oh hey look who's ready for the Tennessee camp [via the incomparable Smoothitron]
Unless you're about six years late joining Twitter or doing something ridiculous like spending time outside enjoying the summer weather, you've noticed that there's a new component tucked into Jim Harbaugh's satellite camp tour in 2016. Harbaugh's a master of both connecting with people and efficiency, and what better way to break the ice as quickly as possible than wearing the jersey of a local legend.
Sometimes they have Michigan connections (he wore a Denard jersey in Jacksonville), sometimes they have Harbaugh connections (he wore an Andrew Luck shirsey in Indianapolis), and sometimes they just show off how insane Harbaugh's list of Known Friends and Trusted Agents is (he wore a Hank Aaron jersey in Atlanta and got Aaron to wear a Michigan hat). The Matlete asked Seth when our jersey prediction article was going to be published, and that got the wheels turning; once you picture the gloriousness of Jim Harbaugh photoshopped into a Charles Woodson jersey there's no turning back.
June 6: Baltimore, MD- St. Frances Academy, Patterson Park
Johnny Unitas? Joe Flacco? His own jersey?
I'm torn here. Unitas may not play that well with kids in high school, but it's a nice nod to the Colts' history and to one of the best quarterbacks ever. Then again, there's an elite QB (or is he?) playing for Harbaugh's brother; he also could go with a Willie Henry Ravens jersey if he's looking for a Michigan connection. The wild card would be throwing on his old Ravens jersey, a gentle reminder that he knows the NFL from just about every perspective.
June 7: Mobile, AL- University of South Alabama
Hank Aaron, part II
Harbaugh may have already worn an Aaron jersey in Atlanta, but I see no reason to shy away from wearing it again in Hammerin' Hank's hometown; there aren't many athletes more impressive to call your friend than baseball's home run king.
June 8: Cleveland Heights, OH- Raw Talent U Camp
Howard's been around the program a lot lately, and though there are a few good choices from Cleveland they haven't won a Heisman at Michigan, ipso facto it's Desmond.
[Does the Harbaugh-in-a-Woodson-jersey picture show up again AFTER THE JUMP? You had to ask?]
June 8: Paramus, NJ- Paramus Catholic
Like this, but the opposite [Fuller]
Pretty sure it's obligatory that Harbaugh wear his jersey when you're 30 minutes away from where one of the three most famous friends of the program played. One of my best friends, who lives a few minutes from Paramus, is a huge Mets fan and says he's surrounded by Yankees fans*, so this jersey should work on many levels.
*If I don't have a good read on the fandom of New Jersey residents then I'll be shocked because really who has ever been steered in the wrong direction when using a sample size of one.
June 9: Warren, OH- Harding High School
Sure, he's been out of the league for a couple of years, but the kid-from-Warren-who-goes-to-Michigan-then-makes-the-league-and-ends-up-being-coached-by-Harbaugh angle checks too many boxes to not use.
June 9: Fairfield, OH- Fairfield High School
I'm drawing on Hall's Bengals connection here and assuming that it's a good idea to wear the jersey of a guy who went to your university and just finished his ninth season with the hometown NFL franchise.
June 10: Detroit, MI- Wayne State (Sound Mind Sound Body)
We know Harbaugh has an affinity for baseball and a desire to be around people who perform or performed at the highest level, and few have ever been better in a Detroit uniform than Mr. Tiger; Harbaugh's also close enough to the organization to have guest coached for them during spring training. I'd be surprised if he passes up an opportunity to wear the Olde English D at a camp that's inside the city limits.
June 12: Norco, CA- Empire Showcase
Norco is Gerhart's hometown, and this seems like a great time to remind everyone around that the three-star fullback who left home for Stanford in 2006 hasn't been around much because he's preparing for his seventh NFL season.
June 14: Addison, TX- Greenhill School
Mike Ditka or Derek Holland
Should Harbaugh wear the Cowboys jersey of his former coach or the Rangers jersey of more recently known friend and trusted agent Holland? I'd go with Ditka because I think it's a reminder of the sometimes-forgotten (at least around here) tutoring he received after leaving Michigan, but there has been a decidedly baseball bent to his jersey selections thus far.
June 14: Murfreesboro, TN- Oakland High School
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE.
June 15: Pittsburg, KS- Pittsburg State
Current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and former 49ers signal-caller Alex Smith just happens to be one of Harbaugh's higher-profile reclamation projects. Smith appeared to be a bust until he came under Harbaugh's tutelage; the Alex Smith we see in Kansas City doesn't exist without Harbaugh coaching him in San Francisco. Harbaugh can wear this one confidently.
June 15: Kansas City, MO- Blue Springs South High School
When you turn around a guy's career to the extent Harbaugh did you should probably wear the jersey to both camps.
June 17: Columbia, SC- Ridge View High School
Steve Spurrier visor
Another from the ranks of Harbaugh's contact list, nothing says Head Ball Coach like a visor.
June 17-18: Orem, UT- Pride camp
Harbaugh turned a lightly regarded fullback into a smashmouth runner (who started getting carries over most of the running backs) and great blocker who made so much progress in one season that he's now a New Orleans Saint.
June 22: Las Vegas, NV- Chaparral High School
Colin Kaepernick Nevada jersey
I know that Reno and Vegas aren't that close but 1.) find someone else worth noting from Vegas' non-existent pro sports teams and 2.) make the case that they're more closely linked to Harbaugh than Kaepernick, who had his only good years in San Francisco when Harbaugh was the man in charge of laying on the grass and critiquing the QB-center exchange (i.e. coaching).
June 23: Antioch, CA- Antioch High School
Willie Mays? Charles Woodson Raiders jersey?
It's only an hour outside of San Francisco, and if there's one thing we've learned this offseason it's that Harbaugh's contacts are loaded with baseball hall of famers. Then again, it's about the same distance from Oakland, where a Heisman trophy winner from Michigan ballhawked his way through 11 seasons.
June 23: Sacramento, CA- Inderkum High School
So, uh, this would be an interesting choice. Why not try to melt Twitter on an otherwise low-key Thursday? Actually, there are probably a lot of reasons not melt Twitter on a Thursday, but this was the only Sacramento connection that came to mind.
June 25: Los Angeles, CA- Hawkins High School
"Oh hey you guys remember that time a kid from Compton played both sides of the ball for me at Stanford and turned into one of the best corners in the NFL yeah good times good times."
Now it's your turn, dear readers. There were a few camps for which I couldn't find a Michigan/Harbaugh connection; head to the comments to share your ideas and/or remind me about a dude I completely overlooked.
June 8: Pearl, Miss.- Pearl High School
June 13: Houston- North Shore High School
June 24: Oceanside, CA- Seven60 Athletes Camp
June 26: Honolulu, HI- St. Louis School
June 28: American Samoa- Veterans Memorial Stadium