, and one QB.  Given that we've filled our one QB spot with a 5-star kid, how can you say our QB recruiting is struggling, by any standard?

Third, it's WAY too early to draw any conclusions.  A year ago at this time we had zero 2012 commitments and people worried if Hoke could recruit at all.

Blue boy johnson

March 2nd, 2012 at 4:51 PM ^

Your concerns regarding the recruiting reminds me of concerns of Beilein's recruiting in his first few classes. Beilein had close misses on guys like Prather, Ziegler, Amir Williams, and a couple others that slip my mind, and people concluded erroneously Beilein couldn't recruit. Your supposition is even weaker. Michigan has already brought in highly rated QB, TE's and WR's, a highly rated RB is a mere question of time.


March 2nd, 2012 at 8:26 PM ^

Last year we brought in a 4 star RB plus one of the nations top fullbacks (who never get star love), a four star WR plus another high three star WR, and two TEs who were four stars by at least one service.  Plus Drake Johnson, who we all know is fast and put up crazy HS stats running the ball.

I know that's not 5 stars all around like we'd prefer, but that's a solid haul.  This year, we have a top 100 TE, a 4 star mega back in Shallman, plus guys like Hill and Dukes who were early offers so you know the coaches like them. 

Also - not everyone is going to commit at once.  Every year one position group fills up first and one fills up last.  But when they get to campus it doesn't really matter when they committed. 

Maize and Blue…

March 2nd, 2012 at 8:46 PM ^

We didn't bring in a true FB last year. Houma played in a fullhouse and was never a lead blocker not to mention he is smaller than the tailbacks we are currently recruiting.  I have nothing against the kid, but I just don't see him playing.

If AJ Williams was ranked as a four star by a service it was at OT not TE.  As for WRs the concern has to be speed as we just don't have it on the outside.  A team full of possession WRs allows the D to crowd the line because they don't fear the deep ball.


March 2nd, 2012 at 8:59 PM ^

Rivals lists Houma as the #5 FB nationally, 247 has him 6th.  The coaches say he's a fullback, so do the services, it's fine if you disagree but those who know think he's good. 

As for the wide receivers - both Darboh and Chesson are fast.  Chesson is a nationally ranked track star, as a junior, and most of the scouting reports on Darboh mention his speed. 

I'm not saying all of these guys are NFL bound, but saying we didn't bring in good skill position guys last year doesn't give these kids enough credit.  Even if you call AJ Williams a 3 star, we brought in at least one 4 star at TE, WR and RB, plus other high 3-star types in addition.  Most any school would love that haul.


March 2nd, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

The reason Funk has been so successful is because the message the coaching staff is sending best reflects the personalities of OL recruits. The ideals of toughness, disipline, technique, responsibility, brotherhood, etc. are what make exceptional lineman. This doesn't always resonnate well with glamour positions.

Plus, he's just a hell of a recruiter.


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:25 PM ^

If recruiting ended today you could say that Borges/Hecklinski have struggled, but there's 10 months left.  And we're in on as many top prospects as any other team in the nation.  While it is nice that Funk wrapped up his O-line class, the stars alligning certainly helped him.  When/if we get kids like Isaac and Treadwell, I'm sure you'll reconsider your stance


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:27 PM ^

but I think the coaches have "territories" that they recruit - they don't each just recruit the positions they coach. 

I'm sure the WR coach would get involved in a WR that is interested, but Mattison could be the lead recruiter for that player's region of the country, for instance.

That said, yes, all skill position players should be lining up to play with Shane and this OL. The fact they aren't is mildly concerning to me, but it's early, and you have to think we'll be getting our fair share of 4 and 5* WR / RB's. 

One reason they may be behind... We only need a few skill position players. We need a bunch of players combined at all the other positions, so that may be where the focus lies. Also, knowing skill position players may be a bit more prone to stretching the process out (no i have no data to back this up), they may be focusing more on the "trenches" first. Just throwing some guesses out there. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

I think Funk would come out on top in a steel cage match vs. Borges and Hecklinski. The wild card being that Borges may or may not be related to George "The Animal" Steel. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:40 PM ^

This is just my guess...but the skill position players (RB, WR, QB) usually get a lot attention because they are the ones scoring touchdowns.  I wouldn't be surprised if the RB's and WR's we are after wait until National Signing day to just enjoy the process and attention.  I don't blame them i would do the same thing to. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:51 PM ^

There are simple answers to all the questions concerning recruiting QBs & RBs in the 2012 & 2013 classes-- Our needs, and thus our recruiting emphasis has been defense first and the OL line second.  That's why our numbers are higher in these areas for these 2 classes so far.  That's why the best playmaker athletes have been recruited as defensive players, not offensive ones (e.g., Dymonte).  Plus, every RB candidate knows we had a sophmore 1,000 rusher coming back in 2012 for 2 more years (potentially).  Plus, add the fact Shane committed so early,and thus other top QB candidates have been scared off.  Don't worry about Borges and Hecklinski-- let Coach D at MSU worry about them.


March 2nd, 2012 at 5:07 PM ^

It's pretty straight forward:  Jake Long isn't too far removed from the program, and Michigan just produced the 2011 season's Rimington Award winner.

Regardless of whether Jake Long was a product of the current staff, Offensive Line recruits and their parents see Michigan as great stepping stone to the NFL.  They hear and see that Brady Hoke was a Bo/Moeller/Lloyd disciple, and that locomotive recruited Jake Long, David Baas, etc.  

If you couple those factors with Funk's apparent recruiting prowess you have a formidable combination that suits 18 year old minds. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 5:10 PM ^

the Rich Rod recruits on offense panned out right? Come on lets give the old coach maybe more than one year and a half of a recruiting year to judge his talents. I mean we had a great class the first 2 Hoke has had, and this years is pretty stacked so far in March.


March 2nd, 2012 at 5:29 PM ^

Aside from focusing more on the lines and other defensive positions since somehow we had less depth than a  dwarf colony's kiddie pool at those positions, I bet a lot of elite WRs were hesitant in 2012, knowing that they would have one more year of Denard, then a first year quarterback at the helm.  RBs like Dunn were probably put off by the fact that Toussant emerged.  Now that Denard will be gone and Toussant will be a senior (or maybe off to the NFL) when the 2013 guys get to campus, I would be shocked if we didn't haul in a top 10 WR and top 10 RB, given the lines, QBs, and lack of stars at these positions going forward.  Moreover, once we start moving more towards an NFL style offense, the elite RBs and WRs whose main goal is to get to the NFL will be flocking here over all of the schools running the spread.


March 2nd, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

I don't think that's how recruiting works. The staff functions as a unit, and each coach is assigned a particular region or takes on certain tasks. A coach's task may not directly correspond to the position that he coaches. For example, it was Greg Mattison who helped recruit Tim Tebow to Florida, even though he's a defensive coordinator and Tebow is a QB. It was Hoke who recruited Tom Brady to Michigan even though Hoke was a DL coach and Brady was a QB. That's because Brady was from California and Carr had delegated West Coast recruiting to Hoke. 

It's true that Funk obviously played a huge role in snagging our nine OL recruits in the '13 class and '12 classes, but we don't know what the other coaches may have done behind the scenes to help with their recruitment. Borges in particular is not known to be a great face-to-face recruiter, but he's good at evaluating talent and zeroing in on which prospects to go after. 

So I don't think it's accurate to say that Funk is thriving on the recruiting trail but Borges and Hecklinski are struggling. Recruiting is a group effort of the entire staff, more so than coaching itself.


March 2nd, 2012 at 7:04 PM ^

Borges is a super morbidly obese mofo with a somewhat abrasive personality (at least from what I've seen in all his pressers). That combination probably isn't all that endearing to skill position recruits. At the highest level, an otherwise trivial issue that has a negative association could be the difference in a recruit's decision. But again it is still way too early to judge. If our offense hums out of the gates this year that will help. The sugar bowl was a terrible offensive display and denard will hopefully have some semblance of consistency this year to allow Borges demonstrate his true game planning skill.


March 2nd, 2012 at 7:54 PM ^

Super morbidly obese mofo? Dude. Come on. I love the man, but Hoke isn't Mr. Muscles either. He is however, by all accounts, a hell of a recruiter. He recruited most of Michigan's players from California back in the day. Those two things have nothing in common.

Recruiting is a group thing. Many of the players that committed said they spoke to both Funk and Borges regarding what the layout of their careers at UM would be. A lot of the recruits also said that what set Michigan apart from other schools was that, they were getting more than just one coach come to their homes/schools/games. They felt that they were really wanted because so many different coaches kept in contact. Furthermore, it could just be that they knew they had a need in that one particular group and that was the spot they were focusing on. Can't let your 5* qb recruit get injured on his first play.

I will agree that the offensive play calling the entire season was erratic. Denard and Borges seem to be having a square peg round hole-off with each other. I hope they can settle down for next season. He's lost a lot of the receivers that could catch his thows into double/triple coverage.

I think I'm the only person delusional enough to believe that we have any chance in hell to threaten Alabama.


March 2nd, 2012 at 8:28 PM ^

Being a little harsh. But I agree Hoke is not on the same level as Borges size-wize. I just saw Borges' interview on BTN and he seems much more affable than after games, which is understandable.

I also think we could surprise Bama, especially with it being the first game of the season. I'll be there will 15 of my fellow alumni brethren. First game in two years so the $225 will seem like nothing if we win!!


March 3rd, 2012 at 6:09 PM ^

I wasn't comparing their relative sizes. I just said they could recruit and their looks had nothing to do with it.


Have fun at that game, I wish I could have afforded it. Don't be intimidated by 'bama fans, I hear they're a pretty intense and crude crowd.


March 2nd, 2012 at 7:54 PM ^

They don't only recruit their positions, and even if they did, wouldn't Borges get credit for the OL? Borges isn't really as active a recruiter as the others, I don't think he goes out to visit kids as much as Funk does. It's ridiculous to compare them since they do different things. Not to mention, they all pretty much recruit the same kids, it's a group effort.

Ron Utah

March 3rd, 2012 at 12:55 AM ^

It's probably a good sign that someone thinks we are "struggling" to recruit positions because they aren't locked-up 11 months before signing day.

But seriously, does anyone really think this class will be full before April?  5* players have offers from EVERYONE, and have tough decisions to make for themselves and their families.  Isaac and Treadwell are two of the best prospects in the universe, and have a lot to think about.

Realistically, even for the programs that have the best records and trophies in the country, you're only going to snag 5* guys this early if they have a passion for your school.

I hope no one expects the staff to do this well this early in future's just not likely that we'll have this much success so quickly very often, no matter how good the recruiting is.  Some of these kids haven't even visited yet.