Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/5/12

The Michigan Football team is fresh off a stirring Sugar Bowl championship that was fueled by defense and a strong kicking game. The previously much maligned Brendan Gibbons was money on field goals of 24, 39, and 37 yards, that latter of which was the game-winner in OT. Brady Hoke became the eighth head coach to lead his team to a BCS bowl game in his first season at the helm and just the third to claim a victory in the contest.

Jake Ryan

The future is bright in Ann Arbor. The Sugar Bowl defense prominently featured 4 freshmen eligible players; Jake Ryan (7 tackles, 4 TFLs), Frank Clark (1 tackle and 1 huge interception), Desmond Morgan (10 tackles and 1.5 TFLs) and Blake Countess (8 tackles). They will certainly be key personnel for the Michigan defense over the course of the next 3 seasons.

On Thursday, Brady Hoke confirmed that 3 members of Michigan’s Top 5 2012 recruiting class have enrolled early. They are 4-star LB Joe Bolden, 4-star LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and 4-star Safety Jarrod Wilson. Hoke explained how this would be beneficial for the 3 incoming freshmen. ”The more experience you have in anything, that’s part of it,” he said. “They’ll have a whole spring, and the acclimation to academics here at Michigan is an important part. From the academic standpoint, that’s as important as anything, where you don’t have the pressure of a season going on at the same time.”

Here is a look at Michigan’s current 2012 class

PlayerPos.HometownHgt./Wgt.RankingNotes Blake BarsOLNashville, TN6-5/2754-starRated as the #34 OT by rivals.com Joe BoldenLBCincinnati, OH6-3/2304-starOn the ESPNU 150 watch list Ben BradenOLRockford, MI6-6/2853-starWill be entering his 3rd season as a starter at RT Pharaoh BrownDELyndhurst, OH6-5/2203-starAlso was the starting QB for Hurst as a junior. Jehu ChessonWRChesterfield, MO6-3/1823-starOne of the top prospects in the state of Missouri, Chesson hauled in 53 passes for 757 yards and 6 TDs in his senior campaign. Jeremy ClarkDBMadisonville, KY6-4/2053-starSenior season stats: 70 tackles, 15 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions Amara DarbohWRDes Moines, IA6-2/1904-starHad his senior season cut short due to injury. Still managed to haul in 48 passes for 765 yards and 11 TDs in 7 games. Devin FunchessTEFarmington Hills, MI6-5/2054-starRated as 6th best TE in 2012 class by scout.com Allen GantDBSylvania, Ohio6-2/2103-starHis father, Tony Gant, played at U-M (1982-86). Matthew GodinDTDetroit, MI6-5/2503-starRacked up 28 TFLs as a junior Sione HoumaFBSalt Lake City, UT6-0/2113-starSenior season stats: 93 carries, 790 yards, 8 touchdowns Royce Jenkins-StoneLBDetroit, MI6-2/2154-starRated as 3rd best MLB in 2012 class by scout.com Drake JohnsonRBAnn Arbor, MI6-1/2003-starHuge senior stats: 343 carries, 2,805 yards, 37 touchdowns Kyle KalisOTLakewood, OH6-5/3004-starUS Army All-American selection. Rated as the 4th best OT in the 2012 class by rivals.com Erik MagnusonOTCarlsbad, CA6-6/2754-starRanked the #34 overall recruit by rivals.com Mario OjemudiaDEFarmington Hills, MI6-2/2204-starTallied 127 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior. Rated as the #94 overall prospect by Tom Lemming. Ondre PipkinsDTKansas City, MO6-3/3254-starUS Army All-American selection. Terry RichardsonDBDetroit, MI5-9/1704-starRated by Tom Lemming as the #33 overall prospect in the country. Kaleb RingerLBClayton, OH6-1/2254-starCousin of former Michigan State RB Javon Ringer James RossLBOrchard Lake, MI6-1/2154-starRated as 2nd best MLB in 2012 class by scout.com Caleb StaceyOLCincinnati, OH6-4/2803-star1st team All-Conference as a junior Tom StrobelDEMentor, OH6-6/2454-starRanked as the #24 DE by scout.com AJ WilliamsTECincinnati, OH6-6/2603-starRated as 15th best TE in 2012 class by scout.com Jarrod WilsonSAkron, OH6-2/1904-starIntercepted 8 passes as a junior and returned 5 of them for TDs. Chris WormleyDEToledo, OH6-7/2703-starAs a senior he recorded 85 tackles, including a team-high 24 TFLs

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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