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New Blue, Drake Harris

What does the in-state WR phenom bring to the table?

Leon Halip

MI WR Drake Harris, listed as 6'3, 180ish, just committed to Michigan an hour or so ago. According to Rivals, he is Michigan's highest rated WR commit since Darryl Stonum. According to Scout, he's Michigan's highest rated WR since the creation of the recruiting rankings. To a certain extent, this commitment seemed somewhat inevitable. Here's what I said about Harris a couple of weeks ago.

Harris visits Ann Arbor...a lot. With 3 consecutive visit weekends in March and another on tap for the Spring Game on April 13th, some now assume Michigan to be in the driver's seat for Harris. While a commitment is likely still a bit far off, it's not an unfair assumption to make.

Harris' recruitment has essentially been split between 3 teams, although he could have gone anywhere he wanted. A little under a year ago, he offered his initial commitment to Michigan State, primarily because of the chance to play both basketball and football.

"Just the basketball program with Coach (Tom) Izzo and Coach (Mark) Dantonio," Harris said. "The way they said they're going to play me when I get there. They're always going to be there. I don't think they're going to be leaving anytime soon. It's only 45 minutes from home. It feels like the perfect fit for me."

After a matter of time, though, he came to realize that his true potential lay in focusing solely on football. This may or may not have been influenced by MaxPreps naming him to their Junior All American Team, something he repeatedly referenced on his twitter feed. The whole 'having 2000 receiving yards in a season' thing probably didn't hurt either. Around then, he decided that Michigan State was not the best place for him to develop his talents, and decommitted, saying...

Since I'm just playing football now," Harris told reporters after his regional basketball game Monday in Grand Rapids, "I want to play at a bigger school, win a national championship."

'Bigger' schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia rushed in immediately. Although Alabama and Florida fluttered on an off the list of top groups, it essentially seemed to be a battle between Ohio State and Michigan. After he visited Michigan 4 times in the span of about a month and a half, the battle was decidedly one-sided. All of this culminated in his commitment today.

Regardless of whether or not you believe Michigan belongs in the list of big-time national championship-ready teams, the opportunity is great for Harris. Following this season, Michigan will lose 4 experienced veterans from their receiving corps; Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson, and Joe Reynolds. With it looking more and more like Amara Darboh has nailed down one of the starting slots, Harris' only competition for the opposite spot may come from Jehu Chesson, who had a strong spring. I would be very surprised if he struggled to immediately displace this incoming crop of WRs (Dukes, York, Jones), especially since Jones (the best of the group) will likely spend most of his time in the slot. With all of this in mind, Harris is likely to be a 3/4 year starter.

If I've learned you anything through this post, it's certainly NOT this: Harris is really, really good at football. So instead of giving you the generic scouting report (SO FAST SO SHARP HANDS COOL) I'll give you a few things I notice while I'm watching his highlights. Yes, Harris has all the potential in the world. Howeva, he still needs to work on a few things. First of all, he has a pretty thin frame. B1G football can be unforgiving, and he'll be jammed more in college, so he needs to hit the weight room. Secondly, he seems to catch most things in his body instead of extending his arms, even on contested balls. If he continues to do that, the balls will stop finding their way into his body. The thing that makes up for this is his exceptional focus. He isn't the type of player that seems prone to the occasional dropsies, and hangs on through the toughest hits high school can give a player. UPSIDE: Mario Manningham-esque. Plus an inch or two.

So what does this mean for Michigan's class? As every analyst and their mother has told you by now, this will likely be a smaller class, barring attrition. After taking 3 depth players last year, Michigan is probably only gunning for 1 other WR. Right now, it looks like that guy could be FL WR Corey Holmes, FL WR Artavis Scott (who was just on his visit), MI WR Moe Ways (if he gets offered, which is more doubtful now), or PA WR KJ Williams (who was blown away by his visit last weekend). GUN TO MY HEAD- It's Holmes. But we'll see.

Sidenote- Isn't it fun when narratives get flip flopped? When Michigan offered Tommy Doles, many people thought it was bait to bring in Harris. Now, Harris could be the one getting Doles on board. Money is still on Tommy being the next commit. Speaking of narratives, Hoke can't recruit skill position players.

In conclusion, Michigan's getting a great athlete that could, yes, be the next #1. He's not as much of a finished product as their last big skill position commit (Derrick Green), but that doesn't mean he won't see the field early.