One thing fans across the Big Ten are going to learn quickly is that new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t do anything without an eye for how it will affect his ability to recruit. So, as word went out that Harbaugh was helping NFL Draft hopefuls Jameis Winston and Bryce Petty ahead of the NFL combine this week you knew he had a master plan.
Not only did Harbaugh get to help two guys who are looking to up their NFL status ahead of the draft, but two of the most high-profile quarterbacks in college football sang the praises of Harbaugh as well.
“That was a blessing, to meet a guy like that,” Winston told Michigan’s official website, via MLive.com. “I made a reference, when he was in Indianapolis in ’95, he had a great year that year. It was just an honor to meet him and all of his accomplishments and the type of coach that he is.
“I wish I could have played for him.”
Petty also sang Harbaugh’s praises, especially noting his attention to detail at the quarterback position.
“If there’s anybody you want to play for, as a player, it’s a coach like him,” Petty said. “From the second he came over here, he was sizing up Jameis, wanted to see his grip. He’s just a quarterback. That’s the coolest part about playing the position and being coached by somebody that’s been there and done that.”
Don’t think for a second recruits don’t notice big names talking about coaches or who they would love to play for.
Harbaugh’s presence has already been felt when it comes to recruiting the position at Michigan, with him swiping 4-star quarterback Zach Gentry from Texas and are already well in the mix for names like 4-star KJ Costello and Brandon Peters early in the 2016 recruiting cycle.
Even more important than the praise of Harbaugh as a quarterback was the look that Winston and Petty got at the facilities in Ann Arbor. There’s no mistaking Florida State as anything but a football school, and that means everything and anything the Seminoles want they’ve got.
Still, Winston came away nearly equally impressed by the facilities as what Harbaugh was teaching him.
“These guys don’t know how blessed they are to have these types of facilities,” Winston said. “Florida State is a prestigious school, we have nice stuff, but we don’t have this. I love Florida State and Go Noles until the day I die, but this is so much more advanced than us.”
Petty also had some big things to say about what Michigan can offer it’s football players over other parts of the country.
“This is bar none the best I’ve seen,” Petty said. “We’ve got great ones in Waco; I love what I had at Baylor but it’s cool to go around and see other places, but this is easily one of the best I’ve seen.”
Given the praise, the facilities and Harbaugh’s name recognition, the Wolverines appear set for success. The question is, just how soon will all the stars lining up off the field translate in to major wins on it?
Harbaugh and Co. are set up for success in a way never possible given Stanford’s facilities and academic standards. This could be a scary combination if just a few days in Ann Arbor have players like Winston and Petty dumbfounded.