The Michigan football staff has undergone some shuffling this offseason.
Among the changes was the impactful hire of Greg Frey, the former assistant head coach at Indiana.
Given the role of coaching offensive tackles, tight ends and named run-game coordinator, Frey’s impact largely will be felt on the offense in 2017.
Another area in which Frey will have an impact: recruiting.
Frey is famous for taking low-rated tackles and turning them into some of the best linemen in college football. He also was responsible for one of the better rushing attacks in the country with the Hoosiers.
What was Frey able to do with under-the-radar recruiting classes at Indiana?
His most recent success story is former Indiana guard Dan Feeney, who left early for the NFL draft after a standout 2016 season.
The No. 939 player in the country in the Class of 2012, according to the 247Sports composite, Feeney was seen by many as a mere afterthought. He had only two other offers, from Illinois and Western Michigan.
Despite nearly not playing Division I football, under Frey’s tutelage, Feeney is ranked as the NFL draft’s top guard. Feeney earned these honors in his final season with the Hoosiers: Associated Press first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten (coaches and media), Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award watch lists, team captain and Indiana team MVP.
Are the Dan Feeneys of college football rare? Is too much credit given to Frey and not enough to Feeney?
That brings us to the story of former Hoosiers tackle Jason Spriggs.
Ranked even lower than Feeney coming out of high school, Spriggs was a 3-star tackle, the nation’s No. 1,005 overall prospect. Spriggs had more offers but only one from a Power 5 school. Guess who? Frey at Indiana.
Another success story, Spriggs went on to win these honors in his final season in 2015: Football Writers Association of America first-team All-American, first Outland Trophy semifinalist in school history and second-team All-Big Ten (coaches and media).
Spriggs impressed at the NFL combine, enough to be selected in the second round (No. 48 overall) in 2016 by the Green Bay Packers. He started two games in his rookie season.
There have been six All-Americans in Indiana history. Frey mentored two.
How does this translate to recruiting? Take this as you will, but recruiting football prospects for Michigan is a bit different than recruiting them for Indiana.
There’s no doubting that highly rated players want to come to Michigan. In the 2013 class, the Wolverines landed four top-100 offensive linemen. Three of them transferred, and another started one game at Michigan.
Frey, who played at Florida State, has all of the tools in Ann Arbor to land the top guys, but now it’s about landing the right guys. It’s about being comfortable with the low-rated linemen Frey might like. Because that recruit could be another Dan Feeney or Jason Spriggs.
With the advantages Frey has in Ann Arbor, as opposed to Bloomington, he can start landing the right highly ranked guys and mold them into stars.
Michigan fans have wanted one thing since Jim Harbaugh’s arrival: a good offensive line and good offensive line recruits.
With Greg Frey in Ann Arbor, that’s what they should get.