thumbs up [Bryan Fuller]
Class size: fishy?
Since the 2016 Michigan recruiting class has already grown beyond the 14 scholarships that are known to be available, do you have a take or any insight as to how far Coach Harbaugh is willing to go with regards to oversigning? Is it simply a matter of players not being offered a 5th year or could we actually see Michigan take a step toward opening the Harbaugh wing of St. Saban's Memorial Hospital?
I have a hard time believing that we could get that draconian with recruiting, but is there a danger that we step too close to the line that coaches like Urban Meyer and Nick Saban crossed a long time ago?
A quick glance at the Depth Chart By Class shows a large number of redshirt juniors who are not currently contributors. At this point many aren't expected to be. Those guys can graduate and either take a fifth year elsewhere or head to the real world without anything about their departure being shady. There are between four and six candidates for the firm handshake on the roster.
Also, I've heard that there were a couple guys who were likely to take medical redshirts of the legit variety. I'm surprised we haven't heard any announcements about that yet—maybe there's enough room for the players in question to see if they can get back to where they need to be this year.
Add those two things together and you have 20 or so spots right now. It's reasonable to expect playing time and other attrition to get Michigan to the 25 they seem to be planning on—most teams in year one of a new coach see attrition like that.
I don't expect this to be a long term trend. Harbaugh's classes at Stanford ended up with 19, 17, 22, and 22 kids. That is a mere 80 in four years. (The transition class between Harbaugh and Shaw was 19, FWIW.) Harbaugh is clearly alarmed at the state of the roster and is trying to get in guys who he thinks are a good fit as quickly as reasonably possible.
It is possible it'll seem shady in February. Right now it looks like a reasonable approach.
Cat fight fix, more attrition stuff.
Ace's Stanford recruiting diagnosis reminded me of JH's public cat fight with Mike Hart and Jamie Morris. I did some digging yesterday on whether those fences were mended and found general statements from Morris about Jim being the right guy for the job before his hire in Dec/Jan, but nothing direct. This scuffle was a huge deal at the time and many wrote off Harbaugh for good. Do you know if this was all swept under the rug or if we've kissed an made up?
I'm not sure if Mike Hart buried the hatchet with Harbaugh. I didn't hear anything about it during the search, and it is possible that he was omitted from the "everyone call Jim Harbaugh" list, whether by accident or on purpose.
I have heard that Harbaugh and Carr had a conversation about a lot of things that did directly address those comments to the satisfaction of both men. Thus Carr's public advocacy of hiring Harbaugh even before that was accomplished. From my impressions of both men I'm guessing they're never going to be best buds; Carr was clearly practical enough to identify the best option for Michigan's coaching search.
Also in regards to Ace's post, it seems like this year will serve as a decent case study for how JH will handle 'crootin. We are taking guys at an astonishing pace this summer, and a class that is estimated to be near the 28 man limit is already filling up. Like most, I found that a bit unsettling and hope the additional public attention at UM curbs this activity (especially if Jimmy's going to cast stones at OSU 'crootin).
As I mentioned above, Harbaugh history in terms of attrition is very conservative. Some of the decommits Ace detailed aren't how I'd want Michigan's coach to go about things, but at least those guys were able to get the picture relatively early and find places.
[After THE JUMP: "his guys," speed, Harbaugh counterfactuals.]
Catching Up: St-Juste, Hamilton, Kareem
Benjamin St-Juste [photo via 247]
We're slowly getting more information on the unexpected commitment of Canadian cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. Tim Sullivan suggested earlier this week that St-Juste could come in as early as this fall. Based on what St-Juste told TMI's Brice Marich after his commitment, however, 2016 is the most likely option:
“I have already graduated high school in Canada because we graduate one year earlier than the U.S. and now I need to add the same courses they have in the U.S. to be eligible. It is not fair for Canadians. So I need to do extra courses to be eligible and do another year. As soon as I get that, then I will be leaving Canada to be playing at Michigan.”
This isn’t the first time the Maize & Blue have harvested talent from Vieux Montreal. St-Juste will be following in the footsteps of former Wolverines Renaldo Sagesse, Alain Kashama, Emmanuel Casseus and Deitan Dubuc. If all goes according to plan he will make his way to Ann Arbor as part of the 2016 class.
247 is the first to rank St-Juste, giving him three stars based on the admittedly scant information available. Steve Lorenz caught up with former Michigan CB and current Bolingbrook (IL) head coach Todd Howard, who helped coach the defensive backs at Michigan's camp, to get his thoughts on St-Juste:
"The first thing that stood out to me was his size," Howard said. "He's a legitimate 6'3" and with a helmet and cleats, he looks all of 6'4"-6'-5". The other thing that stood out immediately about him was that he is definitely a true cornerback. When we first started working, he asked if he should be working with the safeties. I don't think he even realized he has the athleticism and length to play the cornerback spot at a high level. He showed excellent footwork and played with a very low pad level for someone of his size as well. He was very impressive."
That's a tall corner. If St-Juste's feet are quick enough, there's a lot to work with.
There were two major announcement yesterday, one that went Michigan's way and one that didn't. Four-star Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem chose Alabama over Michigan, even though he came very close to ending up with the Wolverines, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner:
"At one point, yeah, I did think I'd end up at Michigan," Kareem said Wednesday. "But I really just had to think about what the best decision was for me and my family."
Kareem mentioned a particular recruiting factor that will work against Jim Harbaugh until he's had time to turn the program around:
The competition Alabama will face on the field in the Southeastern Conference and the competition Kareem will face in practice every day with the Crimson Tide's established roster were the tipping points.
Right now, Michigan's not on that level. Kareem said the chance to play for a national title right away was important to him. If Michigan were in that spot right now, would his decision be different?
"Yeah, it might've been another factor," he said. "I know they're going to get there. But (Alabama's there right now)."
Despite all that, Kareem didn't feel totally firm in his choice until yesterday morning. We'll see if the coaches continue pursuing him or if they move on to other targets.
On the flip side, four-star MD OT Devery Hamilton joined the class yesterday afternoon. He told Rivals' Adam Friedman that Michigan's academic presentation played a major role in his commitment ($):
With academics played a huge part in his decision, Michigan went the extra mile to show Hamilton everything at its disposal.
"I met a professor from the business school," he said. "He was very open and inviting. He seemed like a nice person. I also talked to a pediatric oncologist at their hospital. He was very friendly. Both of them made sure that, if I was interested in going into either one of those fields, Michigan had the resources to point me in the right direction."
I think we've retired "The Pattern™" as a thing, but if we're still using it, Hamilton fits the bill.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Photo via 247
While Khalid Kareem's announcement earlier this afternoon didn't go Michigan's way, that didn't stop Jim Harbaugh from adding a four-star lineman to the 2016 class today. Baltimore (MD) Gilman OT Devery Hamilton chose Michigan over Stanford and Maryland this afternoon. Hamilton is the 18th commit in the class—potentially 19th, depending on when Benjamin St-Juste enrolls—and the fourth on the offensive line, joining Ben Bredeson, Michael Onwenu, and Erik Swenson, all four-stars themselves.
4*, #13 OT,
|4*, #26 OT||3*, 79, #33 OT||
4*, 92, #24 OT,
4*, #23 OT,
Every site but ESPN considers Hamilton a four-star prospect, with Scout the most bullish on his potential. ESPN isn't even as much of an outlier as they appear at first glance; Hamilton is just three spots away in the position rankings from being a four-star there, too.
Hamilton has the size of a left tackle, listed at either 6'6" or 6'7". There's some discrepancy about his weight, with Scout and Rivals listing him in the 270-pound range and the other two pegging him around 290. It looks like the latter figure is more up-to-date.
Hamilton is an interesting case. He was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of nine, per TomVH ($). At the beginning of his high school career, he focused mostly on playing defense, and when he lined up on offense he often did so as a tight end. Last season was the first time Hamilton focused mostly on offensive tackle, and since then his recruitment has blown up.
Scout's Brian Dohn sees Hamilton as a prospect on either side of the ball, noting that on offense he's got that classic left tackle frame:
Hamilton can play offensive tackle or on the defensive line in college. He has the size and length to be a left tackle. He is aggressive and is able to disengage as a defensive lineman, and as an offensive lineman shoots his hands out is able to lock onto blocks and finish them. No matter the side of the ball, Hamilton plays hard and to the whistle. He chases plays down the field on defense, and gets to the second level on offense. -- Brian Dohn
ESPN's evaluation essentially boils down to "great physical tools, very raw." While they note a lot of technical areas in need of work, including hand usage and pad level, they like his long-term potential on offense ($):
Hamilton has experience on both sides of the ball and could receive interest and very well land on the defensive side of the ball where he could be a stout run defender. While defense could get him on the field a little sooner we feel in the long term he could make a bigger contribution as an OL. Would at this stage need a good deal of development leading to at least a red-shirt, but down the road could a good, productive starting Power-5 OL
While the technique isn't all the way there yet—and it never is with high school linemen, but that's probably more the case with a recent O-line convert like Hamilton—the physical ability is apparent. 247's Barton Simmons didn't even need to see Hamilton play offensive line to notice his potential as a future tackle at a scrimmage last September:
Over the weekend in a matchup against Ohio power Lakewood, Hamilton was lining up at both defensive end and tight end. Today Hamilton has been graded as a four-star on 247Sports with an 91 grade as an offensive tackle.
At 6-6, 270 pounds, Hamilton showed good feet and quickness with the ability to catch the ball as a tight end but his frame and his ability to hold the point of attack gives him the look of a future blue chip at offensive tackle.
Yes, we can dream of FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS with this commitment, as well.
The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan stopped by a Gilman practice last October and praised Hamilton's athleticism ($):
Hamilton was the most impressive trench player for the Greyhounds. He needs to bulk up in the weight room, but as things stand, he's a long, lean offensive tackle with the frame to be a blindside player. He's also a very good natural athlete, able to get out and run to the edge and block for screens. He wasn't used as a pulling lineman, but could prove capable there, too. The 6-6, 270-pounder has plenty of potential.
The most detailed scouting report comes from Scout's Dave Lomonico, who took in Gilman's exhibition against Washington DC St. John's last August ($):
He has a wide frame and a good base, to go along with long arms and big, strong hands. Hamilton comes off the ball well, gets good extension and has a potent punch at the point of attack. He’s surprisingly agile for a big man, shifting his feet well to readjust to edge rushers, while also showing the ability to block in space. Hamilton also possesses that “grinders” mentality, mauling his man when running plays go over his side. Hamilton does need to work on his leverage and, as a pass blocker, become more effective as an anchor with control, hand placement and footwork. And while he can push to the second level and finish blocks, Hamilton can become an even more consistent punisher.
The reports are pretty dang consistent: Hamilton has a lot of raw potential as a left tackle prospect, with a heavy emphasis on both the "raw" and "potential" aspects until he gets more experience playing the position.
In addition to Hamilton's final three, he held offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. That's a pretty impressive list from both a football and academic perspective.
Gilman is one of the East Coast's most consistent producers of football talent. Michigan fans are familiar with current defensive lineman Henry Poggi. Alabama corner Cyrus Jones, Virginia Tech linebacker Melvin Keihn, former Virginia wideout Darius Jennings, and 2015 Texas signee Kai Locksley are the other four-star prospects to come out of Gilman since 2002, according to the Rivals database.
Offensive lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Hamilton is a prospect in clear need of development, and he should be afforded plenty of time to come into his own at Michigan. After an almost certain redshirt year, he'll compete at tackle with Mason Cole, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Grant Newsome, and Nolan Ulizio for a spot on the two-deep. In all likelihood, it'll take him a few years of development before he sees the field; after the last several years, it's worth reminding Michigan fans that this is optimal for an offensive lineman. When Hamilton does compete for a spot, he should slot in at left tackle.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is up to 18 commits for the 2016 class, 19 if you include St-Juste, who could come in as early as this fall or as late as 2017. The mailbag I've promised in which I'll take a much closer look at the scholarship numbers will come on Friday, before I take a much-needed week off. (Barring new commitments this week, which I can't rule out, in which case I'll address the scholarship situation when I'm back in July.)
One thing is certain: Michigan is assembling a heck of an offensive line class. Swenson and Hamilton are ideal tackle prospects, Bredeson can play either tackle or guard, and Onwenu is a pure guard. Michigan also leads for four-star guard Terrance Davis, and they'll still accept his commitment if he wants to be a part of the class; the Wolverines would be set with that group of five.
Dodgeball got heated. Denard and Devin talk to Isaiah Hole at the A4 camp:
Battle status. Still no commitment, apparently planning on taking what would be his final official visit to either UConn or Kentucky, door with Michigan may remain open. Jarron Cumberland's visit did not result in a commit($) and there is no public mention of an offer, but Sam Webb says that things went very well and that you shouldn't read much into that.
Meanwhile, Syracuse blog Nunes Magician* has some insider info:
NunesMagician.com was told earlier today that the official visit went "very well," but Jim Boeheim did not receive a commitment. …
As each day goes by, Syracuse fans should feel less optimistic. The staff has been on the 5-star New Jersey native since his freshman year. He has visited the campus multiple times, but is still tentative to pull the trigger.
This is kind of how I feel about Jonathan Jones, the Florida linebacker who seems like he's been on the verge of a commit for months now.
In any case, Duke is not getting involved again, Syracuse doesn't seem like a particularly appealing destination for Battle for whatever reason (a good one: they are down a quarter of their scholarships for as long as Battle will be in college), and UConn is currently in the American. If he does visit Kentucky that blows up the "distance is the main factor" thing.
Maybe the door is still open? If not it sounds like Cumberland will be in the class pretty soon.
*[The name of this is a long story involving a bad quarterback.]
Bonjour pronto. That's French, right? Alpaca-outta-nowhere commit Benjamin St-Juste is Canadian, and if we've learned anything from South Park it's that Canada's a little bit different than the United States. One of the differences is that Canadian high school is apparently as long as you want it to be.
People were talking about St-Juste as 2016 or 2017 commit yesterday; today Tim Sullivan notes that there's a chance he could come in this fall($), as he's around 18—the usual age you enter college. I think there will be room, and the corner depth is going to be iffy after this year so you may as well.
Unnecessary dumping on Java aside. Summer Swarm commit Rashad Weaver sounds like an exceptional student:
An accomplished student throughout his high school career at Cooper City High School outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, most of Weaver's courses are of the advanced-placement or honors variety. Meaning his grade-point average can soar above the customary 4.0, if he's able to push it that high.
During his sophomore year, he had it up to a 4.6. But as a junior, a simple misdirection had him aggravated.
Weaver enrolled in an AP computer science class as a junior. He knew it'd be a challenge, but figured he'd be able to hang. And then things got started.
"It turned out to be a class that was basically for kids who did Java coding at home for fun," Weaver chuckles. "So, yeah, it was tough."
Mr. Weaver, this is my advice to you: if you ever see "LISP" on a course description, run like hell. This is my advice to all people. Emeril! Run like hell if you ever see this:
Now there will be a computer science hipster in the comments talking about how LISP is really elegant because of closures. I apologize in advance.
Anyway, you probably don't come here so I can dump on obscure programming languages. A little more on Weaver:
he appeared at Michigan's satellite camp stop in south Florida with some hope and not much else. At best, Weaver figured he could catch the attention of a Big Ten school. At worst, he knew he'd leave the event a better football player.
It was a win-win, he figured.
And, as is often the case in the classroom, he was right.
"The main reason I went to the camp was because I saw Michigan coaches would be there. I saw it as an opportunity, figured I'd do my best to put my best foot forward and do everything I could to get noticed," Weaver says. "I figured at least it'd be something where I could get better. I was going to go out there and do my best. If I showed well, then they'd notice me. If not, then maybe it wasn't meant to be.
"But I went knowing I'd get better one way or another. And it all worked out."
At 6'5", 245, Weaver is one of the infinite DE/TE prospects Michigan will bring in as long as Harbaugh's around. We probably won't know where he sticks until he's a junior.
Next year will not be the year. Northwestern's never been to the NCAA tournament. This is their nonconference schedule:
A tourney, road games against VT and DePaul, and then garbage.
They do get two of UNC/KState/Mizzou in their tourney. If that even helps much:
Last year's RPI of Northwestern's 2015-16 OOC slate: Two of 11, 100 & 218. Also: 196, 197, 228, 243, 265, 270, 292, 299, 326, 333, 345,
— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) June 24, 2015
Brutal. And this is a team that returns everyone except oft-injured senior JerShon Cobb and little-used Dave Sobolewski; they've got a senior version of Alex Olah and Tre Demps. This is the kind of Northwestern team that could possibly maybe put themselves on the bubble. But if they are, they're going to be crushed by their own schedule.
Etc.: The Puff Daddy thing is the weirdest. Zach Werenski profiled for the draft. A4 camp report. O'Bannon "one of the most significant antitrust cases of this era," says judge. Carr speaks at a Big Brothers, Big Sisters event.Take a picture: this UV has no mention of a weird thing Harbaugh did.
Even by Jim Harbaugh standards, Michigan's latest commitment is an obscure one. TMI's Brice Marich broke the news this afternoon that Canadian CB Benjamin St-Juste, who camped at Michigan last week, has pledged to the Wolverines:
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) June 23, 2015
St-Juste's enrollment situation is unclear at this point. If he comes in with the 2016 class, he'll be the 18th total commit and the second at cornerback, joining Antwaine Richardson. If he's in the 2017 class, he'll be their second commit, joining Brother Rice TE Carter Dunaway.
|NR CB||NR CB||NR CB||NR CB||NR CB|
St-Juste doesn't have a recruiting profile on any of the sites. His Hudl page lists him at 6'3", 170, which would be an intriguingly lanky frame for a corner. He looks pretty tall for the position on film, though I won't venture a guess as to how accurate that 6'3" figure is.
Despite his complete lack of a recruiting profile, St-Juste has a couple evaluations out there, both from Michigan's "Exposure U" camp last week. Scout's Allen Trieu placed him 14th among the top performers, though St. Juste was so under-the-radar at the time that he didn't get his name right ($):
14. Benjamin St. John - 2016 CB, Old Montreal (Canada)
A big corner, he turned heads. There may not be room at the inn as far as Michigan's concern, but the staff showed him a lot of attention and he's a name to keep in mind depending on what happens with some other targets I think.
Apparently, there's room. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan and Brandon Brown added a little bit more detail in their rundown of days two and three of the camp ($):
Montreal (Que.) CAL 2016 cornerback Benjamin St.-Juste is a tall, long-armed cornerback at about 6-3, but he still has the hips to turn and run with receivers - something that's less common in players his height. St.-Juste impressed the U-M position coaches, and had an extended opportunity to work out in front of both of Michigan's defensive backs coaches, and even headman Jim Harbaugh.
St.-Juste might be one of the top players in all the camp when it comes to approaching a Michigan offer.
His film, embedded at the top of this post, is unfortunately hard to follow—much of it is filmed in pore-o-vision. He looks to have decent athleticism and ball skills, and he plays with a physical edge. His technique, as you might expect, looks pretty raw.
Without a recruiting profile, it's unclear if St. Juste had other offers.
Is in Canada.
UPDATE: Thanks to @robphillips1979 for pointing out some recent camp footage of St-Juste on YouTube:
FAKE 40 TIME
None listed on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I'll wait until we know when St-Juste will enroll before taking a guess. He looks like another guy with potential upside due to his size and athleticism who will take some serious molding before he's able to see the field.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Which class? We'll see.
Tony Jefferson (L) and Kain Colter (R) left Stanford's class for very different reasons.
I swear I'll be posting a full recruiting mailbag this week, but when looking at Michael Spath's article on Jim Harbaugh's recruiting style, this merited a closer examination:
At Stanford, The Cardinal produced a slew of decommitments during Harbaugh's tenure (18 alone in 2010), and we've been told that when Harbaugh accepts a commitment, it is often the early stages of the vetting process, and that over the next few months both coaching staff and recruit could come to the conclusion it is not the right fit.
If such were to happen at Michigan, fans would have to ask themselves if they are OK with a recruiting strategy in which players are recruited and offered a scholarship but ultimately told prior to Signing Day that it would be best for all involved to part ways.
Stanford's elite admissions turned away a few prospects, and one could argue it was the school not Harbaugh that had final say, but a staff should have a pretty good feel from the onset which players have the grades to be admitted and those that do not. At Stanford, Harbaugh was willing to accept pledges from an abundance of borderline prospects.
18 decommitments in one class! On its face, that's alarming, especially in the context of Michigan taking this many early commitments. To get a clearer picture of what happened at Stanford and what we can expect from Harbaugh at Michigan, I took a look at the decommitment stories of every one-time 2010 Stanford commit I could find to see what really occurred.
The good news: Harbaugh didn't just kick 18 players out of his class to make room for better players. In fact, a good number of these decommits were players Harbaugh didn't want to lose. There was no Elliott Porter situation. The bad news: while Harbaugh didn't seem to go so far as to yank anyone's scholarship outright, a couple of the tactics he used probably won't sit well with Michigan fans, and understandably so.
I've separated out the 2010 decommits into categories. I believe Spath's source for the 18 decommits figure is this Bleacher Report article. There's only one player on the list (Tyler Brosius) whom I couldn't verify was ever a Stanford commit in the first place; neither Rivals nor Scout even listed him as holding an offer. Here's the rest:
Prospect Chose A Better Opportunity
Several of Stanford's 2010 commits had one of the more common reasons for a commitment flip: they got what they found to be a better offer from another program and made the switch.
- Four-star CA S/LB Tony Jefferson, now on the Arizona Cardinals, committed to Stanford in September of his junior season. He backed off the following January, saying he wanted to keep his options open while citing concerns over Stanford's strict admissions, and ended up at Oklahoma.
- Four-star CA LB Jordan Zumwalt fielded heavy interest from both Los Angeles schools while he was a Stanford commit, and on Signing Day he switched to UCLA, in part because it was closer to home.
- Four-star MD CB Louis Young committed to Stanford without taking a visit, had second thoughts, recommitted, had second thoughts again, and eventually wound up at Georgia Tech.
- Three one-time Stanford commits—four-star GA WR TJ Jones, three-star UT S Chris Badger, and three-star KY OL Tate Nichols—flipped to Notre Dame during the process. Jones switched after an official visit to South Bend, while the other two made their decisions shortly after receiving Irish offers.
- Three-star OH CB Courtney Avery changed his commitment to Michigan after earning a camp offer in the spring.
- Three-star TX DT Will Hampton started fielding increased interest, decided he wanted to take visits, narrowed his choices to Notre Dame and Northwestern, and eventually chose the Wildcats.
That's eight of the 18 who simply decided to pursue what they found to be a better opportunity elsewhere.
Standard Recruitment Issues
For one reason or another, something came up during the course of these players' recruitments that led them to end up elsewhere:
- Four-star FL OL Torrian Wilson changed his commitment to Louisville when his primary recruiter at Stanford, Willie Taggart, took the head coaching job at Western Kentucky. He also said his mom wanted him closer to home. There's good evidence that was the driving factor—he'd later flip his commitment again, this time to UCF.
- Four-star TE Blake Barker, who hailed from Cambridge, MA, changed his commitment to Harvard, telling Rivals he wanted the right combination of academics and proximity to home.
- Four-star MO RB Brandon Bourbon also decided he wanted to play close to home, swiching to Kansas just days before NSD after being committed to Stanford for six months.
Senior Year Injury
This is where things start getting uncomfortable. In two documented cases, Stanford stopped contacting recruits after they suffered injuries during their season season. That's how Kain Colter, a three-star athlete, wound up at Northwestern instead of heading to Palo Alto:
During his first game that fall, Colter heard a "pop" after throwing a post route. An MRI revealed a torn labrum and biceps, but he kept playing as a running back and receiver while rehabbing a shoulder that eventually needed surgery.
Stanford originally stuck by him, but then their correspondences dwindled. They wanted his MRI results and claimed he would have to wait for clearance from the admissions office. Interesting for a kid who carried a 4.2 grade-point average.
Finally, Spencer said, "They just stopped calling. It was a bad situation. I wanted them to man up and talk to Kain."
Colter decommitted in late December. Three-star FL OG Joe McNamara had a similar experience:
The 6-foot-2, 270-pound McNamara, a three-star prospect rated the 28th-best offensive guard in the country by Scout.com, was excited to become a Cardinal. That's when his recruitment started taking a turn for the worse.
Tearing his ACL roughly a week before the season started, forcing McNamara to sit out his entire senior season, McNamara wanted to be sure Stanford was still behind him. After no returned calls or emails, McNamara had to start from scratch.
"The thing that took the longest was finding out if Stanford was in or out," McNamara told Badger Nation Monday. "They never came out and said I was out of the picture but at the same time, there was no communication. I would say probably November was when I re-opened the recruiting process."
McNamara wound up at Wisconsin. If there's a positive to be found in these two cases, it's that Harbaugh never formally pulled either player's scholarship, and both opened up their recruitments with enough time left in the process to find suitable landing spots. It's tough to sugarcoat the complete lack of communication from Stanford's end, however.
Stanford Ceased Contact
Somewhat related to the above, the main way it seems Harbaugh indicated to recruits it was best for both parties to go their separate ways was to stop talking to them.
- Three-star GA S Daunte Carr opened up his recruitment because he hadn't heard back from the admissions department with less than a month to go before Signing Day. He later committed to Arkansas.
- Three-star NV LB Evan Palelei committed in the spring of his junior year, then decommitted in early September of his senior year because he "lost contact with them over the summer." Palelei eventually signed with Navy.
The Late Grayshirt
- In arguably the most concerning situation of them all, the Stanford staff informed three-star TX TE Zachary Swanson that he'd have to take a grayshirt with about a month to go before Signing Day. He chose instead to sign with Virginia.
I can't find anywhere what happened in the case of three-star OG Harris Williams, who flipped to Boston College in July after originally pledging to the Cardinal in late April.
A lot of the attrition in this class occurred for reasons outside Harbaugh's control, but there are definitely red flags that come up. Falling out of contact with recruits as a way of not-so-subtly pushing them out the door isn't a great look, especially in the case of injury; even worse is blindsiding a prospect with a late grayshirt.
We'll see if Harbaugh operates in a different way at Michigan, where he won't have to worry as much about potential attrition within his classes due to problems with admissions. While this stuff doesn't quite rise to the SEC level of recruiting malfeasance, it's not going to go over well in Ann Arbor if Harbaugh isn't more open with recruits about their place in the class as the process moves along.