If you’re feeling conflicted when it comes to Jim Harbaugh, you’re not alone.
We are halfway through year six of the Harbaugh era and the results have been less than desirable to say the least. There have been far more painful moments than joyful moments under his watch, and the likelihood of that changing in the near future seems minimal at best.
Even so, the recruiting classes Harbaugh and his staff are putting together for 2021 and 2022 leave me feeling conflicted. On one hand, Jim Harbaugh has come up woefully short in terms of the on-field success that many expected upon his arrival. On the other hand, Harbaugh is on the verge of bringing in two of his best recruiting classes since arriving in Ann Arbor - headlined by the highest rated quarterback to come to Michigan since Ryan Mallet in 2007 (JJ McCarthy).
Michigan hosted a number of high-profile recruits over the weekend who were treated to a front row seat as the Badgers pummeled the Wolverines in spectacular fashion. Oddly enough, that on-field embarrassment didn’t seem to deter any of the recruits from seriously considering Michigan as a destination. In fact, it seemed to solidify their commitment based on many of the reports that came out following the visit.
Parting ways with Jim Harbaugh following the 2020 season likely means parting ways with a significant amount of that incoming talent as well. Staying the course with Harbaugh presents the continued risk of mismanagement and all of that phenomenal talent failing to reach its full potential.
I’m not sure at this point that Michigan can afford to roll the dice on a replacement with so much talent on deck. Short of an elite hire that would provide recruits with some much needed reassurance, Michigan would once again be plunging itself into murky waters and hoping for a home run hire. If the Jim Harbaugh era has taught us anything, it’s that home run hires are very hard to come by. With elite coaching options in short supply at the moment, the risk of removing Harbaugh may far outweigh the risk of keeping him in Ann Arbor for another few seasons.
Cliche as it may sound, Michigan is truly between a rock and a hard place.