B1G coaches would be wise to copy Jim Harbaugh's latest recruiting tactic
James Franklin wanted three words to describe Penn State’s recruiting style.
“Creative, not creepy.”
When the Penn State coach said those words on National Signing Day, it was considered a shot at Jim Harbaugh’s sleepover, tree-climbing, make-myself-at-home approach to recruiting. Mark Dantonio seconded that notion. He said that he didn’t have any sleepovers planned, which was his way of dismissing the idea of copying Harbaugh’s strategy.
Eight days later, Dantonio was asked about Harbaugh’s idea of spring practices in Florida. His response was too ironic.
“I think it’s creative, there’s no question about that,” Dantonio told MLive.com. “From our standpoint, we’ve never thought to do that, but we’re thinking about it nowadays.”
Stop the presses.
Did Dantonio really say that Harbaugh’s idea was “creative?” The very word that Franklin used to oppose the Michigan coach’s tactics was used as a compliment by another nemesis just eight days later?
Yes, indeed it was. Why? Well, even Dantonio knows a smart idea when he sees one. You know it’s a smart idea when the SEC commissioner goes on record about the issue twice in a week to vent about it.
Greg Sankey knows it’s smart, and he knows that every B1G school could be spending spring break in SEC country if he doesn’t try to nip it in the bud.
The worst kept secret is that Harbaugh’s spring break plans are driven by recruiting. Michigan is set to practice at the famous IMG Academy, which is arguably the top prep school in the country. Harbaugh can spin it as a fun practice/vacation week all he wants, but the business aspect is to help further establish the Michigan brand in the minds of some of the nation’s top talent.
Dantonio has the same motive. Of all the states he picked as possible future destinations, he settled on Florida and Texas. Hmmmmmmmm. I wonder how he picked them..?
Maybe this will clear that up.
Here’s a look at the five states that produced the most 247sports top 1,000 recruits in the 2016 class:
- Texas, 171
- Florida, 135
- Georgia, 97
- California, 81
- Ohio, 38
I wish there could’ve been a follow-up question. Maybe something like, ‘If Florida and Texas are booked solid, what are your next two choices?’ If I was a gambling man, I would’ve bet the house on Dantonio to name Georgia and California next, as they should be.
B1G teams should be using any excuse possible to get into the recruiting hot beds, and it doesn’t just have to be the powerhouse programs doing it.
Where is Indiana kicking off the 2016 season? Miami.
Which area of the country produces arguably more high school talent than anyone? South Florida.
What day of the week do they play? Not Thursday night, which is when the game was switched to.
Is a road victory against Florida International going to build Indiana’s brand? Probably not. In fact, a loss would probably hurt more than a win would help.
But the recruiting benefits of a trip like that — and not in January when everyone else is doing it — are worth the risk.
It’ll be interesting to see if or when the NCAA makes a ruling on Harbaugh’s revolutionary idea. It’s amazing that no other B1G coach ever thought of keeping his team out of spring break trouble by taking a trip south for a week of low-key practices and some R&R.
And by R&R, I mean “recruiting and recruiting.”