June 9, 2016
PARAMUS, N.J. — Jim Harbaugh’s heard the question at literally every satellite camp stop he’s made this year.
He heard it all last year, too.
Michigan’s head coach continues to insist that these camps are not about recruiting, despite most of his detractors — and even some of his supporters — claiming the exact opposite.
On Wednesday, Harbaugh said he’s finally heard enough.
In his mind, he says, these camps are not about recruiting. They’re about coaching football players and helping them improve.
And if you don’t believe him?
“I’ve said it a million times, believe it or don’t believe it, I don’t really care anymore. I don’t know what else to say about it,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve said it how many times, I’m not going to say it anymore. It’s the last time.
“We’re doing this because we really enjoy it. You can believe it or not, I don’t care anymore, OK? I’m having more fun than I’ve had in six months. I’m like a pig in slop out here. That’s why I, personally, am doing it. I can’t speak for anybody else.”
Harbaugh was asked multiple times Wednesday how these camps benefit Michigan.
The Wolverines will make nearly 40 satellite camp stops across the country (as well as Australia and American Samoa) throughout the month of June.
Harbaugh has had the chance to speak with recruits in areas of the country that Michigan historically has not recruited heavily. And while there’s no denying the benefit Michigan gets from a marketing standpoint, Harbaugh continues to insist that these events have nothing to do with the school’s recruiting plan.
“Everybody keeps saying that the obvious thing is that this is all about recruiting and I disagree,” he said. “I’ve disagreed with that premise from its first inception. It’s not about recruiting. If this really helped recruiting that much, then people would’ve been doing this (for a long time) because it’s been around for 10, 20, 30 years.
“We’re just enjoying the heck out of coaching and going around and connecting to the football world. To me, this was incredible. We had pro coaches, high school coaches, college coaches. Guys who were excited about football. … We know the 200, 250 people we’re recruiting already. We can easily recruit them from Ann Arbor. This is about doing what’s good for football and doing what’s good for the youngsters.”
On Wednesday, Harbaugh’s staff was joined by coaches from nearly 40 different colleges. High school coaches were also in attendance.
In addition, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh appeared with several members of his coaching staff — including offensive coordinator Mark Trestman and secondary coach Leslie Frazier, a pair of ex-NFL head coaches.
All three Ravens staffers helped coach drills and teach players throughout the evening.
“You don’t get to see this (in the NFL),” John Harbaugh said. “To come back here and see this, this is what football’s all about.”
As for Jim Harbaugh?
He and his staff will move on to two satellite camp stops in Ohio on Thursday before Harbaugh returns to Newark to deliver the commencement speech at Paramus Catholic — an event that will feature incoming Michigan freshman Rashan Gary.
Harbaugh said he’s written down a few words to share with the graduates Thursday and continued to explain how excited he’s been over the past nine days.
“I was starting to wonder ‘how do people really feel about football these days?’ ” he said. “I’m inspired by the young people who come out here and play football. They’ve got a real heart for the game and I love working with them.”