The recruiting gods giveth and taketh away. Just ask Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.
A legendarily creative quarterback turned quarterback guru turned NCAA provocateur, Harbaugh was among the programs who may have hoped to gain a new muse from a fierce rival. Dwan Mathis, an in-state four-star pro-style quarterback from Oak Park, has been committed to Michigan State since late September. Then suddenly on Sunday, Mathis pulled a turn in a different direction, de-committing from Michigan State but instead pledging his future to Ohio State, not Michigan.
Ohio State’s chase was behind it, sure, but so was another factor: The Buckeyes offered Mathis before Harbaugh did. The Wolverines already have one pro-style quarterback in Damonte Ranch (Nev.) passer Cade McNamara, and while that hasn’t necessarily held Harbaugh back from opportunistically chasing others in the past, it might be a factor this year.
The move was the capstone of a weekend in which Mathis visited the Buckeyes in Columbus, and ends his previous commitment to the Spartans after nine months.
Yet while Harbaugh missed out on one potential QB recruit he landed three expected future players within hours before and after Mathis’ decision. The three new Wolverines pledges? Four-star East Kentwood (Mich.) defensive tackle Mazi Smith, four-star Oaks Christian (Calif.) running back Zach Charbonnet, and three-star Fairfield (Ohio) tight end Erick All.
All three new Wolverines recruits fill areas of need for Harbaugh and his staff as Michigan continues to fill out its 2019 class. All is the only TE, Smith is the only DT and Charbonnet the first RB. That’s a strong indication all were more important to Harbaugh than a player like Mathis.
Of course, those kind of assumptions were true before Mathis committed to Ohio State. Now, the impact of all four of these players will be judged on a future Friday following Thanksgiving. Until then, the shift in fortunes at all four positions makes for a fascinating contrast as both Michigan and Ohio State continue to ramp up.