Category: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh plays shirtless with participants during the Coach Jim Harbaugh's Elite Summer Football Camp, Friday, June 5, 2015, at Prattville High School in Prattville, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)  NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP

Michigan taking spring practices to Florida is smart on so many levels

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This is news that will surely be received well by coaches from the ACC and SEC.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh announced Wednesday the Wolverines will be spending the first week of spring practices in Florida.

Our plans for spring football are to go to Florida our first week while the university here is on spring break,” Harbaugh said, per MLive.com. “We’ll go to Florida and have four practices down there. We’re going to work hard but we’ll have fun doing it.”

The plan is for Michigan to travel over spring break to Bradenton, Florida for practices at IMG Academy. Not only does this ensure all members of the Michigan program are under Harbaugh’s watch while on spring break, but the Wolverines gain exclusive access to IMG Academy. This will come during a quiet time on the recruiting calendar, but the mere presence of the Wolverines and their equipment truck alone will be more than enough to plant a flag at one of the top high school programs in the country.

This is a brilliant, yet costly move by Harbaugh and Michigan. You might say the Wolverines are sparing no expense in attempting to generate buzz around the program, and they are certainly getting their money’s worth. Harbaugh previously caught the ire of ACC and SEC coaches and representatives by taking his coaching staff on a national tour, including stops throughout the southeast (other coaches did this as well, including Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Mike Riley of Nebraska, James Franklin of Penn State and even Urban Meyer of Ohio State). But now Harbaugh is bringing his whole pack of Wolverines with him for a unique spring break. It won’t be long until this news catches the wind of coaches down.

Harbaugh also said this will be good because now every player on the roster is guaranteed to get some sort of spring break trip out of it without having to worry about the cost. Michigan will be covering the expenses.

“I’ve already got some good plans. We’ll have swim meets, putt-putt golf. We’re going to have football meetings, practice. I think it gives a chance to win on a lot of different levels.”

You know why else this is a bold and smart move by Harbaugh? It’s cold in Michigan for the first week of spring practices. Who would not want to take an opportunity to go to Florida for a week when the other option is staying in Michigan that time of year?

So to recap, this is a great move by Harbaugh because:

  • Free spring break trip for Michigan players
  • All players under Harbaugh’s watch on spring break
  • Plants flag at IMG Academy, potentially setting up pipeline to Ann Arbor
  • Gets out of the Michigan cold for a week
  • Gives southern coaches one more thing to whine about (and more for college football bloggers to write about)
  • Harbaugh can work on his tan

Michigan’s signing day event raises over $110,000 for ChadTough Foundation

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh talks to fans at the Signing With the Stars spectacle, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 in Ann Arbor, Mich. College football's recruiting circus has found its ringmaster in Michigan's coach. Harbaugh was the real star of the Wolverines show that former coach Lou Holtz predicted will be copied in years to come by other schools. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Say what you will about the recruiting strategies and festivities put on by Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, but it ultimately was all for a terrific cause. Michigan’s Signing of the Stars event on National Signing Day raised over $110,000 for the Chad Tough Foundation.

The Chad Tough Foundation funds research and raises awareness for pediatric brain tumors, with a specific focus on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. The foundation is named after Chad Carr, the grandson of former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. The young Carr passed away last November as the victim of the brain tumor. It has quickly become a part of the Michigan football family, and Wednesday’s event was a terrific way to both sell and celebrate the football program’s recruiting success as well as raise money for a great cause.

“Love for the University … but most importantly love for Chad Carr, ChadTough, his family, what Lloyd Carr has meant to this town, this state, this country,” Harbaugh said in an interview with Big Ten Network. “Tammi and Jason, Chad, his brothers. We’ve all witnessed it.

“When you see love, you see love for a young five-year-old boy, when you see him love back, and everybody involved, it brings you nearer to God. I think that was the cornerstone of this event. Let that pour out and let others see it, too.”

One question some have been asking in response to Michigan’s signing day extravaganza was whether or not it opened doors for other schools to organize similar events on signing day. If that means more money being raised for worthy causes, bring them on.

Michigan made star-studded splash, but Buckeyes remain on top in Big Ten recruiting

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, center, sings "Carmen Ohio" to the band after their 35-28 win over California in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
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Michigan landed the nation’s top-ranked recruit. The Wolverines scored one of the best classes it has had in years. It celebrated its latest recruiting efforts with an A-List fundraiser with Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Ric Flair. Jim Harbaugh has Michigan making plenty of noise with his recruiting tactics on the road. Despite all of the attention given to what Harbaugh and Michigan are doing, at the end of the day it is still Ohio State sitting atop the recruiting game when it comes to the Big Ten.

Michigan gave Ohio State a good run in the recruiting rankings, but the Buckeyes managed to stay just ahead of their bitter rivals to the north. According to the Rivals team rankings, Ohio State finished in third in the nation behind only recruiting national champion Alabama and Florida State (the Seminoles pushed past Ohio State earlier in the day). Urban Meyer‘s latest prized haul included two five-star players (LB Keandre Jones and DE Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Joey Bosa). The Buckeyes also added 15 four-star recruits in a class of 24. Michigan landed 28 additions in the Class of 2016, including a handful of signing day decisions, highlighted by Rashan Gary choosing Michigan over Clemson.

Every year since 2011, Ohio State has landed the top-rated recruiting class in the Big Ten. The last time the Buckeyes didn’t land the top class was the Class of 2010, which came at the end of the Jim Tressel era. Ohio State has had the top-ranked class in the Big Ten all but one year since 2008. For the past few years, the Buckeyes were largely in a boat all to themselves in the recruiting rankings, but this year did show Ohio State has some rejuvenated competition on the recruiting trail within the conference.

Michigan’s resurgence was expected under Harbaugh, but Michigan State also landed another quality recruiting class to hold its own, with just 18 commitments to finish third in the Big Ten pecking order. James Franklin and Penn State had some hurdles down the stretch, but the Nittany Lions landed the conference’s fourth-best recruiting class. The top four classes in the Big Ten all reside in the east. Nebraska and Wisconsin followed to represent the west.

As we now get set to turn the page to the Class of 2017, the question will now become whether or not Michigan can take that next step at challenging Ohio State. This obviously begins on the field this season, but will continue on the recruiting trail as well.

Michigan reels in nation’s No. 1 recruit in Rashan Gary

Rashan Gary
Rivals.com
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Jim Harbaugh has landed the biggest recruiting fish by far during his two recruiting cycles in Michigan — and he didn’t even need a sleepover to do it.

Down to a final two of UM and Clemson, and with a decided lean toward the Wolverines, Rashan Gary, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, announced during a live segment on ESPN2 that he is indeed headed to Ann Arbor to play for Harbaugh.  While there was a lean toward Michigan, the fact that Gary’s last official visit came this past weekend to Clemson led some to shift their thinking and see the Tigers as a real threat to UM.

In the end, however, the leader entering the 18th hole claimed the prized trophy in the clubhouse.

“That’s the place where I felt comfortable, that’s the place I feel my family will feel comfortable, that’s the place I feel the academic support is great,” Gary said in a post-announcement interview.  Interestingly, Gary said “when I was coming to the stage” when he was asked about when he decided on Michigan.

From Rivals.com to Scout to 247Sports to ESPN, every major recruiting service had the New Jersey product ranked as the No. 1 player in the country.  In most cases, it was the first time those recruiting services had ranked a defensive tackle as the top-rated overall prospect in a class.

This also marks the first time that the Michigan program has signed the highest-rated recruit in a class.  Jabril Peppers was the No. 2 recruit in 2014 as the previous program high-water recruiting mark, which surpassed the No. 4 ranking of quarterback Ryan Mallett in 2007.

One final note: Gary is the first No. 1 prospect to sign with a non-SEC school since Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor in 2008.

CFT Previews: National Signing Day

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during pregame warmups prior to facing the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Many in college football refer to National Signing Day simply as Christmas, as there’s some truth to that. There’s zero doubt the biggest day on the sport’s calendar between the closing of one season and the beginning of another is the first Wednesday in February. That day happens to be tomorrow.

With Signing Day upon us, here’s a quick rundown of the biggest storyline heading into tomorrow’s festivities:

– Where does Rashan Gary land? Gary is the Class of 2016’s answer to Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive tackle standing 6-foot-5, weighing in at 290 pounds and running like a gazelle with his hooves on fire. The Paramus, N.J., holds offers from just about everybody, but has whittled his list down to just Michigan and Clemson. Rivals’ No. 1 overall player will make his announcement from the SportsCenter studio during the 1 p.m. ET hour on ESPN2.

– How do the Tide and Trojans close? Since 2008, the only programs to claim Rivals’ No. 1 classes are USC (2010 and 2015) and Alabama (every other year). As of this writing, Alabama ranks ninth, while USC is 33rd. However, the Tide claims only 17 commitments at this time, while USC sits with just 13 in Clay Helton‘s first class as head coach. It’s safe to say Alabama will make its name known among the top five by the time the final fax rolls in Wednesday evening. USC is much more of a wild card.

– And what about Texas? Since Rivals started ranking recruiting classes in 2002, Texas has finished in the top 25 14 times in 14 chances. What’s more, the ‘Horns have ranked among the top 20 13 times and in the top 5 seven times. Which is why, to the uninformed, Charlie Strong could already be on his way out of town with a class ranked 39th, one spot above noted football power Oregon State. But Texas is set to close on a number of prospects — even landing an unexpected commitment in four-star running back Kyle Porter — earlier today and could rocket up the rankings throughout the day on Wednesday.

– Who signs the No. 1 class? As we established earlier, no team has claimed Rivals’ recruiting national championship since Nick Saban‘s first class way back in 2007, when Urban Meyer and Florida, fresh off their first national championship together, edged out USC. Fast forward nearly a decade… and Meyer again has a chance to win another recruiting title, this time for Ohio State. The Buckeyes lead the pack heading into Signing Day, but LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson and, yes, Alabama are hot on their scarlet-and-gray heels.