Hitting the Links: Don't Cry for Michigan

Common look from 2013 - Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Hoke & the Wolverines are in the middle of some interesting times.

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Today's HtL commentary comes from CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli who wrote a brief article on Michigan football for his Eye on College Football series.

Is there a loss of hope for the football team in Ann Arbor? Fornelli writes...

Still, it was surprising to see so few threads about football on Michigan message boards at the moment because this still is Michigan football we're talking about. Maybe Al Borges being fired caused everybody to put the pitchforks away?

That Michigan offense has been the country's biggest enigma. So what are Wolverine fans talking about lately besides the basketball team? Recruiting and Malik McDowell of course, but even there the picture is bleak.

McDowell, who is ranked as the third-best defensive linemen in the 2014 class and the best player in the state of Michigan is planning to visit LSU or Ohio State this weekend. McDowell unofficially visited Michigan in September, but hasn't been back since. Meanwhile he visited both Florida State and Michigan State in the last few weeks. The good news, however, is that McDowell is expected to have an in-home with Brady Hoke this week.

Fornelli continues on Michigan's recruiting:

But overall there's just a lack of buzz. It's not that Michigan's 2014 class is bad or anything. The truth is it's pretty good, as it is ranked as the No. 15 class in the country, and No. 2 in the Big Ten. It's just that ever since Jabrill Peppers -- the top-rated athlete in the 2014 class -- committed in May things haven't been all that exciting. A McDowell commitment would change all of that.

Personally I hate the 'lack of buzz' complaint, especially in the off-season. Used in this instance with Michigan it seems to suggest that something isn't right and no one can figure out what it is. Your football team went 7-6 you're not supposed to have any buzz around your program after a season like that.

The note-worthy news would be if Michigan did have a buzz around the program despite their horrendous 2013.

Their recruiting class is solid but will take a hit due to a lack of numbers. They're only sitting at 16 commits and I don't believe they have room for much more. Although they will benefit from 7 players who enrolled early there's a very good chance their class falls out of the Top 20 after National Signing Day. Stanford, UCLA, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Oregon are all right behind them and posed to pick up some prized recruits.

It looks like it'll be a humbling off-season for the ManBall Express and September 6th looms large. Oh, and they will also be dealing with a potentially explosive situation surrounding kicker Brandon Gibbons who was expelled by the University back in December. Not a lot of smiles these days in Ann Arbor.

NATIONAL LINKS

A decommit from Texas who then joined A&M might have had some repercussions for Notre Dame, but Kelly & Cooks got Kolin Hill to stay with the Irish.

Lots of QB carousel going on in Tuscaloosa. First, prized 2015 recruit Ricky Town decommitted from Alabama and gave a verbal to Southern California. The Tide rebounded by picking up Jacob Coker a transfer from Florida State.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Penn State.

We reported on Saturday that the Georgia Tech game at Tulane for 2014 was cancelled, but now it's back on!

Here's a good article on Jameis Winston.

Andy Staples released his always entertaining All-Name Team for recruiting.

Some college athletes are trying to organize a union. Good luck with that one. Here's more on that topic from SB Nation back in October.

USF might be rolling with some new helmets next year as assistant Stu Holt dropped this on Twitter.

Ohio State players received commemorative game balls for the school's 24-game winning streak. The balls conveniently left out the post-season losses from 2013, of course.

247 Sports has the top 5 impact early enrollees for this upcoming fall.

The College Football Playoff has a tee-shirt on sale for $18.95 so let me know if you need my address to send me one.

IRISH LINKS

CBS: Snapshot of Notre Dame's 2014 recruiting class

NBC: Notre Dame experience continuing to grow

B/R: How do the Irish replace Zack Martin?

UHND: Ranking Notre Dame's projected 2014 defensive starters

BGI: Notre Dame and quarterback coaches

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