ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Remember when Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh jumped into a pool in Iowa to secure a commitment from wide receiver Oliver Martin?
Or the time Harbaugh climbed a tree on a recruiting visit in California with cornerback David Long?
Or when he got behind the wheel of a go-kart in Georgia, as part of his recruiting pursuit of Aubrey Solomon, a 5-star defensive tackle? And, oh yeah, the sleepover at kicker Quinn Nordin’s house?
Those have become some of Harbaugh’s more well-known exploits on the recruiting trail. But January was different from years past. There were fewer viral social media moments involving Harbaugh, if any, as he finalized this year’s class.
“He’s not being his usual Jim Harbaugh,” CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said, laughing.
Harbaugh is keeping a lower profile, but below the surface, he has started planning for the 2019 class and beyond.
The Wolverines coaching staff made more than 50 scholarship offers to 2019 recruits in January. By comparison, Michigan made only 14 offers to the 2018 class in January 2017.
“He’s still been all over the place,” Lemming said. “I ran into a lot of people that have seen the Michigan coaches everywhere, and they’ve seen Harbaugh everywhere.
“He’s leaving his mark at a lot of different places. He seems to be paralleling [Ohio State coach] Urban Meyer, and he’s getting those offers out to 2019 players.”
Forging the future
With 13 players in Michigan’s 2018 incoming freshman class signed in December, Michigan’s coaching staff started targeting its 2019 class.
The new recruiting calendar created two signing days, which now allows college coaches more time to focus on building for the future, in addition to securing the final few commitments for its current recruiting cycle.
“It gave us the opportunity to do more recruiting for 2019s, and 2020s and 2021s,” Harbaugh said Wednesday, of the reformatted recruiting calendar.
While there are set dates for signing and for active and quiet periods in recruiting, there’s no set calendar on when offers can be made.
Here are a few of the more than 50 offers Michigan extended to 2019 recruits in January:
4-star tight end Hudson Henry (Little Rock, Ark.)
I’m excited to announce that I have offered by the University of Michigan! pic.twitter.com/aMYMt2gyWw
— Hudson Henry (@hudsonhenry84) January 16, 2018
4-star offensive tackle Xavier Truss (Warwick, R.I.)
Blessed to receive an offer to play for the University of Michigan! Go Blue! pic.twitter.com/dsPDMpUhFU
— Xavier Truss (@xtruss94) January 8, 2018
4-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (Alabaster, Ala.)
— Taulia Tagovailoa (@tauliaa12) February 1, 2018
Michigan didn’t receive any 2019 commitments in January. In fact, no one has verbally committed to Michigan since Chris Hinton, a 5-star defensive end from Norcross, Ga., agreed to join the 2019 class. Four players are committed to that class, including guard Nolan Rumler of Akron, Ohio; defensive end Stephen Herron Jr. of Louisville, Ky.; and linebacker Charles Thomas of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Michigan’s 2019 class is eligible to sign during the early December period or on National Signing Day in February 2019.
Home and away
Meanwhile, here are a few snapshots of how Harbaugh spent January, when he wasn’t putting the final touches on the 2018 recruiting class or mapping out the 2019 class:
Jan. 11: Jim Harbaugh celebrated his son’s first birthday
Happy 1st Birthday to John Paul Harbaugh! Your family loves you! pic.twitter.com/gF8NUQFwPA
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 12, 2018
Jan. 13: Harbaugh met with signee Ronnie Bell, a wide receiver at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.
Jan. 15: Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno met with Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, who is pursuing a graduate transfer.
Great meeting Jim Harbaugh, coach Drevno, and Coach Moore to talk about my offer to play at Michigan! Great group of coaches, and more importantly great men. pic.twitter.com/rxZdkZ6MN4
— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) January 15, 2018
Jan. 23: Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown visited tight end Luke Schoonmaker in Avon, Conn.
It does not get better than having your former college head coach @FBCoachDBrown and @CoachJim4UM from @UMichFootball on campus today! One of the best programs in the country! pic.twitter.com/KbVK8dnaPs
— Coach Jeff Moore (@CoachJeffMoore) January 23, 2018
Michigan completed its 19-player class Wednesday (Feb. 7) with the signings of Bell, cornerback Vincent Gray and athlete Michael Barrett. By Friday, Michigan had made 19 scholarship offers in February, including at least eight to 2019 recruits.
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