Jim Harbaugh said that he would hire “the best” assistants to “…carry forward the excellence of the University of Michigan football program.” He has assembled a staff who can not only develop talent but who also have strong ties to the hotbeds of national recruiting.
With a only a few days left before national signing day, incidents like the miscommunication with recruit DaiShon Neal have been rare as his coaches have blanketed the nation to fill Harbaugh's first Michigan recruiting class.
They have been welcomed because in most cases they are already well known to the players they are visiting.
|Michigan Football Coaching Staff|
|Name||Position||Region of Experience||Level|
|Jim Harbaugh||Head Coach||California, Midwest||College, Pro|
|D.J. Durkin||Defensive Coordinator||Florida, Southeast||College|
|Tim Drevno||Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line||California||College, Pro|
|Mike Zordich||Defensive Secondary||Midwest||College, Pro|
|Greg Jackson||Defensive Secondary||California, Southwest||College, Pro|
|Jay Harbaugh||Offense TE & Special Teams||Northwest, Mid-Atlantic||College, Pro|
|Tyrone Wheatley||Running Backs||Midwest||College, Pro|
|Jedd Fisch||Passing Game Coordinator- QBs & Receivers||Florida, Mid-Atlantic||College, Pro|
|John Baxter||Special Teams||California, Southwest||College|
|Greg Mattison||Defensive Line||Midwest, Mid-Atlantic||College, Pro|
The impact of these relationships will reap dividends in the future.
Compare the geographic recruiting reach of Michigan's coaches with states that have produced the most NFL draft picks over the past three seasons, according to Scout.com.
|State Breakdown Over Last 3 NFL Drafts|
With the exception of Texas, Harbaugh or a member of his staff have strong ties to 10 of 11 of the top states.
At first glance it appeared that Harbaugh simply followed the “friends and family” model used by most coaches, hiring assistants from his previous staffs and filling gaps based on reputation and expertise. For Harbaugh, family included members of the Michigan family (Tyrone Wheatley and Greg Mattison) and his son Jay.
But his staff contains a mix of coaches who have experience at both the collegiate and professional levels, which allows them to evaluate recruits for success at Michigan and beyond.
This is an important factor for recruits. Many coaches can say they have helped develop NFL draft picks, but Harbaugh and his staff have experience on both sides of the NFL pipeline. They can speak firsthand about how NFL coaches evaluate talent.
Michigan's top recruiter is Harbaugh himself. He is credited with taking San Francisco to three consecutive conference championships and one Super Bowl after making Stanford into a national power. His experience as a former college and pro quarterback also gives him a unique perspective when talking to recruits.
In a few short weeks on the recruiting trail, Harbaugh and his assistants have already made a big impression with a number of top recruits.
With less than a week to go before national signing day, Harbaugh is making a strong case to his top recruiting targets.
Having already flipped recruits from Texas and Nebraska, he now has his sights set on players who can help him compete for a Big Ten championship.
Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations obtained firsthand