Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jim Harbaugh, and the Recruiting Class of 2015

I must admit that as a result of the University of Michigan, hiring Jim Harbaugh as head football coach, I paid more attention to the 2015 recruiting process. Wow, the competition was so fierce. Not only are these teenagers ranked individually and by position, we also got to see them on television on the day of reckoning as they made their decision as to what program they were going to attend. They said things like, I want to win the championship. And they are called student-athletes? Come on, let’s get it straight.
I do not remember hearing, I plan to attend the University of Michigan, so I can get the best education possible; I want to major in computer science; with all the great alumni contacts. I’m solidifying my future so I can be a doctor, lawyer or captain of industry, just like the Pru man wrote in 1969, under Bo Schembechler.

Because of the turmoil with the 2014 football season and the late firing of Brady Hoke, the recruiting class was suspect. Some players that committed to Michigan or Brady Hoke abruptly uncommitted. Others were not interested in the rudderless direction in the Wolverines football program. Then miraculously, Jim Harbaugh clashed with San Francisco 49er management , was courted by Michigan’s powers that be; paid $5 million to return home to Ann Arbor. He did just that very quickly.

The fervor was tremendous, the sea parted, and the sky became blue and gold. Coach Harbaugh was introduced in a press conference. The coach then started to assemble an impressive staff of NFL coaching cohorts. Because of circumstances uncontrolled by him, Harbaugh and his new staff had to hit the trails very quickly and proficiently.

High school phenomes that DE committed were courted. Others that committed elsewhere were “stolen.”  Coach Harbaugh hired ex-Michigan great Tyrone Wheatley and Wheatley’s impressive tight end son followed. A fifth year player that Harbaugh recruited at Stanford, with one year of eligibility then arrived in Ann Arbor with mother, who is now part of the Michigan staff. I guess Harbaugh did what he had to do.

In a very short time, Jim Harbaugh’s labors will either be ripe, bear fruit or fall from the vine. He will have an opportunity to make his magic on the gridiron. Will his players demonstrate their character off the field as well? Bump Elliott had no trouble selecting teenagers with fine character. His recruits like Mike Keller, Thom Darden, Jim Betts, Jim Brandstatter, Reggie McKenzie, Tom Curtis, and Frank Gusich had the Michigan imprint instilled in their psyches and became Michigan men, true and true.

Let’s hope that the lightning transformation that took place in 1969, with Bo Schembechler strikes again with Jim Harbaugh. Remember, Harbaugh learned from the best. I’m sure, Bo would be proud father today.

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