If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw yesterday that I made a Crystal Ball pick for Najee Harris to flip from Alabama to Michigan. This was largely based on reading the tea leaves from various occurrences involving Harris.
This morning I received an e-mail from someone “in the know” who said that Michigan believes Harris will enroll at the university next week. There’s nothing concrete behind the scenes that I’m aware of, but the coaches are expecting to deal with the side effects of landing the #1 RB/#1 recruit (a.k.a. attrition).
I’m not making guarantees. You never know what will happen in recruiting. But I usually don’t make Crystal Ball picks without believing in what I’m putting out there.
This would be amazing news. I’ve enjoyed following recruiting for 7 years now and he is the first back that UM has had a chance for that I’m excited about. I know the line needs major help still but in order for UM to actually to take the next step they need a playmaker like Harris. If this happens, it would actually give UM another dimension it hasn’t had in almost 10 years from the RB position. Other teams would have to respect playmakers in the backfield and at receiver. I’m hopeful all these sources are correct.
I think good running backs can make a line look good, and I think a good line can make running backs look good. The offensive line is extremely important, and I would say that unit is more important than an individual RB in general. I think Harris could make people’s opinions of Tim Drevno improve next year.
Have to admit i’m very excited. I’ve commented many times that I think RBs are overrated but I’ve always qualified it that having a true difference-maker is… well, different. Harris is unlikely to be a Cook/Fournette level back but — at least there is a chance.
I wonder if the Fisch situation affects any of this. Of course Alabama’s OC is changing too and I imagine those guys have their attentions divided a little bit at the moment.
The depth chart is the big thing in Michigan’s favor here. Alabama has a loaded backfield where Harris will have to wait his turn. Michigan has Evans whose optimal role is probably in a timeshare and then a couple unexceptional options in Higdon and Isaac (who may not be back anyway).
I agree on the depth chart thing. Alabama likes to play two running backs, but a third…not so much. That would mean bad news for Najee Harris, Damien Harris, and/or Bo Scarbrough. But at Michigan, there’s a clear path to being the starter. Evans looked good, but he’s not immune to being passed by a #1 running back.
FWIW, I’ve heard that Ty Isaac is planning to come back next year. I don’t know if the arrival of Harris could affect that or not.
O’Korn supposed to be back too. Both surprising to me, if it turns out that way. We as fans don’t have all the off-field information though, and these kids may have very good non-football reasons for returning. On field it seems curious though.
I imagine Evans will be rotated with somebody, be it Harris, Higdon, or Isaac because you don’t usually want a 200-210 pound guy running it 30 times a game.
O’Korn returning shouldn’t seem surprising as with him Harbaugh has the QB position ideally where one would like it: RS Sr; RS Jr; RS So; RS Fr and True Fr coming in.
Also, Isaac may be planning on returning next year but he’ll have to earn a spot first in the Spring and I’m not sure there will even be 1 for him to compete for:
I see 52 spots for sure taken as of now with 26 commits makes 78 slots taken. This leaves 7 openings available for any current questionable returnees + any targeted recruits.
1 – Peppers
2 – J.Clark
3 – Poggi
4 – Isaac
5 – Shallman
6 – D. Johnson
7 – Wangler
8 – S. Johnson
9 – Perry
10 – Longsnapper
Obviously IF Peppers returns he gets a spot and Harbaugh is on record for J. Clark if he gets a 6th year. Now your down to 5 spots left for 3 thru 10 above + ~4 more future commits.
I don’t see a lot of vacant chairs to run for when the music stops.
What are running back out there would you compare Najee too? I’ve heard Gurley, Leveon Bell, Eddie George and several more comparisons out there. Any thoughts on this? Hopefully we will get a full scouting / commitment post if we are lucky.
Magnus, have the recent developments (flight changes, Tua’s insight) changed your opinion at all on the Najee “Thunder Ballz” selection? Are you sticking by your someone “in the know” about the situation?
The recent developments aren’t positive, but I’m sticking with it. Now that I’ve made the Crystal Ball pick, there’s no reason for me to change it. (I can’t pick Alabama since he’s already committed.) I haven’t heard anything more from the person “in the know” but I haven’t asked.
FWIW, Sam Webb says Harris’s mentor works for an airline, so he can change his flight anytime he wants and make it work. The Alabama thing could be to throw people off the trail or it could be misinformation, although I’ll admit that seems like a stretch. Stranger things have happened, though.