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Scott Novak: Rodriguez did a good thing

Published 8:20am Friday, August 14, 2009

To say I have been less than impressed with the job Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has done would be a bit of an understatement.

But I must give credit where credit is due.

I thought he did a great job of recruiting his second class to Ann Arbor.

I may take another year or so, but I think he is getting the type of players he needs to win games in the Big Ten Conference.

But that’s not the credit I want to give Rodriguez.

What I want to give him an attaboy about is his handling of the Justin Feagin situation.
Without hesitation, Rodriguez dismissed the seldom-used quarterback last month and didn’t duck reporter’s questions about the entire situation on Monday when the Wolverines opened up fall drills.

After reading several accounts on the situation, it appears no one saw this coming with Feagin.

Michigan has launched a probe into how its conducts background checks on perspective recruits and I am sure they will tighten up the holes that Feagin apparently fell through.
College recruiting has to be at best a crapshoot these days.

Even with all the avenues a coach or a recruiter has at his disposal, kids are able to hide their true nature from these people until it is too late.

Rodriguez is known for taking a chance on a player of questionable character.

Sometimes it has worked out for him, while others it has not.

He isn’t alone in that problem these days.

But he didn’t wait to pull the trigger on Feagin and he shouldn’t have.

There is no place for that type of kid at any university and especially a place like the University of Michigan.

Unfortunately we live in a time that those kinds of things happen on a regular basis with all of the programs and not just with football teams.

You can’t pick up a paper or visit a college web site anymore without finding a story or two about legal problems for this school or that school.

It takes hard work to get quality kids and that’s why I am so proud of the job that Michigan State’s Mark Staten has done as a recruiter, both in East Lansing and at the University of Cincinnati.

A former Dowagiac Chieftain standout, Staten takes his job seriously and takes pride in bringing in the best recruiting class he can.

At the Spartan Media Day earlier this week, Staten commented on his job.

“It’s exciting,” he responded. “When Coach (Mark) Dantonio ranks a recruiting class he pulls back a little bit, but this one is very exciting. It’s very nice to hear about their summer and how they mixed with the guys and their work ethic. It makes us all better, because if you have that dog nipping at your heels, you’re going to continue to fight.”

Staten added that there has been an adjustment for him in recruiting since coming to MSU.
“We are still going to do our homework, we’re still going to work hard, we’re still going to hope to see these kids in camp. We have to make decisions. Character is so important in what we do and how we recruit. We not only are going to bring great players, but great students, great people and continue to build that, because you have to have that,” he said.
These two examples should make Michigan and Michigan State fans feel good about their programs.

With this type of effort, I think both programs are looking at bright futures.

Scott Novak is sports editor of Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com or by phone at 687-7702.  Follow me on my daily blog: www.leaderpubsports.blogspot.com

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