Big Ten Recruiting: Michigan

The Wolverines, as usual, had another very strong recruiting class in 2004, and they will be looking for some quick contributions from some of the more talented signees.

The Big Ten used to be known as the Big Two and the Little Eight. Michigan and Ohio State always used to dominate on the field and in the recruiting wars.

Michigan and Ohio State are still great teams on the field, but they have had to share Big Ten success with Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Purdue and others on occasion.

However, in the recruiting wars, Michigan and Ohio State still dominate.

The Wolverines had a very successful year — according to the rating services top five — and head coach Lloyd Carr agrees. He has added key players like QB Chad Henne and RB Max Martin who should be able to carry on in the tradition of John Navarre and Chris Perry.

However, they lost out on star WR Cameron Colvin, who chose Oregon over Michigan at the last moment. Michigan also missed out on LB Eugene Germany, who chose USC over the Wolverines in the late going.

Carr likes the speed and explosiveness that Martin brings to the table, and he also likes quick running back Mike Hart. Martin appears to be the every-down type of back that Michigan always wants, but Hart can change gears and make big plays.

Michigan has a history of playing true freshmen at tailback ... so, Martin and Hart could both see action in the fall.

"This is a heck of a kid," Carr said of Hart to the Detroit Free Press. "He has great confidence. He is going to be a fun guy to watch."

Henne, however, is the key to the recruiting class. Carr will not expect Henne to start early in his career since Matt Guttierez and Clayton Richard are already on board, but Henne has the ability to become a star in the future.

Michigan has had another powerful recruiting class and Carr should have all the weapons to keep this team successful until late in the decade.

QB Chad Henne, West Lawn, Pa. — Henne has good size and arm strength — he's 6-3 and 210 pounds — and he is very smart on the field. Henne's combination of arm strength, athleticism and maturity made him one of the nation's hottest quarterback prospects.

LB Chris Graham, Indianapolis — He is on the small side, but that doesn't Lloyd Carr a bit. Graham checks in at 5-11 and 210 pounds, and he may remind fans of former Michigan LBs Ian Gold and Dhani Jones. "I'll guarantee you: Chris Graham is a heck of a football player," Carr said. "Ian Gold was 200 pounds. Dhani Jones was 205. They're both doing pretty well in the NFL today."

WR Adrian Arrington, Cedar Rapids, Wash. — A big-time receiver who could be a key player for many years. Arrington has tremendous size and leaping ability at 6-4 and 180 pounds. Look for Arrington to become an upper-echelon receiver within a year or two.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The marathon is over." — Head coach Lloyd Carr, upon announcing his class on national signing day.

GLANCE AT 2004: The two best players on offense — QB John Navarre and RB Chris Perry — both move on to the next level. Matt Gutierrez appears to have the inside track at the QB position and he could be a special player. The Wolverine offensive line will be led by LT Adman Stenavich and the defense looks quick and athletic. However, the Wolverines will have to rebuild on the defensive line as Larry Stevens and Grant Bowman both move on.

PRO POTENTIAL: QB John Navarre — After a wonderful career at Michigan, there are still questions about Navarre's ability to play at the next level. He has the size and strength at 6-6 and 230 pounds, but is he an accurate enough passer?

INJURY IMPACT: Offensive linemen Andy Christopfel and Jeff Gaston will not return to school for their fifth years. ... WR Jason Avant should be at full strength for spring practice after being slowed by a knee injury late last season.

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