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Michigan Monday Crootin’ and the Great Jim Harbaugh Bye Week Tour 2018

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The head coach had an ambitious travel schedule as a recruiter during the bye week.

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Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh is no stranger to an ambitious travel schedule.

In his first month on the job in 2015, he reportedly shelled out $10,000 a day for flights to connect with various recruits.

Don’t be surprised after this week if the travel bill is even higher.

Harbaugh and his staff traded headsets for recruiting hats during Michigan’s bye week, jetting across the country to both close an impressive 2019 class and jumpstart the 2020 edition.

The most ambitious itinerary for the head ball coach was Friday. First, he and Al Washington dropped in on 2019 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison at Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio) Orange. Washington stayed behind to witness a 17-0 Orange victory over Westerville South.

Ann Arbor to Lewis Center, which is just north of Columbus, is 172 miles.

Later that day, Harbaugh trekked to Catawissa, Pa. to meet with 2020 5-star receiver Julian Fleming. The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz ($) confirmed the Wolverine staff is vigorously trying to pry the Penn State lean out of his home state.

Fleming’s home is a mere hour and a half drive to State College. With Harbaugh adding 400 miles to his journey, his commitment to see Fleming face to face should pay future dividends.

Fleming ranks in the top-10 overall in 2020, per 247Sports, and checks in at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds.

Lastly, Harbaugh flew from east Pennsylvania all the way down to Marrietta, Ga. for 2020 4-star quarterback Harrison Bailey. His Marrietta Blue Devils were doubled up on by Hillgrove (Ga.) 48-24.

This final leg spanned 800 more miles. The total distance from Ann Arbor to the three locations approximated 1,400 miles and spanned three different states.

More importantly, all of Harbaugh’s targets constituted high-profile targets, two between Harrison and Bailey that increasingly seem partial to the Maize and Blue. Despite his southern roots, 75 percent of the Georgia signal-caller’s Crystal Balls are pointed towards Michigan.

A few weeks ago, several insiders expressed doubts that Harrison stayed in Columbus. With Ohio State also on a bye, Urban Meyer and key recruiter and defensive line coach Larry Johnson dialed up the pressure on Harrison by stopping by Olentangy, as well.

OTHER VISITS

  • Jay Harbaugh visited Memphis to shore up the pursuit of 4-star running back Eric Gray.

Ole Miss and the nearby Volunteers are pushing hard for a flip, though the Michigan staff feels the commitment from Gray is solid ($).

  • Greg Mattison killed two birds with one stone, driving down to West Lafayette to catch both George and Yanni Karlaftis in their school’s 74-0 playoff rout over Twin Lakes Friday night.

George, a 2019 4-star Purdue pledge, has built a strong bond with Mattison, as well as younger brother Yanni — a 2021 outside linebacker prospect.

  • Ed Warinner tried to prevent 2019 4-star lineman Bryce Benhart from committing elsewhere, visiting Lakeville North Thursday.

Benhart announced a pledge to Scott Frost and Nebraska over the weekend. The Michigan Insider reported a Friday trip to Oak Park to see 2020 5-star guard Justin Rogers, as well.

However, Warinner tweeted this.

He instead dropped by Rockhurst High in Kansas City to see 4-star offensive tackle Danielson Ike. The Hawklets advanced in the playoffs over Lee’s Summit 45-7.

With Warinner’s past as a Kansas Jayhawk offensive coordinator during their Orange Bowl run in 2008, he seems an ideal choice to draw Ike from west of the Mississippi River.

  • After contacting four-star Concord (Calif.) De La Salle tight end Isaiah Foskey, Maize n Brew learned Sherrone Moore made his way to the West Coast for some face time.

Shameless plug time: There is tons of available room for our Maize n Brew meetup this Friday at Detroit Beer Company. Details below.

After Penn State week, keep on eye out for a live scout on 2020 4-star quarterback Jay Butterfield (Brentwood, Calif.). I will be making the drive to watch his Liberty Lions in California playoff action.

For all the best in Michigan recruiting news, follow our staff on Twitter.