It’s the offseason, but recruiting never stops in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines are building their classes of the future. Check Land of 10 daily for the latest inside the Michigan recruiting room.
If draft picks don’t lead to wins, then what is their impact?
Florida State tight ends coach Tim Brewster went to Twitter to express his thoughts about Michigan’s draft output on Saturday night, following the NFL draft.
Most draft picks doesn't correlate to winning….Just ask Michigan! #OrangeBowlChampions!
— Tim Brewster (@TimBrewster) April 29, 2017
And, from there, it escalated to a response from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 3, 2017
So, here’s the thing: Sure, draft picks, in a literal sense, do not correlate to winning. But, a successful draft has — 100 percent — a direct impact on recruiting. (And, we know, great recruiting leads to great players, which leads to wins.)
How is this so?
Recruits take notice of Michigan’s NFL impact
Early in the Harbaugh tenure, the Wolverines’ coaching staff was known for having big-time NFL experience. And Harbaugh was known for producing a number of draft picks at his previous college-coaching spot, Stanford.
But Harbaugh and his assistants hadn’t built a reputation for producing NFL talent at Michigan yet.
Now, the tide has turned and the proof is there. When 11 players were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, that set a record for the Michigan program. Two former Wolverines, Jabrill Peppers and Taco Charlton, were selected in the first round.
The number of picks isn’t going unnoticed, and neither is the impact that NFL draft success is having on Michigan’s recruiting.
I looked back at my interviews and conversations with the last 25 recruits — some 5-star players but mostly 4-stars and a few 3-stars. Each player mentioned NFL experience in some context as a reason he held the offer from the Wolverines so high.
There’s no arguing that Florida State’s 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl last December was a great accomplishment. But winding up with 11 draft choices and proving to recruits that the experience playing for the Wolverines prepares a number of players each year to move on to the next level? That’s the best recruiting tool you can have.
Almost all recruits want to play in the NFL. Now, it looks as if Michigan is one of those schools that gives them the best shot to do it.
Michigan commit Christian Turner lands an offer from Florida – what does that mean?
Buford (Ga.) RB prospect and Michigan commit Christian Turner – a 3-star, according to the 247Sports Composite – received an offer from Florida on Thursday.
Received an offer from The University Of Florida ???
— Christian Turner (@_ChrisTurner28) May 4, 2017
With the proximity of the Florida campus to his home, we imagine Turner will look closely at this offer from the Gators, who are hungry to grow a better offense. Florida is the third SEC team to offer him, joining Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Turner had an impressive performance at The Opening Atlanta a few weeks back, which landed him offers from two of the SEC teams, along with Midwest powers such as Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
He passed on the other offers to commit to Michigan. So what will happen when it comes to Florida?
The opportunity at Michigan is better. The Wolverines are building a solid offensive line in the younger classes, and his running style would transfer better to the Big Ten.
But, things don’t always come down to logic in recruiting. Sometimes it comes down to family, and Gainesville is a lot closer than Ann Arbor. It’s in the South, in weather that isn’t a winter wonderland or as changing as Michigan’s is.
Most of all, this offer comes with a lot of time left in Turner’s recruitment, giving the Gators time to push him to decommit from the Wolverines and instead commit to Florida. The vastly shorter distance between Gainesville and Buford, Ga., will gave the Florida staff a chance to visit Turner at his home or school far more often than the Michigan staff can.
We saw a similar situation with Florida 4-star TE Will Mallory of Jacksonville, Fla., who is a Michigan legacy once believed sure to come to Michigan but ended up committing to the Miami Hurricanes.
Much of his decision to commit to Miami can be attributed to how often the Hurricanes’ coaches visited him. Such visits were far easier on the Miami travel budget than they would have been on Michigan’s.
So, ultimately, do we think Turner goes elsewhere? We don’t have enough evidence now to say he goes anywhere but Michigan. But don’t count out a strong push from the Gators.