2015 KY RB Damien Harris, listed at 5'11, 205ish, committed to Michigan yesterday after attending the BBQ at the Big House and deciding that he wasn't planning on putting off a commitment any longer. He becomes the fourth commit in the 2015 class, joining WR George Campbell, OL Jon Runyan Jr, and K Andrew David.
Harris selected the Wolverines over an offer list that included Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, the 2 Kentucky schools, and plenty of others. While he has entertained the pitches from other schools, it's seemed like Harris was bound for Michigan for a long time. The only question was whether or not he was going to wait it out and take his visits, opening up the possibility of a Laquon Treadwell-esque recruitment. While a verbal commitment is obviously non-binding, it does significantly lower the chances of other schools butting in for Harris.
I present to you; Harris' recruitment in four tweets.
It would be pretty tight if me and Drake Harris both committed to Michigan! #HailToTheVictors— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) April 16, 2013
Do you have a leader? — Michigan! http://t.co/3oUwzjuJqZ— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) June 13, 2013
QUESTION MARKS. HOW MUCH DOES HE LOVE US?
It's official. Michigan and Ohio State are tied for first right now!— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) June 23, 2013
Oh. That much.
With Harris' decision to commit came a lot of hype. Plenty of people were talking about how Michigan had landed two of the best athletes in the country and a 5 star RB to boot with George Campbell. While I think Harris will end up being one of the top 5 best RBs in the country for 2015, I just don't see anything on his film warranting a fifth star. Sure, his scouting report may read like a mutant, but we all remember that Thomas Rawls is...well...big and fast too don't we? When I compare Harris' film to some of 2013's highly touted big backs, there's a certain element of explosion that I simply don't see with Harris, at least not yet. Derrick Henry, Derrick Green, Kelvin Taylor...these guys aren't just bowling balls, they also offer some slashing, one-cut-and-go kind of productivity. I know a lot of people are going to try to justify this with 'well, he's only a sophomore, what do you expect', which is absolutely true! But that's why some of the rankings services pumping out top-100 lists so early are somewhat stupid. Harris is a top 100 kid, I just don't know that he's in that top 25 range.
Regardless, top 100 kids normally do pretty well in school, don't they? When you're looking at the depth chart, you have to assume that Derrick Green will be a junior by the time Harris gets there. Depending on how well Fitzgerald Toussaint heals from his injuries and Thomas Rawls performs in the fall, Deveon Smith will either be a Junior or RS Sophomore. Either way, unless you're expecting Drake Johnson or Justice Hayes to usurp those guys in this offense, those two will likely be the stumbling blocks in the way of playing time. If Green is poised to leave after his Junior year, he'll probably shed the redshirt. Either way, by his third year on campus, Harris should be in line for major playing time.
It's entirely too early to speculate on the size of the 2015 class, but if they forego taking a RB in this class, then there'll probably be someone else coming in with Harris. Several of those possibilities made themselves clear after Harris and Campbell committed, including Cass Tech RB Mike Weber...
My answer to all the questions I'm receiving is I'm not scared of competition and never was.— Mike Weber (@mikeweber25) July 29, 2013
...and FL RB Jacques Patrick...
Weber is a solid four-star back from Detroit who's heavily rumored to be a Michigan lean. Weber is also a bigger back at 200 pounds, but brings a bit more elusiveness to the table. Patrick is a 215-pound monster from Florida who seems to be wide open at the moment, although most think he'll stay in state. If Campbell plans on bring a Ferns/Morris-like recruiting edge to the table, then that will be target number 1. Safe money is on Weber, however. Other possibilities will certainly pop up as Weber and Patrick delay their decisions.
So there you have it. Harris is the odds-on favorite to replace Green whenever he decides to leave, and helps to lock up a position of need in the 2015 class. Hopefully, having Campbell and Harris in the class so early will influence other big-time prospects to give Michigan a hard look, but it's too early to determine if that'll be the case or not.