Doug Nussmeier’s first swing as a Michigan recruiter was a miss.
However, despite losing ground during a recent visit, the newly hired offensive coordinator didn’t strike out with Damien Harris, who decommitted from the Wolverines’ 2015 class—also known as Team 136—on Tuesday, per Sam Webb of GoBlueWolverine.
No, consider it a full count—one more pitch is on the way. Harris, who had high respect for Al Borges, hasn’t completely ruled out Ann Arbor. He’s just exploring options.
Granted, Nussmeier would have done himself a huge favor by gaining a cement-like verbal from the No. 2-ranked running back of 2015. What coordinator wouldn’t have loved that? It would have made the transition from Alabama to Michigan seem like a breeze.
Grade the potential loss of Damien Harris
It’s a new scene up north, but Nussmeier’s connections should prove fruitful during his time with coach Brady Hoke.
If previous bonds hold true, Nussmeier should have a realistic shot at gaining pledges from down-south talent such as Harris, a prized thoroughbred out of Kentucky’s Madison Southern (Berea).
A highlight of the 2015 haul, Harris was to bring 5-star magic to the backfield. But Oklahoma just offered. And Ohio State is in the mix.
Win some, lose some—that's how recruiting goes.
...There’s always George Campbell, a 6'3", 184-pound 5-star receiver who opted out of his verbal commitment to Hoke in mid-December.
Most likely not Michigan-bound, the No. 1-ranked athlete of 2015 remains on the radar. According to 247Sports, the Wolverines are of “warm” interest to Campbell, who is also considering Florida State, Clemson and Florida.
Ups, downs and side-to-sides. Recruiting sure is fun, isn't it? One verbal can set off a blaze, while a decommit has the mystical power of ruining a class.
That may be true from time to time, but even a rough period can't keep Hoke's program out of contention for elite preps. The addition of Nussmeier only adds influence on the trail.
Harris' parting of ways wasn't great news, but it wasn't a showstopper, either. Life shall progress.
Not an Empty Well
Possibly missing out on Harris puts a wrinkle in future plans.
But the decommit doesn't signify a football-life altering era to come for Michigan's running game. The Wolverines still have Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith ready for 2014.
As freshmen, the pair showed great potential during the latter stretch of the 7-6 season. Drake Johnson is set to return. Sione Houma was the No. 6-ranked fullback of 2012. He can provide carries, too.
Nussmeier also has Thomas Rawls, Dennis Norfleet and Justice Hayes available.
Michigan has sought runners for 2014 and 2015. But the Wolverines have enough in the stable to bridge the gap.
Get Ricky to Town
Town, a 6'4", 205-pound junior, is close to Nussmeier, who is well respected for his work with signal-callers. Those relationships don’t evaporate due to a little distance.
Redemption in the form of a blue-chip quarterback is acceptable after the potential loss of a receiver and/or running back.
Stacked with young wideouts, Nussmeier doesn't have to worry much about pass-catchers this year.
Running backs can be a dime a dozen. Quarterbacks, though, especially good ones, are more difficult to find. Stocking the cupboard with Town in addition to Shane Morris (2013) and Wilton Speight (2014) seems more beneficial in the long run.
One of them could end up being Michigan's A.J. McCarron.
Michigan in play for five-star 2015 quarterback Ricky Town? Some think it's very possible ($): http://t.co/m10uLmC4Dp— Chris Balas (@Balas_Wolverine) January 13, 2014
He Went to Jarrett
Nussmeier isn't wasting time finding big-armed talent. Town isn't the only option, evidenced by the offer extended to Jarrett Stidham, the No. 2-ranked dual-threat of 2015.
At nearly 6'4", Stidham has the height. At 190 pounds, he's near the good-to-go mark. Again, powering up behind center is the strength of a strike-capable offense. Michigan hasn't done that since the Chad Henne era.
There are more Stidhams and Towns, even Harrises, out there in Recruiting Land. Thus far, Nussmeier is proving his desire to secure top talent, and that's a positive sign for Michigan, which has landed a pair of top-10 classes under Hoke.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81