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Jim Harbaugh Comments on Michigan's Recruiting Philosophy

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on the field during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida , Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press
Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2016

University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh broke his silence on the recent happenings of his recruiting class on Friday. 

Harbaugh and his coaching staff have fallen under siege after some recruits found out "that their offers were no longer guaranteed," according to Dan Murphy of ESPN.com. 

Per Murphy, Harbaugh is keeping a close eye on those who verbally committed to Michigan, making sure that their grades, play on the field and character outside of school remain unmarked. 

"We're very much out there," Harbaugh told Murphy. "We don't hide how we operate and what we do. It's a meritocracy with everything we do in our program. It's going to continue to be that."

Basically, if a recruit continues to get good grades in class, play football well and give back to the community, his offer will stay on the table. If grades, performances and/or character drop, then the offer might not be kept.

According to Murphy, two high school seniors over the last two weeks were notified by the Michigan coaching staff that their offers weren't set in stone. 

One recruit, defensive end Rashad Weaver, delved into his experience with Harbaugh and Michigan on his Twitter:

While this might be new to some, Rivals.com's Josh Helmholdt has seen this before from Harbaugh when he was head coach at Stanford from 2007-10, as he told James Hawkins of the Detroit News:

My assumption is this was their plan from the beginning. Take guys early and then figure it all out at the end. Our beat writer who covers Stanford when Harbaugh was hired a year ago had mentioned that this was kind of his M.O. at Stanford. You look at guys and if they're good enough, offer them and we'll figure it out in the end.

In a way, Harbaugh is toying with these young men who are aspiring to play college football. Pulling out their offers at the last minute could be disastrous for their future plans. 

On the other hand, he isn't simply handing out free passes to Michigan. If the recruit doesn't live up to the rules or values set by Harbaugh and his coaching staff, they have a right to take the offer away. 

It was imperative for Harbaugh, though, to make sure these prospects knew this was the way things are run at Michigan. 

He will not be able to comment on particular recruits due to NCAA rules, but according to Murphy, when he was asked whether or not he had communicated these ideals to his recruits, Harbaugh simply said "yes." 

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