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Recruit Devin Gardner to enroll early, Rodriguez gives other personnel updates

Said Alsalah/Daily
Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez (left) and incoming freshman quarterback Devin Gardner during the Michigan basketall game on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010 Buy this photo

BY NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Editor
Published January 17, 2010

During halftime of Sunday's Michigan-Connecticut basketball game, football coach Rich Rodriguez spoke to reporters about injury and personnel updates. Dancing around most questions about recruits, Rodriguez confirmed that six of them have enrolled early. The six are: Stephen Hopkins (RB), Jeremy Jackson (WR), Austin White (RB), Jerald Robinson (WR), Christian Pace (OL) and Ricardo Miller (WR).

"We have one more spot open," said Rodriguez. "That could or could not be filled. Hopefully, it will sooner rather than later."

That final spot may already be filled.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have reported that incoming freshman quarterback Devin Gardner will begin classes at Michigan on Tuesday, and in all likelihood, he's the "one spot" Rodriguez referred to. Rodriguez can't talk about Gardner until he officially enrolls, but he did sit next to the highly touted quarterback recruit at the basketball game.

Overall, Rodriguez felt his recruiting has gone "very well," and that the incoming recruiting class was in "good shape." He said he can potentially sign 26 recruits this year because the Wolverines didn't meet the maximum 25 last year. He wasn't sure if he will use all 26 spots.

Rodriguez also said he hasn't heard anything new about the NCAA investigation. He also confirmed that linebacker Brandon Smith has transferred.

Rodriguez didn't seem concerned about immediately finding a replacement for departed linebackers coach Jay Hopson, who left for the defensive coordinator position at Memphis. Rodriguez said he could find a replacement before or after National Signing Day (Feb. 1).

Rodriguez said current sophomore defensive tackle Mike Martin is still recovering from an offseason shoulder surgery and won't be ready to practice with the team in the coming months.

"He’ll miss the spring, but he should be fine by summertime," said Rodriguez, adding that Martin's procedure went well.

Rodriguez said surgeries for center David Molk (ACL) and running back Vincent Smith (ACL) went well. They, too, will miss spring practices.


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