ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Chris Partridge wasn't named Scout's National Recruiter of the Year in 2016 for no good reason.
He, alongside the other coaches on the Michigan staff, singlehandedly changed the way the U-M brand is perceived in recruiting nationally and not just in the Midwest. With recruits from New Jersey, Florida and even as far west as California. The focus was really extending the borders for U-M recruiting in the 2016 cycle.
And, of course, Partridge had a plan.
"We obviously had the vision to really, not only go into the places, but we felt that if we can pockets of kids from areas in the country rather than just pluck one kid from all over, get pockets so they felt comfortable," Partridge said on WTKA's signing day special. "Pick the areas of the country where we really wanted to go into and get three, four, five guys out so its easier. Easier on the kids, easier on the parents, there's more of a brand name once you start recruiting kids from certain areas.
"We picked our areas and, shoot, we hit home runs in those areas so I guess that's a good thing!"
Hitting home runs they did which culminated in getting the number one recruit in the nation Rashan Gary to become a Wolverine on signing day. All in a days work for someone who has spent just a year on campus working for the Wolverines.
So, what exactly went into the decision to go national in year one? There wasn't any type of scientific equation or magic formula that went into the decision. In fact, all it took was a little digging into the historical data of previous recruiting and seeing where students from across the county were applying to U-M.
From there, you hit the ground running.
"There were some studies that were behind that," Partridge said. "It wasn't just a choice by coming in on a whim, we looked at every All-American that had come to Michigan. We looked at recruiting patterns from what the school has done five years, 10 years, 20 years ago. We also looked at our own admissions at Michigan to find out which students are applying to school. We felt our school is a national school, All-Americans had come from different areas. So why not go all out and go national? It's a risk going in there year one and recruiting nationally like that. We felt strongly about it, felt strongly about the way the school recruiting and the way Michigan had recruited 20 years ago and went at it."