ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan football has come under fire for its recruiting efforts in the 2023 cycle, and rightly so.
After an appearance in the College Football Playoffs and the Big Ten Championship, the Wolverines are trailing and missing many top rookies. The most prominent being State quarterback Dante Moore, a five-star prospect ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 player in the nation, regardless of position. Jim Harbaugh proposed to Moore when he was in seventh grade, and Corn and Blue seemed like the team to beat, but things got ugly over the past year, and Moore opted to go to Oregon. , a team with a new head coach in Dan Lanning, who is primarily defensive.
Moore isn’t alone, of course. The Wolverines have seen players they would normally move elsewhere, likely due to the new landscape of name, image and likeness. Harbaugh said he views NIL in the sense that Michigan will be transformational, not transactional, and any money that comes in will come after the player has signed and made a name for himself — not before. There are merits to this line of thinking, but is Michigan lagging behind in recruiting as a result?
On Sunday, offensive coordinator Matt Weiss, who also oversees the quarterback position and was the aforementioned Moore’s main scout, discussed his general thoughts on the matter (i.e. not specific to Moore himself). ). Coming aboard the Baltimore Ravens, where he oversaw the most prolific rushing offense the NFL has ever seen, Weiss thought recruiting would have more to do with the product you put on the field than the gear that might come with it. signing from a different school. . However, things turned out very differently, and while Weiss is still looking for advantages over other merits, he explains why the current college football recruiting landscape makes little sense.
“That’s one thing I want to recruit – I thought that was what it was going to be, right?” Weiss said. “In the NFL, guys want to go where they have – sure money is a factor, but usually money is pretty close. And teams decide between themselves, they choose between where is going to use them best and where they have the most opportunity to win, and that’s where they’re going.
“And so I certainly thought coming here, OK, if we can get a really good offense, recruiting will be easy. And then I think, one thing that I’ve learned is that there’s a lot of relationship elements, right? If an NFL free agent signed with the team and went to the press conference and said, ‘You know, I’m just here because I love this coaching job, I mean, this guy, we we have a great relationship. We play like Fortnite every morning, every day at two in the morning, and this guy is just awesome. That’s why I’m here.’ Everyone would be like, ‘Wow, what’s wrong with this guy?’ But, but in college, it’s a bit, it’s a bit what happens and it’s not the only thing that things are based on, but it’s important, isn’t it not ?
“And so I learn that, I figure out how to do that. Now, certainly, I don’t play Fortnite with anybody at two in the morning, but – just like I tell rookies. The guy who plays Fortnite with video games with you at 11 p.m. or whatever that’s what he’s gonna do when he should try to help you become a better player and he should plan the game and find ways to do the offense going – he’s going to play Fortnite with a 16-year-old.
Of course, Michigan is a different school than most. The academic component, being one of the best (sometimes ranked among the best) public institutions of higher learning in the nation, means the Wolverines take seriously the role of the student in “the student-athlete”.
In addition to the academic part, Jim Harbaugh has built a program which, although it has some extracurricular activities – such as this summer’s tourism in the State of Michigan, similar to past trips to Rome, Paris and South Africa South – mainly focuses on Football. It’s been that way since he arrived, with the head coach not allowing players to visit Miami Beach during the Capital One Orange Bowl in 2016. Although he’s slacked off a bit since then, he’s been trying to build the program not just a competitor, but one that preaches unity and sends players to the NFL. As of fall training camp 2022, Michigan has an amazing 55 players on NFL rosters.
While Michigan has followed the evolution of locker room renovations, other programs have added exciting features. From waterslides at Clemson to barbershops at several others, to teams like LSU that have lockers that convert to flatbeds, the Wolverines don’t add anything particularly fancy that isn’t football related.
For Weiss, he sees this as an advantage, not a deterrent. Because those who come to Ann Arbor will have a singular purpose, rather than any fashion.
“Yeah, I think the guys that match us are that type of – successful guys here – we have a great culture here, we have great guys in the team. It’s largely up to Jim, obviously, but he’s self-selecting,” Weiss said. “The guys who would like to be here, the guys who are successful here are the guys who love football. The guys who are good guys who just want to play football and that’s what they love to do and it’s like a football cathedral – all the football you can handle and more.And these are the guys this place selects for it.
“Guys who like something else, whether it’s a locker that turns into a bed or a flat screen TV in your locker – whatever it is – those guys don’t usually do well here if they come here and they don’t come usually not here. So the same with the quarterbacks that we get. I think our types of guys, they want to come.
Basically, if you want to be good at football, Jim Harbaugh, Matt Weiss and company are working to make Michigan that destination. If you want creature comforts or just want to bond with your recruiter through video games, there might be better destinations for you.