Jim Harbaugh may be winning over Michigan fans with how well he’s turned the team around in just one season at the helm, but has drawn more than his fair share of critics over his recruiting practices. Most recently, Steve Politi of NJ.com penned a scathing column over how Harbaugh pulled scholarships from two recruits recently and posted a link to the piece to Twitter.
Politi offered more in the column:
This is relevant now because Harbaugh has opened one Turnpike-sized pipeline from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, making him the biggest recruiting obstacle forChris Ash and his new staff at Rutgers. Michael Dwumfour, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from DePaul Catholic, is just the latest New Jersey star to announce he was headed to the Big House.
All Big Ten coaches try to recruit this state, but few have done it better lately than Harbaugh. He has plenty to sell, starting with the tradition at Michigan and his own coaching acumen. No one is denying that Harbaugh is good at his job, which Rutgers witnessed first hand this fall.
Still: You hope the players who are making that pledge to Michigan now are doing so with their eyes wide open. If Harbaugh can’t keep his word on the recruiting trail, can he be trusted to do so once players get on campus?
This criticism was born out of two stories. The first being Class of 2016 offensive tackle Erik Swenson having his scholarship pulled by Harbaugh completely, and the second being Class of 2016 defensive tackle and now former Michigan commit Rashad Weaver being told by Harbaugh that there was a “50-50 chance” that there would not be a scholarship available come National Signing Day next week.
Now, though the way Harbaugh went about handling both situations is certainly not ideal, not to mention that both instances had to happen to begin with, to criticize him for it is unfair. Swenson was recruited by Harbaugh’s predecessor, Brady Hoke, and that could just be a case of Harbaugh realizing that the young man wasn’t a good fit for the system. It’s unclear whether the same can be said about Weaver, but that story is still relatively new.
Most important of all, to the direct knowledge of most, it’s not like Harbaugh has a reputation for doing this constantly, as he was previously the coach of Stanford and San Diego. Unless scholarships being pulled and offers rescinded becomes the norm under his watch at Ann Arbor, for Politi to say that recruits shouldn’t trust him is completely unfair.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports