The Real Success of Summer Swarm

Submitted by pdxwolve on January 26th, 2016 at 1:05 PM

In the midst of the recent decommits, numerous posters have complained that few or none of the Summer Swarm recruits will end up in the class. Calling these camps aggressive tactics in recruiting is fair, but what were the stated goals of these camps? Looking back to Spring 2015 when the camps were announced, most articles point to the goals of Summer Swarm. These were the three that seemed to come up the most

1.     Re-establish and expand the Michigan brand to kids across the nation. Sadly, the last time we were in a BCS bowl was when many of these kids were 10 or 11. They know our name, but they’ve watched other schools compete in these games. Michigan was one of the only schools in the national spotlight for football throughout the summer, and the participation numbers spoke for themselves. Many of the kids that are still considering or committed to us attended these camps (Boss, David Long, Devin Asiasi, Bush, etc.). Perhaps they don’t even look this way otherwise.

2.     Provide low-cost camps in areas where many students couldn’t attend. Unless you’re a scholarship-offered player, it is cost prohibitive for most kids to attend camps in Michigan when they live in Florida, California, Texas, etc. Thousands of kids who couldn’t have ever gone to a high-caliber camp were afforded the opportunity at cheap prices. In addition, money raised from the camps was donated to schools and foundations (remember Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation). 

3.     Provide some exposure for kids who may not have any. JH invited every college coach to attend, and there were a number of schools that took him up on this. Now, some of these two-stars that performed well enough to garner scholarships have landing spots. When Weaver explained that he did not want to be considered a Plan B, it is important to consider that he was a two-star when he committed, and he got the requisite bump to a 3 star when he was offered by UM. Mercer and Columbia (great academic schools) were his offers prior to the Swarm. Now he lists 13 offers, including several D1 schools. Kids that may have not even garnered offers from Michigan were exposed to other coaches, and though I can’t point to a kid who received a scholarship from one of those schools as a result of attending a Swarm event, it is likely this occurred.

I would consider that all of these goals were met in spades, regardless of how many direct commits came from the events.



January 26th, 2016 at 4:28 PM ^

And making them change the SEC rule they put in place to protect them from themselves.

Their rule about no camps outside of their own campus area was designed to keep Les Miles out of Tuscaloosa, not to keep Harbaugh out of Pratville.

But they overreacted.

Harbaugh living in their heads rent-free.



January 26th, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

I think the mistake was accepting commitments from these guys, but NOT doing the camps in the first place.  The camps were great for us and for the attendees, and even for the commits b/c they got exposure and the requisite bump after our offer.  I'm sure this won't happen again.


January 26th, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

I hope we're gonna call it lesson learned. Keep the camps, but no offers come from them going forward.

Establish relationships, forge connections, teach, coach, bond, indoctrinate the Michigan Way.

But no offers - unless it's to a kid that's already got a slew of them from high profile programs. In this instance, trust the star system and wait on the rest.

Problem solved and soon forgotten.....


January 26th, 2016 at 1:15 PM ^

I'm not crying. I figured these kids were sleeper types like msu brings in. I'm now surprised that we were just setting at the time because they didn't think they'd be able to do better?


January 26th, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

All of those goals were probably met, but they didn't have to come with immediate offers from the coaches.  Even if the coaches thought of them as conditional, it is clear that the recruits did not.  The coaches should have exited those camps by saying "we'll stay in touch, here's a list of things to do, offer is dependent on those and the rest of the class, etc."  

My eyebrows raised right after the camps and those offers/commits happened.  Now we find ourself in a bad publicity storm.  I suspect that Harbaugh offered these guys because they impressed him in person and are his kind of player.  Hell, it is probably the type of player that he built his Stanford teams on.  But he underestimated his ability to attract better players and the extend of the spots he had available for people.  Hopefully this gets addressed next year.

Another reason that OSU or Bama don't face this type of backlash is because they aren't issueing offers to 2-star or low 3-star kids with 9 months left in a recruiting cycle.  They know they can get whoever they want and hold those offers until the very end.  Michigan should learn.

Likewise, Harbaugh needs to address this soon in public.  The right statement at the right time can make this go away.  Simple, to the point, showing that they learned something, etc.  

Blue Mike

January 26th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

I'd argue that the stated goals aren't met without the offers/commits coming directly from the camps.  The SEC didn't start whining about the camps until Michigan started pulling kids from Alabama.  I recall the attitude before was that it was a cute stunt but who cares because it's SEC country and nobody is going to go to Michigan from SEC country.  Michigan starts getting recruits (who in turn start getting star-bumps because of it), and the SEC starts whining about how unfair the camps are.

And Harbaugh can't and won't make a statement on it.  He can't until next week, and at that point all it will do is draw attention away from where he wants it, on his awesome new recruiting class. What he really needs to do is make sure he is ready to explain what happened to future recruits.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:20 PM ^

Who do we have left of the commits discovered(not a guy who was a lock before like Peters) from the summer swarm? It seems like they have all decomitted. The only one i can think of is Dytarious Johnson and it seems like he's on the way out as well.

Miami Maize

January 26th, 2016 at 1:33 PM ^

The optics and bad PR is a byproduct of a staff that was very anxious to raise the profile of M during a period when we had only a small handful of recruits.  Shirtless Harbaugh and everything else contributed to a "cool vibe" factor that other schools (esp SEC) could only whine (but secretly marvel) at.  Some of that urgency at the time now comes back to bite us a bit at a time when we should be only focusing on positives like a Long or Hudson commitment.

We all need to stop the hysteria like Orson Welles is reading War of the Worlds on radio.  This is the "new normal" of big boy college football, and Harbaugh will refine and learn from these initial hiccups.  As someone else said, this will long be forgotten when confetti is falling on our team next January. 

Remember, withTwitter these kids can instantly express their feelings (a la Weaver) and within 3 minutes it's on our blog, 11W, and others.  This didn't and couldn't happen even 5 years ago like this.  New normal, and like everything else that Harbaugh and staff have done RIGHT, they will make the corrections and act to never repeat mistakes they already made.  Have faith, this is a a staff of assasins who are singularly focused on the prize. 



January 26th, 2016 at 2:27 PM ^

Things tweeted out will soon be forgotten.  Not that they'll be erased, but that the urgency of the next thing will take center stage, and the diversions we needed in the dull period between bowls and signings will lose their luster.


January 26th, 2016 at 1:36 PM ^

I think it was a good idea and got some buzz, but UM needs to be way more judicious in the offers that come from them if they do it in the future, else it'll just be a spectacle.

Pepto Bismol

January 26th, 2016 at 2:03 PM ^

If Michigan came out of that country-wide barnstorming tour with nothing but a farmers tan and a giant expense tab, THAT would be nothing but a spectacle.

Harbaugh needed offers and commitments.  He needed to show that his camps are valuable to recruits, that southern kids would commit to a northern school, and that Michigan can go into the heart of the SEC/Big12/Pac and pull kids out of their backyard. 

Who knows what impact that really had, but I would argue that the point of these was to rattle the SEC cage.  Couldn't really do that by just driving by and waving from the car window.


Honey Badger

January 26th, 2016 at 1:45 PM ^

The success isn't necessarily in direct commits that attended the camps.  Anybody in sales knows that the more activity you do, the greater the likelyhood that leads will be generated. Often, a lead or sale comes indirectly from the activity performed.  The camps created buzz which is press Michigan would not receive in the south.  I am sure coaches were spoken with and players speak with other players.  It will also provide future recruits and commits in the south a chance to come to a camp to bond with coaches.  Over time, this activity will be useful.  It is also fun to go into the belly of the beast and hear all the SEC coaches whining.  Just my two cents...


January 26th, 2016 at 1:45 PM ^

Harbaugh and staff will learn from this (this should have been avoided) and sign a top 5 class.  They will win lots of big ball games in the coming years and no one will remember that some lower rated guys got their feelings hurt before NSD in 2016.  The sky is not falling, people.


January 26th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

People who never try anything new.  And even they screw up more often than they will admit.


People who innovate and push the system make mistakes.  And if they are good, they learn from their mistakes and fix things.  Harbaugh in an innovater.  He tries new things and is always pushing to get better.  Yeah, there were some missteps here.  Unfortunate.  But that happens when you are pushing the envelope. 

Hopefully he will learn from his mistakes and will get better.  I'm pretty sure he will. 


January 26th, 2016 at 3:57 PM ^

No one has commented on this directly, but one of the biggest benefits of the camps was more exposure for Michigan football in areas traditionally conditioned to look elsewhere to commit. The other factor is they got to meet coaches directly, especially Harbaugh, and the guy can flat-out recruit. If I were a high school player his enthusiasm would be infectious, and add that to his track record then you have one hell of a draw. What most articles don't mention is the exposure bump MANY of these kids got that they wouldn't have gotten without the camps coming in...they were evaluated by a lot of coaches that never would have seen them. It's one of the reasons I don't put a ton of stock in "stars" ...there are a LOT of kids that can't afford to get to camps so don't get the exposure. Look at where the kids Michigan offered were trending in recruiting rankings before the camps came and they got more exposure. Spineless hacks like Greenstein can't be bothered with analysis and facts...they need sensationalized headlines and sound-bites to falsely show their "relevance". That is our instant gratification/social media based critical thinking skills to find out facts first. Teddy knows he's a lazy hack and will do whatever it takes to bow to the feet of commercial media just to get the web hits he needs to survive.