In Jim Harbaugh’s America, crossing state lines is a classic, like that old 1958 Pontiac Bonneville. It’s one of those rare things that bring the young and the old together: nobody doesn’t love crossin’ those state lines once in a while.
Harbaugh, who we’ve been told doesn’t like recruiting, can recruit in any number of ways and still be successful. He can go for the big fish or win with overlooked, chip-on-the-shoulder types. He can go down south, out west, into Canada, rob the eastern seaboard, stay at home, or dip into Ohio. He’s already getting a jump-start on Australia, and I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he pokes around Europe and Egypt eventually. Anything to get that next great midfielder - um, I mean, scrum half, er, running back, that is.
Still, with the NCAA potentially cracking down on some of Jim Harbaugh’s summer recruiting efforts, there might be a better way to approach recruiting from here on out, and that approach is the exciting one: going for the big fish, laying the ground work in the summer, recruiting slightly too many blue-chips and then closing the deal with the right ones in the month after the Ohio State game. In other words, Commitmas.
- Being a Michigan fan has become a star-studded adventure since Harbaugh arrived. By the time “Signing of the Stars” took place, we were already kind of used to it. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
- Tom Brady, one of the all-time greats, has been coming around Ann Arbor more lately. He’s also proving to be Ra’s al Ghul on the field, throwing for 3,278 yards with 25 touchdowns (and 2 interceptions) at age 39. His Patriots are 13-2 with a guaranteed bye in the first week of the playoffs. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
- Jabrill Peppers didn’t win the Heisman, but he was the fourth finalist in program history and our first since Woodson in ‘97. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
- The Wolverines are back with Nike, and Jordan Brand has looked phenomenal on the field. The former Bad Boys rival is now repping maize and blue thanks in part to that older color, Nike green. Still, it’s been a great partnership. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
- Meanwhile, Michigan has added an overall #1 prospect and is making a holiday out of the final months of the recruiting season.
- And coming April 27th-29th, a whole new batch of Michigan players is going to get paid. Michigan’s had a quiet presence in the NFL Draft for a while now, with three selections or fewer in each of the last eight years. 2008 was the last big year for Michigan Men in the draft. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Wolverines are already back, after all, which was the point of some of Harbaugh’s theatrics. Harbaugh will get media attention wherever he goes, including (and especially) volunteering at an Alabama soup kitchen if he feels like it. He is one of the faces of college football, and if he feels like he needs a presence in the south, nobody will be able to stop him from doing so.
For the scrappy, hard-working types that always help to balance out a class, Michigan will be fine. They’ll always be fine in that regard. Harbaugh’s been brilliant at finding diamonds in the rough, underrated types that bring a hard-working, calloused mentality to the whole class.
But when it comes to the stars of the show - those defensive linemen who look destined for the NFL, the jaw-dropping running backs, the college-ready quarterbacks - it’s always nice to sell them a good experience. And combining your college choice with the holidays might be Harbaugh’s best contribution to the recruiting game yet.