Can Jim Harbaugh Save Michigan Football?

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Will Jim Harbaugh Bring In a Strong Recruiting Class for the Michigan Wolverines?
By Justin Broyles

The Michigan Wolverines shocked the college football world this year by hiring one of the most successful coaches in the NFL, Jim Harbaugh, as their next head coach. While bringing in Harbaugh was a major win for the Wolverines, they still have much work to do.

With the firing of former coach Brady Hoke, many members of the Wolverine recruiting class de-committed and other top targets on Michigan’s radar immediately lost interest. This has left the Wolverines with only 6 committed recruits for next season, the lowest of any school in the country. So it will now be Harbaugh’s task to bring back some of these top recruits to the program and to also find his own recruits to fill out the rest of this class and accomplish this monumental task with only a few weeks left until National Signing Day. The grade of this class will likely be decided by how successful Harbaugh is able in recruiting four players: Chris Clark, Mike Weber, Keisean Lucier-South and Iman Marshall.

Clark is a 5-star recruit and the number one tight end in the country. He is the key to get the ball rolling on Michigan’s recruiting class. He was a verbal commit to the school for a long time before opening up his recruitment but Michigan is still high on his list. Clark has named UCLA and Michigan as his top schools, with conventional wisdom thinking that UCLA has the lead to land him. However, Clark has stated that he is yet to meet coach Harbaugh formally and could gain more interest after an official visit and conversation with the new Michigan coach. It looks like Clark may be the easiest Harbaugh recruit to commit to Michigan and if Harbaugh does receive that commitment Clark could lead a surge of former Michigan recruits back to the program. But if Harbaugh cannot get Clark to recommit, it may be difficult for him to bring big recruits to Michigan this year.

On the opposite side of the equation are Mike Weber and Keisean Lucier-South, who are really going to test Harbaugh’s recruiting prowess. The players are committed to Ohio State and UCLA respectively, but Harbaugh has been in contact with both players, gauging any remaining interest they may have in Michigan. Weber, a former Michigan commit and top running back prospect, has stated that he is firmly committed to Ohio State but flipping him would be a huge victory for Harbaugh and his staff. Lucier-South has made similar statements about UCLA but continues to listen to overtures from Harbaugh, just in case there is a shakeup with the UCLA coaching staff. If Harbaugh were to get either of these players to flip from their commitments and join him at Michigan, it would be a sign that there are big things in store for this recruiting class.

Iman Marshall is a wild card in the recruiting process. He has shown some moderate interest in the Wolverines in the past but they have never been high on his list. But, the consensus top five recruit in the country has come out and said that he is intrigued by Michigan’s hire of Harbaugh and would be amenable visiting the school. If Marshall considers Michigan and possibly commits that may open the floodgates to other top recruits taking visits to Michigan and turning around the fortunes of Michigan’s 2015 recruiting class.

While Michigan may be currently looking a very weak recruiting class, if Jim Harbaugh secures these four highly sort after recruits, the Wolverines could have one of the top recruiting classes in the entire country come National Signing Day.