Sean Keeler/Land of 10
Michigan players got to experience the culture of Rome last spring. The Wolverines are headed to France this spring, and the overseas trips are something coach Jim Harbaugh wants to make annual events.

Michigan recruiting mailbag: Overseas trips helpful for Wolverines; commit shunned camp circuit

Kevin Goheen

Have Michigan football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Michigan recruiting mailbag to discuss Wolverines recruiting. This week, we look at how Michigan’s trip to France plays into recruiting, how one 2019 commit took an unusual route to choosing the Wolverines, and how one 2019 5-star prospect may end up playing a new position. 

Q: The team building/educational trip to France is a good recruiting tool. How many other schools do trips like this? — John Junior via Facebook

A: Trips such as the one Michigan is about to take to France, and the one it took last year to Rome, are more prevalent in basketball. Smaller team sizes in basketball make that possible, and those teams get the opportunity to practice and play games against foreign teams. Michigan practiced three times in Rome last year but will not practice in France this spring because of new NCAA rules that prohibit teams from practicing off-campus during designated vacation periods. The rule has become known as the Harbaugh Rule.

That rule, however, applies only to Power 5 conference schools, so Harvard wouldn’t fall into that category. Several non-NCAA Division I programs take such trips, including Division III John Carroll. Global Football is a company that helps set up these trips. They have to be paid for, and oftentimes it’s the players who must raise the funds.

Michigan’s trip to Rome last year was estimated to cost between $750,000 and $800,000 and was paid for by an anonymous donor.

The opportunity to take such a trip on an annual basis — and that is something Harbaugh has said he would like to do — is a recruiting tool. Will it be the final factor in a player’s decision? For some it might be that one added perk in choosing Michigan over another school.

RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board  


Thanks for the question from the Twitterverse. Quavaris Crouch is a 5-star running back from Charlotte, N.C., and is ranked as the No. 11 player in the country by the 247Sports composite. Michigan has had a long pursuit of Crouch, so much so that early this year his coach mentioned the Wolverines and South Carolina as two of Crouch’s top schools. In that article in the Charlotte Observer, coach Sam Greiner said Crouch may end up playing linebacker in college, not running back.

That possibility has gotten stronger after Crouch told 247Sports’ Michael Clark that N.C. State spoke with him about playing linebacker and that’s the position he’s leaning toward playing at the next level. Steve Lorenz of 247Sports writes that Michigan has been looking at Crouch on both sides of the ball, so this revelation shouldn’t hurt its chances with Crouch.

Michigan isn’t seen as the favorite to land Crouch, but it is in the race.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the OT that committed this week? I see star gazers criticizing, but I think he is going to be a great pickup. — Jason Lawrence via Facebook

A: Absolutely. Reader Jason Lawrence is asking about Jack Stewart of New Canaan, Conn. Stewart is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound prospect who committed to Michigan on April 16. He’s rated a 3-star play but has a unique backstory in that unlike most top recruits these days he’s never attended a football camp or participated in a combine. His father, Mike, played running back at Yale in the mid-1980s and felt that his son didn’t need the camps or combines to get noticed. Mike Stewart didn’t want Jack to get burned out on football. He wasn’t ripping the choice others made to go that route. It was a decision he and Jack made.

“To me, it has more of that meat market feel to it,” Mike Stewart told Land of 10. “I get it, I understand it. It’s probably a very important part of recruiting, but it just didn’t fit for us is maybe the right way to say it.”

Jack’s older sister plays lacrosse at West Point and he comes from a military family. There is a lot to like about him.

Q: Who’s the next Rashan Gary that’s being recruited? Doug Dreyer via Facebook

A:  Wouldn’t it be great to sign a player of Rashan Gary’s caliber in every class? That’s a high standard to achieve, as anyone who has watched the All or Nothing documentary series can attest. Gary came to Michigan as the No. 1-ranked player in the country in the 2016 class. If he continues improving he could contend for being the top pick in the NFL draft whether he chooses to leave early or stay four seasons.

The Wolverines have a commitment from 5-star defensive end Christopher Hinton for the 2019 class, as well as 4-star prospect Stephen Herron Jr. Hinton is ranked No. 15 overall in his class, while Herron is No. 85. Those two fit the criteria you’re probably asking for in terms of prospect ratings, but don’t let those be your sole guide to determining how good a player can and/or will be.

Q: What do we know about threats against [Jim] Harbaugh and does it negatively affect recruiting? — Jason Yadon via Facebook

A: The situation in which former Michigan linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse tweeted alleged threats against Jim Harbaugh came out of nowhere and the full account of what happened is still to be discovered. What we do know is that, according to Michigan, Mbem-Bosse left the program last season in mid-November. That departure wasn’t announced until last week. Mbem-Bosse has alleged that he was kicked off the team while dealing with a family situation, but no explanation has been given. The junior played sparingly on defense in his two seasons but was on special teams and earned a letter as a freshman.

Michigan said it has reached out to Mbem-Bosse throughout the situation. Mbem-Bosse says he has been “harassed” by University of Michigan police, who opened an investigation into the situation. That investigation has shown that no crime has been committed, according to U-M police.

I don’t think it will have a big impact on recruiting. It certainly will come up with recruits and their families, but as things stand it should have minimal effect.

Have a question about Michigan recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10MICH or follow on the Land of 10/Michigan Facebook page and ask us there. We’ll try to answer in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Michigan recruiting mailbags here.