Harbaugh, Mario Manningham, and 25(!) Michigan coaches invade Ohio for Satellite Camp

Submitted by Blueblood2991 on June 9th, 2016 at 6:49 PM

One town, one high school, three hours, 360 high school players and 26 Michigan coaches.

Today's satellite camp was at Warren Harding HS in Ohio. Key details:

-Jersey of the day was Mario Manningham, and Mario was a guest speaker.

-First order of business was all 25 Michigan coaches stood up on a stage and introduced themselves. This was clearly a less-than-subtle showing that Ohio recruiting is important and Michigan isn't afraid to invade their state.

-The Warren Harding football coach had nothing but praise for Harbaugh. Said the same invitation was sent out for Ohio State and Michigan. Ohio State only brought 2 people:the running backs coach and a recruiting staffer. Never a bad thing to get in good with the coach of a powerful football school.

Noteable alumni of Harding: Manningham, Prescott Burgess, Maurice Clarett (lol)

-Here's a suprisingly unbiased and good read from cleveland.com 


It has a few good videos in the article.

Harbaugh is now on his way back to Paramus to give the commencement speech.


The Baughz

June 9th, 2016 at 6:55 PM ^

I was there. Had a blast. Will never understand why people complain about these camps. There were maybe 1-2 D1 guys there so it wasn't about recruiting. Coaches were very enthusiastic at each drill. I loved the competition drills. The kids were going nuts. Manningham was talking to some guy standing next to me. Seemed like a cool guy.

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June 9th, 2016 at 7:22 PM ^

Ugh...yeah, it's a partially about recruiting. There may not be many D1 recruits there this year, but it's probably a safe bet to assume that there will be more there and in the surrounding area in the coming years. To say it isn't at all about recruiting sounds ignorant.

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June 9th, 2016 at 7:35 PM ^

Well, in a reductivist sense, everything these coaches do is about recruiting. Like, every breath they take. But if there were only 1-2 D1 kids there this year out of hundreds, it is hard to make the claim that this event was primarily about recruiting. And OK, sure, next year maybe there are 200 D1 kids there. Or maybe Harbaugh gets written in for POTUS and quits coaching before then. In other words, lots of stuff is possible...


June 9th, 2016 at 8:13 PM ^

*sings* They'll be watching you....

Truth be told, the second verse of "Spirits In The Material World" reminds me a bit of Harbaugh's relationship with the NCAA on some subjects:

Our so-called leaders speak

With words they try to jail you

They subjugate the meek

But it's the rhetoric of failure


June 9th, 2016 at 8:58 PM ^

These coaches aren't flying around the country (or the world) and working their butts off because they "love the game." Very few things in life can be whittled down to a single reason, so no, it's not JUST about recruiting...and it's not JUST about spready the Michigan brand...and it's not JUST about saving the game of football...etc. A big chunk of this is about recruiting, though.

One thing I think people are missing is that we're mostly not talking about the 2017 class when we're talking about recruiting. We're talking about 2018, 2019, 2020, etc. There are 9th and 10th graders at these camps who haven't really landed on the recruiting scene, but when they do, the hope is that they'll feel intrigued by and comfortable with the Michigan program. Ohio has been a fertile recruiting ground over the years, and they want to build relationships there.

Notice that most of these camps are taking place in locations where Michigan is either currently recruiting or will recruit heavily in the future. If this were about love of the game or spreading the sport, they would be making stops in Montana, Maine, Idaho, etc. But they're not. And while they are going to lesser traveled places (Hawaii, American Samoa, Australia, etc.), those locations are known for producing useful prospects in the sport and represent some untapped potential. If you are from American Samoa and you're good at football, consider Michigan first. Australia has produced some quality specialists over the years, including punter Blake O'Neill. If you have potential as a punter, consider Michigan first.

The primary - but not sole - reason for these camps is recruiting.

turd ferguson

June 9th, 2016 at 10:03 PM ^

Obviously a lot of it is recruiting, but you could easily make a parallel argument that if this were overwhelmingly about recruiting, they wouldn't open it up such that 99% of their campers could never play at Michigan.  It'd be a stupidly inefficient way to recruit.

Yes, they're holding football camps where a lot of people play football, and yes, they want top prospects to attend.  But I honestly think this camp circuit is to Harbaugh what summer camp is to kids.  It keeps him busy and out of trouble, prevents him from getting stir crazy and on everyone's nerves at home, and helps him pass the time until the fall.  And I believe him when he says that he loves the sport and wants to celebrate and support it.  He's just wired differently from most people.

So fine, yes, a big part of this is recruiting, but there's genuinely more to it than that.


June 9th, 2016 at 10:22 PM ^

Taking the first part of your argument further, if the only players allowed to participate were Michigan-caliber players, then you wouldn't have anyone for, say, Lynn Bowden to compete against. Who would throw passes to him? Who would defend him? Whom would he defend? When would he get a break during a three-hour camp? It simply wouldn't be practical to have satellite camps with ONLY Michigan-caliber recruits. 

Furthermore, I think we can probably agree that Michigan's on-campus camps over the years have indeed been primarily about recruiting. But those camps have also been open to the public and have not been limited to Michigan-caliber recruits, and that goes back to Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke, and probably even pre-Carr. A camp doesn't have to exclude the general public in order to be recruiting-oriented.

turd ferguson

June 9th, 2016 at 10:33 PM ^

I never said anything about only Michigan-caliber players participating.  Obviously that doesn't happen.  I can almost guarantee you, though, that the % of kids at these camps who will play college football is much, much lower than the % of kids at recent UM camps in Ann Arbor who played college football.


June 9th, 2016 at 10:48 PM ^

From your original post:

"they wouldn't open it up such that 99% of their campers could never play at Michigan.  It'd be a stupidly inefficient way to recruit."

I agree that the percentage is probably lower. I don't really know what that has to do with the issue, though. Something can still largely be about recruiting even when the chances of finding a worthy recruit are lower.


June 9th, 2016 at 11:40 PM ^

Here's the thing that so many people miss. He's recruiting a few kids, but he's mostly recruiting high school coaches. This is more about making inroads throughout the country than anything else. It's a very smart play. Give a HS coaching staff your time so that when you need to call them in a few years, they're already comfortable with you. Coaches love coaches who coach. Love of the game type guys. So on and so forth. They're showing these high school coaches how well they will be able to train their kids in college. That's a huge leg up.


June 10th, 2016 at 2:50 AM ^

this is it 100%

these coaches can chat with harbaugh, pick up some tips and tricks, and this day probably makes their whole year. when they send a kid to michigan they know exactly what theyre setting them up for, and harbaugh knows exactly what kind of kid hes getting. win win.


June 10th, 2016 at 6:58 AM ^

If 99% of the players can't go to Michigan, then 99% of them - or more - aren't Michigan-caliber players. Michigan can't fill up an entire recruiting class with guys who show up to one of these satellite camps. There aren't enough good players there. So they HAVE to allow other people in. Otherwise, there's nobody for the Michigan-caliber players to play against.

You're saying the fact that the camps are opened up for the average high school player is evidence that the camps aren't about recruiting. I'm pointing out why that's hogwash.


June 9th, 2016 at 11:22 PM ^

maybe I'm misjudging your intent but whenever you mention these camps are at least partially or mostly about recruiting i think you're point is that part of the camp is a negative thing. both coaches and players with any kind of chance to play college football want it to be about recruiting. is there a negative there? not one person who's watched a Harbaugh camp has suggested there's no real teaching going on. in fact, just the opposite. so why exactly do we keep arguing about the degree of recruiting that's going on?


June 10th, 2016 at 11:15 AM ^

I think it's pretty clear the discussion is centered around the coaches' motivation to hold these camps. Naturally, this is a fun experience for the football players themselves. That second part has been true since the inception of football camps.


June 10th, 2016 at 6:45 PM ^

This conversation is silly. It assumes we can turns the extremely diverse motivations of hundreds of diverse actors into one percentage. The camps mean very different things to different people. And in the end, since the vast majority of those people either don't want or will never get a D1 scholarship, I could easily make a strong argument that they're "mostly" about something other than recruiting...


June 10th, 2016 at 7:33 PM ^

The only distinction to make is what is meant by 'recruiting.'

Is it active recruiting of camp attendees or is it recruiting future kids by expanding the brand and reputation? It's the latter. It's not about 'recruiting' but it sure as hell is about recruiting.

Because when you demonstrate what Harbaugh and staff has, you create an image for the kids and the kids want to be part of Michigan.

That's why coaches from all these other schools are reluctantly attending (looking foolish mainly, but attending).

Recruiting the HS head coaches too ....and it's working.


June 9th, 2016 at 11:45 PM ^

You guys are being so myopic. This is building a recruiting foundation by gaining the trust of coaches around the country. There is no better use of their time for recruiting. It's a dead period, no? Where else would they be? They're absolutely doing this for recruiting.

Its me Dave

June 10th, 2016 at 9:20 AM ^

For as brilliant a strategist as he may be, Harbaugh - like Bo before him - ignores the concept of diminishing returns. Harbaugh willingly spends the entire month of June working his balls off at dozens of camps, with thousands of HS football players, just to gain a tiny leg up on a handful of highly-touted recruits.  Sure, there are ancillary benefits, but none of them are truly commensurate with the cost/effort expended.

Harbaugh and Bo both chase that tiny extra margin gained by a a wildly disproportional extra effort.

It's the oldest of Old-School football philosopy.

Its me Dave

June 10th, 2016 at 10:36 AM ^

I think conventional wisdom (or a least B-school ideology) is to maximize marginal benefit, and that's why I find it remarkable to see Harbaugh so deliberately eschew that philosophy.   You're right, he makes a conscious choice.  I have to respect and admire that, because I sure as hell will never have what it takes to do things that way.


June 10th, 2016 at 12:36 PM ^

that the media has kept Michigan in the front for almost the entire off season for football reasons. This is important. The summer swarm was big last year for a bunch of reasons; seeing lots of kids, getting to know coaches in tough to recruit areas, spreading football, and being a relevant story line for Michigan that was all about football.  This year has been the same, and I'm sure he went bigger this year to take advantage off all the free publicity. Michigan is no longer the old school program that can just talk about history (not that I believe this, with Crisler and Yost being some of the biggest innovators of the game, but this has been a long stated "fact" by rivals). Michigan is the innovator, the cool kid, the players school that also cares about getting kids educated.  

Harbaugh no doubt loves the game of football and spreading its goodness to youngsters, but to think he's not aware of all the beneficial side affects of this swarm and to think it's not all highly calculated, is being a little naive. 

The Baughz

June 9th, 2016 at 8:27 PM ^

Sure it's partially about recruiting but thats such a small part of it. There was a kid there who was injured. Looked like a pulled muscle. He was probably 5'9 and a bit overweight. Definitely not a kid who is going to play at the next level and Harbaugh spent about 10-15 mins with the kid and made sure he was ok before he left. The guy loves football and wants to be around it as much as he can. He would not be doing these if it was just about recruiting.

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June 9th, 2016 at 7:14 PM ^

The only people that ever seem to have a bad thing to say about these are the ones that feel threatened. The high school coaches and players are clearly not in that camp, so to speak.