Wolverines coach Brady Hoke, who is trying to regain momentum after a disappointing 7-6 finish in 2013, signed a smaller recruiting class that wasn't as highly ranked as his previous two. Michigan still signed nine ESPN 300 prospects, including No. 1 cornerback Jabrill Peppers of Paramus, N.J., and No. 10 wide receiver Drake Harris of Grand Rapids, Mich. Three incoming defenders -- tackle Bryan Mone, end Lawrence Marshall and inside linebacker Michael Ferns -- also were ranked in the top 15 nationally at their respective positions. When spring practice opens on Feb. 25, Michigan's starting-quarterback job will be up for grabs, according to Hoke. Rising senior Devin Gardner, who struggled with turnovers last season, will try to hold off rising sophomore Shane Morris, who started in Gardner's absence during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama to replace Al Borges at Michigan, also will take a look at freshman Wilton Speight, an early enrollee, and Russell Bellomy, who missed last season with a knee injury.
With only three weeks to try to keep Texas' recruiting class intact and add other significant pieces, Charlie Strong's first effort with the Longhorns was largely successful. There were six defections after longtime coach Mack Brown resigned, and Strong and his staff were able to add five new signees, including defensive tackles Chris Nelson of Lakeland, Fla., and Poona Ford of Hilton Head, S.C. The Longhorns were able to keep No. 8 defensive end Derick Roberson of San Antonio and added No. 7 outside linebacker Edwin Freeman of Arlington, Texas. Jerrod Heard of Denton, Texas, the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback, might be the most important piece of Strong's class. He passed for 2,136 yards, ran for 2,161 yards and combined for 49 touchdowns as a senior, leading Guyer (Texas) High to a Class 4A state championship. He might have a chance to battle sophomore Tyrone Swoopes and returning starter David Ash (if he's medically cleared for concussions) for the starting job this fall. Strong put together an impressive coaching staff, bringing defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and assistant head coach Shawn Watson with him from Louisville, and hiring former Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline as his offensive coordinator.