Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff packed their bags and hit the recruiting trail today for the first time, as the winter dead period came to an end at midnight.
Coach Harbaugh started off the day with a familiar phrase that was backed up by the work the staff put in on the road.
Attacking this day with Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 15, 2015
And attack the Michigan football coaching staff did.
Harbaugh follows first set of recruits on Twitter
As entertaining as having a coach on Twitter is, especially one of Harbaugh's personality, there's a reason that college coaches use the platform. It's a useful recruiting tool and a great way to make contact and interact with recruits.
Up until last night, the only non-University of Michigan account that Harbaugh followed was Pope Francis (@Pontifex, for all of you interested out there). That changed when he followed his first five recruits since joining the media platform as U-M's head coach.
Prospects that received follows were: tight ends Chris Clark and Aliz'e Jones, defensive end Keisean Lucier-South, and athletes Chris Williamson and Ryan Davis.
Read on for tidbits from all of these names from throughout Thursday afternoon.
The Chris Clark saga continues to get more interesting
Four-star 2015 tight end Chris Clark (Avon, Connecticut) will be taking his official visit to Michigan this weekend and while many believe that he will eventually be brought back in, the battle between the Wolverines and UCLA will be one of the more intriguing storylines heading into signing day on Feb. 4.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora was visiting Clark in Avon on Thursday, according to the tight end's Twitter account.
Excited for coach mora to check out the farms tomorrow— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) January 14, 2015
The "farms" is a reference to Avon Old Farms high school, where Clark attends.
It's clear that Mora wanted to get in his ear before he left for Ann Arbor this weekend, and a development that occurred Thursday afternoon will make the Bruins push even harder for his services. Five-star tight end Aliz'e Jones (Las Vegas, Nevada) decommitted flipped his commitment from UCLA to Notre Dame, meaning now there is a definite need at the position for the Bruins.
Great time with coach mora and the gang pic.twitter.com/guEyWwJce0— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) January 16, 2015
I don't think that Jones' decision will affect Clark much, as he still seems excited for his official visit to U-M this weekend.
Excited to meet @JayHarbaugh this weekend new tight ends coach of um— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) January 15, 2015
Five scholarship offers go out
With the staff so busy on the trail Thursday, a few scholarship offers were bound to go out, Well, five of them ended up happening with prospects from both the 2015 and 2016 classes.
The first prospect that was offered was four-star defensive end Shelton Johnson (Delray Beach, Florida), who will be taking an official visit to Michigan this weekend. The offer came from defensive coordinator DJ Durkin.
Durkin was not done, either, as he also offered three-star 2015 Rutgers defensive back commit Jarius Adams (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida).
Harbaugh stayed in the Detroit area Thursday, but did offer four-star athlete Ryan Davis (St. Petersberg, Florida) on Wednesday night.
Just talk to Jim Harbaugh!! Received an Offer from Michigan Wolverines #GoBlue— Ryan Davis (@thaRD5) January 15, 2015
Davis is rated as a wide receiver and is ranked 24th at the position in the 2015 class, according to the 247 Composite.
Harbaugh used Thursday to visit many of the powerhouse high schools in southeastern Michigan. He stopped by Farmington Hills Harrison to extend an offer to rising 2016 defensive end prospect Khalid Kareem.
Kareem's recruitment has blown up a bit in recent months and it was a matter of time before an offer came in from the Wolverines. He is a three-star prospect and the 24th ranked defensive end in the 2016 class.
Finally, three-star 2016 linebacker Jeffrey McCullough (Houston, Texas) received an offer from the staff, according to 247 Sports' Colt Barber.
Other notable contacts made
Outside of scholarship offers, Michigan still made contact with quite a few notable prospects on the trail Thursday, namely 2015 kids that already hold offers from the university.
Harbaugh has been pretty good so far of keeping guys that Hoke's staff was recruiting close since he took the job. Perhaps the biggest name that was contacted Thursday was 2015 five-star defensive end and UCLA commit Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, California).
Michigan Came By Today— Keisean South1⃣6⃣ (@KLSouth16) January 15, 2015
Lucier-South was one of Michigan's top targets for months before he decided to commit to UCLA. You'll remember from one of the above segments that he was one of the prospects that Harbaugh followed on Twitter, so interest is clearly still there.
He previously took an official visit for the game against Penn State this past October.
The staff also made sure to check in on 2015 Florida State wide receiver commit Auden Tate (Tampa, Florida) while on the trail today, according to Scout's Bob Redman.
Tate was being recruited hard by Michigan before committing to FSU, so it's not much of a surprise to see the new staff pick up where they left off. Tate still has considerable interest in the Wolverines, so we'll see what happens here.
He is a four-star prospect according to the 247 Composite.
Another prospect that has been asked about frequently is 2015 tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (Manlius, New York), who's father, Tyrone Sr., recently joined Harbaugh's staff as the running backs coach.
Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh reportedly met with him Thursday, according to 247's Steve Lorenz.
Wheatley has been tied to Michigan for a long time and they seem to be the favorite, even before his father was hired as the running backs coach. We'll see what happens, but I would be surprised if he was not a part of this recruiting class.
Moving on to 2016, coach Harbaugh made sure he checked in with an in-state prospect at wide receiver that many are high on, four-star wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick, who is currently committed to Louisville.
It's still a few years away, but it's never too early to get started on the 2017 recruiting cycle, as athlete Jamyest Williams (Lawrenceville, Georgia) also heard from the Wolverines on the first day after the dead period was over.
Under-the-radar 2015 QB's coach speaks about Harbaugh
In Monday's roundup, we talked about how it's possible that Harbaugh will take a second 2015 quarterback prospect in his first class with the Wolverines, and now the player's coach has spoken about both Harbaugh and his under-the-radar signal-caller.
The player in question is McLane Carter (Gilmer, Texas), who has been described by many as a sleeper at the position after coming on late in his high school career.
Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News spoke to his high school coach, Jeff Traylor, about the quarterback and why he has not been noticed much across the country.
"I want to put a sign on my door that if a coach asks if anyone has offered him, I want to ask him to leave, do your own evaluation," Traylor told The Detroit News. "Very few of them have the guts to offer first, especially when some magazine doesn’t have four stars by his name. If someone offers first, another 50 will offer.
"If Jim Harbaugh comes down here to see him, I predict he’ll have 20 offers. He’s coming to look at him, so that’s a good sign."
"He was always a good passer of the ball, but the big-time passing and the winning came this year," Traylor said. "He’s got great composure. There’s not one throw he can’t make, and he’s a lot better athlete than anyone knows he is. We protected him well, but he can move.
Harbaugh will reportedly come check out Carter in person soon. It's possible that Michigan could offer with a good showing.
Targets to keep an eye on
National Signing Day is quickly approaching, as many of you know. With the dead period ending, I put together a list of a few names to watch out for going forward the next couple of weeks.
Some of them will be familiar, while others will be new to many. You can check that piece out here.
That's it for Friday. Check back in with us Monday for the latest in Michigan football recruiting.