News of Drake Harris officially decommitting from Michigan State spread over newswires like a wildfire—it's open season on the Grand Rapids Christian High star wide receiver, and Michigan could end up being a major player in the Harris Sweepstakes.
The 6'4", 180-pound junior should be a high priority for coach Brady Hoke and the Wolverines. He's the No. 4-ranked wideout in the 2014 class, according to 247Sports.com, and he became just the 12th prep receiver in the country to record a 2,000-yard season (2012 season), according to the Detroit Free Press.
The highly touted and sought-after prospect will certainly take his fair share of visits before he gives another verbal; he's already visited Michigan three times since Feb. 24.
However, Harris could be risky business for Hoke, who's known for his strict recruiting policies.
David Dawson's story has been told over and over again. The 2013 Michigan commit gave his pledge to Hoke, only to reconsider and take other visits. Hoke, though, bent his own rules—his "no-visit policy" once committed to Michigan—and accepted Dawson with open arms.
All is well for Dawson now. He exercised his options and ultimately decided that the grass wasn't indeed greener on the the other side of the fence.
Could that be the case for Harris now that he's one of college football's most eligible recruits? He's already caught Oregon, Florida State and Texas Tech's eyes within the past week, not to mention the fact that he's drawn strong interest from Hoke and Michigan.
Would Hoke be willing to stretch? Would he, yet again, put his own strict policy on the back burner if it meant landing Harris?
That's not an easy answer. But doing so with Dawson was absolutely the right move, and if Harris ends up going through the same type of game, Hoke should relax and allow Harris to run the course.
Hoke's "no-visit" policy seems like one built on pride and an old-school mentality. It is, or it isn't—that pretty much describes his philosophy. The kid is either 100 percent committed to Michigan, or he's not. And if he's on board with a verbal promise, taking visits elsewhere once the pledge has been given to the Wolverines is unnecessary.
In a perfect world, Hoke would be right. There shouldn't be a gray area.
Black or white. Yes or no.
Sounds easy, but it isn't.
Hoke isn't opposed to flipping recruits, which, in a sense, goes against what he expects of his own athletes. His message essentially says that he wants his cake and wants to eat it, too. His way or the highway.
In the case of Harris, handling the process differently makes the most sense. Florida, Georgia and Ohio State are hot on his trail, and if Hoke wants to get Harris signed, sealed and delivered to Ann Arbor, he'd benefit by pushing aside his flawed recruiting policy if it means securing one of the top 2014 receivers.
College football is a man's game played with student-athletes as bargaining chips. If Hoke wants to compete with the big boys, he has to reevaluate his dated "no-visit" rule and play ball with the likes of Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Alabama's Nick Saban, a pair of coaches that have been in Harris' ears in recent months.
Harris' offer/visit timeline on 247Sports.com is telling; it shows just how many programs are throwing their name in the ring.
If Hoke knows what's best for Michigan—and he does, but play along here—he'd shorten his leash on Harris should Harris commit to the Wolverines.
Let the kid take visits to Vanderbilt and California—they're free trips that, in the grand scheme of things, are viewed the same way by most high-end recruits. If the school is flipping the bill to host a kid, he'd be a fool not to enjoy the process.
These guys are only young once. Recruiting festivities like the ones surrounding Harris aren't common for every prospect.
Harris' destination is anyone's guess at this point. He wants to play football and win a national championship at a big school—Michigan fits those expectations. If Hoke and his staff do their jobs correctly and get a commitment from Harris, the Wolverines wouldn't need to worry about Harris visiting another school.
Some feel that Hoke's dinosaur of a recruiting policy works—and maybe it does, with some recruits. But telling kids like Harris not to do something could only prompt them to do it anyway. Hoke can let the tradition and excellence of Michigan football speak for itself. Recruits are listening.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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