Michigan football faces another big recruiting battle with Ohio State for 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison and here’s why Jim Harbaugh needs to get him.
The last two years have been especially tough. We know what has happened on the field, but on the recruiting trail, things haven’t gone much better. Late in the process a year ago, Michigan football lost out on a 5-star offensive lineman, Nicholas Petit-Frere to guess who? Ohio State.
Petit-Frere ended up being the Buckeyes top-rated prospect in 2018, instead of Michigan’s. Now, Harbaugh and the Wolverines are battling Ohio State for another 5-star prospect and that’s Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison.
Harrison announced Tuesday he would be making his decision next Wednesday and when the decision comes down, it’s expected to be the Wolverines or Buckeyes, with an outside shot at it being Penn State.
5-star DE Zach Harrison will tweet out his college decision next Wednesday and fax in his NLOI. He isn’t having a ceremony and there will be no interviews, which is consistent with how he’s handled his entire recruitment. down to OSU, UM and PSU. https://t.co/WnlVMVq0gF
— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) December 11, 2018
While Michigan football has been in some important recruiting battles under Harbaugh, the fight for Harrison might be among the most important.
One reason is that right now, Michigan can ill afford to miss out on another 5-star prospect. Just a few days ago, Daxton Hill, a top-10 player in the 2018 class, flipped from Michigan to Alabama. He was the highest-rated commit for the Wolverines and know he’s gone.
The narrative is pretty easy to track. Michigan lost Hill because the Wolverines were blown out by Ohio State and proved again they can’t win big games. Then, Bama swopped in and the rest was history.
That may or may not be true, but it wasn’t long after the 62-39 loss that Hill made his decision. At this point, that’s over with. Hill isn’t coming back. However, Michigan can lock up the next big target and that’s Harrison.
Landing Harrison would be huge for Harbaugh and the Wolverines. It would give Harbaugh a notable recruiting win over Ryan Day, the Buckeyes new head coach and at the same time, Harrison would help to make up for the loss Hill to the 2019 class. He would be the new gem of the group.
Hill was a legit 5-star but so is Harrison, who is the fourth-ranked player overall and the top defensive end. Essentially, getting him would be like getting Rashan Gary again. Obviously, they are different players. Harrison is 6-foot-5, 243 pounds, but you get the point. Both were elite.
Harrison could also help fill the void being left by Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. More importantly than that, he would be the No. 1 guy in the 2019 class for Michigan football and he would restore the recruiting momentum the Wolverines had built.
The decision by Harrison next Wednesday will be huge and if he chooses Ohio State, it will be a sign that maybe things won’t change in Columbus, even though Day, not Urban, is now in charge.