The Wolverine

March 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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B ack in April, Stanford beat writer Andy Drukarev told The Wolverine to expect a rash of decommitments under Michi- gan head coach Jim Harbaugh, forewarning a re- cruiting strategy that could (and eventually would) rub Maize and Blue fans wrong. Verbal commit- ments are non- binding, and while we have become used to seeing recruits back off their pledges — three-star defensive tackle Jordan El- liott committed to Baylor, Houston and U-M before ultimately sign- ing with Texas this year — Michigan has largely honored commitments, sign- ing kids even if they slacked off in their senior seasons. Harbaugh, however, introduced a new strategy, demanding that pros- pects perform all the way up to Na- tional Signing Day. "We don't hide how we operate and what we do," Harbaugh said in late January. "It's a meritocracy with everything we do in our program. It's going to continue to be that. "That entails to keep getting better, to perform in the classroom, to per- form on the field, to perform as a good citizen. Also part of that process is to let them know, 'You need to pick your grade-point [aver- age] up. You need to re-take a test. You need to play better on the field.'" "From where Harbaugh was sit- ting — and this is true of a lot of coaches — [the commitment] was just the start of the vetting process. We saw at Stanford that in many cases Har- baugh ultimately changed his mind and decided they weren't what he was looking for," Drukarev shared. In the 2016 recruiting cycle, Michi- gan lost 12 recruits to decommit- ments, some occurring on Harbaugh's watch and some of Harbaugh's doing MAIZE N' VIEW   MICHAEL SPATH Welcome To The New Normal In the first full recruiting cycle under head coach Jim Harbaugh's direction, Michigan lost 12 recruits to decommit- ments. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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