ANN ARBOR -- When the National Letter of Intents were being faxed over to Schembechler Hall on Wednesday, perhaps one fax in particular made Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's face light up just a little bit brighter.
2015 three-star cornerback Keith Washington flipped his commitment from Cal to Michigan on Monday without officially visit campus. Despite all of that, Harbaugh praised the young corner and what he will eventually bring to the football program.
"Keith Washington, I just want to talk about him for a little bit, one of my very favorite players in this class," Harbaugh said. "He hurt his MCL in the first round of the playoffs and took his team to the state championship. He is a very, very humble person but a winner. Another theme, I think, that this entire recruiting class that we have. He went to Prattville (his hometown) for only one year, he told them that he was going to take them to the state championship and he did just that."
Washington, the six-foot-two and 170-pound recruit from Prattville, Alabama, played both quarterback and cornerback for his high school. As Harbaugh alluded in his press conference, Washington will play cornerback for Michigan and fills a position of need for the Michigan defense.
Never short of honest answers, Harbaugh made sure to playfully credit himself for discovering Washington during the process.
"I'm going to have to take a deep, long, bow here," Harbaugh joked. "I was kind of his recruiting coach, area coach, and I just really, really liked watching him play on tape right away. When I went down to visit him along with coach D.J. Durkin, we were there with his father "Big Keith" and has a great mother Candace as well, the four of us are sitting there and talking to him. I asked him how fast he was and he said '4.3 coach' and I said 'come on! 4.3, everybody thinks they can run a 4.3!' He said 'I'll go out into the parking lot right now, coach' he was serious.
"I liked him even more. I knew he was competitive and got a great, great feeling about him. You're going to like him."
Defensive back coach Mike Zordich shared his thoughts on Washington as well on MGoBlue.com's National Signing Day coverage.
"Keith has a great feel for the game. He has really good speed and a great change of direction, which means he has fluid hips and good feet," said Zordich. The thing I like the best about him is his length. He has really long arms, and he is the kind of guy we are looking for to get up in somebody's face and go play ball. He is the perfect fit for what the Michigan defense is all about. Keith also played quarterback, where he showed tremendous leadership, and he was probably the best athlete on his high school team."
Perhaps it was by chance, or maybe if it were meant to be. It appears Harbaugh has found, in his eyes, his first gem during his time at Michigan.