ANN ARBOR -- Jalen Rose was just one of the myriad of celebrities who offered their support for Michigan during Wednesday’s Signing of the Stars event, but the Fab Five legend’s message perhaps stood out the most.
Rose said the Wolverines’ recruiting class -- which contains the nation’s consensus No. 1 prospect -- could someday be known as the "Fab 25." And you know what? In some ways, he’s right.
Unlike the Fab Five, considered by many as one of the top incoming freshman classes ever in college basketball, Jim Harbaugh’s first haul likely won’t be remembered for a historic amount of talent. But much like Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson became a cultural phenomenon, so too has the Michigan football program under Harbaugh.
That much was clear Wednesday afternoon at Hill Auditorium.
Jim Leyland dabbed with Migos. Lou Holtz sang "The Victors," and then he dabbed, too. Ric Flair took the stage and delivered one of his customary emotional soliloquies, during which he passionately described how he "can’t stand Ohio State -- and I’ve got no time for Michigan State!" (Woo!)
Four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, Super Bowl-winning coach John Harbaugh and five-time World Series champion Derek Jeter were all in attendance. Those who couldn’t make it sent videos: Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Dick Vitale, among dozens and dozens more.
Everyone who is anyone, it seemed, had a cameo Wednesday.
And, as the event drew to a close, Rashan Gary announced his commitment to the Wolverines from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut.
Sure, it was plenty cheesy -- a little awkward at times, too -- and it was self-adulation to the highest degree. (If you ever wonder why people dislike Michigan, revisit the clip of Purdue grad Drew Brees cheering on the Wolverines on National Signing Day.) But it was ludicrous enough to be a hell of a lot of fun.
Naming a recruiting class to the Fab Five is a hefty comparison, and if there’s anything the last decade has taught Michigan fans, it’s that success is never, ever guaranteed.
But there was more to the Fab Five than just their successes on the basketball court. They commanded national attention, provoked important conversations about culture, and revolutionized how the game of basketball looks.
Michigan got a little taste of that again with the Signing of the Stars. Wednesday, it felt as if the Wolverines were the epicenter of the college football world.