Monday, April 15, 2013
Drake Harris commits to Michigan, making plenty of enemies at MSU
It’s not like Michigan State fans needed more reasons to hate Michigan, but the last month probably hasn’t helped matters.
First the Wolverines make a run to the national championship game in basketball. Now the Spartans watched Drake Harris, one of their former verbal commitments for the 2014 season, make a new commitment to Michigan on Sunday.
The junior receiver from Grand Rapids Christian is currently rated as a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com and has the potential to move up to being a 5-star recruit by the time his senior season is over.
Harris was already a highly-touted recruit when he committed to Michigan State prior to the start of the 2012 season. He grabbed national attention for his performance in the Division 3 state football championship game when he caught eight passes for 243 yards and a touchdown, leading Grand Rapids Christian past Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 40-37.
It was after that game that the heat really picked up on Harris’ recruiting, despite his commitment to MSU. Talk of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and many others courting Harris seemed to be a reality, and in early March, Harris decided to walk away from the Spartans.
Harris originally committed to MSU when he was planning on playing both football and basketball for the Spartans. With his focus turning to just playing football, he decided to decommit and cited his desire to play for a national title contender.
It didn’t take Harris too long, just over a month, to commit to Michigan. He did so on Sunday, a day after the Wolverines’ spring game.
Harris’ commitment has certainly sparked a lot of back-and-forth between the fan bases and it is clear that Harris has made himself one of the biggest enemies in the eyes of the Spartans.
There are really three things to acknowledge with this whole situation.
First, Harris is allowed to do what he wishes. I can’t blame a kid for wanting to make the best decision for his future. The big problem with recruiting is that there is not an early signing period for football players to help keep the flip-flopping from happening. It’s tough for a teenager not to be tempted to break a commitment with all these other coaches and programs coming after him. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing had I been in Harris’ situation (in terms of breaking the commitment to Michigan State).
Second, when I look at Drake Harris and his abilities, I can’t blame him for wanting to play for a national title contender. No offense to Michigan State, but the Spartans aren’t at that level. If Harris is truly as good as he is rated, he has the chance to play anywhere in the country. Michigan State doesn’t register as one of those five programs that a recruit of his caliber should be targeting if they really want to contend for a national title and have the chance to be a top draft pick in the NFL. Sorry Spartans fans, but it’s the truth.
With that said, Harris himself stated that he wanted to contend for national titles. If that is truly the case, I have to question his decision to commit to Michigan (the third issue). I know this will upset some Wolverine fans, but you can’t argue that Michigan is close to winning a national title right now. The only programs that can say they have consistently been in the title picture recently are Alabama, LSU and Oregon. You can probably throw Ohio State in that mix with last year’s unbeaten season and Urban Meyer’s coaching accomplishments.
I think Brady Hoke is doing a good job in recruiting and there is potential there for Michigan to get into the national title picture down the road, but last season’s opener with Alabama proved that the Wolverines aren’t ready for that discussion yet.
If Harris didn’t want to go to Michigan State and preferred to go to Michigan, that’s fine. He has the right to make that decision. But, if he is looking to win a national title, he may not have made the right choice. Either way, he certainly painted a big target on his back when he heads to East Lansing while sporting the maize and blue.
Then again, who knows if Harris will stand by this commitment either.