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Why Sherrone Moore isn’t as concerned with signing five-stars as other schools

Michigan football isn’t exactly bereft of talent, but it certainly isn’t in the same stratosphere as some other programs.

When you look at Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and others, they have as many five-stars on their rosters as schools like Michigan have four-stars. Yet, it was the Wolverines who hoisted the national championship trophy last season, while the others sat at home and watched the game on TV.

Part of that is superior talent identification. A three-star in high school may end up playing like a five-star in college. And vice versa. But for new head coach Sherrone Moore, there are other factors at play beyond talent identification.

The other key aspect, as he told Jake Butt on The Champions Circle’s podcast “The L.A.B.” presented by Wolverine, is that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Instead of multiple egos working against each other in pursuit of their own greatness, this Michigan football team has been built to work together. And Moore intends, whether it’s five-stars or three-stars, to find players who fit that mold.

“You look at the type of guys we just won the national title with, we didn’t have a whole bunch of five-stars — we had some,” Moore said. “We want to have elite talent, don’t get me wrong. I think there’s enough of it out there that you can find that also fits the culture.

“I got the chance to talk to one of the greatest in any sport, Derek Jeter, the other day. And he talked about alignment, he talked about his whole unit he had when he was playing with the Yankees. And it was really about the mentality that they all had. They said they didn’t have first- and second-round draft picks coming in, they’d said, ‘Well, you’re not going to fit here, you’ve gotta leave.’

“It’s all about the culture, the fit, the alignment of the university, the organization. Even businesses — you talk to business people and it’s all about alignment and how that does. It starts at the top. It starts at the top and then it goes to the bottom — it goes up and down, you can flip it either way. Everyone has to align to that vision and when you have that, you have something super powerful. We’re definitely going to try to bring in the right type of guys, the right type of families to become Michigan men, Michigan women, and continue to keep this program at the highest level.”

Whether it’s through the transfer portal or high school recruiting, finding the right fit means going further than skimming the recruiting services and their rankings.

Moore says that while Michigan has its own rankings, the most important thing is hitting the ground and learning more about the player and his conduct off the field. That gives the team much stronger indications as to how they’ll be when they get to campus than merely watching tape of various 7-on-7s that are held nationally.

Because overcoming adversity isn’t just about being able to catch a ball in crunch time. It’s about character, and character comes from the life you’re living off the football field.

“We have a lot of databases, a lot of services that we can find names and players and people and there’s people that watch it,” Moore said. “But for us, once we dig deep enough into who the guys we want to look at and who we want to recruit, there’s a lot of questions you got to ask. And you’re asking the players but you’re not only asking them, you’re asking their parents, you’re asking the people in the lunchroom, you’re asking the janitors there, you’re asking the people at the front office, you’re asking everybody that’s involved with the kid. And I’ve gone as far sometimes you know, hey, go to a local gas station I’m at the gas station, ‘You know about this kid? How is he when he comes in?’

“And you’re trying to dig deep on every player because you’ve got to figure out what the character and what the mold is inside. And you really find out how someone’s gonna react to adversity when you do that. And, obviously, we faced some ‘adversity’ this year, and we continued to just smash it in the face. Because our players are all built and are aligned and all have the same vision. And we’re gonna continue bringing those types of people. So for us it’s that’s a huge piece of it, it’s the type of person and obviously, you want talented guys so you’re gonna have to recruit guys that are talented but they’ve gotta be a be a fit from a program standpoint here for sure.”

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire