Brady Hoke's first two seasons in Ann Arbor were quite the success. While there haven't been any Big Ten titles the Wolverines did win 18 games in 2011 and 2012, which is three more wins than Michigan had in three years under Rich Rodriguez. On top of that there was a BCS bowl victory in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech.
However, even though Michigan has been successful under Hoke, that doesn't mean Michigan has looked quite how Hoke would want it.
Hoke inherited a roster that wasn't truly suited to the kind of offense he wanted to run, particularly quarterback Denard Robinson. Robinson was the kind of talent a coach adapts to, not the kind a coach tries to change, and Hoke had good results doing so. However, with Robinson graduating this spring, there will be big changes in Ann Arbor, and they're evident in Michigan's 2013 recruiting class.
While Michigan's class certainly has defensive talent, it's looking at the haul on offense that truly indicates where Michigan is going. The headliners of the class are quarterback Shane Morris, who is very much a pocket quarterback more likely to dazzle you with his arm rather than his legs, and running back Derrick Green. Green, along with fellow back DeVeon Smith are the kind of backs you can give the ball to 20 times a game behind a big offensive line and call it a day.
And Hoke went out and got that big offensive line in this class as well. They may not be the stars of Michigan's 2013 class, but they're the players that will make those stars household names before they leave college.
There are six offensive linemen and even a long-snapper in Michigan's class. Five of those linemen -- tackle Logan Tulley-Tillman, center Patrick Kugler and guards Kyle Bosch, David Dawson and Chris Fox -- are ranked in the top 10 at their position by 247Sports.com. Each of them measure in between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-7, weighing between 270 and 305 pounds already. They're monsters who will be engulfing defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers while opening holes for seasons to come.
"I think the needs that we had focused on, we met," said Hoke on Wednesday. "It was very important for us to establish guys who can play at the line of scrimmage the way we want to play Michigan football. We took four offensive linemen a year ago, and we redshirted all four of those guys. We took six this year and two of them are in school now. For the style of football that we need to play, I think that was important."
Now, this isn't to say that Michigan hasn't had its fair share of offensive linemen in recent seasons under either Rich Rodriguez or Lloyd Carr. It's had plenty, but what Hoke and many coaches know is that you can run any scheme as long as you have a good offensive line. The difference is knowing that and being able to go out and get it.
Which is exactly what Hoke has done.
It's because of this that the transition from a spread offense to Hoke's pro-style offense is going to be much, much smoother. Oh, and more successful too.
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