Last week, the NCAA banned college football teams from hosting "satellite camps" all around the country. The policy change cost teams from modest recruiting areas the ability to take their show on the road and sell it to players in a given area. That's a loss for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, whose Wolverines aggressively used camps to court players.
Harbaugh isn't going to let college football's bureaucracy deter him from wooing elite talent, though. He's going to give the commencement address this June at Paramus Catholic, the New Jersey private school that just so happened to produce this year's top prospect and Michigan commit Rashan Gary – and also has two four-star Michigan targets for 2017.
Here's NorthJersey.com's Darren Cooper with more:
School president Jim Vail made the announcement Monday afternoon, saying Harbaugh had been chosen for his leadership qualities and community service, in addition to his athletic achievements.
"Commencement is an academic ceremony. It's not connected to athletics," Vail said. "But I have gotten to know Coach Harbaugh pretty well. I'm not a football guy, but I know a great educator when I see one, and he always impressed me as a great educator and great leader.
"He's a very dynamic individual. He does many things that would make him a great role model for our students."
In January 2015, Harbaugh hired former Paramus head coach Chris Partridge as a recruiting coordinator, and Partridge helped him land Gary back in February. (He's now the team's linebackers and special teams coach.)
Now, Harbaugh has his sights set on four-star Paramus linebacker Drew Singleton and four-star defensive tackle Corey Bolds for next year, and four-star quarterback Allan Walters for 2018.
Walters said in a text message on Monday that it would be "really cool" to have Harbaugh.
"Shows how great of a relationship that stuff is building with our school and the pipeline they are building," he said.
This isn't exactly a first.
After holding one of those now-banned satellite camps in California, he gave the commencement speech at a Coronado High School graduation, where his son went. LSU's Les Miles gave one in 2012, but it was at his own alma mater. Neither case is quite like this one.
Then-Georgia coach Mark Richt tried to merely attend a recruit's graduation in 2009, but the NCAA prohibited it when it became clear the player wouldn't be giving a valedictory speech.
Per a Power 5 compliance source, who told SB Nation's Steven Godfrey that Harbaugh isn't even coming close to breaking a rule, here's the only somewhat relevant NCAA bylaw:
A visit (without contact) by a coaching staff member to a prospective student-athlete's educational institution counts as an evaluation for all prospective student-athletes in that sport at that educational institution.
The NCAA can tell Harbaugh he can't host a football camp on Paramus' field. But it hasn't told him not to say some inspiring words to a bunch of matriculating 17-year-olds, and that's exactly what he's going to do.
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Michigan Recruiting: Jim Harbaugh has his quarterback of the future
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