May 4, 2016
ANN ARBOR – Since taking over as Michigan coach, Jim Harbaugh has made no secret of his attempt to try and lure recruits from SEC territory.
And, now that the NCAA ban on satellite camps has been rescinded, Harbaugh will make another tour of the South this summer to showcase the Michigan brand. However, Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton doesn’t seem concerned about fighting Harbaugh for recruits.
“I may get myself in trouble for this: For people that want to come to Alabama and have a camp, I think it’s great, because they’re helping the quality of football in the state of Alabama,” Horton told the Ledger-Enquirer. “(But) no one is coming to this state and getting a player from Auburn or Alabama. That’s not going to happen. So hey, I’m for, if they want to come to our state and have it, that’s going to help the quality of high school football.”
Harbaugh garnered national attention and drew the ire of the SEC last year with his “Summer Swarm” tour of satellite camps across the country.
Prior to the ban on satellite camps, Michigan had camps scheduled this summer for Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Florida and Texas. The schedule is now beginning to take shape again.
• According to 247 Sports, Michigan and Georgia will be featured in a June 2 camp at Maynard H. Jackson High School in Atlanta, hosted by Cedar Grove High School.
• Michigan will host a camp at the University of South Alabama, according to AL.com, on June 7 — the same day a camp was originally scheduled at Prattville High School in Alabama. Prattville coach Chad Anderson told MLive last week that he was unsure if the camp will be rescheduled, but he would be willing to host again after drawing more than 500 participants last summer.
• Michigan, Ole Miss and Mississippi State will team up for a June 8 camp at Pearl High School in Mississippi, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
After the NCAA rescinded its ban on satellite camps, the SEC announced its internal conference ban on the practice would be lifted. Horton said Auburn will use the camps this summer to expand its brand in the southeast.
“I think we want to stay in our regional footprint, not just for camps, but for recruiting,” Horton told the Ledger-Enquirer. “When you talk Alabama, Georgia and Florida, that’s where we’re going to make our hay, and that’ll always be where we make our hay. So I don’t see a big need to go out west or up north or something like that.”
In the last 10 years – spanning Lloyd Carr’s last recruiting class through Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke and Harbaugh’s first two recruiting classes – Michigan signed only two players from Alabama and both were inked by Harbaugh. Michigan signed Keith Washington, a 2015 three-star athlete from Prattville, and Kingston Davis, a 2016 three-star fullback from Prattville.
J’Marick Woods, a three-star safety from Florence, Ala., and the No. 14 overall recruit in the state according to 247 Sports, is one of Michigan’s 11 2017 commitments so far. He has 14 offers, including Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State, but not from Alabama or Auburn.
“I just love him as a coach because he’s a real open person,” Woods said of Harbaugh. “He’s not just always about football, football, football, he tells me about life and everything like that and stuff that football can help lead me to and be a better man. He is real genuine with what he says. I just really trust him.”
The Wolverines, Crimson Tide and Tigers are all in the running for a number of Alabama’s top 2017 recruits, including four-star wide receiver Nico Collins, four-star linebacker Markail Benton and four-star defensive end LaBryan Ray.
Ray on Monday released a top 12 that included Alabama and Michigan.
Although Horton doesn’t believe Michigan will be able to lure Alabama recruits away from Auburn or Alabama, some players are at least interested in the Wolverines. Kendall Randolph, a 2017 four-star offensive tackle from Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala., with 19 offers, including Alabama, Auburn and Michigan, said he wants to attend a Michigan satellite camp this summer in his area.
“If they have the camp I’ll definitely be there,” he told MLive. “I won’t be competing, but I’ll be there to introduce myself to the coaches face to face and try to build a relationship with them.”
Milkhi Stewart, a Bob Jones junior receiver, doesn’t have any offers, but wants an opportunity to get in front of the Michigan coaching staff.
“I really like Michigan,” he told MLive. “It’s really different from Alabama and Auburn; everyone down here likes Alabama and Auburn.”