Congratulations to former Michigan defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, who accepted a similar position at Oklahoma on Saturday, according to AnnArbor.com.
Montgomery had been part of Brady Hoke's staff for his first two seasons at Michigan, and while the loss of his talents as a position coach will likely be minimized by the extensive experience Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have with defensive linemen—a combined 38 years experience, per MLive.com—Michigan's likely going to feel the sting when it comes to recruiting.
Here's more from MLive.com about the pivotal role Montgomery has played in Michigan's return to the top shelf in terms of program talent:
Montgomery was integral to the recruitment of tailback Derrick Green and defensive tackle Henry Poggi, the two highest-rated members of the Wolverines' 2013 class according to Rivals.
He had a hand in six of the 2013 commitments overall: Offensive lineman Jake Butt, defensive lineman Taco Charlton, receiver Jaron Dukes, linebacker Mike McCray, Poggi and Green.
He was the key recruiter for each of Michigan's 2014 commits.
And, looking forward, Montgomery was Michigan's trigger man on several uncommitted prospects for 2014, including defensive end Da'Shawn Hand. The Woodbridge, Va., prospect is the country's No. 1 overall player for 2014, and lists the Wolverines among his five leaders.
Again, we congratulate Montgomery, who is and should be free to pursue his best professional interests, and if he deems that they're at Oklahoma, then he should be there.
Moreover, if sophomore-to-be DT Ondre Pipkins' reaction is any indication, Montgomery was a well-respected coach, and there's little ill will in Ann Arbor over his decision to go to Oklahoma:
But it's also worth mentioning that Montgomery's departure comes approximately three weeks after national signing day. And, as pointed out earlier, there are six players Montgomery helped to sign with Michigan who are now obligated to attend the school.
We're not about to hold our breath wondering if the NCAA will let these guys out of their letters of intent in response to their recruiter's departure.
Now, we're not about to pity Green and his five friends, because they still get to attend Michigan and play for the Wolverines, and that's hardly an adverse situation. But what if it weren't Michigan? What if it were Random MAC State with random MAC facilities? What if it were some place with, shall we say, generous academic standards? Would it be acceptable then if Montgomery locked these kids into binding letters of intent then peaced out before the month was through?
Yes, recruits are signing with schools and not their coaches or recruiters. That's something they need to be cognizant of when it comes time to verbally commit, to say nothing of when it's time to put pen to paper. But if the assistant coach who put in the most effort in bringing them to campus—which is to say, created the closest interpersonal connection, which is not an insignificant thing—can leave the very next day, why exactly are these 17- or 18-year-old kids being held to stricter standards of loyalty under penalty of losing their scholarship and/or 25 percent of their NCAA eligibility?
It would be nice if these kids made such prudent decisions about their schools of choice that no staff departure would make them regret their commitments. If that were the case, then the binding nature of letters of intent—which are signed roughly seven long months before classes and the regular season begin—would be no big deal. And for most players, it is no big deal.
But in those several months between signing and the beginning of their academic and athletic careers, lots of things can change for recruits. Those things may directly affect whether they still want to attend those schools anymore. And rather than just throw one's hands up and say "well, should have thought of that earlier, see you in August," the correct response should be to give these players the flexibility to rethink their plans before their careers begin.
Of course, that's if we're thinking with the players' best interests in mind, anyway. But again: Let's not hold our breath waiting for the NCAA to go down that road.
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