As the son of a former college and NFL running back, Arlen Harris Jr. is no stranger to the recruitment trail, so that's why he was so excited to learn that Michigan wanted to offer him a scholarship. Once that happened, Harris began to build his relationship with U-M running backs coach Jay Harbaugh, and the two have formed a solid rapport so far.
In fact, Harbaugh has done such a good job in selling the Michigan program to the junior four-star running back that the Wolverines were an easy selection for Harris when he released his top group over the weekend.
Joining Michigan in Harris' top group is Iowa, Florida, Penn State, Stanford and Missouri. Throughout the recruiting process, Harris hasn't had an opportunity to check out the lion's share of his top group, which implies that each of those schools are on roughly equal footing until the recruiting dead period ends.
Once visits are back on the table, Harris was adamant that he'd like to take a trip up to Ann Arbor to see what Michigan has to offer from a firsthand perspective. Stanford, Penn State and Florida are three other schools that Harris told Wolverine Digest are on his must-visit list once he's able to do so, and Iowa is another school he'd be likely to check out as well.
It is not surprising the the No. 21 running back in his class on Rivals.com is receiving a lot of recruiting attention, especially after the strong start to his junior campaign, but one aspect that makes Michigan stand out is the personal connection that Harris has developed with the coaching staff. While Jay Harbaugh has acted as the point man for much of his recruitment, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh has also been a consistent factor as well.
“I feel like Coach Harbaugh is a very genuine coach,” Harris told Wolverine Digest. “The day of when they called me, one of the big things that stuck with me was they said when we offer you and tell you we want you at Michigan, we mean that. We're not going to be one of the schools that is in and out, texts you here and there and falls off with relationships. They said they're going to recruit me all the way through until I commit, and that's exactly what he's been doing. We communicate in all types of platforms-- text, Snapchat, through Twitter. Coach Harbaugh is a very genuine guy. I remember one of the FaceTimes we had, we didn't even have to talk football. We were just talking about family and different stuff we like, different hobbies. I was very impressed with Coach Harbaugh.”
On the field this fall, Harris is aiming to pick up 30 touchdowns, and that mark would certainly rank him among the premier running backs in the country. So far, Michigan has extended scholarships to 24 players at that position in the 2022 class, so the Wolverines are spreading their net pretty far. It's a bit early to speculate on how many running backs they'd like to sign once the cycle wraps up, but two seems like a reasonable number as U-M is looking for two in the 2021 class as well.
Right now, Harris is really high on Michigan, and one of his favorite aspects is that the Wolverines will be consistently recruiting him, so it sounds as if there is a decent chance he winds up in Ann Arbor as time continues to progress.
How many running backs would you like Michigan to go after in 2022? Any specific recruiting strategy you'd like to see Michigan invoke? Let us know!